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The Ghost Phone Call

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Ever have one of those days where something happens, when it happens, all of a sudden it reminds you of something that happened? The other day I was looking at an old analog radio scanner that i have when i remembered this story.

One of the good things about working for the tribal court and tribal law enforcement agencies is the stories that you hear. One of the best things is you hear or become part of the story of what has happened. i was a tribal prosecutor when this happened.

This story happened years ago, before the tribal dispatch had audio recording capability. Where every call came in on a landline, dispatchers kept a legal pad to write down the calls that came in, the calls to law enforcement were kept in the same way and everything was written at the end of the shift on a typewriter and not a computer.

This story happened in the mid 90’s.

It takes place on a local catholic school grounds, it is called the Red Cloud Indian School. It has kindergarten through grade 12. Its not there anymore but there used to be a pay phone in front of the school that people would use. That payphone is part of the story that I am about to tell you. That pay phone used to be located across from the school. Where it was located, now there stands the new church that was built a few years after this happened.

Back then, the tribal law enforcement was known as the Oglala Sioux Tribe Public Safety Commission. They had the responsibility to enforce tribal laws, responds to request for medical assistance, etc. The OST Public Safety Commission had two dispatch centers for the reservation. One dispatch center was located in Kyle South Dakota which was responsible for the eastern side of the reservation. The other dispatch center was located in Pine Ridge South Dakota and handled the western side of the reservation.

It was around 3am when the Pine Ridge Dispatch received a 911 call. There were 2 dispatchers on duty that night when the call came in. The 911 line was a separate phone and phone line from the other lines that came into the dispatch. The 911 phone line rang and the dispatcher answered it, asking what the emergency was, and what assistance did they need. On the other end of the phone was a man, he was hysterical, crying, and hard to understand on the phone. The dispatcher managed to calm him down a bit when he told her that he needed help because he was be chased, someone was trying to hurt him. The man started crying again on the phone as he told them that he was walking back into Pine Ridge when he got close to a little community called Calico. As he started to come up to Calico, he met up with another man along the road, it was dark and he couldn’t see him too well. Something about the figure didn’t feel right so he kept walking, as he continued walking, the figure fell in behind him. As it fell in behind him, it started talking to him, it told him that it was going to take his soul. He turned around and asked what did it say? It repeated that it was going to take his soul, he looked at it and he started running down the road. As he was running he could hear it behind him, it was running right behind him, repeating that it was going to take his soul but it said something different. It told him that it would take his soul and when it did, it would eat it. The voice made him run harder but it kept up with him as he was running. From just north of Calico where he was at to the Red Cloud Indian School was about a mile. He kept running and it was right behind him, he seen the blue security lights of Red Cloud and he ran to the north turn off and down into the school. He remembered there was a pay phone there, he hollered over his shoulder to the figure that he was going to call the police. It just laughed at him and repeated that it was going to take his soul and eat it. He made it to the payphone and called 911.

The dispatch thought he was drunk and asked him if he was drinking, he denied being drunk and wanted the police to come now. The dispatcher was about to ask him another question when he started screaming into the phone, yelling that he was on the phone with the police and to keep away. The tone of his voice was enough for the dispatcher to dispatch a unit to Red Cloud School. The dispatcher advised the responding unit that was on its way from Pine Ridge to Red Cloud School that it was a possible assault in progress. The dispatcher got back on the phone tried to tell the man that officers were on the way, he was still yelling to keep away and he said that officers were on the way.

Then the dispatcher heard a very deep evil sounding voice over the man yelling, it told him that it didn’t care, it was still going to kill him, take his soul and eat it. The voice alone made the dispatcher get the chills, she got back on the radio and told the officer to step it up. She advised that she could hear the man yelling and a voice in the background threatening the man on the phone. Another unit was coming south from Oglala, going towards Red Cloud School, she dispatched that unit to the same traffic. As the units were enroute to Red Cloud School, she could hear the voice repeating that it was going to kill him, take his soul and eat his soul on the 911 phone line. The man was hysterical again, screaming to keep away, crying and yelling at the voice to keep away. The voice just laughed again and repeated the same thing but added that the police wouldn’t be able to save him from what was going to happen. The man started crying again, yelling into the phone to hurry up. The dispatcher advised the responding units that she could hear the other person on the phone, threatening the caller.

Both units arrived at about the same time, the dispatcher could hear the sirens off in the distance on the phone and the siren got louder as the units arrived. The dispatcher could still hear the man yelling, crying and at the same time the voice was repeating. “im going to kill you, I’m going to take your soul and eat it” It started laughing as the sirens got loud and the units both advised they were on scene on the radio. The dispatcher advised that she could still hear the other party on the phone threatening the man. The man was still crying and yelling, “leave me alone!!!!” on the phone. Then she heard officers in the background as the voice said one last time “im going to kill you, take your soul, and eat it”. The officer’s voices could be heard by the dispatcher as they came up to the man, he was crying as they came up to him.

The Pine Ridge officer came on the phone and told the dispatcher that they had arrived and would be bringing him in. The dispatcher asked if they got the other one that she heard on the phone threatening and laughing. The officer that was dispatched from Pine Ridge got quiet then he told her. There was no one else around the man, that he was sober as well. The dispatcher asked him again because she had just heard the voice as they had arrived, he said there was no one around the man. The officer from Pine Ridge went on to tell her that when he turned into Red Cloud school from the south approach, he could see the man standing by the pay phone, the man was swinging in the air at something as he came down to the payphone. Both dispatchers heard the voice. There was no one there as the officers arrived.

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