Some people in Orange County, California were alarmed when an emergency alert flashed across their television screens on Thursday, and an accompany voice proclaimed that the end of the world is coming.
According to the Orange County Register, television programming was interrupted for about a minute as the ominous message spoke into people’s homes.
Stacy Laflamme was watching the television when the alert began. She recalled being disturbed by it.
“It almost sounded like Hitler talking,” she said. “It sounded like a radio broadcast coming through the television.”
In the alert, a male voice said, “Realize this, extremely violent times will come.”
Another resident in the area, Erin Mireles, told the Orange County Register, “I was definitely startled, ’cause the volume increased exponentially. 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.”
According to CBS Los Angeles, some people have been predicting that a planet might collide with the Earth on Saturday. Scientists have said that won’t happen. There is some suspicion that the voice came from a well-known evangelical pastor who broadcasts at 11 am from an Orange County radio station. The ominous emergency alert blasted onto televisions at the same time of the evangelist’s broadcast.
The strange alert seemed to infiltrate those who were watching television through Cox Communications and through Spectrum TV. Joe Camero, a spokesman for Cox, said Thursday the error was linked back to radio stations that were conducting an emergency test. He said viewers should have received 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.”
Somehow, that broadcast picked up some audio. He said as soon as Cox became aware of the issue, they shut the alert down.
“We don’t want to alarm anyone with any false emergency alerts.”
Both Cox and Spectrum are investigating the alert to see if its audio element was sent out on purpose. As of now, they do not know where the audio came from.
“We have confirmed that we were fed an incorrect audio file,” said Dennis Johnson, a spokesman for Spectrum.