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Thursday, December 23, 2021

Decemystery (2021) 23: The Signal of Isla Han Samar

Today’s story is yet another one from the Forteana Map. It, much like the story of the “Elevator Riddle”, has virtually nothing on it. However, I opted to still cover it for two reasons. The first is that I wanted something else that was rather easy to cover (I stand by the excuse I gave when talking about the Elevator Riddle: I’ve had a rough year, please cut me a break). The second is that it doesn’t appear that anyone—not even Dead Rabbit Radio—has talked about this story. So, I figured it could be fun to be the first person to cover it.

At least, I believe I’m the first person to have covered it. If I’m not, I feel silly for missing whoever did. They didn’t appear in either Google or Bing’s search results, no matter how many times I tried to look up information on this story.

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning. This is the story of the Signal of Isla Han Samar.

The Story

First things first: let’s get one thing out of the way. When I began researching this story, I tried to look up Isla Han Samar. If you do so, you won’t be met with a Wikipedia page or anything of that sort for such a location. Instead, you’ll get results for songs and a location called Samar Island. Although I figured that Samar Island (which is near the central part of The Philippines) was “Isla Han Samar”, I wasn’t entirely convinced because I had no idea what the “Han” part was.

Luckily, I have a friend who lives in The Philippines, so I asked him. He himself wasn’t sure, but quickly found out that “Han is a preposition of the regional language there”. So, Isla Han Samar isn’t anything special, it’s simply “Island of Samar”. I’ve spent over a year thinking this was something I was missing, but it turns out that I was overthinking things. Go me!

Anyways, onto our story. According to the Forteana Map—which labels this story as “The Signal”—the event took place on January 17, 1993, off the east coast of Samar Island. At some point during the day, there was a broadcast hijacking; every boat at sea (I’m unsure about those that were docked and had their radio[s] on) was greeted with a 17-second-long overture of a man screaming. Then, once it (presumably) ended, every boat affected by the broadcast lost power for 20–30 minutes.

That’s quite literally the entire story. If you try to look up this story, you won’t get anything. At least, that’s what happened in my attempts to look it up; I tried different phrases, different ways of wording the title, and… well, there wasn’t much else than that. I just tried various things to get a result—even if it was from an extremely fringe website that would get slammed as being a conspiracy outlet, but there was nothing to behold.

In all honesty, this is rather disappointing. The story is actually quite interesting (for what little is offered) and had me hoping there was something out there. Alas, that doesn’t appear to be the case. In spite of that, there are still some theories to go off of, so let’s get to them.


1. It really happened

The first theory we have is that the incident really did happen. There really isn’t much to say here other than it actually did happen. The real question would be: why did power go out after the screaming stopped?

That’s a question I can’t answer because I have no idea what would’ve caused it. The only thing that comes to mind is the man had been abducted by aliens, was having tests performed on him, the screaming was broadcast to sailors, and then the UFOs caused their engines to stop.

In cases of a UFOs presence, it’s not uncommon for vehicles to mysteriously shut off (this is especially common with people who claim to have been abducted). So my best guess is that the aliens, for whatever reason, caused every boat to stop working. If this really is the case, then one must ask why the aliens would do such a thing when they had no interest in abducting a bunch of random sailors.

To answer that question, one must also stop asking questions because I have no idea why they’d do that, nor does anyone else. Maybe the aliens wanted to pull a prank. Maybe the abductee did it by accident when trying to escape. Or maybe it wasn’t aliens, but some other mysterious force that none of us are familiar with. Spoooooky!

2. It was made up for the map

Much like the story of the Elevator Riddle, there’s the possibility that this story was made up for the sake of adding something to the Forteana Map.

Just like with the Elevator Riddle, the only evidence I have for this theory is based on my time looking up various phrases on Bing and Google. I can’t get any sort of results for anything involving a mysterious signal that preceded boats losing power for an extended period of time. As such, you more or less have to take the word of someone who only did so much Internet searching.

My Take

Unlike the case of the Elevator Riddle, I’m more inclined to believe that this story was made up. It’s a lot more far-fetched than it, and it doesn’t really have the possible fallbacks to why it wouldn’t be major news. While Turkey ended up having a coup the following year, and the case might’ve not been anything of note in Ankara, this one surely would’ve gotten a bit of attention. After all, the power going out on a bunch of boats all at once would be very unusual and would attract a considerable amount of attention.

The only thing that makes me scratch my head in confusion is why it would be made up. Almost every story on the Forteana Map can be found with some searching, but this one, the aforementioned Elevator Riddle, and the “Groves Kurt Incident” (and I believe one or two others) don’t have any sources. My best guess is they’re just gags, or from a book that I’m not aware of (like a few that I’ve cited this month). If the creator of the map happens to read this, I would love an answer since, if I’m wrong in assuming they’re fake, I would love to read into them more.

I’d also like to say that I’m truly sorry there isn’t more to go off of. Like I said at the start, I did want something easier to work with, and this was something simple enough that I could make work without it being shallow. Some may still find it to be that way, but I think that trying to expand upon something so obscure is still rather fulfilling and can offer something for one to sink their teeth into.

On one final note, while I have no idea why the person would have been screaming, I’d like to imagine that it was because he was having visions of the 2011 Green Lantern movie. Sorry to anyone who likes that movie.


I won’t lie: even if this story does end up being fake, it’s one of the creepier stories I’ve come across. There’s something very ominous and surreal to it, like a good horror novel. I’d really like to see it expanded into a full-blown story. Until that day (if it ever comes), I hope that you have a wonderful day, and remember: stay happy and stay healthy. I hope to see you tomorrow!

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