The internet is like a pressure cooker filled with all of the popular culture of the year set on high and left on the stove with wild abandon for what explosive effects there may follow. And as such, one of the most ripe and interesting grounds of speculation is the cavalcade of wild legends that spring from it. And one of the most recent and interesting ones is regarding one of the most popular icons in pop culture – cell phones. Legend has it if you dial ten nines into your phone and call it, it may be the last phone call you ever make because “it” will come and get you.
A couple from Maryland, thoroughly confused by their receiving a call from the mysterious number said they picked it up one night and heard no one on the other line. Thinking they heard something in the background very faintly, they turned it on speaker phone where they could hear old time slow jazz playing in the background and someone moving about a room as they called out asking if anyone was there. After repeated attempts to contact the person there was no answer and they simply left the matter thinking no more of it. But then later that night they received a call from the same number, and as they answered they put it immediately on speakerphone and heard the same eerie music playing in the background. Thinking it may be a prank caller, they attempted to block the number but found they could not. Others have reported receiving similar calls from the number, but with different results.
It’s said, however, if you try to call the number back and someone answers something bad will happen almost immediately. Variants on the urban legend are different depending on who is telling the story, but as urban legends often have it the result is usually an untimely and grisly demise. Of course this tempting nuisance was too much to pass up and I dialed the number in the dead of night shortly after hearing about it. After two rings, a click came on and the automated operator explained that there was no such number available. I had been spared. But the legend didn’t apply to me anyway. The only “real” way to provoke your untimely end is to call the number back right after receiving a mysterious cryptic call from the unknown caller himself. Why anyone would want to provoke this is probably similar to why they would dial the number in the first place: simple curiosity.
But where would such a legend have come from? The idea likely came about because of encryption technology that can leave some fairly mysterious and cryptic messages from private companies, collection agencies, movie rental establishments, and even private callers appearing to have originated from the same number. And the film “One Missed Call” mirrors this legend to an almost uncanny degree suggesting perhaps its origin could be traced to either it or the Japanese thriller Chakunshin Ari which in turn was based in part on a Japanese urban legend.
But at the end of the day it’s just a strange phone call from a mysterious source untraceable through conventional means. Why? 999-999-9999 is the number that appears on caller ID if a caller has used a masking device to make it untraceable. So if your phone turns up with this number it could be a grisly ghost from an unknown dimension calling for your soul or even more terrifying – a telemarketer!