New Jersey celebrates 80th anniversary of ‘Martian invasion’

Posted: Updated:
GROVER’S MILL -

New Jersey is celebrating the 80th anniversary of an “invasion from Mars.”

The Oct. 30, 1938 radio broadcast of Orson Welles’ dramatization of the science fiction novel “War of the Worlds” had some New Jerseyans convinced that aliens landed in the Garden State.

Virginia Seery of Hackettstown says that she was listening to the broadcast that night with her family.

“My father said we have to go. We have to find someplace safe. We’ll go to Great Meadows,” she says.

Seery says that her father began to pack in a panic.

VIDEO: 94-year-old man recounts 'invasion from Mars'

“And he started to load pots and pans and dishes and clothes and milk for the baby,” she says.

Len Arfer, 94, says that he was listening at the time with his younger brother. He says that they started to arm themselves.

“We got the cap pistols out and we loaded them with caps, just in case,” he says.

The radio broadcast took place in the Grover’s Mill section of West Windsor. It has become a tourist attraction of sorts, with plaques around town explaining the event.

Ed Beckerman says while he didn't listen to the show he remembers the newspaper headlines the next day.

"I think I went my way still unconvinced that the Martians had landed but I remember many people believed it," he says.

Some research does dispute the legend that there was mass panic during the broadcast.

Events were held in Grover’s Mill over the weekend to commemorate the anniversary.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • The 'worst toys' for the holidays, according to safety group

    The 'worst toys' for the holidays, according to safety group

    Tuesday, November 13 2018 6:35 PM EST2018-11-13 23:35:07 GMT

    A Black Panther “slash claw” and a plastic Power Rangers sword are among the items topping a consumer safety group’s annual list of worst toys for the holiday season.

    A Black Panther “slash claw” and a plastic Power Rangers sword are among the items topping a consumer safety group’s annual list of worst toys for the holiday season.

  • Deadly wildfire devastates Northern California town

    Deadly wildfire devastates Northern California town

    The Northern California wildfire has killed at least 42 people, making it the deadliest in state history.

    The Northern California wildfire has killed at least 42 people, making it the deadliest in state history.

  • Just Married in New Jersey

    Just Married in New Jersey

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding.News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding.

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedNJ.  

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedNJ.  

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."