Story of the first phone phreak

 Images Joybubbles

Joe Engressia Jr. was the father of phone phreaking. In the 1950s, the blind 7-year-old realized that his high-pitched whistle could control the phone system. Over the years, he learned the electronic language of clicks and tones and tapped into a network of phone freaks around the country, most of whom had previously phreaked in solitude. Radiolab just aired a fantastic profile of Engressia, who died in 2007. The radio documentary starts with his abusive childhood, moves through the birth of the phreaking underground, and ends with Engressia's reinvention of himself as perpetual child named Joybubbles, host of a telephone story line for kids. A compelling, moving, and inspirational story. "Long Distance" (Radiolab)

Image from a forthcoming documentary film, "Joybubbles."