The little jolt in your stomach when the phone rings always hits you, even when you’re expecting the call. When you’re not, that opens another unsettling can of worms. Who is calling? Where did they get your number? Why you? Ninety nine times out of a hundred, your phone call nerves are totally unfounded. Every so often, however, there’s something to worry about on the other line.
There are several inexplicable moments, long running harassments, random disappearances, and even deaths, that took place through telephone lines. At some point or another, the phone rang, and only the mysterious person on the other end could unlock the answers about what went down.
1. A telephone operator in Oxnard, California, answered a call at 10 am on November 22, 1963. The whispered voice of a woman came across the line, saying the President would die at 10:10 am before correcting to 10:30 am.
Chalking it up as a prank, the operator hung up. Half an hour later, President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 — or 10:30 am PST. The caller’s identity remains a mystery and strangely, this wasn’t the only call of its kind.
In 2017, the conspiracy theorist community was given a rare treat when the JFK files were declassified. Amongst the many pages was the mention of another call in the UK that also predicted the killing within a half hour window.
Global Research / Dr. Gary G. Kohls
2. Bashir Kouchacji thought he’d put the worst behind him after he survived kidnap and torture at the hands of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon. Ten years later, in 1983, Kouchacji was managing a restaurant in Washington, D.C. when the phone calls started.
Every day the staff at the Moroccan restaurant fielded 15-20 calls of hateful curses, harassments, and even death threats. Their main target was Bashir, who also received them at their Philadelphia sister restaurant, too. They eventually wore him down.
Flickr / Haris Michailidis
The constant unexplainable calls took their toll on Kouchacji, who vehemently believed there was a connection to his former kidnappers. At one point he checked himself into a mental hospital to cope with his severe paranoia and insomnia, and the FBI still has no answers.
3. Before Donna Lass disappeared from the Sahara Tahoe Casino on September 6, 1970, a few people with connections to her received some troubling messages: Both Donna’s boss and landlord were tipped off by a male caller that she was going to be absent for a stretch of time.
Worried, Donna’s boss called her mother to ask about the “family emergency” the caller mentioned, but nothing was wrong at the time. Based on the calls and postcard sent to the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s believed the Zodiac Killer was on the other end of the line.
Flickr / Michael W Sullivan
4. The body of 24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy was found in December of 2010 after she first disappeared the previous July. Police believe Melissa is among the women targeted by the Long Island serial killer, who chose sex workers from Craigslist as his victims.
Six bodies were recovered on the beaches of Long Island, all deaths attributed to this serial killer. While he remains at large, police think it was the murderer who used Melissa’s cellphone to contact her younger sister on more than one occasion.
New York Post
Through text and voice calls, the unknown caller disparaged Melissa to her sister, specifically mentioning her history of sex work, which few people knew about. Attempts to trace the calls routed back to vague locations like Madison Square Garden.
Newsday / T.J. Sloan
5. En route to a job interview, Charles Peck’s life was cut short. He, along with 35 others, was killed when the Metrolink commuter train crashed into a freight train in Los Angeles. At home, his worried fiancee watched the news, terrified when her phone rang.
Charles’ cellphone dialed his fiancee, son, brother, sister, and step mother, making 35 calls in total to loved ones. Granted, it’s natural for a person facing death to call their families, but medical personnel determined Charles died on impact, making the calls oddly paranormal.
Daily Bulletin / Los Angeles Daily News
6. Fulfilling every parent’s nightmare, 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic answered the phone at home one day when a predator was on the other line. Amy told her brother and a few kids at school about it later, but no adults were aware in time.
From what she described, the man said her mom was getting a promotion at work and he was going to take Amy to buy her a gift. On their arranged date of October 27, 1989, Amy disappeared from a shopping center in Ohio.
E Online / FBI
Four months after her disappearance, Amy’s body was recovered in a field not far from the road in a neighboring rural county. Several other young girls in the area received similar phone calls as well, however, no suspect has ever been identified.
News 5 Cleveland
7. Dale Duane Williams answered the phone at his body shop and spoke to a motorist requesting assistance. Not a mechanic, just a decent guy, Dale chatted with his friend about the woman he’d just spoken to, then headed out the door.
Montrose Daily Press
That was on May 27th, 1999, and Dale Duane Williams was never seen again. After he didn’t come home, his wife notified police. All leads turned up dry, until Dale’s truck was recovered from a lake without him anywhere nearby.
Sacramento Bee / Daniel Kim
No motives or clues pointed to Dale’s whereabouts, so his case went cold. Decades later, his family still hopes one small piece of evidence could give them answers about what actually happened that day. That’s all that was necessary to close these long left unsolved disappearances.
Flick / Fabulousfabs
1. Two Jane Does: September 28th, 1995, authorities in New Britain, Connecticut, discovered the body of a teenage girl, right, shot in the back of the head and left behind a music store. A week later, the investigation into her death took a turn.
Forty miles away, police found the body of an older woman in a forest, wrapped in plastic. Authorities struggled to identify both her and the teenager at the music store. In 2011, though, the investigators made crucial leaps in the case with the help of forensics.
Science proved the two bodies were mother and daughter, which lent itself to the idea that the murders were not only linked, but likely carried out by the same killer, who was still at large. Worse, investigators still didn’t know the bodies’ identities.
In 2014, police officers in New York received a phone call from someone claiming that her relatives, Marcia and teenager Elizabeth Honsch, had gone missing 19 years earlier. The family had been looking for them without getting authorities involved. But now?
Now, the caller suspected Elizabeth’s dad, Robert, might’ve been responsible for their disappearance. He’d claimed in ’95 the family was going to move to Australia. But then they ended up dead, and he ended up living in Ohio under another name—with another family.
Sure enough, investigators found his palm prints on a plastic sheet that’d been wrapped around Marcia’s dead body. More evidence pushed authorities to arrest Robert Honsch for their murders in 2014. He was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole.
2. Lady in the Barrel: In 1999, a man in Jericho, New York, discovered a rusted, 55-gallon metal drum in the crawl space of his new home. Opening it revealed something terrible and gut-wrenching.
The barrel contained the remains of a 9-months-pregnant woman left to decompose for over 30 years. An address book and other possessions also in the barrel helped police identify her as Reyna Marroquin, an immigrant from El Salvador who’d moved to New York in 1966 and was reported missing three years later.
So investigators checked out the barrel. It had been originally shipped to Melrose Plastics, a company that produced synthetic flowers like those below and had employed Reyna. Naturally, authorities turned their attention there… and to the company’s owner.
The owner Howard Elkins, left, previously-owned the house in Jericho where the plastic drum was discovered. Further pointing the finger at Howard, a friend of Reyna claimed the two had been having an affair.
The guilt-wracked Reyna told Howard’s wife about the affair and professed fear that he’d have her killed. Right around then, in 1969, Reyna vanished. So, in 1999, detective Brian Parpan, below, and his partner questioned a now-70-year-old Howard in his Boca Raton retirement home.
Investigators told Howard he’d have to take a DNA test to see if the unborn child in Reyna’s belly was his. Howard subsequently shot himself in the back seat of his SUV. A posthumous DNA test proved he was likely the father.
Forensic Spider / YouTube
All evidence suggested that Howard was the person who killed Reyna, but because of his suicide, authorities still didn’t have definitive proof. Until they found one last piece of evidence that confirmed suspicions…
Forensic Spider / YouTube
Authorities recovered a note from the very last page of Reyna’s address book. It read, “don’t be mad I told the truth.” The line corroborated the allegations that she told Howard’s wife about an affair…
Forensic Spider / YouTube
3. David Lee Niles: Seventy-two-year-old David met with a good friend at a bar in Bryon Township, Michigan, on October 11, 2006. Once he left the bar, no one ever saw him again. But where had the ailing old man gone?
David’s family assumed he’d taken his own life; after all, the man had been battling cancer and depression. They even published an obituary for him in 2011. But on November 11th, 2015, a man, below, decorating a pine tree for Christmas, stumbled onto a more concrete answer.
While putting the star on top of the tree, the man saw something disturbing at the bottom of a pond beside the pine tree. He notified police officers, who pulled out a submerged car with David’s skeleton inside—but that wasn’t the strangest part.
The mystery behind David’s disappearance and probable suicide should’ve been solved a lot sooner: you could see David’s car in the lake on Google Maps! His ultimate fate wasn’t too unlike this next once-unsolved mystery…
4. Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson: It was May of 1971 when South Dakota high school students, Pamela and Cheryl, made plans to celebrate the end of school at a nearby quarry. But they never showed up to the party.
Naturally, classmates first assumed that the missing duo just changed their plans. But no one saw them—or their 1960’s Studebaker Lark like the one below—again. For 42 years, the duo’s whereabouts were unknown, but then authorities received interesting evidence.
Alden Jewell / Flickr
A man turned over to authorities a recording of another man named David Lykken—who had a criminal past—admitting he killed Pamela and Cheryl, and he was indicted for their murders in 2007. On September 23rd, 2013, however, new information turned up.
A passerby spotted tires sticking out of a North Dakota creek, and investigators found a wrecked car with the remains of Pamela and Cheryl still inside. Furthermore, authorities determined David’s confession was forged. So what happened?
Autopsies and inspections of the vehicle indicated there had been no foul play involved in the deaths of Cheryl and Pamela. A damaged tire on their car, however, suggested the girls perished in a car accident. Recently, their families finally held funerals.
5. The McStay Family: On February 4th, 2010, Joseph McStay—a man who ran a successful decorative fountain business—his wife Summer, and their two kids, disappeared from their home in San Diego. Police investigated and found some puzzling clues.
Their house showed no indication of foul play: paint used for renovations sat in the kitchen and the family’s two dogs remained in the backyard. Surveillance footage showed a similar family crossing into Mexico, and authorities considered it might’ve been the McStays. The case grew cold… until 2013.
On November 11th, a motorcyclist found the family’s remains in shallow graves about 100 miles north of San Diego in San Bernadino County. Nearby lay clothes caked in the same paint they’d found in the family’s kitchen. What happened?
LaFonzo Carter / San Bernadino Sun
Authorities arrested Joseph’s business partner Charles Merritt on November 5th, 2014, after finding his DNA on the McStay’s abandoned vehicle. Allegedly, gambling-addict Merritt committed the crime for financial gain. In July 2018, he’d yet to face trial.