Follow TV Tropes


Supernatural Phone

Go To
"In 1978, a Comms Department intern heard the Hotline ring and picked it up - going against every safety protocol in the manual. She never recovered, and the handful of witnesses required... extensive memory repression therapy. It is a phone. It's an Object of Power. It doesn't connect to any typical network. A direct line to the Astral Plane and the Board - and my hypothesis is, under the right conditions, to other planes of existence as well. Our very own Ouiji board. Only the Director can answer it safely, and what he hears is kept classified."
Dr. Casper Darling, Control, "Case Files: Hotline"

A supernatural and otherworldly phone, but more commonly a cellphone. It may have the ability to tell the future, it could act as a personal teleportation device or even as a weapon. It may also allow conversations with the dead or supernatural and probably needs Super Cell Reception.

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

See also Phone Call from the Dead, Reinventing the Telephone, Telephone Teleport, Subspace Ansible, and Paranormal Mundane Item which often overlap. Related to Magical Camera (especially if it's a camera phone). Contrast Cell Phones Are Useless.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & 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. Lampshaded by Ichigo when he learns Urahara gave one to Uryuu during the time-skip: when Uryuu tells Ichigo to text him, Ichigo points out that a Soul Society phone isn't going to be compatible with "normal" phones.
  • Eden of the East:
    • The Numbers all have phones that can call Juiz, who will grant any request within the realm of their 10 billion yen budget.
    • Though Taishi in The King Of Eden shows that Juiz can't do absolutely everything, as his crazy demands to get Akira and Saki to take a shower together for his movie just gets Juiz angry and frustrated at him.
  • Future Diary has almost every major character having and using a supernatural cell phone or similar device that can tell the future in various ways.
  • Fuuto P.I., being a sequel to Kamen Rider Double, features the return of the Stag and Beetle Phones. Sixth Ranger Tokime gets a Stag Phone of her own, in pink.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Shalnark uses his cell phone, Black Voice, 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. Black Voice has since fallen into the hands of Chrollo. Chrollo can exploit Black Voice even further than Shalnark could, as he has access to two receivers whereas Shalnark could only use one.
  • In Another World with My Smartphone's main gimmick is that after God mistaking kills Ordinary High-School Student, Touya Mochizuki, too soon, he decides to give the boy a second chance at life in a magical fantasy world while giving Touya one wish to make up for killing him. Touya asked him if he could keep his smartphone. Now it has service in and GPS maps of said fantasy world, can access the internet of Touya's home universe, and can make direct calls to God. Touya mostly uses it for maps, selfies, and looking up how to make ice cream online.
  • My Lovely Ghost Kana: Daikichi finds an old cell phone and through Kana's ghost powers, is able to communicate with her through it, though she doesn't need a phone on her end. Its camera is also the only one that can take pictures she shows up in.
  • Occult Academy: 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.
  • UQ Holder!: has literal magic smartphones: they're non-corporeal and fulfill all the functions of a modern phone and more. In fact, one can literally purchase magic spells (magic apps) and use them from the phone rather than learn the spell the old-fashioned way. That said, magic apps do tend to be weaker or less useful than spells cast by an actual mage, who probably also knows when and how to use the spell more effectively in the first place.

    Comic Books 
  • In Dial H for Hero there was a mysterious Transformation Trinket that appeared to be a rotary dial with alien script instead of numbers attached to a strap. Later adaptations attached the rotary to actual phones, with origins in a civilization terminally dependant on similar devices. The 2018 title runs full tilt into this and introduces four, color-coded dials, all mounted on and operated like various rotary dial phones, with unique transformations, whose effects can be transmitted through phone connections for mass empowering.
  • The mental radios from the Golden Age Wonder Woman comics (Wonder Woman (1942) & Sensation Comics) manage to combine this with Reinventing the Telephone, because even though the "radios" allow the user to use a form of telepathy to connect with the person being contacted the things are pretty much never used to do more than, essentially, FaceTime.

    Eastern 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.

    Fan Works 
  • At one point in All Guardsmen Party, The Rupert uses an Imperial Psyker in leiu of a "vox" (Think a highly evolved radio) to contact the party and send instructions. Everyone dreams of a mustache yelling "Is this thing on?" and then giving orders.
  • In The Great Alicorn Hunt, Twilight magicks all of the Mane Six's vanity mirrors into Video Phones, and some makeup compacts into cell phones.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • The Genie in Pretty Cool Too is A high-tech cell phone gives a mischievous high school senior the power to influence the actions of others .
  • In When Evil Calls, the evil djinn is somehow able to send a text message to Samantha's phone, which starts off the chain of Be Careful What You Wish For wishes that sweeps the school.

  • Stephen King's Cell: The phones turned everyone into zombies.
  • 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 traveling to the afterlife.
  • China Miéville's Kraken has 'knacked' mobile phones that can do things like communicate with Wati, a disembodied spirit, or communicate over an unlimited range.
  • In The Laundry Files 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.
  • The Mediochre Q Seth Series has Intrusively Mantic 'Phones (IMPs), which have been enchanted with technomancy to be able to mess with electromagnetic signals. Mediochre has one affectionately named 'Chips', which he variously uses to send messages detect and send messages to anyone with a normal phone nearby, block all outgoing transmissions in a given area, mimic the remote-unlocking command of a car key, and occasionally actually call people.
  • The landlines and cell phones 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor upgrades Rose's phone in "The End of the World" to be able to call home across the entirety of space and time.
    • The title character of "The Empty Child" manages to activate the dummy prop phone on the outside of the TARDIS, much to the Doctor's amazement.
    • Every companion since Rose has had their phone upgraded. They're referred to as "superphones". The Doctor themself has one that originally belonged to Martha Jones.
  • Kamen Rider has increasingly included special gadget phones that can be included in the toyline as Official Cosplay Gear:
    • Kamen Rider 555 is the first and best-known, as the series is based around Shoe Phone technology. The Faiz Phone is a flip phone that can turn into a gun, and is a key part of Faiz's Transformation Trinket.
    • In Kamen Rider Double, both Philip and Shotaro have Stag Phones that turn into stag beetle robots, control their vehicles remotely, and attach to Double's weapons to enhance them. Sixth Ranger Terui has a similar phone that's modeled on a horned beetle (contrasting Double's stag).
    • Kamen Rider Ghost has two phone gadgets that can either turn into little robots or attach to the Riders' gear to make a new weapon. Ghost has one in the style of an old rotary phone that turns into a condor or forms a crossbow, while Specter has a cell phone that can become either a cobra or a scythe.
    • Kamen Rider Build, in what would become a recurring trend, has a smartphone that can enlarge and transform into a motorcycle.
    • The heroes of Kamen Rider Zi-O each have the Faizphone X, which comes in the form of a pocketwatch but does unfold into a phone and, just like the original Faiz Phone, a gun.
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One has the Rise Phone, which, like Build's, is a smartphone that transforms into a motorcycle.
    • Kamen Rider Saber uses the smartphone-to-motorcycle transformation yet again, with each of the Riders owning Gatrike Phones that turn into three-wheelers.
    • In Kamen Rider Revice, Fenix agents are issued the Gundephone50, which is a smartphone that can turn into a gun. Vice can also possess Ikki's Gundephone50 to communicate with people, as normally Ikki's the only one that can see and hear him.
    • Kamen Rider Geats returns to Double's idea of transforming phones, with the aptly named Spider Phone, a device given to each participant of the Desire Grand Prix, which warns the Riders of new rounds in the competition while also working as, essentially, a free smartphone.
  • In one episode of Misfits, the Villain of the Week has the ability to call someone on their cellphone and use that to take over their body.
  • There have been several iterations of Power Rangers/Super Sentai wherein their cellphones have been incorporated with their morphers. How many of them see regular use as phones depend on the series. Owing to the age of the franchise, they started out as flip-phones, then got progressively sleeker, and the most recent case resembled a smartphone.
  • In the The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Long Distance Call", a recently deceased grandmother calls her five-year-old grandson on his toy telephone, urging him to kill himself so that they can be together again.
  • In the 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 was 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.


  • The central object of Dialed In! is a smartphone developed by a shady company that can start and control natural disasters. The Player Character is a Villain Protagonist who proceeds to destroy parts of Quantum City for no reason other than they can.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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. The core rulebook even has rules for transmitting spells by phone.
  • In Nomine: The Cherubim of Jean can call the nearest phone to any person or object they are attuned to. If there is no nearby phone, they can spend one "Essence" to cause a cell phone to materialize for ten minutes within seven feet of their attuned.
  • Mage: The Awakening has a sinister example in the Fear-Powered Cell Phone, an artifact that gets its strength by playing on the paranoia of its owner. It does so by regularly generating text messages like "They're coming" and "Get out of there now."
  • 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 Witch Girls Adventures, the Celestial Cell can be used anywhere on Earth (getting unlimited minutes; this was written before that was normal), and generally eliminating all the crap that comes with owning a cell phone or computer is a work of first level Cybermancy.

    Video Games 
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game: The Red Phone of Asmodeus is one of the Cursed Artifacts. You come across it in the main lobby of the office building in Times Square.
  • Occurs in Metro: Last Light where Artyom comes across a phone ringing on his way to the "River of Fate", in an abandoned and half-flooded section of the Moscow Metro. Picking it up will have Artyom's mother calling at Artyom.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
  • Igor in Persona and Persona 2 had a phone that allowed him to fuse Personas through cards. Persona 3-onwards, he drops the phone and instead had him use his magic to fuse them.
  • In The Sims 2, the Resurrect-O-Nomitron is a phone you can use to call The Grim Reaper and pay him to bring back to life a deceased Sim.
  • Naomi, The Coroner in Trauma Team, has a phone through which she hears the Last Words of the current victim.
  • In The World Ends with You, the main characters receive the rules for the day's 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.
    • Later on, Neku's phone gets an upgrade that allows it to take pictures of the past, which is used less frequently than you'd think.
  • The Hotline in Control, a red rotary phone (with a missing dial) that serves as a direct line between the Director of the Federal Bureau of Control and its Board, a sort of benign Eldritch Abomination. Only the Director is allowed to use it; anyone else who tries suffers a gruesome but unspecified fate. The worse a Director suffers is a little Psychic Nosebleed. It also allows you to hear the final thoughts of the FBC's previous director, recently deceased, providing you with a lot of important context and knowledge about the Bureau.
  • Early on in Undertale, you get a cellphone which is by all means pretty normal, capable of making phone calls, although how a cellphone can get reception deep underground is never explained. Later, you get an upgrade to your phone that allows you to access your item storage chest at any time and adds a second chest, unless you follow a specific story route that causes the NPC who provides it to not appear.
  • The Player Character in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is gifted an Arc Phone, which is their modern-day smartphone empowered by the light of Arceus and distinguished by a unique Arceus-themed case. In addition to giving Arceus a direct line to the player (via text message), it also displays a map of the area and directions for missions given out by the Galaxy Expedition Team and surrounding townsfolk.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


The Hotline

The Hotline is a Bakelite phone that allows one to communicate with the Board (and also, in Jesse's case, with Trench's last memories). Apparently, if a non-Director tries to use it, it causes "permanent psychic damage".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / SupernaturalPhone

Media sources: