Created By: Oreochan on April 2, 2012 Last Edited By: MacronNotes on March 15, 2013
Troped

Supernatural Phone

A paranormal phone or cellphone.

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Indices: Phone Tropes

A supernatural and otherworldly phone or more commonly a cellphone. May have the ability to tell the future, teleportation device or could even be used as a weapon. It may also allow coversations with the dead or supernatual.

This type of phone tends to crop up in Urban Fantasy works. In sci-fi instead of having paranormal origins, the phone might be highly technologically advanced to do all sort of impossible things. In horror, the phone is usually a Evil Phone and might even be a Artifact of Doom.

See also Phone Call from the Dead.
Anime And Manga
  • In Bleach, some shinigami, Rukia at least, are shown to use special cell phones to detect spiritual pressure in a close location in the World of the Living and to communicate with Soul Society.
  • Mirai Nikki has almost every major character having and using a supernatural cellphone or similar device that can tell the future in various ways.
  • Voices of a Distant Star, in which text messages are sent eight light-years into space.
  • Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin: The cell phone Maya swipes, from Fumiaki, has the ability to identify the "Nostradamus Key" with its camera function. Said artifact will trigger an alien invasion that results in The End of the World as We Know It.
  • In Hunter Hunter, Shalnark uses his cell phone as his weapon of choice. It lets him mind-control anyone he places a receiver on (and seems to control what they say via him texting the phrases). He can also stick a receiver on himself to give himself a power boost, though he can only move by inputting commands into the phone, and it quickly exhausts him of his energy. It can work as a normal cell phone.

Eastern European Animation
  • Max and Sally and the Phenomenal Phone by Milos Macourek and illustrated/animated by Adolf Born: Two three-graders and friends, Max and Sally, help a stranger to find his lost glasses, and as a reward, he gifts them a seemingly ordinary torn-off telephone receiver. The receiver turns out to be magic. When they speak to it, some man's voice answers and grants their wishes. Max and Sally must be careful what they wish for, but usually, they have great fun and enjoy great adventures.

Film
  • In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Peter and Aldous mock titular faux film star Marshall's having appeared in a film about a murderous cell phone, wondering why the phone could not be defeated by simply removing the battery.

Literature
  • Stephen King's Cell- the phones turned everyone into zombies.
  • China Mieville's Kraken has 'knacked' mobile phones that can do things like communicate with Wati, a disembodied spirit, or communicate over an unlimited range.
  • The Prague Cemetery mentions the Arcula Mystica, which is a diabolical telephone of which there are seven in existence. It operates wirelessly and is even able to communicate directly with its owner if he's away from it. This is one of the many creative fabrications of Real Life hoaxter Léo Taxil, who features in this historical novel.
  • The landlines and cellphones owned by the faerie in the October Daye series are all magicked for privacy and to work under odd magical conditions where technology ordinarily would not function.
  • In The Laundry Series by Charles Stross, magic is advanced maths, and is therefore easier for computers to do than people. When Bob gets an iPhone, Brain gimmicks it to have the usual array of Laundry Agent spells as apps.
  • In Dead Lines, a telecommunications company markets the "Trans", a cellphone which they claim has near unlimited bandwidth, but it turns out that the bandwidth that it uses is also used by souls travelling to the afterlife.

Live Action TV
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor upgrades Rose's phone in The End of the World. Also, The Gasmask Child in The Empty Child manages to activate the phone on the outside of the Police Box, much to The Doctor's amazement.
  • There have been several iterations of Power Rangers wherein their cellphones have been incorporated with their morphers.
  • In The X-Files episode "Christmas Carol", Scully receives a phone call from a mysterious woman who sounds just like her dead sister Melissa. She urges her to help a little girl who turns out to be Scully's biological daughter. The FBI were able to trace the address and it's confirmed that a call came in from that place, but there was no outgoing call from that residence and their phone had been off the hook.

Video Games
  • In The World Ends with You', the main characters receive the rules for the days games from the Reapers with their cellphones through text messages. Joshua however kicks it up a notch using his to use initiate his attacks which include dropping objects and Jesus beams on his enemies.
  • Played with in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. In the first game, the protagonists receive COMPs - "Communications Players" that look like DS systems - which have been hacked to use the Demon Summoning Program; not quite cellphones, but in much the same spirit. The second game does use cellphones, but there's nothing inherently unusual about them: they only become unusual once the Demon Summoning App is force-installed on them.

Tabletop Game
  • d20 Modern has the Eldritch Cell Phone, which can contact any person's phone without needing the number, or even call the phone nearest to the person if they don't have one of their own. It also has magical encryption and protection against tracing.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse supplement The Book of the Wyrm gave us the Umbraphone, a mobile phone which can call up spirits across the Gauntlet (the spiritual barrier separating the real world and the Umbra).
  • In In Nomine, Cherubim of Jean have the ability to call the nearest phone to any person or object they are attuned to. If there is no nearby phone, they can spend 1 "Essence" to cause a cell phone to materialize for 10 minutes within seven feet of their attuned.

Web Original
Community Feedback Replies: 51
  • April 2, 2012
    kyun
    • In Bleach, some shinigami, Rukia at least, are shown to use special cel phones to detect spiritual pressure in a close location in the World of the Living and to communicate with Soul Society.
  • April 2, 2012
    DmM
    In Doctor Who, the tenth Doctor gives these to Rose, Rory, Martha and Donna.

    The eleventh Doctor has two in the TARDIS
  • April 2, 2012
    Korodzik
  • April 2, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    I'm sure there was at least one episode of the original Twilight Zone that used this. I think it was a child's toy phone communicating with the dead or some such. I'll have to look it up later, unless one of you lot beats me to it.
  • April 2, 2012
    Oreochan
    ^ The episode was "Long Distance Call", were a boy gets calls from his toy phone by his deceased grandmother.
  • April 2, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • There have been several iterations of Power Rangers wherein their cellphones have been incorporated with their morphers.
    • In the Jessie Shimmer series, magically treated mirrors are used like phones and cellphones (right down to Jessie having a magic mirror in a compact she could flip open).
    • The landlines and cellphones owned by the faerie in the October Daye series are all magicked for privacy and to work under odd magical conditions where technology ordinarily would not function.
  • April 2, 2012
    randomsurfer
    I'd think that "supernatural" would exclude technological versions, like Doctor Who and Power Rangers. And to nitpick the Who example, 9 gave Rose's phone an upgrade, which she used throughout her time with 10; and 10 never met Rory did he?
  • April 2, 2012
    Oreochan
    ^ True... how about abnormal or extraordinary instead?
  • April 3, 2012
    777nekokat
    In Trauma Team forensics detective Naomi uses her cell phone to hear the last words of victims throughout the game.
  • April 3, 2012
    lycropath
    In The World Ends With You, the main characters receive the rules for the days games from the Reapers with their cellphones through text messages. Joshua however kicks it up a notch using his to use initiate his attacks which include dropping objects and Jesus beams on his enemies.
  • April 3, 2012
    DmM
    @ randomsurfer: Mickey, not Rory... my bad...
  • April 3, 2012
    zarpaulus
    I think it was the Ninth Doctor who originally upgraded Rose's phone to call across time.
  • April 3, 2012
    troublegum
    Tabletop Game
    • Werewolf The Apocalypse supplement The Book of the Wyrm gave us the Umbraphone, a mobile phone which can call up spirits across the Gauntlet (the spiritual barrier separating the real world and the Umbra).
  • April 3, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    @ Oreochan Thank you! I haven't watched any of them in years, so my recall was a bit fuzzy.

  • April 3, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    I don't know that technology should automatically be left out. Power Rangers Mystic Force had cellphone-morphers, but those were also magical. So that just makes it Magitek doesn't it?
  • April 3, 2012
    Oreochan
    It's doesn't have to be left out. These phones can be technological but they have are so advanced that they can do anything that's impossible for normal phones. The phones can may also be magical although they are usually infused with magic than from it..
  • April 4, 2012
    DmM
    China Mieville's Kraken has 'knacked' mobile phones that can do things like communicate with Wati, a disembodied spirit, or communicate over an unlimited range.
  • April 4, 2012
    LTPugh
    Anime

    Mirai Nikki has almost every major character having and using a supernatural cellphone or similar device that can tell the future in various ways.
  • April 4, 2012
    Tiiba
    There is, of course, The Matrix, where a phone call lets you get out.
  • April 4, 2012
    Ryusui
    • Played with in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. In the first game, the protagonists receive COMPs - "Communications Players" that look like DS systems - which have been hacked to use the Demon Summoning Program; not quite cellphones, but in much the same spirit. The second game does use cellphones, but there's nothing inherently unusual about them: they only become unusual once the Demon Summoning App is force-installed on them.
  • April 10, 2012
    IsaacSapphire
    TV show Supernatural has an episode where characters appear to be receiving calls from loved ones beyond the grave. One call even comes through a toy phone, highlighting the supernatural element.
  • April 10, 2012
    TheNinth
    @zarpaulus - yup. Eccles!Doctor upgrades Rose's phone in The End of the World. Also, The Gasmask Child in The Empty Child manages to activate the phone on the outside of the Police Box, much to The Doctor's amazement.
    • Ringing? What's that about? Ringing? You're not even a real phone and you're ringing?
  • April 10, 2012
    TheNinth
    Er. You... don't need to call him "Eccles!Doctor" in the actual entry. "The Doctor" is probably proper.
  • April 10, 2012
    Quatic
    In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Peter and Aldous mock titular faux film star Marshall's having appeared in a film about a murderous cell phone, wondering why the phone could not be defeated by simply removing the battery.
  • May 15, 2012
    MiinU
    ...you mean nobody thought of this one?

    Anime

  • May 15, 2012
    chicagomel
    Literature: Stephen King's Cell-they turned everyone into zombies.
  • May 15, 2012
    NightNymph
    Potentially also to add for that same Supernatural episode Isac Saphire mentions above (titled "Long Distance Call")...

    • Also subverted in the same episode as the phone that the calls from the dead were thought to have originated - which was Thomas Edison's "Spirit Phone" - did not turn out to be the source and was very likely, as Sam suspected, just "a piece of junk."
  • May 17, 2012
    Fanra
    In Enchanted someone manages to make a cell phone call from a fantasy world to the real world.
  • May 17, 2012
    Koveras
  • July 24, 2012
    legendofhugh
    The Numbers in Eden of the East all have phones that can call Juiz, who will grant any request within the realm of their 10 billion yen budget.
  • July 24, 2012
    spellraiser
    The Prague Cemetery mentions the Arcula Mystica, which is a diabolical telephone of which there are seven in existence. It operates wirelessly and is even able to communicate directly with its owner if he's away from it. This is one of the many creative fabrications of Real Life hoaxter Léo Taxil, who features in this historical novel.
  • July 24, 2012
    arromdee
    Warehouse 13 has the Farnsworths, which are 19th century artifact cellphones. They never lose signal and have video in the style of an old movie.
  • July 24, 2012
    BOFH
    Literature
    • In Dead Lines, a telecommunications company markets the "Trans", a cellphone which they claim has near unlimited bandwidth, but it turns out that the bandwidth that it uses is also used by souls travelling to the afterlife.
  • July 24, 2012
    TBeholder
  • January 20, 2013
    undefined
    • In Final Fantasy VII Advent Children the deceased heroine Aerith sends a message to all the phones of those afflicted by Geostigma telling them to go to the chapel in the Sector 5 Slum where she summoned healing water to cure them of their ailment.
  • January 20, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    On the White Wolf RPG 'Scion' there is a cell phone (can't remember the name right now, sorry) which can be obtained as a character boon-it has an insane reception range (on all kinds of buildings, other planes, etc) because it's explicitly said to be using a signal from a tower located on Asgard (or some other place, can't remember-I DO recall it's Norse Mythology-related).

  • January 20, 2013
    DaibhidC
    Reinventing The Telephone is about using magic instead of cellphones, not magic cellphones.

    • In The Laundry Series by Charles Stross, magic is advanced maths, and is therefore easier for computers to do than people. When Bob gets an iPhone, Brain gimmicks it to have the usual array of Laundry Agent spells as apps.
  • January 22, 2013
    SteveMB
    Music: Weird Al Yankovic, "Midnight Star": "And top psychics all agree / That the telephone company / Will have a brand new service that lets you talk to the dead."
  • January 22, 2013
    chicagomel
  • January 23, 2013
    ZombieAladdin
    In Hunter X Hunter, Shalnark uses his cell phone as his weapon of choice. It lets him mind-control anyone he places a receiver on (and seems to control what they say via him texting the phrases). He can also stick a receiver on himself to give himself a power boost, though he can only move by inputting commands into the phone, and it quickly exhausts him of his energy. It can work as a normal cell phone.
  • January 23, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Dunno if it fits here but on 'Gate Keepers 21' the main characters, members of a now-underground AEGIS, use special cell phones which replicate the functions of a Gate (connections to alternate dimensions which provide powers to special people (the titular 'Gate Keepers')), designed at some point between the original series' 1960's setting and the 'current day' because it was discovered that continuous use of the Gates could lead to.... unpleasant... side-effects to the Gate Keepers' bodies.
  • January 23, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    I'm pretty sure this trope may overlap with Phone Call From The Dead
  • February 21, 2013
    XFllo
    Live Action
    • In The X Files episode "Christmas Carol", Scully receives a phone call from a mysterious woman who sounds just like her dead sister Melissa. She urges her to help a little girl who turns out to be Scully's biological daughter. The FBI were able to trace the address and it's confirmed that a call came in from that place, but there was no outgoing call from that residence and their phone had been off the hook.

    Eastern Animation
    • Max and Sally and the Phenomenal Phone: Two three-graders and friends, Max and Sally, help a stranger to find his lost glasses, and as a reward, he gifts them a seemingly ordinary torn-off telephone receiver. The receiver turns out to be magic. When they (or anybody else) speak to it, some man's voice grants their wishes. There are many stories, books, animated shorts, and even a live action movie featuring their vivid adventures. It's a trademark franchise of Czech children's literature by Milos Macourek (story) and Adolf Born (illustration).
  • February 21, 2013
    JohnnyCache
    Another tabletop games example:
    • In In Nomine, Cherubim of Jean have the ability to call the nearest phone to any person or object they are attuned to. If there is no nearby phone, they can spend 1 "Essence" to cause a cell phone to materialize for 10 minutes within seven feet of their attuned.
  • February 21, 2013
    arromdee
    Warehouse13 has the Farnsworth communicator, which is a camera cell phone from 1929. They are more secure and reliable than normal cell phones, but do not seem to be artifacts in the sense used in the show, just mundane equipment invented far before its time.
  • February 21, 2013
    GeminiSparkSP
    A special attention for the Power Rangers example. Yes, there are severeal ranger teams that use cellphones as morphing devices, but Power Rangers Mystic Force (and its Japanese counterpart, Mahou Sentai Magiranger) takes the cake for being based on actual (in-universe) magic.
  • February 22, 2013
    TrustBen
    In The Twilight Zone episode "Long Distance Call", a dying old woman gives her grandson a toy phone that they can use to stay in touch. She speaks to him from beyond the grave, calling him to her, which leads to at least one suicide attempt.
  • February 22, 2013
    ArkadyDarell
    Tabletop Games:

    • D 20 Modern has the Eldritch Cell Phone, which can contact any person's phone without needing the number, or even call the phone nearest to the person if they don't have one of their own. It also has magical encryption and protection against tracing.
  • February 22, 2013
    Darthcaliber
    Played with in an episode of American Dad. When Roger tries calling the house after the family believes he's died earlier Hayley initially thinks the phone somehow lets her talk to the dead.
    "Oh that's right, it's after noon you're already high. Let me talk to the fish."
  • March 15, 2013
    XFllo
    Launch soon? This seems ready.
  • March 15, 2013
    MacronNotes
    I'll launch by this Saturday or Sunday.
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