Top 20 Creepiest Things Caught on Live TV

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Top 20 Creepiest Things Caught on Live TV

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Ricky Manson
The creepiest things caught on live TV must be seen to be believed. For this list, we'll be looking at moments broadcast live on television that caused a stir or otherwise concerned viewers at home, disregarding on-screen death and gore as well as creepypastas and fake news, like the infamous “Wyoming Incident.” Our countdown includes the haunted dolly, Los Angeles EBS, Gary Stollman, and more!
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Top 20 Creepiest Things Caught on Live TV


Don’t adjust your sets! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 20 Creepiest Things That Were Caught On Live TV.

For this list, we’ll be looking at moments broadcast live on television that caused a stir or otherwise concerned viewers at home, disregarding on-screen death and gore as well as creepypastas and fake news, like the infamous “Wyoming Incident”.

#20: Zombie Emergency Alert


Back in 2013, a handful of Americans were tricked into thinking that Armageddon was finally at the door by a prankster who seemed to have been taking notes from Orson Welles; The unnamed joker found a way to hack into a Montana TV station’s emergency broadcast system and send out a newsflash detailing the rise of the undead from their graves, along with a warning not to engage. The hoax announcement played over airings of “The Steve Wilkos Show” and despite its illegitimacy, the message sounded real enough to turn a few heads, stirring concern among viewers across parts of the United States. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before the truth was made known and the perpetrator was apprehended.

#19: The Haunted Dolly


Here’s one that’ll rock the boat: On ITV’s “This Morning”, a couple were being interviewed about alleged strange activity surrounding a china doll they’d gotten from a thrift store. This included scratches on the husband and sporadic fire alarm bursts. Whilst the hosts were rightly skeptical, viewers were more convinced; they observed the doll start to rock in its chair during the interview, seemingly of its own volition. The doll was on the show again just a few weeks later, but this time with a new owner. It’s no surprise the toy changed hands so quickly; we’ve all seen enough movies to know that keeping possessed dolls around is a BIG no-no.

#18: WrestleMania Choke-Out


It’s well known that pro-wrestling is a staged but nonetheless dangerous sport that can inflict some serious injury. Richard Belzer learned this when he was choked out by Hulk Hogan on his talk show in 1985. The Hulkster, who was on the show with Mr. T promoting the very first WrestleMania, was asked by Belzer to demonstrate some wrestling moves in keeping with the promotion. Hogan responded with a headlock that sent him straight to sleep, dropping to the floor and cracking open his head on impact. Mr. T quickly tried to ease the shocked crowd during Belzer’s blackout with a few reassuring quips, and Belzer fortunately regained consciousness, along with a few stitches and one heck of an anecdote some moments later.

#17: The Vietnam War Draft Lottery


Who wants to be a veteran? In 1969 at the peak of the war in Vietnam, CBS televised a draft lottery to determine individuals for military service, and aired live from Washington’s selective service headquarters. The lottery worked by drawing birth dates at random, followed by a second drawing of letters of the alphabet to decide which men would be sent overseas first. This controversial method had not been used since 1942 during World War II. Though we thankfully live in a time where such a lottery is neither necessary nor permitted, watching this broadcast today is a chilling reminder that the futures of hundreds of men were decided by a simple sheet of paper they watched pulled at random on television.

#16: San Francisco Earthquake Newsflash


California is no stranger to the occasional rumble, but the cameras happened to be rolling during a big one in 1989. During the World Series that saw the San Francisco Giants take on the Oakland Athletics, an enormous earthquake struck the Bay Area and was caught live on television. With a magnitude of 6.9, the Loma Prieta quake was large enough to interrupt the broadcast of the game. Though it can easily be misinterpreted as crowd jubilation, screams can actually be heard just before the game feed is cut and the picture switches to the news. Though the stadium was able to withstand the tremors, the rest of the city was subjected to major power disruptions, blackouts, and property damage.

#15: Czech TV's Panorama Prank


What a bombshell to drop. In 2007, as viewers of Czech Television’s program “Panorama” were treated to a beautiful shot of the mountain, the tranquility was soon ruined by a blinding white light and the unmistakable sight of a mushroom cloud. The bombing was quickly and fortunately revealed as a hoax, masterminded by the guerilla art pranksters known collectively as Ztohoven. The group had apparently hacked the show’s live camera feed, where they could then overwrite the footage with a CGI render they had prepared. Ztohoven explained that the prank illustrated how easy it can be for the media to manipulate and influence its consumers with false information. The lengths some artists will go to to get their work shown on TV...

#14: The Disappearing Airport Lady


Luggage goes missing all the time at terminals, but human beings? Not so much. Yet that’s what appeared to happen during an interview for Danish network TV2’s Sports Center. At an airport baggage claim, just behind the gentleman on camera, a blonde woman seemed to vanish into thin air as another traveller passed in front of her. Freaky stuff for viewers who saw it live, but a logical explanation does exist. The “ghost lady” was identified as Danish handball player Trine Jensen. Under close analysis, she can be assumed to have walked in tandem with the passing woman, creating an optical illusion. In the moment however, it seemed like a paranormal phenomena right out of the X-Files.

#13: Talk Show Possession


There’s certainly more to this girl than meets the eye. On a talk show in 2016, Thai model Thippawan Chaphupuang made an appearance and claimed to have been possessed by an evil bloodthirsty ghost while holidaying. This entity, known as a “Pop”, was said to hunger for animal blood and human flesh. The confused hosts then watched as Chaphupuang began to exhibit strange behavior - muttering to herself and screaming. Most viewers were disturbed by Chaphupuang’s behavior, but not so much sold on it; many called it suspiciously convenient that “Pop” took hold on live television. Regardless, it hardly made for comfortable viewing.

#12: Prayer Phone-In Possession


Chaphupuang’s live antics may have been uneasy to the eyes, but this next example of on-air possession proved to be an assault on the ears: This religious live show encourages viewers to call in and receive advice and guidance from a holy Sheikh. One such phone call was made by a woman in 2011 claiming to have been overtaken by a demonic entity known colloquially as a Jinn. The woman then supposedly underwent a sudden change in personality while staying on the line, laughing sinisterly as she mocked the Islamic host. The Sheikh proceeded to banish the demon with an impromptu exorcism, and the bizarre episode was done. Whether it was fake or genuine, it was certainly creepy.

#11: Los Angeles EBS


1992 was the year Los Angeles descended into chaos as riots erupted following the acquittal of the officers behind Rodney King’s heavily publicized abuse. King’s arrest and subsequently brutal beating at the hands of the LAPD was videotaped and broadcast a year earlier to massive outcry. During the riots, as angered citizens looted stores and destroyed public property, an emergency broadcast was sent out across all of LA county’s biggest TV stations to inform the public of the carnage. In the message, an emergency curfew was announced to be in effect from 6:45 pm onward. This chilling yet formal announcement heralded a rise in tension for the citizens of Los Angeles, as they watched the collapse of their social order unfold on screen.

#10: Alien Lights Over Milwaukee


It was only a matter of time until aliens came up. During a live Fox6 news broadcast, a group of mysterious lights were seen floating above the Milwaukee night sky. The news team was understandably alarmed, and quickly began to speculate as to the cause, with explanations ranging from fireworks to shooting stars and finally… aliens. It’s a strange sight at first glance, certainly enough to cause some confusion, and maybe even a little concern. But it only took about half an hour to shoot down E.T. expectations. An alternative angle closer to the activity shows it to be nothing more than a flock of seagulls reflecting the bright lights of the city. That’s right: Close encounters of the BIRD kind.

#9: The Australian “Mayday” Incident


While not technically a live event, these issues with broadcasting happened in real time. During the airing of an episode of the documentary series “Mayday”, the audio from a previous news broadcast somehow replaced some of the original show’s audio. This eerie new soundtrack was a looping sound byte of a Halliburton truck driver reacting to his convoy being ambushed in Iraq. For six freaky minutes, everyone at home watching was subjected to the driver repeating “Jesus Christ, help us all, Lord” over and over. The fact that this was coinciding with footage relating to a passenger train crash made a deeply unsettling end result. The creepiest part is nobody knows exactly how it happened. Mayday indeed!

#8: Jamaican Ghost Attack
In 2010, a Jamaican news crew investigated reports of an alleged poltergeist attack on a young boy in Spanish Town. The boy claimed he was being pestered by a poltergeist, known in Jamaican folklore as a Duppy, and that this specter was a recently deceased friend who was now haunting him post-mortem. The news crew were astonished during the interview when the boy was seemingly grabbed and violently dragged around by his limbs like a rag doll, whilst onlookers desperately attempted to intervene. Unsettling as it seems, it remains skeptical; most cases involving children who report being bothered by spirits are usually attributed to a neglected or traumatized child lashing out. In this case, “lashing out” is putting it lightly...

#7: The Running Shadow


So we’ve gone through aliens...now how about moving shadows? During the broadcast of a soccer game at the Hernando Siles Stadium in 2014, cameras caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a moving dark figure. Although it was running at full speed, people in the crowd didn’t seem to notice. What made this incident all the more creepy was the fact that the figure can be seen moving through fans and even a barrier. While some theorize that the figure was in fact a soccer player double exposed on camera, to this day the cause of this mysterious apparition remains unknown.

#6: The UFO Summoner


Is seeing really believing? In 2005, Ramon Watkins, a man from Las Vegas who called himself Yahweh, claimed to have learned from the Old Testament how to summon UFOs. In a news report meant to expose him as a fraud, an ABC news reporter was left baffled when Watkins proceeded to seemingly manifest mysterious orbs of light floating in the sky. The orange lights danced around above their heads momentarily before disappearing. Many who saw this demonstration hailed it as evidence of the almighty, referring to the fact that it had been the news team who had picked the location, day and time to conduct the interview, leaving practically no room for Watkins to have feasibly staged the summoning. Divine power or complex misdirection?

#5: The Vrillon Hoax


Across the pond in 1977, something even more bizarre occurred: the UK’s Southern Television had their evening news interrupted by a six minute audio message of apparent extraterrestrial origin. The unsettling booming voice coming through claimed to represent the “Ashtar Galactic Command”. These “aliens” offered humanity a peaceful alliance if they renounced their corrupt ways and weapons of war, speaking cultishly of new ages and promises of transcendence. The channel apologised for the outlandish signal intrusion, chalking it up to a hoax. It would indeed be strange if aliens broadcast a message to just one channel. Those responsible have never come forward. Dare we look up to the sky and wonder?

#4: Justin from “Big Brother 2”


Slimeball Justin Sebik was frequently violent and confrontational with other contestants during his tenure on Big Brother. But the act that finally got him kicked off the series went way beyond typical reality show conflicts. Justin famously, and quite rightly, got evicted for disturbing behavior involving fellow housemate Krista. After some drinks, the two began kissing and flirting, when Justin suddenly held a kitchen knife up to her throat and asked if she'd be mad if he killed her. The drama didn’t end there; a year after being kicked out of the house, Justin was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend. To say Krista and the other housemates dodged a bullet is a massive understatement.

#3: A Criminal on “The Dating Game”


Not quite your ‘Mr. Right’: On a 1978 episode of The Dating Game, bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw chose contestant Rodney Alcala as her man. Though he was a successful photographer, Alcala was later turned down by Bradshaw for his ‘creepy’ behavior. Bradshaw may have escaped with her life; it turns out that Alcala was a repeated sex offender whose penchant for photographing his victims brought to light a string of serial killings he committed throughout the 70s, and his rejection on the show may have been a contributing factor in the murder of a further three women. Alcala is serving life in prison to this day, and his final kill count remains ambiguous. Seems like this casanova took the term ‘lady killer’ a little too literally...

#2: Gary Stollman


The lengths people will go to make themselves heard! In the middle of a 1987 broadcast Gary Stollman walked onto the KNBC set behind TV reporter David Horowitz and pointed a gun at his back, ordering him to read a statement concerning paranoid theories that the CIA cloned Stollman’s father. The blindsided presenters were clearly horrified but Horowitz was able to keep his cool throughout. The statement ended with the admission that the firearm was a bb-firing replica before Stollman calmly placed the toy on the desk, apparently having never intended to harm anyone. The incident resulted in Horowitz spearheading a campaign to ban realistic toy firearms.

#1: The Max Headroom Hijack


In 1987, two television stations in Chicago were hijacked in perhaps the most surreal act of video piracy ever recorded. Both instances featured an unidentified man dressed as obscure TV personality Max Headroom dancing to distorted audio. The second video, significantly longer, saw the man rambling incoherently in a distorted voice and being swatted on the behind by an offscreen accomplice. Responses to the rubber-grinned menace ranged from bemused to horrified, and the perpetrators of this seemingly random act were never identified. The segments lasted no more than a couple of minutes, but have gone down as among the most notorious incidents in television history. That face isn’t an easy one to forget!
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