Groups reporting to have a direct connection with extraterrestrials have captured the attention of the public and those seeking answers to the mysteries of our universe for years. Long before the development of UFO culture in the 1950’s, there were those who shared stories of direct contact with beings from the stars that had visited them personally. And so when television transmissions in 1977 were suddenly interrupted by a mysterious entity that bore a striking resemblance to one of the beings reportedly making contact, newspapers around the globe paid close attention.
It was a quiet night in 1977 at the Hannington transmitter of the British Broadcasting Authority – the sort of night you don’t expect anything to go wrong. But then suddenly an evening news broadcast was interrupted by a mysterious echoing voice. “This is the voice of Vrillon,” it announced, “Of the Ashtar Galactic Command.” Those sitting at home viewing the broadcast were dumbfounded as it then engaged in an eight minute speech only occasionally interrupted by the signal.
As the voice continued, it became clear that the being had a clear and familiar message to humanity – change your ways or prepare for destruction. As it concluded, broadcasters were left with a mystery on their hands. Who – or what – had tampered with the signal? Who was Vrillon? And what was the Ashtar Galactic Command? Declaring it a hoax, the station informed police who then investigated. The likely cause of the signal was someone overpowering the Hannington transmitter. Vrillon was never found.
But he had made reference to something interesting. It was a subtle callback to the UFO field dating back to July 18, 1952. Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command was building on the UFO mythology described by a medium in the United States by the name of George Van Tassel. Van Tassel described his method of channeling as a process of utilizing superior alien technology in the California desert. Vrillon apparently answered to the same “Ashtar” that had warned Van Tassel of an upcoming hydrogen bomb experiment.
While the experiment came and went without incident, Van Tassel began foretelling the coming of an alien armada which would make themselves publicly known and protect mankind from itself. As time wore on, more predictions came and went without incident. New channelers conveyed messages from Ashtar Galactic Command. And yet the mystery of the Vrillon voice was never solved.
Whoever it was that perpetrated the Vrillon hoax, in the words of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, it would have to be someone with considerable broadcasting know-how.
Perhaps an amateur television broadcasting enthusiast cooked up the signal as a hoax to express their concerns over the out of control nuclear arms race. Maybe it was an experiment to study how people would respond. Or maybe one day we will once again suddenly hear an eerily familiar voice breaking up late night television signals to convey the imminent arrival of a fleet of alien warships.