Or So it Seems … Phone Hex

“Theeeey’re heeeere….”
-Carol Anne Freeling, Poltergeist

In 1982 a Poltergeist crawled from a static-filled television screen to terrorize a family. Times have changed. Now TV is 24/7, and you can watch it on your cell.

The Portal to Evil is now portable, and our phones are possessed.


The demons start with small stuff, minor irritations like butt-dialing. We tend to blame ourselves, or chalk it up to chance when our “devices” call people at random. But it’s not an accident. Evil is at hand, sitting in a parallel dimension, chortling, and sapping our life force.

But can it trap us in cellular space?

Sadly, it can.

True story. My wife, Karin, innocently “OK’d” an operating system upgrade just as we drove into the mountains. The phone lost connectivity as we entered THE DEAD ZONE, and then the iPhone lost its little mind. Of course we couldn’t call tech support. Karin tried cell-phone-Voodoo. This involves holding the cell up, away from your body, at odd angles, waving it about in the vain hope it will start working again.

We finally managed to drive back into an area with reception and used MY Droid to call for tech support. The tech support guy talked us through rebooting the iPhone just like a priest performing an exorcism.

And it worked…. Sort of.

But Karin’s phone developed a personality disorder. It became mean and forgetful. All the options were restored to the factory original settings. We didn’t realize that despised “auto-correct” feature was reactivated until we texted a friend, telling him that he should: “Meet us in ‘Vina.’ ”

But the iPhone decided we really meant “vagina.” He quickly texted us back, asking “WHERE?” We called to clarify, explain and sheepishly apologize. Our friend laughed nervously.

I’m not sure he believed us.

And it got worse. Karin’s phone became unsociable—it wouldn’t talk to her blue-tooth earpiece.

So off we went to the Verizon store—a gleaming shrine to mobile communications. A place chock full of acolytes in uniform. Once we arrived, the phone revived and worked flawlessly. The techies didn’t even have to perform a laying on of hands. Demonic possession isn’t a problem you can duplicate in the shop. But once we were back outside, all hell broke loose.

The iZombies abducted our blue tooth.

I swear—the little blue earpiece vanished before our eyes. We looked high and low, even taking the extreme measure of taking 3 tons of junks out of Karin’s purse and probing the depths of the space under her car seats.


So we bought another earpiece, and another, and another. Karin pretended this was normal. “Oh, they’ll turn up,” she says. “And then I’ll have a spare.” Fishy? Yes. I’m afraid she’s become one of the faithful, the secret society of iPhone users who provide cover stories for the Apple Poltergeist. I’m not sure why. But I do know that the earpieces were abducted—taken to that space between the worlds full of ball point pens and unmatched socks—I just can’t prove it

There IS a logical explanation. The evil spirit of Steve Jobs lingers in her iPhone. Why else would it require you to use iTUNES to get apps or back it up?  Demons wear white these days.

Of course, people keep reminding me that cells have ADDED so much to our lives. It’s true. Before the iPhone, on road trips Karin used to gaze at the scenery and point out cool landmarks. She talked to me. Now, when she’s not chatting on the phone, I get to listen to complaints about the “terrible data-transfer rates” outside of Willows.

I shouldn’t complain. It was my idea to get phones for the car. I’d hoped these gadgets would allow my family to call home if they had a problem on the road. What I didn’t realize is that they also could SCARE YOU TO DEATH!

Case in point, recently Karin was returning home from a trip to Chico. She was traveling Old ‘99, on a nasty two-lane stretch, and noticed that the “check engine light” was glowing. She pulled over immediately and called me. We chatted via her blue-tooth earpiece while she, at my suggestion, checked the oil, fluid levels, and various drive belts under the hood.

“It all looks OK,” she said.

“Then  I wouldn’t worry about it,” I said, still a bit nervous that she was out there standing alongside speeding semi-trucks on the narrow road. I heard the hood slam, and then she said something that was muffled, and I waited for her to resume the conversation. I figured she had her hands full watching for traffic to ease up so she could jump back in her car, belt up, and take off.

But all I heard was the sound of passing traffic

“Everything OK?” I asked.

No response, just the drone of a truck, starting in low and then roaring by.

“Wow, that was close, wasn’t it?”


“HEY!” I shouted, thinking she might not be hearing me over the din, “ARE YOU OK?”

A motorcycle buzzed by, but no Karin.

My heart leapt into my throat.

Something wasn’t right here. It was obvious she hadn’t gotten back in the car, but why wasn’t she talking? WHERE WAS SHE?? A sense of dread infected my mind.

If she’d been run over…  would traffic still be buzzing by? Are people THAT heartless? I felt numb. I wasn’t even sure where she was so that I could call for help. I pictured her lifeless body lying alongside the road, or impaled on a walnut tree.

Several LONG minutes later, a breathless Karin spoke.

“Hello? Hello? Is this still working?”

“You’re OK?” I was relieved, and then surprised to hear laughter, laughter, on the other end.

Before I could chew her out, Karin explained what had happened.

She’d put her iPhone ON HER SUN ROOF while she checked the oil. Karin had looked everything over, chatting with me as I talked her through various things to check, decided all was well, and closed the hood. She then hopped into the safety of the driver’s seat, and sped away.

AT some point, the phone flew off the top of the car and landed smack in the middle of the road, on top of the dotted yellow line. Karin kept talking, and for a few moments the connection held.

She realized her mistake when her earpiece announced “connection dropped.” So she turned around, hoping to find the remains of her phone. Instead, she found the phone intact, still connected, and it reconnected as she drove up.

There wasn’t a dent or scratch on the blasted thing, which is more that I could say for my peace-of-mind. The worst part of all this is that Karin found this story funny. Really. The more I told her how fearful I was, the more she laughed.

That’s when I felt the cold shiver of doubt. Could she be possessed? What do you think?

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this. Friends, never, ever, ever turn your back on that glowing screen because, just when you think you’re safe in your car you may find that … “theeeey’re BAAACK.”

So run for it Carol Anne. Chuck the iPhone, and take me with you when you go.

I think they’ve already gotten Karin.

Robb has enjoyed writing and performing since he was a child, and many of his earliest performances earned him a special recognition-reserved seating in the principal’s office at Highland Elementary. Since then, in addition to his weekly column on A News Cafe – “Or So it Seems™” – Robb has written news and features for The Bakersfield Californian, appeared on stage as an opening stand-up act in Reno, and his writing has been published in the Funny Times. His short stories have won honorable mention national competition. His screenplay, “One Little Indian,” Was a top-ten finalist in the Writer’s Digest competition. Robb presently lives, writes and teaches in Shasta County.

Robb Lightfoot is a humorist, author and educator. He and his wife raised a family of four kids, a dozen or more dogs and a zillion cats. He has enjoyed writing and performing since he was a child, and many of his earliest performances earned him a special recognition-reserved seating in the principal’s office at Highland Elementary. Since then, in addition to teaching at Shasta Community College, and his former column on A News Cafe - "Or So it Seems™" - Robb has written news and features for The Bakersfield Californian, appeared on stage as an opening stand-up act in Reno, and his writing has been published in the "Funny Times". His short stories have won honorable mention in national competitions. His screenplay, “One Little Indian,” Was a top-10 finalist in the Writer’s Digest competition. Robb presently lives and writes in Chico where he manages ThinkingFunny.com. He also hates referring to himself in the third person, and will stop doing so immediately. I can be reached in the following ways: Robb@thinkingfunny.com PO Box 5286 Chico, CA 95928 @_thinking_funny on Twitter
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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Terry says:

    My personal favorite is when you are seeking information on a trip, and the phone decides to shift to an alternative provider tower! Took me three days and multiple phone calls to get it right again.

    • Avatar Robb says:

      I know that when we go into the Gold country, around Sutter's Creek, there's a teenly little cell phone company that owns the towers. I'm convinced this is the modern equivalent of a speed trap. Talk about "roaming data charges."