Some Orange County residents were stunned Thursday, Sept. 21, when television programming was suddenly interrupted for about a minute with an ominous message predicting the end of the world.
Stacy Laflamme of Lake Forest said she was watching the HGTV channel via Cox Communications about 11:05 a.m. when suddenly an emergency alert flashed across her screen followed by a voice.
“Realize this, extremely violent times will come,” a man’s voice boomed, according to a video of the alert.
Laflamme said she was alarmed.
“It almost sounded like Hitler talking,” she said. “It sounded like a radio broadcast coming through the television.”
In addition to Cox, Spectrum cable customers in Orange County received the alert.
Erin Mireles of Diamond Bar was watching the Bravo channel on Spectrum’s cable system when her show was interrupted by the alert.
“I was definitely startled, ’cause the volume increased exponentially,” she said. “I wasn’t alarmed in the sense of thinking something was wrong, ’cause I assumed it was some sort of hack. My channel changed back to Bravo after a couple minutes.”
The mysterious alert became a hot topic on social media.
The problem occurred because of one or more radio stations conducting an emergency test, Joe Camero, a spokesman for Cox, said Thursday.
Cable systems pick up such alerts, and viewers should have seen just a typical emergency-broadcast test.
“With these tests, an emergency tone is sent out to initiate the test,” Camero said. “After the tone is transmitted, another tone is sent to end the message. It appears that the radio station (or stations) did not transmit the end tone to complete the test.”
Then the broadcast picked up some audio feed that bled into the alert.
Camero said Cox technicians shut down the emergency test as soon as they became aware of the problem.
“We don’t want to alarm anyone with any false emergency alerts,” he said.
Cox and Spectrum are investigating who sent out the alert and whether it was done accidentally or on purpose. It was unclear where the audio came from.
“We have confirmed that we were fed an incorrect audio file,” said Dennis Johnson, a spokesman for Spectrum.
It hasn’t been determined if the audio in the alert is related to a prophecy by David Meade, a self-described “specialist in research and investigations” who believes catastrophic events will occur Saturday.
He predicts a constellation – a sign prophesied in the Book of Revelation – will reveal itself in the skies over Jerusalem, signaling the beginning of the end of the world, according to the Washington Post.