5 Freaky Phone Calls
What with all the hoopla over the Ghostbusters remake, we just had to ask: “Who you gonna call?” – especially from beyond the grave.
This creepy concept is nothing new – speculation dialed up in the days of Alexander Graham Bell, became a mainstay with the unforgettable 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone “Long Distance Call,” and continues to this day with Skype-centric horror movies like this month’s big screen feature fright flick, Unfriended. But it’s not all just fiction… countless citizens have reported some super-strange calls over the years. Here are just five of the freakiest.
1) The Zodiac Killer Calls in Sick
Twenty-five year old nurse Donna Lass wasn’t doing so well on September 6, 1970. Or maybe she was already dead when an unidentified man called her boss and her landlord, telling them she was indisposed and would be “out of town” for a while. The call was a hoax, and there has been no trace of Lass since.
Even though the circumstances of the young woman’s disappearance don’t quite fit his profile, the speculation that The Zodiac Killer is responsible for Donna’s demise persists. He did like to taunt police and victims’ families; so when reporter Paul Avery of the San Francisco Chronicle received a mysterious postcard six months later with that eerie rifle scope signal, the implication that Lass was a murder victim added a clue but never solved her case.
To this day, no one knows who called Lass’s landlord and boss.
2) Ditched Driver Disappears Mid-Call
Very late on the night of May 14, 2008, college student Brandon Swanson was driving home when he lost control of his car and wound up in a ditch on a gravel road. Swanson found himself in the middle of nowhere in Minnesota, but luckily he had a signal and he used his cell to call his parents. He said he was OK, and would start walking toward town so they could easily see him when they came to pick him up.
As Brian and Annette Swanson drove they kept Brandon on the line because they couldn’t find him. The teen said he saw city lights, but no street signs. “I talked to him for 47 minutes, and all of a sudden, he said, ‘Oh, shit!’ and the phone went dead,” Brian Swanson said in an interview with Pioneer Press. “There was nothing after that.”
That is the last anyone ever heard from Brandon. A huge search was mounted, but all that turned up was his crashed car. Authorities assumed he fell into a nearby river, but even after his unexpected exit, all calls to his cellphone rang. So if he did take a dive, he didn’t take his phone with him.
March 15, 2015 they found the boy’s body inside his SUV submerged in a retention pond. The one pond search parties had failed to search because it was not on any map. So, case closed. Detectives are still looking into whether this was a homicide case or just teenage folly, either way, our hearts go out to his family members who were left hanging for 91 soul crushing days after the night of the mysterious phone call.
3) Texting from Beyond – Overage Rates May Apply
When Frank and Sadie Jones and their children moved into their new home in the British resort town of Blackpool in 1996, they were plagued by what can only be called paranormal activity. It was malicious entity they called “The Thing”—it terrorized the Jones family by pulling on bed covers and banging on walls until finally, it was officially exorcized by Fleetwood Spiritualist Church.
It seemed to work for a few years, but when the coast was clear, bad luck returned two-fold. First the unexpected death of son Steven, then Sadie succumbed to a heart attack just a few months later. After she was buried with her most prized possession – her cellphone – the horror returned. To this day, Frank claims the late Sadie sends him SMSs from the grave. “There have been messages with words Sadie would say but there’s no number,” he told The Blackpool Gazette in recent interview.
4) Mike Hunt is on the Phone… for 10 Years
Everyone’s either made or received a prank call. From “Do you have Print Albert in the can?” to asking “Is Mike Hunt there?” – such random rings are usually harmless and fleeting. But when former Lebanese political hostage Bashir Kouchacji left his native country in the early 1980s to open a Moroccan restaurant in Washington, D.C., strange and unrelenting anonymous phone calls started coming in. And kept coming in… for almost a full decade.
Where ever Kouchacji went, the calls followed. Mostly they went to his restaurant, but even the private lines of his friends and family were not sacred. Because the adult caller softened his voice to sound like a little child, the calls were attributed to “L’enfant.” The calls ranged from demands for money, to death threats, and screamed obscenities. The FBI put a trace on the restaurant phone to confirm that L’Enfant was the real deal; but they never could catch him because the calls were coming from different payphones from all over the city and at such a volume that it would have been impossible for only one person to be the dirty dialer.
But there was no way to catch him, and the case was closed. As a result, the restaurantuer became deeply distressed. He barely slept and when he did, he had terrible nightmares. He developed psychosomatic disorders and in 1987, he checked himself into the psychiatric ward of Sibley Memorial Hospital. Kouchacji has been there, off and on, ever since.
5) Train Crash Victim Dials 35 Friends
On September 12, 2008, two trains collided in Los Angeles, killing 25 people and injuring several others. One of the victims was Charles E. Peck, a hopeful job applicant who never made it to the interview. Over the next several hours as rescuers sifted through the wreckage, Peck’s fiancée and family members got calls from his cell phone. All in all, a total of 35 calls went out. There was nothing but static on the other end of the line, and calls to his cell went unanswered.
Sadly, Peck died on impact. He never could have made any of those calls himself, and while a random pressing of buttons of speed dial might explain a few calls, why would the call be only to his nearest and dearest? …And why was his phone never found?