Max Headroom Television Signal Hijacking- Chicago 1987, Identity still unknown

Discussion in 'Bizarre and Off-Beat News' started by SnowAngels, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. SnowAngels

    SnowAngels New Member

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    This is one of the most fascinating, bizarre unsolved mysteries I've read. On November 22, 1987, a hacker was able to successfully interrupt two television stations within 3 hours: WGN-TV and WTTW (Chicago's PBS station). It was during an 11 pm showing of "Dr. Who" that the hijacker was the most successful. It is considered one of the strangest television pirated incidents and the hacker still remains at large. Although the FBI quickly became involved with the case, the identity of the hacker remains unknown.

    You can watch the hijacking here at [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWdgAMYjYSs&feature=PlayList&p=269C7AF8B02D093B&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=3"]YouTube - Max Headroom WTTW Pirating Incident - 11/22/87 (Subtitled)[/ame] . It's quite creepy.

    Read more about the incident here: http://www.damninteresting.com/remember-remember-the-22nd-of-november

    Wikipedia: [ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom_broadcast_signal_intrusion_incident[/ame]
     
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  3. VespaElf

    VespaElf Little Miss Showcase(runner-up)

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    Wow! That is VERY creepy! What seems very unusual is nobody has ever claimed credit or bragged about it.I know hackers like to "network" with each other & brag about what they do(which is how they get caught) so its weird nobody has ever tried to claim "rights" to this.
     
  4. SnowAngels

    SnowAngels New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, Vespa! I find this so bizarre and creepy as well...and would love to figure out who did this.

    From all the information I've found on the internet regarding this incident, I have discovered some interesting theories regarding the responsible party and potential motives/ psychology behind the incident.

    Responsible parties:

    - In the DI article mentioned above, it was observed that whoever managed to pull this off must have had some awfully sophisticated knowledge about engineering and electronics. According to the article, "WTTW’s uplink antenna was atop the 1,454 foot Sears tower in downtown Chicago, and investigators concluded that the “signal pirate” smothered the legitimate broadcast by sending a more powerful signal to this antenna."

    -This person had to have the means to have access to the equipment needed to disrupt the signal. At the time, the right kind of rig needed in this endeavor could be bought for $25,000. It could be rented for a few thousand dollars.

    -Even though the perp covered his tracks extremely well, and there was no indication, the authorities believe he either transmitted the incident from the rooftop of an adjacent building, or he used a powerful ground-based transmitter.

    - it was speculated "that the piratte operated from somewhere on the
    city's North or Northwest Sides, between the two studios and their downtown
    transmitters. WGN has studios at 2501 W. Bradly Pl. and transmits from the
    top of the John Hancock Center. WTTW's studios are at 5400 N. St. Louis Ave.
    and its transmitter is atop the Sears Tower.
    From http://www.textfiles.com/magazines/TOLMES/tns14


    Motive/Psychology of the incident:

    the DI article points out the following motives:
    -grudge against WGN
    -doing it just because he can
    -bringing the social ideology of the Max Headroom televsion series (yes, there was one) to life

    Possible preprators that have been named in discussion boards, articles, etc.

    -An employee/engineer at WGN who held a grudge against his employer.
    - Jonnathon Brandmeier, a Chicago DJ, has been mentioned on message boards as a possible suspect.

    When I find more, I will add it.
     
  5. Linda7NJ

    Linda7NJ Active Member

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    After 45 years the truth is now revealed- one of the most famous UFO sightings in history was a hoax. The recent confession of an elderly College President -and a newly discovered document- indicate that the 1964 sighting of a landed UFO by Socorro, NM policeman Lonnie Zamora was the result of an elaborate school prank. This incredible story is publicly recounted for the first time ever by individuals who have held the secret of Socorro for decades.

    http://ufocon.blogspot.com/2009/09/socorro-hoax-exposed-famous-1964.html

    I would suspect old Max Headroom signal pirating was something VERY similar and the reason...IMO Just because they could!
     
  6. SnowAngels

    SnowAngels New Member

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    I agree that that could very well be the motive, nothing more, nothing less.

    Now, for the bigger question.....WHO did this???
     
  7. crimesandjustice.com

    crimesandjustice.com New Member

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    Wow. Probably some youngster who laughed for days that they pulled it off
     
  8. RLynne

    RLynne Verified Expert

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    I'd never heard of that...interesting.

    It reminded me of an incident here a few years back--someone was jamming police radio signals, and also adding audio to police broadcasts (specifically, audio clips from porn films). He ended up with a 6 year federal sentence!

    Here's a short article: http://www.techlawjournal.com/topstories/2005/20050418.asp

    And a link to the court of appeals decision affirming the conviction--the facts section is interesting reading: http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/405/405.F3d.492.04-2328.html
     
  9. SnowAngels

    SnowAngels New Member

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    It has been years since I posted this, but my curiosity of who could be behind this never left. And now I think I know who could have done this, after some internet research. If anyone is in interested in the rumor/theory, I can post what I read here. Keep in mind it is heresy, but it was told to a blogger by a friend of the possible perps. It is so detailed, that I think it could be the correct story of how it all went down.
     
  10. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    One of the mysterious wonders of our age, this one. Humming the 'Clutch Cargo' theme, of all things, puts it over the top.
     
  11. Linda7NJ

    Linda7NJ Active Member

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    Please do
     
  12. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    Hear! Hear! I agree.

    If I had to guess, I would say it was someone(s) in the entertainment/media field, where talent can mix with technology - the production side - and where the equipment to do the deed could have been rented (or borrowed) under safe cover. Of course, exactly who that would be, I have no idea.
     
  13. marycarney

    marycarney Inactive

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    Clutch Cargo being a staple of WGN's cartoon lineup. (with his little buddy Spinner and dog Paddlefoot)
     
  14. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    Here's dear ol' Clutch:

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9ExD2DQMes[/ame]
     
  15. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    it's teens or incredibly immature, disturbed adults

    very interesting ... thanks for bumping!
     
  16. Dr.Fessel

    Dr.Fessel New Member

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    I think it was someone from the future.
     
  17. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    Here's a snippet from an interview with Berlin-based New Zealand artist Simon Denny, whose Negative Headroom: The Broadcast Signal Intrusion Incident exhibition (2010) deals with the 1987 incident in Chicago; the interviewer is Matt Sheridan Smith, of the Kaleidoscope blog:

    Of the '87 signal intrusion's format:

    It is eerily contemporary, for something which occurred almost 24 years ago.
     
  18. marycarney

    marycarney Inactive

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    in a Delorean?
     
  19. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    The key "bits" from "Max" seem fallen out of a word salad - and yet, and yet.

    Does the fact that the incident took place on an important and tragic date in American history - 22 November - have meaning? The WGN references are certainly of a piece. "Your love is fading" is, evidently, taken directly from the intro and chorus of (I Know) I'm Losing You (the Temptations [1966], Rare Earth [1970] and Rod Stewart [1971] each did popular versions): "Your love is fading, / I can feel your love fading, / Woman it's fading away from me." Can "my brother is wearing the other one" be a simple stand-alone? I can't find the cultural reference there.
     
  20. marycarney

    marycarney Inactive

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    BTW - WGN stands for World's Greatest Newspaper.
     
  21. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    ....meaning the Chicago Tribune, as both it and WGN share ownership. (Or I guess they still do.)
     

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