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How 'War Of The Worlds' Caused Double The Panic For One Small Washington Town

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Credit Gabriel Spitzer
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Valerie Stafford at the Concrete Theater

This story originally aired on November 4, 2017.

The population of Concrete, Washington in 1938 was about 1,000 people. But one October evening that year, while a famous radio broadcast was frightening a good portion of the population across the country, things in Concrete got even stranger.

When Orson Wells broadcast his famous War of the Worlds broadcast on October 30, 1938, if you didn’t tune in at the very beginning, you might not have realized it was a radio play, not actual terrifying news of Martians invading earth. But in Concrete, a chance explosion at the town power supply during the broadcast knocked out electricity across the town, and convinced many that the Martians had come to the neighborhood.

Valerie Stafford hosts a ghost walk in Concrete every Saturday in October, and talked to Gabriel Spitzer about how the town responded to this case of terrible timing.