“CALLING 555-TERROR” Terrifying True Phone Call Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: We usually expect our horror stories to involve a haunted house or a fog-shrouded graveyard. But in modern times some of the most terrifying stories have begun with a simple phone call.
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Sure, we’ve all received creepy phone calls from a random prankster…but what about those unexplained phone calls that led to tragedy? Those calls which foretold of death approaching, or even more chilling a phone call from the ghost of someone who is already dead? Over the years, the wonderful invention of Alexander Graham Bell has not always been used to reach out to friends and family but instead at times has become the instrument employed to terrorize, horrify, or mystify. Phone calls have been made by killers to contact their victims’ families, taunting them. Others have taken prank calls to the next level, and people have come up missing, or worse, dead. Sometimes, there is no explanation whatsoever about a phone call that chills you to the bone. Tonight I’ll share some of the strangest, most bizarre phone calls ever received, and for some, the crimes to which they’re attached.
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
Welcome, Weirdos – this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
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Coming up in this episode, we usually expect our horror stories to involve a haunted house or a fog-shrouded graveyard. But in modern times some of the most terrifying stories have begun with a simple phone call.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
You don’t need a haunted house, a cemetery, or even a dark road through the woods to experience terror. Sometimes terror comes to you – via a phone call.
At around 10 am on November 22, 1963, a call was made to an operator in Oxnard, California. A woman began whispering to the operator. She stated that the president was going to die at approximately 10:10 am. The time came and went, and as far as the operator was concerned, the president was still alive. Then, the mysterious caller changed the time of the president’s supposed death to 10:30. The switchboard operator, believing to be a victim of a prank call, disconnected the line. President John F. Kennedy was in Dallas, Texas, riding in a motorcade on that fateful day. He was shot and killed at 12:30 pm, which was 10:30 am in California where the call was made. The telephone company was never able to trace the calls, and the case of the anonymous telephone call about the president’s death remains unsolved.
The JFK files, declassified in 2017, also contained notes about an unidentified caller in the UK who predicted JFK’s deathless than half an hour before it happened. This call also was never traced, and its origins remain a mystery.
Bashir Kouchacji was a restaurant manager at the Marrakesh, a Moroccan restaurant in Washington D.C. Starting in 1983, a mysterious caller or callers began calling the restaurant on a daily basis, harassing the employers. The caller would threaten the employees with death and attempt to extort them, sometimes yelling obscenities. The caller would call the restaurant upwards of 15 to 20 times per day. Kouchacji received the brunt of the abuse, and the majority of the threats seemed to be specifically for him. Even when Kouchacji was not at the restaurant, the phone calls followed him. Kouchacji would often travel to Pennsylvania to work at a sister restaurant of his, and the harassing phone calls would begin as soon as he stepped foot in the building.
For Kouchacji, the harassment was reminiscent of when he was kidnapped and tortured in 1974 by the Palestine Liberation Organization while staying in Lebanon. In fact, Kouchacji believes that the phone calls and his kidnapping are related, that someone was still trying to get to him from the kidnapping incident. Kouchacji became so paranoid and worried over the mysterious phone calls, he began losing sleep, not being able to eat, and his entire life suffered because of it. Eventually, he checked himself into a psychiatric hospital, where he still goes when his life is too stressful. The FBI became involved in the case and were attempting to trace the calls, but were only able to trace the calls coming from random payphones from across the Washington area. The phone calls eventually stopped after nearly 10 years, and Kouchacji finally left the mental hospital. He never found out from where the calls came.
25-year-old Donna Lass worked as a nurse at the first-aid station in a Tahoe casino. On September 6, 1970, she would disappear from the casino, never to be seen or heard from again. Various officers and detectives have worked on the case over the years, and many are under the assumption that Lass was a victim of the Zodiac Killer. The Zodiac Killer was responsible for a series of murders that took place in the ’60s and ’70s, taunting the police during his spree, and while there have been many suspects over the years, the killer has never been identified. What’s interesting about the Lass case was that a man had called both her boss and landlord stating that due to a family emergency, Lass would not be around for a while. Her boss at the casino was concerned by the call and called Lass’s mother, who informed him she was not aware of any family emergency. If police are correct and Lass was a victim of the Zodiac Killer, it is likely he was responsible for the phone calls.
The Long Island serial killer is a suspect in a string of murders which have taken place near Long Island, New York. Police have yet to identify the person responsible for the killings but have been able to link him to several due to his alleged modus operandi. The killer appears to choose sex workers as his victims primarily. He dumps their bodies on Gilgo Beach or Oak Beach. All of the women seemed to be strangled to death, their bodies wrapped in burlap sacks.
24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy is one of the victims linked to the Long Island serial killer. Barthelemy, a sex worker who used Craigslist to find customers, had made an appointment with a client on July 10, 2009. Barthelemy was never seen or heard from after the date. However, a week after Barthelemy’s disappearance, her younger sister Amanda began receiving phone calls from Barthelemy’s phone. The calls continued coming over the course of six weeks, and text messages as well. The police were only able to figure out the general area that the calls were being placed from, such as Madison Square Garden. The caller harassed Amanda, asking her vulgar questions and eventually telling her that her sister was dead, and that they were responsible for her murder. Eventually, the calls ceased, and it is assumed that the person responsible for Barthelemy’s death was the one who made the disturbing calls to her sister.
49 years old Charles Peck died in a tragic accident on September 12, 2008. Peck was traveling from Salt Lake City, Utah to Los Angeles, California for a job interview. Peck’s fiance lived in California, and he was hoping to find a job so he could relocate to be near his wife-to-be. Unfortunately, once Peck arrived in the city, he was involved in a Metrolink train crash and killed, along with 24 others. A total of 35 calls were made from Peck’s cell phone after the accident to members of his family and his fiance. Anyone who answered the calls was met with complete silence. Later it was discovered that Peck died on impact from the crash, so it is unclear how those 35 mysterious calls were made after his death.
On October 27, 1989, 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic was kidnapped from a Bay Village, Ohio shopping center. Tragically, her body was discovered four months later in a field with multiple stab wounds. Although the killer has never been caught, the case remains open with police diligently trying to find the perpetrator.
An odd fact regarding the case concerns a phone call that Mihaljevic received from a stranger the week of her kidnapping. The caller spoke to Mihaljevic about her mother getting a promotion at work. They wanted to take Mihaljevic shopping to get a gift for her mother but insisted she not to tell her mother about the shopping excursion, as they wanted it to be a surprise. While Mihaljevic did not tell her mother about the call, she did tell her older brother Jason, as well as a friend from school. The she and the mysterious caller set up the October 27 date for the shopping trip, and that would be the last location Mihaljevic was ever seen alive. The police investigating the case soon learned that Mihaljevic was not the only young girl to get a phone call from the stranger. Several other girls in the area received the same kind of calls from a stranger, informing them that one of their parents received a promotion from work and that they wanted to assist them in getting a gift. Luckily, the other girls ignored the calls.
26-year-old Brandon Lawson disappeared after getting into an argument with his girlfriend on August 8, 2013. Lawson, a native of San Angelo, Texas left his home shortly before midnight with intentions of going to his father’s house. Lawson ended up running out of gas on the way to his dad’s place and called his brother to tell him where he was and that he had run out of gas. Shortly after placing the phone call to his brother Kyle, Lawson made a 911 call saying that he needed help, that he was in a field and to send the police. Lawson also mentioned to the police that he “ran into somebody.” Lawson’s reception was bad in the area, and his phone cut out at certain points in the call, making him hard to understand. By the time police arrived at the scene of Lawson’s abandoned truck, his brother Kyle, along with Kyle’s girlfriend also showed up. Lawson was nowhere to be found. Police did a thorough search of the area for Lawson, but have been unable to locate him. His phone, as well as his bank accounts, have not been accessed since his disappearance.
20-year-old Kelly Bergh Dove worked third shift at a local gas station in Harrisonburg, Virginia. While at work on June 18, 1982, Dove began receiving obscene phone calls and became concerned enough to call the police about the phone calls. During the first call, Dove asked if an officer could come to the gas station to keep her safe. For whatever reason, Dove had to make multiple phone calls to the police before anyone actually arrived to check out the situation. During the third and final 911 call, a frightened Dove asked the police to come quickly, that the man was driving outside of the station in a silver Ford pickup truck. By the time police finally arrived, there was no sign of Dove, and she has never been seen again. The case remains unsolved with no known suspects.
Sometime after 3 am on April 6, 1986, there was a knock on the door of Penny Cayedito’s apartment. Cayedito was asleep at the time and did not hear the knock, but Cayedito’s younger daughters recall their nine-year-old sister, Anthonette going to answer the door. Anthonette never returned to bed in the Gallup, New Mexico apartment. Cayedito noticed her daughter missing that morning and reported it to the police. Anthonette has never been found.
A year after her disappearance, police got a call from someone claiming to be Anthonette Cayedito. The girl explained that she was kidnapped and brought to Albuquerque by her captors. Before the girl could say anything else, a man was heard in the background yelling, “Who said you could use the phone?” The phone was quickly disconnected, but not before the girl claiming to be Anthonette can be heard screaming. The police cannot be sure whether the caller was actually Anthonette or not and was unable to trace the call. The case remains unsolved.
21-year-old Rebeca Gabriela Nuno was last seen leaving work in Cedar Hill, Texas, on May 31, 2005. Later that same day, a coworker received a call from Nuno saying that she was kidnapped. Weeks after she went missing, Nuno called her parents and told them to stop looking for her. Her parents thought the phone call was strange because Nuno refused to speak English to them. Nuno has not been seen or heard from since.
20-year-old Amber Tuccaro, from Mikisew Cree First Nation in Alberta, Canada went missing on August 18, 2010. Tuccaro was staying in a hotel with her one-year-old son and a friend of hers, and they planned on visiting Edmonton the next day. Tuccaro decided she would leave her son with her friend and attempt to hitchhike to Edmonton, where her friend and son would meet up with her the following day. Tuccaro was picked up by an unidentified man while she was on the phone with her brother, who just so happened to be in jail. Tuccaro became paranoid when the driver who picked her up began going a different direction than where Tuccaro had anticipated traveling. Due to her brother being in jail, the 17-minute phone call was recorded by the prison and Tuccaro can be heard saying to the driver, “You better not take me where I don’t want to go.” The driver can also be heard on the phone call, insisting he is taking Tuccaro to where she had requested.
The conversation with her brother turned out to be the last anyone heard from Tucarro. Two years later, her remains were discovered by horseback riders. Investigators released portions of the recorded phone call, hoping that someone will recognize the driver’s voice. The case remains unsolved.
42-year-old Dale Duane Williams lived in Nucla, Colorado where he owned a body shop. Despite Williams owning the shop, he was not a mechanic. That’s what makes his May 27, 1999, disappearance so strange. Williams received a call from a female stranded motorist on May 27, and he went to assist her. Williams’ friend was there when he answered the phone and knew he was going to help the person with their vehicle. The next day, when Williams’ wife realized he did not come home, she reported him missing. Williams was never seen or heard from again. Approximately two months later, his truck was located submerged in a river, but Williams was not in or around the vehicle. It is unclear who the alleged stranded motorist was, or whatever happened to Williams.
Up next… There are tons of people who got creepy phone calls…and chances are, theirs have been just as bad if not worse than yours. Several Reddit users shared their tales of the creepiest phone calls they’ve ever had over the years. Those stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!
Our next Weirdo Watch Party is tomorrow night, September 5th – we’ll be watching 1941’s “The Invisible Ghost” starring Bela Lugosi and Polly Ann Young, presented by horror hostess, Mistress Malicious! In the film, “The town’s most upright citizen suddenly becomes a homicidal maniac after his wife leaves him.” Join me, Mistress Malicious, and the whole Weirdo family for FREE as we watch the film on the website and chat about it at the same time! Again, it’s tomorrow night, September 5th! The Weirdo Watch Party begins at 10pm Eastern – that’s 7pm Pacific, 8pm Mountain, 9pm Central on the Weirdo Watch Party page at WeirdDarkness.com!
There are tons of people who got creepy phone calls…and chances are, theirs have been just as bad if not worse than yours. Several Reddit users shared their tales of the creepiest phone calls they’ve ever had over the years.
These may not have crimes attached to them as our previous stories, but nonetheless these phone calls have kept people up at night for weeks or even years. Were they real people on the other end of the line? Ghosts? Versions of people from a parallel dimension? We’ll never know… but it sure it creepy to think about.
***”A few years ago my brother would get a call on his cellphone around 2:00 – 3:00 A.M. Every night. He would answer and it was this hellish sounding noise. Like static mixed with screams. He changed his cell number after a month of this and it stopped. Then after a week or so it began again. The exact same noise. Exact same time. Finally one day he decided to back dial the call. It was an old man that had no clue what he was talking about. Still the calls persisted. If he didn’t answer, it would call a few more times. No messages were left. He decided to say screw it. Ended his contract with his phone company, switched to a new one, and then got another new number. You guessed it, the screaming static calls continued after a short delay. By this time he was terrified every night. Unsure why this was happening. He back dialed the number again and got a different person. Around this time he lost his job and his phone. The calls stopped of course. His phone was disconnected now. So one day my mom asks me to listen to this weird message she got on our home phone. It was the static screaming. We showed my brother and he was freaking out. He back dialed the number again and it said the number was disconnected this time. Never heard from it again after that.”
***”When my sister was young, my parents got her a personal ‘phone’ – a landline so that she could feel ‘special.’ Yes, she was extra spoiled. It was a pre-paid landline though, so basically no one could call in or out if she ran out of credit, much like a mobile phone. Anyway, every night at 3am her phone would ring. She said there was a man on the other line, and she would get really scared and come running to my room. It escalated to the point that I asked her to please disconnect her phone before going to sleep because it was becoming extremely annoying to get woken up every single night by this ‘person’ that called her. Eventually she just got rid of the phone. A few years ago we were talking about it, and she confessed that her phone continued to ring even after she disconnected it, which is why she said she didn’t want it anymore. She has no recollection of what the person on the other end was saying, or maybe she’s just completely blocked it out.”
***”About a couple weeks after I was born my dad’s best friend, Jim, died. They were really close, and one of the last things he wanted was to hold little me before he passed. His wish was filled, and some short time after that he was gone. Fast forward 7 years. I’m now a happy 7-year-old with a 5-year-old brother and recently born sister. One day the phone rings, and with my mom out and dad in the washroom I thought it was going to be ignored as we kids were still too young to answer the phone (no call display, we didn’t know if there would be a stranger). But my brother broke the rules and answered. ‘Hello?’ At this point my dad is out of the washroom and is asking my brother to hand him the phone. He ignores him and keeps listening to whoever is speaking. Before my dad could ask a second time my brother hangs up, looks at him and says, ‘Jim says hi, and he misses SkywingNova,’ then goes back to playing. The look of shock my dad had is what I remember most about this.”
***”Before my family and I moved to another state, my father visited the area to check on the progress of our new house which was being built. My father was there for a few days and was staying at some crappy Motel 6 in a shady area of town. His room was the last room at the end of the hallway on the top floor. In the middle of the night on the last night he was in town he was woken by the phone ringing in his room. He groggily answers. It was the front desk and they say something along the lines ‘Sorry to wake you, but we’ve been receiving a couple of reports about rooms being broken into and some stuff being stolen. We are calling to make sure you lock your door and are safe.’ Myfather replies that he is fine and hangs up. He decides to double check that he locked the door. As he sits up in bed he notices that the door to his room is ajar. Being spooked, he cautiously checks the room and finds that nothing is missing and no one else is in the room. He creeps to the door and peaks out. Sitting right outside his room on the window sill of the hallway window is his shaving kit. Creeped out of his mind, he quickly grabs it and locks the door. After he calms down a bit he calls down to the front desk and says ‘Hey, you just called me about the break-ins around the hotel, and I just want to report that my room was broken into when I was sleeping, nothing stolen and I am fine. Figured you would like to know.’ The front desk replies, ‘You must be mistaken, we never called your room and we haven’t received any reports of breaks ins.'”
***”When I was a child we would frequently get calls for a woman named Tanya. Didn’t seem like a big deal, she had the same last name as us, although it’s quite a common one around here. When we moved across the city and phone books stopped being the go-to for finding somebody’s number, the calls for Tanya gradually stopped. Those days seemed to have ended and we carried on, forgetting about the mysterious Tanya. It was about 4 years ago that she popped up in our lives again. I was driving home from work one afternoon and was greeted by a pretty grisly car wreck at the turn to my house – two cars had collided and one had wrapped itself around the signage pole that had house numbers and directions on it, one of which was my house number. Several days later we get a call from the police. They asked if Tanya was at this residence. Her car was found wrapped around a pole – down the street from my house – and she was nowhere to be found at the accident site. Haven’t heard anything about her since.”
***”When I was younger my family was extremely poor and lived in a very old mobile home on some land my grandpa owned. This piece of land was in a very small town out in the middle of nowhere Texas and covered in woods. The town itself was your typical small country town where football was king and there was nothing to do but get drunk or high on the weekend. It was also the type of town, along with it being early 90s, where one didn’t typically have to worry too much about locking their doors or setting an alarm. Now, our trailer was a two bedroom and my parents, always putting us kids ahead of themselves, slept in the living room on a fold out couch. My room was directly connected to it and my sisters room was down a hallway past the kitchen and bathroom at the other end of the trailer. One night, after everyone had gone to bed, my dad is woken up by a feeling that there is someone in the room. He looks around a bit and sees a large male figure sitting in the easy chair just feet from the bed. My dad quickly flipped on the light switch next to his bed and saw it was a neighbor from down the road named Carter. Carter was known to be a frequent drug user and was often in trouble with the law because of this. My dad asked him what the f*ck he was doing here and told him to get out and he responded. ‘I can’t get out. The demons are chasing me and your house is the only safe one.’ My dad, who I should mention is fairly large and terrifying person, responded that if he didn’t get out and get out quickly that the house would be a lot less safe for him. ‘If I leave they’ll get me! They’ve been chasing me all night. If they catch me I’m dead.’ My dad’s response was that there were no demons but that if he didn’t get the f*ck out of his house that he’d be dead. From what I’ve been told, since I was asleep for this part, my mom also hurled a few threats and, while she may not be big, she was equally as terrifying. I believe it was her anger that finally scared him off. My dad got up and locked the door and watched through the blinds as Carter decided, since he couldn’t outrun the demons he’d steal our old beater Suburban that my dad always left the keys in. He drove around for about an hour. We called the police and it took them about that long to get out to us since the closest police station was about 20 or 30 minutes away. He finally brought it back and was arrested and taken to jail. He was deemed crazy and ended up locked in a mental institution. The scariest part is that for years after this we’d get phone calls where all we’d here is music that would have lyrics like ‘I’m going to f*cking kill you!’ These calls lasted for years and followed us from house to house even though we always had different numbers and would even be in different states. We always thought it was him sending us a message. The calls stopped when I was about 12. I later found out that it was around that time that Carter thought the best thing he could do for himself was soak himself in gasoline and set himself on fire.”
***”My grandmother died of brain cancer about twenty years ago. About two weeks after she died I was hanging out over at my parent’s place and my mom got a call – no number, no unknown number, just blank caller ID. She answered it, got quiet, hung up and went to her room without saying anything. When I finally got her to talk about it she said it was her mother, saying she was trapped and please come get her because they wouldn’t let her leave, over and over again, and then the phone disconnected. I asked her about it a few years ago and she denied that it happened for a bit and then admitted that it had happened two more times that year and then stopped, but she didn’t want to discuss it anymore.”
***”It was my first time staying home alone while my whole family was out at my brother’s ballgame (I was 13 I think). I’m on the phone with a friend of mine feeling so grown up when someone beeps in on the other line. I tell her I’ll be right back, and click over lines. Then the creepiest voice I have ever heard says, ‘Hello, little girl, I’m the man in your basement!’ Honestly, I laughed it off and just hung up thinking it was a prank call. I was a pretty confident little thing, and my neighborhood was pretty safe so I figured someone was just messing with me, knowing it was my first time alone. They beeped in again, so I clicked over and heard, ‘DON’T YOU F-ING HAND UP ON ME YOU LITTLE, B*@#!’ and the lights started flickering and there was banging under my feet. I KNOW it sounds crazy, but my dog started freaking out and my cat ran away, so I assure you I wasn’t imagining a thing. Our basement was actually just an area connected to the garage, it wasn’t finished. I heard what sounded like footsteps coming up the garage steps to get into our kitchen, and I threw stuff in front of the door and heard yelling and what not. I kept trying to hang up and call the cops, but every time I tried to, he was still on the phone. My friend told her parents what was happening, and they ran to the neighbors’ house to call the police for me. I sat petrified with a broken rifle, a butcher knife, and a baseball bat behind my front door because it’s the only place in the house downstairs that couldn’t be seen from a window, crying. Eventually I clicked over to hear a police dispatcher on the phone and stayed on the line with her until the police got to my house. There was no sign of forced entry, though we had a broken window pane on our outside garage door that had been messed up for months prior and my guess is he used that to get in. The police assumed I was just a paranoid girl, and they were going to leave me home alone after they gave an all clear. Fortunately a family friend had been driving by and saw the cops there and stopped to see if everything was okay. He gave me a ride to the school where my family was. They were skeptical that anything had happened, but we did get a security system not too much longer after that, and my parents both got cell phones too. This was ’94 I think so cell phones weren’t super popular yet. After that happened, I swear there was someone stalking me for years. I would leave my apartment locked and bolted and come back to find appliances on (hair dryer, stove), heat on in the middle of the summer. I lived in 4 different places, and would get strange phone calls at every one despite being unlisted. Cars would randomly be parked down the road from a house and speed up and slam on the brakes as I would run inside. I’d hear loud bangs outside when I lived out in the country. Nothing has happened since I’ve been in my current house and married, but I am still super paranoid all the time.”
***This one night when I arrived for work my supervisor looked confused and asked me what I was doing there. I said ‘I work tonight.’. And he said ‘But they said you called in a few hours ago saying that you were sick.’. I was a bit confused and said ‘It must have been someone else and they got the message wrong.’. After everyone else showed up for work that night it was a bit more weird, but we carried on as usual and assigned everyone their places for the night; I went to work in the control room where I usually work. The control room is the center of the prison that has direct control over the cameras, doors, phones and everything. After I relieved the guard on duty and settled in for the night, I looked at the message that said I called in. It said that I had called at 6:50 and said that I had gotten sick while out cleaning up after the storm. There had been a storm the night before and it was a bit bad, but not anything that I had to go out to clean up. It was truly weird. The supervisor came into the control about that time. He was also a friend of mine outside work and we started talking about it, and how odd it was. I decided to call my wife at home and tell her about it while he was still sitting there. I picked up the phone and dialed. After two rings a man picked up the phone and with a raspy voice said ‘Hello?’. I did not know what to say for a few seconds. I looked at the phone to make sure I dialed the right number, and I had. After a few seconds the person said ‘Hello?’ again in the same raspy voice. I said ‘Hello. who is this?’ ‘This is Taylor who is this?’ the person said. My head started spinning because my name is Taylor also. I said in almost a scream ‘Where is Ann?’. He said ‘Ann’s in bed. Who is this?’. I dropped the phone and told my supervisor to ring me out, I had to get home, and I took off towards the door. I could hear Dave pick up the phone behind me and say ‘Hello?’ followed soon after by ‘What the fuck!’ rather loudly. I ran to my car and drove home faster than what was legal, my mind racing the entire time. I busted through the door and my wife was sitting watching TV and was shocked at me being home. I asked her who was there and she said no one has been here. After a rather long talk with my wife, I went to call the prison to tell them what was going on, but the phone was dead. I went back to work and when I came in Dave was acting weird and asked me ‘How the hell are you doing this?’. He told me that when I left, he picked up the phone and the person on the other end sounded like me. He kinda freaked out and hung up the phone. A minute later as he could see my car leaving the parking lot, I had called back from home and asked what the fuck was going on. He said that I was a bit irate and said I was sick and did not feel like playing these games and was telling him to stop prank calling me and hung up. After convincing him I had no idea what was going on we went back to work. Later, I find out that the phone line for my area had been knocked down the night before by the storm. This is absolutely the strangest thing that has ever happened to me.”
***”Around the time I was 19 I was deployed to Iraq. My unit worked with bombs, and honestly, I didn’t know I would make it home intact. About halfway through my tour the red cross notified my unit that my father was terminally ill. Within a week I was on a plane back to the states. Now my dad being ill was something I had grown used to. He was strong though, and I never expected to actually lose him. I lost my mother when I was 7, and my father’s lungs had collapsed shortly before then. He was on oxygen and needed a wheelchair to go anywhere. Medication by the handfuls were needed every few hours. He gained weight from limited movement, developed diabetes, and had already beaten cancer once. I never expected to lose him and he wasn’t the type to ever give up. I arrive home, head to the hospital, and he assures me he’s fine and they’re overreacting. I visit him every day I’m there, but he tells me he’ll be fine by the time I get home ‘for good.’ I reluctantly go back overseas. I call his hospital whenever I have a few minutes of free time and we’re near a call center. My deployment finishes, and he kept his promise. He comes home from the hospital, because he says he doesn’t want to die there. He gets worse, and goes back. The family all visits, but we know he isn’t improving. One day I’m at home and the phone rings. It’s an unknown number, so I don’t answer. It goes to the answering machine, and a very raspy voice mumbles ‘Call the hospital.’ It’s my dad. I grab the phone, but he already hung up. So I call. They tell me he’s been intubated for the past couple hours and he just started going into cardiac arrest. He’s non-responsive, and we need to come say our goodbyes. I argue that he just called me, and she says that’s not possible. They’ve been working on him for some time now. I hung up and told my family the news. My sister and I stared at the answering machine. We played the tape again, and again. That was the last time I heard my father’s voice. I’m a skeptic. I don’t believe in the paranormal or ghosts, and I cannot come up with any logical explanation. I still get watery eyed thinking about it.”
***”Not my story, but my boyfriend (who for the sake of the story we will call Bob) shared this one with me. When he was about 8 – 10 years old (he isn’t sure of the age), he would receive calls on the house phone from some mysterious guy. The guy would call when Bob was the only one home (before his brother who was 3 years older than him would come back from school and when his parents were working). This guy would curse Bob out and tell him to ‘Shut up’ and to ‘Do whatever I say.’ The guy told Bob that he knew where he lived, he knew where Bob’s parents worked and he knew that Bob was alone. The guy told Bob that if he told anyone that he was calling Bob’s home he would kill his parents or him (guess whatever was more terrifying that day). Being a young, scared kid at the time, Bob complied and would do things like take off his clothes while on the phone or dance around in the living room. Bob didn’t tell me the full extent of the stranger’s demands, but a part of me really doesn’t want to know. So Bob entertained this guy for some time (again didn’t specify how long) until one day Bob’s brother comes home and sees Bob on the phone. Bob’s brother asks who it is and after getting off the phone an apprehensive Bob finally explains to his older brother the details about this mysterious caller. When Bob’s older brother found out, the next day he came home early for the call and with a few friends on speaker phone told the guy to f*ck off and that they would find him and with their posse and make his life a living hell (Bob lived in a predominately Italian neighborhood where the mob-life was very real). After they confronted the guy on the phone, the calls stopped and they were never harassed again.”
***”I was 16, and working at an ice cream store all alone, late at night. It was the beginning of March in Canada, so the ground was covered in a thick layer of snow. I got a phone call. ‘I can see you,’ a man’s voice said eerily. I looked around, in a panic. The store had huge glass windows on all sides. I couldn’t see anybody in the darkness. I cringed in shock. The man began to vividly describe how he planned to rape me. I was terrified, and as soon as the shock wore off (which seemed like ages, because I heard part of his sickening description) I hung up the phone. It was disgusting. I was hysterical. I rushed to all the doors and locked them. Then, I hid behind a counter with the phone. I was crying. I immediately called my boss, and told him what happened. I asked him if I should call the police (I know dumb move, I should have just called them). I was shocked by his answer. He said ‘It was a prank. Open the store. That man was probably joking. Go back to work.’ What a dick. He wasn’t even making money, because it was -15 and nobody was coming into the store, but he wanted me to endanger myself by opening up when some creep had been threatening me? I called my dad, who was furious. He came within 5 minutes. I closed the store, and he took me home. Needless to say, I never went back to work there again, and never spoke to my old boss again. Most terrifying thing ever.”
***”Way back in 5th grade or so, I discovered a glorious Pokemon themed chat room through the wonders of Yahoo. Within this chat room, there were maybe 15 regulars, generally between the ages of 12 and 16 or so, and we had a great time role playing various anime characters and story lines. Anyway, I got to know a few people from there well enough to chat with them on AIM or by phone and a few of those friendships lasted a good four or five years. One of these guys was a little eccentric- he LOVED creature/monster models and stories, stuff like Godzilla, Spawn, whatever. He believed in things like chupacabras, which I thought was silly, but didn’t really care, and he lived out in the boonies in some Midwestern state (which all seemed like hick-land to my young west coast mind). After getting to know him pretty well and having a good 100 hours of phone conversations over the years, he finally revealed this lovely story. He told me that sometimes he would black out and wake up to discover that he had, or was still in the process of, hurting or torturing animals and children. He had quite a few cousins and neighbor kids who lived nearby, and apparently had killed some animals. When he revealed this to me, I felt sick inside- I love animals, and this information chilled me to the bone. It was really hard for him to tell me this and he confided that I was one of the only people he had ever been able to tell. Then, it got weirder. Someone in his family, or maybe a family friend, decided that he must be possessed by a demon and that they had to perform an exorcism. They did it at night (of course) in a dark room lit by candles, and he was tied to the bed because they didn’t know how the demon would react. He was choking up as he described this part, I could hear his voice quivering because he was so emotional and terrified at this part of the story. He described a pretty creepy process, but the worst part was the end: he said they heard something hit the floor under the bed when the ‘demon’ left his body, and then something scrabbled across the floor and out of the room in the darkness, leaving claw marks in the wood floor. He was totally and completely serious about this, and how it cured him and he didn’t hurt things any more. I, as any sane person would do, noped right the heck out of that situation.”
***My brother once got a phone call from a man asking ‘how much are the girls going to cost?’, thinking it was a prank joke he said €50 an hour. BUT then the man followed up with another question, ‘And they’re all under 14 then?’ My brother immediately hung up the phone. He reported it to the police who said the number was unregistered.”
***”I was working at a hotel in Albuquerque. The graveyard shift. I had been talking to the security guard and he asked if he could get a ride home, so instead of waiting for 30 minutes for my shift to end I just left and left a note for my boss that said I left early because my brother was stranded outside of town and needed me to get him. It was a total lie on my part but I needed a good excuse to leave early. I drop off the security guard at his place then go home and go to sleep. A couple of hours of sleep and I wake up to my phone ringing..it was my brother…he tells me he is stranded outside of town and he needs me to go get him. I tell my brother the lie I told my boss and how much of a coincidence his calling me is. He says that’s not weird; he will show me what’s weird when I get there. I get there and ask him what is weird. He puts his phone up to my ear and plays a message that he got when he woke up that morning. It’s a voice that kinda sounded computerized but mostly just creepy sounding. It says: ‘YOU’RE STUCK.’ Freaked us both out. Never figured out where the call came from. Strangest creepiest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
*****”12 years ago, my brother died, and for that whole first year, a LOT of super weird shit happened to our family. The only conclusion I can come to (and I do really believe this) was that he was trying to contact us. A week after his funeral, my mom was home by herself and the phone rang. This was about 2 PM. The caller ID said that it was my brother’s house, so she figured it was my sister-in-law. Mom answered and when she said ‘Hello?’, there was no sound on the other end and no one answered. She said ‘Hello?’ again, and still no answer. Then the call disconnected. She waited till about 6 PM when my SIL came home from work, and she called her to ask if she’d come home from work and called her earlier. My SIL said no. She asked if the kids had come home early – my SIL asked my niece and nephew if they had come home to call Gran in the middle of the day, and neither of them had; they were in school the whole time till the end of the day. The phone was mounted to the kitchen wall, and the receiver was on the hook, so it’s not like the dog knocked it over and accidentally stepped on speed dial. We think it was my brother making contact to let my mom know he was around.”
***”I was with my girlfriend, Alex, and we were making out when the phone rang. I answered it. ‘What are you doing with my daughter?’ I asked Alex why her father would call me at this hour. ‘What are you talking about? My dad’s dead.’ She gave out a laugh.”
*****”Once, when I was a teenager, I was waiting at an abandoned gas station in downtown Akron to meet a dealer to buy some weed. This was in about 1993 or 1994, so payphones were still functional and in pretty common use. As I was waiting, the payphone in the parking lot started ringing. Bear in mind, it was at about sunset on the outskirts of downtown and not another single person was around. Out of curiosity, I picked it up. The man on the other line asked, ‘Is this Chad?’ My name isn’t Chad so I said no. The man ignored me and said, ‘Chad, I want you to do bad things to me.’ I stated again that I wasn’t Chad and asked him what he wanted, if he knew where he was calling, etc. He ignored me again and went into very explicit and specific detail about all the things he wanted Chad to do to him sexually. I was laughing and told him again that I wasn’t Chad. Finally, he said he knew for sure I was Chad and described to me what Chad looks like. He described me perfectly down to the color of my shirt and what type of shoes I was wearing. I immediately hung up and looked around. There was nobody, I mean not a single person, around. I got into my car and got out of there.”
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If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you can find a link in the show notes.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… Joshua 10:25a = “Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.”
And a final thought… “Fear is what stops you, courage is what keeps you going.” – Unknown
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.