Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion

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The other-worldly writer with decided quirkiness. Never writes anything from her experience. Loves to have extended use of hyperboles. Hates phoniness.

If anyone asks me what the creepiest and eeriest thing I’ve ever seen is, I’d say that it was the Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion without a second thought. This is not something that happened in a movie or a TV series but something that happened in real life.

For those who don’t know, the Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion is a television hijack that took place in Chicago, Illinois, on November 22, 1987. This is a classic example of what is called in the TV biz as a broadcast signal intrusion. Who hijacked? Nobody knows. The mystery man was successful in disrupting two television stations within three hours! One smart guy, he is. Why is the hijack called “ Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion“? Max Headroom is a fictional character. He is a British Artificial Intelligence.


The first interruption occurred during the independence station WGN-TV, a live telecast of news primetime newscast, The Nine’o’ clock News. After the sports report, the screen went completely blank for a total of 15 seconds. The next thing you see on screen is a person wearing a Max Headroom mask along with a pair of sunglasses. He was standing in front of a moving metal sheet, almost like the Max Headroom TV’s background effect.

Fortunately, they terminated the intrusion soon after engineers switched the frequency of their studio link to the John Hancock Center Transmitter. The hijack happened again that night during a broadcast of Doctor Who. The same person hijacked the signal. He seemed to be blabbering something. He was laughing and screaming. He went on to say random unrelated things. This mystery man then uttered New Cokes’ advertising slogan “Catch the Wave.” Then he gets up close to the camera, screams, and moans.

This is one weird man. Making him even weirder, the next thing he says is, “Your love is fading.”He then hums a tune. Moving further, he says, “Oh, I just made a giant masterpiece for all of the greatest world newspaper nerds.”

Our mystery man decided to portray his “weirdness” even more, with his buttocks exposed, and then started to yell, “they’re coming to get me.”

Beware, the following sentence contains things that might make you want to say,” I can’t even.”

Another person clad in a French maid outfit says to him, “Bend over, bitch”. Then this person starts to spank him with a flyswatter. (Flyswatter. Really? For real? ). Our mystery man with his buttocks exposed starts to scream. Ugh. People.

The screen then went blank for some seconds, and later everything returned to normal.

This mystery man of ours, except for some theories, remains unknown to us to date. However, let’s take a minute to appreciate all the risks he took to bring his relevant messages, such as “catch the wave” and “your love is fading” to the world. No other hijack of the kind has happened again since. Investigators failed to find who our mystery man was or why he did this. His mysteriousness has stirred enough curiosity in all of us, and for now, that’s what matters.

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