Despite rumours of a 'MobiTel ghost' circulating inside Cambodia's wireless network,
MobiTel officials said their systems have shown a distinct lack of supernatural activity
Two of MobiTel's free-of-charge data numbers used for internet connections are rumoured
to house fearsome spirits. As a result, the numbers, which are connected to computer
modems, have received repeated phone calls from curious residents, the company reported.
MobiTel employee Michael Johnston, whose personal mobile phone number bares an unfortunate
similarity to the allegedly haunted data numbers, also started receiving phone calls
seeking paranormal contact around two months ago.
"They call up these everyday modem banks, and they think the sound it makes
is a ghost," he said.
As diallers grew accustomed to hearing only the sound of the internet connection,
or "the sound of death" as one MobiTel spokesman referred to it, Johnston
struck fear into the hearts of many callers when the 'ghost' actually answered though
in a strange New Zealand accent.
But Johnston dismissed the craze as a "gimmick". He said that some Cambodians
had even taken to text messaging the technologically savvy spirit.
A MobiTel spokesman speculated the numbers became so popular because of the sound's
similarity to traditional Khmer music heard at funerals and boxing matches.
"When the Khmer people dial the number, they hear the words eeeeeeeee, eeeeeeeeeeee,
eeeeeeeee oooooh, and they think it's the sound of death," he said. "The
Khmer are quite superstitious."
Initially, MobiTel officials were sceptical that Johnston's phone was receiving phone
calls from customers calling spirits.
"When [Johnston] told me about it, I didn't believe him, but then I picked up
the phone and they think I'm the MobiTel ghost as well," the spokesman said.
"Some of them get pretty scared when the ghost answers."