Story of the Month: Phantom Phone


They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I disagree.

Phantom Phone

Last month I house/dog sat for a good friend. I was there Wednesday, Thursday, and a half day on Friday. Everything was going well until Thursday morning.

That morning, the dogs and I returned from an early walk, and as I set up my laptop to begin working, I heard the first ring. Go ahead, play the video. You know you want to…

Then I heard the second ring, and the third, fourth, fifth… hundredth. I’m not exaggerating. A phone beneath the apartment floor was ringing nonstop. It rang all day and night Thursday, and was still ringing Friday afternoon when I left for work.

I tried to drown it out as best I could with the TV or music. I’d even leave to get fresh air, but the ringing followed me. When I took the dogs out, I tried to find the apartment the sound was coming from, but once I got into the hall, it sounded as if it was all around me. I couldn’t figure out which way to begin my search.

It was my tell-tale heart. The ringing echoed in my head, and I wondered if it was all in my imagination. I thought I was really going nuts – it’s about time after all.

So, is insanity doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results? No. Insanity is listening to the same sound for 36 hours straight, never finding the source or able to control it! It took me two days to get that ringing out of my head, and every time I think about it, I want to hold myself and rock back and forth.

A Collection of Ghost Stories

First, welcome to all the new followers! We appreciate the support, sharing, and comments, and look forward to reading your stuff, too!

Our Waverly Hills post has been very popular topic, so we’d like to share some previous stories with our new followers and anyone who missed them last year. Please note, these are true stories — read with caution … happy ghost hunting, everyone 🙂

Arnold the Poltergeist

Horror Movies and Real Life

Ghosts in Dreams

Computer Ghost

Grocery Store Haunt

Polar Bear

State Archives

Footsteps in the Hall

Dorm Ghost

And for those who like comics, please check out Lil’ Horsemen Issue 1

We hope you enjoy them, and feel free to share your ghostly links in the comments below!

Off the Top of My Head #10: A Walk with the Shadow People

Off The Top of My Head

“I’ll do it.”  There was no hesitation or doubt.  Even the small apprehension caused by timidity of the unknown wasn’t severe enough to stop the response.  The fear for missing the chance was more severe…  Standing on the lightless 4th floor of Waverly Hill Sanatorium, having gone through the better part of a two hour tour, heard stories of the innumerable ghosts that legend says still haunt its halls and seen photographic and physical evidence to corroborate several of these stories, when the tour guide asked “I need a volunteer to walk to the end of the hall alone, who will do it?”  “I’ll do it” was my response almost before he could finish the statement.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium was once the gold standard in tuberculosis treatment and research in the world.  I won’t provide the history of it, numerous sites are available for that, but over the years since the closure in 1981 of the home for the elderly which inherited the building Waverly Hills has been the subject of ghost stories and legends and now has a reputation of being one of the most haunted places in America.

The only camera I had was, unfortunately, my phone.  When I go back I'll bring my real camera.
The only camera I had was, unfortunately, my phone. When I go back I’ll bring my real camera.

I’ve had an interest in Waverly Hills since I first saw a documentary about it in 2006.  The documentary itself was full of some horror movie cheesiness (and was produced by the makers of a B-rated horror movie Death Tunnel) but it also contained footage of the old hospital, a good deal of history, and interviews with former staff and patients.  It was also intriguing.  There is something inherently frightening about hospital settings, massive structures, you know people have met unfortunate ends there, and dark corridors with numerous rooms.

A friend organized an opportunity to go and my RevPub co-author and fellow ghost enthusiast and her son joined the group and we all ventured to just south west of Louisville, Kentucky to go on the paranormal tour.

We started the tour at dusk so the sun was still out.  As the tour progressed it got darker and darker outside...
We started the tour at dusk so the sun was still out. As the tour progressed it got darker and darker outside…

The tour itself was excellent.  We had a great tour guide who provided levity when needed and gave actual history of the grounds and facilities along with the tales of the supernatural.  But it was the 4th Floor “Shadow People” that made the tour for me.

You stand at the end of the dark corridor, first as a group (there were about 20 of us) and watch the floors, light coming in from the glass-less windows shines through the doors of the vacant patient rooms.  By paying attention you can see shadows moving…almost like patients pacing in their rooms.  When the guide asked if someone would walk the corridor, past the numerous rooms, and stop in the dark shadows I couldn’t pass it up.

I won’t lie, it was unnerving.  The entire time in Waverly Hills I was freezing.  I never once felt threatened or afraid, but there was always an awkward feeling like something…off.  Almost like a painting slightly out of proportion…you realize something isn’t normal but you can’t quite place what it is.  Walking the hallway was a mixture of adrenaline and what I can only describe as “pressure.”  Not a heavy weight on you…just an environmental pressure like the space itself is closing in around you.  I’m not easily scared, but the whole experience was so unnerving that if the tour guide had asked me to walk to the wing of the hallway, by dozens more empty rooms and out of sight of the rest of the group, I would’ve hesitated to do it…

This is how that dark hallway looked from my view...only darker...
This is how that dark hallway looked from my view…only darker…

I couldn’t see what was happening behind me, but I was told the shadows in the doors definitely peaked when someone passed (there’s nothing quite as heart-stopping as having your back to several supposedly haunted rooms and hearing the tour group softly gasp…) and that during my walk back I seemed like I was swallowed in the blackness.

It was an incredible experience that will take some time to fully digest.  I’m definitely glad I did it and plan to go back for the full-on paranormal investigation.

Waverly Hills Stairs

To schedule your own tour or investigation visit their site here!

Ghost Story #7: Dreams

Do you think ghosts can appear in dreams? I’m torn on this subject, and although I have dreamed about deceased people, I’m not sure they were ghosts or it was just a dream. This story comes from my mother-in-law* and makes me wonder if ghosts can intercept dreams.

A Ghost from the Past

It was July 1964, and little did Martha know she was close to going into labor with her first child. After returning from a long day at work, she laid down to take a nap.

Suddenly, her grandfather appeared at the foot of the bed. He passed away a few years before this incident. “Martha, I can’t stay long and need to tell you something,” he said.

She listened carefully but was terrified. It was an old tale that a pregnant woman seeing a deceased person in a dream was a bad omen for the baby.

“You are going to have a boy with long black hair,” he explained. “Don’t worry, the baby is fine. I need to go now, and I love you.”

She begged her grandfather to stay, but he drifted away. She awoke in a panic, and ran to her mom to tell her what happened. Her mom was worried there was something wrong with the baby, and they spent the next few hours waiting for the baby to move.

The next day Martha went into labor. A few hours later she had a healthy baby boy with long black hair.

Even today Martha isn’t sure it was just a dream; she wonders if her grandfather’s ghost visited and she was never fully asleep. Her grandfather never visited (or intercepted) again, but it makes you wonder if ghosts can enter our subconscious or if it was just a strange coincidence. What do you think?

*Names have been changed.

Don’t miss our Story of the Month, which is a weird tale that even skeptics will have trouble explaining!

Story of the Month: The Ghost in the Machine

Story of the month header with quill and ink

The Ghost in the Machine

Over the past decade movies about haunted technology have become popular.  From radios to TVs and from cameras to cell phones, it seems everything can be haunted and wreak havoc on the lives of the living.  This has always been one of my least favorite genres of horror movie for some reason, partially because it shows our over-attachment to our data devices, but I suppose in actuality there’s no principle difference between a haunted house and a haunted Handycam.

I never gave much thought to these kinds of “haunting” until…

Back around 2005 or so the fairer half of RevPub had a computer problem.  She had an aging computer and the modem suddenly stopped working.  This was back in the days when PCs were still white boxes and modems contained numbers like “28.8” and “56k.”  Having recently replaced the modem in my own PC (which bucked the trend and was GRAY) I felt confident I could replace the modem in hers as well.  I took the PC to my house, bought a cheap replacement modem, and installed it.  Turning the computer on, I immediately got a hardware error.  After going through all the options my limited computer hardware ability could handle, I called my friend Mike (an actual expert) to help.

He brought one of his computer shells to see if it was the modem, the slot, or the whole PC that was the problem.  He also brought other spare parts and far more experience fixing PCs with white text on a black screen.  We went through several attempts, and various options, all while watching Mythbusters on DVD.  We only had one keyboard, so he plugged it into his computer, checked settings, and plugged it into the broken one to try to get the settings to work on that one.  We did this several times and hit dead end, after dead end.  It made me feel better that I had failed, since he was having bad luck with it too.  He suddenly had a flash of inspiration, sat up, picked the keyboard up, and began typing commands.  Immediately his commands began to appear on the screen of the stricken computer.  As white text filled the black screen as the system began to respond.  We plugged in the modem and, SURPRISE, it worked perfectly.

Mike began to disconnect the keyboard to plug into the other PC to begin to shut it down.  I saw him reach to unplug it.  Sit down.  Stand up and look at it, then sit down again.

Perplexed and a bit freaked out.  He turned to me and said, “I don’t know why that worked…”  Quizzically I asked, “Why?” happy to see the work was finally done.

He still seemed pretty shaken when he responded, “The keyboard was plugged into the other PC the whole time…”

Now my logical side kicked in.  Maybe he was playing a joke?  No the keyboard was definitely plugged into the other PC and I hadn’t left the room.  Maybe the afflicted PC had reset itself?  No his DOS commands were appearing on screen.

We exchanged a “What the…” look.  And the only thing that broke our silence was my announcement, “I want that thing out of my house right now.”  He agreed, we packed up, I moved the possessed computer to the trunk of my car and informed the lovelier half of this company that her PC was repaired, ready to return, and was likely and object of pure evil.  She took it back and used it for years…without incident.

To this day it’s one of the strangest events I’ve ever witnessed.  Two relatively fearless individuals were completely creeped out by a PC that seemed to either be possessed by the machine spirit (emperor protect) or self-aware enough to fix itself.  Either way I was glad to have it out of my house!

When I told Mike I would be using this story on this blog he responded in typical Mike fashion by saying:

“That sh*t freaks me out.”

For one time I will shed my stoicism and concede…yeah that sh*t freaks me out too…

Ghost Story #4: Stuffed Haunt

Demonic possession is an interesting concept. Especially when it’s an object being controlled by a demon or spirit. Is it possible for something to take over an inanimate object such as a doll or stuffed animal? Think Child’s Play.

This week’s story comes from a guest blogger, and I admit if this happened to me, the thing would have been burned.

The Polar Bear

As any first-year law student knows, time is the ever-present opponent that controls your quality of life, because a 20-minute nap can feel like salvation while hearing “five minutes remaining” can feel like the moments leading up to a gas chamber.

I was a first-year law student when the events of this story took place. I recently returned to my apartment for a second semester after enjoying a much needed Christmas holiday with family. One of the presents I received was a generic stuffed polar bear about the size of a golden retriever.

After returning to school, the workload gradually increased to the point where I hated everything about life except for the brief moments of reprieve from work. It was one of these moments that fostered my one and only experience with something seemingly unnatural.

I arrived at my apartment, trudged up the stairs, and deposited my bags by the kitchen sink. I ate a quick bowl of cereal and quickly skimmed the cases I had to read. That night’s workload was light, so I decided to take a nap first. In the apartment, my couch abutted a wall and faced the stairs about 15 feet away. Before falling asleep, I distinctly remember my polar bear sitting next to the stairwell facing the stairs.

After sleeping for about an hour, I awoke and immediately saw that I was staring into the flat, lifeless eyes of the polar bear, which was in the same spot but had inexplicably rotated about 100 to 120 degrees while I slept. I still have no explanation for this unusual event. I had no roommates and nobody else had access to the apartment. Both doors were still locked, and nobody else had a key except the property manager, but she never dropped in without advanced notice.

The polar bear up close

Being a rational person who prizes logic, I can only concoct three explanations. One, I misremembered the orientation of the polar bear after waking up (this is the most likely, but I am fairly certain the bear was facing the stairs). Two, I awoke during my nap and rotated the bear to face me while in a restful stupor (this seems unlikely because I have never been known to sleepwalk, nothing else was disturbed, and the bear was oriented precisely in my direction). Three, the polar bear somehow moved itself or was moved through some extraordinary force (this seems patently silly because I am a diehard skeptic).

Some people urged me to discard the bear to play it safe. After all, who wants a thing in their life that cannot be understood and therefore cannot be controlled? Being such a loyal skeptic, I opted to keep the polar bear. He remains in my closet to this day, after three years. In some ways, thebear has become my best friend, and we’ll be friends to the end.

The polar bear on the couch

Polar bear looks sweet on the couch

Want more? Be sure to read our other stories, and share your experiences in the comments sections!