Here are tomorrow's victims

Have you ever slept while watching television only to wake up to find static being broadcasted?

At least once, we all have experienced that which is relatively common for television programs from the 80s to the late 2000s. This concerns an urban legend experienced by many individuals in Japan, especially in the 1980s.

In Japanese urban legend, the NNN Special Broadcast refers to a late-night television program. During a late-night viewing, a man turned on his television and found nothing but static. This is common, especially in Japan where programming on television does on go for twenty-four hours. On the screen, colored bars appeared suddenly. A factory image is then followed by a scrolling list of names. This is accompanied by somber classical music. A few minutes passed before the text ended, saying something like, "This is for the future" or "These are tomorrow's victims." It would abruptly end, and static would resume.

The first mention of this broadcast appeared on the Japanese bulletin board called 2Chan. The writer published the post on the 26th of November 2000, stating that about fifteen years ago he witnessed this occurrence around two-thirty in the morning. However, the writer could not determine what he had watched back then possibly due to bad memory but remarked that he would forever be frightened by late-night broadcasts. Shortly after the publication of the post, the special broadcast took the internet by storm.

Who is behind the broadcast? The accompanying title to the midnight program reads “NNN Special Broadcast” which the NNN stands for Nippon News Network. That is a real television network that began in April 1966. The network distributes national television news bulletins to its regional affiliates, as well as exchanges news between them. They do present special broadcasts usually during an emergency or important incidents such as an upcoming election, a typhoon, or an earthquake warning. These special broadcasts do appear at any time of the day independent of the television network's schedule.

Is there a logical explanation for this tale? Technically yes. Although we may never know if this broadcast is true unless the network company claims this unrecorded incident, there are times when the news networks have been hijacked by an outsider. Through a broadcast signal intrusion, radio, television, cable television, or satellite broadcast signals are hijacked without permission or license. Cable and national networks have been hijacked as well as local TV and radio stations. Although television, cable, satellite, and radio station intrusions receive more media attention, radio station intrusions are more frequent, since some simply rebroadcast another station's signal. An FM transmitter is all that is needed to broadcast the station on the same frequency. In addition to breaking into transmitter areas and splicing audio directly into the feed, other methods have been used in North America to intrude on legal broadcasts. One famous incident would be the Max Headroom signal hijacking which occurred on the night of November 22nd, 1987. Two broadcasting stations were hijacked and a video of an unidentified person wearing a Max Headroom mask and costume was presented instead. The culprit behind this hijacking has never been positively identified even after decades of speculation and an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission.

It could be possible that what happened in the United States occurred in Japan as well. A simple broadcast intrusion in the middle of the night. Unlike the Max Headroom incident, which was covered by newspapers all over America, the NNN special broadcast was not reported by tabloids in Japan possibly due to it occurring at night and the lack of viewership and supporting evidence. Despite the online accounts made by many, the internet community could only take the word of these few. Who knows if it really is true or simply a hoax created at the boom of Japanese creepy pastas on the internet? Indeed, the concept itself has made an interesting story to share online and that created a syndrome where many tried to copy the success of this creepy pasta. This is common in Japan with the more gruesome one being that of the copycat suicides following the death of Yukiko Okada after her sudden suicide. By April 26th, 1986, 23 out of 36 youth suicides since Okada perished were committed by leaping off a building which mimics the death of the singer. It is possible that this broadcast could be the same neologism as the copycat suicides.

On the 2nd of August 2007, a video was uploaded to YouTube trying to recreate the special broadcast. Created by user DarkYKnighT, it is well known for briefly containing Jeff the Killer, a famous and recognised creepy pasta on the internet which reignites the investigation for the original Jeff the Killer photo. Many have pointed out the accuracy of this reproduction which return their chills at remembering the mysterious broadcast. “Can’t believe Jeff made a cameo appearance in this. The multiverse is truly opening.” Said one user. Another added: “Imagine living in Japan and streaming this to your neighbour's TV.”


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