By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON – A Williamson resident has been hearing strange voices on her telephone and seeing strange names on her caller ID, and has decided to share her story in hopes of feeling less alone.
Mentola Jackson has been hearing voices over her telephone line for the past two weeks. The voices, which ask questions and sometimes even say their names, have become a part of Jackson’s daily life. Strange names also have been showing up on her caller ID without a number attached, and she is unable to delete them.
It all started when Jackson realized her caller ID was showing several unusual names that she did not recognize. The names did not have a callback number and seemed to be in a different language.
Jackson lives with her 82-year-old husband, James, who is terminally ill with cancer. The couple have been tormented by these whispering voices and suspicious names showing up on their caller ID. Jackson says the stress has been overwhelming at times but she doesn’t know what to do at this point.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” she said. “I recently changed and they put a dish on the house, but I’m not saying that has anything to do with it. I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I’m just shocked and I have no idea what’s going on.”
Jackson says she has tried to remain calm about the situation for her husband, and doesn’t let him see her get upset or frustrated.
Many of the people she hears have foreign accents and have actually called her name out loud.
“These people have the audacity to talk with me and say my name. They have the audacity to ask who I am,” she said. “I try to talk back and no one answers. They mumble about illnesses and benefits and stuff like that. I honestly thought it was people trying to sell stuff, like telemarketers. I’m still not sure, to be honest.”
Jackson said the possibility of hackers, or even a bizarre prank doesn’t make her feel any better, and the problem has interfered with her peace of mind.
“I’ve heard people talk about hackers and all this, and it is kind of scary,” she said. “When they pop up, I can’t get them off the line. With my husband being as ill as he is, I need my phone lines working properly.”
Jackson called the phone company to complain about the issue, and said they also informed her that hackers may be involved. As of now, there is no official word from the phone company regarding exactly what has been going on with Jackson’s phone.
“I was talking to a friend yesterday and the same thing happened once more,” she said. “You know, I have worked with youth in this area and I consider myself a good person. However, I have to say this is about to get on my nerves. I may have a high temper, I won’t lie about that.”
On one particular occasion, Jackson found herself talking to a man who told her “something about paying the bills.”
“I told him where he could go and he said, ‘naughty, naughty’ to me,” Jackson said. “That’s not naughty of me. That is me being scared and feeling like the outside world has invaded my home and my privacy.”
Jackson stressed that she didn’t intend on making a big deal out of her phone problems, but that she just wants a solution.
“You can do all the deleting you want to, but nothing happens,” Jackson said. “Names keep popping up on the caller ID, usually with very strange spellings. You hear silence and then the voices come through like ghosts. It has become scary and I need to know how to fix this. I heard about the DirecTV problems people were having in Logan, and that is terrifying. Maybe by sharing this, other people will realize this issue doesn’t happen to just them.”
Hayley Molloy Cook is a news reporter and writes features for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279, or on Twitter @hayleymcook.