My answering machine is possessed.

I still have a landline, and an answering machine. Every day I have two or three telemarketer calls. I get told the time and day for each message. Well every day the answering machine thinks it’s the day before.

No matter how I set the date, it will change to one day behind what it really is. So I thought I would get smart and instead of setting it for Wednesday I would set it for Thursday thinking it would drop back just one day. Nope, the next day it was a day behind.

So then I thought I’d would set it for two days ahead, nope, it would still somehow get a day behind. Yesterday I set it three days ahead, today when I got home, it was a day behind.

The strange thing is that it doesn’t keep losing days, it gets a day behind and stays there. I have no clue as to why it does this, but it’s really crazy.

(Notices the OP’s location.)

Does your answering machine periodically sync its clock with some time server? (Landline phones and related equipment can do that, can’t they?) Maybe it syncs just after midnight (your time) but the server is in the next time zone, just before midnight?

This is obviously your big chance to call your own phone and leave yourself a message with the winning lottery numbers.

That won’t work. They’ll always be yesterday’s numbers.

No, the answering machine is not the kind that will pick up a signal to change the time as I have to set the time when the power goes out. The strange thing is I’ve had it for 7-8 years and it’s only just started doing it the last year or so.

It’s not possessed. It’s just being a jerk. It’s like your toaster: no matter how you set it you either get almost-brown or nearly-black toast. Appliances hate us. I say to the thrift store for all of them! That’ll teach them.

What make/model is the machine?


I’ll have to look when I get home. But now I’m really confused. I decided the other day to just set it for the totally wrong time and day. It corrected itself to the right time, but not the right day. It’s never reset the time, ever. A lot of times it would be off by 45-50 minutes, other times half a day. When the power would go out I would only half the time reset it since I really didn’t care.

Yesterday I totally screwed with the time, day, and year, it hasn’t reset it self yet. Now why it has a year function and does not have a month and date I’ll never know.

have you started doing anything new that ghosts in the house now find obnoxious?

buttons/switches put the device into a set-up mode and buttons/switches change those settings. if a switch (or what the machine sees as a switch) gets triggered then it might reset some value. the more recent a machine also would change if it might be more likely.

i’ve had watches and timers get reset values or turn alarm modes on and off. as devices age they can get less reliable.

Perhaps it’s an AM/PM issue? If that’s flipped, and you keep setting the date but not the time, the day would switch at noon instead of midnight. So you could set it to the right date in the morning and come home to find it’s advanced a day.

Similarly, if it’s the type that syncs to the current time from an external source, it might be set to the wrong time zone. You say it doesn’t sync, but somehow the time jumped back after you set it randomly.

Or somebody else is helpfully resetting the machine for you, but not very competently.

Or you might be the victim of a particularly tedious prank.

It’s the ghost in the machine.

Better call a priest.