Paranormal Phenomena

Phone Calls From The Dead

Sometimes, the creepy plot in the latest thriller is drawn from a real-life scenario. Other times, real-life goes insane and borrows from creepy thrillers. It is possible to say either is true of the phenomena known as dead calls or phone calls from  the dead. As with all things paranormal, it is not always possible to prove any of the countless stories regarding these phenomena out there, but these days, almost everyone has caller i.d. and that is where the concept gets a lot creepier.

A phone call from the dead is what it sounds like. A dead person allegedly makes a phone call and scares the daylights out of a loved one. It is usually a family member or significant other on the receiving end of these calls. Some happen before the deceased is known to be so. Some of these calls even happen years later, according to recipients.

calls from the dead

Nothing can be more frightening than receiving phone calls from the dead.

These phone calls from the dead tend to have similar features. There are cases where the line only offers static. Other cases involve actual speech that sounds like the deceased. These calls typically involve a single repeated line, such as, “It’s cold in here” or “Why did you bury me next to grandma?” Okay, those are made up, but imagine a dead loved one calling and saying the same thing a few times before the line dies. It’s horrifying. Sometimes, the call is a bit more coherent, but they never last long. The line is almost always poor with crackling or the voice sounding very distant. That makes sense.

Because there is so much information and so many stories about phone calls from the dead, it is impossible to say whether they hit reality or popular culture first. Therefore, there is no way to say if one influenced the other. Nonetheless, calls from beyond the grave are at least traceable in fiction as far back as 1964 (Any earlier instances are welcome in the comments section.) when an episode of the fantastic science-fiction series “The Twilight Zone” titled “Night Call” had a story about the phenomenon.

The main character of “Night Call” is a woman who has lost her fiancé in a car crash that she caused. She reflects that her fiancé always did what she wanted him to do. When she started getting what she thought were prank phone calls, she told the caller to leave her alone and then discovered the calls were coming from her fiancé’s grave. That is a little too literal for reality, but it made for a great story. When she reached him again, she begged him not to go, but he told her that he always did what she wanted so he had to leave her alone. Few stories of dead calls involve this much communication.

Reading up on phone calls from the dead, it is easy to find stories of caller i.d. listings of dead people’s numbers, brief calls from the dead and even calls being traced to the deceased. The latter makes it at least somewhat provable. Calls may not be coming directly from dead people, but their phones are certainly acting up in unexpected and unexplained ways.

One verifiable instance of a dead person’s phone calling loved ones is tragic and unexplained. It involves a train crash in San Fernando Valley that killed 25 people on September 12, 2008. Among those killed was Charles Peck, a 49-year-old with a fiancé and two adult children. He died on impact, but his body was not immediately found. Searches for his body were guided by 35 phone calls his phone made to his loved ones in the eleven hours following the crash.

Peck’s family never heard the sound of his voice or anything other than static, yet they held on to the belief that he was alive in the wreckage. How else were they getting these calls? Twelve hours after the crash, his body was found. His phone had stopped calling them an hour before. It is uncertain whether the phone itself was discovered, but it was used to help find the body. According to Snopes, investigators never announced finding the phone.

What could be the cause of a deceased loved one’s phone calling you?  Is it simply an explainable machinery malfunction or have spirits tried to communicate with us the only way they can?  Share with us your thoughts and experiences.

Shelly Barclay writes on a variety of topics from animal facts to mysteries in history. Her main focus is military and political history. She is a writer for the Boston History Examiner, Military History Examiner and the Boston American Revolution History Examiner. She also writes for a local historical society newsletter. Shelly was a professional cook for 10 years and still has a passion for food. She cooks and writes about cooking nearly every day. She produces a wide variety of content, on top of her niches. Shelly is a stepmother, a former military, current veteran wife, sister of four and aunt of seven (so far).

  • Isa Lopez

    My two sisters and I experienced this. While in a call one day, each sister in a different state, we clearly heard the voice of our deceased brother say, ‘Mom, mom, mom’. It was the night of her birthday. I am a believer yet a skeptic at heart, I question everything. But that call, was all the proof I will ever need.

  • Mayu

    This happened to me. a month after my dad passed, my mom and I got a brand new digital voice mail recorder for out landline. (This was shortly after the analog tapes went out of fashion). We got our first message after buying it… It was all white noise until my father’s voice ringing clear as a bell said, I love you. That night my brother got an instant message on AIM from my dad’s name saying “the lightening is beautiful up here”. When he went to take a picture, the message disappeared, and that was that. Never forgot that. Over a decade later I still remember that moment

  • Karma

    Recently a friend lost her husband to cancer. She, like many households do not use a landline, haven’t in many years. Just empty wall jacks. The police knocked on the door a couple of nights after the funeral. 911 received a call from her house. She stated no phones were plugged in and were not in years. The police had to come in and inspect the house for foul play. Upon leaving an officer asked if she had a recent death in the family, yes my husband a week ago. He was not surprised nor was the 911 operator who he notified in front of her. He said these things happen a lot more than you think.

    • big_red82

      The cops came to our house a couple times a few months ago about random calls from this address. Apparently it had to do with the lines connected 7ndergro8nd acting up due to our usual weather temperature fluctuations.
      Not saying this to debunk your story; it’s cool, but sometimes things like this happen too.

      • Karma

        Never thought of that. I like that theory, especially due to the heavy mining years ago, many things could contribute to such an event. She still thinks her spouse contacted her, but I like to rule out any and all possible scenarios before contributing things to the supernatural. Thanks for a possible alternative cause. If that is the case, and the more I think on it and her location, I think it is, I am not going to ruin her “visit”. Glad you found a rational cause to your problem. Thanks again. You learn something new every day.

  • David Craig Galloway

    In a similar vein television viewers in Houston, TX saw the test pattern with the call letters for a defunct television station years ago. It was only visible for a short time and then disappeared. One explanation is that the signal bounced off something or else was intercepted and retransmitted.

  • Tim Webber

    I occasionally talk to loved ones who have passed when I’m alone, hoping they hear me. It’s one of the ways I deal with grief & loss. I didn’t expect they hear me; still unsure. I was in my bedroom one day. I said out loud, “If you can hear me, give me a sign.” The phone rang once, not even a full ring. It was more like a half-ring. This was back in the days before cell phones. I walked over to the phone, kind of shocked because it happened right after I requested a sign, but figured it was coincidence, and expected another ring. It didn’t ring again. I looked down at the Caller ID to see the phone number that just called me and it wasn’t even a full number. In fact, it was like 5 digits, numbers mixed with letters. The caller ID I owned was a freebie that only shown numbers. I’ll never forget the chill that ran up my spine as I looked at those nonsense numbers & letters.

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