The Daily Mail, UK
Fri, 01 Apr 2011 00:00 UTC
But as a bizarre outbreak of television presenters speaking gibberish claimed another victim, a new and outlandish explanation has emerged... that the U.S. military could be behind it.
The phenomenon, which has provided internet video sites with a selection of amusing clips, claimed one of America's most highly-paid broadcasters when Judith Sheindlin, known as Judge Judy, was taken to hospital on Wednesday after she began speaking nonsense while recording her courtroom TV show.
Conspiracy theorists now claim all the signs point to the U.S. military using microwaves for mind control.
America has never admitted conducting such research, but proponents say the effects - produced by microwave signals stimulating the brain with fake images and voices - exactly mimic those displayed in the on-air breakdowns.
Exactly why the Pentagon might be targeting television presenters, however, the theorists are less clear.
Studio insiders said Mrs Sheindlin, who earns £28million a year for a show that is the most watched programme on American daytime TV, 'started saying things that didn't make any sense'.
She then announced she needed to stop as she didn't feel well and asked a crew member to call an ambulance.
The 68-year-old lawyer was taken to hospital after her verbal breakdown, but her spokesman said medical tests had not revealed what caused it.
In a similar incident, Mark McAllister of Global Toronto News garbled his words while discussing military action in Libya last month.
He told viewers that the Canadian defence minister had confirmed that 'more than sifty four 18 fighter jets are spending about as much as 20 and ready to assist 600 hundred, hundred deployed over the an-amount needed'.
His language went on to become even more odd before he signed off, saying that the UN had received support 'from all palleries in the hi-iews of the garden today'.
His employers later confirmed there had been no problem with the autocue, and doctors diagnosed Mr McAllister with a migraine.
Serene Branson, a Los Angeles reporter for CBS, described being 'terrified and confused' as she delivered an incoherent piece from the Grammy music awards last month.
The presenter was unable to get out her words and struggled to speak for around ten seconds before producers cut her off and screened a pre-recorded video.
She said later: 'My head was definitely pounding and I was very uncomfortable, and I knew something wasn't right.'
Her doctor later said she had suffered a complex migraine, the symptoms of which mimic a stroke.
Sarah Carlson of WISC-TV in Wisconsin successfully began a broadcast about healthcare reforms but, clearly struggling to read her autocue, she lapsed into gibberish before the camera switched to her startled-looking co-presenter.
Unlike the others, the 35-year-old has a history of seizures, but America's conspiracy theorists are unconvinced by medical explanations.