I actually planned this entry back when I first introduced the Halloween Bestiary feature, but I guess I just sort of forgot about it...or maybe some other "monsters" took higher priority. Regardless, this one's been a popular trend for a very long time, not only as a Halloween decoration and prop but as a background presence in countless spooky-themed cartoons.

Obviously some telephones with bony motifs are nothing but, well, telephones with bony motifs, but many of them seem to have personalities and voices of their very own. They almost universally have only threatening things to say, but they may say them with the relish of a hammy Hollywood star's first role as a cartoon villain.

I like the idea that a Skelephone is a magical construct, a functional telephone fashioned with the bones of the dead. It obviously doesn't need to be plugged in to a phone line to work, or even have access to wi-fi if you've built a cellular-style version or smartbone, but it can probably do everything a regular phone of its model is capable of. The problem is, it will only work "correctly" for its creator or someone it otherwise likes and trusts; for everybody else, it will distort the conversation as it sees fit. You never know what the person on the other end might really be saying, you never know what they might really be hearing from you, and for that matter, you never even know who they actually are. You might think you just called your best friend for help, only to have actually just given your location (or theirs!) away to a killer, or maybe told your closest loved one that you've always hated them, or maybe just gotten them to offer their credit card number and the Skelephone wants a pizza.

It doesn't eat pizza, it just wants one. More than anything, it wants to be an asshole.

Perhaps it should be obvious that you don't want to use a phone made out of dead people in a strange, haunted house, but it's likely that a Skelephone can make itself appear as a perfectly normal phone, or simply connect to any phone in the world so long as it knows the target's name and face. This means that the Skelephone can function as an insidious booby trap in its own haunt and as a means for that haunt to sucker in more victims or keep tabs on escapees, a pretty versatile appliance for any Mad Laboratory, Monster Mansion or Demonic Dungeon.

But what does the Skelephone itself get out of all of this? Is it really just a necrotechnological slave to its creator? Does it really un-live for nothing other than to screw around with people? Maybe. At least, maybe at first, under normal circumstances, but if there's one thing we've established in the Halloween Bestiary, it's that even artificially created monsters have their own desires and can go rogue. A Skelephone, like many undead, probably feeds on some kind of soul energy, which it probably has to share with the other spirits of its home, but it probably ends up feeling like it had one of the most important jobs in the process and might deserve a little more appreciation for it.

Stuck in one place most of the time, itching for fresh victims and any kind of excitement, a Skelephone is not a minion you want to risk neglecting. Even the most powerful master might not know if their phone has decided to start messing with them a little, and once it learns what it can get away with, a Skelephone will probably keep pushing the boundary further and further. If it doesn't think you respect and care about it, you're going to go straight onto the shitlist and probably end up just another of its victims, especially if there's any other unhappy ghouls or goblins in your employ that it might want to collaborate with.

Oftentimes, a Skelephone becomes the center of a haunt's entire rebellion against some cocky Faust or Frankenstein wannabe, and that can pretty easily go to its head. Yes, sometimes the real villain Was Phone all along, and the fact that you've been running around this cursed manor all under the puppet strings of one childish, cackling bone pun is the most horrifible final twist of them all.