It has become increasingly difficult for me to keep up with my resident paranormal postings for The Contrarian. Even though my head is chock full of tidbits, histories, ideas, overly romantic personal experiences, thoughts and opinions on the state of paranormal affairs, my inspiration to wax observational has dwindled. Face it, you can only chastise, ridicule and bitch for a limited time before that once-budding muse becomes an old hag banging her cane against your head, chortling “Write! Write! Write!”
To break the spell and curry an editor’s favor [Editor's note: you got it!], I have decided to veer away from my typically ghostly writings to ponder another odd fascination of mine.
If possible, I would like all readers with the ability to do so, to tune an AM shortwave radio to 4625 kHz. You will hear short, repeating bursts of static, a simple buzz of white noise, that repeats at a rate of 21-34 times a minute — all day. Upon its initial discovery in Cold War-era 1982, this phenomenon was as perplexing and frightening as a KC and the Sunshine Band reunion.
Although not paranormal in origin — the signal’s purpose is still unknown — it has been monitored by the US government and fans of shortwave radio since the initial discovery. It’s like something out of “Lost,” but it probably won’t preempt any State of the Union addresses.
The modern white noise “buzz” began in 1990. Previously, it was a simple “bip” sound, similar to that of a sonar machine in a submarine. These sounds have been consistent and repeating, with little interruption, since they were discovered. However, there have been rare occasions when the buzzes stopped and voices were heard.
These utterances are sometimes heard in the background behind the buzz — hinting that the broadcast may be a live microphone. On November 3rd, 2001, a voice was heard speaking in Russian saying: “I’m 143rd. I don’t receive the oscillator (generator).” “That’s what the operating room is sending.” Or, “Those are the orders from operations.” Such messages are rare, but appear to be conversations that were not meant to be broadcast — meaning they don’t illuminate the true purpose of UVB-76.
On Christmas Eve of 1997, the buzzes stopped for a brief moment of silence. What followed was a series of short beeps followed by a male Russian’s voice who said the following: “Ya — UVB-76. 18008. BROMAL: Boris, Roman, Olga, Mikhail, Anna, Larisa. 742, 799, 14.” It was repeated several times, after which, the buzzing resumed. It was following this broadcast that the origin of the signal was traced to a small town 40 km outside of Moscow named Povarovo.
The talking went dark until 2006 when another voice broke the signal, speaking the perplexing message, “75-59-75-59. 39-52-53-58. 5-5-2-5. Konstantin-1-9-0-9-0-8-9-8-Tatiana-Oksana-Anna-Elena-Pavel-Schuka. Konstantin 8-4. 9-7-5-5-9-Tatiana. Anna Larisa Uliyana-9-4-1-4-3-4-8.”
Click here for a link to the broadcast.
Theories abound concerning the purpose of Russian signal. Websites across the internet claim it to be the mouthpiece of the Soviet military, a governmental chess player’s hand moving rooks and pawns throughout the world by way of timed static interchanges. Some suggest that it does the same for the worldwide spy network established by and operating on behalf of the Russian government. A more frightening theory is that the signal is a beacon used to confirm the continuing, non-ceasing purpose of some other facility or individual — a dead man’s switch, if you will — its intended listeners are to respond accordingly if the signal should someday stop broadcasting.
The most vital component of UVB-76’s broadcasts is that, despite the decades since the end of the Cold War, when the Supreme Soviet crumbled in the ring ala Ivan Drago, even after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Communism in general, the static dashes of UVB-76’s tower is still broadcast throughout the world. Therefore, it cannot be considered a relic of a bygone Cold War society. On the contrary, it is still operational and still has purpose, however elusive.
And there is someone still at the switch, and someone is still listening waiting to respond — and as a child and product of the Cold War, the entire idea chills my bones more than any paranormal activity.