Acts of Volition


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Garrett Murray -

Both of these phenomena happen to me at least one a day, requiring that I tap at my pockets or belt, attempting to confirm or deny ringing.

Geof -

I'm with Garrett; the worst is in my truck, because my cell phone [which stays in my right front pants pocket] routinely slides down to where the antenna comes in contact with the seat belt receptacle, which is not vibrationally isolated. It's quite annoying. :)

adam.b -

Ha ha! This happens to me all the time. Like when I'm listening to music in the car and the left door speaker comes in contact with my pants. I flip off the music and go a-diggin' for a cell phone that isn't ringing. Or in my office, which has a little bit of a vibration to it because there is an air conditioning unit directly below it. But the best is when I'm just walking around and without any excuse, swear I felt that familiar ole pocket buzz... but it just turns out to be plain insanity. Good term!

Chris -

This used to happen to me all the time with my old Nokia but for some reason happens alot less with my new Samsung flip. Not quite sure why and I always thought it was just I was getting a tiny zap from the batteries. Could it have something to do with fields? Cause I never get it in my car, but almost all the time when Im sitting at work around alot of computer equipment.

Jon -

This happens to me all the time!!

Thanks, for letting me know that I'm not the only crazy one out there....

J -

This happened to me so often that I had to stop using vibration completely so that the phantomness wouldn't drive me crazy.

JacoB -

I'm with "J" on this one. I had a phone once that rang and vibrated at the same time which was a good option I thought. Ringer after vibrate just doesn't cut it sometimes.

Factory Joe -

Sadly, this happens to me as well.... it's like I have a phantom limb or something. It's gotten to the point where I won't even have my cell phone on me and I'll be patting myself down trying to find the phone when it's really just the way my bag rubs against my side. I'd almost prefer to just gerry-rig some kind of mild electric shock as my ring in order to avoid this annoying 6th sense!

Martin -

This is very similar to 'vibroglaze' - def:

"That glassy look that is induced in the middle of a conversation by an incoming call on a cellular phone which is set to vibrate. e.g., The professor was right in the middle of explaining quantum string theory when his cell phone went off, his eyes vibroglazed, and he excused himself and had to leave the classroom."

Kevin Francis -

Oh yes! This happens *all* the time in my friends car, since he plays his music loud, and there are speakers in the doors.

Its such a load of trouble to get the phone out too :/

Nick Potter -

Thank god... its not just me then!

Jax -

I have become so accustomed to the my cellphone vibrations that I often touh my pockets even when I do not have a cellphone.

David -

Vibrating cell phones + ringer off + non-tight shorts = lots of missed calls.

Scorched -

<b>Beeper Seizure</b> - that moment of bewilderment and confusion when you hear a cellphone ring and try to determine if it is your own. it's that little pause in speech while you try to echo-locate.

Teo -

Has a related term been coined for hearing default MS Windows error sounds? After a bad day with Windows/Office (seems to be one or two spells of 3 or 4 days each month) I hear that most exasperating orchestra staccato or those annoyingly plaintive two piano notes even when away from my computer.

Any suggestions if no term yet exists? I'm fresh out of them because it's late. There's got to be something more original than the Phantom eXPerience.

Jay -

For me it is a corduroy jacket. The sleeve rubbing against the rest of the jacket as I walk causes a vibration and sound that makes me think my phone (in the inner chest jacket pocket) is vibrating. Gets me every time...

Bryce -

Phantom Cell Phone Vibrations....I've got 'em bad. Real bad. I sit at a computer all day. Nothing touching me. Nothing buzzing. Left front pocket. I grabbed my thigh about 3 times while reading all these posts. I wasn't actually feeling the phantom buzz-but my leg feels weird thinking about it.

BTW, this is my first ever post of this kind. Found a reference to your site on Boing Boing today. Thanks, Bryce.

Chris Wood -

I've added this to Wikipedia :D

Red -

Genius! I have this sensation at least twice a day - it mianly plagues me while driving.

Luciano -

Got the same sensation driving my car. Damn good i'm not the only one.

Ari Pollak -

If those goddamned vibration mechanisms weren't so weak, I wouldn't have to concentrate so hard to figure out if my cell phone is actually ringing or not.

Rob R -

While this is all interesting, nobody on this thread is explaining what causes these phantom vibrations.
- Nerve damage?
- Psychological cause?
- Muscle memory
- Something else?

Tom Levine -

I finally turned the vibe-ring off because I was jerking the wheel every time someone called me. So, I don't experience the phantom cell phone vibrations, but I do hear my phone in my head....Let me clarify: When it isn't ringing. You know, you're not crazy, if they really ARE all out to get you....

Dio Thomas -

Quite some time ago, I published an artilce on this phenomenon.
Its still available on the web at:

Charles -

I had the same feeling for about 6 months. I thought I was going crazy. It starting lasting for hours. Then I noticed a lump growing inside the muscles of my thigh where the vibration sensation was. It doesn't show up unless I flex my thigh. Doctor is evaluating it. He is a surgeon and said that he hasn't seen one exactly like this before. I'll let you know what happens. There has to be a relationship between the cell phone I carried in my pocket and the lump in my thigh. Anyone who has had this situation, please email me.

victor he -

im weird

victor he -

im weird and weird hahah i hate cell phones

same thing -

I have the same thing. I feel like my left thigh is vibrating, exactly where my cell phone usual sits in my left front pocket. I searched and found this thread. The sensation of the vibration occurs about every 10 seconds. I can't actually feel my leg shake or anything.

Agent Brown -

I was just having a conversation about this very thing, and I am relieved to see others are also experiencing whatever it is. My friend and I both agree that it isn't psychosematic. Somehow, I think, the phone receives a signal that goes directly to the leg interfering with the closest nerves and slowly mutates them. They will then be fully funtional satilite signal receiving nerves in our bodies. Who knows? It freaks me out though.

John Z -

I get the same feeling except it is where my cell phone stays in my shirt pocket and it's driving me crazy. Sometimes I feel it every few seconds, other times hours apart but becoming more frequent.