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Ominous “End of the World” Emergency Alert Was Broadcast on TV in California

This is fine. Everything is fine.

Yesterday morning, some Southern Californians were startled by an emergency message that broke into their programming. While many of us have experienced tests of the emergency messaging system—usually an annoying sound that gets your attention—what was unexpected here was the content broadcast along with the “Emergency Alert” signage on-screen.

(Scroll ahead to :32 in the video to hear the message.)

Viewers heard the voice of a man talking about the end times and saying things like “Realize this: that in the last days extremely violent times will come.”

Cox Communications is explaining the strange broadcast as the fault of a radio station that kept playing its programming:

News outlets are also speculating that the broadcast could be the work of a hacker, since certain adherents of wild theories have been warning that the world will end this coming Saturday, September 23rd. According to this prediction, an unknown planet—Planet X—will collide with Earth, resulting in our total destruction (scientists say nope, so I’m going with Science here). And of course, with Trump and Kim Jong-Un butting heads and talking about actually raining down fire on each other, everyone’s a little on edge these days.

Whether this was an accident, a prank or the work of a zealot who truly believes we’re headed for doom on Saturday and wants to warn the people, hearing the message was disturbing for some residents. (My favorite reaction, however, was a viewer who captured the broadcast and labeled it “What the fuck is this Fahrenheit 451 or?”) We’re attuned to believe that anything coming in from an Emergency Alert has been vetted and is important, so this must’ve been confusing, to say the least.

(via CBS Local, image: screengrab)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.