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‘Devil Calls’ Cause Exploding Phones
Status: Insane rumor
Panic has struck mobile phone users in India as word spreads of "devil calls" that cause your phone to explode: "People started turning off their handsets after a rumour swept Orissa state of phones exploding like bombs killing their owners when they answered the calls. The random "devil calls" supposedly started Sunday from phones with 11 to 14 digit numbers instead of the regular 10, said an official from India's state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam phone company."

Obviously the rumor is completely bogus, but the theory of the general manager of the phone company in the area is interesting. He speculates that the 'devil call' rumor "could be the handiwork of vested interests to subsequently market anti-virus software for mobile phones." Sounds plausible. (I've never used anti-virus software because it seems to cause more computer problems than viruses themselves do... though I use a Mac, so viruses aren't a big issue.)

I also recall that almost the exact same rumor swept through Nigeria back in July 2004. Somehow it travelled from Nigeria to India.
Categories: Mass Delusion, Technology
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 29, 2006
Comments (18)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:
You use a MAC?! Why buy a Mac? It's like buying a car that's compatible with only 10% of the roads. Jokes aside, even though MacOS has its roots as a Unix system, it's by no means secure.

The hardcore use Linux raspberry
Posted by Soldant  in  Brisbane, Australia  on  Wed Mar 29, 2006  at  02:16 AM
My believe is Macs are good for something (I use a Mac, a few Windows box and a few more Linux boxes, and they all have their strong and weak points. In my Mac's case, video and photo editing are way above my Windows PCs). In any case, I think I can speculate how this guy get wierd 11-14 digit numbers. See, when you call a phone number through IDD from a roaming cellphone, telcos (at least, those over here) would send a bogus caller ID instead of the real one. I tried it once. My cousin from Australia was over and his mom brought her phone over (She was on Optus Australia) and it was on roaming. I got my cousin to place a call to my phone (Which is on DiGi Malaysia) from theirs. My phone displayed a strange longer-than-usual number instead of their number (I think it was around 12-14 digits instead of the usual 10). Of course, she wasn't too happy when she found out that I made my cousin use her phone to call IDD while roaming to my phone although I didn't answer it. I tried calling the number back and was told that the number is non-existant. I'm thinking the case there was that some pranksters could've brought in phones from a neighbouring country and use it to prank the locals.
Posted by RAMChYLD  in  Malaysia  on  Wed Mar 29, 2006  at  04:43 AM
My phone and a lot of my friends cell phones get these random calls from a number 111-111-1111 and they call repeatedly but nothing is ever there. I've never quite figured it out. Sometimes I also get calls from a 3 digit number... who knows, maybe it is the devil! hahaha I'll belive it when I get a call from 666 lol
Posted by sarah  on  Wed Mar 29, 2006  at  12:02 PM
It might be plausible that some kind of transmission could disable your phone, but I don't see how anything could make a phone explode, because telephones don't contain any explosives. Unless people think that secret assassins may have planted tiny bombs in their phones, and then triggered them with phone calls ...

File this one under Robot Zionist Penis-Melting Combs.
Posted by Big Gary in Old Dime Box, Texas  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Wed Mar 29, 2006  at  08:15 PM
Secret assassins? Tiny bombs? Triggered with calls?
Holy crap I've got to go!
*runs to infiltrate Jamster
Posted by Soldant  in  Brisbane, Australia  on  Wed Mar 29, 2006  at  10:30 PM
We could only hope some story comes along to decrease cell phone use.
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Thu Mar 30, 2006  at  02:02 AM
"Unless people think that secret assassins may have planted tiny bombs in their phones, and then triggered them with phone calls ..." - Big Gary

Israel's Mossad did exactly this a few years ago with an Hamas leader.

Hmm, and remember the spontaniously exploding Nokia's a few years ago? That was the battery exploding, spontaniously.

I dunno, technically perhaps you could transmit a signal through a phonecal at the resonance frequency of the cellphone's battery...kaboom!

But I agree with Alex that it is probably bogus.

I was a bit shocked by the way about your attitude to anti-virus software, Alex. True, on a Mac virusses are less a problem, but anyone on a PC without anti-virus software is simply an idiot who should not be allowed free on the internet.
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Thu Mar 30, 2006  at  10:59 AM
OUCH! Yeah, AV protection is essential. But no need to call them an idiot. You only do that once they're infected and start blaming everyone now that their Cheese porn won't load.
Posted by Soldant  in  Cheeseland!  on  Thu Mar 30, 2006  at  11:55 PM
"Almost the exact same"??? Not to be a pedant, but if there is an exact match the phrase is either "the same," or, though redundant but for emphasis, "exactly the same." If there is not an exact match "almost the same" is the right phrase. "Almost the exact same" is right up there with "the sole purposes of ___ were."

Maybe not as important as AV software, but still....
Posted by Grammarman  on  Fri Mar 31, 2006  at  06:19 PM
"Somehow it travelled from Nigeria to India."

Well, you see, Nigeria and India are both part of "abroad", which is all joined up, and we poor savages who live in it move around and speak to each other, though admittedly we have to rely on old tin cans joined with taut string if we want to talk over long distances. (I am writing this post on a hand-cranked adding machine.)

Mind you, Abroad is a dangerous place. For more information, have a look at http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=1761082&page=1
Posted by Mr Henderson  in  U.K.  on  Sun Apr 02, 2006  at  12:24 PM
Incidentally, instead of being quelled, the hoax/rumour has spread to even further reaches of the country.
In the north-eastern parts, where my parents reside, people are swearing that they know someone who has actually died due to one of these "explosions".
My dad calls me up this morning asking me if that's a possiblity. I don't exactly work on handheld devices, but as someone has already pointed it out, phones do not contain explosives, hence even if there were to be a miniscule explosion due to faulty circuitry, it could never be fatal.
But the power of rumours cannot be under-estimated, and hence dad tells me he's switching over to the trusty landline until it's proven that cell phones are "safe" for normal usage. Duh!!
Posted by Beni  in  Bangalore, India  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  10:13 AM
well i have also heard about this thing .it was really shocking even one of my friends brother who worked asc doctor in SKIMS SRINAGAR had told that he had received a patient in hospital and warned that a case had been brought in SKIMS in which there were injuries on one persops face due to mobile phone explodend which had caused severe damage on his face
Posted by robin kaila  in  jammu  on  Fri Mar 30, 2007  at  09:02 AM
i just received a life threatening phone call from an unavailable number.. telling me that my family did this to them and that i only had 5 hours left to live. i was hysterical, and started to cry.. so i called all my closest friends and they all denied any knowledge about the random phone call, then the number 666 beeped in and called me saying they were the devil and they were going to kill me. i couldnt stop crying and then my friends said they received phone calls from the same number last night. and nothing happened. im so freaked out.
Posted by FREAKED OUT  in  UNITED STATES  on  Sun Feb 17, 2008  at  06:49 PM
LOL there is nothing, just rumor to counter other romuor, like in my country, indonesia, it rumor start issued when our president give sinyal to increase premium & solar price.
Posted by ridwan, se.  in  PADANG, SUMATERA BARAT  on  Fri May 09, 2008  at  03:13 AM
ha ha ha, india, ha ha ha!
Posted by tery  in  n. y.  on  Mon Jul 14, 2008  at  11:59 AM
Just rumors guys.
Posted by abonnement  on  Mon Mar 09, 2009  at  03:31 AM
I don't exactly work on handheld devices, but as someone has already pointed it out, phones do not contain explosives, hence even if there were to be a miniscule explosion due to faulty circuitry, it could never be fatal
Posted by square peg web  on  Wed Jun 23, 2010  at  03:26 AM
technically perhaps you could transmit a signal through a phonecal at the resonance frequency of the cellphone's battery..
Posted by Free Call Asia  on  Tue Oct 05, 2010  at  06:12 AM
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