Fig. A: Copy your audio file to a small, cheap MP3
player. Fig. B: Crimp 2 insulated female spade lugs onto
the speaker wires. Fig. C: Plug the male and female
spade lugs together. Fig. D: Take the cover off the
3d. To add realism, we want the voice to cut off
when the handset is placed in the cradle. Trace the 4
wires from the handset ( 2 for the earpiece, 2 for the
mouthpiece), down through the cradle switch and
on to the main terminal strip.
You can use either a multimeter or trial and
error: turn the MP3 player on, touch your 2 MP3
male lugs to the 4 handset wires on the main
terminal strip, and listen for which 2 wires on the
terminal strip are for the earpiece. Screw the lugs
into the terminal strip.
3e. All that remains is to cut a hole (with a saw,
Dremel, or metal shears) in the metal base of the
phone so that the MP3 player can be hidden inside
(Figure E). File down the sharp edges and cover the
opening with duct tape.
You’re done! The MP3 player should play through
the earpiece when the handset’s lifted from the cradle.
Yes, the MP3 player must run constantly. It might
be possible to connect a switch so that the player
turns on when the handset is lifted from the cradle,
or perhaps you can give the phone a remote switch.
How about hooking up a motion sensor so that it
automatically turns on when someone gets within
phone and look for the main terminal strip under the
handset cradle. Fig. E: Cut a hole in the metal base of
the phone so that the MP3 player can be hidden inside.
Fig F: Create a mysterious scene.
Another thing I like is to take the existing wall cord
from the phone and rip and shred it about 12" from
the phone itself. It makes it all a bit more mysterious.
And I am all into mystery.
4. Create a scene.
Finally, since I’m into creating mysterious environments and making art projects far more interactive,
I try to create scenes for the phones: a specific table
that the phone rests on, appropriate props around
it. Things that enhance and deepen the story of the
ghost talking to you on the phone.
It’s more than just a phone with a dinky MP3
player inside. It’s a strange dream, shared. And it’s
wonderful that I can share this one with you!
Greg MacLaurin (
gregagogo.com) is an artist and concept
designer in Los Angeles, whose work for Walt Disney
Imagineering, Universal Creative, and other theme park
design companies is challenging and fun, but is usually
so secret he can never talk about it.