In the early 1900s, Nikola Tesla constructed a crystal radio powered by electromagnetic waves. One night while he was experimenting with his radio, it began emitting strange, otherworldly sounds. The signals he heard were so unsettling that even his scientific mind began to consider the possibility that he was hearing the voices of the dead. He wrote in his diary, “My first observations positively terrified me, as there was present in them something mysterious, not to say supernatural, and I was alone in my laboratory at night.” Tesla didn’t know it at the time, but what he was hearing were the sounds of ultra-low frequency radio signals coming from electrical storms and other natural sources.
When Thomas Edison heard that Tesla was tinkering with an invention that picked up strange voices, he began designing one that he hoped would allow people to actually communicate with the dead.
In 1920, The American Magazine interviewed Edison about the inventions he was currently working on. Edison said, “I have been at work for some time building an apparatus to see if it is possible for personalities which have left this Earth to communicate with us. If this is ever accomplished it will be accomplished not by any occult, mystifying, mysterious or weird means, such as are employed by so-called mediums, but by scientific methods.”
Edison was clearly excited by the prospect of communicating with the dead. In the same interview he said, “If the units of life which compose an individual’s memory hold together after that individual's ‘death, is it not within range of possibility that these memory swarms could retain the powers they formerly possessed, and thus retain what we call the individual’s personality after dissolution of the body? If so, then that individual’s memory, or personality, ought to be able to function as before.”
He went on to say, “If the apparatus I am now constructing should provide a channel for the inflow of knowledge from the unknown world--a form of existence different from that of this life--we may be brought an important step nearer the fountainhead of all knowledge, nearer the intelligence which directs it all.” (1)
Rumor has it that Edison invited a group of scientists and famous mediums to a clandestine demonstration of a prototype of his invention commonly known as the ‘spirit phone’. Most historians think that the meeting never happened. After all, no one ever came forward saying they were there.
Many believe that the spirit phone was simply Edison’s idea of a practical joke. No blueprints or prototypes of the invention were ever discovered, and he never took a patent out on the device. But others think that Edison was serious about attempting to contact the dead through electronic means. He seemed very sincere when he discussed the subject in The American Magazine interview, and he continued working on his spirit phone until just a few years before his death.
Whether Edison’s ghost phone was fact or fiction, it seems that people really do receive electronic messages from their deceased loved ones. Messages from the dead have appeared on answering machines, in text messages, and through radios and televisions. What’s more, people claim to have heard their loved ones’ voices speaking to them on the telephone from beyond the grave.
There are thousands of reports of mysterious, otherworldly phone calls each year. The following story is one that a man used to tell his family, and he swore up and down that the story was absolutely true. It concerns a phone call he received from two people he thought he would never hear from again.
One day the man’s home phone rang, and when he picked it up he could hear his sister-in-law talking on the other end. Why would that be unusual? The woman had died three years earlier. “I have something to tell you,” she said. There was a pause, and the man could hear two people talking in the background. One was his wife who had died years earlier, and it sounded like his sister-in-law was trying to convince her to get on the phone to talk to him but she didn’t want to. Suddenly, the line went dead. The man was never able to figure out the meaning of the phone call, but he is absolutely certain that the voices he heard that day were those of his deceased wife and sister-in-law.
Not all phone calls from the dead come in the form of audible speech. In this next story, we’ll hear how a spirit used a phone to effectively communicate with his loved ones without saying a word.
On September 12, 2008, a California commuter train carrying 225 passengers collided with a freight train injuring 135 people and killing 25. On the train that day was Charles Peck, a 49-year-old man who was soon to be married. Peck’s fiancé was on her way to the train station to pick him up when she heard about the crash on the radio, and she quickly notified Charles’ parents.
As his fiancé and parents waited at the train station for news about whether or not he was OK, something strange happened. Peck’s loved ones began receiving phone calls from his cell phone. Calls from his phone were placed to his brother, his stepmother, his sister, his son from a previous marriage, and to his fiancé. Over the course of eleven hours his family members received a total of 35 calls from his cell phone, but when they answered the only thing they heard on the other end of the line was static. When they tried calling him, their calls went straight to his voice mail.
The calls gave the family hope. Perhaps he was trying to reach them because he was alive and trapped somewhere in the wreckage. The search crews were notified about the phone calls and they were able to trace the phone through its signal. The calls were coming from the wreckage of the first car. An hour after the phone calls stopped, Charles Peck’s body was recovered from the first car. The coroner said that he had died on impact.
Did Charles Peck try to reach out to his loved ones for one last conversation? Or, was Peck desperately trying to lead the searchers to his body so it could be recovered? The calls did lead the searchers to his body, but the silent calls also served another purpose--they allowed Peck to let his family know that he was still with them, even after death.
Sometimes the dead will make phone calls from beyond the grave just to let everyone know that they are ‘alive and well’ on the other side. These messages can come in the form of phone conversations, voicemail, and even texts. A woman named Christie told a story about a strange text message she received on her cell phone.
About a month after her mother passed away, Christie received a text message at 3 AM from her daughter-in-law's phone number. It wasn’t an actual typed message, just a photo of Christie's deceased mother holding her great-grandchild. The photo was one that was taken just a few days before the woman passed away. The woman thought that her daughter-in-law must have gotten up in the early hours of the morning to nurse the baby, and that she decided to send her the picture.
A few days later, Christie texted her daughter-in-law to thank her for the picture. ‘What picture?’ the woman replied. Christie sent her daughter-in-law the photo. ‘I didn’t send that!’ she texted. ‘That picture isn’t even on my phone. It was taken with an old phone that my son broke!’ Since it was impossible for the photo to be sent from Christie’s daughter-in-law’s phone, the only conclusion we can make is that Christie’s mother was responsible for sending the photo. And it proved to Christie that her mom wanted to let her know that she is OK.
In 2011, CNN ran a story called “Do Loved Ones Bid Farewell From the Beyond the Grave?” In it is the story of a woman named Simma Lieberman who received an eerie phone call that she never forgot.
It was the late 1960s, and Simma and her boyfriend Johnny had just purchased an apartment together and were about to be married. Everyone described Johnny as a mellow hippie who loved everyone. He was so nice that his friends often called him a pushover.
One night when Simma was at her mother’s home in the Bronx, the phone rang. She answered it and it was Johnny. He sounded rushed and very far away, and there was a lot of static on the line. “I just want you to know that I love you,” he said, “and I’ll never be mean to anybody again.” After he said this, there was a burst of static and the line went dead.
Simma tried calling Johnny back, but he didn’t pick up. The next morning, she woke up with an unsettled feeling. The best way she could describe it is that she could no longer feel Johnny’s presence. Several hours later, she received a call from Johnny’s distraught mother saying that he had been murdered the night before while sitting in his car. He was shot in the head and died instantly.
Cell phones weren’t invented yet, and it’s doubtful that Johnny’s murderer would have brought him to a payphone to call his fiance before killing him. The distant sound of Johnny’s voice was strange, as was the static that accompanied it; and given Johnny’s gentle personality, the message he gave was also very mysterious, as no one considered him to be a mean person.
Years later, after reading an article about similar calls people received from beyond the grave, Simma realized what the static-filled phone call from Johnny meant all those years ago. He was calling to say goodbye. Perhaps his cryptic message also meant “I’m going to a place where I’ll never be mean to anyone again, because in heaven, such a thing would be impossible.”
Phone calls from the dead almost always contain some information that positively identifies the caller. A perfect example of this is a phone call a woman from the Department of Social Services received while at work. Her name was Pamela, and one of her jobs was to issue checks to those in need. She had just issued a $100 check to one of her clients to help with her utility bills, and just as she was about to close the file on the case the phone rang. Pamela picked up the phone and the woman she just issued the check to was on the line. The woman sounded distracted and a bit confused, but she clearly said, “I won’t be needing that $100 after all.” Pamela thanked her for the call, made a note of it in the woman’s file, then finished her other work.
That night, Pamela was at home reading the local newspaper when she saw the obituary of the woman she had talked to on the phone that morning. The problem is, she had died the previous day! The strange call Pamela received that day was correct. The woman who called certainly wouldn’t be needing the $100 after all.
Apart from the static that many report hearing during these strange phone calls, as we’ve just heard, it’s also common for the deceased to sound agitated or confused. One example of this is a call that a woman named Bonnie received three years after her mother passed away.
It was Christmas evening, and Bonnie was awoken in the middle of the night by the phone ringing. She answered it, and a woman speaking with a Norweigian accent said, “Hello there!” Bonnie immediately recognized the voice as her mother’s. The line had a lot of static on it, and the sound kept cutting in and out, but Bonnie continued talking. “Mom? This can’t be you, mom. You’re dead.” The woman on the other end sounded agitated. After being told that she was dead the woman said, “Oh, come on now,” as if she just couldn’t believe such a thing was possible. As soon as she said this, the line suddenly went dead. Bonnie had no doubt that the woman was her mother. It was definitely her mother’s voice, and it even had the dead woman’s Norweigian accent.
Not all phone calls from the dead involve actual telephones. Some messages come through other electronic devices. A very close friend of mine recently lost his father, and he and his family were naturally distraught. The family had taken very good care of the man during the two weeks that he was ill, and they were all with him when he passed away at home in the early morning hours of January 16, 2021.
Within days of the man’s death, each family member received an unmistakable personal message from him that proved that he was doing just fine on the other side. The message that the man’s daughter received is a beautiful example of just how intricate, symbolic, intimate, and poetic spirit communication often is.
A few days after her father’s funeral, the woman fell asleep while watching TV, and she had an unusual dream. In the dream, she was in an old house when she heard a telephone ring. She walked over to the phone, an old style landline phone from the 1970s, and picked it up. It was her father. She knew it was him because of the way he greeted her. When her father was alive, whenever he would call her he would always start the conversation by saying, “What are you doing?”. When he said this, he would pronounce every word in kind of a ‘give me your situation report’ way. That’s exactly what he said to her in the dream “What are you doing?” The strange thing was, in the dream, he didn’t say these words to her, he whispered them loudly into the phone.
Even though she was dreaming, the woman was fully aware that this was a communication from her father, and it woke her because of the special nature of the "caller." As soon as she opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was the television that was still on. A movie had come on after she dozed off, and on the screen was a close-up of a wristwatch. The time on the watch was 2:01 AM. Why is this significant? 2:01 AM is the exact time that her father had passed away.
I love this story because of all the intricacies the universe had to have set in motion for the message to come through as perfectly as it did. First there was the personal, familiar phrase in the dream. By itself, the woman probably would have thought that it was just a strange dream mixed with a familiar memory of her father. But God surely played a hand in this one. I mean, what are the odds that a movie would be playing that contained a close up of a watch showing the exact time of her father’s death? And what are the odds that she would wake up from a dream of her father saying that familiar phrase at the exact moment that his time of death flashed across the TV screen? What are the odds? I’d say they're absolutely impossible.
Spirits will use any means they can to communicate with us. When I was doing research for this article/podcast, I heard from a woman named Lauren who had at least two spirits communicate with her through her car radio.
Lauren had just gotten off of work, and she was sitting in her car relaxing before heading home. Suddenly, the radio turned on by itself and the display showed a song by Swtichfoot. Strangely, there was no sound at all coming from the car speakers. A few seconds later the silence was broken by strange, unearthly sounding voices coming from the car speakers. Lauren quickly grabbed her phone and recorded the voices.
Lauren contacted me about the incident, and I asked her to send me the recording. The clip is very interesting. The voices sound like they are coming from a distant place, and although some are unintelligible, others are very clear. At the beginning of the recording is a male voice saying, “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me.” After this a voice comes in saying something like, “What’s that name for?” and another voice that says “Memories”. This is followed by a few seconds of unintelligible talk and odd sounds. The recording ends with two very clear voices. The first is a male voice saying, “I love you” followed by another voice that says, “I’ll miss you”.
I asked Lauren if she recognized the voices that came through her radio, and if any of the messages had any meaning to her.
“Definitely,” she said. “The voice that said ‘I love you’ was that of a very dear boyfriend of mine who lost his life ten years ago in a car accident. He was just 24-years-old when he died. His death really affected me. To this day, I think of him every time I get in the car, and I always say, ‘Keep me safe. I know you’re with me. I know you’re with me every day and I love you’. So, to hear his voice say, ‘I love you’ meant everything to me.
The lyrics of the Switchfoot song also had special meaning. To be clear, the song wasn’t playing on the radio, just the title came up on the screen. But I know the lyrics to that song, and they have a lot of meaning to things that are going on in my life right now.
The other voice that said, “I’ll miss you” belonged to my mother-in-law who had an accident at home and lost her life unexpectedly. She was a great person. We had a lot of great memories together.
The two messages taken together have a lot of meaning. I recently made a decision to let go of my past traumas and the things that have been weighing me down. I was thinking of my mother-in-law the other day when I had made the decision to put the past behind me, so I think that both of those messages are in a sense saying, ‘We love you, and we’ll miss you, but it’s OK for you to move forward’”.
Who do the other voices on the recording belong to? Spirits will often ‘jump in’ whenever they get an opportunity to communicate, so the other voices may be those of deceased relatives, friends, or even total strangers who tried to get their messages across. I especially wonder about the voice at the beginning of the recording that says, “Don’t leave me” twice. The voice is loud and clear, and the fact that he gives the same message two times in a row, makes it feel particularly urgent. We may never know who some of the voices are on the recording, but Lauren is a very spiritual person. I’m certain that she’ll have a heart-to-heart chat with these poor souls and send them to the light where they belong. You can hear the full recording of this mysterious recording on the homepage of my website, ConnecticutGhostHunter.com.
On September 20, 1988, author Dean Koontz received a mysterious phone call that he considered to be a warning from the great beyond. One day the phone rang in his office. When he picked it up, he could hear a distant female voice who said with a sense of great urgency, “Please, be careful!”
“Who is this?” Dean asked, but the woman didn’t seem to hear him.
“Please, be careful,” the voice repeated. It repeated the message three more times, and each time the voice became more and more distant. Finally, the line fell silent.
Dean sat there for a while feeling totally perplexed. He hated to admit it, but the woman’s voice sounded eerily like his mother’s voice. However, she had been dead for nearly twenty years.
In an interview with Psychology Today, Dean said, “It was such a strange call. I don’t claim that it was a ghost. I don’t know what I believe. It certainly was odd.” (3) But two days after receiving the phone call, something happened that gave the call a whole new meaning.
Dean’s father lived in a nursing home, and staff had been dealing with some behavioral problems. He had punched one of the residents, and attacked a man on a walker. The nursing staff was worried, and they asked Dean to come over and talk to his father.
Dean headed over to the facility, and when he arrived he went straight to his father’s room. As soon as he walked into the room, Dean’s father quickly grabbed a knife from a drawer and attacked his son. While Dean was trying to wrestle the knife from his father, the police were called. He finally managed to get the knife away from his father, and he carried it out into the hall so he could give it to one of the staff.
Unfortunately, the police had arrived at that very moment and thought that Dean was the perpetrator. “Drop the knife!” they said. Dean tried to explain that the staff had called about his father, not him. But he was still holding the knife and the police again ordered him to drop it. It finally dawned on him that he would be shot if he didn’t didn’t obey them. He dropped the knife, and the police were finally told that Dean’s father was the dangerous party. His father was taken to a psychiatric ward for observation and treatment.
After the incident, Dean thought about the phone call from the woman who sounded like his mother saying, “Please, be careful. Please, be careful.” He realized that the call had made him more wary when he went to visit his father, and during the ordeal that followed, and that it had probably saved his life.
While most phone calls from the dead seem to be short and filled with static, others are rather long and crystal clear. In the following story, a man named John related an amazing story about a phone call he received from a deceased friend.
John was going through a tough time. He was in the middle of a messy divorce and needed a place to stay until he got his life back on track, so he moved in with his parents. One day when he was out, the phone rang and John’s father answered it. The caller was a man asking for John, so his father grabbed a piece of paper and took the message. The man said that his name was Ted, and that he and John used to work together. He reminisced about the fun times they had at work, then asked that John call him as soon as he got home.
When John arrived home, his father gave him the message. ‘Ted!’ he thought. ‘I haven’t spoken to him in ages. I wonder what made him call me out of the blue like that.’ John immediately picked up the phone and dialed the number that Ted had given to his father. After a few rings, a woman picked up.
“Hi, can I speak to Ted?” he asked.
The woman on the other end of the line paused. “Who is this?” she asked.
“It’s John Daniels. Ted and I used to work together, and he just left a message with my dad to give him a call back.”
After a long pause the woman said, “This is Ted’s wife. I’m sorry, but you must be mistaken.”
John was confused. “I don’t think so,” he said. “Ted just called a few minutes ago. He gave my dad this phone number and asked that I call him back. If this is a bad time, I can call back later.”
“It’s impossible for Ted to have called you,” the woman said “He died of lung cancer three months ago!”
Why did John receive this mysterious call? Ted didn’t seem to have a message for him, and the two friends hadn’t seen one another in ages. Sure, they were co-workers at one time, but it had been years since they last spoke. Maybe the message wasn’t meant for John. Maybe John’s phone call was the perfect way for Ted to let his wife know that he’s doing just fine on the other side. And here’s food for thought--when Ted called his old friend, he must have known that he would be out. After all, if the two friends had actually spoken to one another over the phone, then Ted’s wife would never have known about her husband’s call from beyond the grave. (4)
Things sure have changed since Bell invented the first telephone. Back then, people didn’t quite know what to do with it. They didn’t even know what to say when they picked up the telephone. If Bell had his way, whenever we received a phone call, we wouldn’t say ‘Hello”, we’d say “Ahoy!”--which is pretty comical. I guess telephone greeting etiquette was a pretty hot topic in those days. The first telephone book ever published in 1887 in New Haven, Connecticut instructed telephone users to begin their conversations with “a firm and cherry ‘Hulloa’”. Luckily, everyone ignored that advice and just went with Thomas Edison’s suggestion to say “Hello” when answering the phone.
One thing that hasn’t changed since the early days of the telephone is the mystery surrounding its use as a means of communication with the dead. Based on the stories we’ve just heard, and upon personal experience, I’m a firm believer that our deceased loved ones can and do communicate with us through telephones and other electronic means.
So the next time the phone rings and you hear silence at the other end of the line, hang on just a little while longer. Listen carefully. That very faint whisper deep in the background may just be a long forgotten, but much loved voice from your past.