Since time unremembered ghost stories have pervaded cultures across the world, and they have changed over time. Even in this day of modern technology such stories are persistent, and it seems that on many occasions spirits from the other side are eager to use new gadgets to do their mysterious business. We can certainly see this in some of the weird reports of people being called by ghostly forces and left voicemails or messages on answering machines, and it is every bit as unsettling as it sounds.
A very strange case comes to us from the site Week in Weird, and concerns a woman only known as “Judy,” who claims at first that she more or less was raised in an intensely haunted house. She describes how her sister would go into seizures and speak in tongues as if possessed, mysterious noises or disembodied footsteps at all hours, and various other paranormal phenomena that got so bad her parents actually had a priest come to exorcise the residence. According to Judy, most of the activity seemed to be focused on the bathroom area, where she often heard a voice from the shadows taunting her and calling out her name. This would subside with the exorcism, and whether this has anything to do with the case at hand or not, in her adult years she would receive a series of very eerie voice messages on her now elderly mother’s landline.
One day she claims she came home and found that she had missed several calls while she was out. Thinking it was just friends or someone from work, she pressed play on the messages and was in for quite an unsettling surprise when she heard what sounded like a low, unintelligible whisper or mumbling on the other end. She played them back again, and congealing out of the static and murmuring she was sure she could hear a male voice somewhere in the background incessantly whispering her name, and there seemed to be other voices as well flecked throughout the recording, saying things like “hide”, “go to the house”, and “hurry,” as if warning her. Judy asked her daughter if she had left the messages herself as a prank, but she claimed that she hadn’t, and Judy’s own mother also claimed that there had been no calls to the line at all that day, making it even odder. The daughter would become quite fascinated with her mother’s story, and writes of the strange messages:
The message is not static but seems more glitchy, but there is a dominant low voice that seems to say my mother’s name slowly “Juuuuddyyy” at times. It’s 50 seconds long and repeats. I brought my friends over because they love the supernatural so we came over to see what we could investigate, and to help my mother put because she is extremely religious and emotional. I figured out how to send the message to my own phone and then uploaded it to my computer where I have some software that can enhance the sound clips. Every time I listen to it I get shivered down my back
Very strange, indeed. Is this all just some random static or frequencies mixing with the imagination or is there perhaps more to it? Another spooky account was posted by a Reddit user called “Jackknifetrailer,” who claims that this happened back in the 1990s. At the time he was living with his ex-girlfriend and they had been on the rocks for some time by that point. He describes her as a “psycho,” and after a particularly bad argument he packed up all of his stuff, including the digital answering machine they used, and moved out. This is where things would get pretty bizarre, and the poster says:
One day, when she found out I was seeing someone else, she left about 80 messages on that machine I mentioned earlier, lasting several minutes each. And I mean…she really let her inner psycho out. Really messed up, hysterical, angry, terrifying, emotionally intense stuff. Sometimes she had a paralyzing emotional intensity to her, which is one of the reasons I had to leave in the first place. Continuing, I listened to the first few seconds of each message (it would tell me the duration of each message before it played) to feel it out, and then skip/delete.
I avoided the hell out of her after that. Or so I thought. Turns out that when I would receive other messages, frequently that message would cut out somewhere in the middle, and parts of the psycho messages from the ex would start playing. Not just any part, but the really enotional, scary parts. Some parts I didn’t even remember hearing (remember skip/delete). Never a mundane blah blah blah, these were like terrifying, psychodrama sound bites. It became a nuisance when I would miss parts of important messages: sometimes the regular messages would pick up where they left off, sometimes they wouldn’t.
It didn’t always happen, it was completely at random. Sometimes days or weeks would go by, then it would just crop up again. I cleared all messages, changed the greeting, put in new batteries, did a factory reset, nothing seemed to affect it, and the problem persisted until I couldn’t take it, and threw the thing away. And no, in case you were wondering, I’m not schizo or prone to hearing voices or anything like that. This incident was one-of-a-kind in my life.
Was this some sort of haunting gravitating to the answering machine, a demonic presence, his ex messing with him, or merely a spooky made-up story? Who knows? Most of the tales of ghostly messages left on answering machines or in voicemails tend to be about dead friends or family trying to reach out and get in touch with the world of the living. Take the report by Reddit user “SaltyPanda93,” who says this happened a week after his great grandmother had passed away. On this day he was visiting his grandparents giving his condolences when this would get decidedly weird. He says of the strange incident:
So about a week after my great grandmother passed away I was over visiting with my grandparents and we were all sitting around talking as usual with nothing out of the ordinary. Well suddenly their landline phone rings and the number on the caller ID shows no name and only the numbers 000-000-000. My grandad does this joke he does when he gets a weird call from someone he doesn’t recognize and says “I don’t know anyone named 000-000-000” and let the answering machine get it. So a minute later it shows that the ominous number left a message on the answering machine and we play it. As the message plays there is about 10 seconds of static noise, like someone has a bad connection, and then it stops and we hear a woman’s voice say “I love you” and we all immediately turned and looked at each other and didn’t say a word. A few more seconds of static followed those words and the message ends. We all recognized the voice as belonging to my great grandmother. What adds to my belief that it was her is that she had this weird thing where she would never say the words I love you to anyone. She was a sweet lady but something about those words she would just never say even if you said them to her. So I believe she regretted that and needed to pass that message along to my grandad. Nothing else happened since but I will always remember that experience.
Similarly is the report from user “the-electric-monk,” this time from his dead grandfather. He says that before the old man passed away he had lived with his mother before being sent away to stay at a nursing home, where he passed away soon after. However, it seems that he was intent on reaching out to his family one last time, and the poster explains:
Yesterday, as I was getting for work, she handed me the phone and told me to listen to a message on it. “Tell me who you think it sounds like,” she said. It was just a man saying “hello” and then a few seconds later “hello” again. Simple, but it was unmistakably the voice of my grandfather. He had a very distinctive voice. It freaked me out. It wasn’t like a questioning “are you there” type of hello, but like a greeting. It sounded slightly distorted, I want to say metallic (?) in a way, but was clear. It gave me chills. Mom said she had been watching TV when the phone rang. She didn’t recognize the number, so let it go to voicemail. She heard the voice and froze, and then a second later heard two soft bangs from the lower level. I was freaked out about it all night. My dad wants to write it off as a scammer. I don’t think it was. I got serious chills when I heard it, and I don’t get chills from anything.
There is also an account from the site Ghost Village, from a witness named Margaret Houck, of Knoxville, Iowa, claiming that she received a message from her dead father. She says this happened a few months after he died, and that she had stepped out on an errand just a few minutes before the call came through, just managing to miss it. She also says that she probably would have just hung up the phone anyway if she had been home, so the timing is eerie as it is, but what was on the tape is even eerier. She says:
I was in such deep mourning after my father passed that when I would cry at night, my back would arch up off the bed. I’ve dealt with people dying many times since I am a registered nurse. I accepted death as a part of life and knew that the patients had an afterlife. But when it was my dad… it was different. When I listened to the message several times, I could smell his distinct body scent. Sometime later, my door chime began playing the Westminster chimes, which it is incapable of doing. My dad was a jokester! He had my husband and I running all over the house trying to figure it out. My husband kept pushing the doorbell to try and make it do it again, but it only happened when dad wanted to have some fun. I know I hear his voice under the “wet” sounds, but others are dumbfounded by the recording — they can’t hear a voice. I believe that my father had to use a lot of energy just so he could call and comfort me that he is still around. Of course I miss him still but I talk to him as if he is right next to me. He proved to me that he does still exist.
A rather bizarre, well-circulated, and allegedly recorded case of a call from the dead happened in 1994, when a paranormal researcher by the name of George Meek was contacted from the land of the dead by his long deceased colleague, Konstantin Raudive. Meek and Raudive had been eminent researchers of recording and researching Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP), in which disembodied voices of spirits are purportedly caught on audiotape. Together, the two men had made it their life work to attempt to investigate and prove the phenomena, and were claimed to have made several groundbreaking recordings to this end, but their research was cut short with Raudive’s tragic death in 1974. Then, in 1994, Meek claims that he started being contacted by his long-dead colleague through calls, answering machine messages, emails, and even fax. It seems oddly fitting that such a prominent researcher of EVP should come back to successfully become a part of the very phenomena he had so doggedly studied. Meek claimed that he successfully made recordings of these messages from Raudive, one of which you can listen to in its deeply creepy entirety here. For added maximum spook effect, listen to it by yourself with the lights turned off.
What do we make of cases like these? Is there sometimes some link between the unknown past the veil of death and the world of the living, and are these forces exploiting our modern technology to reach out through it? Or is this just all scary stories and misunderstandings? Whatever the case, it does seem that ghost stories have evolved over time to fir in with the modern age, and it shows that such reports are likely to continue on well into the future and beyond.