Phone Demon

This is a re-telling of an tiny event that happened between us and our neighbor on the east coast. I've told the story elsewhere on the web, but it has been a while. In a nutshell, our neighbor went crazy on us. This is how it all went down:

After ten pm, I heard a knock at the door. I answered, and a middle aged woman lunged into our entryway, thrusting the cell phone in her hand toward my face. I recognized the lady as our neighbor. We weren't very close to her. My wife bonded with her a bit early on, and we may have visited for appetizers, but after just one visit it was clear a night at her house usually meant bottomless bottles of wine. This neighbor lady was, for all intents and purposes, pretty normal on the exterior, if a bit of a lush, but we were pleasant enough neighbors. The moment this all changed, of course, was the evening we found her standing in our home, unannounced, late at night, trying to hand off her cell phone to anyone who would take it.

In fact, she tried to hand me her phone so many times I began to think her phone had broken down and she expected me to fix it. Her eyes darted back and forth between the phone and my face like a cat watching a bird. I tried turning the phone one and off.

"No!" she kept saying "No! That's not it!" A look of horror took over her face. Her eyes got wider and wider.  The phone wasn't broken, you see. It was 'possessed.' I tried getting her to repeat this part to me. I thought she was kidding at first.

"There is an entity," she said, slowly and deliberately. "In my phone." She said this over and over.

I could tell by her demeanor that she had no idea what to do. She expected me to sense this entity and do something about it. I'm not a Ghostbuster. I think she hoped either me or my wife had some exorcism experience, or at least, some peripheral knowledge of ghost in the machine possession.

After minutes of awkward back-and-forth clarification ("So, to be clear, there is an entity inside your phone? Is it speaking to you?") it became clear she was really freaked out and needed us to follow her back to her place. I had misgivings, but it was clear this issue wasn't going away, and if anything, was getting more frantic and serious by the minute.

We got to her place. Somehow, our neighbor's cell phone had ended up in my hand. I examined it. There was nothing wrong with it as far as I could tell. She bid us toward her office den on the second floor. This was a part of the house we had never seen. It was a home office with a desk and a desktop computer.

The computer, it seems, was also possessed.

"When I turned it on, I saw three horizontal lines!" she claimed incredulously. I examined the desktop and didn't see three horizontal lines. I saw a desktop.

Her computer, like the phone, was also fine. My wife and I interrogated her for another few minutes, trying to determine if she was either really drunk, tripping on something, or both. She didn't reek of booze, which is usually a dead giveaway. She seemed lucid enough,

We could not conclude that anything - except her brain - was amiss. To clarify, we heard and saw nothing wrong with the computer or the phone, but in her reality, there was an evil, malevolent presence in both machines and by not fixing it for her, we were part of the problem. She could tell we doubted her - although we didn't dare insult her openly - and the claws came out. She got really nasty with us. Sarcastic and biting and rude. She resented that we implied that her phone and computer had not been corrupted with some foul entity.

Not willing to take further abuse, we eventually left her, muttering alone in her office with her possessed phone and computer, and did not speak with her again. The next day, she couldn't even look at us. She never said a word to us about having entered our home, or having made paranormal accusations toward her electronic equipment. She seemed embarrassed and distant, and I got the distinct sense that had I chosen to confront her about that night, she would have flatly denied it.

In the months that followed, and up until we left town, I never uttered another word to our neighbor. My wife, ever the kind diplomat, continued to be nice to her, but I was unable to get past the incident. To this day I am puzzled by what happened. I don't even question whether or not an entity in fact took over her phone, I am more intrigued by what amount of wine, or what drug combination, could bring on such hallucinations for a seasoned alcoholic. If wine was not involved, I wonder what could have possibly been at work.


Popular Posts