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Conspiracy theories and science-fiction scenarios animated the web.

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This is the question, revived by an article from the French National Audiovisual Institute, which has animated the web in recent days.

Twenty years after the deadly attacks in America and around the world, the INA has looked at a strange phenomenon to say the least that occurred during Patrick Poivre D’Arvor’s live stream of September 11, 2001.

The event in question was highlighted by Katharina Niemeyer, a communication student who was researching the treatment of these events by different media. And what caught her attention in 2005, as she was viewing archival footage of September 11, 2001, raises its fair share of questions.

On September 11, 2001, TF1 viewers dozing in front of the afternoon TV movie did not have time to discover the outcome of the soap opera. At 3:30 p.m., the management of TF1 suddenly interrupts its programs and instead broadcasts the antenna of LCI, the group’s 24-hour news channel.

At that point, no one knows the scale of the events, although everyone understands that it is huge. Patrick Poivre d´Arvor tries to comment on the terrible images transmitted by the United States, while discovering them. “Two planes crashed just eighteen minutes apart in the Twin Towers, which of course makes one think of an attack”, observes the journalist. But in the midst of these sequences, the image of PPDA gives way to another familiar face.

Under the red banner “Live from the World Trade Center, New York”, successively appear a silhouette in a cockpit, a shadow in a white tunnel, a man with the face of Harrison Ford, and a shape that evokes a spaceship. Return to the face of PPDA which pursues, impassive, its special edition.

In Lyon, in 2005, Katharina Niemeyer takes time to identify these sequences when she sees them. The researcher is intrigued and very skeptical, reports INA. Searching for other testimonies, Katharina finds nothing. But since then, the subject has evolved quietly on the forums devoted to September 11. Internet users wonder about “the very strange behavior of TF1”, others suspect “a hacking of the newspaper of Patrick Poivre d ‘Arvor” to “convey a message”, even a dubious joke. The rumor swells and ignites the web over the years, fueling the craziest theories.

Some details, however, allow us to come closer to the explanation, without being able to elucidate the mystery. Star Wars fans have noticed that the sequence shown on TF1 was not quite identical to that of the film, the action being condensed. INA reports that these attentive fans eventually found the likely source of this montage: a 1999 documentary about George Lucas’ special effects company.

Philippe Perrot, the deputy editor of the 20 Heures interviewed by the INA, remembers those hours perfectly. For him, it is simply a “dumpling of American sources” sending images all over the place. During her research, however, Katharina Niemeyer had studied ABC and CBS television news without spotting any Star Wars images.

This September 7, 2021, it is Internet users who have finally managed to unravel the mystery. The publication of the INA article relaunched the collective investigation and Internet users, who established that the famous documentary devoted to the special effects company of George Lucas had been broadcast on Canal on September 11, 2001 at 4 p.m. 12 – which revives the hypothesis of the bug in control. “The images that interest us appear 3 minutes and 29 seconds after the start of the documentary, that is to say precisely when they burst onto TF1”, observes journalist Mathieu Deslandes. And the magic of the internet worked to unravel one of the biggest mysteries of the small screen.

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Related title :
Attacks of September 11: how could Star Wars images end up live?
TF1: this mystery of the Star Wars images broadcast during the September 11 attacks finally solved

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