Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BABE OF THE DAY- Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson

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Elvira's Halloween Ad - Click here for more blooper videos

Elvira's Strange Song. - Funny videos are here

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Song of the day/Movie of the Day


The Misfits

Monster Mash


Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

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Story of the Day-Halloween

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Halloween, or Hallowe'en, is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, Halloween festivals, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses", carving jack-o-lanterns, and viewing horror films. Halloween originated from the Pagan festival Samhain, celebrated among the Celts of Ireland and Great Britain[citation needed]. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is now celebrated in several parts of the western world, most commonly in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom and occasionally in parts of Australia and New Zealand.

The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day",[1] also which is now known as All Saints' Day.

Many European cultural traditions, in particular Celtic cultures, hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent (according to, for example, Catalan mythology about witches and Irish tales of the SĂ­dhe).

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Are you wondering why pint-sized ghouls and goblins are wandering the streets and ringing strangers' doorbells; why your significant other is pestering you to dress up as Sonny to her Cher at a masquerade ball; why goosebumps and shivers are in the air; and why chocolates seem to come only in miniature sizes this time of year? Well, when digging for the roots of the modern Halloween, there are three words to keep in mind:

Samhain. The Celts of modern-day Ireland and the UK two and a half millennia ago braced themselves for winter with this festival, which is pronounced "sowen," literally means "summer's end" and falls on November 1. It heralds the beginning of the dark, cold half of the year. (Its counterpart was Beltane, which kicked off the warm, light half of the year on May 1.) The harvest was gathered in to protect against the wintry blast of the faeries' breath, and Samhain was an occasion for thanksgiving, sacrifices, divination and prayers. In each home the hearth-fire was extinguished the night before and relit on Samhain from the central bonfires of the priestly Druids.

Pomona. She is the Roman goddess of fruit trees and the symbol of abundance. There was a festival dedicated to her worship at the end of autumn, around the time of the big harvest. When the Romans arrived in Britain, in the first century, they melded their customs with those of the Celts whom they conquered.

Feralia. This is the ancient Roman festival of the dead, which was held on February 21 with prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the deceased. The customs of this day were also blended by the Romans with those of Samhain. Feralia was superseded in the Christian Church by All Saints Day, also known as All Hallow's Day or Hallowmas, observed on May 13. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III changed the date to November 1 (though it is still marked in springtime, on the Sunday after Pentecost, by the Eastern Orthodox Church). All Saint's Day was followed by All Soul's Day, established by Saint Odilo of Cluny on November 2 to remember the souls awaiting release from Purgatory. Halloween is a contraction for "Hallow's even" — the evening of All Hallow's Day, i.e., October 31.

The customs that are the modern face of Halloween are deeply rooted in the mists of history as well:

Jack-o'-lantern. Originally a turnip, this carved vegetable with a candle inside was used by a poor Irish soul named Jack to light his way as he wandered for eternity, denied entrance to both Heaven and Hell — Heaven because of his habitual stinginess and Hell because he had, while still alive, forced the devil into a pact that would spare Jack from ever going to Hell. Boy, did he live (or rather die) to regret it! The Irish brought this custom to the US in the 1840s but found it more convenient to use pumpkins than their traditional turnip, rutabaga or gourd.

Bobbing for apples. Bobbing for apples on Halloween (the time of the apple harvest) may have been inspired by the Celtic fables about heroes who journeyed across water seeking the magical apple tree on the mythical isle of Avalon. There is a more accepted theory: that the Celts (taking a leaf from the Romans who worshipped Pomona, the goddess of fruit and abundance) played a parlor game on Samhain in which unmarried people would try to bite into an apple in water or on a string; the first to succeed was thought to be the first to marry.

Trick or treating. This resembles the All Soul's Day practice called "going a-souling" in which poor people would beg door-to-door. In exchange for a gift of soulcakes, the soulers would promise to say a prayer for the dead. It's possible, though, that the practice developed independently in the US in the 20th century, especially the part where children threaten a trick if they don't get a treat. (This may have been around the time manufacturers came up with fun-sized candy bars.)

Costumes. The Celts wore disguises, usually made of animal skins, during their Samhain celebrations, possibly to conceal themselves from the spirits who were afoot at the time. So those Catwoman and Spider-man outfits may be most true to the ancient roots of the practice.

Ghost stories. The Celts believed that during Samhain, the boundaries between this world and the otherworld became blurred and the spirits of those who had departed walked the earth. Those beliefs survive to this day in the form of ghost stories and divinations: asking for helpful hints or guides to the future from those who have second sight.

There are two other holidays that share thematic elements with Halloween or have common ancestors:

Guy Fawkes Day. This day, held in Britain on November 5, commemorates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 (an attempt by Guy Fawkes and some fellow Catholics to blow up King James I and Parliament). However, its focus on bonfires, as well as its calendar date, are reminiscent of Samhain. The custom of children begging for "a penny for the guy" is similar to trick-or-treating, as well.

The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos). Contrary to what one might think, this 3,000-year-old Aztec holiday is actually a joyous celebration. It is held on November 1 and 2, primarily in Mexico and other parts of Central America, and features visits to graveyards to leave flowers and lighted candles in honor of the dead. The souls of children are believed to visit earth on November 1, with adults's souls following the next day.

Facts and Figures
(courtesy of the US Census Department press release for Halloween; all data is for the US)

The first city to officially celebrate Halloween was Anoka, Minnesota, in 1921.
Illinois led the country in pumpkin production last year with 497 million pounds. It was followed by California, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which each produced over 100 million pounds. A total of 1.1 billion pounds was produced in 2005 for a value of over $106 million.
There are 36.1 million potential trick-or-treaters: children aged 5-13. There are 108 million households for them to visit.
California is the prime location for chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 136 as of 2004. Pennsylvania is next with 122. The countrywide total is 1,241, and they employ 43,322 people and ship $12.5 billion worth of goods.
California is also tops in non-chocolate confectionary manufacturing establishments (76), out of a total of 515 such establishments, which have 22,234 employees who ship $7.2 billion worth of goods.
Per capita consumption of candy was 26 pounds in 2005, much of it during Halloween time. That must make it more challenging for Americans to fit into the outfits provided by the 2,497 formal wear and costume rental establishents that operated in 2004.

Halloween History

A Complete Guide to Halloween

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Halloween Facts and Traditions
Halloween's roots can be traced back to Celtic culture in Ireland. According to their "Druid" religion, November 1st was New Years' on their calendar. The celebration would begin on October 31st ,and last into the following day. The spirits of all who died in the prior year, would rise up and roam the earth on this night.

This is an evil night when spirits roamed the streets and villages. Lord Samhain, the lord of Darkness, would arrive in search of the spirits to take them to the underworld.

Halloween as it is currently celebrated with costumes, trick or treat, and superstitions, takes from this Druid Holiday.

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Halloween Around the World ...

Halloween, one of the world's oldest holidays, is still celebrated today in several countries around the globe, and has had influences from many cultures over the centuries. The ancient Celtic festival called Samhain is considered by many to be a predecessor of our contemporary Halloween. Samhain was the New Year's Day of the Celts and was celebrated on November 1st. In early Ireland, people gathered at the ritual centers of the tribes, for Samhain was the principal calendar feast of the year. It was a joyful harvest festival that marked the death of the old year and the beginning of a new one. It was also a day of the dead, a time when it was believed that the souls of those who had died during the year were allowed access to the land of the dead. Many traditional beliefs and customs were associated with Samhain. Most notable was that night was the time of the wandering dead, the practice of leaving offerings of food and drink to masked and costumed revelers, and the lighting of bonfires, continued to be practiced on October 31, known as the "Eve of All Saints," the "Eve of All Hallows," or "Hallow Even."

The tradition of wearing costumes at Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. In ancient times, Winter was an uncertain and frightening season when food supplies often ran low. For many people who feared the dark, the short days of Winter were filled with constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that spirits returned to the earthly world, people would wear masks when they left their homes during the night hours. In this way, they would avoid being recognized by the ghosts and be mistaken merely for fellow spirits. During Samhain, Celtic villagers would don costumes to represent the souls of the dead and dance out of town, in the hope of leading the dead along with them. Similarly, in Christian religions, parishioners would dress as their favorite Saints and display relics of these departed souls.

People have been using Jack O'Lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man named "Stingy Jack" who was too mean to get into heaven and had played too many tricks on the devil to go to hell. When he died, he had to walk the earth, carrying a lantern made out of a turnip with a burning coal inside. In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips, rutabagas, or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. Halloween was not widely observed in America during the first few hundred years of settlement. However, when the potato famine in the 1840s in Ireland, brought thousands of Irishman to America, they in turn brought the custom with them. They found the American pumpkin to be an excellent replacement for the turnip. Today, the carved pumpkin is perhaps the most famous icon of the holiday. When the term jack-o'-lantern first appeared in print in 1750, it referred to a night watchman or a man carrying a lantern.

Ireland — Believed to be the birthplace of Halloween... the tradition in Ireland is still celebrated as much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the evening "trick-or-treating" in their neighborhoods. After the visiting, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At these parties, many games are played, including "snap-apple," in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree, and players attempt to take a bite out of the suspended apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts with sweets or pastries as the "treasure." The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face-down on a table with sweets or coins beneath them. When a child selects a card, he or she receives whatever prize might be found there. A traditional food is eaten on Halloween called "barnbrack." This is a type of fruitcake which can be baked at home or store-bought. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake which, so it is said, can foretell the future of the one who finds it. If the prize is a ring, then that person will soon be wed and a piece of straw means a prosperous year is forthcoming. Children are also known to play tricks upon their neighbors on Halloween night. One of which is known as "knock-a-dolly," where children knock on the doors of their neighbors but then run away before the door is opened.

Austria: In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. The reason for this is that it was once believed such items would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night which for the Austrians was considered to be brimming with strong cosmic energies.

Belgium: The Belgians believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross one's path and also unlucky if a black cat should enter a home or be brought on a ship. The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives.

China: In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bonfires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Halloween night. Worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion paper "boats of the law," some of which are very large, and are then burned in the evening hours. The purpose of this custom is twofold: as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits of the "pretas" in order that they might ascend to heaven. "Pretas" are the spirits of those who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were consequently never buried. The presence of "pretas" among the living is thought by the Chinese to be dangerous. Under the guidance of Buddhist temples, societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the "pretas," which includes the lighting of lanterns. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.

Czechoslovakia: In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night and families remember the dead by eating special cakes and drinking cold milk "to cool the souls roasting in Purgatory." For the Czechs this is quite a serious holiday, when families gather at cemeteries to pay respects to their ancestors and relatives. It is an extraordinary beautiful time, when all the cemeteries in the land are awash in candlelight and flowers, and in the cool and dark winter evenings the firelight reflects off the snow and makes for a magical experience if you're lucky enough to be a part of it.

England: At one time, English children made "punkies" out of large beet roots, upon which they carved a design of their choice. Then, they would carry their "punkies" through the streets while singing the "Punkie Night Song" as they knocked on doors and asked for money. In some rural areas, turnip lanterns were placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed on Halloween night. Another custom was to toss objects such as stones, vegetables and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away the spirits. These symbolic sacrifices were also employed as fortune-telling tools. If a pebble thrown into the flames at night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another year. If nuts tossed into the blaze by young lovers then exploded, it signified a quarrelsome marriage.

Germany: In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits.

Hong Kong: The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as Yue Lan (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.

India: Mahalaya is a religious ritual in the Hindu community that revolves around awakening dead spirits. The principle meaning of the day is to celebrate the love of spirit, and to stop man's trivial desires. Once the ritual is completed, their souls gain peace for the remainder of the year. On this day, all of those who have died in the region of Yama come back to earth and visit with their mortal descendants. It is celebrated on September 27th, the last day of Aswayuj (a special time that is considered sacred for making offerings to the dead). When darkness falls, the people pray to the Goddess for help against evil demons. Some take sacred baths in the Ganges River, and pray for their deceased relatives. Food also plays an important role in the ceremony; it is essential to offer splendid dishes to the dead. The Hindus consider the human body to be the most important vehicle to get closer to God, and they cannot pray on an empty stomach. Hindu mythology states that the hero, Mahabharata Karan, went to heaven after abandoning human life. Unfortunately thing's did not go as planned. In heaven he found mounds of gold, but there was little food. Apparently, during his mortal life Mahabharata offered many jewels, but limited amounts of food. The hero prayed to God of Death, and was granted his wish: The hero was sent back to earth, where he was given two weeks to correct his errors. During that period he fed the poor, and made the correct offerings. Soon after, he returned to heaven, and found an abundance of food for his new life.

Japan: The Japanese celebrate the "Obon Festival" (also known as Matsuri or Urabon) which is similar to Halloween festivities in that it is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors. Special foods are prepared and bright red lanterns are hung everywhere. Candles are lit and placed into lanterns which are then set afloat on rivers and seas. During the "Obon Festival," a fire is lit every night in order to show the ancestors where their families might be found. "Obon" is one of the main occasions during the Japanese year when the dead are believed to return to their birthplaces. Memorial stones are cleaned and community dances performed. The "Obon Festival" takes place during July or August.

Korea: In Korea, the festival similar to Halloween is known as Chusok. It is at this time that families thank their ancestors for the fruits of their labor. The family pays respect to these ancestors by visiting their tombs and making offerings of rice and fruits. The "Chusok" festival takes place in the month of August.

Mexico, Latin America & Spain: Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as El Dia de los Muertos. It is a joyous and happy holiday ... a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls' Day), the three-day celebration actually begins on the evening of October 31. Designed to honor the dead who are believed to return to their homes on Halloween, many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased's favorite foods and drinks. Frequently, a basin and towel are left out in order that the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles and incense are burned to help the departed find his or her way home. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of deceased family members, including snipping weeds, making repairs and painting. The grave is then adorned with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. Often, a live person is placed inside a coffin which is then paraded through the streets while vendors toss fruit, flowers and candies into the casket. On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may even include tequila and a mariachi band, although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration. In Mexico during the Autumn, countless numbers of Monarch butterflies return to the shelter of Mexico's oyamel fir trees. It was the belief of the Aztecs that these butterflies bore the spirits of dead ancestors.

Scotland: Much like in Ireland, the Festival of Samhain marks the change of season in Scotland. And much like in the United States, children "trick-or-treat," with one exception: they must compete with each other by singing or telling jokes or stories in order to win the treat. One other difference between the Scottish Halloween and the American Halloween is that they use turnips instead of pumpkins. One very Scottish tradition takes place on Halloween and involves single women. According to myth, the women have to peel an apple by candlelight in front of a mirror. If the woman is able to peel the entire apple without tearing the peel, she will see the image of her future husband in the mirror.

Sweden: In Sweden, Halloween is known as Alla Helgons Dag and is celebrated from October 31 until November 6. As with many other holidays, "Alla Helgons Dag" has an eve which is either celebrated or becomes a shortened working day. The Friday prior to All Saint's Day is a short day for universities while school-age children are given a day of vacation.

Thailand: The festival of Phi Ta Khon is a type of procession with music and a parade of masks that accompany the image of the sacred Buddha. During this procession the young village men, dressed up as ghosts and spirits, poke fun at the other villagers as they recite the story of Buddha's last reincarnation. The procession begins in the city of Dan Sai, which is located about 320 miles northeast of Bangkok. The annual festival is celebrated on the first day of the Buddhist holiday known as Boon Para Wate and occurs in May, June or July. The origins of this festival are not quite clear, but it is tied into Buddhist folklore. Legend has it that while in his penultimate life, Prince Vessandorn was away from the country on his travels for so long that his subjects forgot about him. Apparently, they thought he had died. When he returned, the people were so thrilled and celebrated with so much fervor that the spirits awoke and joined the celebration and so the festival of Phi Ta Khon was born.

Halloween Safety Tips

Boo! Halloween safety tips
Stay Visible. Children should bring flashlights or glow sticks, carry reflective bags, wear reflective tape on their costumes and avoid masks, which may inhibit children’s ability to see.

Cross streets safely. Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Do not assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you. Look left, right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Do not run across the street.

Walk on well-lit sidewalks or paths. If sidewalks are missing, walk facing traffic as far left as possible. Children should walk in familiar areas with minimal street crossings.

Watch for cars. Look for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart into the street or cross between parked cars.

Tips for Drivers:

Be especially alert. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are during dusk and rush-hour periods between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Drive slower than usual. Anticipate heavier pedestrian traffic than usual.

Keep headlights on. Use full headlights to spot children from greater distances.

Other Safety Issues:

Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them.
Do not allow children to chew or break glow sticks, as the liquid inside is hazardous.
Look for non-flammable costumes and non-toxic Halloween makeup.
Only use cosmetic contact lenses prescribed and fitted by an eye care professional. Wearing ill-fitted or improperly sanitized contacts, even for a few hours, can cause an eye infection, cornea ulcer, or even blindness.

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Halloween pet safety tips
Treats Can Be Tricky!
The arrival of Halloween brings fun parties, trick-or-treaters, and lots of delicious candies. However, this entertaining holiday can be potentially hazardous to our pets. The ASPCA offers these helpful hints to help pet parents keep their loved ones healthy and safe during Halloween:

Chocolate is not appropriate for pets. “Chocolate (bakers, semi sweet, milk and dark) can be potentially poisonous to many animals,” says Dr. Stephen Hansen, board-certified veterinary toxicologist and Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Ill. Dr. Hansen advises pet parents to watch for symptoms of exposure to chocolate that may include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.
Candy can be dangerous. Dr. Hansen reminds pet owners, “It’s extremely important to ensure that Halloween treats are out of reach of your pet. Animals are very good at sniffing out the treats they shouldn’t have, so it’s up to us to make sure they stay healthy and happy.”

Candies and gum often contain large amounts of the sweetener xylitol, which can be toxic to pets, especially dogs. Ingestion can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, incoordination and seizures.
Keep a close eye on your pet’s whereabouts this holiday season. A common myth at Halloween is that there is an increase in mischief to black cats. “We haven’t seen any evidence that indicates that black cats are at greater risk during Halloween,” says Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Pet Adoption Center in Manhattan. “Some adoption facilities restrict the adoption of black cats to prevent any misbehavior, but the ASPCA hasn’t found sufficient proof to implement this. However, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on pets during this busy holiday.”
Tag your pet. “Sometimes pets may stray from home,” adds Ms. Buchwald. “Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of their home. Be sure that your pet has identification tags should he or she accidentally get loose.”
In addition:

Watch those wrappers! Keep aluminum foil and cellophane candy wrappers away from pets. They can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.
Protect your decorations. Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn may cause stomach upset and can result in intestinal blockage as well if large pieces are ingested.
Take care with costumes. If you do decide to dress up your pet for the holiday, check that the costume does not limit her movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe or bark—and remember to inspect the costume for any choking hazards.

Halloween Safety Educational Film

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Who's Watching Sex Offenders On Halloween?

Nothing scarier for parents than sex offenders on Halloween
Like a lot of Valley families, the Guerrero family of Phoenix did some last minute costume shopping Tuesday night.

But for big sister Laura, more important than looking good on Halloween is staying safe.

"It's halloween, there will be lots of kids out, you never know what can happen," said Laura.

And when it comes to sex offenders, it's up to adults like Laura to identify and avoid their homes.

Some offenders are allowed to give out candy under Arizona law.

Most law enforcement agencies do not monitor them Halloween night.

"Unfortunately the answer is yes, there will be no doubt sex offenders at whatever residences distributing treats to children," said Harold Sanders of the Department of Public Safety.

For Laura, keeping tabs on two kids come Wednesday night will be difficult enough.

She wishes she had some help tracking the sex offenders in the area

"I think they should enforce some sort of law or something at least advising the parents: that's an offender and they're giving out candy because you never know," she said.

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Officials Tell Sex Offenders To Keep Doors Closed On Halloween

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Think safety this Halloween
Halloween may be the best day of the year for a child with a sweet tooth.

He dresses up in costumes and roams from house to house trick-or-treating for that precious Halloween loot.

But there’s something most children don’t think about — safety.

Dangers are lurking everywhere — from crossing the street to knocking on the wrong door.

It’s not easy to know who is going to answer the door.

There are almost 100 registered sex offenders in Kerr County including those in Kerrville, Ingram, Hunt, Center Point, Comfort and Mountain Home.

Kerr County Sheriff’s Office investigators were busy Tuesday making sure 49 sex offenders in unincorporated areas haven’t moved from their registered address.

In Texas, convicted sex offenders must notify law enforcement officials where they live, where they work and what kind of vehicles they drive. If any changes are not reported to law enforcement, the offender is violating the law.

“If you are a sex offender and violate the rules, don’t live in Kerr County because we are going to find you,” said Carol Twiss, KCSO chief investigator. “If they are not compliant with the law, then we will file charges on them.”

Typically, investigators verify sex offenders’ addresses twice a year.

KCSO Investigator James Ledford and 198th Adult Probation Officer Tanna Brown spent Tuesday morning tracking down registered sex offenders.

Some were home, others were not. Some lived in nice houses, others in small travel trailers. Most looked like average Joes.

For those sex offenders who are on parole or probation, the rules are stricter and more complex.

On Halloween, those convicted sex offenders are not allowed to turn on their porch lights or have any Halloween decorations out.

Texas is one of at least 10 states that has a law restricting sex offenders from Halloween activities.

“They are not allowed to entertain trick-or-treaters or even answer the door,” Twiss said. “Parolees or those on probation cannot have any contact with children.”

Local probation officers will be out on Halloween checking for any violators.

Former sex offenders who are not on probation or not on parole still can decorate for Halloween.

Twiss said those houses that are decorated will be watched closely by sheriff’s deputies on Halloween night.

Parents are encouraged to check where sex offenders live before allowing children to wander from house to house.

To find sex offenders in Kerr County, log on to and click on “Public Sex Offender Search.”

Last Minute Halloween Shopping

Halloween brings out ghoulish, heroic shoppers
A skeleton riding a motorcycle out of a grave is part of the spooky Halloween display in the yard of Terry and Robin Goyette of Burton. So are lighted skulls, an 8-foot spider with moving legs and more ghoulish garnishes.

But none of it was bought this year. Rather, it's from an accumulation the Goyettes have used to decorate their yard for at least 15 years. They're part of an increasingly popular trend that has made Halloween second only to Christmas as a decorating holiday.

The National Retail Federation is projecting that Halloween spending will reach $5.07 billion this year, up from $4.96 billion last year. However, the Goyettes, whose children are grown, are cutting back.

They won't be hosting their usual party this year but were out costume-shopping recently for an adult party they plan to attend.

Terry, who "likes the gory stuff,'' wants to dress as a surgeon with his chest cut open and innards spilling out. Robin's thinking of being a vampire goddess.

An estimated $1.82 billion Americans will spend on costumes this year breaks down to an average of $23.33 per person, according to the National Retail Federation's annual Halloween spending survey. That's about a third of an average $64.82 in total projected spending per person.

Kristina Kiss of Imlay City, who is a student at the University of Michigan-Flint, wants to keep her spending down, too. She'll spend up to $40 on a costume, if she finds one she likes, but may make it herself to save money, she said.

Party plans in Ann Arbor recently brought Kiss to the Spirit Halloween store on Miller Road in Flint Township to look for a costume, although she also plans to shop at stores in Sterling Heights where she works, she said.

Waiting until the last minute last year resulted in her wearing a pirate costume - not because it happened to be popular but because it was just about the only thing left.

Last year, Kiss also was able to get by with regular makeup instead of having to buy special effects makeup. And she has not bought decorations or passed out candy since she was home with her parents, she said.

That leaves it up to parents of small fry like Teresa Quesnelle of Fenton to rack up the big sales.

With four children ranging in age from 4 to 10, Quesnelle estimated she will spend $100 to $150 on costumes. That tab will rise to $200 if she and her husband decide to buy costumes for a party they are invited to, she said.

Transformers, pirates, World Wrestling Entertainment figures, Power Rangers, Spider-Man and other superheroes are among the biggest sellers for boys' costumes, said Tonia Farinha, spokeswoman for California-based Spirit Halloween, which has about 548 seasonal stores in 46 states, including one on Miller Road in Flint Township and another at Prime Outlets in Birch Run.

Hannah Montana, a Disney character, has been flying off the shelves for 8- to 12-year-old girls, and princesses and pirate wenches also remain popular, Farinha said.

Pirate and Spiderman costumes are equally popular with adult males, and adult women are going for sexy, flirty costumes.

But decorations are what sets Spirit Halloween stores apart, Farinha said.

"We have a design team that works to produce exclusive items for us,'' she said, noting that this year that includes a 6-foot-tall animated Jason of "Friday the 13th'' movie fame.

Devil men and other decorative pieces are strong sellers for haunted houses and parties.

"Halloween is the second largest decorating holiday right behind Christmas,'' Farinha said. "We have sold a great deal of decor.''

Some customers come into the stores just for the Halloween experience, she said.

Parties and trick-or-treating definitely help put the ka-ching in Halloween coffers.

Quesnelle's children will be attending a neighborhood party sponsored at one home by several parents. Everyone brings a dish to pass and then takes the kids trick-or-treating, she said, adding that they go all-out to decorate the party house, but don't decorate their own home.

Party America, a consumer party supply chain that has local stores in Flint and Flint Township, temporarily bills itself as "America's Halloween Costume Store."

Halloween banners and posters are displayed in store windows, ghoulish props decorate the foyer, spiders are glued to the carpet and shelves offer a full range of Halloween supplies - balloons, greeting cards, candy, invitations, serving ware, makeup and hundreds of packaged costumes for men, women and children.

Local stores operated by Halloween USA, another seasonal operator, include locations on Linden Road in Flint Township and at Courtland Center in Burton.

Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target and Meijer are among larger retailers fully stocked with Halloween goods.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

BABE OF THE DAY-Rachel Miner

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Song of the day/Movie of the Day


Alice Cooper

No More Mr. Nice Guy


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Story of the Day-War of the Worlds Broadcast (1938)

On October 30, 1938, the US radio play, The War of the Worlds, starring Orson Welles, airs on CBS. The live drama, which employed fake news reports, panicked listeners who thought its portrayal of a Martian invasion was true.

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The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air.

Directed by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells' classic novel The War of the Worlds (1898), and was performed as a Halloween special on October 30, 1938.

The first half of the 60 minute broadcast was presented as a series of news bulletins, and suggested to many listeners that an actual Martian invasion was in progress. There was public outcry against the episode, but it launched Welles to great fame. There is controversy about whether people panicked in the streets, and a series of urban legends have grown up around the production which suggest that major disturbances took place.

Welles's adaptation is arguably the most well-known radio dramatic production in history. It was one of the Radio Project's first studies.

Radio Station "Attack By Mars" Panic 1938/10/31 (1938)

War of the Worlds: The Broadcast

The War of the Worlds (radio)

Oct. 30, 1938: The War of the Worlds Radio Show Is Broadcast

The War of the Worlds"
by H. G. Wells
as performed by
Orson Welles & the
Mercury Theatre on the Air
and broadcast on the
Columbia Broadcasting System
on Sunday, October 30, 1938
from 8:00 to 9:00 P. M.

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War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast Causes Panic
On Sunday, October 30, 1938, millions of radio listeners were shocked when radio news alerts announced the arrival of Martians. They panicked when they learned of the Martians' ferocious and seemingly unstoppable attack on Earth. Many ran out of their homes screaming while others packed up their cars and fled.

Though what the radio listeners heard was a portion of Orson Welles' adaptation of the well-known book, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, many of the listeners believed what they heard on the radio was real.

The Idea

Before the era of T.V., people sat in front of their radios and listened to music, news reports, plays and various other programs for entertainment. In 1938, the most popular radio program was the "Chase and Sanborn Hour" which aired on Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. The star of the show was ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy.

Unfortunately for the Mercury group, headed by dramatist Orson Welles, their show, "Mercury Theatre on the Air," aired on another station at the very same time as the popular "Chase and Sanborn Hour." Welles, of course, tried to think of ways to increase his audience, hoping to take away listeners from the "Chase and Sanborn Hour."

For the Mercury group's Halloween show that was to air on October 30, 1938, Welles decided to adapt H. G. Wells's well-known novel, War of the Worlds, to radio. Radio adaptations and plays up to this point had often seemed rudimentary and awkward. Instead of lots of pages as in a book or through visual and auditory presentations as in a play, radio programs could only be heard (not seen) and were limited to a short period of time (often an hour, including commercials).

Thus, Orson Welles had one of his writers, Howard Koch, rewrite the story of War of the Worlds. With multiple revisions by Welles, the script transformed the novel into a radio play. Besides shortening the story, they also updated it by changing the location and time from Victorian England to present day New England. These changes reinvigorated the story, making it more personal for the listeners.

The Broadcast

On Sunday, October 30, 1938 at 8 p.m., the broadcast began when an announcer came on the air and said, "The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air in The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells."

Orson Welles then went on the air as himself, setting the scene of the play: "We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own..."

As Orson Welles finished his introduction, a weather report faded in, stating that it came from the Government Weather Bureau. The official sounding weather report was quickly followed by "the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra" from the Meridian Room in the Hotel Park Plaza in downtown New York. Actually, the broadcast was all done from the studio, but the script led people to believe that there were announcers, orchestras, newscasters and scientists on the air from a variety of locations.

The dance music was soon interrupted by a special bulletin announcing that a professor at the Mount Jennings Observatory in Chicago, Illinois reported seeing explosions on Mars. The dance music resumed until it was interrupted again, this time by a news update in the form of an interview with astronomer, Professor Richard Pierson at the Princeton Observatory in Princeton, New Jersey.

The script specifically attempts to make the interview sound real and occurring right at that moment. Near the beginning of the interview, the newsman, Carl Phillips, tells the listeners that "Professor Pierson may be interrupted by telephone or other communications. During this period he is in constant touch with the astronomical centers of the world . . . Professor, may I begin your questions?"

During the interview, Phillips tells the audience that Professor Pierson had just been handed a note, which was then shared with the audience. The note stated that a huge shock "of almost earthquake intensity" occurred near Princeton. Professor Pierson believes it might be a meteorite.

Another news bulletin announces, "It is reported that at 8:50 p.m. a huge, flaming object, believed to be a meteorite, fell on a farm in the neighborhood of Grovers Mill, New Jersey, twenty-two miles from Trenton."

Carl Phillips begins reporting from the scene at Grovers Mill. (No one listening to the program questions the very short time that it took Phillips to reach Grovers Mill from the observatory. The music interludes seem longer than they are and confuse the audience as to how much time has passed.) The meteor turns out to be a 30-yard wide metal cylinder that is making a hissing sound. Then the top began to "rotate like a screw." Then Carl Phillips reported what he witnessed:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most terrifying thing I have ever witnessed. . . . Wait a minute! Someone's crawling. Someone or . . . something. I can see peering out of that black hole two luminous disks . . . are they eyes? It might be a face. It might be . . . good heavens, something's wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now it's another one, and another one, and another one. They look like tentacles to me. There, I can see the thing's body. It's large as a bear and it glistens like wet leather. But that face, it . . . ladies and gentlemen, it's indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it's so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.
Carl Phillips continued to describe what he saw. Then, the invaders took out a weapon.

A humped shape is rising out of the pit. I can make out a small beam of light against a mirror. What's that? There's a jet of flame springing from the mirror, and it leaps right at the advancing men. It strikes them head on! Good Lord, they're turning into flame!
Now the whole field's caught fire. The woods . . . the barns . . . the gas tanks of automobiles . . it's spreading everywhere. It's coming this way. About twenty yards to my right...

Then silence. A few minutes later, an announcer interrupts,

Ladies and gentlemen, I have just been handed a message that came in from Grovers Mill by telephone. Just one moment please. At least forty people, including six state troopers, lie dead in a field east of the village of Grovers Mill, their bodies burned and distorted beyond all possible recognition.
The audience is stunned by this news. But the situation soon gets worse. They are told that the state militia is mobilizing, with seven thousand men, and surrounding the metal object. They, too, are soon obliterated by the "heat ray." The "Secretary of the Interior," who sounds like President Franklin Roosevelt (purposely), addresses the nation.

Citizens of the nation: I shall not try to conceal the gravity of the situation that confronts the country, nor the concern of your government in protecting the lives and property of its people. . . . we must continue the performance of our duties each and every one of us, so that we may confront this destructive adversary with a nation united, courageous, and consecrated to the preservation of human supremacy on this earth.
The radio reports that the U.S. Army is engaged. The announcer declared that New York City is being evacuated. The program continues, but many radio listeners are already panicked.
The Panic

Though the program began with the announcement that it was a story based on a novel and there were several announcements during the program that reiterated that this was just a story, many listeners didn't tune in long enough to hear them.

A lot of the radio listeners had been intently listening to their favorite program the "Chase and Sanborn Hour" and turned the dial, like they did every Sunday, during the musical section of the "Chase and Sanborn Hour" around 8:12. Usually, listeners turned back to the "Chase and Sanborn Hour" when they thought the musical section of the program was over.

However, on this particular evening they were shocked to hear another station carrying news alerts warning of an invasion of Martians attacking Earth. Not hearing the introduction of the play and listening to the authoritative and real sounding commentary and interviews, many believed it to be real.

All across the United States, listeners reacted. Thousands of people called radio stations, police and newspapers. Many in the New England area loaded up their cars and fled their homes. In other areas, people went to churches to pray. People improvised gas masks. Miscarriages and early births were reported. Deaths, too, were reported but never confirmed. Many people were hysterical. They thought the end was near.

Hours after the program had ended and listeners had realized that the Martian invasion was not real, the public was outraged that Orson Welles had tried to fool them. Many people sued. Others wondered if Welles had caused the panic on purpose.

The power of radio had fooled the listeners. They had become accustomed to believing everything they heard on the radio, without questioning it. Now they had learned - the hard way.

War Of The Worlds by Orson Wells

The War of the Worlds
On October 30, 1938 CBS Radio was broadcasting the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra live from the Meridian Room at the Park Plaza in New York City. Suddenly a reporter from Intercontinental Radio News interrupted the broadcast to deliver an important announcement. Astronomers had just detected enormous blue flames shooting up from the surface of Mars.

The broadcast returned to the music of Ramon Raquello, but soon it was interrupted again with more news. Now a strange meteor had fallen to earth, impacting violently on a farm near Grovers Mill, New Jersey. A reporter was soon on hand to describe the eerie scene around the meteor crater, and the broadcast now switched over to continuous coverage of this rapidly unfolding event.

To the dismay of the terrified audience listening to the broadcast, the events around the Grovers Mill meteor crater rapidly escalated from the merely strange to the positively ominous. It turned out that the meteor was not a meteor. It was, in fact, some kind of spaceship from which a tentacled creature, presumably a Martian, soon emerged and blasted the on-lookers with a deadly heat-ray.

The Martian sunk back into the crater, but reemerged soon afterwards housed inside a gigantic, three-legged death machine. The Martian quickly disposed of 7,000 armed soldiers surrounding the crater, and then it began marching across the landscape, soon joined by other Martians. The Martian invaders blasted people and communication lines with their heat-rays, while simultaneously releasing a toxic black gas against which gas masks proved useless.

At this point, many listeners began to panic. Some people loaded blankets and supplies in their cars and prepared to flee the Martian invaders. One mother in New England reportedly packed her babies and lots of bread into a car, figuring that "if everything is burning, you can't eat money, but you can eat bread." Other people hid in cellars, hoping that the poisonous gas would blow over them. One college senior drove forty-five miles at breakneck speed in a valiant attempt to save his girlfriend.

By the time the night was over, however, almost all of these people had learned that the news broadcast was entirely fictitious. It was simply the weekly broadcast of Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre, and that week, in honor of Halloween, they had decided to stage a highly dramatized and updated version of H.G. Wells' story, The War of the Worlds.

The broadcast reached a huge audience, demonstrating the enormous reach of radio at that time. Approximately six million people heard it, and out of this number it was long thought that almost one million people panicked. More recent research, however, suggests that the number of people who panicked is probably far lower. In fact, the idea that the broadcast touched off a huge national scare is probably more of a hoax than the broadcast itself, which was never intended to fool anyone (At four separate points during the broadcast, including the beginning, it was clearly stated that what people were hearing was a play). The idea that hundreds of thousands of people panicked arose because the media eagerly pumped up the story in the weeks following the event.

Nevertheless, some people undeniably did panic. Therefore, what might have caused them to believe that the broadcast was real?

First of all, many people tuned in late and missed the announcement made at the beginning of the broadcast that what followed was merely a staged dramatization. By the time a second disclaimer was made, the most alarming portion of the play had already been broadcast.
Second of all, the global situation in 1938 provided a context which allowed many to believe that such a series of events could be unfolding. Tensions in Europe were rising, and it had been very common during the previous three months for radio broadcasts to be interrupted by reporters delivering ominous news from Europe. Many who panicked later said that they had assumed that the Martian invasion was actually a cleverly disguised German attack.

Interestingly, most of those who panicked were middle-aged or older. Younger listeners tended not to panic because they recognized Orson Welles's voice as the voice of the hero in the popular radio series, The Shadow.

Strangely enough, this was not the last time that a dramatized broadcast of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds would be mistaken for an account of real events. In November 1944 the play caused a similar panic when it was broadcast in Santiago, Chile, and in February 1949 it once again stirred up unrest when it was performed by a radio station in Quito, Ecuador. The situation in Ecuador unfortunately turned ugly when an angry mob surrounded the radio station and burned it to the ground.

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Radio Listeners in Panic,
Taking War Drama as Fact
Many Flee Homes to Escape `Gas Raid From Mars'--Phone Calls Swamp Police at Broadcast of Wells Fantasy
A wave of mass hysteria seized thousands of radio listeners between 8:15 and 9:30 o'clock last night when a broadcast of a dramatization of H. G. Wells's fantasy, "The War of the Worlds," led thousands to believe that an interplanetary conflict had started with invading Martians spreading wide death and destruction in New Jersey and New York.

The broadcast, which disrupted households, interrupted religious services, created traffic jams and clogged communications systems, was made by Orson Welles, who as the radio character, "The Shadow," used to give "the creeps" to countless child listeners. This time at least a score of adults required medical treatment for shock and hysteria.

In Newark, in a single block at Heddon Terrace and Hawthorne Avenue, more than twenty families rushed out of their houses with wet handkerchiefs and towels over their faces to flee from what they believed was to be a gas raid. Some began moving household furniture.

Throughout New York families left their homes, some to flee to near-by parks. Thousands of persons called the police, newspapers and radio stations here and in other cities of the United States and Canada seeking advice on protective measures against the raids.

The program was produced by Mr. Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air over station WABC and the Columbia Broadcasting System's coast-to-coast network, from 8 to 9 o'clock.

The radio play, as presented, was to simulate a regular radio program with a "break-in" for the material of the play. The radio listeners, apparently, missed or did not listen to the introduction, which was: "The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air in `The War of the Worlds' by H. G. Wells."

They also failed to associate the program with the newspaper listening of the program, announced as "Today: 8:00-9:00--Play: H. G. Wells's `War of the Worlds'--WABC." They ignored three additional announcements made during the broadcast emphasizing its fictional nature.

Mr. Welles opened the program with a description of the series of which it is a part. The simulated program began. A weather report was given, prosaically. an announcer remoarked that the program would be continued from a hotel, with dance music. for a few moments a dance program was given in the usual manner. Then there was a "break-in" with a "flash" about a professor at an observatory noting a series of gas explosions on the planet Mars.

News bulletins and scene broadcasts followed, reporting, with the technique in which the radio had reported actual events, the landing of a "meteor" near Princeton N. J., "killing" 1,500 persons, the discovery that the "meteor" was a "metal cylinder" containing strange creatures from Mars armed with "death rays" to open hostilities against the inhabitants of the earth.

Despite the fantastic nature of the reported "occurrences," the program, coming after the recent war scare in Europe and a period in which the radio frequently had interrupted regularly scheduled programs to report developments in the Czechosolvak situation, caused fright and panic throughout the area of the broadcast.

Telephone lines were tied up with calls from listeners or persons who had heard of the broadcasts. Many sought first to verify the reports. But large numbers, obviously in a state of terror, asked how they could follow the broadcast's advice and flee from the city, whether they would be safer in the "gas raid" in the cellar or on the roof, how they could safeguard their children, and many of the questions which had been worrying residents of London and Paris during the tense days before the Munich agreement.

So many calls came to newspapers and so many newspapers found it advisable to check on the reports despite their fantastic content that The Associated Press sent out the following at 8:48 P. M.:

"Note to Editors: Queries to newspapers from radio listeners throughout the United States tonight, regarding a reported meteor fall which killed a number of New Jerseyites, are the result of a studio dramatization. The A. P."

Similarly police teletype systems carried notices to all stationhouses, and police short-wave radio stations notified police radio cars that the event was imaginary.

Message From the Police
The New York police sent out the following:

"To all receivers: Station WABC informs us that the broadcast just concluded over that station was a dramatization of a play. No cause for alarm."

The New Jersey State Police teletyped the following:

"Note to all receivers--WABC broadcast as drama re this section being attacked by residents of Mars. Imaginary affair."

From one New York theatre a manager reported that a throng of playgoers had rushed from his theatre as a result of the broadcast. He said that the wives of two men in the audience, having heard the broadcast, called the theatre and insisted that their husbands be paged. This spread the "news" to others in the audience.

The switchboard of The New York Times was overwhelmed by the calls. A total of 875 were received. One man who called from Dayton, Ohio, asked, "What time will it be the end of the world?" A caller from the suburbs said he had had a houseful of guests and all had rushed out to the yard for safety.

Warren Dean, a member of the American Legion living in Manhattan, who telephoned to verify the "reports," expressed indignation which was typical of that of many callers.

"I've heard a lot of radio programs, but I've never heard anything as rotten as that," Mr. Dean said. "It was too realistic for comfort. They broke into a dance program with a news flash. Everybody in my house was agitated by the news. It went on just like press radio news."

At 9 o'clock a woman walked into the West Forty-seventh Street police station dragging two children, all carrying extra clothing. She said she was ready to leave the city. Police persuaded her to stay.

A garbled version of the reports reached the Dixie Bus terminal, causing officials there to prepare to change their schedule on confirmation of "news" of an accident at Princeton on their New Jersey route. Miss Dorothy Brown at the terminal sought verification, however, when the caller refused to talk with the dispatcher, explaining to here that "the world is coming to an end and I have a lot to do."

Harlem Shaken By the "News"
Harlem was shaken by the "news." Thirty men and women rushed into the West 123d Street police station and twelve into the West 135th Street station saying they had their household goods packed and were all ready to leave Harlem if the police would tell them where to go to be "evacuated." One man insisted he had heard "the President's voice" over the radio advising all citizens to leave the cities.

The parlor churches in the Negro district, congregations of the smaller sects meeting on the ground floors of brownstone houses, took the "news" in stride as less faithful parishioners rushed in with it, seeking spiritual consolation. Evening services became "end of the world" prayer meetings in some.

One man ran into the Wadsworth Avenue Police Station in Washington Heights, white with terror, crossing the Hudson River and asking what he should do. A man came in to the West 152d Street Station, seeking traffic directions. The broadcast became a rumor that spread through the district and many persons stood on street corners hoping for a sight of the "battle" in the skies.

In Queens the principal question asked of the switchboard operators at Police Headquarters was whether "the wave of poison gas will reach as far as Queens." Many said they were all packed up and ready to leave Queens when told to do so.

Samuel Tishman of 100 Riverside Drive was one of the multitude that fled into the street after hearing part of the program. He declared that hundreds of persons evacuated their homes fearing that the "city was being bombed."

"I came home at 9:15 P.M. just in time to receive a telephone call from my nephew who was frantic with fear. He told me the city was about to be bombed from the air and advised me to get out of the building at once. I turned on the radio and heard the bradcast which coroborated what my nephew had said, grabbed my hat and coat and a few personal belongings and ran to the elevator. When I got to the street there were hundreds of people milling around in panic. Most of us ran toward Broadway and it was not until we stopped taxi drivers who had heard the entire broadcast on their radios that we knew what it was all about. It was the most asinine stunt I ever heard of."

"I heard that broadcast and almost had a heart attack," said Louis Winkler of 1,322 Clay Avenue, the Bronx. "I didn't tune it in until the program was half over, but when I heard the names and titles of Federal, State and municipal officials and when the `Secretary of the Interior' was introduced, I was convinced it was the McCoy. I ran out into the street with scores of others, and found people running in all directions. The whole thing came over as a news broadcast and in my mind it was a pretty crummy thing to do."

The Telegraph Bureau switchboard at police headquarters in Manhattan, operated by thirteen men, was so swamped with calls from apprehensive citizens inquiring about the broadcast that police business was seriously interfered with.

Headquarters, unable to reach the radio station by telephone, sent a radio patrol car there to ascertain the reason for the reaction to the program. When the explanation was given, a police message was sent to all precincts in the five boroughs advising the commands of the cause.

"They're Bombing New Jersey!"
Patrolman John Morrison was on duty at the switchboard in the Bronx Police Headquarters when, as he afterward expressed it, all the lines became busy at once. Among the first who answered was a man who informed him:

"They're bombing New Jersey!"

"How do you know?" Patrolman Morrison inquired.

"I heard it on the radio," the voice at the other end of the wire replied. "Then I went to the roof and I could see the smoke from the bombs, drifting over toward New York. What shall I do?"

The patrolman calmed the caller as well as he could, then asnwered other inquiries from persons who wanted to know whether the reports of a bombardment were true, and if so where they should take refuge.

At Brooklyn police headquarters, eight men assigned to the monitor switchboard estimated that they had answered more than 800 inquiries from persons who had been alarmed by the broadcast. A number of these, the police said, came from motorists who had heard the program over their car radios and were alarmed both for themselves and for persons at their homes. Also, the Brooklyn police reported, a preponderance of the calls seemed to come from women.

The National Broadcasting Company reported that men stationed at the WJZ transmitting station at Bound Brook, N. J., had received dozens of calls from residents of that area. The transmitting station communicated with New York an passed the information that there was no cuase for alarm to the persons who inquired later.

Meanwhile the New York telephone operators of the company found their switchboards swamped with incoming demands for information, although the NBC system had no part in the program.

Record Westchester Calls
The State, county, parkway and local police in Westchester Counter were swamped also with calls from terrified residents. Of the local police departments, Mount Vernon, White Plains, Mount Kisco, Yonkers and Tarrytown received most of the inquiries. At first the authorities thought they were being made the victims of a practical joke, but hwen the calls persisted an dincreased in volume they began to make inquiries. The New York Telephone Company reported that it had never handled so many calls in one hour in years in Westchester.

One man called the Mount Vernon Police Headquarters to find out "where the forty policement were killed"; another said he brother was ill in bed listening to the broadcast and when he heard the reports he got into an automobile and "disappeared." "I'm nearly crazy!" the caller exclaimed.

Because some of the inmates took the catastrophic reports seriously as they came over the radio, some of the hospitals and the county penitentiary ordered that the radios be turned off.

Thousands of calls came in to Newark Police Headquarters. These were not only from the terrorstricken. Hundreds of physicians and nurses, believing the reports to be true, called to volunteer their services to aid the "injured." City ofifcials also claled in to make "emergency" arrangements for the population. Radio cars were stopped by the panicky throughout that city.

Jersey City police headquarters received similiar clals. One woman asked detective Timothy Grooty, on duty there, "Shall I close my windows?" A man asked, "Have the police any extra gas masks?" Many of the callers, on being assured the reports were fiction, queried again and again, uncertain in whom to believe.

Scores of persons in lower Newark Avenue, Jersey City, left their homes and stood fearfully in the street, looking with apprehension toward the sky. A radio car was dispatched there to reassure them.

The incident at Hedden Terrace and Hawthorne Avenue, in Newark, one of the most dramatic in the area, caused a tie-up in traffic for blocks around. the more than twenty families there apparently believed the "gas attack" had started, and so reported to the police. An ambulance, three radio cars and a police emergency squad of eight men were sent to the scene with full inhalator apparatus.

They found the families with wet cloths on faces contorted with hysteria. The police calmed them, halted the those who were attempting to move thier furniture on their cars and after a time were able to clear the traffic snarl.

At St. Michael's Hospital, High Street and Central Avenue, in the heart of the Newark industrial district, fifteen men and women were treated for shock and hysteria. In some cases it was necessary to give sedatives, and nurses and physicians sat down and talked with the more seriously affected.

While this was going on, three persons with children under treatment in the institution telephoned that they were taking them out and leaving the city, but their fears were calmed when hospital authorities explained what had happened.

A flickering of electric lights in Bergen County from about 6:15 to 6:30 last evening provided a build-up for the terror that was to ensue when the radio broadcast started.

Without going out entirely, the lights dimmed and brightened alternately and radio reception was also affected. The Public Service Gas and Electric Company was mystified by the behavior of the lights, declaring there was nothing wrong at their power plants or in their distributing system. A spokesman for the service department said a call was made to Newark and the same situation was reported. He believed, he said, that the condition was general throughout the State.

The New Jersey Bell Telephone Company reported that every central office in the State was flooded with calls for more than an hour and the company did not have time to summon emergency operators to relieve the congestion. Hardest hit was the Trenton toll office, which handled calls from all over the East.

One of the radio reports, the statement about the mobilization of 7,000 national guardsmen in New Jersey, caused the armories of the Sussex and Essex troops to be swamped with calls from officers and men seeking information about the mobilization place.

Prayers for Deliverance
In Caldwell, N. J., an excited parishoner ran into the First Baptist Church during evening services and shouted that a meteor had fallen, showering death and destruction, and that North Jersey was threatened. The Rev. Thomas Thomas, the pastor quieted the congregation and all prayed for deliverance from the "catastrophe."

East Orange police headquarters received more than 200 calls from persons who wanted to know what to do to escape the "gas." Unaware of the broadcast, the switchboard operator tried to telephone Newark, but was unable to get the call through because the switchboard at Newark headquarters was tied up. The mystery was not cleared up until a teletype explanation had been received from Trenton.

More than 100 calls were received at Maplewood police headquarters and during the excitement two families of motorists, residents of New York City, arrived at the station to inquire how they were to get back to their homes now that the Pulaski Skyway had been blown up.

The women and children were crying and it took some time for the police to convince them that the catastrophe was fictitious. Many persons who called Maplewood said their neighbors were packing their possessions and preparing to leave for the country.

In Orange, N. J., an unidentified man rushed into the lobby of the Lido Theatre, a neighborhood motion picture house, with the intention of "warning" the audience that a meteor had fallen on Raymond Boulevard, Newark, and was spreading poisonous gases. Skeptical, Al Hochberg, manager of the theatre, prevented the man from entering the auditorium of the theatre and then called the police. He was informed that the radio broadcast was responsible for the man's alarm.

Emanuel Priola, bartender of a tavern at 442 Valley Road, West Orange, closed the place, sending away six customers, in the middle of the broadcast to "rescue" his wife and two children.

"At first I thought it was a lot of Buck Rogers stuff, but when a friend telephoned me that general orders had been issued to evacuate every one from the metropolitan area I put the customers out, closed the place and started to drive home," he said.

William H. Decker of 20 Aubrey Road, Montclair, N. J., denounced the broadcast as "a disgrance" and "an outrage," which he said had frightened hundreds of residents in his community, including children. He said he knew of one woman who ran into the street with her two children and asked for the help of neighbors in saving them.

"We were sitting in the living room casually listening to the radio," he said, "when we heard reports of a meteor falling near New Brunswick and reports that gas was spreading. Then there was an announcement of the Secretary of Interior from Washington who spoke of the happening as a major disaster. It was the worst thing I ever heard over the air."

Columbia Explains Broadcast
The Columbia Broadcasting System issued a statement saying that the adaption of Mr. Wells's novel which was broadcast "followed the original closely, but ot make the imaginary details more interesting to American listeners the adapter, Orson Welles, substituted an American locale for the English scenes of the story."

Pointing out that the fictional character of the broadcast had been announced four times and had been previously publicized, it continued:

"Nevertheless, the program apparently was produced with such vividness that some listeners who may have heard only fragments thought the broadcast was fact, not fiction. Hundreds of telephone calls reaching CBS stations, city authorities, newspaper offices and police headquarters in various cities testified to the mistaken belief.

"Naturally, it was neither Columbia's nor the Mercury Theatre's intention to mislead any one, and when it became evident that a part of the audience had been disturbed by th performance five announcements were read over the network later in the evening to reassure those listeners."

Expressing profound regret that his dramatic efforts should cause such consternation, Mr. Welles said: "I don't think we will choose anything like this again." He hesitated about presenting it, he disclosed, because "it was our thought that perhaps people might be bored or annoyed at hearing a tale so improbable."


Broadcast Spreads Fear In New England, the South and West


Last night's radio "war scare" shocked thousands of men, women and children in the big cities throughout the country. Newspaper offices, police stations and radio stations were besieged with calls from anxious relatives of New Jersey residents, and in some places anxious groups discussed the impending menace of a disastrous war.

Most of the listeners who sought more information were widely confused over the reports they had heard, and many were indignant when they learned that fiction was the cause of their alarm.

In San Francisco the general impression of listeners seemed to be that an overwhelming force had invaded the United States from the air, was in the process of destroying New York and threatening to move westward. "My God," roared one inquirer into a telephone, "where can I volunteer my services? We've got to stop this awful thing."

Newspaper offices and radio stations in Chicago were swamped with telephone calls about the "meteor" that had fallen in New Jersey. Some said they had relatives in the "stricken area" and asked if the casualty list was available.

In parts of St. Louis men and women clustered in the streets in residential areas to discuss what they should do in the face of the sudden war. One suburban resident drove fifteen miles to a newspaper office to verify the radio "report."

In New Orleans a general impression prevailed that New Jersey had been devastated by the "invaders," but fewer inquiries were received than in other cities.

In Baltimore a woman engaged passage on an airliner for New York, where her daughter is in school.

The Associated Press gathered the following reports of reaction to the broadcast:

At Fayetteville, N. C., people with relatives in the section of New Jersey where the mythical visitation had its locale went to a newspaper office in tears, seeking information.

A message from Providence, R. I., said: "Weeping and hysterical women swamped the switchboard of The Providence Journal for details of the massacre and destruction at New York, and officials of the electric company received scores of calls urging them to turn off all lights so that the city would be safe from the enemy."

Mass hysteria mounted so high in some cases that people told the police and newspapers they "saw" the invasion.

The Boston Globe told of one woman who claimed she could "see the fire," and said she and many others in her neighborhood were "getting out of here."

Minneapolis and St. Paul police switchboards were deluged with calls from frightened people.

The Times-Dispatch in Richmond, Va., reported some of their telephone calls from people people who said they were "praying."

The Kansas City bureau of The Associated Press received inquiries on the "meteors" from Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Beaumont, Texas, and St. Joseph, Mo., in addition to having its local switchboards flooded with calls. One telephone informant said he had loaded all his children into his car, had filled it with gasoline, and was going somewhere. "Where is it safe?" he wanted to know.

Atlanta reported that listeners throughout the Southeast "had it that a planet struck in New Jersey, with monsters and almost everything and anywhere from 40 to 7,000 people reported killed." Editors said responsible persons, known to them, were among the anxious information seekers.

In Birmingham, Ala., people gathered in groups and prayed, and Memphis had its full quota of weeping women calling in to learn the facts.

In Indianapolis a woman ran into a church screaming: "New York destroyed; it's the end of the world. You might as well go home to die. I just heard it on the radio." Services were dismissed immediately.

Five students at Brevard College, N. C., fainted and panic gripped the campus for a half hour with many students fighting for telephones to ask their parents to come and get them.

A man in Pittsburgh said he returned home in the midst of the broadcast and found his wife in the bathroom, a bottle of poison in her hand, and screaming: "I'd rather die this way than like that."

He calmed her, listened to the broadcast and then rushed to a telephone to get an explanation.

Officials of station CFRB, Toronto, said they never had had so many inquiries regarding a single broadcast, the Canadian Press reported.

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War of the Worlds, Orson Welles,
And The Invasion from Mars
The ability to confuse audiences en masse may have first become obvious as a result of one of the most infamous mistakes in history. It happened the day before Halloween, on Oct. 30, 1938, when millions of Americans tuned in to a popular radio program that featured plays directed by, and often starring, Orson Welles. The performance that evening was an adaptation of the science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, about a Martian invasion of the earth. But in adapting the book for a radio play, Welles made an important change: under his direction the play was written and performed so it would sound like a news broadcast about an invasion from Mars, a technique that, presumably, was intended to heighten the dramatic effect.

As the play unfolded, dance music was interrupted a number of times by fake news bulletins reporting that a "huge flaming object" had dropped on a farm near Grovers Mill, New Jersey. As members of the audience sat on the edge of their collective seat, actors playing news announcers, officials and other roles one would expect to hear in a news report, described the landing of an invasion force from Mars and the destruction of the United States. The broadcast also contained a number of explanations that it was all a radio play, but if members of the audience missed a brief explanation at the beginning, the next one didn't arrive until 40 minutes into the program.

At one point in the broadcast, an actor in a studio, playing a newscaster in the field, described the emergence of one of the aliens from its spacecraft. "Good heavens, something's wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake," he said, in an appropriately dramatic tone of voice. "Now it's another one, and another. They look like tentacles to me. There, I can see the thing's body. It's large as a bear and it glistens like wet leather. But that face.'s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate....The thing is raising up. The crowd falls back. They've seen enough. This is the most extraordinary experience. I can't find words. I'm pulling this microphone with me as I talk. I'll have to stop the description until I've taken a new position. Hold on, will you please, I'll be back in a minute."

As it listened to this simulation of a news broadcast, created with voice acting and sound effects, a portion of the audience concluded that it was hearing an actual news account of an invasion from Mars. People packed the roads, hid in cellars, loaded guns, even wrapped their heads in wet towels as protection from Martian poison gas, in an attempt to defend themselves against aliens, oblivious to the fact that they were acting out the role of the panic-stricken public that actually belonged in a radio play. Not unlike Stanislaw Lem's deluded populace, people were stuck in a kind of virtual world in which fiction was confused for fact.

News of the panic (which was conveyed via genuine news reports) quickly generated a national scandal. There were calls, which never went anywhere, for government regulations of broadcasting to ensure that a similar incident wouldn't happen again. The victims were also subjected to ridicule, a reaction that can commonly be found, today, when people are taken in by simulations. A cartoon in the New York World-Telegram, for example, portrayed a character who confuses the simulations of the entertainment industry with reality. In one box, the character is shown trying to stick his hand into the radio to shake hands with Amos n' Andy. In another, he reports to a police officer that there is "Black magic!!! There's a little wooden man -- Charlie McCarthy -- and he's actually talking!"

In a prescient column, in the New York Tribune, Dorothy Thompson foresaw that the broadcast revealed the way politicians could use the power of mass communications to create theatrical illusions, to manipulate the public.

"All unwittingly, Mr. Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater of the Air have made one of the most fascinating and important demonstrations of all time," she wrote. "They have proved that a few effective voices, accompanied by sound effects, can convince masses of people of a totally unreasonable, completely fantastic proposition as to create a nation-wide panic.

"They have demonstrated more potently than any argument, demonstrated beyond a question of a doubt, the appalling dangers and enormous effectiveness of popular and theatrical demagoguery....

"Hitler managed to scare all of Europe to its knees a month ago, but he at least had an army and an air force to back up his shrieking words.

"But Mr. Welles scared thousands into demoralization with nothing at all."

In the 1950s, America had another taste of the power that simulations have, to draw people into a world of delusional fantasy, when paired with mass communications. This time it was revealed that a number of television game shows were simulations, in which contestants who knew the answers ahead of time were pretending to guess at their responses. But unlike the invasion from Mars, here the fakery was unambiguously intentional; it was the work of producers who had concluded they could create fictional game shows that would be more exciting than the real thing.

Once again, there was a shocked reaction from the public. Once again, those involved became objects of public anger. And, as happened with the Orson Welles broadcast, an effort was made to ensure that such manipulations wouldn't recur.

But in 1990, it happened again. Audiences around the world discovered that they were taken in by the ultimate Hollywood illusion in which two performers faked their own talent, lip-syncing, to create the impression they were singing. What millions of fans had believed were two talented singers was actually a composite, another seamless interweaving of sensory simulations in which two people provided the visuals, while vocalists provided the audio.

As in the previous two instances, there was a stunned response. But unlike the experience of 1938 or even the 1950s, the social context was different because simulations had become commonplace, and attempts to use them to trick the public were the rule rather than the exception. Also by this time, a global culture had developed, which meant that tens of millions of people around the world were drawn into the same illusion.

One might say that War of the Worlds and the game show scandal foreshadowed the age of simulation that was still to come. Allowing for a little poetic overstatement, the Milli Vanilli scandal served as a rite of passage or symbolic marker, making clear that we now live in an age of simulation confusion in which our tendency to mistake fakes for what they imitate has become one of the characteristic problems of the age.

More to the point, we live in a time in which the ability to create deceptive simulations, especially for television, has become essential to the exercise of power. And the inability to see through these deceptions has become a form of powerlessness. Those who let themselves be taken in by the multiple deceptions of politics, news, advertising and public relations, are doomed, like the more gullible members of the radio audience in 1938, to play a role in other people's dramas, while mistakenly believing that they are reacting to something genuine.

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War of the Worlds Radio Documentary

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