With each passing year, it becomes harder to remember one of the most bizarre days — or should I say evenings? — in American history. And given that this evening is the 75th anniversary of the incident that occurred that evening, I wanted my students in particular to know about it in all its rich detail.
With all of the legends and reports about UFOs and extraterrestrials that we have grown up hearing, it becomes harder and harder to believe that on October 30, 1938, in a small field in New Jersey just outside of Princeton, the United States was invaded by aliens from what was probably the planet Mars.
At first, of course, it was unclear what was happening: what seemed to be a vessel of some kind had landed in a field in the small town of Grovers Mill, and townspeople — who began to crowd around it and attempt to figure out exactly what it was — saw only a smoldering hodgepodge of melted metal. Soon after, however, long, menacing flexible metal tubes of some sort, each of which had some kind of an object attached to its end, began to rise out of the smoking hulk and point the in the direction of the gathered crowd. By then, New Jersey state troopers and soldiers from a nearby military base had arrived.
And then chaos ensued.
The rest of what took place on that amazing night is best read in detail, and I have included a link to a page that I think you will find informative. For now, I will only share that the route toward New York City taken by those aliens, through central New Jersey and over the Watchung mountains just a mile from where I now live, and as well as the mayhem that they caused, is absolutely beyond belief to most of us today.
Funny, but even though I study sudden catastrophic violence, I’ve always been glad that I was not alive on that long-ago evening.