Let me start off by saying that as a kid I got bored a lot and, seeing as though I unfortunately didn't have cable, I liked to waste my time watching weird local TV stations. You know, the kind that play bizarre local programs and the occasional crappy made-for-TV movie, all under a thick layer of static. I’m pretty sure there's hundreds of them floating around. Well, there was one around where I lived and it was definitely weird.
It seemed to play virtually all the time. I imagined the owner of the station as some old creepy guy in a van handpicking the stuff that would play on the station. It really was a pathetic excuse for a channel. I wonder to this day what the point of it was. I'm completely sure that no person would have wasted an hour and a half of their damn life watching some lousy 60's buddy cop comedy in between Henry Winkler trying to sell them a reverse mortgage. (Well, except for me of course. Like I said, I really had nothing better to do.) The picture and sound quality sucked, too. It was like trying to watch TV on an oversized monochrome Lite Brite while listening to one long sustained ear-splitting electronic fart. Well maybe not quite like that, but it was pretty close.
Anyway, most of the stuff they played was, as I said, local. Stuff like animated cartoons, short films, and sometimes even music videos. I use the terms "music" and “video" very loosely. It was usually just some stupid 90's pop-punk song playing against a very low-quality looping video of clouds or something equally as boring. There was even one time when they broadcasted a depressing-looking talent show. There were also other times when an actual Hollywood movie would play. The only ones I really remembered were A Few Good Men and some dumb comedy with (I think) Danny DeVito. Another bizarre thing about the station was that about half of the commercials were the "call this number if you have been affected by asbestos" type. The other half were usually commercials for terrible "AS SEEN ON TV" products. I even remember seeing some ads for phone sex hotlines, too.
Yet another anomaly about the station was that there were no bumpers before or after the commercial breaks. (For those who don't know, a bumper is that short clip that says the name of the station before and after commercial breaks.) The last thing I will say about the station before moving on is that whenever I tried to check the info using the INFO button on the remote, it would say "INFO NOT AVAILABLE". Besides all these odd things, I guess the station was pretty run-of-the-mill as far as weird local stations go. (As strange as that might sound.)
However, there was a disturbing incident from many years ago involving this station that I unfortunately don't think I'll ever forget. It left a deep impression on me that I still have not shaken. I doubt I ever will. Believe me, I have spent many nights questioning, reliving, and rationalizing what I saw. I don't think I'll ever understand it. For years afterward I convinced myself it was a bad dream, but recently I decided to stop lying to myself and accept the truth of what happened. I'd much rather not talk about it, but I think expressing it to the world might make me feel better and help me finally move on.
It was in 2006 around summertime. My parents were out for the night and I was home alone as usual. I was spacing out in front of the TV during the evening. The channel just got finished showing a dumb Claymation short when it abruptly started playing some COPS-like show. There was no intro, it just immediately started with a camera filming the inside of a police car. The car drove around a small suburban neighborhood at night. I didn't recognize where this show was being filmed. I don't want to give out too much info about myself, but I can assure you that the environment in the video looked nothing like where this station was supposed to be based in. I lived in a large city at the time and the nearest suburban area was several hours away. Moving on, the camera never showed the cop's face, instead focusing on the road and surrounding environment. There was no dialogue at all anytime during the program. I can now assume it was unedited since it appeared to be one long take.
At the time I was pretty fascinated by this show, albeit a little creeped out. Why would they show some apparently unfinished cop show episode? How did they even have access to it? And where was the intro? Despite these thoughts, at the time I was actually pretty happy they were showing something at least halfway interesting. I excitedly sat up and got ready to watch some crackheads get tasered.
Unfortunately, there was nothing like that at all. The car drove around aimlessly, the camera zooming in on the occasional bush or house zooming past. I remembered being really confused and eventually, bored. I even debated changing the channel after a while. This driving went on for probably five minutes before the siren suddenly came on. There wasn't any call coming in on the cop's radio that I could hear. The cop just sped up and zoomed down the street. Once again, I got excited and prepared for action. I couldn't see any other cars, and not just on the road. At no point did I ever see another car. This didn't strike me as odd at the time, though. Eventually they arrived at what I assumed was the outskirts of town. There were several dilapidated-looking huts and the occasional abandoned warehouse. The car slowed down a little as they drove around, apparently searching for something. Soon, a very large warehouse came into view. As soon as it was visible the car stopped. Now, when I say stopped, I mean stopped. As if on a dime. One second the car was zooming along and the next second it was completely still. This is where I got uncomfortable. Was what I just saw possible? I doubt it was a cut in the video because the sound of the siren was uninterrupted during the stop.
The siren was then turned off as well as the headlights. The camera then began zooming in on the warehouse and slowly seemed to scan the windows and entrances, apparently waiting for something to happen or someone to come out. My heart started hammering in my chest as this was going on. Something about this video or show or whatever it was seemed unnatural. Anxiety was pulsing through my body so much so that my ears started ringing. I had the feeling something terrible was going to happen soon. A small part of me held on to the hope that it just might be a STING operation or perhaps a police ambush about to happen. That part of me was shrinking by the second. At this point it struck me that maybe I should try the INFO button just to see if it would say anything. Maybe I could figure out just what the hell I was watching. Part of me didn't expect it to have any info, but yet another small part suspected otherwise.
And, almost unsurprisingly, something did come up. The "show's" title.
Before I could even begin to comprehend this, something on the TV stole my attention. Out of one of the doorways of the warehouse, a small red hand emerged, like that of a child. My heart pounded frantically as it seemed to very slowly slither out of the building. The cop in the car did not react at all. The camera was focused completely on the hand. Again there was a bizarre stillness, as if the camera was suddenly on a tripod. I was fully expecting something to pop its terrible head out of the doorway at any time, and as a result I covered my eyes with my hands.
I sat and waited for about 10 minutes. Nothing ever happened. I started to sweat. I finally thought I should just switch the TV off, but I didn't know where the remote was and I didn't want to risk seeing the screen while I searched for it. As I was waiting I vowed I would never watch this channel or anything like it ever again, a vow that I have kept ever since. I waited for what seemed like an eon. Complete silence, except for the slight sound of rain outside. I felt like every drop of blood in my body was rushing to my head. At last I heard the sound of commercials. I had never been so relieved in my (then) short life. My body finally began to feel normal again.
I uncovered my eyes to see the same red arm now extended at least 30 feet from the doorway.
The arm was shuddering and contorting into impossible, grotesque shapes. It bent like rubber. I could see some type of fluid being flung off it as it flailed about. An extremely high-pitched and loud hissing sound blew out of the TV. After a few moments I could even see the fingers on the hand breaking off and flying away as the arm convulsed even more violently.
I sat slack-jawed and stiff as I watched with my hands over my mouth. My vision grew blurry and it felt like my eyes were trying to squeeze out of my head. My hearing became muffled and my ears began buzzing as they were bombarded with the hissing from the TV. My hands starting shaking and my arms twitched. My mouth was bone-dry. My head throbbed and my stomach felt sick. I was bathed in cold sweat. My heart dropped down to my feet. It felt as if every cell in my body was panicking.
After all the fingers and eventually the hand broke off, the arm fell to the ground and began to shrivel up rapidly. It shrank and wilted until it finally crumbled into a small pile of dust near the doorway. I barely had time to blink before I witnessed several more identical red arms appear out of the same doorway. But they didn't convulse. Instead, I watched them all instantly shoot hundreds of feet up into the night sky. The arms' length seemed to be never-ending; the camera zoomed completely out to show that they were all still emanating from the doorway as they flew into the sky. The camera showed dozens upon dozens of arms appearing out of every possible opening of the warehouse; doors, windows, and even through holes in the warehouse roof. The arms all met up at one single point high in the sky and started forming a giant mass of wet and writhing red flesh.
The last thing I remember was the camera being zoomed all the way out so the inside of the cop car was visible again. The cop opened the door and slowly stepped outside as the mass of arms rapidly grew in size. He walked a few yards in front of the car towards the warehouse. As the cop started to turn around to look at the camera, an arm quickly broke away from the mass, grabbed the cop by the head, and instantly pulled him hundreds of feet away in the sky into the mass of arms. As the cop disappeared into the squirming pile the camera was slowly and calmly placed on the floor of the car as it was still filming. The hissing sound ceased and I could hear my ears ringing again. An unbearable silence occurred for a few seconds before there was some movement by the cop car. The camera fell on its side as the car rumbled violently. The driver's side window was now in frame. It showed that the car was slowly being lifted into the sky by a horde of arms. No cameraman was seen in the passenger seat.
My memory fails me after this point. I think I blacked out or something like that. I can only remember waking up a couple of hours later. I was lying face down on the carpet a few inches away from the TV. To this day I have no idea how I ended up on the floor when I clearly remember being several feet away on my couch before blacking out. Truth be told, I don't think I want to know. The next day I remember nervously checking the station to see if it would show anything. It didn't. In fact, I couldn't even get it anymore. To this day I still can't. I guess that's for the best.
Anyways, for a while after this whole thing I gave up on TV completely. In fact, I'm pretty sure the night after the incident I asked my dad to take my TV out of my room. I took up reading as my new hobby. I even had a fear of TVs for a few weeks after the incident, but eventually I got over it and got a new TV for my room. Suffice to say, I didn't tune into a weird station ever again. I never told anyone what happened, obviously I knew they would never believe me. After a while though, life began to go back to normal. I eventually grew up, moved out, and got my own apartment. I buried the incident in my subconscious and eventually forgot about it. Like I said earlier, I made myself believe it was a nightmare. It was a much easier concept to digest.
Well, that's my story. There's really not much else to say. I guess I do feel a bit better having talked about it for the first time. If you don't believe me or if you think I'm crazy or something, that's fine. I know what I saw. Just allow me to leave you with a single warning: do not watch any of those weird local TV stations. I guess every single one isn't bad, but I wouldn't take chances. Trust me, you do not want to deal with something like whatever it was that I saw.
But if you do ever let temptation get the best of you and you do tune into one, I suppose you'll be OK.
I'm not mad at you.
Written by Dr. Frank N. Furter