Bizarre, repetitive sounds on various cordless phones for years. Questions.

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WeirdyOne

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I am a new member here. I was directed to this forum by another more experienced member after asking where I should post this. Mods, if this is not the appropriate forum for this topic, please feel free to move it. I have no desire or intention to infract the rules here with my very first post. :)

This will sound quite odd. Or, perhaps it won't. I'm hoping someone here with extensive knowledge of signals transmission and reception science can explain this as a perfectly mundane phenomenon.

Many years ago - we aren't sure exactly when, but we estimate between six and ten years - my friend and I began hearing some very bizarre things on the phone. Initially we thought it was common background static or interference, cross-talk, etc. as we were on cordless phones. My friend's was a cell phone, and mine was a quasi-land line in the form of Comcast digital voice through a cable modem. Both phones were cordless, however.

What we initially heard were static, and a persistent beeping which my friend described as reminiscent of Sputnik. Listening to recordings of Sputnik, I'd say that's a fair comparison. However mixed in with this intermittently were voices reciting lines from Dracula. Specifically:

*A woman with an accent saying, "When the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will arrive" (Or arise.)

*A man saying, "Enter freely, and leave some of the happiness you bring," "I have no time for gayety or mirth," and, "The stories are not understandable to those in the outside world."

*Sounds of fog horns and sea gulls.

*Sounds of a baby crying.

These sounds would overlap, repeat, and cycle again and again for up to several hours at a time. It always happened in the wee hours of the morning, between midnight and 5 AM generally. 4:30 AM PST seemed to be the most common time during which this would start to be heard.

This alone wouldn't have been too odd to us. However even when my friend or I moved to a new home, changed phone service, or other variables, these events would continue to occur. They also became increasingly bizarre and surreal in nature.

We would hear Morse code repeating the letter H and the number 8 (H being the 8th letter of alphabet, if that's of any relevancy... we found it an interesting coincidence at least.) We would hear strange, high pitch squealing noises which sounded like feedback, or, occasionally, like a kazoo as we approximated it, mixed in with these voices and other sounds. When my friend would call me, he would hear an abnormal ring, followed by a voice saying, "Kill you, make you suffer." (Yeah, I know. You can't make this stuff up.)

On a lark, we tried communicating with whoever was doing this in case we were getting some kind of cross-talk that someone else could also hear or we were being pranked or something. We asked the noise to stop. It did. We asked it to start again. It did. We reproduced this many times. That's when we assumed it must surely be someone somehow messing with us and non-random. Though how this is possible we have absolutely NO idea.

That too didn't worry us until one particular night, the feedback, voices, and other noises were more extreme than usual. Suddenly the phone went dead during this, and my friend couldn't be reached again until the following day. Turned out both my friend's phones - both, even the one that was hung up - shorted out completely and were just dead after that. Replacing the battery did absolutely nothing to revive them. They were just dead.

Now, at this time he wasn't on his cell phone. He was on a cable modelmdigital voice plan with Comcast, just like me. Through a shielded CATV cable. I don't know anything about radio, but someone else I asked said that must have been one hell of a transmission to short out both his phones - even the one hung up. Any idea how this could be possible?

This has gone on for YEARS now, until very recently, regardless of where we lived or what phones we were on. After a particular instance recently - which I would prefer not to detail because it's just too bizarre, and frankly I already expect half of you to think we're just crazy or pulling your leg lol (I assure you, we're not) - all of this activity ceased. After years of it happening almost every night, usually around 4:30 AM PST. It hasn't recurred since.

I am in the SF Bay Area, and this friend lives in the Modesto CA area, if that helps any. We contacted Comcast and other carriers we had at various points, and none of them could find anything wrong with our in-home lines, cable margins, etc. (access boxes were not checked however, as they are not easily accessible where we are.)

I know this is more of a general telecommunications inquiry than a specifically radio oriented one (or is it? I don't know anything about this) but if anyone here could put me onto a lead or potential hypothesis as to explaining all of this weird activity, I know myself and my friend would be quite grateful. It's not an all-consuming concern or anything, but it is indeed something which has absolutely baffled us for years.

We expect there's some sort of simple explanation, and based on some of the events, that whatever that is probably involves someone harassing us or having a bit of fun. Your thoughts? Ideas? Theories?

Thanks very much for indulging such an odd series of questions and descriptions.

P.S.

Oh, and I don't know if this will help or not, but the only part of any of what we heard over the phone that I've ever been able to find online or elsewhere, is the line by the accented woman saying, "All the evil things in the world will arrive." And the only place I found it is in this electronic song by a European group called Wizzy Noise. Please note that the MUSIC was NOT present in what we heard on the phone. Only the phrase. (Which repeated again and again, overlapping, echoing, etc. along with the other phrases and sounds described already above.) However the exact dialogue we heard can be heard at 3:57 Wizzy Noise - Pandoras box - YouTube

Also, I have searched in vain in my spare time for years for the exact dialogue in every Dracula movie I could get my hands on from the library or elsewhere. I know some of the dialogue is definitely from Dracula as I found the lines in the original book. But I have never found a film which contains all of the lines we heard over the phone, word for word. Just differing variations of them. They never occur in a film together. So if this was someone messing with us, as we suspect, hey went to some effort (unless there is some sort of repository of those lines somewhere online, like on a sound board or some such.)

Anyway... all thoughts and hypotheses or suggestions for further investigation are welcome! Thanks again. Please be gentle, I'm a total neophyte when it comes to this subject.
 

WB4CS

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I would suggest seeking professional counseling. Take that however you wish to take it :)

As for a technical explanation, I have none. Since many of the variables have been changed (location, phone type and service, etc.) I cannot think of anything that would be consistent in these events, except for the person(s) that is hearing them.

Also, due to the technologies being used it would seem almost impossible to create such interference. Cell phones are digital radio transmissions, and IP telephones use internet data packets. Neither of these are susceptible to "cross talk" or interference manifesting in the form of audible recognizable sounds (such as Dracula) because of the nature of the digital signals. Old cordless phones (I mean OLD such as from 1995 and earlier) did use analog radio frequencies which COULD be interfered with, but newer cordless telephones use digital modulation, spread spectrum transmissions, and higher frequencies that aren't as susceptible to much interference (except for interference from close WiFi signals, which still wouldn't explain what you're hearing.)

Have you had anyone else other than your friend verify that this is happening? Have you had another person to witness these events? Any recordings of these events?
 

902

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Okay, I don't think you're crazy - at least not yet. You should know that "Harvard sentences" are used in coverage and intelligibility testing -- especially in new system implementation and determining readability.

You may have been listening to some kind of inadvertent system configuration stuff that could have been overdriving the PSTN interface. The sound effects might be testing response to common background noises.

As far as anyone killing anyone else, sometimes technicians get bored pretty easily and come up with inventive stuff before they have to cut-over to mainstream use.

Sometimes the exact Harvard sentences are not used, but someone has to listen and do subjective analysis to give something a Likert scale scoring. The words might sound similar and you score them on how you have to strain to understand the sentence. For example, the compression on cellular phones distorts the audio to such an extent that it usually makes me strain to make out what people are saying. I would score something like that one way, while I would score listening to someone standing next to me another way, based on how clearly I could hear them speaking. These also measure the constraints of frequency response, etc. to a wide variety of candidate listeners.

I don't know any of that for certain, but it's better than saying there's that degree of weirdness tied up with your telephone system, or that it's haunted by Elvis, UFOs or a former Soviet bloc nation.

Harvard sentences - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~hgs/audio/harvard.html

By the way, some of those phrases are from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Not the Harvard ones, but the ones you mentioned. Someone may have been playing an audio book or reading passages.
 
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fxdscon

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.

Your best bet.......... as far as meaningful help and credibility......

is to post a recording of what you're experiencing, so that we can all hear it.

.
 

wtp

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back in my day....

ok back when i lived in new jersey a neighbor hit the small box with the phone lines in their driveway.
after that we could hear a neighbor on the phone. it was not loud but we could identify her by her laugh.
they could not hear us though, or were not paying attention.it took a couple of years for the problem to be fixed, after that no crosstalk. it was wires and not radio.
 

WeirdyOne

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I completely understand everyone’s skepticism. I’m a skeptic, too. If someone told me this story, I would regard it as extremely dubious as well. All I can say is that 1) In no means was I trying to imply I think there’s anything supernatural or non-mundane about this. I merely wanted to find out from people far more knowledgeable than myself what this might have been, since it happened so frequently and for so long. 2) I’m not crazy. (Not to get too personal, but in the interests of full disclosure, I do suffer from a touch of depression and anxiety and I am on the autistic spectrum - Asperger’s to be precise - but I am in fine mental health otherwise and certainly not delusional, nor is my friend.) 3) Myself, the aforementioned friend, a few of his family members, and one of my family members also heard this on many occasions.

I do not have a recording of these events. I have never had the means to record them, and if I did, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I guess I could simply hold a mic up to the phone. It wouldn’t be terribly clear, but it would be something. Then again, as stated in the opening post, after a particularly odd instance which I choose not to go into after the reception I’ve already received, they also haven’t happened for a while now. (I know, I know. If someone told me this story, and then said that, I’d call BS too. So I don’t blame you.)

All I know is what I’ve told you. I have nothing to gain from making up such a story. I’m not selling a book, trying to persuade anyone to believe in anything of a bizarre or fantastic nature, or promulgating any sort of a hoax. I simply seek information. That’s it.

So, even though I know the scenario outlined is strange, can you do me the great kindness/favor of indulging me and answering: even if you don’t believe any of this happened, hypothetically, IF it did happen as described, what, technically, could account for it? I’m only here to learn.

Some of the responses already provided are quite illuminating.

The Harvard Sentences information is a good start. Some questions: could those using Harvard Sentences, for example, be capable of hearing us under those conditions? Could they respond? And is there any way, at all, that after moving, changing phone providers (and phones,) that this explanation could continue to hold up? If the answer is yes, however remote the possibility, then that would be good enough for me. Human nature is funny, and I wouldn’t be shocked to learn some technicians somewhere were having a laugh at our expense. On the contrary, I would be relieved to finally have a plausible answer.

Again, I too am a skeptic. I am not advocating, nor do I believe in, a paranormal or otherworldly or even conspiratorial explanation for these phenomena. I simply want to know what the best rational, mundane, technological explanations are. That’s it. If I were perpetrating a hoax or having some fun at this fine community’s expense, why would that be my sole objective? Wouldn’t I be trying to “trick” you into believing something more bizarre? Wouldn’t I be insisting it “must” be something non-mundane at work? I’m not doing any of that. All I’m doing is asking questions of those I recognize as more knowledgeable than myself. That’s how people learn. That’s all I want: to learn.

Once more, please indulge me by humoring the hypothetical. IF it happened as described, how do you think it could have? I can assure you that I’m not hoaxing or trolling all day, but I have no way to prove it. Hence my request that you simply hypothesize about the hypothetical if you’re unwilling (and that’s fine by me) to accept my story as reality.

If you choose not to, that is your prerogative. If it is this community’s consensus that I’m just having a laugh, crazy, or trolling, then I’ll be happy to leave and never ask again. But please consider trying to think of some scenarios where this might be feasible. Because I would truly, honestly, just love to know. That’s all I’m after. Nothing more.

Thank-you very much.
 
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WeirdyOne

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Interesting. However, I'm inclined to agree with the general consensus in that topic, as what she was hearing had to do with white noise generating appliances, and therefore lends credence to the Ganzfeld effect hypothesis.

In my friend and I's case, what we heard was extremely clear (if intermittently also inclusive of noise,) audible, and corroborated by myself, him, and others who heard it. We also managed to find one of the audio clips (see my initial post,) so we know with certainty that these were actual audio files or broadcasts we were somehow intercepting with our phones.

So a psychological explanation in our case would require a far more pronounced pathology, and a mass hysteria element as well. Also, because as I mentioned in the interest of full disclosure, I am on the autistic spectrum, I've had professional psychiatric assessments. Many times over the course of my life, in fact. I'm not crazy. I'm not delusional. And I've never had other anomalous experiences that could be attributed to hallucination. Only these phone phenomena.

There was also a third friend who heard the original instance and attests to it. (We had a three way call.)

So again, while I completely understand and accept everyone's skepticism (I would feel the same way) I again ask: please read my original post, and indulge me by considering the hypothetical. If it happened, how would it have? How could it have? Is the Harvard Sentences scenario posited by another member above a fully plausible explanation for everything described, under all the conditions described?
 

zz0468

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One thing that comes to question would be what vintage of cordless phone were you using? The old 49 MHz phones, and early 900 MHz phones would be vulnerable to outside radio signals. Later phones are usually using some form of spread spectrum, and so would be rather immune to such things. Inducing an intelligible audio signal into digital transmission mediums isn't likely - that would have to happen at some point where the phone circuit is in an analog format. Nowadays, that's pretty much in the phone instrument.

RF has been known to get into phone lines, but details of your story somewhat preclude that being a likely possibility. For example, if it was RF from a specific source, then moving would make it go away. Yet you say it persisted after you both moved.

From my perspective, by far, the most likely scenario is complete internet bs, and there is no truth to your story. The next most likely scenario is someone local to you playing games to try to scare you. Think "family member" local.

That said, I have lived in a truly haunted house, and if that isn't a mind opening and mind bending experience, I don't know what is. And the stories I could tell about that would be met with catcalls of "complete internet bs". Yet, there I was living it. So, I feel your pain on that one.

I've been in the radio business for close to 40 years and have seen many, many types of interference and rogue signals getting into where they shouldn't. None of them behaved anywhere close to what you're describing.

The Harvard phrases scenario is a possibility, but leaves unanswered the mechanism by which they're getting into your phone.

I don't know whether to tell you to grow up and play your stupid games elsewhere, or suggest that you find a Catholic Priest to perform an exorcism on your phone. =)

Seriously, beyond all of the above, I don't know what to think.

"I read it on internet, it MUST be true".
 

WeirdyOne

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Thank-you for that honest and thoughtful reply. The irony is, if presented with the same story and zero evidence, I too would be forced to conclude that the most plausible explanation is that the poster was simply making it up.

I can say a thousand times that I'm not, but there's nothing I can do to prove that. So I understand completely. Believe me. I've heard some fish tales before and I'm someone who used to be extremely naïve and open to all manner of beliefs, but through painful lessons became far more skeptical and rigorous. It would be illogical for you to accept this story at face value. I concede that 100%.

Hence the request for people to just sort of humor me and explore the possibilities. That's the only way to satisfy both everyone's skepticism (hypothetical speculation rather than assertions of belief,) and my own curiosity (at least maybe a plausible explanation will come out of this.)

I sincerely thank you for your indulgence in what I'm sure must sound like absolute malarkey.

So, on the Harvard Sentences point... assuming that or something like it were the case, would those broadcasting/sending/whatever the technical nomenclature is, be able to hear and respond to us? If the answer is a hypothetical yes, I'm willing to accept that explanation as through exclusion it seems like the only one there is.

P.S.

The phones in question. I can't speak to his cell phone, but my digital voice via Comcast is a CATV cable running to a cable modem, to a standard phone jack cord, to a cordless phone base. Brand: Panasonic. Type: DECT 6.0. His when it was the same set up was an identical phone to mine, and before that (the one that died) I don't know, but certainly wasn't 1995 or earlier as someone else suggested it would have to be to be susceptible to such interference. I've been told before that the DECT 6.0 also makes it extremely unlikely any such interference would be remotely possible. :/
 
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zz0468

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So, on the Harvard Sentences point... assuming that or something like it were the case, would those broadcasting/sending/whatever the technical nomenclature is, be able to hear and respond to us?

Highly unlikely. RF interference to a phone circuit is one way. The only way I can conceive of some sort of testing being two-way would be if it was being done in a telco central-office or server type environment, intentionally targeting yours, or your friend's, phone. Particularly if it took place over the course of years, like you say.
 

WeirdyOne

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Highly unlikely. RF interference to a phone circuit is one way. The only way I can conceive of some sort of testing being two-way would be if it was being done in a telco central-office or server type environment, intentionally targeting yours, or your friend's, phone. Particularly if it took place over the course of years, like you say.

And in your professional, experienced opinion, if you had to hypothesize and assuming strictly that this did happen and isn't a work of fiction (which again, I totally concede is a reasonable hypothesis as well,) that or something like it is the only way this could happen?
 

zz0468

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...Brand: Panasonic. Type: DECT 6.0. His when it was the same set up was an identical phone to mine...

That leaves open the possibility it's someone with a companion phone in your household. DECT 6.0 phones can be used as intercoms, and both can access the phone line, just like an extension phone in the old POTS days. Unless you live alone, I'd be blaming your family members. Or not... they may think you're nuts. =)

And in your professional, experienced opinion, if you had to hypothesize and assuming strictly that this did happen and isn't a work of fiction (which again, I totally concede is a reasonable hypothesis as well,) that or something like it is the only way this could happen?

Yep.
 
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WeirdyOne

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That leaves open the possibility it's someone with a companion phone in your household. DECT 6.0 phones can be used as intercoms, and both can access the phone line, just like an extension phone in the old POTS days. Unless you live alone, I'd be blaming your family members. Or not... they may think you're nuts. =)

Already excluded as a possibility, as this has happened when everyone was present and accounted for. (This was also the time when others got to hear it happening... their response: "that's %^$&#(g weird." ) Because my friend has children the very first thing he considered was a baby monitor or the other phone being used by one of them, but alas, this was not the case.
 

zz0468

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So, my final opinion, listed in order of probability...

1. Hoax
2. Family member on an extension.
3. Intentional harassment by someone with system/CO level access.
 

WeirdyOne

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So, my final opinion, listed in order of probability...

1. Hoax
2. Family member on an extension.
3. Intentional harassment by someone with system/CO level access.

That's reasonable and logical. Thank-you. For you and everyone else here, you won't believe me. And that's also reasonable and logical, and I don't take any offense at it. Hope that's understood. No enmity or anger or ill will at all toward anyone who just considers this a hoax, I promise.

But for me, I can exclude #s 1, and with near certainty (though there is at least one marginal possibility) 2. Which leaves 3. And while I'm grateful for your answer, I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a bit scary and baffling. Because I can't ascertain any motive to do so. None of us have a criminal record or are involved in anything unusual.

But again, I thank you for the honest answer.
 

mmckenna

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and with near certainty (though there is at least one marginal possibility) 2. .

This sort of falls under Occam's razor. Occam's razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I've been a telecommunications engineer for a long time, and run a large PBX. I started off a long time ago as a field tech. I've been on thousands of trouble calls. I've seen and heard weird stuff, and I've had more than a few that were hoaxes/jokes.
I'm not doubting anything you said. I, probably more than most people here, would actually believe you. I had to treat all customers with respect, and one thing I learned is that if I ever started getting cocky and not listening to what they were telling me, it almost always bit me in the rear.
The "logical" explanation here is that someone close to you was messing with you. May seem unlikely, but everything you've said points that way.

As for #3:
It's very rare for a central office to be "manned". The days of having guys in the CO are long gone, but it's not unheard of it larger offices. It's unlikely any of those guys would have the time to sit around and do this sort of stuff. The amount of time you are actually on the phone is pretty slim. Someone sitting around for days on end waiting for you to get a call would be very unlikely. Also, CO's are pretty noisy, so there probably would have been lots of noise in the background. I can also tell you that it's really not that much fun, not that I've tried it, but I've certainly had the opportunity. Many services are often multiplexed out of the switch, especially with cable tv sourced phone service. There just are not that many places to tap into your circuit to cause these sorts of issues. VoIP can be harder/easier depending on how you look at it.

I honestly think someone close to you is messing with you.
 
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