Grover’s Mill

I was 8, living in South Jersey with my parents and sisters, on the Sunday night in 1938 when Orson Welles spread widespread fear and panic with a radio play adapted from the H. G. Wells novel ‘War of the Worlds’. Well, not exactly. The fictional Grover’s Mill where Martians were landing and killing everyone they encountered was located a few short miles to the north of us, and no one in my house heard a thing, since we were listening to Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, a program whose audience by far outnumbered the audience for Welles’ Mercury Theater. Miles away from the fictional Grover’s Mill, the Martian invasion was a non-event, and so, I believe, are most of the so-called widespread panics that turn out to be entirely manufactured. A little while ago there were almost daily the press and the Internet were scaring people with stories about Killer Clowns roaming the woods. The 38 minutes of absolute panic in Hawaii caused by a false alert that a missile was heading for Oahu, but Hawaii is different from Killer Clowns because Kim Jong Un was believed to have deliverable nuclear missiles and had actually threatened to send one to Hawaii, so the threat alert had to be taken seriously. Not so Martians or Killer Clowns.

When Martians fell on Grover’s Mill
In 1938
I did not hear of it until
Already much too late
To save our neighbors and our friends
From bug-eyed Martian fiends
That still today Deep State pretends
Were just some fiction scenes
Made up for entertainment taste
Still covered up today
As central Jersey lies in waste
And dead lie where they lay
The turnpike hurries folks along
Past ancient burnt out towns
Where Martian spaceships hundreds strong
Had landed Killer Clowns
But that was many years ago
When I was only eight
It’s funny how the days go slow
And Martians come too late