45 years ago on November 26th, viewers in the south of England who tuned in to ITV for the evening news were unexpectedly greeted by a different kind of broadcast altogether. At 5:12 p.m. , the visuals on the screen became distorted, and an eerie, otherworldly voice took over.
“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.”
For over five minutes, this voice carried on with a message similar to those reported by many of the alleged contactees up to that point; warnings of disaster that can be avoided by humanity changing its ways, and that embracing peace above all else as a means of entering a New Age of Aquarius. The intrusion ended with the voice thanking everyone for their attention, and proclaiming that Ashtar Galactic Command was leaving our plane of existence. “May you be blessed by the supreme love and truth of the Cosmos.” And, with that, the ITV broadcast resumed. Bugs Bunny became visible on the screen, as the 1943 cartoon “Falling Hare” began.
During the broadcast intrusion irate viewers were calling the television station to complain, and oddly, the station had no idea the broadcast had been interrupted. The stations were unable to recover the airwaves until after Vrillon was finished. Very quickly thereafter, the news reported that pranksters had overpowered the main transmitter. This hoax, they claimed, was perpetuated by some college kids with radio equipment. No suspects in the hoax have ever been named, and in the past four-and-a-half decades no one has come forward claiming credit.
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Although still unsolved, the event is almost universally considered a hoax. Even the prominent representatives of the Space People in England, the Aetherius Society, gave confirmation of the terrestrial prankster explanation. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting and amusing event in the history of ufology- and the very absurdity of it could be seen as evidence of the Phenomena, as it were, having a little fun with us.
Much about it has been debated over the years; some have suggested that the name “Vrillon” was actually “Vorilhon”, the name of the founder and leader of the Raëlian UFO religion. This would imply that the Raëlians were behind it. Due to the poor quality of the audio, the name has also been variously recorded as Gillon, Asteron, Gahama, and Brahama. Ashtar, and Ashtar Command, already had a storied history in UFO lore at that point- beginning with George Van Tassel at Giant Rock in 1952, Ashtar had been channeled or contacted by others such as Reverend Bob Short and Trevor James Constable, and would continue with Tuella and on to the present day. Devotees of Ashtar can be found all over the internet even now.
Regardless of the source of the broadcast hijacking, it remains an uncanny and intriguing curiosity. Like something from a science fiction movie or TV show, the seemingly uncanny breaking through the banality of a Saturday evening news program is as titillating now as it was in 1977. These things happen when you least expect them…