"Last days" sermon interrupts cable coverage in California

California cable subscribers forced to hear about the coming Rapture

By Matthew Sheffield
September 22, 2017 4:33PM (UTC)
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This artist rendering provided by the European Southern Observatory shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of Proxima itself. Proxima b is a little more massive than the Earth and orbits in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. (European Southern Observatory via AP) (AP)

Residents of California's Orange County who subscribe to Cox Communications' cable service were temporarily forced to listen to a sermon speaking about the "last days" of the Earth.

Joe Camero, a spokesman for Cox, told the Orange County Register that the broadcast of the ominous-sounding sermon was the result of an error caused by the cable company incorrectly broadcasting radio station content.

Reports of the message began trickling onto the web at around 11:11 local time, first on a Reddit discussion board set up by Orange County Residents. The errant broadcast appears to have been an excerpt from a sermon series entitled "Depravity on Parade" by a Texas pastor named Chuck Swindoll, according to several Reddit posters who heard both.


"Realize this: That in the last days, extremely violent times will come," a recording of Part 3 of the series begins.

A representative for Spectrum, another cable company offering service in the area which also ran the sermon, said that the company had been given the wrong file for use in testing its emergency alert system.

"It was the most unsettling thing I have ever heard in my life. I heard music playing and a man talking but his tone was scary and oddly went with the music," one Orange County Reddit user posted. "I couldn't make out any words because the quality was bad."


The out of place broadcast made some social media users concerned that conspiracy-minded evangelical Christians had hacked into Southern California's cable systems to spread the word about a hoax theory about an imaginary planet called Nibiru which supposedly is going to signal the end of the world sometime on Saturday.


Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via m.sheffield@salon.com or follow him on Twitter.

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Conspiracy Theories Cox Communications Orange County Southern California