Archive for the ‘Conspiracy/Hoax’ Category

It’s a famous media broadcast now, it’s also a very gripping thing to listen to as well. The original book is a work by H G Wells that started life as a serialisation by the English author.

The Martians have been plotting an invasion to Earth that’s to their own diminishing resources. In the book the events of the invasion are set in motion in Woking, Surrey but Orson Welles transfers them to America. Wells no doubt picked his location as it was local and he knew how to describe things with familiarity and if you pop over to Woking at any point you can locate a 23 feet high sculpture of a tripod fighting machine, ‘The Martian’ near the local railway station.

I’m not going into the plot, the reviews or such like but it is worthy of note because of films and of course the above-mentioned broadcast. That’s the bit I am going to look at it here for now.

George Orson Welles, 6th May 1915 to 10th October 1985 was involved in the business of entertainment and is famous for the film Citizen Kane, 1941 amongst other things but this is a blog for weird and interesting things, and I’ve picked out the 1938 broadcast of the War of the Worlds which, supposedly, sent thousands of American people into a mass panic about the alien invasions in their home states…

CBS radio invited Orson Welles to create a summer show that would last 13 weeks, the series began 11th July 1938 and the adaptation for H G Wells book aired 30th October 1938. It brought Orson Welles instant fame, the broadcast itself really is worth a listen to and you can sit back and appreciate it yourself if you wish.

There was supposedly a mass panic from people convinced of its validity, that aliens truly landed and it’s this bit I am looking at, were people really panicking so much that they would run from their homes in masses?

1.7 million listened to the broadcast and polls calculated that 1.2 million ‘were excited’ and mostly the reports seem to have been anecdotal. Cantril interviewed 135 people who cited some colourful claims about grabbing guns or packing up in a panic. It would hardly have been unusual for a busy area to have fast moving traffic and other rambunctious behaviours at the time so this was not entirely unexpected. Grovers Mill, New Jersey was not blasted by alien lasers or any such thing but the media took the story of the panic and without looking at data it might even be assumed claims of heart attacks and suicides were another effect but again, there was not noticeable shows in the data to support this. Miller countered Cantril’s claims and just did not seem to match up to the 1 million plus listeners.

American Telephone Company figures suggested a 40% rise in calls, again however, they did not lead to anything specific and it was just a higher record in some parts of New Jersey.

He also mentions that there is a notable other broadcast with the results of frightening some listeners, 31st October 1974 at Rhode Island, and one in Northern Portugal 1988 but they were not reported to on the same level. The same sort of thing appears in a 2010 publication by W Joseph Campbell and, they in turn also look at media myths or fake news and include the press reports of the panic-stricken US citizens.

31st October, 1938 Daily News of New York’s front page encapsulates the news with the title “FAKE RADIO ‘WAR’ STIRS TERROR THROUGH U.S’. The New York Times gave us ‘Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact.’  The Detroit News went with ‘War Skit on Radio Terrifies Nation’ and The Boston Daily Globes ran with ‘RADIO PLAY TERRIFIES NATION’.

But was all of this remotely correct or fake news? Well in short, no, CE Hopper Company did the 2% response to people listening to it because most people were listening to NBC. The poll was conducted for 5000 people, so 100 people of 5000 were listening? Frank Stanton of CBS also said they were never censored for it because most people hadn’t even heard the show.

6 weeks after the broadcast it was admitted to, the figures were largely skewed and descriptions like disturbed or excited were inflated to ‘panic’. It did get enough hype that Adolf Hitler cited the panic as ‘evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy’.

So why?

Well in short radio was being seen as a threat to newspapers, they could use a few isolated cases as a way to make it sounds like these types of shows were an example of this terrible new media being irresponsible and untrustworthy. The Telegraph (UK paper) says that a woman tried to sue CBS for $50,000 thank to nervous shock but it was dismissed and a man tried to claim for shows as he’d spent that money on a train ticket, Welles was said to have paid for those.

There was indeed action taken that night, the police came to the station and one minute from the end of the show they were trying to shut it down. It played out and as a result Paul White, the head of CBS News, was summoned over. Welles found out later and was convinced it would end his career, but it didn’t.

Some listeners had turned in part way through and this seems to be where the reports started. Again, though it was very much a case of over-exaggeration and it does also seem that the repeated broadcasts about it being fictional could have fallen to few ears, a case of a small audience from the previous show affecting it too.

Let’s also put this into context, at the time a German Invasion was a possibility, rumblings of the inevitable war were a reality and was it so hard to imagine those who were affected and lured in part way through might have thought it was something to do with that?

Hadley Cantril calculated a 6 million strong audience, but it was then 1.7 million later on and yet this calculation seems flawed. He had doubled the usual audience and had tried to work on the idea not ever listener had a phone too. He summarised many reactions into panicked and yet quite a number had thought it was more of a prank than a reality.

No admissions for shock were made at Newark Hospital at that time, and there were no spikes in admission at New York either. Washington Post claimed a man died from a heart attack but the claim was not verified and Snopes also places this as mostly false.

So here is my summary – firstly its put Grovers Mill on the map for tourists like me who enjoy a bit of quirky history, radio hasn’t been stopped by the papers and vice-versa. I am quite sure we can safely say the average U.S citizen would have noticed laser space blasting Martians at the time and I, for one, love the broadcast. Thank you, H G Wells and Orson Welles, you gave me a great piece of history to look back on (and no I don’t rate the latest War of the Worlds film if you were wondering.)


Robert E Bartholomew, Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics



Google Books

Project Gutenburg


It is labelled as one of the most haunted places in South Korea, but the background may have more sadness to them over the stories of the paranormal. It, like many, carries the stories about doctors as mad as their patients. Supposedly a spate of mysterious deaths contributed to the closure of the institute.

The hospital has really been a victim of ‘fakelore’ which hasn’t done the local area any favours either. It is closed to the public and suffers from people breaking in due to vandalism.

The hospital was closed down mainly due to increased cost and demand on economical levels. Lack of money no doubt led to unsanitary conditions and there was a problem with the sewage disposal unit. The owner then went off the United States and left without doing any paperwork.

The Korean lack of money outside of the larger area often means that buildings are left abandoned. The run down areas and ghost stories then become a detriment to the area as they put off anyone new moving in.

It also promotes criminals to use these places as hideouts, and an example – whilst not Gonjiam – is from 2010 when Kim Gil-Tae killed a 13 year-old and hid out in an abandoned house in Pusan to avoid the police. It is not always just about ghost stories and ghost hunting, there are other issues that should be taken into consideration, especially when they seem made-up to the detriment of those around them.

A beautiful shot here!

Gonjiam Mental Hospital 곤지암 정신병원

So its that time! Time to look at communication, specifically an old over-the-horizon radar system called the Duga from the former Soviet Union (Russia/Ukraine for the purposes of this article.) Over The Horizon (OTH) or Beyond The Horizon (BTH) are radar systems for long range use. Most were used in the 1950’s and 1960’s because they were early warning systems, just think about the Cold War and the idea of it being a necessity; the ones I am looking at here are the Duga system but they were used all over the world and still are, if modern reports online are correct. I am no expert so correct me where you can if I get things wrong.

The system operated from July 1976 up until December 1989, there were two deployed in Chernobyl and Chernihiv. Chernobyl is in the Ukraine and Chernihiv is Siberian. They were powerful and appeared without warning, sounding like a repetitive tapping on 10Hz, they became nicknamed by the listeners as the Russian Woodpecker.

They seemed to pop up pretty randomly and could interrupt legitimate broadcasting and all variations of stations. Complaints were sent in about them but I can’t imagine it being easy to prevent them. Some of the radio and television users began including blockers in the circuit to try and filter out interruption.

The first type of Duga was built in the Ukraine and did successfully detect rocket launchers from 2,500 kilometres. With its success they worked on the larger project. The first signal was picked up in 1976 and amatuer radio users gave it the name woodpecker, some people had reported it as early as 1963. Regardless of the date the Russian Woodpecker was traced back to the Soviet Union. The sources were found in Kiev, Minsk, Chernobyl, Gomel and Chernihiv but eventually narrowed down through speculation has been made that there was more than one transmitter. Wireless World, 1977 muses that along with the OTH system the Russians might be trying to utilise radar returns or another source that worked along side it, or around two or more spots.

I wondered if this was plausible or were we just putting more technical knowledge to that in retrospect or are we accepting that NATO might not have been entirely accurate? The NATO name for DUGA-1 is quoted as STEEL YARD, some sources also use STEELWORK. It is officially recorded name may well be different but not disclosed for security purposes.

Some points of interest are that they realised when listening that it was not used as a form of jamming because Moscow and pro-Soviet Stations were also caught by it, so it couldn’t be reliable enough for that. The signal used three repetition rates of 10Hz, 16Hz and 20Hz, but the most common was 10. They used a fairly wide bandwidth, usually 40Khz.

An attempt to stop the signals causing interruptions came along, one of the ways was tor try and use signals at the same pulsing rate, people formed a club called The Russian Woodpecker Hunting Club. The transmissions slowed down in the 1980’s by 1989 they had disappeared. This slow down and eventual end does coincide with the Cold War closing down, the official end being 8th December 1971 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Another factor in the close would be a further advancement in early warning systems, satellite systems are far more advanced and less likely to be affected by adverse weather.

The original Duga system was experimental and it lies outside of the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. It was restored in 2002 after it was badly damaged by fire. As of October 2013 there is a possibility to visit the Ukrainian site via tour operators for Chernobyl who know how to get the correct paperwork.

For those who like modern reference here are some ways the Duga has been imported into modern media.

If, like me, you enjoy games like Metro Last Light or S.T.A.L.K.E.R then you may already know this… Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is a heavy feature in S.T.A.L.K.E.R and specifically around the nuclear accident. The Duga array is in Clear Sky after the main campaign game. It is in the fictional city of Limansk-13 you can see it and visit it in game. The ‘Brain Scorcher’, a military installation, is inspired by the idea that Duga-1 was used for mind-control.

Call of Duty:Black Ops the map ‘Grid’ is placed in Pripyat and the array can be seen in game there too.

A documentary by Chad Garcia looks into the Chernobyl disaster and the potential links to the structure. The documentary interviews people directly involved in the building and operation of the installation.

Alright so this is off my usual planned topic but seems to be of local interest so here we are..

There have been several of the “sky trumpets” phenomenon reported world wide, the main bulk of this started around 2012 when there was a sense of apocalypse mania in some movements. The first one seems to have come from Kiev but this has continued to crop up, hoaxed or otherwise, on a semi-irregular basis. So today I spotted a few articles trending and thought it was worth a note or two.

To me they are often explainable, I have even experienced one set first hand but to be honest at 4am and not having thought to grab a phone it is entirely anecdotal but we worked out the source. I will first explain my experience, then I will go into the rest from there. Indulge me!

It was around a year before the internet started reporting those sky trumpets/odd noises and we were happily laying in bed. We didn’t really think about it in terms of aliens or anything biblical, we just woke up and it was VERY annoying. The room was floodlit and yet the only thing opposite is was another home and a pallid yellow street-light. We got up and headed outside having flung on some clothes, we looked around. Our street was nothing spectacular but at the end of it was a train track.

Many people who stumble across this post may relate to this, after a while you forget trains are there, the noise becomes nothing of note and you don’t even notice them. The train was huge! It was so loud and the lights were so bright it took a moment to register. We headed to bed and 15 minutes later all was well.

There are deliberate attempts to fake the noises that people talk about but there are also situations where the location of the noise is not apparent.

The BBC link an article here –

The Express go for a far more sensational approach

So what exactly is going on? Well to be honest… I doubt a lot. Nottingham has a lot of industry, commerce and not that far away an airport. Some comments online suggest it could be a local power plant and some the Boots factory (Boots are a large chemist company) might have been the cause. I really love a good story but detest the overly sensationalised hype that these tabloids throw out. There’s no need. Genuinely interested people will read a more reputable source.

I hope you enjoy the article and my little story but I don’t think I will be waiting for the Rapture, I’ll be sat here feeling sorry for hard working factory people in the current heat!

For the original up-loaders file click here  it will open in another window.

WKCR Hijacking is one of those incidents described as a Broadcast Signal Intrusion, like the Max Headroom Incident (I covered this in my June 2014 blog) and it seems unconfirmed but the story interested me. So here goes:

It was originally posted on 4chan where the original poster says that they came across an old recording made in 1994/1995 and that they never thought about copying it, then they found it again and decided to upload it digitally. The uploader says that it was from WKCR 89.9, among the posts there is the usual insults and trolling but there are other comments.

From the post I found myself listening to the upload, it is discordant and overlapping with various sounds. All together when combined the effect is pretty creepy and well not entirely pleasant on the ears, if like me you find high pitched squealing noises hard work on the ears.

So off I went to the internet having listening a few times, and here’s a summary of what I think are the best points.

Reddit – WKCR FM Columbia, New York is a college radio station, generally the idea behind this is that many think it was an arts project. It seems a worthy consideration and given their listings on the website, sounds quite fair.

It was compared to some other experimental artists and many comment that it does not feel like it was an old tape and converted over, purely down to the high quality of it. Some think it would be a little about how clean it was that made it a spurious claim and others countered this saying that you can clean tapes up to very good quality these days.

A comment I saw mentioned that a date in the audio was 1998. I listened to it quite a lot and did not manage to pick that out. Can you tell me if you do and where?

Some people think it might be an attempt at replicating artists like Diamanda Galás, she centered on things like AIDS, mental illness and despair as examples. I compared them, I thought she was interesting but this does not sound like something copying her work.

This is what I could make out – add corrections if you can. I have placed them in date order…

February 1985 – Frank Oppenheimer, brother of Robert. Husband of Jackie, their father of Micheal, our friend.

August 22nd 1985 [incoherent] Tulio. Sister of Millie, Margaret, Dominic and joe. Wife of William. Mother of Mary, Lisa and Billy.

July 4th 1987 Peter Dunwell, Son of Robert, Husband of Lisa

March 17th 1988, Edward McEllis (McNellis?) [Incoherent] Edward’s brother. William, June, Peggy father of Julie, Heart Attack.

April 1988 Rupert [incoherent]

October 1988 Morgan (Tunic?) father of Barbara, Husband of Elsie. Barbara’s dad. Kidney failure.

November 1988 John Byrne (Burn?) Son of John, brother of Catherine and Chris.

December 21st 1988 Barry Valentino, son of Barry Senior, brother of Scott, Mark and Lisa. And his friend, my friend.

May 1987 Henrietta Graham, Mother of [incoherent] my friend.

So is there any relevance? Well 22nd August 1985 was the date of an airways disaster. British Airtours Flight 28m. In total 55 people died as a result but I couldn’t find anything that listed those names and I think I would need the name of the diseased, I could not make that out.

I would also like to clarify that Frank Oppenheimer was not part of the Manhattan project as some of the sources suggest. Robert is mentioned but they are reading out the details about Frank, Frank died 3rd February 1985 and died at home, not as a result of a plane accident, so there is no link there.

Barry Valentino is listed and appears to be a victim of the Pan AM Flight 103, Lockerbie. There is a plane involved in this one.

So is it a creepy art project and a false claim of broadcast intrusion? At the moment I have to say yes, there is nothing specific enough here and I don’t really recognise what message they are trying to portray within the recording.

I am standing ready to be corrected.