The Accidental Hoax
The following is an excellent example of why you shouldn’t get up and go to the refrigerator between programs:
Today, when we listen to the radio, we hear music and news. Sometimes, there is a religious program or a talk show; but, the days of storytelling are mostly an art form of the past.
In 1938, Orson Welles told a great story about The War of the Worlds. It was a science fiction account of the world being attacked by aliens and the ensuing battle. Unfortunately, approximately 2 million people thought that the story and the accompanying sound effects were an actual news broadcast. The actors made it so real that people took to the streets in total panic.
Many terrified listener had missed the disclaimer at the beginning of the broadcast. Otherwise, they would have known it was a complete work of fiction and not real. Little did Mr. Welles know that his work would make it into the history books.
If We Die, They Will Come
What a waste. People have believed in aliens and panicked, like The War of the Worlds. But, other than a few heart-pounding moments, no one was actually hurt. But, there are times when a hoax goes way to far, and it costs the lives of those that truly want to believe.
Marshall Applewhite convinced 38 followers that the earth was about to be plowed under and rejuvenated with a new population. If they didn’t want to be part of the destruction phase, they needed to board a spaceship with him. The alien craft would appear behind the Hale Bopp comet. But, in order to board, they had to follow his instructions.
Whether they literally drank the kool-aid or some other form of poison, 38 people followed him and his wife to their deaths, because they didn’t want to die when the world was plowed under.