I’ll bet you read that headline, hit the link and looked for the number immediately, didn’t you?
Next question: Did you dial the number without reading the rest of this article? Seriously? Well, I did warn you right up there in the headline, so I can’t be held accountable for what might happen.
Now, let me explain exactly what this warning is about:
The number in question is (630) 296-7536.
The organization at the other end of the line goes by the name of Boothworld Industries.
According to a frantic, chaotic and often confusing Reddit thread on the topic, Boothworld Industries specializes in what they vaguely (and ominously) refer to as “remodeling.” This does not pertain to construction, design or any other profession commonly associated with that term; this “remodeling” is entirely focused on the life of their “members.”
What exactly are the requirements for membership in Boothworld? Actually, it’s pretty easy… at first, anyway.
Curious about all the fuss, I finally called the number — which has reportedly been around for a few years now — and reached the following recorded greeting:
That was pretty much it, and I wisely chose not to leave a message at the tone. I then went about my daily business… until later that afternoon, when my phone rang. The display read PRIVATE NUMBER, and the area code identified it as coming from Illinois.
I don’t normally pick up unidentified calls, so I let the call go to voicemail, and listened to it a few minutes later. This is what I heard:
Needless to say, I was a bit troubled by that… but I figured it was either an interactive prank, using an automated call service to log the target number and send back a canned response, or maybe even a devious marketing scheme, tapping into the popularity of viral stories on Reddit to snag potential marks and mine their information.
I didn’t get the sense I was the target of a scam or anything; I just found the whole concept fascinating… so I read up on this mysterious organization calling itself Boothworld.
As it turns out, the stories circulating out there are pretty damn creepy.
Apparently, according to my research, since the number first began to circulate a few years ago, many people who dialed 630-296-7536 did not reach a recording… instead, they were greeted by the live voice of a chilly but polite female representative, who began the dialogue by asking the caller for their full name.
Obviously put off by this immediate questioning, most callers replied with fake names… and were immediately, calmly rebuked by the Boothworld rep for providing false information.
However, in one particularly chilling case, the caller gave the name of another real person — a former girlfriend, in this case — and strangely the representative accepted it, beginning the process of scheduling this individual’s “remodeling” appointment. Testing the waters, so to speak, the caller went ahead and set a date and time, which the rep then confirmed. She thanked the caller, congratulating him on achieving “membership” with Boothworld.
It was bizarre, but the caller — let’s call him BW — assumed it was an elaborate stunt of some kind, and eventually forgot about it.
That is, until the scheduled day and time of “remodeling” arrived.
At that moment, his phone rang… and BW received a chilling message from the same female representative. He also heard the voice of the former girlfriend whose name he had given instead of his own.
His ex could be heard screaming for help, begging an unidentified tormentor to stop whatever they planned to do… before her voice was abruptly choked off, followed by a heavy thud.
The next voice on the line was that of a man, much deeper and coarser than anyone BW had ever heard before. The man explained to BW how the previous sounds were a recording of the unfortunate woman’s fate, and that the scheduled “remodeling” had been carried out per the member’s request. In other words, BW had unwittingly called out a hit on his ex… and the assassin had followed through.
“We at Boothworld Industries want to say thanks,” the man said, “and welcome to the club. Have a marvelous day.”
Before BW could respond, the female representative was back on the line.
“We thank you for your time and congratulate you on your membership with Boothworld Industries,” the rep said — this time referring to him by his real name, which he had never provided her before. “Would you like to make another appointment?”
“What do you mean?” BW replied.
“Boothworld Industries is always looking to add new members,” the rep explained. “We are, of course, an invitation-only club. Sadly, our membership numbers have fallen in recent years. What we would like you to do, in order to avoid your own remodeling appointment, is help us add several new members.”
“How many members do you need?” BW asked.
“Yes, sir. Otherwise we’ll have to keep our scheduled appointment. We must inform you that the member that scheduled this appointment did request a courtesy call.”
Realizing the implications of what he’d just heard — he would be the next target if he didn’t recruit 1000 new “members” by a given date — BW realized what he had to do. He agreed to comply, helping Boothworld acquire more victims.
“Excellent,” the woman replied. “I want to thank you on behalf of Boothworld Industries, and once again, welcome to the club, Mr. W. Have a marvelous day.”
Before BW could say another word, the rep promptly ended the call.
Now you know as much as I do.
With this knowledge in mind, I’m still waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. I haven’t received my call yet… but then again, I only dialed the number a couple of days ago, so who knows? Also, if these rumors are to be believed, when you dialed that number I just gave you (I know you did), you’re now another target for “remodeling.”
Let’s assume for now that Boothworld Industries is just a clever stunt, and you’ll survive well past your scheduled appointment. It might help you to know that, if you look at the big picture, it’s statistically very improbable that such an organization is capable of doing what they claim.
Also, my research revealed that “Boothworld” is also an anagram for the surname of a writer credited with planting the story on Reddit in the first place: Christopher Bloodworth. Feel better now?
Even with this revelation in mind, until we find out more about the workings of this eerie organization — including the date “1888” in their tagline, which happens to be the same year of Jack the Ripper’s infamous killing spree — I’d strongly recommend you heed my warning and don’t call that number.