From astral bell to phone calls from the dead , mysterious sounds and voices were always haunting us. Some old Greek cases are quite revealing.
By Thanassis Vembos
The Otherworld has a peculiar love-hate relationship with loud sounds. Sometimes the phenomena are accompanied by explosion-like noises or a characteristic ringing/jingling. Dion Fortune, commenting on the objective traces of a psychic attack cites unpleasant smells, traces on snow or dust and the renowned ‘astral bell’ which is referred also by writer and spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle (1858 - 1930) in one of his Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Fortune says:
This sound varies from a dear, bell-like note to a faint click. I have often heard it resemble the sound made by striking a cracked wine-glass with a knife-blade. It commonly announces the advent of an entity that is barely able to manifest, and need not necessarily be a herald of evil at all. It may simply be a knock on the door of the physical world to attract the attention of the inhabitants to the presence of one who stands without and would speak with them .
In modern civilization telephones or door bells have replaced the astral bell. Unexplained knocks or rings in unusual hours with no one at the door and bizarre phone calls are the harbingers or side-effects of paranormal phenomena. In phantom calls, phantom voices can be heard.
In April 1991 the city of Patras (Peloponnese) was shaken by a tremendous explosion when members of the Islamic Holy War Movement triggered prematurely a bomb aimed at the British consulate in Patras. Instead, the bomb wrecked the offices of Air Courier Service, a Greek company, killing seven people including the Palestinian terrorist carrying the bomb. A little before the explosion, an anonymous call was made to the headquarters of a newspaper of Ioannina –a city in Epirus, northern Greece. The call was a warning for an upcoming bomb explosion at the local Court of Law and at the building of Social Security Department. The police started investigation in both places. A little after that, the explosion at Patras took place. The police considered the possibility that the phone call to Ioannina was a mistaken warning for the Patras’ bomb; Patras’ phone dial prefix was 061 and Ioannina’s 0651, so it could have been a mistake by the caller. But neither a Court of Law, nor a Social Security department existed at the place of the explosion at Patras. And of course the local phone number or Ioannina newspaper did not coincide with any number of any Patras’ newspaper .
A well-known category of ghost calls are the ‘telephone calls from the dead. The classic book by Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless by the same name cites lots of such cases.
One old case was reported by Nicolaos Antonakeas, politician and spiritualist (1896 – 1966). On January 17, 1953 Michael Roumanis died in Athens. Two days later, at 5.30 pm, Mrs C. a friend of the family, phoned Roumanis home (the number was 80417) unbeknownst of his death. The call was made while C.’s husband and another person were present. Somebody answered the call and C. recognized immediately Michael Roumanis’ voice. They started a small talk about trivial things and about Michael’s brother, George, who was a member of the Greek parliament. Michael seemed to know that C. and her family had moved to a new house. The chat ended with his promise that he would come to visit them. The next day, C. phoned George Roumanis’ law office and talked to his secretary who informed her of Michael’s death; understandably she was shocked. Later it became known that there was no phone call at the deceased’s house at the time C. claimed to have talked to him .
Antonakeas reported another incident which had taken place in 1950. His son, Constantinos, had his office in Athens center; next to his was the office of Anthimos Kanacaroglou, publisher and director of African News newspaper and representative of various trade houses. Kanacaroglou was a funny guy and a great prankster. Constantinos Antonakeas did not have his own phone line (back then, phones in Greece were rare, even in business offices) so he used Kanacaroglou’s phone (number 25078). His father, Nicolaos, had given the number to several friends. Later Constantinos Antonakeas moved from his office and used his home number instead.
In May 1950 Kanacaroglou, being in a financial quagmire committed suicide in a Piraeus coffee shop. His office was sealed by attorney general’s order since it contained important documents and commodities. During this time, Antonis Papaefthymiou and Thomas Dafnias, without knowing that Kanacaroglou was dead and his office sealed, called his number to ask for Nicolaos Antonakeas. Somebody answered the phone and said that Antonakeas would be available only after 3 o’clock in the morning. Puzzled, they asked again and the voice confirmed that. They kept calling that number several times. Every time a voice answered audaciously and bizarrely. Finally the two men managed to communicate with Antonakeas who angrily protested to the manager of the office building; the latter answered that the office was still sealed by the police and nobody could have answered the phone .
An important characteristic is that, in telephone calls from the dead, the person who talks to the dead had no knowledge that the other individual had died. Therefore his ignorance briefly inhibited his disbelief. This is a very important element.
In late 1969 Greek tanker Milton Iatridis with her 30 men crew was vanished without a trace somewhere between Brazil and South Africa (its disappearance has been cited in several books on the infamous Bermuda Triangle). The search for debris or survivors ended in January 1970. Crew’s relatives back in Greece believed that the ship had not sunk. Rumours said that the ship had been pirated and was now in Nigeria or Cuba. These rumours originated –or were enhanced- by a strange phone call. One evening some member of the crew phoned his wife in Piraeus and told her not to worry; then he put down the phone without adding anything . The case of Milton Iatrides disappearance was re-opened in 1987 but it remained a mystery 
. Dion Fortune, Psychic Self Defence, p. 12
 Eleftherotypia, 20.4.1991
 Embros, 4.2.1953
 Embros, 5.2.1953.
 Information by George Balanos.
 “Milton Iatrides: The Case of the ‘Lost’ Tanker Re-Opens”, Tachydromos weekly magazine, 28.5.1987.