It was just a few days before Halloween and everyone was gearing up for what could be the scariest yet. In the year 2000 everyone in the world went through quite a fright when they thought computers were going to take over the world on New Year’s Day. Fast forward almost eleven months and everyone in the quiet town of Cainsville seemed calm and content with the same Halloween activities they were used to every year. Nothing different and nothing out of the ordinary. It was a typical night for me too, as I would be spending the night at my best friend’s house. Mark Little had been my pal since the first grade and his family was essentially my second family. Mr. and Mrs. Little always brought me along on family vacations so that Mark wouldn’t get too bored. He was the only child and he sure was spoiled.

He lived on the outskirts of town on a quiet little street. At night it would get very dark because there wasn’t a street light in sight. With it being so dark outside, we would make sure we left the lights off inside the house as well for perfect Halloween ambiance. Shortly after dark, Mr. and Mrs. Little had to make a trip into town for some last minute candy shopping. As soon as they left, Mark fired up the VCR with his favourite horror flick while I made popcorn. When I came back to the living room, Mark looked up at me and said, “Hey Andrew! How funny would it be to call random people and scare their pants off?”

I didn’t need much convincing, since it was something we did as kids all the time. His house had these ancient phones that didn’t even have a display screen, and as dumb kids we assumed other people didn’t have it on their phones either.

Mark went to the kitchen to retrieve a phone book and came back with a silly grin on his face. He had found his mom’s address book and on the first page saw a phone number labelled, “hypnotist.”

Mark and I both looked at each other and immediately knew that we had to prank call this number. I began dialing. The phone rang once before a voice answered with a deep, “Hello?”

I replied, “Hello?”

“Who’s this?”

“Who’s this?” I asked back.

He kept asking who I was and all my replies simply agitated him since I would only repeat what he was saying. Before this went on too long I laughed and said, “Hey, Mr. Hypnotist! If you’re so good at your job, why don’t you just hypnotize me and make me hang up the phone!”

Before I could even get a response I had already slammed the phone down and hung up. Mark and I burst into laughter and we were already looking for another number to call when the phone rang.

Mark answered. “Hello? Who’s this?” He appeared to be going through the same spiel I just gave the “hypnotist”. Everything Mark asked, the caller would repeat the exactly back to him.

I yelled at Mark to hang up the phone. Immediately after hanging up, the phone rang again and Mark answered only to discover that it was the same person he spoke to before. This went on for about half an hour and since we were both home alone we started to get scared. We both glanced out the window and stared into the darkness as we waited for Mr. and Mrs. Little to come home. In the meantime, the phone just kept on ringing but we wanted nothing to do with answering. We left it ringing and ringing until Mark had had enough and decided to disconnect the phone.

Finally, it was quiet in the house. But not for long, as Mr. and Mrs. Little came home and wondered why we both looked like we had seen a ghost. Mrs. Little went to the phone to make a call and noticed there wasn’t a dial tone. She plugged the phone back in and just before she could lift the receiver the phone rang again. Mark and I just looked at each other hoping it wouldn’t be the hypnotist. When Mrs. Little answered the caller must have hung up, because she got no response. She put the phone back down and seconds later the phone rang again and again and again. This continued every time she hung up the phone. Mrs. Little looked very concerned and at that point Mark and I  confessed to her what we had done. The phone rang throughout the night as Mr. Little was sleeping. He had to be up extremely early for work the next day and Mrs. Little was getting annoyed at the phone constantly waking him up.

At around midnight Mrs. Little came into Mark’s room to scold us. She yelled at us for starting this childish prank calling war. In the background you could still hear the phone ringing and Mr. Little upstairs cursing loudly over his lack of sleep. To this day I am haunted by the words of Mrs. Little yelling, “Your father is trying to sleep!” She was at the point of losing her mind.

Finally, around 3 AM, Mrs. Little picked up the phone and shouted at the top of her lungs, “STOP CALLING HERE OR I’M CALLING THE POLICE! MY HUSBAND IS TRYING TO SLEEP!”

To this day I do not know what was said to her, but her face went blank. It was like Mrs. Little was all of a sudden in a trance. She seemed to forget her anger at me and Mark, making a beeline to get upstairs to Mr. Little. For the first time, the phone wasn’t ringing. I thought that maybe she had gotten through to the hypnotist and he was done proving a point. Mark and I agreed that we had learned our lesson and that we would never prank call anyone again. As we shook hands, Mark and I heard a strange sound coming from upstairs.

We both creeped up the stairs to Mr. and Mrs. Little’s bedroom. The light was on inside but the door was slightly closed.

Mark slowly pushed against the door and saw his mom sitting up in bed, reading a book
by her lamp. Next to her slumped Mr. Little’s headless body with his decapitated head sitting nearby on the night table. While we began to scream with horror, Mrs. Little looked at us calmly and whispered, “Shhhhh, your father is trying to sleep…”