Missing couple's landline from the Miami condo collapse has made 16 mysterious calls

Originally published at: Missing couple's landline from the Miami condo collapse has made 16 mysterious calls | Boing Boing


Eagerly awaiting the responses here. Seems like BB has a higher than average number of intelligent posters. Looking forward to the theories.


The picture shows a classic NE500 handset, but more likely it’s something more recent, with hearing boosts, speed dial buttons…


Total raw baseless speculation time: let’say the old folks landline had a ‘speed-dial’ method to call up the relatives, and let’say the separate circuit to the landline (often landlines will work when some of the power lines are kaput) is still unaccountably and occasionally active. That is, some concrete block is pushing on the speed-dial button. All very very sad, of course -sigh-


I don’t want to make light of the tragic situation but I am reminded of the Twilight Zone episode Night Call…

Also, about 6 months after my dad died I texted my duaghter from his phone, that was fun and she’s been instructed to use my phone after I’m gone to torment people. We both have a morbid sense of humor.

But like I said, this is tragic and I hope they find more survivors especially this couple. I’m sure there is a technical explanation unless the answer is the obvious one that they are alive trying to reach help.


That was my thought, as well. Or, if not “speed dial” maybe the “redial” button has (or had, until Saturday) something pressing it.


I find it darn unlikely that the phone connections between the pole, the building, their apartment, and then to their phone all remained intact.


Obviously they are calling the HOA to complain.


You’re a killjoy, but I have to agree.

There’s a big difference between saying “I got a call and the caller ID displayed my mom’s number” and saying “I got a call from my mom’s phone”. Hard as it is to picture somebody calling the victim’s daughter and spoofing the victim’s phone number, it’s a lot easier than picturing a phone in the rubble still working, let along somebody surviving to work it.

I’d love to be wrong about all this.

Edited to add: phone-company records can determine where a call came from. Investigators should examine them. Caller ID, as I mentioned, proves nothing.


Why so hard to believe the line would still be intact? The lines probably ran underground into the building, up a fairly sturdy structural feature in an armored conduit. If the apartment was on a low floor and the phone was near the outside wall, it may not have moved much at all.

It doesn’t have to be likely, just 1 in 100.


Not the first time I read something about the victims “reaching out” to family (in a paranormal/tingly sort of way).

The idea of a landline and pulse dialing is not too far out there though. I would draw the line at mysterious Twitter DM’s.


There is also the possibility that they have made the whole thing up. Possibly the stressful situation is making them believe things that can’t possible be true.


After the Haiti earthquake, there were many people desperate to have their loved ones saved from underneath rubble. There were many buildings to search through, and not enough search and rescue crews. It was common for family members of victims to come up with fake text messages which supposedly were sent from under the rubble, which were tearfully presented to the rescuers to encourage them to search in a particular area. This situation is, of course, different, but the first thing to come to mind was that this might be a variation on the theme of what we saw in 2010. I wouldn’t dream of accusing the family of one of the victims of making up stories, though, and I only wish them the best as they recover from their loss and eventually move on from this terrible tragedy.


Here in the UK, simple phones on analogue landlines are powered by the line voltage. As long as the phone line is working the phone will work.


Are you accusing them of being a phonee?


The night my mother passed away, she and I were watching that very episode of Twilight Zone. I remember her saying she would never do anything like that it it were possible.


I work in telecoms and you would be surprised at how much force is sometimes necessary to break a copper line. Plus, these wires can stretch quite a bit. I’ve seen network equipment ripped out of a rack when a pole falls and the wire is still intact.


That must be so distressing for the family.


It’d be cruel (and unlikely) if some duct-cleaning service from India was spoofing the number.


These seem to be the options. How do you rank their likelihood?

  1. the grandparents survived and their phone still works
  2. the phone still works, and something is making it redial the daughter
  3. somebody is calling the daughter and spoofing her parents
  4. the daughter has convincingly imagined getting a call from her folks
  5. the daughter is claiming she got a call, though she knows she didn’t

None of them seem high-probability. But here we are.