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Sunday, December 24, 2023

Decemystery (2023) 24: The Television Demon

Hello, dear reader! I hope your Christmas Eve morning is a fantastic one; if you aren’t reading this on Christmas Eve, then I hope your day is still amazing. Anyway, welcome back to my blog; it’s time for another round of Decemystery fun. This story is one that caught my eye for a multitude of reasons, not the least being its title.

When I was a wee lad, I remember two horror movies very fondly: The Ring and The Grudge. If you weren’t alive back then (2002 and 2004, respectively), they were American remakes of two Japanese horror films: Ringu and Ju-On. Their success led to an abundance of Asian horror films being remade here in the United States. Most of them were absolute trash. In fact, I think the aforementioned two films were the only ones that were deemed good in some capacity.

Anyway, those two movies had a huge influence on me. The Grudge scared the living daylights out of me as a kid; that croaking will forever haunt my nightmares. Meanwhile, The Ring always stuck with me for the visual of a ghost crawling out of a television. It’s equal parts surreal and terrifying; I absolutely adore it and wish more horror movies did more creative things like that.

That brings us to today’s story. When I was searching for things to write about, I stumbled across an account that reminded me a lot of The Ring. I knew right away that I had to cover it; there was no way I was passing up the opportunity to cover something like that. So come along, let’s take a look at The Television Demon!

Poor Signal Reception

I found this story on, which we’ve visited quite a bit this month. There, it’s titled “Big Screen Ghoul,” which I have to admit is a pretty eye-catching title. However, I changed it since I always associate the “big screen” with movie theaters and not a home television system. So, for the sake of consistency, I’ll be calling the entity in this story ”The Television Demon,” rather than the “Big Screen Ghoul.”

Now, it’s time to get into the story proper. The exact date isn’t given, so I tagged this write-up with the “Unknown Date” tag. That said, I suspect it occurred around the time it was posted to About, which was November 2004. A man named Brando submitted an account about an experience he had after arriving home from work. It was around 11:00 p.m. (or 23:00 for my 24-hour time readers), and Brando wanted nothing more than to relax after a hard day of doing whatever he did for a living. So, he went to his refrigerator and grabbed a beer. Then, he sat down in front of his “big screen TV to relax.” I’m not sure what he planned on watching, but I’ll pretend it was Law and Order. 

During this riveting episode of Dick Wolf’s never-ending law drama, Brando’s television screen “turned completely orange.” At first, Brando thought that his television’s turner had gone out. Being the technically illiterate dipstick that I am, I had no idea what this was. I’d be lying if my mind didn’t immediately go to Ted Turner, but no, it has nothing to do with him. Apparently, it’s what allows your television to get various stations. If I’m wrong, please correct me.

Brando’s first course of action was to grab his remote and “hit some buttons.” This did not work. Even the power button has decided to go on strike. So, Brando found himself sitting before a television with an orange screen. Insert your own modern-day political joke here; I know at least one person reading this wants to do it.

Suddenly, Brando saw something. It was a face—or, it was sort of a face. He said that it lacked eyes and only had a mouth. I don’t know if it had a body or if it was a disembodied head. Either way, it “got larger and larger on the screen,” so I’m guessing it made its way toward him. Then, despite not having eyes, it “looked” at Brando and screamed, “I got you!”

This, unsurprisingly, scared the living 240p soul out of Brando. He got his keys and bolted out of his apartment before making his way to his girlfriend’s home. Presumably, his television’s new resident watched the entire time with its non-existent eyes. Alas, everything after that was unavailable for viewing; luckily, you and I can enjoy it. Before he arrived at his girlfriend’s home, Brando called her up and told her about his incident, to which she laughed. I hope she wasn’t driving when he called her.

Upon arriving at his girlfriend’s home, Brando “made her come back” to his apartment. I have no idea why he’d want to go back to the place where some eyeless demon screamed, “I got you!” to him, but whatever. Brando’s girlfriend agreed to go with him; when they got back, the two found the television screen had turned black. What’s more, it wouldn’t turn on.

Brando rounds off his story by saying he thinks about the incident every time he watches television. He also says he has no idea why it happened. In a postscript, Brando claims that he brought the television to a repair store, only to be told the technician was unable to find anything wrong. Because of that, his beloved TV would never turn on again. Pour one out for what I believe was an early-to-mid 2000s television set.

With that, the tale of The Television Demon comes to a close. There’s something deeply unsettling about this—aside from the memories it brings back about The Ring. The idea of being confronted by something through a screen gives me the same sense of discomfort I get when I imagine something watching me from outside my window. It’s just flat-out terrifying to me.

Anyway, as per the norm, there are some theories to go over—quite a few, in fact. So, without further delay, let’s jump right into them.


1. A hoax

Let’s just get this one out of the way; I’m sure most of you know the song and dance now like you’re a seasoned Broadway performer. People fabricate stuff all the time; it’s the norm on the Internet. However, with today’s story, I do think it has a bit of merit—more than normal.

Given this story was posted in 2004, two years after the release of The Ring and the same year as The Grudge, it’s possible that Brando wanted to write his own story after watching one (or both). I should note that The Grudge rode heavily off of the positive reception The Ring got; I remember DirecTV’s pay-per-view advertisements boasting that it was “more terrifying than The Ring.” I have no idea why I remember that nearly two decades later, but I do.

Of course, I can’t prove that Brando made all of this up; it’s impossible unless, by some absurd chance, I got in contact with him or someone could prove it for me. So, rather than take in circles for an eternity, let’s move on to the next theory.

2. A demon

There’s a popular bit of paranormal lore that states spirits can screw with electronics. This has been seen in a lot of movies, but I don’t think it’s ever been utilized to its fullest extent. I would love to see a ghost draw all of the power from a television or computer to manifest itself in electrical glory. I think it’d look insanely cool.

Anyway, my point is that this theory posits that a demon—or some other malevolent entity—possessed Brando’s television. Right off the bat, I will say that this theory would explain why the television broke without any apparent cause. A demon did it through its demonic powers. No one would ever suspect a thing! However, that’s about all it has going for it.

Exactly why this demon would have done this is not clear at all. In fact, virtually nothing is. How the demon got into Brando’s life lacks any explanation, why it chose him, and if anything happened after he saw the ghoulish face (despite the thing having said it “got” him) are all left unanswered. Unless Brando posted additional stories down the line (which I don’t know if he did), the thing that was on his television did nothing. How anticlimactic.

On top of that, I’m not all that familiar with demons—or ghosts in general—possessing televisions in order to appear before people. While it’s a neat concept, I cannot make any other story where a spirit decided to do a ghostly rendition of the Max Headroom broadcast hijacking. If you know of any others, feel free to let me know. Until then, this theory really lacks anything going for it.

3. Brando fell asleep and had a nightmare

Have you ever had a dream that was influenced by the waking world? For example, I once had a dream that was influenced by an episode of Mysteries at the Museum that was on; I believe it was about something that happened during the American Revolutionary War. It was really strange to experience since it felt less like a fully-fledged dream and more like a weird daydream. I remember a snowbank and people marching. I want to say it may have had to do with Benedict Arnold, but I can’t remember for certain.

Anyway, that’s what this theory is about. Brando fell asleep without realizing it, and something on the television influenced his dream. As a result, he had a nightmare about a creepy, eyeless demon that said it had finally gotten him. It’s like me when I’m playing Pokémon, and I finally get the one I want after hours of looking.

The main problem with this theory is that it doesn’t explain what caused his television to break. In truth, I don’t think any of the theories do, but this one in particular leaves it without an answer entirely. The best I could do is say that, by coincidence, the screen burned out or something malfunctioned. By some odd chance, the technician didn’t catch it. That, or they were trying to get him to buy a new one since they would make more money that way. Or they were lazy and didn’t want to do work. If I’m to be honest, the latter two wouldn’t surprise me.

4. The beer was spiked

This wasn’t a theory I actually had. Rather, it was one a friend sent me that I found rather entertaining, so I figured I’d use it. I’m sure she won’t mind. At least, I sure hope she won’t!

Anyway, all she had to say was that the beer was spiked—presumably with some sort of hallucinogen. After that, he saw the creepy demon on his TV. As for how it broke, all she had to say was, “Magic.” I can’t argue there.

In the interest of fairness, alcohol can cause hallucinations (I’ve mentioned this before), but it usually requires a great deal of alcohol for that to happen. Not a single beer. I also doubt the television would break because one man decided to drink a beer. Unless Brando damaged it himself without realizing it. However, in that case, I imagine the technician would have been able to determine that.

5. Interdimensional tomfoolery

To receive this theory, please pay for a bigger service package.

6. It was Ted Turner

He destroyed the television because Brando didn’t watch enough TBS.

My Take

Based on what little there is, I have to say that I think Brando more than likely fell asleep without realizing it and had a nightmare. Granted, that doesn’t explain everything, but it’s possible his television screen burned out, and neither he nor the technician realized that.

If I had to hazard a guess, it’s possible that Brando fell asleep and, on the television, there was an ad for The Grudge. As I said earlier, DirecTV’s pay-per-view promos for the film advertised it as being “more terrifying than The Ring.” So, I imagine that maybe Brando heard that in his sleep and dreamt of something evil on his television.

Of course, that take is primarily based on things that have happened to me. I’ve had dreams influenced by what was on my television. I’m also relying on this story, which occurred around the time The Grudge was released; Brando never stated when it happened. If it happened prior to The Ring having been released, then I have no idea. It’s still possible it was a vivid nightmare. Or, it was completely made up. I think both are very likely if this happened before 2002.


With that, we can safely turn off that television without any fear of some demon appearing and giving us a terrible fight. It’s all thanks to the cable company’s extended warranty on any and all beings of the afterlife not being able to get through their advanced firewall—or something. I’m pretty sure I just upset a lot of tech students with that statement.

Anyway, I would love to know what you think the truth behind this story is. Did Brando dream it up? Was it a hoax? Or did a demon possess his television? Leave a comment letting me know. And as always, stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!

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