Remember When Someone in A Creepy Mask Hacked into Illinois TV Stations?
Ever heard of Max Headroom? I hadn't until I came across a bizarre incident that happened in Chicago in the late 1980s.
I didn't see this in real-time to my knowledge and even I did I was 4-year-old but just the image alone makes me uncomfortable. The same goes for this music video from the band Genesis, which gave me nightmares as a young child.
What can be confirmed are two instances when someone (people?) finagled their way into two different television channels in Chicago on the same night. essentially highjacked the stations for a short amount of time.
The first and brief interference happened shortly after a Chicago Bears game on November 22, 1987, and, according to reports, it happened later the same night during a broadcast of Doctor Who on WTTW.
Suddenly the screen goes black and then a man appears, wearing a Max Headroom mask and sunglasses. He shuffles around on screen before the frequency is quickly changed.
The 2nd attempt was longer in length, at almost 90 seconds.
It's just as hard to make out the audio now as it was back in '87.
The easiest audio to decipher includes the individual mentioning the current radio play-by-play voice of the Chicago Bulls, Chuck Swirsky, saying he's better than Chuck and then calling him a "freaking liberal."
He appears to be throwing a pop can and also opening a brown bag.
You can also make out "catch the wave" and "they're coming to get me."
Towards the end of this bizarre unsolved mystery, the individual appears to remove the mask off-screen and get spanked by someone.
After 34 years and 2 months later there are still no answers to the who and how. For a while there were theories circulating on Reddit as well as someone claiming to know exactly who (two men) were involved.
The person who said they knew who it was, but wouldn't confirm, redacted their accusations in a follow-up Reddit post.
An inside job? Was it staged?
It is hard to believe someone could essentially hack into a television signal with 1987 technology. 2022 technology, maybe, but not late-80s.
Could it have been someone with television broadcasting access? Could it have been a stunt? We may never get a definitive answer.