MNN Galleries

15 of the biggest scientific hoaxes

Illustration from War of the Worlds

Photo: Wiki Commons/pubic domain

12 of 17

'War of the Worlds'

On Oct. 30, 1938, a radio program voiced by Orson Welles aired. It was presented as a series of news bulletins, reporting that the world was being attacked by Martian invaders.

Though the program was an adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel, "The War of the Worlds", the broadcast fooled many listeners into believing that it was a real alien invasion, causing panic and hysteria around the country. Some people even claimed to have witnessed flashes of lightning in the distance and to have smelled poison gas.