There’s a wild rumor spreading in Kenya: if you receive (and subsequently answer) a phone call from a phone number in red, you will die shortly thereafter. The theory behind the rumor is that the red text on the cell phone somehow emits a higher frequency of electro-magnetic fields and causes brain hemorrhaging. Not surprisingly, these rumors aren’t true. However, this story is an excellent example of how rumor can almost be spun into fact but the sheer amount of people who believe.
Kenyan officials have moved to quell growing hysteria sparked by rumour that a ghostly red number was appearing on mobile phones and killing people. The rumours swept like wildfire among the residents in the capital, Nairobi and other major towns on Tuesday night, with many forwarding the stories to their friends, families and colleagues via text messages, warning them not to receive calls which will appear in a red colour.According to the report the calls was in high radiation or high frequency that causes brain haemorrhage, leading to death instantly.
“Please don’t attend to any calls from 7888308001, 9316048121, 9876266211, 9888854137 and 9876715587, these numbers come in red colour…..you may get brain haemorrhage due to high frequency,” the texts read. Officials have denied any red number existence calling for calm on the hysteria that quickly spread across the East African nation thanks to cheap calling rates and text messages that all telephone operators have introduced recently in recent past. The Communication Commission of Kenya said its investigation had established the warnings were false, and had been generated by unscrupulous people bent on causing fear and despondency among members of the public.
“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to SMS and email messages that are doing the rounds in the country warning mobile users against receiving calls from unknown or certain listed numbers. The messages further allege that receipts of calls from either the unknown or listed numbers would cause brain haemorrhage due to high frequency.” The CCK stated: “Upon analysis of the messages, the Commission has established the warnings are a hoax generated by unscrupulous people bent on causing fear and despondency among members of the public. The listed numbers are non-existent as mobile, fixed or international calls,” the regulator said in a statement sent to newsrooms.
Variants of the similar text message were first reported to have appeared on April 13, 2007 in Pakistan, where they caused widespread panic and inspired rumours, that the phone calls, if listened to, could also cause impotence in men and pregnancy in women.Similar emails began to spread to India, the Middle East, and Africa. Experts say cell phones are incapable of emitting sound frequencies that can cause immediate physical injury or death.