On Thursday morning, Gena Kaufman was woken up by a ghost. OK, not a ghost technically, but when her husband turned over in the morning to ask why she had texted him “STOP IT” at 3 A.M., she was thoroughly confused. Kaufman, a former ELLE.com staffer, had gone to bed at 10 P.M. and had no recollection of sending such a text. What’s more, the two had spent the whole night together. After he showed her the text message on his phone, Kaufman grabbed hers to check, but there was no record of the message in her chat history.
A few states away, ELLE.com contributing editor Hannah Morrill was on the other side of the same problem. After having a normal conversation with her friend Kim about her new manicure, Morrill had texted “pretty.”
But then, at 4:25 A.M. Morrill got a response from Kim, a short text that said “something like that.” Not understanding if her friend was being sarcastic, she texted her a few hours later to ask why she’d sent the message. But the thing was: Kim had never sent it and had the screen grabs to prove it.
And these four weren’t alone. While many of us were sound asleep on Wednesday night, across the nation, lots and lots (and lots) of people found themselves victims of a mysterious and disturbing tech glitch, waking up to see that they had either sent or received strange, out-of-context texts.
According to The Verge, many of those messages were originally sent on or around Valentine’s Day 2019 but were never received at the time, and the glitch occurred across all different phones and carriers. (For context, Hannah and Kim have Sprint and Verizon, respectively, though they both have iPhones. Kaufman and her husband use Verizon and T-Mobile, respectively, but only Kaufman has an iPhone. Kaufman also points out that while her “STOP IT” text wasn’t out of character, she has no idea why she would’ve sent it on Valentine’s Day and does not remember getting into any sort of Valentine’s Day fight.)
The Verge reports, of those affected, “A few spoke to much more distressing repercussions of this error: one person said they received a message from an ex-boyfriend who had died; another received messages from a best friend who is now dead.”
The good—and less spooky—news is, if this happened to you, you most likely weren’t hacked. A representative from Sprint told ELLE.com that on Wednesday evening a maintenance update occurred to part of the messaging platforms of multiple carriers in the United States, including Sprint, which caused some people to have old text messages sent to their phones. The representative says the issue was resolved shorty after it occurred. Similarly, T-Mobile informed Popular Mechanics that the glitch was the fault of a “third party vendor,” while a Verizon representative told ELLE.com to direct questions to Syniverse, a third-party text message service provider, which works with several large U.S. carriers, though not Verizon.
But also, after some more sleuthing, we at ELLE.com have come to the conclusion that the most likely reason for all of this text message nonsense is obviously that Mercury is in retrograde. After all, as Forbes points out, the planet Mercury is named after the Roman’s Messenger of the Gods. Let’s blame this on astrology. Case closed!