Category Archives: tv hijacking

Another TV Hijacking!! November 22nd, 1987


Talking of TV Hijacking, which I did a couple of posts back, led me to doing a bit more research on this subject. There’s not a huge amount on the subject, because there haven’t been that many ‘hijacks’ (in the sense that the signal has been taken and used for subversive purposes – see my earlier post about ‘Vrillion’). I did, however, come across this incident in late 1987 on American TV. The Wiki entry summarises the incident neatly;

“The Max Headroom pirating incident was a television signal hijacking in Chicago, Illinois on the evening of November 22, 1987; it is an example of what is known in the television business as broadcast signal intrusion. The hijacker was successful in interrupting two television stations within 3 hours; and, as of 2007, neither he nor his accomplices have been found or even identified.”

taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom_pirating_incident

The hijack occured on 2 seperate occasions that night on 2 seperate channels – one interruption during a sports bulletin, the second during a showing of the Dr Who episode ‘Horror Of Fang Rock’ (here’s a news bulletin on the incident);

Damn Interestings take on the hijack
An Article on the Incident
Transcript of an email from 1987 where the issue is discussed
TNS article part I
TNS article part II

Finally, theres a couple of other places you can see this;

Labyrinth 13 report

The Hijack footage on Vimeo

A different kind of newsflash from the Seventies…. (1977)

A few months ago I discussed my childhood terror of ITN newsflashes and serial killers. All I can say is, I am glad I wasnt a 7 year old home alone (and I would like to stress no 7 year old should be left home alone) when this happened.

OH. MY. GOD.

On the evening of November the 26th, 1977, the ITN news broadcast was interrupted at 17:10 – although the video remained the same, the audio signal was hijacked by an alien!

The voice proclaimed to be ‘Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command’, and had a message for Earth, warning of total destruciton if Humans carried on their present path.

This is from the esteemed ‘Fortean Times’ article on the event (courtesy of http://www.strangeattractor.co.uk/further/?p=522

And this from Fortean Times #24, Winter 1977

“Mention must be made here of an event that startled several thousands of TV watchers in Southern England. At 5.06pm, just as the news was being read on Saturday evening, 26 November 1977, a deep voice, accomapnied by an eerie booming sound likened to a “hollow drumming”, drowned out the newscaster’s voice and delivered a short message…

This is the voice of Asteron. I am an authorised representative of the Intergalactic Mission, and I have a message for planet Earth. We are beginning to enter the period of Aquarius and there are many corrections which have to be made by Earth People. All your weapons of evil must be destroyed. You have only a short time to live to learn to live together in peace. You must live in peace… or leave the galaxy.

Somehow the originators of the message had jammed the sound signals frmo Southern TV’s transmitter at Hannington, Wiltshire, so viewers from Newbury and Reading to Winchester and Andover heard the weird voice superimposed over the ITN news bulletin. It caused sufficent panic for SOuthern TV to put half-hourly announcements insisting that it had been a hoax and that the planet was not being invaded. Predictably the IBA and Post Office took a rigid humourless stand, vowing prosecution of the culprits… and if the planet had been invaded we’d like to have seen them try!

Whoever did the deed knew their stuff, for the android (as one Post Office representative persisted in calling the mystery voice) needed sophisticated equipment or techniques to break into and dominate a TV transmission. One perceptive letter in the Times pointed out that if this was the first time this had ever happened in Britain, as the IBA claimed, then how could they be sure it was a hoax? Inexplicably the News of the World and Daily Mail call the owner of the voice ‘Gillon of the Ashdown Galactic Command’ and that he said “Unless the weapons of Earth are laid dow, destruction from outer space invasion will quickly follow”. We hope their regular news reportage is more accurate than that, for the indication is that they’ve simply invented a more shocking message. The Sunday Times claimed to have tracked down a student group who invented a new type of transmistter (for £80) which can ‘hich a ride’ on conventional transmissions. But again, how can they be sure that this isn’t a bandwagon hoax?

Incidentally, we’re sure you noticed that the ‘entity’ and message closely conform to the messages given to UFO prophets, psychic sitting groups and contactees (see UFOs:John Keel’s Operation Trojan Horse and Clark & Coleman’s The Unidentified for discussions of names and messages from UFOs). Whoever perpetrated the hoax had done his homework; especially if he was a terrestrial. Of course the massive TV publicity of the imminent Star Wars must have reinforced its effect for those ripe for the salvation-from-the-stars belief. One professor (quoted in the Carlisle, Penn Evening Standard 3 Dec 1977) said that the reference to Aquarius proved the message was a hoax… he reasoned that as the most intelligent body on Earth, the scientists, do not believe in astrology, then ipso facto intelligent life elsewhere would not believe in it either.”

Enough of the words, lets hear the transmission! This is courtesy of Labyrinth 13;

http://labyrinth13.com

and hosted on vimeo (http;//www.vimeo.com). Nice use of the theremin on the introductory test….

Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command Incident from Labyrinth13 on Vimeo.

Ashtar Command it is claimed, are an extraterrestrial organization associated with and promoted by New Age believers and contactees, including George Van Tassel and others (see the Wikipedia entry);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtar_Galactic_Command

Whoever or whatever hijacked the broadcast, it is certainly effective. I will change my ways forthwith!!

Some thoughts on the Vrillon broadcast on a Hoax forum (if you don’t want to ruin the magic, don’t read it!);

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/forum/forum_comments/2024/

It even makes it into this sites televisual events of the year, 1977 (and rightly so);

http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/1977-in-television/events.html

There is a very good article on TV hijackings at the splendid trandiffusion.org site, including the Vrillon ITN hijack;

http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/geohistory/hijack.php