Ida Lupino Tells Of A Strange Phone Call
Actress and director Ida Lupino (1918-1995) claimed that when she was a child she had an unnerving supernatural experience.
In Spooks Deluxe: Some Excursions into the Supernatural as Told to and Recounted by Danton Walker (1956, Franklin Watts), Ida Lupino tells a tale that is worthy of being a Twilight Zone story.
I’ve heard similar stories, but none from someone as famous as Lupino.
From Spooks Deluxe:
Ida Lupino’s story, also involving a telephone call, was even more dramatic. “My father belonged to a club in London similar to the Lambs Club in New York,”
Ida wrote me. “He had the title of Treasurer of Secrets, which carries with it Masonic responsibilities. The story involves a fellow member, and one of his closest friends, to whom I shall have to give the fictitious name of Andrew Meyer, for a variety of reasons.
” ‘Uncle Andy,’ as I called him, was a frequent visitor at our home and I was very fond of him, in fact, all of us were.
“At the time, we were living with my grandmother at her home in the outskirts of London, while my parents whom I always called by their first names, Stanley and Connie—were playing an engagement in one of the London variety houses.
“One night, about half past ten, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep again. I had had a disturbing dream about Uncle Andy and decided to go downstairs and tell my grandmother about it. I was nine years old and very impressionable at the time.
“Granny was in the kitchen, preparing supper for my parents, who were due back from the theater where they were working. while I was telling Granny my dream, the phone in the hall rang.
“`Answer it, Ida Granny said. I have my hands full.’
“I went to the phone, took the receiver off the hook and heard a voice on the line, but it was so faint that I could scarcely understand the words. Finally the voice became stronger and I could understand the message, repeated monotonously several times: ‘I must talk to Stanley. It is terribly important. ‘
“I answered: ‘Oh, it’s you, Uncle Andy! Daddy isn’t home yet.’ But the voice kept repeating the same words, and this time quite distinctly: Stanley – I must talk to Stanley—it’s terribly important,’ ‘
“I asked him to hold the line until I could get Granny. She went to the phone and I heard her say, ‘Why Andy—are you ill? I’ll ask Stanley to call you the moment he comes in.’ Then the phone was cut off and there was no further talk.
“Grandmother was quite cross. She flashed the switchboard operator and told her that a phone call had been interrupted. She was even more exasperated when the operator said she didn’t believe there had been a call on the line during the past hour. There being no way to complete the call—she didn’t know from what part of London Uncle Andy had been phoning she went back to her chores.
“About half an hour later, Stanley and Connie arrived home and I gave Stanley Uncle Andy’s message. Connie dropped suddenly into a chair and looked as though she were going to faint.
“Stanley said I must be mistaken and, anyway, it was time for me to be in bed. “Granny said But she’s not mistaken, Stanley, and I think you had better call Andy. He sounded as though he was very ill.’
” ‘Mom’ — Stanley answered, and I’ll never forget how tense his voice sounded, ‘Andrew Meyer is dead. He hung himself three days ago.’ “