War of the Worlds panic explained

When I was a kid and learned about how many Americans panicked in 1938 because they heard a radio dramatization of War of the Worlds and thought Martians were truly invading, I always thought they were just stupid people.

It wasn't until I heard this episode of Radiolab that I began to understand what made that 1938 radio show seem so realistic. The Radiolab hosts convinced me that a combination of luck, timing, and audio techniques could've fooled me too, if I were alive back then and not listening carefully.

The episode from 2008, about 60 minutes long, is the single best podcast I've heard this year: (Link)