We usually expect our horror stories to involve a haunted house or a fog-shrouded graveyard. But in modern times some of the most terrifying stories have begun with a simple phone call. Sure, we've all received creepy phone calls from the random prankster...but what about those unexplained phone calls that led to tragedy? Those calls which foretold of death approaching, or even more chilling a phone call from the ghost of someone who is already dead?
Over the years, the wonderful invention of Alexander Graham Bell has not always been used to reach out to friends and family but instead at times has become the instrument employed to terrorize, horrify, or mystify. Phone calls have been made by killers to contact their victims' families, taunting them. Others have taken prank calls to the next level, and people have come up missing, or worse, dead. Continue reading for some of the strangest, most bizarre phone calls ever received, and the crimes to which they're attached.
At around 10 am on November 22, 1963, a call was made to an operator in Oxnard, California. A woman began whispering to the operator. She stated that the president was going to die at approximately 10:10 am. The time came and went, and as far as the operator was concerned, the president was still alive. Then, the mysterious caller changed the time of the president's supposed death to 10:30. The switchboard operator, believing to be a victim of a prank call, disconnected the line. President John F. Kennedy was in Dallas, Texas, riding in a motorcade on that fateful day. He was shot and killed at 12:30 pm, which was 10:30 am in California where the call was made. The telephone company was never able to trace the calls, and the case of the anonymous telephone call about the president's death remains unsolved.
The JFK files, declassified in 2017, also contained notes about an unidentified caller in the UK who predicted JFK's death less than half an hour before it happened. This call also was never traced, and its origins remain a mystery.
Bashir Kouchacji was a restaurant manager at the Marrakesh, a Moroccan restaurant in Washington D.C. Starting in 1983, a mysterious caller or callers began calling the restaurant on a daily basis, harassing the employers. The caller would threaten the employees with death and attempt to extort them, sometimes yelling obscenities. The caller would call the restaurant upwards of 15 to 20 times per day. Kouchacji received the brunt of the abuse, and the majority of the threats seemed to be specifically for him. Even when Kouchacji was not at the restaurant, the phone calls followed him. Kouchacji would often travel to Pennsylvania to work at a sister restaurant of his, and the harassing phone calls would begin as soon as he stepped foot in the building.
For Kouchacji, the harassment was reminiscent of when he was kidnapped and tortured in 1974 by the Palestine Liberation Organization while staying in Lebanon. In fact, Kouchacji believes that the phone calls and his kidnapping are related, that someone was still trying to get to him from the kidnapping incident. Kouchacji became so paranoid and worried over the mysterious phone calls, he began losing sleep, not being able to eat, and his entire life suffered because of it. Eventually, he checked himself into a psychiatric hospital, where he still goes when his life is too stressful. The FBI became involved in the case and were attempting to trace the calls, but were only able to trace the calls coming from random payphones from across the Washington area. The phone calls eventually stopped after nearly 10 years, and Kouchacji finally left the mental hospital. He never found out from where the calls came.
25-year-old Donna Lass worked as a nurse at the first-aid station in a Tahoe casino. On September 6, 1970, she would disappear from the casino, never to be seen or heard from again. Various officers and detectives have worked on the case over the years, and many are under the assumption that Lass was a victim of the Zodiac Killer. The Zodiac Killer was responsible for a series of murders that took place in the '60s and '70s, taunting the police during his spree, and while there have been many suspects over the years, the killer has never been identified. What's interesting about the Lass case was that a man had called both her boss and landlord stating that due to a family emergency, Lass would not be around for a while. Her boss at the casino was concerned by the call and called Lass's mother, who informed him she was not aware of any family emergency. If police are correct and Lass was a victim of the Zodiac Killer, it is likely he was responsible for the phone calls.
The Long Island serial killer is a suspect in a string of murders which have taken place near Long Island, New York. Police have yet to identify the person responsible for the killings but have been able to link him to several due to his alleged modus operandi. The killer appears to choose sex workers as his victims primarily. He dumps their bodies on Gilgo Beach or Oak Beach. All of the women seemed to be strangled to death, their bodies wrapped in burlap sacks.
24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy is one of the victims linked to the Long Island serial killer. Barthelemy, a sex worker who used Craigslist to find customers, had made an appointment with a client on July 10, 2009. Barthelemy was never seen or heard from after the date. However, a week after Barthelemy's disappearance, her younger sister Amanda began receiving phone calls from Barthelemy's phone. The calls continued coming over the course of six weeks, and text messages as well. The police were only able to figure out the general area that the calls were being placed from, such as Madison Square Garden. The caller harassed Amanda, asking her vulgar questions and eventually telling her that her sister was dead, and that they were responsible for her murder. Eventually, the calls ceased, and it is assumed that the person responsible for Barthelemy's death was the one who made the disturbing calls to her sister.