Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 420+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 34000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at €11,99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade for €1.09
Then just €11,99 / month. Cancel anytime.
Learn more
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the European Union version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

‘Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound … This is Not a Drill’: The Formidable Threat of False Alarms


At approximately 8:07 am on January 13, 2018, the state of Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency in Honolulu sent out a frightening alert on TV, radio, and cell phones across all of Hawaii: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” A second alert saying the original alert was a false alarm was transmitted thirty-eight minutes after the initial broadcast. The episode transpired during a period of heightened tension between the United States and North Korea, and it generated widespread fear and anxiety. A member of the state’s House of Representatives, Matthew LoPresti, told CNN: “I was sitting in the bathtub with my children, saying our prayers” (Cohen 2018). The New York Times reported that “People flocked to shelters, crowding highways in scenes of terror and helplessness” (Nagourney et al. 2018).

Since the early twentieth century, there have been numerous false alarms of attacks, broadcast either intentionally or by accident. On the evening of October 30, 1938, a radio drama about a Martian invasion caused widespread fear after being broadcast on 151 syndicated stations across the United States and Canada. Princteon University psychologist Hadley Cantril estimated that upward of 1.7 million listeners were frightened, while a relatively small number panicked and attempted to flee the epicenter of the fictitious attack: Grovers Mill, New Jersey. The impact was most disruptive near “ground zero.” The next day, the city manager for Trenton, New Jersey, Paul Morton, told the Trenton Evening Times that the deluge of phone calls “completely crippled communication facilities” for the city’s police department for three hours.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Skeptical Inquirer - May June 2018
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
View Issues

About Skeptical Inquirer

Progressophobia: Why Things Are Better Than You Think They Are STEVEN PIKER Percival Lowell and the Canals of Mars The Curious Question of Ghost Taxonomy and much more!

Single Digital Issue May June 2018
Read Now
Getting free sample issues is easy, but we need to add it to an account to read, so please follow the instructions to read your free issue today.
This issue and other back issues are not included in a new Skeptical Inquirer subscription. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription.
Annual Digital Subscription €16,99 billed annually

Other Articles in this Issue

Editor’s Letter
I grew up in the 1950s when, for the most
Barry Williams, founder of the Australian Skeptics, has died. Tim
Newly elected CSI Fellow Michael E. Mann has been awarded
Bertha Vazquez, director of the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science
I was recently reported for calling Britain’s heir to the
Somehow, some way, the flat-earth movement continues to make waves
‘Zetetic’1 Astronomy at the University Level
Joe Nickell, PhD, is CSI’s senior research fellow and, among
Massimo Polidoro is an investigator of the paranormal, lecturer, and
Stuart Vyse is a psychologist and author of Believing in
Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for
Intellectuals dislike the very idea of progress. Our own mental bugs also distort our understanding of the world, blinding us to improvements in the human condition underway globally—and to the ideas that have made them possible
Traumatic Memories Are Alive and Well and Eating Your Innards Out
The ‘canals’ of Mars don’t exist, and they never did; yet they were repeatedly reported and defended as scientific realities by many great astronomers. Why?
The nature of ghosts remains unknown despite centuries of collective effort by legions of ghost hunters
A critical examination of the book Who Was Adam? demonstrates that creationism is not science
A mass of solid ice weighing nearly a ton fell on a Scottish farm on the estate at Ord during a thunderstorm on July 30, 1849. Theories abound as to its origin, some more fanciful than others. New analysis suggests that the ice originated locally and did not fall from the sky, as has long been thought
On Human Nature
In her documentary about the disgraced doctor most identified as
The Winter 2017/2018 “Special Collector’s Edition” of Scientific American is
The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the
Listing does not preclude future review
I want no more issues sent. I am specifically and
As I write this we are a few days away