On October 30, 1938 . . .
Orson Welles, a radio broadcaster in the late 1930's, broadcast a reading of the Science Fiction novel "War of the Worlds" as if it was really happening causing panic throughout the listening audience who hadn't caught the very beginning of the broadcast to know it wasn't real. Many listeners believing they were listening to a live broadcast of an actual Alien invasion of the Earth actually packed up and headed other places for safety.
The days following the broadcast were filled with outrage and embarrassment, but the episode launched Welles' career.
The fact that people, and so many people, believed the broadcast to be true leads me to believe that most of the population believed that aliens could exist and visit our planet! Not that they would ever admit it in public to their friends or family for fear of being considered weird or loony. Faced with hearing a radio broadcast they believed to be true caused them to react to their deep dark secret beliefs.
The same is probably more true today. I believe most of the public probably believes in the existence of aliens but are afraid to mention it. These beliefs probably range from Earth has been visited in the past, is still being visited, aliens are walking around amongst us, aliens have been abducting people and animals for years, to they believe they exist but have no clear cuts views as to any of the previous stuff.
Is Earth ready to confront aliens from another planet? Would we rally to kill them, or would they be heralded as celebrities around the world? Would people accept them on a friendly basis or fear them? What ramifications would the existence of aliens have on the organized religions of the world? Can religion and aliens co-exist on some level? Would our God be their God also? What do you think?
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Orson Welles often worked at several radio stations a day in New York in the late thirties. Discovering that it wasn't against the law to have an ambulance carry you if you were not actually sick, he would hire one to drive him from station to station with the lights going and sirens blaring to beat the traffic of the city! Intelligent people find intelligent solutions to problems.