Kind of spooky - please explain this

So, last night I was sitting on my couch reading a book when the phone rang. Ordinarily this wouldn’t bother me too much, even tho the hour was rather late. I have some friends who keep odd schedules. Then I recalled that that i had quit any landline service to my house, having gone all digital now. (With the GPS locator in new phones, I’m not concerned with 911 issues.) Digital (cell) phone, cable modem, yada yada. In fact, I don’t even have a phone hooked up to the jacks anywhere in the place.

But it was was my old phone ringing. An office type desk phone. No trimlines for me, I used to say. So, I got up to see what the hell that was all about. Maybe I HAD left a phone plugged in afterall, and somehow a call got misguided thru to my connection.

Well, the phone was indeed unplugged. And it just kept ringing. Needless to say, this caused me no small amount of confusion and a bit of real worry.

It kept ringing. So I picked the handset and answered.


I couldn’t hear anything thru the earpeice for several seconds, then I heard the distinct and unmistakable sound of a phone being hung up.

Nervous, I decided to pour myself a scotch and think this thru. What had really happened here? As I was about to take a sip, the phone rang again, causing me to drop the glass.

“WHAT!?” I yell into the receiver. Again, the sound of phone on the other end of the line hanging up.

So, I do the logical thing. I take the phone out back, smash it into several peices with a baseball bat, and throw it away in the dumpster down the street.

I go back inside, after a quick look-see around the outside of the house, and pour myself another drink. This one, I actually get to down.

And then the phone rings. My old bedroom phone, stuffed into a box in the closet on the top shelf.

Currently there are no phones at all in my house, save my cell phone. And that has a custom ring tone.
Weird, no?
What could this possibly be?

[spoiler] Okay, none of this happened. It’s a game of sorts.

Come up with spooky, goofy, or plausible explanations for this. I’ll let this run a while (maybe the weekend?) and then pick as a winner the best reason, whatever genre. Winner may use this as a sig line if they so choose, or just be content knowing that some random guy on the internet chose your post.

Note to mods: just a short contest/game. No 3K posts here! [/spoiler]

The battery was dying?

No batteries in these phones. Standard, old style Southwestern Bell type phones just like you would see in anyone’s home from the last several decades.

A wizard did it.

There’s Twilight Zone episode with the same theme. Turns out that that the reason the old lady getting mysterious phone calls was caused by a telephone wire that fell on her deceased husbands grave. Still gives me the shivers. :eek:

I think even Spock would agree this is the most logical action to take.

In truth, though, you overreacted. You didn’t say in the OP, but I’ll bet you have a microwave oven in your house, no? It’s pretty rare nowadays, what with higher quality controls at microwave assembly plants, but this used to happen quite often until about 20 years ago.

See, what happens is microwaves, being short wave electromagnetic radiation, has a similar affect on phone lines as radio waves do on your radio’s antenna - that is it delivers a current. On older microwave ovens there was a timing issue with the mechanism that disengages the emitter when you open the door. It would turn off the emitter instantly when you opened the door. Today’s microwaves first disengage the emitter, then disengages the lock that allows you to open the door. You can feel this two step process when you push the button.

Emitters take a second or two to “cool down” so in the old ovens the emitter was active for a fraction of a second while the door is open, releasing microwaves into the room. These microwaves would accumulate in any conductors more than 3 feet in length - like phone cables (unplugged or otherwise). It wouldn’t take long for the current to accumulate in old phone lines, causing them to ring. Of course back then, before cell phones, land lines were never unplugged. This phantom ringing was always attributed to prank calls. That’s why you’ve never heard of this before.

Sooooo… either your microwave is old, or the safety lock is defective, or you have a nearby neighbour with an old or defective microwave.

Problem solved.

That’s really good, Nature.


Quite good.

One or more of the following occurred:
[li]you’ve suffered a mental breakdown - get thee quick to a psychatrist[/li][li]you had a lucid dream[/li][li]you had an hypnagogic hallucination of the auditory variety[/li][li]your house has a poitergeist[/li][li]you’ve been punk’d – look around for Ashton Kutcher[/li][li]you live over an old Indian graveyard, and the spirits are saying hello[/li][/ul]

A couple of times I heard my disconnected land line phone ringing, but it always quit before I could get to it. This happened about 10 times over the space of a couple of months. Eventually I discovered that it was actually my P.C. (next to the disconnected phone) that was ringing. Why the the P.C. was ringing I don’t know. It was hooked up to an ISDN line at the time.

One of the sound setting in Windows had a telephone-like ringing effect for incoming email.

I’m new. Riddle me this:

What’s the “spoiler” and big black box in the original post? I’ve seen this in other threads, I just haven’t figured out what the heck that is.

And as for the content of original post… spooky. I’d have run out of the house. Pee pee in my pants, you name it. I’d have been freaked on a whole new plain of freakdom. :eek:

Can’t answer the phone…er…question (spooky), but as for the spoiler: it’s a nifty device to hide information that some people might not want to know. You can highlight the darkened area and read it. It’s used most commonly for things that might ruin movie or book plots and for items that might gross people out or offend (things that are technically within the bounds of what you can post, but might be way indelicate). To code it you preface your text with {spoiler} and follow it with {/spoiler} but replace the curly brackets with square ones, like so.

I think that if you hit reply with quote you’ll be able to see my coding. Here’s the vBulletin summary on coding…


It’s simple.

Billy Mumy’s been drinking again…

This is only funny to Dopers of “a certain age”

Truly, James Randi is messing with you!

Why can’t the afterworld have telemarketers too.
If you had just waited another 15 seconds the fine spook (ghoul) on the other side, would have begun his sales pitch. He just wanted to help you with an opportunity for a great timeshare on a mausoleum.

I guess you may have the same kind of telephone line as that kid in the movie War Games. Remember that one? Where the modem stayed connected even after he unplugged it? Remember that people back then acted like that movie was practically a documentary? Anyway, that could account for it.

Dude, pick up the damn phone. I’ve been trying to get hold of you all night! :mad:

OK, seriously, I’ll be back after a few more beers to offer something really messed up for an explanation of what happened. I need to consult the Dark Lord first.

you didn’t watch a video with some mysterious/disturbing black and white images on it did you? Otherwise, you haven’t got much time left!

Completely unrelatedly -

I lived in a house and there was a phone hanging up in a tree in the backyard that the previous occupants had left… This backyard was a jungle, there was no way anyone was going down there to get it. One day, I heard a phone ringing coming from down the hill. I got halfway through climbing over the deck railing to pick up the tree phone before I reasoned that it was just not possible. I think it was coming from one of the neighbours houses.

I got nuthin’ … but I disconnected my land line back in February and all of my old phones are currently in a drawer in the computer room (in case the next place I live has crappy cell reception), and now I’m a little creeped out about the idea of going to bed because I just know I’m going to hear a ringing phone on the TV or something and suddenly find myself smashing all of my old phones to bits. :eek:

Yep, I read the spoiler and I know it’s a joke/contest … it still creeped me out a little, dammit!

The phones don’t actually exist; you’re on the verge of an emotional or mental breakdown, which your subconscious mind is trying, in it’s own way, to warn you about, via a hallucination.

The symbolism of the incident is pretty clear: the phones represent the attempts by elements of your subconscious to bring something to your conscious mind—like a memory, a thought, or some epiphany that part of your mind thinks would be too traumatic for you to consciously perceive—but the phones’ being disconnected and packaged away means that another element of your subconscious (probably the superego) is interfering with it’s attempts to directly contact your consciousness. That’s why when you answered the phone the first time, it couldn’t say anything. But the “hang up” sound was the one clue it could give you…

Besides the obvious pun (you have a psychological “hang up”), it was actually a reference to your actions on the phone—it was predicting that you were about to hang up the phone, and the sound on the second call repeated the sound of what you’d just done, and what you were about to do. In other words, it was saying that the person on the other end of the phone was really YOU; or, specifically, a part of “you” that wasn’t being allowed to actually “speak,” but could still make it’s presence known indirectly. In other words, a repressed element of your subconscious mind.

The phone that you “destroyed” likely didn’t even exist. And if you did actually smash something, you probably were just suffering from the delusion that it was a telephone. If a friend or another impartial observer were to examine the remains of what you smashed, they’d most likely find it to be an old toaster, or possibly a small cat.

That, or the microwave thing Nature’s Call said. That’d do it. (Could be sunspots causing it, though.)