Click here to support the Daily Grail for as little as $US1 per month on Patreon

The voice of Vrillon: that time an extraterrestrial message interrupted British TV

Southern Television was an English regional station, broadcasting to an area bordered by Weymouth in the west, Newbury in the north, and Brighton in the east. On Saturday the 26th of November 1977, at eleven minutes past five in the afternoon, news anchor Andrew Gardner was relating the headlines when viewers of the Southern Television broadcast noticed something strange. His image wavering, Gardner’s sober tones were replaced with a gargling, unearthly voice, which began to relate the following message:

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. We speak to you now in peace and wisdom as we have done to your brothers and sisters all over this, your planet Earth. We come to warn you of the destiny of your race so that you may communicate to your fellow beings the course you must take to avoid the disaster which threatens your world, and the beings on our worlds around you.

This is in order that you may share in the great awakening, as the planet passes into the New Age of Aquarius.

The Age of Aquarius refers to the heyday of the New Age and counter-cultural movements of the 1960s. Astronomically, the phrase is scientifically meaningless, the Age of Aquarius being a purely astrological idea. If the voice of Vrillon was that of an extra-terrestrial, it does seem strange for them to reference such an unscientific, earthly concept.

Vrillon continued:

All your weapons of evil must be removed. The time for conflict is now past and the race of which you are a part may proceed to the higher stages of its evolution if you show yourselves worthy to do this.

This warning would have been particularly relevant to a certain section of Southern TV’s audience. Superimposed over a flickering yet oblivious Andrew Gardner, Vrillon’s voice was broadcast to Aldermaston, Berkshire – home to the headquarters of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. Demonstrations against nuclear conflict took Aldermaston’s name, to protest the research and testing of atomic weapons on the site. The Aldermaston Marches were organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and occurred annually from the late 1950s onwards. During the 1960s, tens of thousands of protestors participated, but by Vrillon’s broadcast in 1977, numbers had dwindled to mere hundreds. Other AWRE sites in West Berkshire and Reading also fell within Southern Television’s broadcast area. Many viewers would, therefore, have understood what these “weapons of evil” were all too well – and may even have campaigned against the weapons themselves.

This article is excerpted from the wonderful book Fascinating Folklore by John Reppion and PJ Holden – grab a copy from Amazon US/Amazon UK or direct from the Liminal 11 webstore.

Vrillon went on to warn of false prophets who “suck the energy you call money and will put it to evil ends and give you worthless dross in return.” Clearly then, the Ashtar Galactic Command was not only keen on horoscopes and nuclear disarmament but was also anti-capitalist. After reassuring viewers that the Ashtar Galactic Command would do all it could to help guide humankind onto its “path of evolution,” Vrillon signed off, saying:

May you be blessed by the supreme love and truth of the cosmos.

Operating in the pre-digital era, Southern Television used a series of masts to receive signals (via UHF and VHF radio waves) before relaying them on. It has been hypothesized that someone was able to place a transmitter within range of one of these masts, broadcasting audio which was then relayed by Southern Television’s own technology. Homemade radio transmitters were already used by so-called “pirate radio” (illegal broadcasts). Pirate radio had enjoyed huge success during the 1960s in the UK but, thanks to new laws introduced at the end of the decade, pirate broadcasts were transformed into something much more guerilla, DIY, and subversive.

The source of Vrillon’s voice has never been determined and no one (terrestrial or otherwise) has ever come forward to claim responsibility. But whoever broadcast the signal chose their time wisely: by interrupting the local news on Saturday afternoon, the voice of Vrillon was heard by as many people as possible. Sadly, however, their message of intergalactic peace and love did not have quite the history-altering impact they seem to have intended.

Excerpted from Fascinating Folklore by John Reppion and PJ Holden – grab a copy from Amazon US/Amazon UK or direct from the Liminal 11 webstore.

Mobile menu - fractal