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Debunking the mystery of Siri and the Gates of Hell

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A creepy yet hilarious glitch-of-sorts has been discovered when you ask Apple’s Siri application “What is July 27?”

In Greek mythology, Hades is the god of the underworld and the brother of Zeus and Poseidon. Guarding the gates to hell is Cerberus, the multi-headed dog. All of this has nothing to do with Siri’s ominous warning.

According to a writeup by Cult of Mac’s John Brownlee, there are three probable explanations: This is just an error with  Wolfram Alpha, one of the knowledge engines that powers Siri’s artificial brain; the closing date of a New York City bar or church named Hades; or, most convincingly, it is the date of the Chinese Ghost Festival.

“Many Chinese people make efforts to appease these transient ghosts, while ‘feeding’ their own ancestors–particularly on the 15th day,” Discover Hong Kong states. “While the festival’s origins are not unlike those of Halloween in Europe, it is also intrinsically linked to the Chinese practice of ancestor worship.”

Another Reddit user MasterMedia believes the reference is to Rick Riordan's book series Heroes of Olympus.

“In his latest book The House of Hades the protagonists open the ‘doors of death’ around July 20-25 (the books are set in modern times but no determined year)” MasterMedia adds.

This is what you get if you ask Siri “What is September 3?”

“What is July 27?” joins a laundry list of funny and interesting phrases that Siri takes some amusing liberties with. Others include “Can you make me a sandwich?,” “What’s the answer to the Universe?,” and, my personal favorite, “Open the pod bay doors.”

H/T Cult of Mac | Photo by  Fredrik Thommesen/Flickr