Did you know that there are many unexplained broadcasts filling the air around you? Some are from space, others from various natural sources. Some of these broadcasts have very clear origins and we know exactly what produces them. However. there are those signals that are eerily untraceable. Where do they come from and what causes them? We simply don’t know. We may have general ideas and theories, but no one has been able to figure out the exact cause of these strange signals. Today we’re going to look at 25 strange unexplained broadcasts that might creep you out.
The Twenty Minute Idler
Transmitting on numerous frequencies, the signal was originally reported by ENIGMA (The European Numbers Information Gathering & Monitoring Association) in 1998. Since then it has changed frequencies numerous times. As you can guess, the signal would broadcast for exactly 20 minutes before stopping. Monitors believe that it is a forgotten relic of the Cold War.
In November of 2016, residents in the far north of Canada began to complain about a loud buzz coming from deep within the Fury and Hecla Strait. Apparently it was disturbing the animals that they relied on for their livelihood. As of now, the Canadian military is investigating the source of this strange signal.
The Backward Music Station (ENIGMA identifier - XM)
To get things cleared up, this broadcast doesn’t actually play backward music. It just sounds crazy and electronic. It has two sources, one in the US and the other in Europe. People have noted that the frequencies are similar to those used by the US Navy, but it should go without saying that nobody has figured it out yet.
This sound was first recorded by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1991. Although its source can be triangulated to roughly 54°S 140°W, this as of yet unidentified noise can be heard throughout the entire Pacific!
The Crackle (ENIGMA identifier - XC)
One of the most mysterious signals on this list, not much is known about it except that it pops up every so often on different frequencies. Interestingly enough, those frequencies are regularly used by the Russian military for morse communication.
This is another underwater signal picked up by NOAA. Although it seems similar to other sounds of volcanic origin, it was only picked up on one hydrophone rather than the three required to triangulate a location. This means that its source remains a mystery.
Faders (ENIGMA identifier - XF)
So called because the signal would fade in and out, it suddenly disappeared in 2001 after nearly 30 years of broadcasting. Its source was at least partially thought to be RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, UK and the signals were possibly part of a NATO secure communications system called LOCE (Linked Operational Intelligence Centres). Some monitors think the communications may have been transferred to satellite.
First off, Max Headroom was a TV character from the 80s with an electronic voice that did Coke ads and even had his own show (basically he was the first AI TV presenter). So on November 22, 1987, somebody broke into the WGN-TV broadcast pretending to be Max Headroom. The crazy part is that in spite of breaking into one of the biggest local broadcasts (WGN), the perpetrator was never caught. Also, the recording didn’t have any audio. It was just subtitles saying things like “I stole CBS!”.
The Buzzer (ENIGMA identifier - S28)
This low quality broadcast has been playing since at least 1982 (it basically sounds like a staticky fog horn). The strange part is that it has only been interrupted three times in the past nearly 40 years. During those interruptions random names are read in Russian.
The first broadcast intrusion happened on November 26, 1977 when a message purporting to coming from outer space was played during a news bulletin on Southern Television in the UK. To this day the perpetrator hasn’t been caught.
The Bloop was a powerful ultra-low frequency underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997. It is possibly the most well known of all the underwater broadcasts in our list. The two primary theories concerning its source have been either a large marine animal or an ice berg scraping the ocean floor. Its source was triangulated to 50°S 100°W, which is a remote area of the ocean between South America and Antarctica.
The Workshop (ENIGMA identifier - XW)
Not heard very often, this strange signal has been reported only a few times. It sounds like a microphone that has been left on in a workshop. Banging, footsteps, and distant Russian voices are audible.
The Echo (ENIGMA identifier - XE)
Consisting of a single bleep every four seconds, this elusive signal could be heard on several frequencies during the 90s. The last reported transmission was in 1999.
In 2007, this animated Disney TV show was interrupted by hardcore porn for viewers in Lincroft, New Jersey. Comcast took a lot of fire for the incident and promised to investigate it. The perpetrator, however, was never found.
The Time Signal (ENIGMA identifier - M21)
It sends a 14 figure CW (continuous wave) signal along with a time stamp every 50 seconds. The stamp is usually +4 hours which is the difference between UTC and Moscow. It has also sent +2, +3, and +8. Monitors believe the signal originates from Russian air defense stations. The time signals possibly refer to the locations (Russia is a big country).
The Slot Machine (ENIGMA identifier - XSL)
A series of beeps that sound very much like a slot machine, this signal is found to be strongest in the Far East. Monitors believe that its source is probably the Japanese navy.
The Mew (ENIGMA identifier - XQ)
An endless mewing sound, this signal was audible 24 hours a day up until the early 2000s.
Super Bowl XLIII
Remember the Handy Manny porn incident? And remember how Comcast never got to the bottom of it? Well in 2009, viewers in Tuscon, Arizona watching Super Bowl XLIII once again found themselves watching hardcore porn in the middle of the game. Comcast once again took fire and once again didn’t manage to catch the culprit.
Wop Wop (ENIGMA identifier - XWP)
It almost sounds like a machine gun firing in slow motion and can be heard quite well in Southern England. Monitors believe the signal is French CODAR (COastal raDAR) which measures the height of waves and other conditions at sea.
Remember that Max Headroom broadcast intrusion? Well shortly after it aired, the perpetrator struck again! This time they hit the PBS show Doctor Who. It was the same broadcast as before, except now it had audio. And still the perpetrator wasn’t caught.
The Pip (ENIGMA identifier - S30)
Like the Buzzer, this signal consists of a staticky beeping sound that is occasionally broken up by a male Russian voice transmitting messages. The signal seems to originate in southern Russia. One sample message is “Dlia 854 032 471 331 629 008 Kak slisnno? Priom”. This translates to “For 854 032 471 331 629 008 How do you read me? Over”.
Hums typically involve widespread reports of a persistent and invasive low frequency humming noise that isn’t audible to all people. They are usually named after the location in which they are heard, the most famous being the Taos Hum of New Mexico. The cause of the hums aren’t known but many theories have been put forth including things like tinnitus or even fish.
Transmitting on various frequencies, notably 4515, 4471, and 5001 kHz, this signal was quite common during the 90s. It’s become more rare these days but some people still report its existence.
The Squeaky Wheel (ENIGMA identifier - S32)
Like The Pip and The Buzzer this signal seems to be a Russian frequency marker that is occasionally interrupted by a male Russian speaker. Perhaps not surprisingly, the signal normally sounds like a squeaky bike being wheeled down the road.
This signal was picked up by the Big Ear telescope at Ohio State University. Coming from an empty portion of space near the Sagittarius constellation, the signal lasted for 72 seconds. It astonished astronomer Jerry R. Ehman so much that he wrote Wow! in the margin and the name stuck. This signal has been one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. Recently, it’s been proposed that the signal came from hydrogen clouds emitted by two comets relatively close to us. However, the scientific community is not entirely convinced and many scientist have raised strong doubts concerning this finding.
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25-19. pixabay (public domain), 18. wikimedia commons (public domain), 17-12. pixabay (public domain), 11. Антон Бородин, P-18 radar in Russia, CC BY-SA 3.0, 10-2. pixabay (public domain), 1. wikimedia commons (public domain)