Top 10 Strangest Broadcast Interruptions

Here's a list of the most bizarre and eerie broadcast interruptions in history.
The Top Ten
1 The Max Headroom Incident

What is widely considered the creepiest T.V. hack of all time, this interruption happened twice in Chicago, Illinois in 1987. The first time taking place during the WGN T.V. station. During a sports report about the Chicago Bears, the screen went black for 15 seconds, before showing a person wearing a Max Headroom mask.

Later that same day, WTTW met the same fate. During their broadcast of Doctor Who, the show was interrupted by the same Max Headroom hacker. He began doing all sorts of random acts like holding up a Pepsi can or being spanked by a person in a French maid outfit holding a flyswatter. The hijacking went on for about a minute and a half due to no engineers being on duty during the time of the incident. Once they found out, they quickly got on the case and managed to shut it down. What makes this whole hijacking even more scary is that no one knows who did it.

2 The Wyoming Incident

I'm not sure if it's real or not. But even if it was real, this would be the most messed up (and creepiest) hijack of all time. Not even fake Max Headroom or Vrillon could compare to this.

I remember watching it on YouTube after first hearing it in 2020... I couldn't sleep that night.

This made people vomit and get headaches... Put it on number one.

3 Vrillon on Southern Television

In 1977, the Southern Television broadcast station was interrupted for a total of 6 minutes from someone who claimed to be a representative of an quote-unquote intergalactic association. The station was playing its regular evening news bulletin with host Andrew Gardner reading out the news. Suddenly, Andrew's voice began to distort and a buzzing deep voice began to speak. The speaker called himself Vrillon and warned the viewers of an ominous yet frightening message:

"This is the voice of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command, speaking to you. For many years you have seen us as lights in the skies. We speak to you now in peace and wisdom as we have to your brothers and sisters all over this, your planet Earth."

The message ended with the station's regular broadcasting of a Looney Tunes cartoon. Later that evening, the station apologized for what they described as a breakthrough and sound. None of the staff were aware of their broadcast being hijacked. Families all around South East England were stunned. Many panicked over the idea that aliens were communicating through television. As of now, the message is considered to be a hoax, though the hijacker's identity remains unknown.

4 The Comcast Pornography Incident

In 2007 in Lincroft, New Jersey, a broadcast of the preschool show Handy Mandy had been replaced with hardcore pornography. Comcast vowed to get to the bottom of it and vowed to make sure it will never happen again.

That is until 2009 when a similar interruption happened in Tucson, Arizona during Super Bowl XLIII. This time it was replaced with more soft-core porn.

5 The Frantic Caller From Area 51

In 1997, while the popular talk show Cost to Cost AM was playing, the show's creator and host at the time Art Bell received a call from a man claiming to have worked at Area 51. He spoke in a frenzied voice and seemed quite terrified as he spoke of extradimensional beings and government plots that would have horrific effects on our world. Although this wasn't exactly a hacking like the others on the list, it was incredibly unexpected and caused a strange, unexplained disruption to the transmission. As the caller got more and more upset, the show temporarily went off air. This was caused by a mysterious satellite failure in the transmitter that was carrying the show, leading many to believe the government shut it down to stop him from spilling too much information.

The next year, Art Bell received another call supposedly from the same man claiming that the first call was all a hoax. Well not really. People believed he had been silenced, saying that something just doesn't sound right with the way he's talking. And some say it's not even the same guy. There is a lot of debate surrounding the authenticity of both calls. Some reports suggest the caller is comic book writer Bryan J. L. Glass, although this has never been confirmed.

6 The 2006 Lebanon War

In 2006, Hezbollah soldiers infiltrated Israel and abducted two Israeli soldiers. Their leader would release the prisoners through indirect negotiations and trade, when all the Israelis were against the idea of discussing with terrorists. A war broke out between the two causing them to attack and invade the other. In the midst of the battle, Hezbollah's T.V. station Al-Manar T.V. was hacked by Israel. They broadcasted anti-Hezbollah propaganda, such as showing their leader with crosshairs on his image and three gunshot sounds. A voice then appeared saying "Your day is coming" and shots of the Israeli Air Force destroying targets in Lebanon.

7 The Captain Midnight Incident

In 1986, HBO was airing its regular broadcasts. At about 12:32 a.m., a man named John R. MacDougall, also known as Captain Midnight, transmitted a signal onto the satellite that carried HBO. The message was in protest of their service rates and read:


John MacDougall was an electrical engineer who was outraged at the network for overcharging its satellite customers. A week before the hijacking, MacDougall successfully transmitted a color bar test pattern that overrode HBO's signal. HBO didn't mind too much. It only lasted for a few seconds and was played overnight when very few people were watching. As a result, the Hughes Communication Company threatened to shut down HBO's satellite signal after assuming the hijacking was some kind of terrorist attack.

The FCC announced that the hijacker would face prosecution, and even the FBI was called in to investigate. Nowadays, MacDougall says he has no regrets about what he did, although he does wish his motivations were better understood rather than being interpreted as some sort of terrorist attack.

8 The Zombie Message

In 2013, residents of Montana were startled to find an emergency broadcast reporting which interrupted The Steve Wilkos Show. It was about dead bodies rising from their graves. It said this:

"Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages onscreen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach and apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous."

Later than night, Michigan and New Mexico were met with similar messages warning their viewers of zombie attacks. It was reported that the hacker apparently found a back door to the emergency alert system security which allowed him to display the messages. The hacker was eventually found and arrested.

9 TV Solidarity

Solidarity was a Polish trade union that occurred in the 1980s that advocated for workers rights and social change through means of civil resistance. Workers would go on strike, locking themselves into yards and dispatching emissaries throughout Poland to ask for our support. In 1985, four astronomers at Poland's university of Toruń used a home computer, a synchronizing circuit, and a transmitter to superimpose messages in support of the labor movement. The two slogans read:

"Enough price increases, lies, and repressions. Solidarity Toruń."


"It is our duty to boycott the election."

The four men were caught and charged with possession of an unlicensed radio transmitter and publication of materials that would cause public unrest.

10 Bible Verses On Playboy TV
The Contenders
11 WWF Ronald Reagan 1989 Incident

Been a wrestling fan since about 1986 but have never heard of this and can't find any info online. What happened?

12 Photo Broadcast Incident
13 Mayday

In 2007, an Australian T.V. network had their broadcast interrupted by a chilling message. During their airing of the T.V. show Mayday, an audio loop of a man saying "Jesus Christ help us all Lord" started playing. The audio looped for six minutes. A spokesman for Channel 7 said it was not known how the section of audio came to be aired during the documentary, but denied it being a prank or a security breach. Later investigations revealed the audio was actually from a videotaped news broadcast. It remains unknown whether the invading transmission was due to a glitch or something intentional.

14 The Kaluga Incident

During the 70s and 80s, the USSR was delved with a lot of hijackings due to the absence of any non-government broadcasting. In 1966, residents in the city of Kaluga were listening to the radio, enjoying a lively program of jazz. Suddenly, a voice interrupted the radio broadcast, announcing that the United States fired rockets armed with nuclear warheads towards Soviet cities. Citizens were angered that the alarms was a prank caused by an 18-year-old man. Court officials confiscated the man's transmitter and made him pledge that he would abandon amateur broadcasting.

15 Aged Couple Photo Hijack
16 The Ozark Cable Incident
17 Louie Larry
18 Panorama Explosion
19 WJLA-TV Hijack
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