by Bill Snyder

English Family Gets Texts from Beyond the Grave

Oct 24, 20142 mins
Consumer Electronics

A family in South Shields, England, received texts from their deceased grandmother's phone number, but the incident proved to be a cruel joke and not some sort of supernatural phenomenon.

With Halloween on the horizon, an English prankster concocted one of the meanest trick-or-treat type jokes I’ve ever come across.

The odd story begins with the funeral of Lesley Emerson, a 59-year-old grandmother from South Shields, a community on the east coast of England. Emerson was a prolific texter, and her saddened family decided to bury her smartphone with her. As part of the grieving process, Emerson’s granddaughter, Sheri, and other relatives would occasionally text her.

“Obviously we know that Nan wasn’t going to ever reply, it was just something we did as a comfort for ourselves because she loved to text,” Sheri Emerson told

Three years later, Emerson did receive a reply: “I’m watching over you, you’ll get through this, you’ll be alright”, the text read.

“When the reply came through at lunchtime the following day I felt sick. Crazy stuff was flashing through my mind like ‘Is she still alive?'” Emerson said.”I started getting horrible visions that someone might have dug up her grave and taken her phone, my mind was full of all sorts of really unpleasant possibilities.”

Her uncle called the phone and found that a wireless provider had issued the number to a new customer. The man said he thought that the texts to the dead woman were just a prank, so he replied in kind. Reassigning a number is routine, but doing something so insensitive is not.

As newscaster Keith Olberman would say, he is “today’s worst person in the world.”