Death Prediction is a Chinese urban legend about a man who finds a cell phone and calls a strange number. This story revolves around the number 4 which, in Chinese, sounds like the word for death.
One evening, a Chinese man named Huang was on the bus. In his pocket was a ticket for a concert he planned to attend later that night. It was the concert of his favorite singer and he was determined to get there early because he didn’t want to miss it.
The bus came to a stop and when the doors opened, some people hastily jumped off. Huang heard a clatter and looked down. He noticed that one of them had dropped their mobile phone. He bent down to pick it up. but as he did so, the doors closed and the bus drove on.
Huang looked around. None of the other passengers were paying attention to him. He sat back down in his seat and pretended that nothing had happened. Turning the phone over in his hand and examining it, he realized that it was almost new. If he sold it in a second-hand shop, it would fetch a pretty penny.
Huang opened the phone and looked through the contacts list and the call logs. At the end of the list of names, there was one number that caught his eye: 444147494.
“That’s a creepy number,” he muttered to himself.
(In Chinese, the number 4 sounds like “si” which means “death” or “die”. 444 14 74 94 sounds like “die, die, die, want to die, will certainly die, been dead for a long time”)
Huang was intrigued by the strange phone number. There was something unnerving about it, but curiosity got the better of him and he pressed “Call”.
After 3 beeps, he heard an automated voice saying: “Hello, you have reached the external reference department. Pleasant and convenient service is our main goal. Communication between relatives and the deceased is now more convenient…”
Huang took the phone away from his ear and stared at the screen for a moment. He couldn’t understand what he was hearing.
“…To access the search for the living and the dead,” the voice continued, “please press 4. To check your remaining lifespan, please press 5. For additional services, please press 6…”
Huang nervously pressed 6.
“To know the date of death of a stranger, press 1. To find out your date of death, press 2…”
With shaking fingers, Huang pressed 1.
“Please say the name of the person whose date of death you would like to know.”
Huang hesitated, thinking for a few moments, then said the name of the famous singer whose concert he was going to.
There were a few more beeps, then the automated voice repeated the name of the singer and said, “Date of death: Year: 2017, Month: January, Date: 20th, Time: 19:35:16… To return to the main menu, please press 1. To perform a new query, please press star…”
Huang was shocked. “That’s today’s date,” he mumbled.
He hung up the phone. When he looked at the time, he saw that it was already 7:00pm and the bus was pulling up outside the concert venue. He shoved the phone in his pocket, scrambled out of his seat and jumped off the bus.
“My favorite singer is going to die today,” he thought. “I’ve got to warn her!”
His heart was pounding like a locomotive as he raced through the gates of the concert venue. He presented his ticket and was allowed inside. There was a huge crowd waiting around the entrance. For half an hour, Huang waited. His heart was beating fast.
All of a sudden, the crowd began cheering and clapping their hands. The famous singer emerged from the front door of the concert hall and walked down the steps to greet her fans. Huang pushed his way through the crowd, trying desperately to get to the front.
The singer was shaking hands with everyone. Huang forced people out of his way and dodged his way past the throng.
“Let me through!” he shouted. “Let me through!”
Suddenly, Huang found himself at the front of the crowd. The singer was inches from him. He reached out to grab her, trying to attract her attention. Just then, he felt the crowd surge forward and he was pushed from behind. Losing his balance, he stumbled forward and collided with the singer.
The force of the blow knocked her backwards and she fell, hitting her head on the concrete with a loud crack. Blood started gushing out and the singer lay there on her back with a smile frozen on her face. Huang lay beside her on the ground. In the melee, the mobile phone had fallen from his pocket and it was sitting in a pool of blood.
He reached out and grabbed the mobile phone. On the screen, the time read: 19:35. He couldn’t see how many seconds there were, but he could have bet that there were 16.