The telephone, even in its most basic form, is an amazing invention that has changed the way the world communicates. There is nothing inherently scary about a telephone, or at least there shouldn't be. That all changed many, many decades ago when folks in Hollywood decided to incorporate telephones into some scary movies. Nowadays the telephone is a pretty common go-to for creeping people and getting some easy jump scares.

The telephone has been an essential part of the story and the scares in a bunch of movies, including Scream (1996), The Ring (2002), When a Stranger Calls (1979), and Black Christmas (1974).

What could possibly possess someone to use an innocent telephone for such a nefarious purpose? I have to think that stories like the one you're about to read have something to do with it. If you have a landline in your home, you might want to re-think answering it the next time it rings.

This story is about a man named Martin Sheets, a successful businessman who lived in Terre Haute, Indiana back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Martin always had the fear of being buried alive, so while he was designing his final resting place, the mausoleum pictured above, he decided to include a working telephone. Why? Mr. Sheets wanted to be able to notify someone outside the mausoleum in the event that he did end being 'entombed' alive. Martin Sheets died in 1910 and his wishes were honored - the telephone inside his mausoleum was installed, and sat silent for years.

Martin Sheets mausoleum
Facebook/Debbra Herrick
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The spooky part of the story, the part that might have inspired filmmakers, came years later, when Mrs. Sheets (Martin's widow) passed away. When she was discovered, Mrs. Sheets was laying on the bed with the phone receiver in her hand. It is said that she had a look of terror on her face. People close to Mrs. Sheets just assumed she was using the phone to call for help, but it was too late.

Mrs. Sheets was taken to the graveyard where she was to be interred next to her husband in the family mausoleum. Workers opened up the tomb, which had been locked for years, and as expected, noted that everything was as it should be - well, almost everything. Workers noticed that Martin's phone was off the hook.

Did his ghost somehow call home. Did that call kill Mrs. Sheets? Did the ghost have to dial 9 to get an outside line? I guess the world will never know.

Big shout out to Debbra Herrick for taking, and sharing, pictures of the Sheets mausoleum.

[h/t: TerreHaute.com]

Martin Sheets mausoleum - statue
Facebook/Debbra Herrick. A picture of a statue inside the Sheets mausoleum
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