Deengineering Nov 95

Deengineering Nov 95

by / October 31, 1995
Something's Alive in the Basement (And it Wants to Communicate) It slumbered for years in the basement of a house in Potomac, Md. And when it awoke, it reached out to touch Donna Graybeal. According to the Washington Post, about six months ago, Graybeal's phone began ringing every 90 minutes, day and night. When Graybeal picked up the phone, she heard only a sort of whooshing sound then a click and a dial tone. The police traced the calls to the home of Theodore and Elisabeth James. But neither of them were making the calls - the calls came from an oil tank in their basement. Eight years before, an oil company installed a telephone dialing mechanism in the tank. When the oil level dropped below a certain point, the mechanism called an oil company's number to request a refill. The test lasted only a short time, and the number was disconnected. Then, six months ago, Graybeal received the oil company's phone number, and the mysterious calls began. A spokesman for Bell Atlantic said "something resurrected this machine from its deep sleep, and it woke up and started dialing."