Psychopathology has offered possible answers to why, from time to time, people in large quantities "see" strange things in the sky which manage to evade trained scientific observers, or conform to what is known about the behavior of falling or flying bodies. And mass hysteria is by no means a product of the present century. But--what if these human foibles were deliberately being exploited?
in the classroom, shifting uneasily from one foot to the other, feigning interest in the paperweights upon Clayton's desk, or in the utterly uninspiring scenes on the sidewalk outside the window.
"You say, Corelli, that you saw three--er, Martian--ships. Can you describe them?"
Corelli blinked as he felt the weight of his colleagues' eyes boring into him. "I didn't say they were Martian, sir--only that they seemed to be unearthly. And they were not the conventional saucer-shaped things--they acted like saucers skimming across the water. That's what made me think they were genuine. And they didn't seem to be going fast enough so that I'd expect to hear a roar like a jet-plane.
"It struck me that this might not be the way they fly, naturally, but the way they might fly if the pilots were having trouble adjusting the controls to a heavier atmosphere than they were used to."
Clayton tapped the tabletop with his fingers. "What about you, Marty? Did you see three ships?"
Big Gene Marty, football star, was the least nervous. "Can't be sure about ships, Doc," he
A mass sighting of flying saucers is revealed to be a hoax, then not. How many times does the little boy have to cry, "Wolf!" before the Martians eat him?
A mediocre short story. It isn't offensively bad or anything, just nothing special.