For most, it was just like any other Saturday afternoon on the 26th November 1977.
Fans were returning from football games or eagerly anticipating the final scores, ABBAs Name of the Game was still riding high on its 4th week at number 1 and the Trade Unions were on strike again, but this time for a worthy cause – Firefighter wages.
Although Dr Who was popular and Star Trek was enjoying a run of repeats on the BBC, the UK had yet to be introduced to Star Wars, which hit the theatres the following month or Close Encounters which arrived a year later.
And when it came to your favourite blogger on the Paranormal, well…I had my own challenges, trying to master crawling and eating solid foods.
As families settled down to watch the ITN news at 5pm, a strange incident happened on ITV South. Andrew Gardner, the seasoned presenter at the time, was updating the latest on violent clashes in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
At precisely 5:10pm, the picture became blurred and fuzzy.
Before the age of digital television, signal problems and occasional interference were commonplace, so although frustrating this wasn’t unexpected, and many put this down to weather or perhaps a bird on the aerial…Although it soon became apparent that this wasn’t a natural phenomenon…
As the picture remained distorted, the sound of the news report dropped faintly into the background as an unsettling hum overpowered it.
…And then a strange but clear voice came through…
“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 done to your brothers and sisters all over this, your planet Earth.
We come to warn you of the destiny of your race and your world so that you may communicate to your fellow beings the course you must take to avoid the disaster which threatens your world, and the beings on our worlds around you.
This is in order that you may share in the great awakening, as the planet passes into the New Age of Aquarius. The New Age can be a time of great peace and evolution for your race, but only if your rulers are made aware of the evil forces that can overshadow their judgments.
Be still now and listen, for your chance may not come again.
All your weapons of evil must be removed. The time for conflict is now past and the race of which you are a part may proceed to the higher stages of its evolution if you show yourselves worthy to do this.
You have but a short time to learn to live together in peace and goodwill. Small groups all over the planet are learning this and exist to pass on the light of the dawning New Age to you all. You are free to accept or reject their teachings, but only those who learn to live in peace will pass to the higher realms of spiritual evolution.
Hear now the voice of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command, speaking to you.
Be aware also that there are many false prophets and guides at present operating on your world. They will suck your energy from you – the energy you call money and will put it to evil ends and give you worthless dross in return. Your inner divine self will protect you from this. You must learn to be sensitive to the voice within that can tell you what is truth, and what is confusion, chaos and untruth. Learn to listen to the voice of truth which is within you and you will lead yourselves onto the path of evolution.
This is our message to our dear friends. We have watched you growing for many years as you too have watched our lights in your skies. You know now that we are here, and that there are more beings on and around your Earth than your scientists admit. We are deeply concerned about you and your path towards the light and will do all we can to help you.
Have no fear, seek only to know yourselves, and live in harmony with the ways of your planet Earth.
We here at the Ashtar Galactic Command thank you for your attention. We are now leaving the planes of your existence. May you be blessed by the supreme love and truth of the cosmos.”
The message ran for a full 6 minutes, the distorted image from the ITV broadcast and still audible sound that played in the background, added an eerie tone to the event - the images of armed conflict from the screen almost in synch with the voice as it spoke of “Weapons of evil” and “ending conflict”. Images from the Looney Tunes cartoon that followed, created a chilling irony to the voice’s warning of false prophets, chaos and untruth in the world.
And then, just as the voice concluded and signed off, all returned to normal.
ITV later apologised for what they called “A breakthrough in sound” and the story made it onto the channel’s own news headlines that evening. The following day, newspapers picked up on what they saw as a War of the Worlds type story, but it was largely laughed off and put down to an elaborate hoax or hack of the channel’s broadcast signal.
A logical assessment of this incident would suggest that this was merely a sophisticated hack into the station’s transmission. However, we need to bear in mind that a technical hack in the 1970s wasn’t an easy thing to do, so the hacker(s) would need a good deal of technical expertise to pull it off. It is also unlikely that a job such as this one, would be the work of just one individual.
As challenging as it was, this isn’t to say that a professional hack is out of the question; the broadcasting system used by ITV South in the 70s was different to most – rather than using a direct landline like most transmitters at the time, it bounced it’s signal to another transmitter on the Isle of Wight before returning. If the hackers had researched this and knew how to intercept the signal, it could be possible for them to latch on from another source for a short period of time.
The knowledge required to do this successfully and at the right time, as well as to know exactly when to sign off before their control is lost, suggests that the hackers would have been in that line of work or even employees of ITV.
Television hacks have been attempted around the world in later years, but the hackers usually claim their work or come forward after the event. As with any act of sabotage, the perpetrator usually has a motive that later becomes clear or yearns the attention and infamy from their work, but to this day, nobody has ever come forward to claim this impressive act?
The voice claimed to be called Vrillon and this was confirmed in the transcript, yet strangely many witnesses reported hearing a different name. Asteron, Gillon and even Bramaha were all reported by various viewers.
The original recording of this incident is very hard to come by on the internet. Most clips out there aren’t actually the real voice, but a re-enactment taken from a paranormal show in the 90s.
Alien abductee George Van Tassel claimed to have met and communicated with an alien race from Venus known as the Ashtar in the early 50s.
Since the 1980s, various people have claimed to channel communication with the Ashtar and their teachings have now gained a cult following.
Ashtar was the name of an ancient Mesopotamian god, linked to… the planet Venus.