The Last Wild Days of Ma Bell


One of my favorite things to do around Seattle is the Seattle Underground Tour- I love the stories and learning about the history because I work in downtown Seattle and I like to soak in the spirits and shades of Old Seattle as opposed to the sights and smells of pee, exhaust and body order trails that the bicycle riders leave in their wake.

But in a very much in the moment experience as opposed  to  ancient history happened just around the corner from where I work. Against a brick wall are the remains of something that me and my friends used to call ” The Terrorist Phone ”

Back in February of 2002 somebody called a bomb threat in on an Hawaiian Airlines flight that was en route to Seattle.

It turns out that the call was made around the corner from where I work  at a  pay phone- which did indeed exist in Pioneer Square in 2002.  Apparently when the Police showed up, they weren’t exactly subtle when they, what’s the term- secured the area.

The call was a hoax but to me my friends didn’t use the street number as a reference point anymore. We’d say things like, ” I’m going to get lunch by that place across the street from the Terrorist Phone ” or ” I’ll meet you at the Terrorist Phone after work”

You get it.

Sad to say and it should come as no surprise that the Terrorist Phone- like all the other payphones that were on almost every corner ( sort if like Starbucks are now ) are no more.

But  the sad remains of the Terrorist Phone are still clinging to the wall of that empty building.

There are a lot of new people where I work and they don’t know about the terrorist phone. They just know it as this metal frame on the side of an abandoned  building that sometimes gets turned into art and sometimes you can’t see it because there is a tent in front of it.

This is why I’m writing about the phone today.

I’ve been reading a lot of ghost stories lately and the question comes up over and over again- where do ghosts come from and why do they haunt us?

The Terrorist phone, gone for at least 15 years now haunts me.

Sometimes what it represents scares me, sometimes I’m sorry to see it’s sad remains hanging on the wall and sometimes I wonder what it was like for an unassuming payphone the day someone walked up to it, dropped as few coins into it and turned it into  Terrorist Phone.

Photo A.M Moscoso

Police say the bomb threat call has been traced to a pay phone in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle.

Police went to the location, but did not find the caller.

( new story HERE )

RDP Wednesday – ABANDON