8 Creepiest Broadcasts Ever Caught On Tape –




The air around you is thick with radio waves. Most of them herald nothing more exciting than some idiotic DJ trying to wring an interview out of a sleep-deprived celeb, but some of them are different. Some of them offer a glimpse into an underground world that we have no idea about and some of them are just the stuff of nightmares.

As well as mysterious radio stations broadcasting incomprehensible messages to unknown recipients, there are also a wide range of peculiar, puzzling and downright bizarre snippets out there.

From television hijacks to secret codes to whispers from the past in age-old forgotten recordings, who knew that just a few audio snippets could be so creepy?

Pro-tip: Maybe turn the lights on before proceeding. You know. Just in case.

8. Swedish Rhapsody

Speaking of creepy dystopian visions of the future (oh, we weren’t, well we are now), the Swedish Rhapsody broadcast was a powerful shortwave station that would use a music box version of the piece by the Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén as a kind of spooky ringtone. Transmissions begin with a few bars of the spooky-beyond-all-reason tune, followed by seemingly random sequences of numbers read out by, what else, a creepy little girl.

It is an example of a Numbers Station, thought to be a Cold War era instrument of espionage, these stations are suspected to be a way of communicating with agents in the field. Rather than attempting to hide transmissions from hijackers, they are easily accessible to any fool with a radio, but the contents of the message are seemingly gibberish. The strings of random numbers presumably mean something to the people in the know.

Other examples of number stations include The Lincolnshire Poacher, featuring an electronic woman’s voice and Cherry Ripe, both so called because of the incongruously cheery folk music that accompanies them. Oh, and if you fancy shaking the nightmarish nursery rhymes out of your head before you go to bed tonight, here is the original (much more enjoyable) Swedish Rhapsody as it was supposed to be enjoyed.

7. Backwards Music Station

Word of warning, the Backwards Music Station doesn’t actually play any music, just a terrifying audio hellscape of jumbled frequencies, high pitched whining and startling grinding noises. It is also known as the Whalesong station as some people think it sounds like the haunting melodies of whales (spoiler, it doesn’t).

The signal has been broadcasting intermittently for many years, occasionally firing up for a few rousing choruses of nightmarish whirring before going quiet for months or years at a time. The signal is thought to be coming from two different points, one in the US and one in the UK or mainland Europe. Theories as to what it could be have been flying around for as long as it has, with everything from secret encoded messages hidden in the feedback, to a message from Cthulhu himself.

Another surprisingly reasonable explanation for the BMS is that it is a back-up network for the military, kept in case the usual channels of communication go down or are compromised. They are supposedly fired up every now and again to check that they are still in working order, hence the intermittent bursts of transmission. Whatever it is, it’s definitely not the kind of thing you’d want to hear trickling out of your radio in the middle of the night.

6. Wow! Signal


Back in 1977, Jerry Ehman, an astronomer working at the Big Ear Radio Telescope, was trawling through the piles of data that had been collected. The Big Ear Radio Telescope was tasked with “listening” to the big, empty skies above Earth in the hope of picking up any evidence of extraterrestrials. As Ehman scanned over the pages of 1s, 2s and 3s, an unexpected sequence jumped out at him: 6EQUJ5.

He circled it and wrote “Wow!” in the margin, giving the signal its name. The strong signal appeared to have come from a point within the constellation of Sagittarius, but when the scientists pointed their telescopes back at the same point, it had disappeared, so what could it have possibly been? To be clear, €œ6EQUJ5€ isn’t an alien word for “Take us to your leader”, but a representation of the signal strength. It was, however, smack in the part of the radio spectrum that we would expect aliens to communicate on and lasted for the full 72-second window that the telescope was looking at it, before disappearing, never to be seen again.

Could it be that the aliens had taken a rest from sticking anal probes up humans to try and have a proper conversation, or was it just a bit of passing space junk? Well, just in case it was the former, 35 years after receiving the Wow! signal, humanity replied with a package of messages submitted through Twitter using the hashtag #ChasingUFOs. You know, just in case the aliens are super into social media.

5. UVB-76

Also called “The Buzzer”, UVB-76 is a shortwave radio station that broadcasts a monotonous buzzing tone over the Russian airwaves. It has been broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since 1982 at a rate of around 25 buzztones a minute. The usual programming is occasionally interrupted by mysterious voice messages and even the occasional song.

There are a few people out there who keep a close eye (or ear) on The Buzzer, in the hope of someday understanding its meaning, or perhaps just in case anything kicks off (what’s the Russian for “launch the nukes” again?) These interruptions are extremely rare and the voice messages usually contain a list of names, such as on Christmas Eve, 1997 when this message could be heard: “Ya UVB-76, Ya UVB-76. 180 08 BROMAL 74 27 99 14. Boris, Roman, Olga, Mikhail, Anna, Larisa. 7 4 2 7 9 9 1 4.”

There are plenty of theories as to the actual purpose of the broadcast, and it is almost certainly of military origin, but in the 30-odd years since it began transmission, the true reason has never been confirmed. Given the timing of the Christmas Eve broadcast, perhaps it was a some kind of super sinister version of Santa’s naughty list?

4. Operation Wandering Soul

Most of the transmissions on this list are of unknown origin, but Operation Wandering Soul is a different ball game. There is a traditional belief in Vietnam that the dead must be buried in their homeland, or their spirit will not be able to rest. This superstition was turned to the advantage of the American military in 1970 as a psychological tactic in the Vietnam War.

The recording is made up of a cacophony of ghostly moans, disjointed Vietnamese, eerie screeches and traditional Buddhist funeral music and was blasted over loudspeakers mounted on light aircraft as they flew over remote Vietnamese villages, or from within the jungle itself. The message (in Vietnamese) pleads with the listeners to “go home” to their loved ones while they still have the chance. It says, amongst other (equally creepy) things:

My friends, I come back to let you know that I am dead … I am dead I am in Hell … just Hell It was a senseless death. How senseless … how senseless But when I realized the truth, it was too late … too late

So that’s, you know, terrifying. The hope was that the locals and any lurking Viet Cong would believe that the ungodly sound was caused by the lost soul of a dead Viet Cong member wandering the forests, and would follow the instructions to give up the fight. Either that or cause them to flee and give away their positions. Or just wee their pants where they stood because screw that.

3. Au Clair De La Lune, 1860

It might sound like the ghost of a drowned child, but this remarkable recording is actually the earliest known recording of a human voice. Way back in 1860, ‰douard-Léon Scott de Martinville celebrated his fantastic name by having a little sing song into his newly-patented phonautograph. The phonautograph, however, was not designed to play its recording back.

It simply worked by recording a visual representation of sound by tracing lines onto a revolving cylinder and Scott probably never thought that his 10 second rendition of Au Clair de la Lune would ever be heard. However, on the rediscovery of the record scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were able to recreate the sound they represented digitally, finally releasing Scott’s little ditty from its papery prison a century and a half later.

Granted, it’s pretty difficult to decipher the original audio, but you can always have a listen to this slightly cleaned up version to get a better idea of Scott’s singing. For more whispers from the past, here is a recording of Alexander Graham Bell from 1885.

2. The Sounds Of Saturn

Frankly, if someone asked you to imagine what space sounded like, this is probably a pretty close approximation. So what are these eerie noises picked up by the Cassini space probe? Are they some weird Saturnalian-language radio station? The engine noise of an alien spaceship? Well, they’re actually the audio representation of the intense radio wave emissions, mainly originating from Saturn’s auroras near the poles.

The radio frequencies emitted by Saturn are obviously well above human hearing, so these audio recordings have actually been shifted downwards by a factor of 44, and the original 27 minute recording has been condensed to two minutes. So, whilst it’s still true that in space, no one can hear you scream, they might be able to pick up the radio waves from your body and convert them into a spooky soundscape.

If you feel like jamming out to more of the Music of the Spheres, then check out these latest tunes from Jupiter, Uranus and even a Black Hole.

1. The Max Headroom Incident

Considering Max Headroom was creepy enough on its own, it’s pretty difficult to imagine that it could get any creepier. Well, never underestimate humanity’s capacity for freaky sh*t, because boy did it get a whole load creepier. In 1987, an unknown pirate hijacked the airwaves, interrupting two TV channels, one showing the news and one showing an episode of Doctor Who. The first interruption over the WGN 9 o’clock news consisted of just video with distorted buzzing over the top. The second hijack was accompanied by the ramblings of a madman.

The intruding broadcast shows a person wearing a Max Headroom mask and basically embarking on a 90 second romp through the Twilight Zone. He dances around, uttering phrases like “He’s a frickin’ nerd/liberal” and “ooh, my piles” before singing the theme to Clutch Cargo then bending over to be spanked by an accomplice in a French maid’s outfit. Nobody knows who was behind the incident, or even what the hell any of it means. One reddit user claimed to know who was behind it back in 2010, but those implicated have since been cleared.

The best we can hope is that it was someone’s warped idea of humour as opposed to something with any meaning. The only thing creepier than the footage in itself is the idea that someone out there understood it. Sweet dreams.

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