It's a week late, but a night of the living dead has struck the nation.
All over the United States, people have seen long dead conversations seemingly come back to life.
Random text messages from people having conversations they couldn't understand afflicted many earlier this week.
It began, as these stories often do, with confusion.
So, a random text (that I did not write) was sent to my dad at 4am from my phone. Doesn’t show on my message thread… https://t.co/k6YjyqNifq— Ainslie Lee (@Ainslie Lee)1573135038.0
My mom called this morning worried out of her mind because she received a disturbing text from me last night around… https://t.co/5jfQSMHbrU— Zeba Blay (@Zeba Blay)1573140788.0
If your phone sent texts randomly in the middle of the night last night, or you received texts people say they didn… https://t.co/kHAPWvRO3I— A Goldman (@A Goldman)1573141507.0
People were confused at these seemingly random text messages. When they asked the senders, the people on the other end of the digital connection equally bewildered, as they didn't send anything that night.
It wasn't limited to one carrier either. Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T customers all reported the issue.
However, there was a common thread. The messages were resurrected.
All the unexpected messages were originally sent on or around Valentine's day earlier this year, but failed to deliver.
It took 9 months to be delivered!— Daniel Andelin (@Daniel Andelin)1573152184.0
a text message I sent maybe in February about Valentine’s Day was sent to my ex at 1:56am last night???... there ar… https://t.co/j3HPS7qA6w— shoonk (@shoonk)1573156716.0
When everybody is talking about the text messages they got overnight that were meant to be delivered on Valentine's… https://t.co/0sNSV6mbCo— John Misczak (@John Misczak)1573155110.0
While no official explanation was initially given, a third-party service for SMS processing was quickly deduced as the likely culprit.
Sprint said the error was caused by a "maintenance update." T-Mobile went a step further and blamed a "third party vendor" specifically.
Despite this, for a while we didn't know why only texts from February were sent, and why it only affected some people.
Seven months is a long time between the original intent of these messages and now. Relationships have ended. People have passed away.
A number of people online expressed concern at receiving messages about people they knew were no longer around. Others experienced worse and got a text from someone they knew had passed.
It's enough to put you on edge.
NEW: Sprint says delayed texts are due to cross-carrier messaging system. T-Mobile blames 3rd party vendor. A “main… https://t.co/yF3pVzzfPw— Jake Kastrenakes (@Jake Kastrenakes)1573150771.0
@KinG_Afore_Tv @GQMagazine it happened with all networks— s̸̷t̸̷i̸̷m̸̷ uͨwͧuͫ | xi jinping stupid lol (@s̸̷t̸̷i̸̷m̸̷ uͨwͧuͫ | xi jinping stupid lol)1573182447.0
@evilzug But there’s gonna’ be a Hallmark movie made about that one couple that gets together because of this.— Kelly M. (@Kelly M.)1573169519.0
Not everyone experienced such deep wounds. Others just got awkward random messages. The text of a long dead conversation.
HuffPost finally got an explanation. Verizon Media, their parent company, pointed them in the direction of Syniverse, a telecommunication company that provides the precise third-party service we suspected.
They told HuffPost,
"During an internal maintenance cycle last night, 168,149 previously undelivered text messages were inadvertently sent to multiple mobile operators' subscribers."
While they wouldn't elaborate further, they did promise that internal protocols were being reviewed so this incident doesn't happen again.
Here's hoping that was the end of it.
https://t.co/lIInoEl1OH Woke up at 3:50am to a text message from my best friend that passed away in July. I get “gl… https://t.co/3YOwoNOr5Z— Emma Currie (@Emma Currie)1573185899.0
I got an instant message from a coworker this morning that I had text him at 1am 😮 I didn't believe him https://t.co/Xl7k1IiCBA— Meghan Cheshire (@Meghan Cheshire)1573187356.0
This happened to my phone last night and Long story short I thought my phone was haunted 😭🙃 https://t.co/oRLRIjMEhJ— Danie (@Danie)1573180102.0
My wife and I slept in different rooms because of this 😂. Thanks Obama! https://t.co/NCd2Wne6Ke— Edward DeLeon (@Edward DeLeon)1573178670.0
"On October 1, God is in His heaven, the stock market stands at 10,140, most of the planes are on time, and graphic artist Clayton Riddell is visiting Boston, having just landed a deal that might finally enable him to make art instead of teaching it."
"But all those good feelings about the future change in a hurry thanks to a devastating phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse. The delivery method is a cell phone—everyone's cell phone."
"Now Clay and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization's darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a relentless human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature...and then begins to evolve."