Real Name: Hal Terrence

Identity/Class: Human (1950s era)

Occupation: Advertising executive

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Vivian

Enemies: Lydia Terrence, unidentified police detective

Known Relatives: Lydia Terrence (wife, deceased)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unidentified American city

First Appearance: Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3 (June, 1957)

Powers/Abilities: Hal Terrence was a wealthy and self-assured businessman with no paranormal abilities.

Six months after murdering his wife, Terrence was continuously tormented by telephone calls from his deceased spouse; the haunting calls apparently ceased after he confessed to his crime.

Height: 6' (by approximation)
Weight: 180 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

(Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Hal Terrence is largely unrevealed, but he eventually established a successful advertising agency. At some point, he married Lydia, but they apparently had an unhappy marriage--on the night of May 14th, under unspecified circumstances, Terrence killed Lydia and buried her body in a shallow grave in Clauson Woods.

   In the six months that followed, Terrence's crime remained undiscovered (see comments), and he went about his life normally--he also maintained an active social-life, and enjoyed the company of several beautiful women.

(Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3) - One day, in the early morning hours before dawn, Terrence was awakened by the shrill ring of the telephone; he sleepily picked up the handset and was shocked when he heard the familiar voice of a woman (Lydia)--his nervous fingers dropped the phone. A quick drink steadied his nerves enough for him to replace the phone's handset back in its cradle, and Terrence resolved that his mind must have just played a trick on him--that voice could have belonged to any one of a dozen women he knew.

   The next morning, Terrence was at his office, in a business conference with some of his clients (including Mr. Winston), when he received a phone call--the familiar woman's voice began taunting him. Greatly upset, Terrence curtly ended the meeting and rudely ordered the clients to leave his office.

   Trying to forget the troubling phone call, Terrence later went on a dinner-date with Vivian, and the two were having a wonderful time together; but that all changed when the waiter brought a phone over to their table and told Terrence he had a call--Terrence could only wonder who would know he was at the restaurant...then he heard that familiar voice harassing him again. Terrence was so distressed by the call that he walked out on his date.

   As time went on, work became impossible for Terrence, for no day passed without the ringing of the phone echoing in his ears; even in his home, he could get no peace--he had changed his phone number twice, yet still it rang. Finally, the disheveled Terrence answered the ringing phone and begged Lydia to leave him alone; he asked her to have pity on him, for she was driving him out of his mind--in response, Lydia only questioned him: "Did you have pity on me, Hal?"

   In desperation, Terrence fled his home and business; several days later, he rented a hotel room in a distant city, where he wouldn't be disturbed--the hotel manager assured him he'd have perfect quiet, for his suite had no phone, nor were there any phones on the entire floor. But an hour later, just as Terrence had started to relax, he heard a ringing coming from somewhere, and he sadly figured Lydia knew he was there. Realizing he'd never get any peace otherwise, Terrence remorsefully walked to the nearest police station and confessed his crime to a police detective.

   As Terrence's tortured confession neared its end, the phone on the detective's desk rang; the detective answered it, and the caller (apparently Lydia) asked for Terrence. The detective informed the mysterious caller that Terrence was being arrested for murder by his own confession; the caller responded, "In that case, no further calls will be necessary..." and abruptly hung up.

   The detective ordered for the call to be traced, because he wanted to know who made it...but Terrence told him he was wasting his time. Shortly afterward, when the detective learned that the call couldn't be traced on any phone line, he was incredulous, for he had heard the voice, and knew that it couldn't have come just out of nowhere!

   The despondent Hal Terrence resolved that he would now finally have peace, for Lydia would no longer be calling.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Gray Morrow (artist)

This 4-page story--Don't Answer the Phone!--would be reprinted in Uncanny Tales II#9 (April, 1975).

It wasn't explained how Hal Terrence accounted for Lydia's disappearance during the six-month interim--maybe he told everyone that she left him and ran off with another man.

Hmm....so you can communicate with the dead with just a regular telephone; too bad Victor von Doom didn't know about that before he built his invention--he could have saved himself a lot of trouble...

Telephone calls from beyond the grave?! This sounds like a job for... the Phone Ranger!

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Hal Terrence has no known connections to:

Lydia Terrence

Lydia had been the wife of Hal Terrence--her presence was only "seen" as a disembodied voice over various telephones.

On the night of May 14th, Lydia was murdered by Terrence, and he deposited her body in a shallow grave in Clauson Woods.

But six months after her death, Lydia began to torment Terrence from beyond the grave--she continuously called him on various telephones.

Lydia's final phone call was to a police detective, who informed her that Terrence was being arrested for murder by his own confession--Lydia told the detective in that case, no further calls would be necessary, then she hung up.

--Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3


Vivian (last name unrevealed) was one of a dozen women that Hal Terrence knew; she was enjoying a dinner-date with him at a restaurant

But when the waiter brought a telephone to their table, Terrence took the call, and his jovial mood suddenly changed. As the troubled Terrence walked out on her, the angry Vivian warned him that their relationship was over.

(Vivian was unaware that Terrence had just received a phone call from his wife, whom he had murdered six months prior.)

--Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3

Unidentified police detective

A plain-clothes detective, he worked at the 71st Precinct of an unidentified city.

One night, Hal Terrence came in and confessed to the murder of his wife Lydia to the detective.

As Terrence's confession was nearing its end, the detective's phone rang--the voice of the caller asked for Terrence, but the detective let the caller know that Terrence was being arrested for murder by his own confession. The mysterious caller then told the detective that no further calls would be necessary, and hung up.

When the detective ordered for the call to be traced, he learned that it didn't come in on any phone line--the detective was unaware that he had apparently been speaking to the murdered Lydia Terrence.

--Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3

images: (without ads)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Hal Terrence)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p2, pan2 (Headshot - Hal Terrence)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p3, pan3 (Hal Terrence, speaking to Lydia on telephone)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p4, pan2 (Hal Terrence realizes he has to confess his crime to police)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p2, pan1 (Lydia's voice on dropped telephone handset)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p3, pan6 (disheveled Hal Terrence begs Lydia to leave him alone)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p3, pan1 (Vivian, with Hal Terrence in restaurant)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p3, pan4 (angry Vivian yells at Hal Terrence)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p4, pan4 (unidentified police detective listens as Hal Terrence (left) confesses to murdering Lydia)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3, p4, pan5 (unidentified police detective speaks to Lydia on telephone; Hal Terrence (background))

Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/3 (April, 1957) - unidentified writer, Gray Morrow (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 08/04/2019
Last updated: 08/04/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Special Thanks to http://www.g-mart.com/ for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters