The Twilight Phone
Hello Grimericans! I need you all to brace yourselves… For you’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop… alright, you get the pun. As promised, I am bringing you all another post for the month of October. Unfortunately, not within the previous week as promised. Trust me, I did what I could which wasn’t much. But we’re here now. Let’s see if I can’t get write and publish this post within the next hour before I have to drift off to sleepy-town. This one is pretty straight forward so it should be a cinch. As also mentioned in last week’s post on receiving phone calls from the other side, this related post is on haunted phone numbers. Numbers that you should never dare to call for fear of certain DEATH, DEATH, DEATH… Come on, it’s October, suspend that disbelief for the next few minutes.
“You have exactly five minutes…”
20 20 20 20
Told on various websites, (including now, this one) someone (not sure who) remembered reading in a book of true ghost stories that in the 70’s, children in the United Kingdom could call this number for free from payphones. In some variations, it was from a particular, red phone box. The number was either 20 20 20 20, a series of 1s & 2s or even a combination of 2s and 3s. Either way, when the call connected, there would be a woman’s voice on the other end who would simply say, “Help me, help me. Suzie is dying.” Sometimes she would plead that Suzie was drowning. Either way, the woman never seemed to get the help that she needed and neither did Suzie.
If you’ve ever seen “The Ring”, you are familiar with the evil witch Sadako. This number is often called “Sadako’s number” and in probability, might have been set up as a promotional interaction for “The Ring”, although , there are claims that it was around long before the movie’s release. In Japanese, the number 4 (shi) is considered bad luck because of how closely it sounds to the Japanese word for death (shi). Because of this, as I’m sure many of you know, it is similar to how in the west, we stray away from the number 13. Here in the U.S. it is common that we might “skip” the 13th floor in a hotel, and in Japan, the 4th floor often does not appear. Now this is a Japanese number but if you use Japan’s country code +81, you should still be able to get through. According to people who have had the guts to call this number, you will be met with a high-pitch, discomforting sound that will send chills down your spine. According to some urban legends about the number, you will be cursed like the victims in the movie and will have an unfortunate accident within 7 days. And if you are not from Japan and DO decide to call the number and it fails to scare you to the bone, then just wait until you get your next phone bill…
Staying in the eastern hemisphere, there is the number 1-000-000-0000, that is said if you call it, (some people report receiving a call from the number) a man’s voice will warn of eminent death if the caller/recipient does not call at least 15 people to warn them of the dangers of the phone number in question. That’s about it. Well, there was one claim that after one caller made the required number of calls, they were permitted to speak to operator 4141, after which, the caller had enough of this telephonic chain letter and hung up. SPOOKY!
“Sorry, I’m about to lose you because I’m about to drive through a tunnel in a canyon on an airplane while hanging up on you… 15 times…”
Man, Asian cultures have a lot of haunted phone numbers… This one comes from Thailand and is sometimes 1-999-999-9999, and one version of this story is similar to that of The Ring in that shortly after receiving a call from this number, something horrific happens to you. It has another urban legend attached to it that makes you ask yourself, “If I could wish for anything I wanted but it meant that shortly after, something horrible would happen to me that in all likelihood would result in my death, what would I wish for?” That’s right, this number is said to grant the caller one wish before, you know… death. The obvious answer to this is to simply wish for nothing bad to happen as a result of calling the number. Problem solved. Why is this number on the list again? I guess you could be tempted to use your wish to live out an otherwise unobtainable dream or fantasy that has been laying secluded in the far reaches of your mind since childhood…
There was a reason why he was the King…
Now taking this to the U.S., this one is pretty obvious. Any time the mark of the beast shows up, Christians everywhere draw there shudders and lock their doors, and I guess in this case, turn off their phones. Some urban legends claim that this number will help you contact the Lord of Flies himself which seems way quicker and a far more direct method instead of all of that ritual sacrifice. And far less messy. I mean, do you know how hard it is to find someone who is pure of heart these days? But it doesn’t always work like in the case of Jen Vest. In November of 2013, the Colorado woman was half-asleep, breast feeding her son when her phone roused her from her half slumber. The number calling? Well, it was 1-666-666-6666 of course. As you can imagine, she didn’t answer and shortly after the ringing stopped, she received some 48 text messages from various phone numbers all saying the same thing. SATAN. She said she didn’t sleep that night and stayed awake praying that nothing bad would happen. In the morn, she summoned her courage and called the number back only to be met with the prerecorded message of the number no longer being in service. She later used the power of the internet to google the number and found that others had received calls from the number and in all likeliness, it was a somewhat lame prank. I mean, keeping a new mother up all night is just kind of messed up. I have a theory on what really happened here and that is that the baby wasn’t even Jen’s and she had actually stolen the infant and the Prince of Lies was a little late on paying his ‘ol phone bill and was calling Jen for an advance on her soul so he could at least pay half before being disconn…. Oh well, that’s why you got to get fiscally organized.
“You have a collect call from: ‘SATAN’ Please press 666 to accept the charges”
It should go without saying that the whole baby stealing thing is purely speculation on my behalf, but you can send your complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. That guy doesn’t get enough complaints, just an endless string of compliments on his glorious calves. Every day is leg day when your Grahambo. Anyways, I’m not too sure what next week’s post will be on. I was thinking about continuing the phone theme and talking about supposedly cursed phone numbers but we’ll see. If you, the dear readers, want to read about that or something else, let me know in the comments. I’m always open to blog topics of the fringe variety. Speaking of the comments, are there any numbers that I missed that you remember calling or maybe being too afraid to call? Let me know. But as for now, that’s it for me Grimerica. Stay classy.