Flickr user, Sighthound posted “Delete Marilyn?”


IRVINGTON, N.Y. —  An 80-year-old man who thought he’d lost the only recording of his dead wife’s voice can hear her again, any time he wants. When Verizon upgraded Charles Whiting’s telephone service, his wife’s voice, saying, “Catherine Whiting,” disappeared from his voicemail system.

She had died in 2005 and Whiting said he listened to her voice every day for comfort. He blamed Verizon for the loss, saying, “Now they took her voice away.”

But Verizon had archived all the old greetings and messages. Company spokesman John Bonomo said Tuesday that a contractor found the recording and restored it to the new voicemail system.

“I’m glad they rescued it,” Whiting said. “I’m very happy.”

Russell, from, read this story and posted Dead Happy, in which he decides it’s kinda creepy to listen to the voice of a dead person.  In fact, he even refers to his previous post, Dead Man’s Cellphone, about a new play that deals with a similar issue.

Since Russell runs a site about mobile technology, I can see how he would not have expected the strong reaction he got from his readers.  Here’s a few examples of the comments left about this story:

I can actually comment from a personal experience. About 2 years ago my father passed away (at 63 years old) suddenly. My sister had been living abroad for 6 month prior and luckily had returned only a week before we lost him. As such she didn’t have a US cell phone, so she started using his. For about 2 weeks after the funeral, every time I called her, she picked up. But then, I called and got the voicemail – which was his voice. It literally floored me. It was my Dad’s voice, the one I never expected to hear again.  ANDREW SEIGEL

My mother died suddenly just before Christmas in 2004. I have her last voice mail message to me still on my cell and every 30 days the system will offer to delete it for me. I never do even though it’s not particularly sentimental (and she never says “I love you” which sometimes I wish she had). Still, it comes up as a surprise sometimes when I seem to need it most. I suspect many more people have done this than we hear of in the news.  TORI

My father died of cancer in 1998 and I never really got to know him, although we tried to become friends during his final months. My (then) stepmother stopped answering the phone after his death and I would call the house just to listen to his voice on the answering machine. I completely understand how the guy feels, even with the difference in relation to our dearly departed.  AARON