This is not a test: Bodies are rising from their graves (Updated)

See new update at the bottom.
This is hilarious. Well done jokester.

Bogus emergency alert message transmitted | | Great Falls, Montana.

The Emergency Alert System on Montana station KRTV broadcasted a message during regular programing today with an alert that “the bodies are rising from their graves and attacking the living”. The announcer warned people not to approach them, they’re dangerous.

KRTV reports that the message did not originate from the station and there is no emergency. Engineers are scrambling to figure out what happened.

Hack? A darn good one.


UPDATE (14-Feb-2013) There is an update on where this prank may have originated.

Greg MacDonald, chief executive officer of the Montana Broadcasters Association, said the Emergency Alert System […] was duplicated on stations in Michigan, California, Utah and New Mexico…

MacDonald said FBI and Federal Communications Commission investigators believe the hacking originated from outside the country.

Canada? Because the announcer didn’t have an accent. Not that it says much. But curious how they could tell.

Tip: Russell G.

  21 comments for “This is not a test: Bodies are rising from their graves (Updated)

  1. February 11, 2013 at 7:58 PM


  2. February 11, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    I KNOW!!!

  3. spookyparadigm
    February 11, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Enough with the utterly boring zombie thing. If I could get rid of one thing in pop culture, there is a good chance that would be it. Probably not, as there are a lot of things that appall. But it would be way up there. And I say this as a fan of Night of the Living Dead, and at least having some appreciation for the other two original Romero movies, and the not official sequel Return of the Living Dead (which introduces a lot of the jokey zombie stuff we have today, alongside Re-Animator and a few others of that time period).

    Never mind the kind of nasty politics that get read into some of it (taking the already kind of dicey post-apoc scenario which in America is heavily influenced by the myth of the Wild West and gun culture, and filling it with lots of targets), it’s just bloody boring.

  4. Big poppa
    February 12, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    I read on a different site 4 calls were made to the local police asking if it was true

  5. One Eyed Jack
    February 12, 2013 at 5:48 AM


    The whole zombie obsession is getting really, really old.

  6. February 12, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    Can you add that link? I’d love to read it.

  7. Mr. Shreck
    February 12, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    I find this really funny too, but I’m reminded of one of the first conversations I was ever involved in on this site. It was the one regarding the hoax phone call to the hospital where the royals were staying that resulted in the suicide of the scandalized nurse. The consensus here was a pretty strong one of repulsion. What makes this hoax funny and that one vile? Our sense of decorum and tastefulness? That some unstable person didn’t blow the heads off a couple of school kids walking by his yard because he thought they were zombies?

    Obviously I am being a little provocative but I hope it is accepted in the sense of open inquiry intended. This is very much in the spirit of a how an old friend used to describe comedy and tragedy: the difference between a man slipping on a banana peel and falling on his backside and a man slipping on a banana peel and breaking his neck.

  8. Mr. Shreck
    February 12, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Yep. On a related note, I’m bracing myself for the onslaught of Zombie Jesus jokes as Easter approaches…

  9. February 12, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    In both cases, there was a breach of trust, indeed. This zombie message was clearly intended as a joke. It’s difficult to believe that someone mentally coherent would fall for it. It IS VERY disturbing to me that someone could hack this crucial system and I would suspect it’s the job of a former or current insider. For more of these media hoaxes, I REALLY recommend The Martians Have Landed by Bartholomew and Radford. Chock full of fascinating examples.

    But back to the Middleton case. That hoax was exploiting private medical information. The nurse was deliberately conned. Sure, she probably should not have done what she did but it was a more complicated social manipulation situations. That’s what I found so repulsive. That they conned this women into giving sensitive information. And, of course the consequences were awful.

    I just wrote a review of the Martians book (who knows when it will appear in print at its intended location) but when hoaxes are pulled, it’s astounding that people do not seem to realize the consequences CAN be serious. In the zombie case, as I said, it’s really pushing it to think that people would believe this but it is appalling in its own way.

  10. Mr. Shreck
    February 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Another great documentary on media hoaxes is Abel Raises Cain about the great hoaxer Alan Abel.

  11. Daniel
    February 12, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    I totally agree with you. It’s not even horror anymore, the fear that the rise of the dead was supposed to instill in the viewer, the unbearable decisions one would have to make in a horror scenario where everybody can turn into “the monster”, and that then creates the psychological horror aspect; the story telling device that plays with our human automatic rejection of the severely diseased, strange or dead human creature -the uncanny valley-, has now warped into eager anticipation for this disturbing lone survivor scenario where one gets to shoot at, or even better from that scenario’s perspective, maim with as much prejudice as possible, the human form.
    Used to be the horror enters ones life trough the extremely unsettling mutation of the familiar and mundane into utterly strange and threatening. That was a powerful image, the bizarre person walking down the street, seeming in need of help until you get close and it turns out it has become a mindless killer, the human now void of humanity. Now, it seems it’s opportunity that enters ones life trough people who one is allowed to destroy.
    It’s gone from horror to an escapist teenager fantasy.

  12. oldebabe
    February 12, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Another bunch of silliness beyond belief.

  13. RDW
    February 14, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Night of the Living Dead, especially considering how cheaply it was made, was a fairly clever movie, but I agree that there’s just way too much turned out since then. It’s just gross and unoriginal. Lazy movie making. That’s not what I’d want to pay to see. I think that it probably IS bad for Human Culture. Occasionally, there’s a decent Vampire movie (Let Me In was well done) but there’s too much of that, too.

  14. Vin
    February 14, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Seriously strong repulsion here in Oz too (though there is no way they could have known the Indian born nurse would commit suicide)…..the Authorities in Australia have decided not to lay charges against the 2 radio breakfast show hosts.

    ps. talking about stuff that’s getting old, the ‘crank call’ thing is WAY past used by date. It was rife here for about a decade, with virtually every radio station being guilty of it at some point….I suppose radio show producers do it coz it’s a VERY cheap laugh (cost of a phone call cheap)

  15. RDW
    February 14, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    In the Zombie hoax, the hoax was directed at the general population and was clearly a joke. With the nurse who died the target was one person, who was then held up for ridicule publicly, made to look and feel like a fool, and derelict in her duty to both her profession and the people she was privileged to be working for. There’s a very big difference.

  16. spookyparadigm
    February 15, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    The Australian DJs radio hoax was repulsive. This is damaging to at a minimum the emergency broadcast system and other disaster-response efforts. I don’t find it funny, though I don’t think it is is nasty and insipid as the radio hoax.

  17. spookyparadigm
    February 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    First off, your last line there is important for a general issue regarding cultural analysis, including skepticism. So many times I’ve heard things like “Zombies are a response to 9/11” to “apocalypticism” etc.. Zeitgeist answers. I think there are elements of cultural context, though I’d largely place it in the blend of Christian apocalypticism and the growing cultural division within American society (and the zombie thing as we now know it is primarily driven by Americans).

    But I don’t think that explains where it came from, and when. Instead, it is an escapist teenage fantasy in no small part due to video games. Not in a moral sense, in a technical one. Romero and co. created the zombie movie heyday starting in the 1960s, continuing through the 1980s, as something of an undercurrent in pop culture, not even the most popular form of horror film (which were the even more insipid slasher films and related mainstreamed exploitation flicks). The zombie started becoming a real thing around the turn of the millennium, but I would argue that their model was part Romero et al, and part video games. In the 1990s, zombies made excellent video game enemies, because of their expected behavior. With primitive AI abilities, it made more sense for zombies to charge the player en masse, to be gunned down in early FPS and “survival horror” games. While Resident Evil is the obvious touchstone here, there were others (House of the Dead was a shooting game with several installments). And the great breakthrough FPS game, Doom, featured zombies in its earliest and most played levels, being an intro into a heavy metal scenario blending pop occult imagery with lovecraft-lite dimensional horror with biomechanical sci-fi trappings. Half-life followed a similar path but for making its zombies purely biological horrors.

    Zombies fit the technological limitations of 1990s video games perfectly. They were also an ideal answer to concerns over video game violence and militarism. In a post Grand Theft Auto world, we’re accustomed to players killing hundreds of people. And in a post Call of Duty etc. world, we’re accustomed to players killing hundreds of soldiers from real countries. But there was a time when these things would be frowned upon in video games. Even purposeful non-shootem-up military simulators caught flak for portraying real world enemies. Zombies and aliens (notice how many movies we’re beginning to see with soldiers fighting zombie-like human-scale aliens) allowed one to slaughter with abandon, but in a “cartoonish” sense, so it was ok.

    The ongoing zombie craze jumps to cinema with Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, and anyone who has seen a Zack Snyder movie knows that video games are massive inspiration for him, second only to comics. And it has all flowed in that direction. We’ve transitioned from video game movies to an era where movies are simply drawing on the style of video games for inspiration.

    I don’t like zeitgeist arguments for a number of reasons. Explanations that can point to the mechanics of how something actually happened, exposing its component parts, are far more powerful, even if they don’t allow one to make cultural or political opinion points.

  18. spookyparadigm
    February 15, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    And as for the awful politics of zombies, they’re a nastier twist, but still just a twist, on a decades old post-apocalypse fantasy (itself an adaptation of the Wild West myth) by a subset of Americans who do not like the direction the larger society has gone since the 1960s. It’s a blend of ethnic and class anxiety.

  19. Mr. Shreck
    February 15, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    That is a very novel and very cool theory that makes plenty of sense to me. It’s an excellent example of how an evolutionary Markov chain in a cultural meme looks almost conspiratorial in hindsight.

    An idea I’ve toyed with is that our fascination with the “fighting zombie hordes” thing arises from general boredom among a populace living a relatively pampered life compared to the sweep of human history and desperate for real survivalist action, also reflected in the popularity of paintball and extreme fitness challenges. I’ve also wondered whether it might be connected to the (apparently) common view that those who do not share political ideology are “sheep” or “zombies”.

    Snyder remaking Dawn, eh? I’ll have to look into that. Sucker Punch is one of my favorite films, and I am convinced to this day even he doesn’t know the manifesto he crafted in it.

  20. Mr. Shreck
    February 15, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    I’ll take A Boy and His Dog, personally.

  21. spookyparadigm
    February 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    I think of it from the perspective of archaeologist Pierre Lemonnier’s chaine operatoire, of examining an artifact in the steps taken to produce it, rather than as just a finished product. Reverse engineering pop culture as a thing, rather than trying to read it as a “text.” As for the survivalist tie into paintball and politics, I’d harken all the way back to James Gibson’s book Warrior Dreams: Violence and Manhood in Post-Vietnam America. I don’t agree with all of it, and some things are outdated. But the idea of a New War, one tied to changes and challenges to masculinity, is an important one. The zombie apocalypse is not the New War, but it is very much related, IMO.

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