There’s an urban legend floating around the web that claims today in 1968, the television industry was briefly stopped in its tracks… by the devil.

Snopes explained that this story is what is sometimes known on the web as creepypasta.

It comes from the term copypasta, meaning stuff that people copy and paste all over the digital universe, and here’s the creepy form of copypasta.

The text seems to change from version to version, but the main point of each story is that somehow on August 29, 1968, there was a moment where every TV in the US just went off, or at least stopped picking up TV signals.

Instead, there was an unsettling noise of some kind coming out of the TVs for about 25 seconds, before regular broadcasting resumed.

And while nobody could fully explain what had happened, some people claimed it could only have been the work of the devil.

There’s a lot to unpack here.

For one thing, if all the TVs in the country went out at once, the news would’ve covered this, right?

Plus, there wasn’t any real way to cut every TV signal at once.

Broadcast transmitters operate over specific geographical areas, none of them cover the entire country.

People who are, say, watching ABC in San Francisco may be watching the same show as people watching ABC in Dallas, but they’re not watching on the same transmitter.

Cutting all of those signals at once would’ve been a lot of work.

As for the video on the web that supposedly marks the moment the devil cut in on all the TV signals, let’s just say that if it really was coming from the foul leader of the underworld, then he must’ve been having an off day.

Assuming that this is even a real recording of that supposed moment, the only interruptions are some pretty low-level noises.

I’m no broadcast engineer, but they sure sound like the noises you might hear on a TV channel where the signal cut out by accident, or just encountered some interference.

So if this is a hoax, why would a story like this spread?

For one thing, there have been people who have briefly hijacked TV signals.

I grew up in Chicagoland, where people are still trying to figure out who took over a couple of TV channels while dressed as that 80s TV character Max Headroom.

And there are lots of scenes in TV shows and movies where evil forces would control TVs to make trouble for viewers.

My fellow children of the 80s may remember this happening in the movie Poltergeist.

It’s the kind of story that’s easy to share and that a lot of people might kind of want to be true: it’s mysterious and ominous and since most of us don’t know a lot about how TV signals work we could plausibly believe that some supernatural menace might have made its presence known through the airwaves just to freak us out.

Of course, if it was really trying to make us upset, it would’ve cut into the program and just left us to watch the commercials.

They say in space, no one can hear you scream, because there’s no stuff in space for the sound waves to travel through.

Two physicists in Finland say they’ve found a workaround: if you talk, or scream, near what are called piezoelectric materials, that stuff will generate an electric field out of the sound waves.

That field could then be changed back into sound, sort of like how speakers work.

But hopefully you won’t ever need to scream in space.

Did American TV Viewers Hear the Devil’s Voice on Aug. 29, 1968? (Snopes)

Physicists Figure Out a Novel Way to Let Sound Travel Through Space (Inverse)

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