Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s the one night a year I have an excuse (an emotional excuse) to scarf on candy and watch bad Halloween kid movies from the ‘90s (“Hocus Pocus” anyone?). And in spite of my ardent skepticism, it’s the one night a year I entertain the thought of ghosts and hauntings.
Since no Halloween would be complete without a few ghost stories, we asked around our community* to collect a few spoOOoky tales of hauntings and ghost sightings.
The Haunted iPhone, Tim Wedmore, Mass.
My family and I had just moved in with my parents after I put our savings and the kids' college funds into my startup--when it arrived: my new iPhone 4S. I had just upgraded from an iPhone 4 and was counting down the days until my new iPhone would arrive.
Right away, I knew something was wrong.
I tried activating my phone, but it wouldn’t stay on. I would start it up, but it would just go blank. And it wouldn’t save any of my settings. I kept trying to put English as the language, and it kept switching to Mandarin. The time was all wrong and when I tried to change the wallpaper to my favorite Garfield comic, it wouldn’t save. I chalked it all up to some temporary glitch and went to bed.
But things just kept getting weirder.
That first night, I woke up at three in the morning when my phone started vibrating. It was on my nightstand and I had switched it over to silent. It was an incoming call from a number I didn’t recognize, so I just shut it off and got up to tinker some more with the mobile app we’re building that uses GPS to help users locate their friends. It also plays music in the background. It’s gonna be huge.
The next night, it did the same thing. It was the same number, at exactly three o’clock.
The third night, I finally answered the phone. “Hey, man, it’s three in the morning. Quit calling me,” I said, but there was no answer. Just…heavy breathing. I turned my phone off completely—which I never do, because who turns off their phone? Duh.
The next morning, my iPhone wasn’t on my nightstand. It wasn’t on the floor either. I started to panic. Did I grab it in my sleep and stick it under my pillow? I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was really starting to freak out, wondering how I was going to text or check my email while driving to the office when my mom found it by the front door. It was just lying there, on the floor, like someone had dropped it there.
The same thing happened the next morning. I set my iPhone down on my nightstand, and in the morning, it was lying on the floor by the front door, only this time, there were scratches on the bottom of the door—like it had tried to get out.
The morning after that, it was on the floor, but there was water everywhere and a piece of seaweed stuck to it.
Finally, I gave up. I went to the Apple store and traded it in. I know it’s an anticlimactic ending, but that’s what happened.
The Ghost in the Office, Cynthia Benson, San Francisco
When my co-founder and I bought the office on Market Street, we were thrilled. We wanted to celebrate with a bottle of champagne, but neither one of us could afford it.
I don’t believe in ghosts, but some weird things started happening around the office. The office was unusually cold—even for San Francisco. We layered our clothes and broke out our fingerless gloves, because we were used to not being able to afford heating, but this was colder than usual. We eventually had to splurge on a space heater.
Then the printer started jamming up. It would say there was a paper jam when there was NO PAPER in it. o_O
Then we started getting weird phone calls—the phone would ring and one of us would pick up, and we’d hear a fax machine tone. But who owns a fax machine?
It turns out that it was all Raymond, an entrepreneur who leased the office 10 years ago. Everyone in the building knew of him, apparently. He spent a lot of time there. Some people say that if you stay really still and don’t make a peep, you can see Raymond walk to the microwave to heat up a Cup O’ Noodles.
Untitled, Mitch Blankly, New York
One time, I left my phone on the subway. The MTA was able to find it, but not before someone had played a game of Draw Things on it >:(
*No one in our community was asked about ghost stories