What is it?
The "Backward Music Station" doesn't actually play backward music. That's just what they call it. What it is broadcasting instead is something from the fucking bowels of Hell itself:
A high-pitched grinding, with some banging thrown in, perhaps just to make it sound creepier. That video said it was recorded in 2004 and claimed the signal had since gone dormant, but there are other recordings claiming to be as recent as September of 2009:
In the comments section of that one, our brave listener claims with a burst of excitement and exclamation marks: "Two weeks ago I logged it on four frequencies within a few minutes... all of them CFH wefax frequencies!!!!" WEFAX meaning weather facsimile meaning it's in grayscale meaning fuck if we know. But it shows the station has resurfaced and resurfaced hard, hard enough to warrant a sudden increase in punctuation.
Unlike the UVB-76, no voice interruptions have been heard. It's just a noise, a noise that may have an encrypted message of World Domination, or may not.
So What's the Deal?
People have put quite a bit of effort into figuring it out. The below graph, to people who know what the hell they're looking at, apparently demonstrates how sophisticated the effort has been to hide the true signal in the noise.
The signal appears on more than one frequency, one from within the USA, the other from Europe. The frequencies are similar to those used by the U.S. Navy.
Is it a heavily encrypted signal to communicate with spies? If it's a noise deliberately made by someone somewhere, then would there not be someone on the other end who had the know-how to make sense of it? Remember that behind every broadcast signal there is equipment, electricity and expense on someone's part. It has to be for a reason, right?
Is this how the U.S. is signaling to its own robot soldier task force, to be ready for when the Russians make their move?
What is it?
This broadcast rivals or even surpasses the Backward Music Station in mysteriousness. It is so mysterious, in fact, they were forced to go with this ridiculous name.
Wow! Holy shit! Numbers!
This was a radio signal that was picked up at The Big Ear radio telescope. Yes, this one comes from space. Big Ear used numbers, from zero to 10, to document how far above the useless background noise any signals went. In a comically childish system, the eggheads ran out of fingers and had to use toes, adding letters A-Z on top of the numbers. The Wow! Signal was "6EQUJ5," meaning it began at a scale of six, crept past the letter threshold, jumped to Q and then as far as U before fading gradually.
All of this happened over 37 seconds, and all of this from a seemingly empty point in space. Perhaps even more mind-boggling, it came from a non-terrestrial and non-solar system source. It was a signal shot to Earth from one of the emptiest places imaginable, and something from that place somehow got to us.
It's called the "Wow!" signal because the man who found it was so amazed by it that he circled it and wrote "Wow!" on the side, which for posterity was better than "HOLY FUCKING MOTHER OF COCK SHIT!"
So What's the Deal?
It could be, as the killjoys at Wikipedia suggest, interstellar scintillation of a weaker continuous signal. If that statement did little more than sexually excite you, then all you need to know is that a continuous signal is far less remarkable, and what they picked up might have been a weak, continuous signal that gained strength for a short time. However, it's a mysterious signal from space that follows a very calculated system, turning off, and turning on. That... really shouldn't be.
The signal had the trademark of an artificially produced interstellar broadcast. How did they broadcast it from a point in space where there are no planets and there are no solar systems? Well, the only explanation would be a spaceship, and the signal is used to communicate to other spaceships.
The guy who found the signal in the first place tried to deny it was extraterrestrial life; that it was something from Earth reflected off of space debris, but there are problems with that theory.
If it was from Earth, the reflector would have to have been in all sorts of unrealistic requirements for the nature of the signal. For once the explanation that there's an alien craft beaming signals is more logically sound than the tried and true "space debris" argument. Holy shit!
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For more mysteries of the world, check out 6 Famous Unsolved Mysteries (With Really Obvious Solutions) and 6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can't Explain.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 1.12.2010) to see our mysterious broadcast (of Brockway's genitals).