The Number of Death

Cell phone numbers are often thought to have no significance more than the ease to memorize and transcribe them.  And yet one incredibly easy to memorize and transcribe number has been taken out of circulation largely because it carries with it not only a list of contacts that will dial the wrong number, but according to many because it is the number of death.  It is said those who possess a phone with this number will die of unnatural causes before they get a chance to change it.

Mobitel, the company that used to carry the phone number is a Bulgarian mobile phone service whose CEO took the number originally shortly before dying of cancer.  But speculation about the circumstances behind Vladimir Gashnov’s death suggest he may have actually been killed by a corporate rival who poisoned him with radiation leading to his premature end.  While the story itself is the stuff legends are often made of, there is no proof in it that Mr. Gashnov was actually murdered.  But when the phone number was given to its next victim, eyebrows began to raise within the company.

Konstantin “Samovetsa” Dimitrov received the phone number and without hearing of its morbid history was gunned down shortly after receiving it on December 07, 2003 while travelling in Dam Square with Bulgarian model Tsetsi Krassimorova.  After his death the gunman was captured in a local pub.  On his person when he was found was the cell phone with the number 0888 888 888 – the number of death.  This second murder was enough to establish that there may have been something strange going on with the phone number.  But it wasn’t until the number reached its third victim that it finally was suspended by the company.

Shortly after Dimitrov’s death the number was passed on to Konstantin Dishliev, a suspected major cocaine trafficker operating in Bulgaria.  He was shot several times by the police in 2005 shortly after receiving the number and died.  A cocaine shipment with an estimated value of over $202 million was intercepted shortly thereafter by Bulgarian police.

Altogether the phone number was in service for around four years, and claimed three lives in that time – each with mysterious or suspicious circumstances surrounding.  After the death of Dishliev the number was deleted.  The cursed phone number as it is called has become a subject of legend since then.  And if you should ever receive an incoming call from the number 0888-888-8888, it may be wise to not answer it.

Is it mere coincidence that these men all died under suspicious circumstances while holding the phone?  Or was it nothing more than a coincidence followed by several more coincidences?  Either way Mobitel is not taking any chances.  If you call the number today, all you will hear is a message saying the number is no longer in service.  It is a constant reminder and digital tombstone to those who had the ill fortune of possessing the phone number of death.