Panic Breaks Out Across the Country Can you imagine peacefully listening to the radio and then suddenly hearing that the earth is being invaded by aliens? In 1938, Orson Welles had convinced his radio listeners that this was exactly what was happening when the Columbia Broadcast System aired H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Not realizing that it was all an elaborately executed hoax, millions of people around the country feared for their lives and thought that New York City had been obliterated. It just goes to show how gullible people can be and powerful the media is. Luckily, no one was actually hurt.