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Numbers Stations May 28, 2007

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.

Alas, while reading up on the Berlin Wall (It’s funny how much World History I’m enjoying these days – in High School, it was my least favorite subject.) I came across the phenomena of Numbers Stations. And the unknown has completely unnerved me.

Basically, starting from around World War I and continuing to this day, various short wave radio stations broadcast series of numbers in a variety of languages – English and Spanish are heard through the US – Russian, German, English and others throughout Europe. Most of the stations are of completely indeterminate origin, and the meanings of the messages are totally unknown, though there has been one case of messages being intercepted by US intelligence and used in a case against Cuba. They continue on set schedules, broadcasting series after series of numbers to persons unknown. Some have shut down since the fall of the Berlin Wall, while new stations have appeared – activity has actually increased since the fall of the iron curtain.

It seems very innocuous at face value – the commonly accepted theory is that various countries send coded messages to undercover agents using these shortwave stations. The messages can be decoded without the need for advanced technology, and can be intercepted with devices that are fairly simple and unlikely to arouse suspicion.

Regardless, the secrecy involved and the sound of disembodied, robotic voices sending messages from parts unknown to persons unknown makes me very uneasy, especially when I consider that, at this moment, many are being transmitted and with the proper equipment I could listen to messages clearly not intended for civilian ears.

Like many people, I dislike the unknown. But this isn’t just the unknown – it’s the possibility of a sinister, secret world being operated around me, and at any moment one of those messages might change my life, as I know it. It is totally beyond my control – unknown, unstoppable, unrecognized and denied by any government or agency (it is actually illegal to listen to these broadcasts in the UK), possibly slowly sliding the world into some form or structure I won’t like – or can’t be a part of. I don’t like knowing that these radio waves are seeping through my house, perhaps being listened to by someone in a building I can see from my balcony, to what purpose? I’ll never know. (One of the few traceable stations has been confirmed to be coming from Miami.)

There’s nothing I can do to control or eliminate things like this, so I’ll eventually learn to push them to the back of my mind…it’s still unsettling to realize that there are still so many unexplained activities quietly operating out of sight of the world’s general population that have the potential to impact that population on a grand scale.

Maybe in a hundred years this will all be obsolete, and various curiosities will be sated.

To hear a typical ‘numbers broadcast’ overlaid over a video of the former Berlin Wall, click here

I’m now going to sit here and quietly drink wine with all the lights on, frowning through paranoia. =p



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