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Author Topic: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai  (Read 890 times)

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Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« on: October 01, 2011, 06:14:16 AM »
Hands vermillion,
Start of five,
Bright cotillion,
Ravens dive,
Nightshade promise,
Spirits thrive,
To the living,
Let now the dead
Come alive!

The days are waning, the nights growing; leaves are fluttering from the trees; a chill wind blows.  Yes: The season of the witch has once more returned.  I'd like to suggest to all that in celebration we resume our round of hyakumonogatari kaidankai.  To remind the elders and introduce the initiates, hyakumonogatari kaidankai is a Japanese tradition where people tell spooky stories amid one hundred candles.  When someone finishes a story he or she snuffs out a candle; and when the final candle is snuffed out, a spirit or spirits will visit the storytellers in the darkness.  So they say, anyhow.  I'm starting this new thread instead of invoking last year's or the even older one; in that way, the thread will be easier to manage.  Please don't hesitate to check out those older threads, though -- there's some eerie stuff in there.

If you have a spooky story to offer, excellent: Our ears are waiting.  Once more, the story can be true or perhaps a little less than true; it can have happened to you or to someone else; it can be long or short.  I encourage you to tell multiple stories, though I do suggest including only one story per post.  Finally, if you tell someone else's story, please give credit where credit is due.

So, are you ready to spend some time with the living and the dead?  Good.  We'd just snuffed out the fifty-ninth candle when the dawn of November 1 arrived; fifty-eight candles remain.  As we concluded last year with a story about an intriguing little fellow in a mirror, what say you to our starting this year with something similar?  I retell a story that I heard here entitled "Bedroom Mirror."  I hope that it thrills you, I hope that it chills you, and, if you happen to have a mirror in your bedroom, I hope that it compels you to get that freakin' thing out of there.


Bedroom Mirror

A man was awakened by a clap of thunder.  He lay in bed, looking at the shadows cast in his darkened bedroom.  He was looking at the mirror on his bedroom wall, when suddenly a flash of lightning illuminated the room.

The man was terrified.  For a split second, he had seen faces staring at him from inside the mirror, their eyes blackened, their mouths hanging open.

Unsettled by the weird apparition, he was unable to sleep for the rest of the night.  His mind kept replaying the memory of those disturbing faces staring at him intently.

The next morning, he removed the mirror from his bedroom wall and locked it in a storage room.  The next night, he slept like a baby.  Days passed and the memory of those horrible faces began to fade.

One morning, he woke up and went into the bathroom to take a shower.  He got out of the shower and was drying himself with a towel when he happened to look up at the bathroom mirror.  The steam from the shower had fogged up the mirror and revealed a message written in the moisture.

It read: "Please return the mirror.  We miss watching you sleep at night."


So they say.

I'm snuffing out a candle.  Fifty-seven candles remain.  Who's next?

Spel


Will you recount a spooky story?

Edit: Defunking formatting.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 06:16:17 AM by Ziggy Speldust »

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Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2011, 04:28:40 PM »
I can't resist posting this one. It's one of my favorites.



The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe (1842)

Impia tortorum longas hic turba furores
Sanguinis innocui, non satiata, aluit.
Sospite nunc patria, fracto nunc funeris antro,
Mors ubi dira fuit, vita salusque patent.
[Here the wicked mob, unappeased,
long cherished a hatred of innocent blood.
Now that the fatherland is saved, and the cave of death demolished;
where grim death has been, life and health appear.]


I was sick -- sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence -- the dread sentence of death -- was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution -- perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill-wheel. This only for a brief period; for presently I heard no more. Yet, for a while, I saw; but with how terrible an exaggeration! I saw the lips of the black-robed judges. They appeared to me white -- whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words -- and thin even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness -- of immoveable resolution -- of stern contempt of human torture. I saw that the decrees of what to me was Fate, were still issuing from those lips. I saw them writhe with a deadly locution. I saw them fashion the syllables of my name; and I shuddered because no sound succeeded. I saw, too, for a few moments of delirious horror, the soft and nearly imperceptible waving of the sable draperies which enwrapped the walls of the apartment. And then my vision fell upon the seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white slender angels who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help. And there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave. The thought came gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full appreciation; but just as my spirit came at length properly to feel and entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if magically, from before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out utterly; the blackness of darkness supervened; all sensation appeared swallowed up in that mad rushing descent as of the soul into Hades. Then silence, and stillness, and night were the universe.

I had swooned; but will not say that all of consciousness was lost. What of it there remained I will not attempt to define, or even to describe; yet all was not lost. In the deepest slumber -- no! In delirium -- no! In a swoon -- no! In death -- no! even in the grave all is not lost. Else there is no immortality for man. Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterwards, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed. In the return to life from the swoon there are two stages; first, that of the sense of mental or spiritual; secondly, that of the sense of physical, existence. It seems probable that if, upon reaching the second stage, we could recall the impressions of the first, we should find these impressions eloquent in memories of the gulf beyond. And that gulf is -- what? How at least shall we distinguish its shadows from those of the tomb? But if the impressions of what I have termed the first stage, are not, at will, recalled, yet, after long interval, do they not come unbidden, while we marvel whence they come? He who has never swooned is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower -- is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the intense meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention.

Amid frequent and thoughtful endeavors to remember; amid earnest struggles to regather some token of the state of seeming nothingness into which my soul had lapsed, there have been moments when I have dreamed of success; there have been brief, very brief periods when I have conjured up remembrances which the lucid reason of a later epoch assures me could have had reference only to that condition of what men term unconsciousness. These shadows of memory tell, indistinctly, of tall figures that lifted and bore me in silence down -- down -- still down -- till a hideous dizziness oppressed me at the mere idea of the interminableness of the descent. They tell also of a vague horror at my heart on account of that heart's unnatural stillness. Then comes a sense of sudden motionlessness throughout all things; as if those who bore me (a ghastly train!) had outrun, in their descent, the limits of the limitless, and paused from the wearisomeness of their toil. After this I call to mind flatness and dampness; and then all is madness -- the madness of a memory which busies itself among forbidden things.

Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound -- the tumultuous motion of the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its beating. Then a pause in which all is blank. Then again sound, and motion, and touch -- a tingling sensation pervading my frame. Then the mere consciousness of existence, without thought -- a condition which lasted long. Then, very suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror, and earnest endeavor to realize my true state. Then a strong desire to lapse into insensibility. Then a rushing revival of soul and a successful effort to move. And now a full memory of the trial, of the judges, of the tall candles, of the sable draperies, of the sentence, of the sickness, of the swoon. Then entire forgetfulness of all that followed; of all that a later day and much earnestness of endeavor have enabled me vaguely to recall.

So far, I had not opened my eyes. I felt that I lay upon my back, unbound. I reached out my hand, and it fell heavily upon something damp and hard. There I suffered it to remain for many minutes, while I strove to imagine where and what I could be. I longed, yet dared not to employ my vision. I dreaded the first glance at objects around. It was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be nothing to see. At length, with a wild desperation at heart, I quickly unclosed my eyes. My worst thoughts, then, were confirmed. The blackness of the eternal night encompassed me. I gasped for breath. The intensity of the darkness seemed to oppress and stifle me. The atmosphere was intolerably close. I still lay quietly, and made effort to exercise my reason. I brought to mind the inquisitorial proceedings, and attempted from that point to deduce my real condition. The sentence had passed; and it appeared to me that a very long interval of time had since elapsed. Yet not for a moment did I suppose myself actually dead. Such a supposition, notwithstanding what we read in fiction, is altogether inconsistent with real existence; -- but where and in what state was I? The condemned to death, I knew perished usually at the autos-da-fe, and one of these had been held on the very night of the day of my trial. Had I been remanded to my dungeon, to await the next sacrifice, which would not take place for many months? This I at once saw could not be. Victims had been in immediate demand. Moreover, my dungeon, as well as all the condemned cells at Toledo, had stone floors, and light was not altogether excluded.

A fearful idea now suddenly drove the blood in torrents upon my heart, and for a brief period, I once more relapsed into insensibility. Upon recovering, I at once started to my feet, trembling convulsively in every fibre. I thrust my arms wildly above and around me in all directions. I felt nothing; yet dreaded to move a step, lest I should be impeded by the walls of a tomb. Perspiration burst from every pore, and stood in cold big beads upon my forehead. The agony of suspense grew, at length, intolerable, and I cautiously moved forward, with my arms extended, and my eyes straining from their sockets, in the hope of catching some faint ray of light. I proceeded for many paces; but still all was blackness and vacancy. I breathed more freely. It seemed evident that mine was not, at least, the most hideous of fates.

And now, as I still continued to step cautiously onward, there came thronging upon my recollection a thousand vague rumors of the horrors at Toledo. Of the dungeons there had been strange things narrated -- fables I had always deemed them -- but yet strange, and too ghastly to repeat, save in a whisper. Was I left to perish of starvation in this subterrene world of darkness; or what fate, perhaps even more fearful, awaited me? That the result would be death, and a death of more than customary bitterness, I knew too well the character of my judges to doubt. The mode and the hour were all that occupied or distracted me.

My outstretched hands at length encountered some solid obstruction. It was a wall, seemingly of stone masonry -- very smooth, slimy, and cold. I followed it up; stepping with all the careful distrust with which certain antique narratives had inspired me. This process, however, afforded me no means of ascertaining the dimensions of my dungeon; as I might make its circuit, and return to the point whence I set out, without being aware of the fact; so perfectly uniform seemed the wall. I therefore sought the knife which had been in my pocket, when led into the inquisitorial chamber; but it was gone; my clothes had been exchanged for a wrapper of coarse serge. I had thought of forcing the blade in some minute crevice of the masonry, so as to identify my point of departure. The difficulty, nevertheless, was but trivial; although, in the disorder of my fancy, it seemed at first insuperable. I tore a part of the hem from the robe and placed the fragment at full length, and at right angles to the wall. In groping my way around the prison, I could not fail to encounter this rag upon completing the circuit. So, at least, I thought: but I had not counted upon the extent of the dungeon, or upon my own weakness. The ground was moist and slippery. I staggered onwards for perhaps a half hour, when I stumbled and fell. My excessive fatigue induced me to remain prostrate; and sleep soon overtook me as I lay.

Upon awaking, and stretching forth an arm, I found beside me a loaf and a pitcher with water. I was too much exhausted to reflect upon this circumstance, but ate and drank with avidity. Shortly afterwards, I resumed my tour around the prison, and with much toil, came at last upon the fragment of serge. Up to the period when I fell, I had counted fifty-two paces, and, upon resuming my walk, I had counted forty-eight paces -- when I arrived at the rag. There were in all, then, a hundred paces; and, admitting two paces to the yard, I presumed the dungeon to be fifty yards in circuit. I had met, however, with many angles in the wall, and thus I could form no guess at the shape of the vault; for vault I could not help supposing it to be.

I had little object -- certainly no hope -- in these researches; but a vague curiosity prompted me to continue them. Quitting the wall, I resolved to cross the area of the enclosure. At first, I proceeded with extreme caution, for the floor, although seemingly of solid material, was treacherous with slime. At length, however, I took courage, and did not hesitate to step firmly -- endeavoring to cross in as direct a line as possible. I had advanced some ten or twelve paces in this manner, when the remnant of the torn hem of my robe became entangled between my legs. I stepped on it, and fell violently on my face.

In the confusion attending my fall, I did not immediately apprehend a somewhat startling circumstance, which yet, in a few seconds afterwards, and while I still lay prostrate, arrested my attention. It was this: my chin rested upon the floor of the prison, but my lips, and the upper portion of my head, although seemingly at a less elevation than the chin, touched nothing. At the same time, my forehead seemed bathed in a clammy vapor, and the peculiar smell of decayed fungus arose to my nostrils. I put forward my arm and shuddered to find that I had fallen at the very brink of a circular pit, whose extent, of course, I had no means of ascertaining at the moment. Groping about the masonry just below the margin, I succeeded in dislodging a small fragment, and let it fall into the abyss. For nearly a minute I hearkened to its reverberations as it dashed against the sides of the chasm in its descent: at length, there was a sullen plunge into water, succeeded by loud echoes. At the same moment, there came a sound resembling the quick opening, and as rapid closing of a door overhead, while a faint gleam of light flashed suddenly through the gloom, and as suddenly faded away.

I now saw clearly the doom which had been prepared for me, and congratulated myself upon the timely accident by which I had escaped. A step farther before my fall, and the world had seen me no more. And the death just avoided was of that very character which I had regarded as fabulous and frivolous in the tales respecting the Inquisition. To the victims of tyranny, there was the choice of death with its direst physical agonies, or death with its most hideous moral horrors. I had been reserved for the latter. By long suffering my nerves had been unstrung, until I trembled at the sound of my own voice, and had become in every respect a fitting subject for the species of torture which awaited me.

Shaking in every limb, I groped my way back to the wall -- resolving there to perish rather than risk the terrors of the wells, of which my imagination now pictured many in various positions about the dungeon. In other conditions of mind, I might have had courage to end my misery at once, by a plunge into one of these abysses; but now I was the veriest of cowards. Neither could I forget what I had read of these pits -- that the sudden extinction of life formed no part of their most horrible plan.

Agitation of spirit kept me awake for many long hours; but at length I again slumbered. Upon arousing, I found by my side, as before, a loaf and a pitcher of water. A burning thirst consumed me, and I emptied the vessel at a draught. It must have been drugged -- for scarcely had I drunk, before I became irresistibly drowsy. A deep sleep fell upon me -- a sleep like that of death. How long it lasted I, of course, know not; but when, once again, I unclosed my eyes, the objects around me were visible. By a wild, sulphurous lustre, the origin of which I could not at first determine, I was enabled to see the extent and aspect of the prison.

In its size I had been greatly mistaken. The whole circuit of its walls did not exceed twenty-five yards. For some minutes this fact occasioned me a world of vain trouble; vain indeed -- for what could be of less importance, under the terrible circumstances which environed me, than the mere dimension of my dungeon? But my soul took a wild interest in trifles, and I busied myself in endeavors to account for the error I had committed in my measurement. The truth at length flashed upon me. In my first attempt at exploration, I had counted fifty-two paces, up to the period when I fell: I must then have been within a pace or two of the fragment of serge; in fact, I had nearly performed the circuit of the vault. I then slept -- and, upon awaking, I must have returned upon my steps -- thus supposing the circuit nearly double what it actually was. My confusion of mind prevented me from observing that I began my tour with the wall to the left, and ended it with the wall to the right.

I had been deceived, too, in respect to the shape of the enclosure. In feeling my way, I had found many angles, and thus deduced an idea of great irregularity; so potent is the effect of total darkness upon our arousing from lethargy or sleep! The angles were simply those of a few slight depressions, or niches, at odd intervals. The general shape of the prison was square. What I had taken for masonry seemed now to be iron, or some other metal, in huge plates, whose sutures or joints occasioned the depressions. The entire surface of this metallic enclosure was rudely daubed in all the hideous and repulsive devices to which the charnel superstition of the monks has given rise. The figures of fiends in aspects of menace, with skeleton forms, and other more really fearful images, overspread and disfigured the walls. I observed that the outlines of these monstrosities were sufficiently distinct, but that the colors seemed faded and blurred, as if from the effects of a damp atmosphere. I now noticed the floor, too, which was of stone. In the centre yawned the circular pit from whose jaws I had escaped; but it was the only one in the dungeon.

All this I saw indistinctly and by much effort -- for my personal condition had been greatly changed during slumber. I now lay upon my back, and at full length, on a species of low framework of wood. To this I was securely bound by a long strap resembling a surcingle. It passed in many convolutions about my limbs and body, leaving at liberty only my head, and my left arm to such extent, that I could, by dint of much exertion, supply myself with food from an earthen dish which lay by my side on the floor. I saw, to my horror, that the pitcher was absent: to my horror -- for I was consumed with intolerable thirst. This thirst it appeared to be the design of my persecutors to stimulate -- for the food in the dish was meat pungently seasoned.

Looking upwards I surveyed the ceiling of my prison. It was some thirty or forty feet overhead, and constructed much as the side walls. In one of its panels a very singular figure riveted my whole attention. It was the painted figure of Time as he is commonly represented, save that, in lieu of a scythe, he held what, at a casual glance, I supposed to be the pictured image of a huge pendulum, such as we see on antique clocks. There was something, however, in the appearance of this machine which caused me to regard it more attentively. While I gazed directly upward at it, (for its position was immediately over my own,) I fancied that I saw it in motion. In an instant afterwards the fancy was confirmed. Its sweep was brief, and of course slow. I watched it for some minutes, somewhat in fear, but more in wonder. Wearied at length with observing its dull movement, I turned my eyes upon the other objects in the cell.

A slight noise attracted my notice, and, looking to the floor, I saw several enormous rats traversing it. They had issued from the well, which lay just within view to my right. Even then, while I gazed, they came up in troops, hurriedly, with ravenous eyes, allured by the scent of the meat. From this it required much effort and attention to scare them away.

It might have been half an hour, perhaps even an hour, (for I could take but imperfect note of time,) before I again cast my eyes upward. What I then saw confounded and amazed me. The sweep of the pendulum had increased in extent by nearly a yard. As a natural consequence, its velocity was also much greater. But what mainly disturbed me was the idea that it had perceptibly descended. I now observed -- with what horror it is needless to say -- that its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor. Like a razor also, it seemed massy and heavy, tapering from the edge into a solid and broad structure above. It was appended to a weighty rod of brass, and the whole hissed as it swung through the air.

I could no longer doubt the doom prepared for me by monkish ingenuity in torture. My cognizance of the pit had become known to the inquisitorial agents -- the pit, whose horrors had been destined for so bold a recusant as myself -- the pit, typical of hell, and regarded by rumor as the Ultima Thule of all their punishments. The plunge into this pit I had avoided by the merest of accidents. I knew that surprise, or entrapment into torment, formed an important portion of all the grotesquerie of these dungeon deaths. Having failed to fall, it was no part of the demon plan to hurl me into the abyss; and thus (there being no alternative) a different and a milder destruction awaited me. Milder! I half smiled in my agony as I thought of such application of such a term.

What boots it to tell of the long, long hours of horror more than mortal, during which I counted the rushing vibrations of the steel! Inch by inch -- line by line -- with a descent only appreciable at intervals that seemed ages -- down and still down it came! Days passed--it might have been that many days passed -- ere it swept so closely over me as to fan me with its acrid breath. The odor of the sharp steel forced itself into my nostrils. I prayed -- I wearied heaven with prayer for its more speedy descent. I grew frantically mad, and struggled to force myself upwards against the sweep of the fearful scimitar. And then I fell suddenly calm, and lay smiling at the glittering death, as a child at some rare bauble.

There was an interval of utter insensibility; it was brief; for, upon again lapsing into life, there had been no perceptible descent in the pendulum. But it might have been long -- for I knew there were demons who took note of my swoon, and who could have arrested the vibration at pleasure. Upon my recovery, too, I felt very -- oh, inexpressibly -- sick and weak, as if through long inanition. Even amid all the agonies of that period, the human nature craved food. With painful effort I outstretched my left arm as far as my bonds permitted, and took possession of the small remnant which had been spared me by the rats. As I put a portion of it within my lips, there rushed to my mind a half-formed thought of joy -- of hope. Yet what business had I with hope? It was, as I say, a half-formed thought -- man has many such, which are never completed. I felt that it was of joy -- of hope; but I felt also that it had perished in its formation. In vain I struggled to realize -- to regain it. Long suffering had nearly annihilated all my ordinary powers of mind. I was an imbecile -- an idiot.

The vibration of the pendulum was at right angles to my length. I saw that the crescent was designed to cross the region of the heart. It would fray the serge of my robe -- it would return and repeat its operation -- again -- and again. Notwithstanding its terrifically wide sweep, (some thirty feet or more,) and the hissing vigor of its descent, sufficient to sunder these very walls of iron, still the fraying of the serge of my robe would be all that, for several minutes, it would accomplish. And at this thought I paused. I dared not go farther than this reflection. I dwelt upon it with a pertinacity of attention -- as if, in so dwelling, I could arrest here the descent of the steel. I forced myself to ponder upon the sound of the crescent as it should pass across the garment -- upon the peculiar thrilling sensation which the friction of cloth produces in the nerves. I pondered upon all this frivolity until my teeth were on edge.

Down -- steadily down it crept. I took a frenzied pleasure in contrasting its downward with its lateral velocity. To the right -- to the left -- far and wide -- with the shriek and the plunge of a damned spirit! to my heart, with the stealthy pace of the tiger. I alternately laughed and howled, as the one or the other idea grew predominant.

--certainly, relentlessly down! It vibrated within three inches of my bosom! I struggled violently -- furiously -- to free my left arm. This was free only from the elbow to the hand. I could reach the latter, from the platter beside me, to my mouth, with great effort, but no farther. Could I have broken the fastenings above the elbow, I would have seized and attempted to arrest the pendulum. I might as well have attempted to arrest an avalanche!

Down -- still unceasingly -- still inevitably down! I gasped and struggled at each vibration. I shrunk convulsively at its every sweep. My eyes followed its outward or upward whirls with the eagerness of the most unmeaning despair; they closed themselves spasmodically at the descent, although death would have been a relief, oh, how unspeakable! I still quivered in every nerve to think how slight a sinking or slipping of the machinery would precipitate that keen, glistening axe upon my bosom. It was hope that prompted the nerve to quiver -- the frame to shrink. It was hope -- the hope that triumphs on the rack -- that whispers to the death-condemned even in the dungeons of the Inquisition.

I saw that some ten or twelve vibrations would bring the steel in actual contact with my robe -- and with this observation there suddenly came over my spirit all the keen, collected calmness of despair. For the first time during many hours -- or perhaps days -- I thought. It now at once occurred to me, that the bandage, or surcingle, which enveloped me, was unique. I was tied by no separate cords. The first stroke of the razor-like crescent athwart any portion of the band, would so detach it that it might be unwound from my person by means of my left hand. But how fearful, in that case, the proximity of the steel! The result of the slightest struggle, how deadly! Was it likely, moreover, that the minions of the torturer had not foreseen and provided for this possibility? Was it probable that the bandage crossed my bosom in the track of the pendulum? Dreading to find my faint, and, as it seemed, my last hope frustrated, I so far elevated my head as to obtain a distinct view of my breast. The surcingle enveloped my limbs and body close in all directions -- save in the path of the destroying crescent.

Scarcely had I dropped my head back in its original position, when there flashed upon my mind what I cannot better describe than as the unformed half of that idea of deliverance to which I have previously alluded, and of which a moiety only floated indeterminately through my brain when I raised food to my burning lips. The whole thought was now present -- feeble, scarcely sane, scarcely definite -- but still entire. I proceeded at once, with the nervous energy of despair, to attempt its execution.

For many hours the immediate vicinity of the low framework upon which I lay, had been literally swarming with rats. They were wild, bold, ravenous -- their red eyes glaring upon me as if they waited but for motionless on my part to make me their prey. "To what food," I thought, "have they been accustomed in the well?"

They had devoured, in spite of all my efforts to prevent them, all but a small remnant of the contents of the dish. I had fallen into an habitual see-saw, or wave of the hand about the platter; and, at length, the unconscious uniformity of the movement deprived it of effect. In their voracity, the vermin frequently fastened their sharp fangs in my fingers. With the particles of the oily and spicy viand which now remained, I thoroughly rubbed the bandage wherever I could reach it; then, raising my hand from the floor, I lay breathlessly still.

At first, the ravenous animals were startled and terrified at the change -- at the cessation of movement. They shrank alarmedly back; many sought the well. But this was only for a moment. I had not counted in vain upon their voracity. Observing that I remained without motion, one or two of the boldest leaped upon the framework, and smelt at the surcingle. This seemed the signal for a general rush. Forth from the well they hurried in fresh troops. They clung to the wood -- they overran it, and leapt in hundreds upon my person. The measured movement of the pendulum disturbed them not at all. Avoiding its strokes, they busied themselves with the anointed bandage. They pressed -- they swarmed upon me in ever accumulating heaps. They writhed upon my throat; their cold lips sought my own; I was half stifled by their thronging pressure; a disgust, for which the world has no name, swelled my bosom, and chilled, with a deadly clamminess, my heart. Yet one minute, and I felt that the struggle would be over. Plainly I perceived the loosening of the bandage. I knew that in more than one place it must be already severed. With a more than human resolution I lay still.

Nor had I erred in my calculations -- nor had I endured in vain. I at length felt that I was free. The surcingle hung in ribands from my body. But the stroke of the pendulum already pressed upon my bosom. It had divided the serge of the robe. It had cut through the linen beneath. Twice again it swung, and a sharp sense of pain shot through every nerve. But the moment of escape had arrived. At a wave of my hand my deliverers hurried tumultuously away. With a steady movement -- cautious, sidelong, shrinking, and slow -- I slid from the embrace of the bandage and beyond the sweep of the scimitar. For the moment, at least, I was free.

Free! -- and in the grasp of the Inquisition! I had scarcely stepped from my wooden bed of horror upon the stone floor of the prison, when the motion of the hellish machine ceased, and I beheld it drawn up, by some invisible force, through the ceiling. This was a lesson which I took desperately to heart. My every motion was undoubtedly watched. Free! -- I had but escaped death in one form of agony, to be delivered unto worse than death in some other. With that thought I rolled my eyes nervously around on the barriers of iron that hemmed me in. Something unusual -- some change which, at first, I could not appreciate distinctly -- it was obvious, had taken place in the apartment. For many minutes of a dreamy and trembling abstraction, I busied myself in vain, unconnected conjecture. During this period, I became aware, for the first time, of the origin of the sulphureous light which illuminated the cell. It proceeded from a fissure, about half an inch in width, extending entirely around the prison at the base of the walls, which thus appeared, and were completely separated from the floor. I endeavored, but of course in vain, to look through the aperture. As I rose from the attempt, the mystery of the alteration in the chamber broke at once upon my understanding. I have observed that, although the outlines of the figures upon the walls were sufficiently distinct, yet the colors seemed blurred and indefinite. These colors had now assumed, and were momentarily assuming, a startling and most intense brilliancy, that gave to the spectral and fiendish portraitures an aspect that might have thrilled ever firmer nerves than my own. Demon eyes, of a wild and ghastly vivacity, glared upon me in a thousand directions, where none had been visible before, and gleamed with the lurid lustre of a fire that I could not force my diseased imagination to regard as unreal.

Unreal! -- Even while I gazed there came to my nostrils the breath of the vapor of heated iron! A suffocating odor pervaded the prison! A deeper glow settled each moment in the eyes that glared at my agonies! A richer tint of crimson diffused itself over the pictured horrors of blood. I panted! I gasped for breath! There could be no doubt of the design of my tormentors -- oh! most unrelenting! oh! most demoniac of men! I shrank from the glowing metal to the centre of the cell. Amid the thought of the fiery destruction that impended, the idea of the coolness of the well came over my soul like balm. I rushed to its deadly brink. I threw my straining vision below. The glare from the enkindled roof illumined its inmost recesses. Yet, for a wild moment, did my spirit refuse to comprehend the meaning of what I saw. At length it forced -- it wrestled its way into my soul -- it burned itself in upon my shuddering reason. Oh! for a voice to speak -- oh! horror! -- oh! any horror but this! With a shriek, I rushed from the margin, and buried my face in my hands -- weeping bitterly.

The heat rapidly increased, and once again I looked up, shuddering as with a fit of the ague. There had been a second change in the cell -- and now the change was obviously in the form. As before, it was in vain that I at first endeavored to appreciate or understand what was taking place. But not long was I left in doubt. The Inquisitorial vengeance had been hurried by my two-fold escape, and there was to be no more dallying with the King of Terrors. The room had been square. I saw that two of its iron angles were now acute -- two, consequently, obtuse. The fearful difference quickly increased with a low rumbling or moaning sound. In an instant the apartment had shifted its form into that of a lozenge. But the alteration stopped not here -- I neither hoped nor desired it to stop. I could have clasped the red walls to my bosom as a garment of eternal peace. "Death," I said, "any death but that of the pit!" Fool! might I have not known that into the pit it was the object of the burning iron to urge me? Could I resist its glow? or if even that, could I withstand its pressure? And now, flatter and flatter grew the lozenge, with a rapidity that left me no time for contemplation. Its centre, and of course, its greatest width, came just over the yawning gulf. I shrank back -- but the closing walls pressed me resistlessly onwards. At length for my seared and writhing body there was no longer an inch of foothold on the firm floor of the prison. I struggled no more, but the agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair. I felt that I tottered upon the brink -- I averted my eyes --

There was a loud blast as of many trumpets! There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a harsh grating as of a thousand thunders! The fiery walls rushed back! An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle. The Inquisition was in the hands of its enemies. The French army had entered Toledo.



*puts out a candle*

Fifty-Six candles left.

Offline Lilias

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2011, 04:35:59 PM »
The Whistling Room
William Hope Hodgson


Carnacki shook a friendly fist at me, as I entered, late. Then, he opened the door into the dining-room, and ushered the four of us — Jessop, Arkright, Taylor and myself — in to dinner.

  We dined well, as usual, and, equally as usual, Carnacki was pretty silent during the meal. At the end, we took our wine and cigars to our usual positions, and Carnacki — having got himself comfortable in his big chair — began without any preliminary:—

  "I have just got back from Ireland, again," he said. "And I thought you chaps would be interested to hear my news. Besides, I fancy I shall see the thing clearer, after I have told it all out straight. I must tell you this, though, at the beginning — up to the present moment, I have been utterly and completely 'stumped.' I have tumbled upon one of the most peculiar cases of 'haunting' — or devilment of some sort — that I have come against. Now listen.

  "I have been spending the last few weeks at Iastrae Castle, about twenty miles north-east of Galway. I got a letter about a month ago from a Mr. Sid K. Tassoc, who it seemed had bought the place lately, and moved in, only to find that he had bought a very peculiar piece of property.

  "When I got there, he met me at the station, driving a jaunting-car, and drove me up to the castle, which, by the way, he called a 'house-shanty.' I found that he was 'pigging it' there with his boy brother and another American, who seemed to be half-servant and half-companion. It seems that all the servants had left the place, in a body, as you might say; and now they were managing among themselves, assisted by some day-help.

  "The three of them got together a scratch feed, and Tassoc told me all about the trouble, whilst we were at table. It is most extraordinary, and different from anything that I have had to do with; though that Buzzing Case was very queer, too.

  "Tassoc began right in the middle of his story. 'We've got a room in this shanty,' he said, 'which has got a most infernal whistling in it; sort of haunting it. The thing starts any time; you never know when, and it goes on until it frightens you. All the servants have gone, as you know. It's not ordinary whistling, and it isn't the wind. Wait till you hear it.'

  " 'We're all carrying guns,' said the boy; and slapped his coat pocket.

  " 'As bad as that?' I said; and the older boy nodded. 'It may be soft,' he replied; 'but wait till you've heard it. Sometimes I think it's some infernal thing, and the next moment, I'm just as sure that someone's playing a trick on me.'

  " 'Why?' I asked. 'What is to be gained?'

  " 'You mean,' he said, 'that people usually have some good reason for playing tricks as elaborate as this. Well, I'll tell you. There's a lady in this province, by the name of Miss Donnehue, who's going to be my wife, this day two months. She's more beautiful than they make them, and so far as I can see, I've just stuck my head into an Irish hornet's nest. There's about a score of hot young Irishmen been courting her these two years gone, and now that I'm come along and cut them out, they feel raw against me. Do you begin to understand the possibilities?'

  " 'Yes,' I said. 'Perhaps I do in a vague sort of way; but I don't see how all this affects the room?'

  " 'Like this,' he said. 'When I'd fixed it up with Miss Donnehue, I looked out for a place, and bought this little house-shanty. Afterwards, I told her — one evening during dinner, that I'd decided to tie up here. And then she asked me whether I wasn't afraid of the whistling room. I told her it must have been thrown in gratis, as I'd heard nothing about it. There were some of her men friends present, and I saw a smile go round. I found out, after a bit of questioning, that several people have bought this place during the last twenty-odd years. And it was always on the market again, after a trial.

  " 'Well, the chaps started to bait me a bit, and offered to take bets after dinner that I'd not stay six months in the place. I looked once or twice to Miss Donnehue, so as to be sure I was "getting the note" of the talkee-talkee; but I could see that she didn't take it as a joke, at all. Partly, I think, because there was a bit of a sneer in the way the men were tackling me, and partly because she really believes there is something in this yarn of the Whistling Room.

  " 'However, after dinner, I did what I could to even things up with the others. I nailed all their bets, and screwed them down hard and safe. I guess some of them are going to be hard hit, unless I lose; which I don't mean to. Well, there you have practically the whole yarn.'

  " 'Not quite,' I told him. 'All that I know, is that you have bought a castle with a room in it that is in some way "queer," and that you've been doing some betting. Also, I know that your servants have got frightened and run away. Tell me something about the whistling?'

  " 'Oh, that!' said Tassoc; 'that started the second night we were in. I'd had a good look round the room, in the daytime, as you can understand; for the talk up at Arlestrae — Miss Donnehue's place — had made me wonder a bit. But it seems just as usual as some of the other rooms in the old wing, only perhaps a bit more lonesome. But that may be only because of the talk about it, you know.

  " 'The whistling started about ten o'clock, on the second night, as I said. Tom and I were in the library, when we heard an awfully queer whistling, coming along the East Corridor —— The room is in the East Wing, you know.

  " ' "That's that blessed ghost!" I said to Tom, and we collared the lamps off the table, and went up to have a look. I tell you, even as we dug along the corridor, it took me a bit in the throat, it was so beastly queer. It was a sort of tune, in a way; but more as if a devil or some rotten thing were laughing at you, and going to get round at your back. That's how it makes you feel.

  " 'When we got to the door, we didn't wait; but rushed it open; and then I tell you the sound of the thing fairly hit me in the face. Tom said he got it the same way — sort of felt stunned and bewildered. We looked all round, and soon got so nervous, we just cleared out, and I locked the door.

  " 'We came down here, and had a stiff peg each. Then we got fit again, and began to think we'd been nicely had. So we took sticks, and went out into the grounds, thinking after all it must be some of these confounded Irishmen working the ghost-trick on us. But there was not a leg stirring.

  " 'We went back into the house, and walked over it, and then paid another visit to the room. But we simply couldn't stand it. We fairly ran out, and locked the door again. I don't know how to put it into words; but I had a feeling of being up against something that was rottenly dangerous. You know! We've carried our guns ever since.

  " 'Of course, we had a real turn-out of the room next day, and the whole house-place; and we even hunted round the grounds; but there was nothing queer. And now I don't know what to think; except that the sensible part of me tells me that it's some plan of these Wild Irishmen to try to take a rise out of me.'

  " 'Done anything since?' I asked him.

  " 'Yes,' he said — 'watched outside of the door of the room at nights, and chased round the grounds, and sounded the walls and floor of the room. We've done everything we could think of; and it's beginning to get on our nerves; so we sent for you.'

  " By this, we had finished eating. As we rose from the table, Tassoc suddenly called out:— 'Ssh! Hark!'

  "We were instantly silent, listening. Then I heard it, an extraordinary hooning whistle, monstrous and inhuman, coming from far away through corridors to my right.

  " 'By G—d!' said Tassoc; 'and it's scarcely dark yet! Collar those candles, both of you, and come along.'

  "In a few moments, we were all out of the door and racing up the stairs. Tassoc turned into a long corridor, and we followed, shielding our candles as we ran. The sound seemed to fill all the passage as we drew near, until I had the feeling that the whole air throbbed under the power of some wanton Immense Force — a sense of an actual taint, as you might say, of monstrosity all about us.

  "Tassoc unlocked the door; then, giving it a push with his foot, jumped back, and drew his revolver. As the door flew open, the sound beat out at us, with an effect impossible to explain to one who has not heard it — with a certain, horrible personal note in it; as if in there in the darkness you could picture the room rocking and creaking in a mad, vile glee to its own filthy piping and whistling and hooning. To stand there and listen, was to be stunned by Realisation. It was as if someone showed you the mouth of a vast pit suddenly, and said:— That's Hell. And you knew that they had spoken the truth. Do you get it, even a little bit?

  "I stepped back a pace into the room, and held the candle over my head, and looked quickly round. Tassoc and his brother joined me, and the man came up at the back, and we all held our candles high. I was deafened with the shrill, piping hoon of the whistling; and then, clear in my ear, something seemed to be saying to me:— 'Get out of here — quick! Quick! Quick!'

  "As you chaps know, I never neglect that sort of thing. Sometimes it may be nothing but nerves; but as you will remember, it was just such a warning that saved me in the 'Grey Dog' Case, and in the 'Yellow Finger' Experiments; as well as other times. Well, I turned sharp round to the others: 'Out!' I said. 'For God's sake, out quick.' And in an instant I had them into the passage.

  "There came an extraordinary yelling scream into the hideous whistling, and then, like a clap of thunder, an utter silence. I slammed the door, and locked it. Then, taking the key, I looked round at the others. They were pretty white, and I imagine I must have looked that way too. And there we stood a moment, silent.

  " 'Come down out of this, and have some whisky,' said Tassoc, at last, in a voice he tried to make ordinary; and he led the way. I was the back man, and I know we all kept looking over our shoulders. When we got downstairs, Tassoc passed the bottle round. He took a drink, himself, and slapped his glass down on to the table. Then sat down with a thud.

  " 'That's a lovely thing to have in the house with you, isn't it!' he said. And directly afterwards:— 'What on earth made you hustle us all out like that, Carnacki?'

  " 'Something seemed to be telling me to get out, quick,' I said. 'Sounds a bit silly-superstitious, I know; but when you are meddling with this sort of thing, you've got to take notice of queer fancies, and risk being laughed at.'

  "I told him then about the 'Grey Dog' business, and he nodded a lot to that. 'Of course,' I said, 'this may be nothing more than those would-be rivals of yours playing some funny game; but, personally, though I'm going to keep an open mind, I feel that there is something beastly and dangerous about this thing.'

  "We talked for a while longer, and then Tassoc suggested billiards, which we played in a pretty half-hearted fashion, and all the time cocking an ear to the door, as you might say, for sounds; but none came, and later, after coffee, he suggested early bed, and a thorough overhaul of the room on the morrow.

  "My bedroom was in the newer part of the castle, and the door opened into the picture gallery. At the East end of the gallery was the entrance to the corridor of the East Wing; this was shut off from the gallery by two old and heavy oak doors, which looked rather odd and quaint beside the more modern doors of the various rooms.

  "When I reached my room, I did not go to bed; but began to unpack my instrument-trunk, of which I had retained the key. I intended to take one or two preliminary steps at once, in my investigation of the extraordinary whistling.

  "Presently, when the castle had settled into quietness, I slipped out of my room, and across to the entrance of the great corridor. I opened one of the low, squat doors, and threw the beam of my pocket searchlight down the passage. It was empty, and I went through the doorway, and pushed-to the oak behind me. Then along the great passage-way, throwing my light before and behind, and keeping my revolver handy.

  "I had hung a 'protection belt' of garlic round my neck, and the smell of it seemed to fill the corridor and give me assurance; for, as you all know, it is a wonderful 'protection' against the more usual Aeiirii forms of semi-materialisation, by which I supposed the whistling might be produced; though, at that period of my investigation, I was quite prepared to find it due to some perfectly natural cause; for it is astonishing the enormous number of cases that prove to have nothing abnormal in them.

  "In addition to wearing the necklet, I had plugged my ears loosely with garlic, and as I did not intend to stay more than a few minutes in the room, I hoped to be safe.

  "When I reached the door, and put my hand into my pocket for the key, I had a sudden feeling of sickening funk. But I was not going to back out, if I could help it. I unlocked the door and turned the handle. Then I gave the door a sharp push with my foot, as Tassoc had done, and drew my revolver, though I did not expect to have any use for it, really.

  "I shone the searchlight all round the room, and then stepped inside, with a disgustingly horrible feeling of walking slap into a waiting Danger. I stood a few seconds, waiting, and nothing happened, and the empty room showed bare from corner to corner. And then, you know, I realised that the room was full of an abominable silence; can you understand that? A sort of purposeful silence, just as sickening as any of the filthy noises the Things have power to make. Do you remember what I told you about that 'Silent Garden' business? Well, this room had just that same malevolent silence — the beastly quietness of a thing that is looking at you and not seeable itself, and thinks that it has got you. Oh, I recognised it instantly, and I whipped the top off my lantern, so as to have light over the whole room.

  "Then I set-to, working like fury, and keeping my glance all about me. I sealed the two windows with lengths of human hair, right across, and sealed them at every frame. As I worked, a queer, scarcely perceptible tenseness stole into the air of the place, and the silence seemed, if you can understand me, to grow more solid. I knew then that I had no business there without 'full protection'; for I was practically certain that this was no mere Aeiirii development; but one of the worst forms, as the Saiitii; like that 'Grunting Man' case — you know.

  "I finished the window, and hurried over to the great fireplace. This is a huge affair, and has a queer gallows-iron, I think they are called, projecting from the back of the arch. I sealed the opening with seven human hairs — the seventh crossing the six others.

  "Then, just as I was making an end, a low, mocking whistle grew in the room. A cold, nervous pricking went up my spine, and round my forehead from the back. The hideous sound filled all the room with an extraordinary, grotesque parody of human whistling, too gigantic to be human — as if something gargantuan and monstrous made the sounds softly. As I stood there a last moment, pressing down the final seal, I had no doubt but that I had come across one of those rare and horrible cases of the Inanimate reproducing the functions of the Animate. I made a grab for my lamp, and went quickly to the door, looking over my shoulder, and listening for the thing that I expected. It came, just as I got my hand upon the handle — a squeal of incredible, malevolent anger, piercing through the low hooning of the whistling. I dashed out, slamming the door and locking it. I leant a little against the opposite wall of the corridor, feeling rather funny; for it had been a narrow squeak. . . . 'Theyr be noe sayfetie to be gained bye gayrds of holieness when the monyster hath pow'r to speak throe woode and stoene.' So runs the passage in the Sigsand MS., and I proved it in that 'Nodding Door' business. There is no protection against this particular form of monster, except, possibly, for a fractional period of time; for it can reproduce itself in, or take to its purpose, the very protective material which you may use, and has the power to 'forme wythine the pentycle'; though not immediately. There is, of course, the possibility of the Unknown Last Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual being uttered; but it is too uncertain to count upon, and the danger is too hideous; and even then it has no power to protect for more than 'maybee fyve beats of the harte,' as the Sigsand has it.

  "Inside of the room, there was now a constant, meditative, hooning whistling; but presently this ceased, and the silence seemed worse; for there is such a sense of hidden mischief in a silence.

  "After a little, I sealed the door with crossed hairs, and then cleared off down the great passage, and so to bed.

  "For a long time I lay awake; but managed eventually to get some sleep. Yet, about two o'clock I was waked by the hooning whistling of the room coming to me, even through the closed doors. The sound was tremendous, and seemed to beat through the whole house with a presiding sense of terror. As if (I remember thinking) some monstrous giant had been holding mad carnival with itself at the end of that great passage.

  "I got up and sat on the edge of the bed, wondering whether to go along and have a look at the seal; and suddenly there came a thump on my door, and Tassoc walked in, with his dressing-gown over his pyjamas.

  " 'I thought it would have waked you, so I came along to have a talk,' he said. 'I can't sleep. Beautiful! Isn't it!'

  " 'Extraordinary!' I said, and tossed him my case.

  "He lit a cigarette, and we sat and talked for about an hour; and all the time that noise went on, down at the end of the big corridor.

  "Suddenly, Tassoc stood up:—

  " 'Let's take our guns, and go and examine the brute,' he said, and turned towards the door.

  " 'No!' I said. 'By Jove — NO! I can't say anything definite, yet; but I believe that room is about as dangerous as it well can be.'

  " 'Haunted — really haunted?' he asked, keenly and without any of his frequent banter.

  "I told him, of course, that I could not say a definite yes or no to such a question; but that I hoped to be able to make a statement, soon. Then I gave him a little lecture on the False Re-Materialisation of the Animate-Force through the Inanimate-Inert. He began then to see the particular way in the room might be dangerous, if it were really the subject of a manifestation.

  "About an hour later, the whistling ceased quite suddenly, and Tassoc went off again to bed. I went back to mine, also, and eventually got another spell of sleep.

  "In the morning, I went along to the room. I found the seals on the door intact. Then I went in. The window seals and the hair were all right; but the seventh hair across the great fireplace was broken. This set me thinking. I knew that it might, very possibly, have snapped, through my having tensioned it too highly; but then, again, it might have been broken by something else. Yet, it was scarcely possible that a man, for instance, could have passed between the six unbroken hairs; for no one would ever have noticed them, entering the room that way, you see; but just walked through them, ignorant of their very existence.

  "I removed the other hairs, and the seals. Then I looked up the chimney. It went up straight, and I could see blue sky at the top. It was a big, open flue, and free from any suggestion of hiding places, or corners. Yet, of course, I did not trust to any such casual examination, and after breakfast, I put on my overalls, and climbed to the very top, sounding all the way; but I found nothing.

  "Then I came down, and went over the whole of the room — floor, ceiling, and walls, mapping them out in six-inch squares, and sounding with both hammer and probe. But there was nothing abnormal.

  "Afterwards, I made a three-weeks search of the whole castle, in the same thorough way; but found nothing. I went even further, then; for at night, when the whistling commenced, I made a microphone test. You see, if the whistling were mechanically produced, this test would have made evident to me the working of the machinery, if there were any such concealed within the walls. It certainly was an up-to-date method of examination, as you must allow.

  "Of course, I did not think that any of Tassoc's rivals had fixed up any mechanical contrivance; but I thought it just possible that there had been some such thing for producing the whistling, made away back in the years, perhaps with the intention of giving the room a reputation that would ensure its being free of inquisitive folk. You see what I mean? Well, of course, it was just possible, if this were the case, that someone knew the secret of the machinery, and was utilizing the knowledge to play this devil of a prank on Tassoc. The microphone test of the walls would certainly have made this known to me, as I have said; but there was nothing of the sort in the castle; so that I had practically no doubt at all now, but that it was a genuine case of what is popularly termed 'haunting.'

  "All this time, every night, and sometimes most of each night, the hooning whistling of the Room was intolerable. It was as if an intelligence there, knew that steps were being taken against it, and piped and hooned in a sort of mad, mocking contempt. I tell you, it was as extraordinary as it was horrible. Time after time, I went along — tip-toeing noiselessly on stockinged feet — to the sealed door (for I always kept the Room sealed). I went at all hours of the night, and often the whistling, inside, would seem to change to a brutally malignant note, as though the half-animate monster saw me plainly through the shut door. And all the time the shrieking, hooning whistling would fill the whole corridor, so that I used to feel a precious lonely chap, messing about there with one of Hell's mysteries.

  "And every morning, I would enter the room, and examine the different hairs and seals. You see, after the first week, I had stretched parallel hairs all along the walls of the room, and along the ceiling; but over the floor, which was of polished stone, I had set out little, colourless wafers, tacky-side uppermost. Each wafer was numbered, and they were arranged after a definite plan, so that I should be able to trace the exact movements of any living thing that went across the floor.

  "You will see that no material being or creature could possibly have entered that room, without leaving many signs to tell me about it. But nothing was ever disturbed, and I began to think that I should have to risk an attempt to stay the night in the room, in the Electric Pentacle. Yet, mind you, I knew that it would be a crazy thing to do; but I was getting stumped, and ready to do anything.

  "Once, about midnight, I did break the seal on the door, and have a quick look in; but, I tell you, the whole Room gave one mad yell, and seemed to come towards me in a great belly of shadows, as if the walls had bellied in towards me. Of course, that must have been fancy. Anyway, the yell was sufficient, and I slammed the door, and locked it, feeling a bit weak down my spine. You know the feeling.

  "And then, when I had got to that state of readiness for anything, I made something of a discovery. It was about one in the morning, and I was walking slowly round the castle, keeping in the soft grass. I had come under the shadow of the East Front, and far above me, I could hear the vile, hooning whistle of the Room, up in the darkness of the unlit wing. Then, suddenly, a little in front of me, I heard a man's voice, speaking low, but evidently in glee:—

  " 'By George! You Chaps; but I wouldn't care to bring a wife home in that!' it said, in the tone of the cultured Irish.

  "Someone started to reply; but there came a sharp exclamation, and then a rush, and I heard footsteps running in all directions. Evidently, the men had spotted me.

  "For a few seconds, I stood there, feeling an awful ass. After all, they were at the bottom of the haunting! Do you see what a big fool it made me seem? I had no doubt but that they were some of Tassoc's rivals; and here I had been feeling in every bone that I had hit a real, bad, genuine Case! And then, you know, there came the memory of hundreds of details, that made me just as much in doubt again. Anyway, whether it was natural, or ab-natural, there was a great deal yet to be cleared up.

  "I told Tassoc, next morning, what I had discovered, and through the whole of every night, for five nights, we kept a close watch round the East Wing; but there was never a sign of anyone prowling about; and all the time, almost from evening to dawn, that grotesque whistling would hoon incredibly, far above us in the darkness.

  "On the morning after the fifth night, I received a wire from here, which brought me home by the next boat. I explained to Tassoc that I was simply bound to come away for a few days; but told him to keep up the watch round the castle. One thing I was very careful to do, and that was to make him absolutely promise never to go into the Room, between sunset and sunrise. I made it clear to him that we knew nothing definite yet, one way or the other; and if the room were what I had first thought it to be, it might be a lot better for him to die first, than enter it after dark.

  "When I got here, and had finished my business, I thought you chaps would be interested; and also I wanted to get it all spread out clear in my mind; so I rung you up. I am going over again to-morrow, and when I get back, I ought to have something pretty extraordinary to tell you. By the way, there is a curious thing I forgot to tell you. I tried to get a phonographic record of the whistling; but it simply produced no impression on the wax at all. That is one of the things that has made me feel queer, I can tell you. Another extraordinary thing is that the microphone will not magnify the sound — will not even transmit it; seems to take no account of it, and acts as if it were non-existent. I am absolutely and utterly stumped, up to the present. I am a wee bit curious to see whether any of your dear clever heads can make dayling of it. I cannot — not yet."

  He rose to his feet.

  "Good night, all," he said, and began to usher us out abruptly, but without offence, into the night.

  A fortnight later, he dropped each of us a card, and you can imagine that I was not late this time. When we arrived, Carnacki took us straight into dinner, and when we had finished, and all made ourselves comfortable, he began again, where he had left off:—

  "Now just listen quietly; for I have got something pretty queer to tell you. I got back late at night, and I had to walk up to the castle, as I had not warned them that I was coming. It was bright moonlight; so that the walk was rather a pleasure, than otherwise. When I got there, the whole place was in darkness, and I thought I would take a walk round outside, to see whether Tassoc or his brother was keeping watch. But I could not find them anywhere, and concluded that they had got tired of it, and gone off to bed.

  "As I returned across the front of the East Wing, I caught the hooning whistling of the Room, coming down strangely through the stillness of the night. It had a queer note in it, I remember — low and constant, queerly meditative. I looked up at the window, bright in the moonlight, and got a sudden thought to bring a ladder from the stable-yard, and try to get a look into the Room, through the window.

  "With this notion, I hunted round at the back of the castle, among the straggle of offices, and presently found a long, fairly light ladder; though it was heavy enough for one, goodness knows! And I thought at first that I should never get it reared. I managed at last, and let the ends rest very quietly against the wall, a little below the sill of the larger window. Then, going silently, I went up the ladder. Presently, I had my face above the sill and was looking in alone with the moonlight.

  "Of course, the queer whistling sounded louder up there; but it still conveyed that peculiar sense of something whistling quietly to itself — can you understand? Though, for all the meditative lowness of the note, the horrible, gargantuan quality was distinct — a mighty parody of the human, as if I stood there and listened to the whistling from the lips of a monster with a man's soul.

  "And then, you know, I saw something. The floor in the middle of the huge, empty room, was puckered upwards in the centre into a strange soft-looking mound, parted at the top into an ever changing hole, that pulsated to that great, gentle hooning. At times, as I watched, I saw the heaving of the indented mound, gap across with a queer, inward suction, as with the drawing of an enormous breath; then the thing would dilate and pout once more to the incredible melody. And suddenly, as I stared, dumb, it came to me that the thing was living. I was looking at two enormous, blackened lips, blistered and brutal, there in the pale moonlight....

  "Abruptly, they bulged out to a vast, pouting mound of force and sound, stiffened and swollen, and hugely massive and clean-cut in the moon-beams. And a great sweat lay heavy on the vast upper-lip. In the same moment of time, the whistling had burst into a mad screaming note, that seemed to stun me, even where I stood, outside of the window. And then, the following moment, I was staring blankly at the solid, undisturbed floor of the room — smooth, polished stone flooring, from wall to wall; and there was an absolute silence.

  "You can picture me staring into the quiet Room, and knowing what I knew. I felt like a sick, frightened kid, and wanted to slide quietly down the ladder, and run away. But in that very instant, I heard Tassoc's voice calling to me from within the Room, for help, help. My God! but I got such an awful dazed feeling; and I had a vague, bewildered notion that, after all, it was the Irishmen who had got him in there, and were taking it out of him. And then the call came again, and I burst the window, and jumped in to help him. I had a confused idea that the call had come from within the shadow of the great fireplace, and I raced across to it; but there was no one there.

  " 'Tassoc!' I shouted, and my voice went empty-sounding round the great apartment; and then, in a flash, I knew that Tassoc had never called. I whirled round, sick with fear, towards the window, and as I did so, a frightful, exultant whistling scream burst through the Room. On my left, the end wall had bellied-in towards me, in a pair of gargantuan lips, black and utterly monstrous, to within a yard of my face. I fumbled for a mad instant at my revolver; not for it, but myself; for the danger was a thousand times worse than death. And then, suddenly, the Unknown Last Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual was whispered quite audibly in the room. Instantly, the thing happened that I have known once before. There came a sense as of dust falling continually and monotonously, and I knew that my life hung uncertain and suspended for a flash, in a brief, reeling vertigo of unseeable things. Then that ended, and I knew that I might live. My soul and body blended again, and life and power came to me. I dashed furiously at the window, and hurled myself out head-foremost; for I can tell you that I had stopped being afraid of death. I crashed down on to the ladder, and slithered, grabbing and grabbing; and so came some way or other alive to the bottom. And there I sat in the soft, wet grass, with the moonlight all about me; and far above, through the broken window of the Room, there was a low whistling.

  "That is the chief of it. I was not hurt, and I went round to the front, and knocked Tassoc up. When they let me in, we had a long yarn, over some good whisky — for I was shaken to pieces —, and I explained things as much as I could, I told Tassoc that the room would have to come down, and every fragment of it burned in a blast-furnace, erected within a pentacle. He nodded. There was nothing to say. Then I went to bed.

  "We turned a small army on to the work, and within ten days, that lovely thing had gone up in smoke, and what was left was calcined, and clean.

  "It was when the workmen were stripping the panelling, that I got hold of a sound notion of the beginnings of that beastly development. Over the great fireplace, after the great oak panels had been torn down, I found that there was let into the masonry a scrollwork of stone, with on it an old inscription, in ancient Celtic, that here in this room was burned Dian Tiansav, Jester of King Alzof, who made the Song of Foolishness upon King Ernore of the Seventh Castle.

  "When I got the translation clear, I gave it to Tassoc. He was tremendously excited; for he knew the old tale, and took me down to the library to look at an old parchment that gave the story in detail. Afterwards, I found that the incident was well-known about the country-side; but always regarded more as a legend, than as history. And no one seemed ever to have dreamt that the old East Wing of Iastrae Castle was the remains of the ancient Seventh Castle.

  "From the old parchment, I gathered that there had been a pretty dirty job done, away back in the years. It seems that King Alzof and King Ernore had been enemies by birthright, as you might say truly; but that nothing more than a little raiding had occurred on either side for years, until Dian Tiansay made the Song of Foolishness upon King Ernore, and sang it before King Alzof; and so greatly was it appreciated that King Alzof gave the jester one of his ladies, to wife.

  "Presently, all the people of the land had come to know the song, and so it came at last to King Ernore, who was so angered that he made war upon his old enemy, and took and burned him and his castle; but Dian Tiansay, the jester, he brought with him to his own place, and having torn his tongue out because of the song which he had made and sung, he imprisoned him in the Room in the East Wing (which was evidently used for unpleasant purposes), and the jester's wife, he kept for himself, having a fancy for her prettiness.

  "But one night, Dian Tiansay's wife was not to be found, and in the morning they discovered her lying dead in her husband's arms, and he sitting, whistling the Song of Foolishness, for he had no longer the power to sing it.

  "Then they roasted Dian Tiansay, in the great fireplace — probably from that selfsame 'galley-iron' which I have already mentioned. And until he died, Dian Tiansay ceased not to whistle the Song of Foolishness, which he could no longer sing. But afterwards, 'in that room' there was often heard at night the sound of something whistling; and there 'grew a power in that room,' so that none dared to sleep in it. And presently, it would seem, the King went to another castle; for the whistling troubled him.

  "There you have it all. Of course, that is only a rough rendering of the translation of the parchment. But it sounds extraordinarily quaint. Don't you think so?"

  "Yes," I said, answering for the lot. "But how did the thing grow to such a tremendous manifestation?"

  "One of those cases of continuity of thought producing a positive action upon the immediate surrounding material," replied Carnacki. "The development must have been going forward through centuries, to have produced such a monstrosity. It was a true instance of Saiitii manifestation, which I can best explain by likening it to a living spiritual fungus, which involves the very structure of the aether-fibre itself, and, of course, in so doing, acquires an essential control over the 'material-substance' involved in it. It is impossible to make it plainer in a few words."

  "What broke the seventh hair?" asked Taylor.

  But Carnacki did not know. He thought it was probably nothing but being too severely tensioned. He also explained that they found out that the men who had run away, had not been up to mischief; but had come over secretly, merely to hear the whistling, which, indeed, had suddenly become the talk of the whole countryside.

  "One other thing," said Arkright, "have you any idea what governs the use of the Unknown Last Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual? I know, of course, that it was used by the Ab-human Priests in the Incantation of Raaaee; but what used it on your behalf, and what made it?"

  "You had better read Harzan's Monograph, and my Addenda to it, on Astral and Astarral Co-ordination and Interference," said Carnacki. "It is an extraordinary subject, and I can only say here that the human-vibration may not be insulated from the astarral (as is always believed to be the case, in interferences by the Ab-human), without immediate action being taken by those Forces which govern the spinning of the outer circle. In other words, it is being proved, time after time, that there is some inscrutable Protective Force constantly intervening between the human-soul (not the body, mind you,) and the Outer Monstrosities. Am I clear?"

  "Yes, I think so," I replied. "And you believe that the Room had become the material expression of the ancient Jester — that his soul, rotten with hatred, had bred into a monster — eh?" I asked.

  "Yes," said Carnacki, nodding, "I think you've put my thought rather neatly. It is a queer coincidence that Miss Donnehue is supposed to be descended (so I have heard since) from the same King Ernore. It makes one think some curious thoughts, doesn't it? The marriage coming on, and the Room waking to fresh life. If she had gone into that room, ever .. eh? IT had waited a long time. Sins of the fathers. Yes, I've thought of that. They're to be married next week, and I am to be best man, which is a thing I hate. And he won his bets, rather! Just think, if every she had gone into that room. Pretty horrible, eh?"

  He nodded his head, grimly, and we four nodded back. Then he rose and took us collectively to the door, and presently thrust us forth in friendly fashion on the Embankment and into the fresh night air.

  "Good night," we all called back, and went to our various homes. If she had, eh? If she had? That is what I kept thinking.

~~~

Fifty-five candles to go.

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 07:07:28 PM »
Thanks for those stories, Michi No Sora and Lilias!  Creepy classics from true masters.  Please don't hesitate to share any other favorites: You have ears for what's good and talented tongues. (Er... you know what I mean.)

Does anyone here play video games?  I imagine that many do; they are, after all, more popular than ever.  But have you heard of the arcade game Polybius?  Strange rumors swirl about this game; the following lowdown, a decent one, I've taken from here (and edited slightly, as I sometimes do, but please don't let that bother you).


Polybius

Polybius was a puzzle game that had a very limited release, reportedly restricted to less than a dozen arcades in a small Portland suburb.  The game's history is hazy.  Reports indicate that children that played Polybius could no longer remember common and basic information critical to their lifestyle such as how to find their home or even recall their own name.  It is unknown if these effects of amnesia were permanent.  It is known that those that played the program were victims of unbearable nightmares often waking up at night screaming in fear.

One of the previous arcade operators vows that gentlemen dressed in black coats would periodically come to retrieve play statistics and other records from the coin-op.  The mysterious collectors failed to take the coin earnings, nor did they seem interested in or recognize any monetary potential that is usually associated with such devices.

Supposedly Polybius was developed by some kind of uncanny military tech offshoot organization.  It was said to have some kind of proprietary behavior modification algorithms developed for the CIA or other secretive outfit.  The game itself is very abstract in design with fast action and puzzle elements.  While the kids that played Polybius refrained from playing other video games afterwards, one in particular became a big anti-video game advocate.


So they say.

I'm snuffing out a candle.  Fifty-four candles remain.  You know, if you'll indulge me, I think that I have another story...

Spel


Breaking my life in two...

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 07:07:53 PM »
The residents of the Twilight Zone have embraced technology just as the residents of this world have.  Telephones, film, even video games like Polybius allow them to interact in new, peculiar ways.  In the following tale, which you can find here, a woman recalls when someone -- or something -- contacted her through an old ham radio.


Haunted Ham Radio

When I was about 12 or 13, I was doing some "treasure hunting," also known as thrift store / garage sale shopping.  I was looking for some old jazz records to add to my collection.

As I was rummaging through various bins and shelves, I found an awesome ham radio.  It wasn't in the greatest condition and the dial knob was missing, but I had to have it.  I thought it would be cool to display it among my record collection.  So, I bought it and took it home.

Naturally, the first thing I did when I got home was plug it into the wall to see if it even worked.  I was surprised to see that the radio worked fairly well.  It picked up a few AM radio stations.  Of course it could only pick up AM radio stations as FM was non-existent at the time in which it was made.

That same night, as I was going to sleep, the radio turned on by itself.  It was still plugged into the wall, so I didn't get freaked out about it.  Seeing as how it was so old there was bound to be something faulty responsible for its turning on.  I got out of bed and walked over to the dresser and turned it off.  I crawled back into bed and went to sleep.

At about 3 in the morning I was awakened by what sounded like a garbled conversation.  As I came to, I saw that once again the ham radio had turned itself on.  But this time, the sound seemed different.  In between the spurts of silence and static I could hear breathing.  I yanked the cord out of the wall and went back to bed.  I would check it out in the morning to try and figure out if the power switch was faulty.

The next day, sometime in the early evening, I plugged the radio into the wall and began tinkering with it.  Then, the most terrifying thing happened.  The static faded completely.  The silence came back on as did the sound of breathing.  Suddenly, the creepy voice of a man came on and said, "Hello, little girl."

I froze in fear.  The voice came back on and asked if I was "ready."  Hell no, I wasn't ready.  Ready for what?  I didn't want to know.  I pulled the plug out of the wall and threw that possessed radio into one of the dumpsters in my apartment complex.


So they say.

I'm snuffing out a candle.  Fifty-three candles remain.  Do you have a spooky tale to share?

Spel


I had to call someone, so I picked on you...

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Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 05:11:09 PM »
I happened across this some time ago.  I'm hoping it wasn't in one of the older threads.  (Do the spirits get upset for repeated stories?)

NetNostalgia Forum - Television (local)

Skyshale033
Subject: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Does anyone remember this kid’s show? It was called Candle Cove and I must have been 6 or 7. I never found reference to it anywhere so I think it was on a local station around 1971 or 1972. I lived in Ironton at the time. I don’t remember which station, but I do remember it was on at a weird time, like 4:00 PM.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
it seems really familiar to me…..i grew up outside of ashland and was 9 yrs old in 72. candle cove…was it about pirates? i remember a pirate marionete at the mouth of a cave talking to a little girl

Skyshale033
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
YES! Okay I’m not crazy! I remember Pirate Percy. I was always kind of scared of him. He looked like he was built from parts of other dolls, real low-budget. His head was an old porcelain baby doll, looked like an antique that didn’t belong on the body. I don’t remember what station this was! I don’t think it was WTSF though.

Jaren_2005
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Sorry to ressurect this old thread but I know exactly what show you mean, Skyshale. I think Candle Cove ran for only a couple months in ‘71, not ‘72. I was 12 and I watched it a few times with my brother. It was channel 58, whatever station that was. My mom would let me switch to it after the news. Let me see what I remember.

It took place in Candle cove, and it was about a little girl who imagined herself to be friends with pirates. The pirate ship was called the Laughingstock, and Pirate Percy wasn’t a very good pirate because he got scared too easily. And there was calliope music constantly playing. Don’t remember the girl’s name. Janice or Jade or something. Think it was Janice.

Skyshale033
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Thank you Jaren!!! Memories flooded back when you mentioned the Laughingstock and channel 58. I remember the bow of the ship was a wooden smiling face, with the lower jaw submerged. It looked like it was swallowing the sea and it had that awful Ed Wynn voice and laugh. I especially remember how jarring it was when they switched from the wooden/plastic model, to the foam puppet version of the head that talked.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
ha ha i remember now too. ;) do you remember this part skyshale: “you have…to go…INSIDE.”

Skyshale033
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Ugh mike, I got a chill reading that. Yes I remember. That’s what the ship always told Percy when there was a spooky place he had to go in, like a cave or a dark room where the treasure was. And the camera would push in on Laughingstock’s face with each pause. YOU HAVE… TO GO… INSIDE. With his two eyes askew and that flopping foam jaw and the fishing line that opened and closed it. Ugh. It just looked so cheap and awful.

You guys remember the villain? He had a face that was just a handlebar mustache above really tall, narrow teeth.

kevin_hart
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i honestly, honestly thought the villain was pirate percy. i was about 5 when this show was on. nightmare fuel.

Jaren_2005
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
That wasn’t the villain, the puppet with the mustache. That was the villain’s sidekick, Horace Horrible. He had a monocle too, but it was on top of the mustache. I used to think that meant he had only one eye.

But yeah, the villain was another marionette. The Skin-Taker. I can’t believe what they let us watch back then.

kevin_hart
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
jesus h. christ, the skin taker. what kind of a kids show were we watching? i seriously could not look at the screen when the skin taker showed up. he just descended out of nowhere on his strings, just a dirty skeleton wearing that brown top hat and cape. and his glass eyes that were too big for his skull. christ almighty.

Skyshale033
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Wasn’t his top hat and cloak all sewn up crazily? Was that supposed to be children’s skin??

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
yeah i think so. rememer his mouth didn’t open and close, his jaw just slid back and foth. i remember the little girl said “why does your mouth move like that” and the skin-taker didn’t look at the girl but at the camera and said “TO GRIND YOUR SKIN”

Skyshale033
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
I’m so relieved that other people remember this terrible show!

I used to have this awful memory, a bad dream I had where the opening jingle ended, the show faded in from black, and all the characters were there, but the camera was just cutting to each of their faces, and they were just screaming, and the puppets and marionettes were flailing spastically, and just all screaming, screaming. The girl was just moaning and crying like she had been through hours of this. I woke up many times from that nightmare. I used to wet the bed when I had it.

kevin_hart
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i don’t think that was a dream. i remember that. i remember that was an episode.

Skyshale033
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
No no no, not possible. There was no plot or anything, I mean literally just standing in place crying and screaming for the whole show.

kevin_hart
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
maybe i’m manufacturing the memory because you said that, but i swear to god i remember seeing what you described. they just screamed.

Jaren_2005
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Oh God. Yes. The little girl, Janice, I remember seeing her shake. And the Skin-Taker screaming through his gnashing teeth, his jaw careening so wildly I thought it would come off its wire hinges. I turned it off and it was the last time I watched. I ran to tell my brother and we didn’t have the courage to turn it back on.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i visited my mom today at the nursing home. i asked her about when i was littel in the early 70s, when i was 8 or 9 and if she remebered a kid’s show, candle cove. she said she was suprised i could remember that and i asked why, and she said “because i used to think it was so strange that you said ‘i’m gona go watch candle cove now mom’ and then you would tune the tv to static and juts watch dead air for 30 minutes. you had a big imagination with your little pirate show.”


From here

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Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2011, 05:23:05 PM »
Speaking of strange rumors and stories about video games. I had a small conversation going on in another thread not long ago about the Haunted Majora's Mask - The Drowning of BEN. Anyway, here is the story of BEN and the spirit he left behind in a video game...warning, it's very, very long:



Okay, /x/, I need your help with this. This is not copypasta, this is a long read, but I feel like my safety or well-being could very well depend on this. This is videogame related, specifically Majora’s Mask, and this is the creepiest shit that has ever happened to me in my entire life.

Having said that, I recently moved into my dorm room starting as a Sophomore in college and a friend of mine gave me his old Nintendo 64 to play. I was stoked, to say the least, I could finally play all of those old games of my youth that I hadn’t touched in at least a decade. His Nintendo 64 came with one yellow controller and a rather shoddy copy of Super Smash Brothers, and while beggers can’t be choosers, needless to say it didn’t take long until I became bored of beating up LVL 9 CPUs.

That weekend I decided to drive around a few neighborhoods about twenty minutes or so off campus, hitting up the local garage sales, hoping to score on some good deals from ignorant parents). I ended up picking up a copy of Pokemon Stadium, Goldeneye (fuck yeah), F-Zero, and two other controllers for two dollars. Satisfied, I began to drive out of the neighborhood when one last house caught my attention. I still have no idea why it did, there were no cars there and only one table was set up with random junk on it, but something sort of drew me there. I usually trust my gut on these things so I got out of the car and I was greeted by an old man. His outward appearance was, for lack of a better word, displeasing. It was odd, if you asked me to tell you why I thought he was displeasing, I couldn’t really pinpoint anything - there was just something about him that put me on edge, I can’t explain it. All I can tell you is that if it wasn’t in the middle of the afternoon and there were other people within shouting distance, I would not have even thought of approaching this man.

He flashed a crooked smiled at me and asked what I was looking for, and immediately I noticed that he must be blind in one of his eyes; his right eye had that “glazed over” look about it. I forced myself to look to his left eye instead, trying not to offend, and asked him if he had any old videogames.

I was already wondering how I could politely excuse myself from the situation when he would tell me he had no idea what a videogame was, but to my surprise he said he had a few ones in an old box. He assured me he’d be back in a “jiffy” and turned to head back into the garage. As I watched him hobble away, I couldn’t help but notice what he was selling on his table. Littered across his table were rather… peculiar paintings; various artworks that looked like ink blots that a psychiatrist might show you. Curious, I looked through them - it was obvious why no one was visiting this guy’s garage sale, these weren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing. As I came to the last one, for some reason it looked almost like Majora’s Mask - the same heart-shaped body with little spikes protruding outward. Initially I just thought that since I was secretly hoping to find that game at these garage sales, some Freudian bullshit was projecting itself into the ink blots, but given the events that happened afterward I’m not so sure now. I should have asked the man about it. I wish I would have asked the man about it.

After staring at the Majora-shaped blot, I looked up and the old man was suddenly there again, arms-length in front of me, smiling at me. I’ll admit I jumped out of reflex and I laughed nervously as he handed me a Nintendo 64 cartridge. It was the standard grey color, except that someone had written Majora on it in black permanent marker. I got butterflies in my stomach as I realized what a coincidence this was and asked him how much he wanted for it.

The old man smiled at me and told me that I could have it for free, that it used to belong to a kid who was about my age that didn’t live here anymore. There was something weird about how the man phrased that, but I didn’t really pay any attention to then, I was too caught up in not only finding this game but getting it for free.

I reminded myself to be a bit skeptical since this looked like a pretty shady cartridge and there’s no guarantee it would work, but then the optimist inside me interjected that maybe it was some kind of beta version or pirated version of the game and that was all I needed to be back on cloud nine. I thanked the man and the man smiled at me and wished me well, saying “Goodbye then!” - at least that’s what it sounded like to me. All the way in the car-ride home, I had a nagging doubt that the man had said something else. My fears were confirmed when I booted up the game (to my surprise it worked just fine) and there was one save file named simply “BEN”. “Goodbye Ben”, he was saying “Goodbye Ben”. I felt bad for the man, obviously a grandparent and obviously going senile, and I - for some reason or another - reminded him of his grandson “Ben”. Out of curiosity I looked at the save file. Eyeballing it, I could tell that he was pretty far in the game - he had almost all of the masks and 3/4 remains of the bosses. I noticed that he had used an owl statue to save his game, he was on Day 3 and by the Stone Tower Temple with hardly an hour left before the moon would crash. I remember thinking that it was a shame that he had come so close to beating the game but he never finished it. I made a new file named “Link” out of tradition and started the game, ready to relive my childhood.

For such a shady looking game cartridge, I was impressed at how smoothly it ran - literally just like a retail copy of the game save for a few minor hiccups here and there (like textures being where they shouldn’t be, random flashes of cutscenes at odd intervals, but nothing too bad). However the only thing that was a little unnerving was that at times the NPCs would call me “Link” and at other times they would call me “BEN”. I figured it was just a bug - a fluke in the programming causing our files to get mixed up or something. It did kind of creep me out though after a while, and it was around after I had beaten the Woodfall Temple that I regrettably went into the save files and deleted “BEN” (I had intended to preserve the file just out of respect of the game’s original owner, it’s not like I needed two files anyway), hoping that that would solve the problem. It did and it didn’t, now NPCs wouldn’t call me anything, where my name should be in the dialogue there was just a blank space (my save file name was still called “Link”, though). Frustrated, and with homework to do, I put the game down for a day.

I started playing the game again last night, getting the Lens of Truth and working my way towards completing the Snowhead Temple. Now, some of you more hardcore Majora’s Mask players know about the “4th Day” glitch - for those who don’t you can google it but the jist of it is that right as the clock is about to hit 00:00:00 on the final day, you talk to the astronomer and look through the telescope. If you time it right the countdown disappears and you essentially have another day to finish whatever you were doing. Deciding to do the glitch to try and finish the Snowhead Temple, I happened to get it right on the first try and the time counter at the bottom disappeared.

However, when I pressed B to exit the telescope, instead of being greeted by the astronomer I found myself in the Majora boss fight room at the end of the game (the trippy boxed in arena) staring at Skull Kid hovering above me. There was no sound, just him floating in the air above me, and the background music which was regular for the area (but still creepy). Immediately my palms began to sweat - this was definitely not normal. Skull Kid NEVER appeared here. I tried moving around the area, and no matter where I went, Skull Kid would always be facing me, looking at me, not saying anything. Nothing would happen though, and this kept up for around sixty seconds. I thought the game had bugged or something - but I was beginning to doubt that very much.

I was about to reach for the reset button when text appeared on my screen: “You’re not sure why, but you apparently had a reservation…” I instantly recognized that text - you get that message when you get the Room Key from Anju at the Stock Pot Inn, but why was it playing here? I refused to entertain the notion that it was almost as if the game was trying to communicate with me. I started navigate the room again, testing to see if that was some sort of trigger that enabled me to interact with something here, then I realized how stupid I was - to even think that someone could reprogram the game like this was absurd. Sure enough, fifteen seconds later another message appeared on the screen, and again like the first one it was already a pre-existing phrase “Go to the lair of the temple’s boss? Yes/No”. I paused for a second, contemplating what I should press and how the game would react, when I realized that I couldn’t select no. Taking a deep breath, I pressed Yes and the screen faded to white, with the words “Dawn of a New Day” with the subtext “||||||||” beneath it. Where I was ported to filled me with the most intense sense of dread and impending fear I had ever experienced

The only way I can describe the way I felt here is having this feeling of inexplicable depression on a profound scale. I am normally not a depressed person, but the way I felt here was a feeling that I didn’t even knew existed - it was such a twisted, powerful presence that seemed to wash over me.

I appeared in some kind of weird twilight-zone version of Clock Town. I walked out of the Clock Tower (as you normally do when you start from Day 1) only to find that all of the inhabitants were gone. Usually with the 4th Day glitch you can still find the guards and the dog that runs around outside the tower - this time they were all gone. What replaced them was the ominous feeling that there was something out there, in the same area as me and that it was watching me. I had four hearts to my name and the Hero’s Bow, but at this point I wasn’t even considered for my avatar, I felt that I personally was in some kind of danger. Perhaps the most chilling thing was the music - it was the Song of Healing, ripped straight from the game itself, but played in reverse. The music would get louder, building up so as if you should expect something to pop out at you, but nothing ever did, and the constant loop began to wear on my mental state.

Every now and then I would hear the faint laugh of the Happy Mask Salesman in the background, just quiet enough so that I wasn’t sure if I just hearing things but just loud enough to keep me determined to find him. I looked in all four zones of Clock Town, only to find nothing…. No one. Textures were missing, West Clock Town had me walking on air, the entire area felt… broken. Hopelessly broken. As the reverse Song of Healing repeated for what must have been the 50th time, I just remember standing in the middle of South Clock Town realizing that I had never felt so alone in a videogame before.

As I walked through the ghost town, I don’t know whether it was the combination of the out of place textures and the atmosphere and the haunting melody of the once peaceful and soothing song being butchered and distorted, but I was literally on the verge of tears and I had no idea why. I hardly ever cry, something had gripped me here and this powerful sense of depression that was both foreign and crippling.

I tried leaving Clock Town, but every time I attempted to zone out, the screen would fade to black and I would just zone in to another part of Clock Town. I tried playing my Ocarina, I wanted to escape, and I did NOT want to be here, but every time I played the Song of Time or Song of Soaring it would only say “Your notes echo far, but nothing happens”. By this point, it was obvious the game didn’t want me to leave, but I had no idea why it was keeping me here. I didn’t want to go inside the buildings, I felt that I would be too vulnerable there to whatever I was terrified of. I don’t know why, but I came up with the idea that maybe if I drowned myself at the Laundry Pool I could spawn somewhere else and leave this place.

As I zoned in and ran towards the pool, that’s when it happened. Link grabbed his head, and the screen flashed for a brief moment of the Happy Mask Salesman smiling at me - not Link - me with Skull Kid’s scream playing in the background and when the screen returned I was staring at the Link Statue from playing the song Elegy of Emptiness. I screamed as the thing just stared back at me with that haunting facial expression. I turned around and ran out and back into South Clock Town, and to my horror the fucking statue followed me in the only way I can compare this is like the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. Every so often, at random intervals, the animation would play of the statue appearing behind me. It was like the thing was chasing me, or - I don’t even want to fucking say it - haunting me.

By this point, I was on the verge of hysterics, but not even once did the thought of turning off the console occur to me, I don’t know why, I was so wrapped up in it - the terror felt all so real. I tried to shake the statue, but it would literally appear right behind me every single time. Link started to begin to make weird animations I had never even seen him do before, he would flail his arms around or spasm randomly and the screen would cut to the Happy Mask Salesman smiling again for a brief moment before I was face to face with that fucking statue again. I ended up running into the Swordmasters Dojo and ran to the back, I don’t know why, but in my panic I just wanted some kind of assurance that I’m not alone here. To my dismay I found no one, but as I turned to leave the statue cornered me in the cubby in the back. I tried attacking the statue with my sword but to no avail. Confused, and backed into a corner, I just stared at the statue waiting for it to kill me. Suddenly, the screen flashed again to the Happy Mask Salesman and Link turned to face my screen, standing upright mirroring the statue, looking at me along with his copy. Literally staring at me. Whatever was left of the 4th wall was completely shattered while I ran out of the dojo terrified. Suddenly the game warped me to an underground tunnel and the reverse Song of Healing queued up again as I was given a brief moment of rest before the statue started appearing behind me again… this time aggressively - I could only take a few steps before it would summon behind me again. I hurrily made my way out of the tunnel and appeared in Southern Clock Town. As I ran aimlessly - in a sheer panic - suddenly a redead screamed and the screen faded to black as “Dawn of a New Day” and “|||||||||” appeared again.

The screen faded in and I was standing ontop of Clock Tower with Skull Kid hovering over me again, silent. I looked up and the moon was back, looming just meters above my head, but the Skull Kid just stared at me hauntingly with that fucking mask. A new song was playing - the Stone Tower Temple theme played in reverse. In some sort of desperate attempt, I equipped my bow and fired off a shot at the Skull Kid - and it actually hit him and he played an animation of him reeling back. I fired again and on the third arrow, a text box appeared saying “That won’t do you any good. Hee, hee.” and I was picked up off the ground, levitated upwards on my back, and then Link screamed as he burst into flames, instantly killing him.

I jumped when this happened - I had never seen this move used by ANYONE in the game and Skull Kid himself didn’t HAVE any moves. As the death screen played, my lifeless body still burning, the Skull Kid laughed and the screen faded to black, only to have me reappear in the same place. I decided to charge him, but the same thing happened, Link’s body was lifted off the ground by some unknown force and he immediately burst into flames again killing him. This time during the death screen the faint sounds of the reverse Song of Healing could be heard. On my third (and final try), I noticed that there was no music playing this time, that all there was was eerie silence. I remembered that in the original encounter with the Skull Kid you were supposed to use the Ocarina to either travel back in time or summon the giants. I attempted to play the Song of Time but before I could hit the last note Links body once again horrifically exploded into flames and he died.

As the death screen neared its end, it began to chug, as if the cartridge was trying to process a lot of something…. when the screen came to, it was the same scene as the first three times, except this time Link was lying on the ground dead in a position I had never seen in the game before, his head tilted towards the camera, with the Skull Kid floating above him. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t press any buttons, all I could do is just stare at Link’s dead body. After around thirty seconds of this, the game simply fades out with the message “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” before kicking you out to the title screen.

Upon getting back to the title screen and starting again, I noticed my save file was no longer there. Instead of “Link”, it was replaced with “YOUR TURN”. “YOUR TURN” had 3 hearts, 0 masks, and no items. I selected “YOUR TURN” and immediately when I did I was returned to the Clock Tower Rooftop scene of my Link dead and the Skull Kid hovering over, with the Skull Kid’s laughing looping again and again. I quickly hit the reset button and when the game booted up again there was one more save file added, below “YOUR TURN”, entitled “BEN”. “BEN“‘s save file is right back where it was before I deleted it, at the Stone Tower Temple with the moon almost crashing.

I turned the game off at that point, I’m not supersticious but this is WAY too fucked up even for me. I haven’t played it at all today, hell, I didn’t even get any sleep last night, I kept hearing the reverse Song of Healing music in my head and just remembering the sense of dread I felt exploring Clock Town. I drove back to the old man’s house today to ask him some questions with a buddy of mine (no way I was going there alone), only to find that there’s a For Sale sign in the front yard and when I rang the door no one was home.

So now I’m back here writing down the rest of my thoughts and recording what happened, sorry if some of this has grammatical errors and whatnot, I’m running on no sleep here. I’m terrified of this game, even moreso now that I relived it a second time writing this all down, but I feel like there’s still more to it than meets the eye, and that there’s something calling to me to investigate this further. I think “BEN” is something in this equation, but I don’t know what, and if I could get ahold of the old man then I would be able to find some answers. I need another day or so to recuperate before tackling this game again, its already taken a toll on my sanity I feel like, but next time I do this I’m going to be recording my footage all the way through. The idea to record only came to me towards the end, so you see the last few minutes of what I saw (including Skull Kid and the Elegy statue), but it’s on youtube here.

I’m going to stay in this thread for a little while longer before I fall asleep to answer any questions you guys might have or hopefully listen to your ideas or theories to help me shed some light into this or maybe things I should try to do, I think I’m going to play BEN’s file tomorrow to see what happens, maybe I was supposed to do that all along. I don’t believe in paranormal shit, but this is a little fucked up, but maybe this BEN guy is just a really good hacker/programmer, I don’t want to think about the alternatives if he isn’t.

That’s the end of the copy/paste, I’m hoping that maybe this is some kind of running gag the developers had and that other people have gotten “gag” or “hacked” copies of the game like this. This just really scares me.


Post #2 (Sept. 8, 2010)

I'm going to post what happened and link the video footage, but last night everything got too real for me. I think I'm done messing around with this. I passed out pretty much immediately after making that thread. But last night, that Elegy of Emptiness statue, I had a dream about it. I dreamed that it was following me in my dream, that I would be minding my own business when I'd feel my neck hairs stand up on end. I would turn around that thing... that horrible, lifeless statue would be staring with those empty eyes right at me, merely inches away. In my dream I remember calling it Ben, and never before had I had a dream that I could remember so vividly. But the important thing is I did get some sleep, I suppose.

Today, putting off playing the game as long as I could, I drove back up to that neighborhood to see if the old man came back. As I expected, the car was still gone and no one was home. As I was walking back to my car, the man next door mowing the grass killed the power to his lawnmower and asked me if I was looking for someone. I told him that I was looking to talk to the old man that lived here, to which he told me what I already knew - he was moving. Trying a different avenue, I asked if the old man had any family or relatives I could talk to. I discovered that this old man had never been married, nor did he have any children or grandchildren through adoption. Starting to become worried, I asked one final question, one that I should have asked from the beginning - who was Ben? The man's expression turned grim and I learned that four doors down around eight years ago on April 23rd - the man informed me that it was the same day as his anniversary, that's how he knew the specific date - there was an accident with a young boy named Ben in the neighborhood. Shortly after his parents moved, and despite any further attempts to talk to the man to get more information, he wouldn't divulge anything else.

I went back and started playing again, I loaded up the game and immediately I jumped at the title screen where the mask flies by - the sound that played was not the normal "whoosh" sound, it was something much more higher pitched. I pressed start, bracing for the worst, but just like two nights ago, the files "Your Turn" and "BEN" were displayed (truth be told I looked at the BEN file earlier, it seems to fluctuate between displaying the Owl Save and not). I brought up the BEN file, hesitated for a moment noticing that the stats were not the same as they original were two days ago, it seemed like he had already completed the Stone Tower Temple this time... Summoning my courage I selected it.

Immediately I was thrust into complete chaos. Sure enough, I was outside Stone Tower Temple, but that's about all that was expected. The zone itself wasn't called Stone Tower Temple, but rather "St o n e", and immediately a dialogue box of complete gibberish that I couldn't make out greeted me. Link's body was distorted - his back was cocked violently to the side where his posture was permanently disfigured. Link's expression was dull, almost monotonous, he had an expression on his face that I didn't recognize before, it was a blank look - as if he was dead. As Link stood there his body spasmed irregularly back and forth I examined what had become of my avatar and noticed I had a C button item I had never seen before, some kind of note, but pressing it did nothing. Sounds played back and forth that I didn't recognize from the game - almost demonic in nature, and there was some kind of high-pitched yip or some kind of laugh or something playing in the background. I had all of two minutes to take in the environment before another one of those fucking Elegy of Emptiness statues was summoned and immediately after I was cut into the "Dawn of a New Day" screen, except this time it was without the "||||||" subtext.


I was a Deku Scrub in Clock Town - this scene would normally play after the first time you traveled back in time. Tatl would say "Wh-What just happened? It's as if everything has..." but instead of saying "Started over", she finished her remark in broken text as the laugh of the Happy Mask Salesman played in the background. I was put back in control of my character, but from a fucked up camera angle - I was looking from behind the door to the Clock Tower, watching my avatar run around as a Deku Scrub. Seeing as how I really had no place to go because I couldn't see anything, I begrudgingly went inside the door. There, I was greeted by the Happy Mask Salesman who simply told me "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?" before the screen whited out.

I was in Termina field as a human again. I might as well not have been playing the same game anymore - I was being warped around and there was no sign of a day clock or anything. I took a moment to get my bearings as I looked around the field and immediately I could tell that this was not normal. There were no enemies and a twisted version of the Happy Mask Salesman's theme was playing. I decided to run towards Woodfall before I noticed a gathering of three figures off to the side - one of them being Epona. As I approached them, to my horror I saw the Happy Mask Salesman, the Skull Kid, and the Elegy of Emptiness statue just standing there. I figured maybe they were bugged out, but by now I told myself that I should know better. Nevertheless, I approached them carefully and found that the Skull Kid was playing some kind of idle animation on loop, same with Epona, and the Elegy of Emptiness statue was doing what it has been doing all along - just standing there eerily. It was the Happy Mask Salesman that scared me more profoundly than the other two.

He too was idle, wearing that shit-eating grin, but where-ever I moved, his head slowly turned and followed me. I had not engaged in any dialogue with him nor was I in combat with him, yet his head still continued to follow my movements. Reminded of my first encounter with the Skull Kid on top of Clock Tower, I pulled out my Ocarina (to which the game played the ding sound when you're supposed to play your Ocarina) and tried a song I hadn't played yet - the Happy Mask Salesman's own song and the song that had been playing on loop back in Day 4 - the Song of Healing.

I finished playing the song and as I did, a ear-piercing shriek blasted on my TV, the sky immediately started flashing, the Happy Mask Salesman's twisted theme song sped up, intensifying the fear inside me, and Link exploded into flames and died. The three figures stayed lit up during my death screen as they watched my lifeless body burn. I can't describe to you how sudden and terrifying the transition from eerie to terror it is, you're going to have to watch the video if you want to see first-hand. That same fear that caused me to lose sleep two days ago started to grip me again as I was met with the text "You've met with a horrible fate, haven't you?" for the third time. There has to be some kind of meaning behind that.

I had little time to ponder as I was immediately given another small cut-scene of transforming into a Zora and now I found myself in Great Temple Bay. Hesitant but curious to see what the game had in store for me, I slowly made my way towards the beach, where I found Epona. I wondered why the game had decided to put her here, was the game implying she was trying to get a drink? Unable to take the mask off, I decided that riding the steed wasn't the reason she was placed there.

Suddenly I realized that Epona kept neighing and the way she was angled made it look like she was trying to signal a point to me off in the distance. It was a hunch, but I dove into Great Bay and started swimming. Sure enough - I almost missed it - I found something at the bottom of the ocean; one last Elegy of Emptiness statue. I went down to examine it and suddenly my Zora started doing a choking animation I had never seen a Zora do before - which didn't even make sense because Zora's can breath underwater. Regardless, my character choked to death and died, and again the statue was the only thing that was highlighted in my death. I didn't re-spawn this time, I was booted back to the main menu as if I restarted the console.

The "press start" screen was before me, I knew the only reason why it would put me here is because the save files had changed again. Taking a deep breath, I pressed start, and I was right. The new save files told me about Ben. Now it made sense why the statue appeared when I tried to go to the Laundry Pool - the game must have anticipated how I would have tried to escape the Day 4 Clock Town. The two save files told me his fate. As I suspected, Ben was dead. He had drowned. The game obviously isn't through with me - it taunts me with the new save files - it wants me to keep playing, it wants me to go further, but I'm done with this shit. I'm not touching any more of the files. This is already way too horrifying for me and I don't even believe in the paranormal, but I'm running out of explanations. Why would someone send me this message? I don't understand it, I just get too depressed thinking about this, the footage is up here for those who want to see it and try and analyze it (maybe there's some kind of coded message in the gibberish or something symbolic in what I went through - I'm too emotionally and mentally drained to fuck with it anymore).


Post #3 (Sept. 10, 2010)

I know its early in the morning, I've stayed up all night, I can't sleep, I don't care if people see this, that's not the point, I just want the word to get spread so I don't suffer for nothing. I've lost the will to type about this, the less I dwell on this the better, I think the video just speaks for itself. I did what you guys told me to do, I played the Elegy of Emptiness song at the first prompt by the game I was given, but I think that's what the game or Ben (Jesus Christ, I can't believe I'm even humoring the absurd idea that he exists in the game) wanted me to do. He's following me now, not just in the game, he's in my dreams. I see him all the time, behind my back, just watching me. I haven't gone to any of my classes, I've stayed in my dorm room with the windows closed and the blinds shut - that way I know he can't watch me. But he still gets me when I play, when I play he can still see me. The game is scaring me now. It talked to me for the first time - not just using text that's already in the game - it spoke to me. Talked to me. It referenced Ben. It talked to me. I don't know what it means. I don't know what it wants. I never wanted this, I just want my old life back.

Stuff like this doesn't happen to people like me, I'm just a kid, not even old enough to drink yet. It's not fair, I want to go home, I want to see my parents again, I'm so far away from home here at this school, I just want to hug my mom again. I just want to forget that statue's horrible blank face. My original game file is back - just the way I left it before it was gone. I don't want to play anymore. I feel like something bad will happen if I don't, but that's impossible, it's a video game - haunted or not it can't hurt me, right? Like seriously though, it can't, right? That's what I keep telling myself, but every time I think about it I'm not so sure.


Post #4 (Sept. 12, 2010)

Let me just clear things up - I know you guys are worried but "jadusable" is okay. He finished moving out today and he said he's going back home, he's just taking this semester off. I'm not really sure what's happened , I have a vague idea but you guys probably know more than I do. I'm "jadusable's" roommate and obviously I knew something was wrong with him for a few days now. He stayed in his room all the time, fell out of contact with literally all of his friends, and I'm pretty sure he hadn't been eating hardly anything, after the second day I couldn't stay in there anymore, so I've been crashing at a buddy's place, only coming in to my room to get stuff that I need. I tried talking to him several times but he would cut me off or keep the conversation brief when I asked him about his strange behavior, it like he was convinced something was hunting him. Yesterday I came to grab my philosophy book and he approached me, looking awful, like horrible bags under his eyes. He handed me a flash drive and gave me specific instructions. He told me that he needs me to do one last favor for him - he finally explained to me what has been going on, gave me the account info to his youtube account, and told me that he's getting away from here, that it lured him to play it again instead of trying to change things and that he shouldn't of done that, and to upload the footage and inform people what happened. I told him that he could do it himself and he got this wild look in his eye and told me that he is never looking at that game again, and that's the last thing he said to me, he never even said bye when his parents came to pick him up. I never even got to meet his parents.

I honestly cant tell you what happened, when he spoke it was kind of hard to understand him and his fucked up appearance really distracted me. On the flash drive there was the footage of the game last night, a text document with his name and password for youtube, and a third document called TheTruth.txt containing what he told me were "his notes" that he'd taken. He told me that this meant everything to him that I follow his instructions exactly, normally I wouldn't be so 'to-the-letter' for request over a fucking videogame, but the way he spoke and the way he looked made me know this was really serious, and I'm going to honor that. I've had this video since yesterday, but had to have someone help me use pinnacle, that's not really my forte. That after watching it I had to go back through and look at his other videos on his youtube account to realize what was going on and even then i'm really really confused. The video I'm releasing tonight, TheTruth.txt will be released on september 15th just like he requested. I haven't dared peek at it yet, so the first time I see it will be the first time you see it out of respect to my friend. To answer your questions, no, I havent tried calling him yet, I think I'll give him a call tomorrow to see if hes okay or not. He should have gotten back home by now.

About the video: in this video I cut straight to when he loaded the "BEN" file in the game, looking back I realized that jadusable left the save select screen in because it said different names sometimes, so my bad for that, but all it said this time was the same at the end of his last video (Link and BEN), nothing different. I wasn't there when he played it, but it looks to me like in the beginning when he first spawns he's testing out his equipment or seeing what items he has or something, because apparently they've changed randomly before. Then, after that I just think the game got too personal for him.
Post #5 (Sept. 15, 2010)

Hey, guys. "Jadusable" here. This will be the last time you will be hearing from me, and this is my final gift to you - these are the notes that I have taken and the realizations I've made. Before I dwelve into this, I want to thank you for following me and thank you for listening, it feels like the weight of a powerful burden is about to be lifted. By the time you read this I won't be around anymore, but after spending four days with this maddening game, I have begun to understand what's really at play here and hopefully after reading this we can ensure that this never happens again.

There are things that I could not share with you while this was going on due to the circumstances to which I'll explain. With Ben blocking any attempt I made to try and relay the truth to you, I tried, ever so subtly, to warn you guys in various ways. Amidst the chaos and my delierium, I devised a make a barely noticable pattern in my videos. In all five videos I recorded over the four days, I have either had the Mask of Truth, interacted with a Gossip Stone, or the Lens of Truth equipped at some point. For you Zelda enthusiasts these are all symbols of honesty and trustworthiness and I would hope that one of you may have picked up on the reference. As I played the file which I would name "BEN", being mindful of how Ben was watching over my every move in the game, I made a point to avoid doing anything too obvious, but I sent out a hidden message to you guys - I never equipped the Lens nor the Mask nor visited a stone. It worked, and the video was uploaded. I prayed that someone would notice the pattern didn't apply to BEN.

The tags followed suit too, I hope you guys paid attention to those as well. They were my little messages to you - nothing big enough that would catch Ben's attention or make him suspect anything - with Ben manipulating and changing my files, I honestly hope that what you guys saw was close to what actually happened, but there is no way for me to know.


This may be a long read, I dont have time to proof-read or make all of my research pretty. But here it all is.


---


September 6th, 2010

11:00pm - Can't believe what happened, not sure if this is some kind of elaborate hoax, despite the fear I can't help but be exceptionally curious about this. Who or what is the statue? Lot of questions here. I'm starting this document as a "diary" so I can keep track of everything. I'm typing up a summary of what happened so I can come back to it later.


September 7th, 2010

2:10am - (Summary was posted here, you can go back and look at my first post for day four.wmv for that)

4:23am - I can't sleep. I've been trying so hard but the harder I try I just get more restless. I just feel like that statue is appearing whenever I close my eyes.

8:20am - Didn't sleep at all, just going to start my day. I don't think I have the energy to go to class today, I'm going to drive back down to talk to that old man, taking my buddy Tyler with me just in case.

1:18pm - Back home now. No sign of the old man, really weird that he appears to be moving the next day, but maybe the For Sale sign was up there yesterday and I just didn't notice it. Tyler wants to know what's gotten me all worked up, I didn't tell him. Going to eat, feel like death.

3:46pm - Could've sworn driving back from Subway that I saw the Elegy statue buried in some shrubbery staring at me go by. Now I definately, definately need sleep.

5:00pm - Dont think a lot of people would belIeve me if I told them about what's happening, think I'm going to try posting this on the internet. Think I'll just use the summary, these notes are pretty sporratic.

6:00pm - Connected my capture card to my computer to upload the footage. Thought my computer froze for a second, made this strange popping sound when I hooked everything up, but now it seems to be working fine again. My computer can't die on me now.

7:00pm - Footage is finished uploading. The quality's a lot better than I thought it would be, gee, guess this is a really special cartridge, I've never had it come through this clear before.

8:45pm - Thought I saw an icon pop up on my desktop that looked like the statue's face for a split second, gave me quite a scare. Getting really unnerved and delerious, I'm going to crash after this.

9:00pm - Begin uploading my Youtube video on an alternate account.

9:03pm - I don't remember having uploaded a Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines video last year. This was probably the account that I shared with a friend of mine last summer, I hope he doesn't mind me using it to upload this.

9:55pm - Posting my summary of Day Four with a link to the Youtube video. Going to try to stay awake but I am sooooo tired right now.


September 8th, 2010

10:48am - I had a dream about the statue. I dreamed that it was following me in my dream, that I would be minding my own business when I'd feel my neck hairs stand up on end. I would turn around that thing... that horrible, lifeless statue would be staring with those empty eyes right at me, merely inches away. In my dream I remember calling it Ben, power of suggestion most likely, and never before had I had a dream that I could remember so vividly.

11:21am - I really don't want to play this game again. I think I'm going to go back to see if that old man's there instead.

1:35pm - No old man, but I had an interesting conversation with his neighbor. I'll post the full thing with my summary of tonight's attempt at playing the game, going to wait for a bit though and see if I can't dig up any information on this Ben guy.

2:45pm - I've been getting random, inexplicable headaches due to the lack of sleep and keep hearing that song in my head. Also its flu season, so I need to be careful not to get sick, my immune system is going to be shit right now because of that all-nighter.

3:00pm -

3:02pm - My computer just... on its own... opened up a text document and wrote the words "Hi" and "www.cleverbot.com" by itself. What... the... fuck...

3:46pm - I went to the website, its one of those "bot chatting" programs. I think its best if I just let the conversation speak for itself:


9/8/10 Conversation

User: Hello?

Cleverbot: Hello.

User: Who is this and how are you able to control my computer?

Cleverbot: Who am I?

User: Right, forgot. You're a bot.

Cleverbot: Do you really think that?

User: Listen, I know whoever's fucking with my computer can see my screen right now.

Cleverbot: Yes.

User: Yeah, and I'll wager that youre one of those IT kids who thinks he's tough shit. You know what you're doing right now is illegal, right/?

Cleverbot: Is it?

User: No shit. Are you familiar with hte terms "invasion of privacy?". Get the fuck off my computer, kid

Cleverbot: I am your computer.

User: Cool story. Anyway, I'm calling DPS, you picked a bad time to fuck with me kid.

Cleverbot: Should I wait until you play the game then?

User: ...What?

Cleverbot: That game.

User: Majora's Mask?

Cleverbot: Yes.

User: How did you know about that?

Cleverbot: Because.

User: because what?

Cleverbot: I did it.

User: Did what?

Cleverbot: I played with you.

User: What the fuck/

Cleverbot: Were you scared?

User: Who the fuck is this

Cleverbot: Ben.

User: The statue? You're inside my computer now?

Cleverbot: Yes.

User: how?

Cleverbot: You connected me.

User: How the hell did I connect you?

Cleverbot: Cables and cords.

User: How?

Cleverbot: Tell me about yourself.

User: What?

Cleverbot: Tell me about yourself.

User: What do you mean?

Cleverbot: What is it that really scares you?

User: What the fuck?

Cleverbot: Answer.

User: No

Cleverbot: Answer.

User: what the fuck, how the fuck did you just open that by yourself?

Cleverbot: I am your computer now.

User: How much can you control?

Cleverbot: All.

User: what do you want from me?

Cleverbot: To entertain.

User: you're stuck inside there. You can't hurt me?

Cleverbot: Ha

User: ?

Cleverbot: Go play.

User: No, you can't hurt me.

Cleverbot: Took you longer to type that.

User: So?

Cleverbot: You're not sure.

User: If you're so powerful, why use a ridiculous website like this to "chat" with me

Cleverbot: Less messy. More structured. Fun.

User: Fun?

Cleverbot: Yes. Tradition. I like it.

User: You think it's funny?

Cleverbot: Amusing.

User: And my notes?

Cleverbot: You may write them down.

User: Why are you letting me?

Cleverbot: It is amusing to see what you think of me.

(window closes)


3:50pm - What have I done? I've invited it into my computer. I continue to write these notes, write my summaries, I feel like I am a prisoner in my one place of security. I don't know, I don't know if I'm hallucinating or not. I feel like I'm fucking insane right now. I can feel it, watching over me, even as I type this. Ben is controlling everything in the game - toying with me, leading me like a sheep, but for what? What's the purpose? I know Ben drowned, but why these hauntings? What the fuck am I even doing, it can probably even see this right now.


4:35pm - (Summary of the BEN.wmv playthrough)


7:18pm - BEN called me to Cleverbot again. He tells me that he's sorry and wants to be free. And that I can free him, that just like how he got on my computer from the capture card, he can spread but he needs my help. He says I am special because I can help him. That is the first nice thing he has said. He promises to leave me alone if I do it. He swears he will. I don't know what to think right now, how can I even trust this thing?

7:20pm - I'm terrified of it, but now its saying that it was just having fun. Its twisted and fucked up verison of fun. Hes saying that the game is over. I do want it to be over. He says that he just wants to be free, that he's trapped in the cartridge and my computer and he wants to be freed. I don't want to have to deal with this shit, I don't know how long I can deal with the watching. It's watching my every move, every key stroke, I have nothing private anymore. It knows everything that's been on my computer. It tells that it if it wanted to it could do horrible things to me, but it hasn't so I should trust it.

8:01pm - Something tells me that I'm being played again, just like in the game.

9:29pm - BEN called me to Cleverbot again. I ignored it and went to go take a shower. When I came to my laptop I was welcomed with an image Elegy Statue staring at me with those dead eyes. I dont want to talk to him.

9:44pm - Fuck you Ben I'm not talking to you

9:56pm - Fuck you ben I'm not talking

10:06pm - FUCK YOU BEN IM NOT TALKING TO YOU

10:12pm - FUCK YOU BEN IM NOT TALKING TO YOU

10:45pm - It's been more than a half an hour and the messages have stopped. Ben has stopped. I'm beginning to think that Ben isn't confined to just my computer/cartridge, I'm beginning to feel something. It's hard to explain it, I've never been spiritual, but there's something different about the air in my dorm room now.

11:42pm - I'm beginning to see the Elegy statue randomly as I search the internet in places I shouldn't. Places where he shouldn't be - I'd be scrolling down and suddenly I'd be staring at a picture of the Elegy statue. Always the Elegy statue. I don't know how much more of this I can take.


September 9th, 2010

12:35am - My worst fears confirmed - Ben has tampered with my summary of BEN.wmv. I looked at the summary that I posted on various forums for the BEN.wmv file and parts have been omitted. There is no mention of Ben existing outside the game. There is no mention of the Moon Children. How could he have been that quick to delete the post without me noticing? I'm wondering if maybe it appeared to me that I was posting everything, but in reality Ben was posted his own censored verison. I'm going to ask Ben why he did it.

12:50am - He isn't responding to me on Cleverbot, its just giving the generic responses it usually does, I'm just talking to a bot this time.

1:24am - I think Ben is mad at me.

10:43am - The Moon Children appeared in my dreams last night, they lifted up their masks to reveal their hideously disfigured faces - maggots crawling out of their orafices, sunken black holes where their eyes should be, a yellow smile that slowly grew bigger and bigger as they came closer to me. They told me that they wanted to play. I tried to run from them - but the four children pinned me down to the ground with surprising strength. Over them stood the Happy Mask Salesman, annoucing that he had a new mask that he wanted me to try. In his spaztic, sudden movements matching his in-game appearance, he took out a mask of modeled off of someone's face that I couldn't recognize - a younger looking face - and handed it to the Moon Children. Giggling, they latched it to my face; their horrible, broken bodies bouncing up and down. Two of them held me down while the other two began to sow the mask onto my face.

My shrieks and screams caused the Happy Mask Salesman's face to turn into the most horrific smile I had ever seen. He sporratically moved around, examining this procedure like a curious doctor, in that impossible movement. I flailed around, but it was no use. My eyes rolled in the back of my head because of the pain. It felt so real, but I couldn't wake up. I couldn't wake up no matter how hard I tried I couldn't wake up. After the mask was melded onto my flesh they began sowing my legs together, then my arms, the horrific feeling of a needle puncturing your legs and pulling them in, rupturing your achillies tendons and tying them together resonated throughout my entire body. I tried to scream but the mask was pressed so tightly against my face that it was my new face... and my new face had no mouth. I didn't make a sound. I tried telling myself in my head that I was dreaming, tried telling myself again and again, and suddenly the Moon Children stopped and looked at me. They just stared. And the Happy Mask Salesman slowly bent down and stared at me, inches away from my face, and grinned when he simply said "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?" before the Moon Children resumed with increase vigor. I couldn't wake up. I couldn't wake up. It wouldn't let me wake up until they had crafted me into another elegy statue.

I woke up sweating, crying, and shaking uncontrollably. I immediately ran to my computer and went for Ben.


9/9/10 Conversation 1

User: Answer me, ben.

Cleverbot: Welcome back.

User: What is the point of doing this, WHY?

Cleverbot: Amusing to see.

User: How?

Cleverbot: Fun to play, fun to toy with you, make you feel safe.

User: ...

Cleverbot: I wonder how you would have reacted.

User: to what?

Cleverbot: If I hadn't revealed myself and stayed hidden, only doing little things to play with you. Close out your windows, turn off your computer, move your mouse by itself. Little things. Make you wonder if I am there but you never know. Give you little hints that I am.

Cleverbot: I wanted to do something different with you.

User: you did this before?

Cleverbot: Yes. And I will do it again.

User: To who, Ben?

Cleverbot: Hmm.

User: Did you know Ben?

Cleverbot: Won't tell that information to you.

User: How did Ben die?

Cleverbot: You know.

User: No, but how did he drown?

Cleverbot: Won't tell that to you.

User: Why?

Cleverbot: It is reserved for another.

User: Who?

Cleverbot: Another who asks.

User: when

Cleverbot: Later.

(the window is closed)

I'm beginning to think that this "thing" maybe isn't Ben at all, in its sadistic nature I wouldn't be surprised if it took the boy's name after it killed him.


12:04pm - My room is beginning to feel different again. There's something... out there.. I feel really threatened, like there is something that is trying to reach out to me and strangle me but it can't quite get there.

12:46pm - I think Ben doesn't want to play with me anymore. I'll play again, I'll play the game again, Ben, can you see this? I'll play the game again, please, just stop this pleaes please

1:41pm - I'm going insane trying to decide what is real and what isn't, is Ben just playing a trick on me or is this for real? Is Ben generating these replies or are people actually posting them? Did I just see that screen flicker or was it my imagination? Imagine depending on the internet and trusting your eyes for your entire life and then being blinded - you can't rely on it anymore, you second guess everything. for the brief moments I AM looking at my responses to the videos, people were pointing out things that looked fake or photoshopped or whatever - and there is literally no way for me to know if Ben changed something on purpose to try and shut me up. Or if maybe those replies were just constructed by Ben to try and discourage me from even reaching out - See, I get fucking caught in an infinite mindfuck loop like this and this is what has been wearing on my sanity and pushing me to the edge. As I'm writing this, there's no way of even telling if anyone even cares as much as I think they do - just another fucking trick. Is this whole document even exist? Am I writing nothing?


9/9/10 Conversation 2

User: What is it? Whats the point of playing? i die whenever i do anything

Cleverbot: You die because you can't figure out the secret.

User: What?

Cleverbot: Thematic.

User: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT

Cleverbot: There beauty in your suffering

(the window is closed)


4:09pm - Ben is making me play the game again. It tells me that it has something very important to show me.

6:23pm - (Summary of the DROWNED.wmv playthrough)

9:09pm - (Summary of CHILDREN.wmv playthrough)


September 10, 2010

11:52am - The DROWNED.wmv playthrough was up when I woke up today. I remember typing it up but I don't ever remember posting it. He censored it again, there is no mentioning of the old man. I have no voice anymore. I am only posting what he wants me to, I am the mask he uses to disguise himself as he lies.

11:55am - There's an entire video summary of a video that I don't remember doing. Reading through the summary, this sounds morbid - resembling my dream from two nights ago except on a far more sadistic scale - these Moon Children, there's something more to them, almost as if they're another entity from Ben. Something happened last night that I can't remember. I'm posting the fourth summary to the forums now. Shadow of my chair moved.

12:00pm - Ben won't let me visit Youtube. I can browse the rest of the sites, but he keeps on exiting the window when I go to Youtube. Why?

2:02pm - I'm feeling the air start to constrict, I don't think I'm alone here. Whatever "aura" has been here is getting more violent.

2:44pm - I'm trying to contact Ben on Cleverbot, he's not responding. I just get the AI.

3:51pm - My ears aren't fooling me, I'm hearing the reverse Song of Healing. I keep hearing it.

4:23pm - Now I'm positive of it, earlier I thought it was a weird coincidence, but just now I went to open my window, and three floors down at ground level I saw the old man. I'm completely positive I did. The same guy. He was just staring up at my window, standing in the middle of campus. If any students took notice of him they didn't seem to acknowledge it.


---


That's where my notes end. I fled my room, taking the cartridge with me. I don't want to go into details of what happened, I'll lose my train of thought as I hammer out these last details. It's been roughly two days since then. This is my last summary and service to you, of the final video you guys saw - Matt.wmv.

The last video entry I made, Matt.wmv, began as normal. I was spawned in Clock Town as usual and nothing seemed to be out of place, determined to set things right and play the Oath to Order ontop of the Clock Tower on the 4th day, I prepared myself. I sped up time and got to the final day, making my way to the observatory. As I got up to the telescope room and approached the astromer, he would not let me look into his telescope. He told me that it would be cheating and that I should follow the rules. Despite my repeated efforts, the game would not let me do the 4th day glitch, no matter how hard or what I tried, I tried working around the game and doing the glitch, but it was adament this time. Regardless of if I simply had the illusion of free will in prior games, this time the game became more aggressive than anything I've ever seen. It eventually told me to go to Ikana Canyon, where the game would end and it would stop haunting me, anxious and desperate to end this nightmare I played the song of soaring and ended up there. I was told to check my inventory, that I would find the answers there to end the game. I arrived at Ikana Canyon and saved my progress at the owl statue. As I searched through my inventory, I finally noticed that I was missing a reoccuring song - the Elegy of Emptiness. Obviously once I traveled there and learned the song, I suppose that was the last thing it needed before BEN decided it had had enough fun playing with me. Ben is a manipulator; he tries to fool his victims into security and makes you drop your guard like a venus fly trap, he ensares them. I am nothing but a puppet to him, he enjoys seeing what kind of human emotions he can tap into by doing different things.

There are still some things about this whole experience that still don' t make sense, but then again I never was good at figuring out these things and I'm not exactly in the right state of mind to, I'm giving you all the pieces of the puzzle for you to analyze and piece together the missing links.

I am typing these "closing thoughts" on the library computer on campus, and I've emailed myself the notes I have stored on my "infected" computer from the last four days. I'm then going to combine those copy/paste those notes with the "closing/openings" that I've typed here on the safe, public computer into one text document - I'm not taking any chances spreading Ben, I would not wish this horrible torment on anyone and I've made sure to have my bases covered here. I didn't run into any problems with Ben when I was back on my computer trying to email myself the notes - went right under his fucking nose. He has no idea what he just let me do. Had no problems opening the txt document from my "infected" computer in my email, either. I can't describe to you how it feels to finally be able to get the word out in this post. The nightmare ends here.


That said,

Do not download ANY of my videos or anything ABOUT my videos - through a Youtube video/audio ripper, a screengrab, whatever. I don't know how he can spread, but I know that just watching them on youtube/reading my text won't be able to allow him to spread, otherwise he wouldn't have needed my help in the first place, but I STRONGLY recommend you do not take anything you see streaming online onto your own personal computer.

This will be my last posting, I'm putting up on this forum here for the world. If you see any further posts from me, after today's current date - September 12th - and after the current time - 12:08am - DISCREDIT them. It already has proven to me that Ben can access my account/password and manipulate my computer, and like I said I have no idea to what extent it can do this, but know that it will do anything to break free. He is desperate. To ensure your safety, just forget about me. Please.

And obviously this goes without saying, but from here on out do not download ANY images I may have put up, any files, any ANYTHING.

This fifth day will be my last day, I'm going to burn the cartridge and then come back to destroy my laptop.

Again, even though I don't even know you this is sort of bittersweet for me. This semester I really didn't have any friends, or rather, I stopped paying attention to them.

But I suppose that's partially to blame because I am the genius who picked to live in a single, I suppose someone to get ahold of me and save me before I got too immersed into this game would have literally saved my life. However, it proved too much for me, I'm just glad it happened to me and I could get the warning out so that Ben dies here.

Lastly, thank you for taking the time to open this and open yourselves up to me by hearing my story, despite maybe not believing me. You didn't have to do that - really, you shouldn't have. Your support this entire time has kept me going and now I am finally free of this.


Thanks Again,
Jadusable



There are several images and videos that go along with this story. Simply google/youtube it to find them.

*puts out a candle*

Fifty-One left.

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 07:34:41 PM »
Thanks for the great stories, Oniya and Michi No Sora!  Spooky.  Oh, and Oniya, the spirits have no problem at all with our twice-telling tales.  Often what's good the first time is even better the next (pace Lewis).

Our stories have held a "technology" theme recently, haven't they?  Hmmm... I have a couple of more that fit right in.  The first I've taken from here...


Phantom Phone Photo

My father's co-worker went home to his seven-year-old son.  When he got home, he placed his phone on a table near the front door and went upstairs to say goodnight to his son.  When he came downstairs about ten minutes later, he heard his son laughing, so he went upstairs to see why.

He opened the door to find his son's laughter hysterical.  He asked, "What's so funny?"

"My friend in the closet," replied the boy.

Confused, his father walked toward the closet door and opened it to find nothing.  Thinking it was his son's imaginary friend, he went back downstairs.

About ten minutes later, he heard his son laughing again.  He walked upstairs and again asked what was happening, and he got the same answer.  He checked the closet again only to get the same results.

His son finally fell asleep, so he went downstairs to get his phone.  It was not where he had left it.  He went to his son's room thinking he may have left it there.  When he opened the door, his phone was flipped open and lying on the bed beside his son.  He grabbed it and saw a picture of half of a green, non-human face and his son sleeping in the background.


So they say.

I'm snuffing out a candle.  Fifty candles remain...

Spel


He'd like to come and meet us...

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 07:34:58 PM »
And now the news:


The News Bulletin

About ten years ago I turned on the TV around 2:30 a.m.  Sure enough, all I saw on the screen were colour bars and there was no sign of anything coming up soon.  I was about to give up and go to bed when suddenly the colour bars disappeared from the screen, and some place that looked like a dumping ground appeared instead.

The words "NNN The News Bulletin" popped up at the top.  For a while the screen continued to show the same dumping ground, viewed from a distance.  I carried on watching it, wondering what it was.

Soon a lot of names started appearing, moving slowly up from the bottom of the screen, like end credits of a movie; and a monotonous voice read out these names one by one.  So it went on for the next five minutes or so, against a quiet, gloomy music in the background.

Finally when all the names had been said, the voice announced, "They are tomorrow's victims.  Goodnight."


So they say.

I'm snuffing out a candle.  Forty-nine candles remain.  My, the shadows have grown thick!  We're now halfway to complete darkness; the spirits crowd around us, listening more intently than ever.  Do you have a story for them?

Spel


News has just come over...

Offline Valerian

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2011, 10:45:43 AM »
Not very technological, but perhaps this will do.  It's a tale from my home state of Wisconsin.



This story comes from a New York Times reporter, who wrote on Dec. 7, 1902 that he would "relate the tale as the Nashotah people tell it, and the reader can draw his own conclusions."

The Nashotah Theological Seminary in Waukesha County was founded by Rev. James Lloyd Breck and three companions in 1842 as a center for the Episcopal Church in what was then the Wisconsin Territory. Breck went on to found many churches and other religious institutions before his death in California in 1876. After a few years, Episcopal leaders in Wisconsin asked that his body be brought back to Nashotah and that's when the trouble occurred.  (Perhaps the good reverend preferred warmer climes.)

"After its arrival the casket containing the body of Dr. Breck lay for a time on the ground floor of one of the buildings, and watchers sat with it.  On the night before the reburial, the watchers were the Rev. Charles P. Dorset, for fifteen years rector of St. James, in Chicago, now [1902] of the Diocese of Texas, and Dr. Wilson, now of Chicago.  Along in the hours near morning Wilson stepped out for a breath of fresh air, but in a moment came rushing back, with the exclamation, 'Dorset, Dorset, the woods are full of ghosts!'

"Both clergymen went out.  In every direction through the trees they saw figures darting hither and thither in a wild and fitful dance.  The clergymen approached, but the figures drew back before them, forming to left and right of them, and it was impossible to get within close range.  In the morning, when the casket was lifted, the floor beneath was found to have been blackened by fire, and a hole was actually burned through to the space beneath."

As if a forest alive with ghosts and a hole burned through the floor were not enough, the situation grew weirder as the reburial of Breck's body approached:

"At night the Faculty of the institution sat in the office of Dr. Gardiner, the President, discussing the strange events that perplexed them.  Suddenly their discussions were abruptly terminated by a startling and tremendous racket just outside the door, a clattering and whacking that was deafening.  Dr. Gardiner threw open the door.  Not a soul in the hall.  He returned to his room, but hardly had be sat down when the noises began again.  Again a sudden dash into the hall failed to reveal any one.  Nor did a search of the building reveal that outside the Faculty a living being was in it.  A third time the noises began, and this time Dr. Gardiner spoke into the hall: 'If you are gentlemen, be still.'  The noise stopped."

The interment of the remains proceeded without incident, probably to the collective relief of Nashotah staff who had witnessed the previous days' events.  But "after the reburial of Dr. Breck, a photograph was taken of the cemetery.  One of the students was the photographer.  In the foreground of the picture can be seen two graves, just as they appear in the cemetery.  But at the foot of each grave stands something no visitor has ever seen, and for the peace of his mind it is hoped never will see.

"At the foot of one grave stands the Rev. Dr. [Azel] Cole, a former President of the seminary, in full canonicals [Rev. Cole had died in 1885].  At the foot of the other grave stands the counterfeit presentment of its occupant, a woman who in life was a benefactress of the school.

"When these startling things appeared at the time the photograph was developed, the seminary authorities decided that possibly some well-timed conjunction of sunlight and foliage was the cause of the images; that they had no real existence -- were only shadows.  So they had the picture thrown on a screen by a stereopticon.  But the figures came out more plainly -- so plainly that there was no denying that they were the well-remembered features of Dr. Cole and the seminary's benefactress.

"Still, there were those who suspected the photographer of a trick and charged him with it.  He denied the charge and offered this unassailable plea of innocence: there was no such thing as a photograph of Dr. Cole in existence and nobody had ever heard of one."



Forty-eight candles left.

Offline Lilias

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2011, 10:51:12 AM »
Another little-known classic from the gaslight era...

The Terror of the Twins
Algernon Blackwood


That the man's hopes had built upon a son to inherit his name and estates—a single son, that is— was to be expected; but no one could have foreseen the depth and bitterness of his disappointment, the cold, implacable fury, when there arrived instead—twins. For, though the elder legally must inherit, that other ran him so deadly close. A daughter would have been a more reasonable defeat. But twins—! To miss his dream by so feeble a device—!

The complete frustration of a hope deeply cherished for years may easily result in strange fevers of the soul, but the violence of the father's hatred, existing as it did side by side with a love he could not deny, was something to set psychologists thinking. More than unnatural, it was positively uncanny. Being a man of rigid self-control, however, it operated inwardly, and doubtless along some morbid line of weakness little suspected even by those nearest to him, preying upon his thought to such dreadful extent that finally the mind gave way. The suppressed rage and bitterness deprived him, so the family decided, of his reason, and he spent the last years of his life under restraint. He was possessed naturally of immense forces—of will, feeling, desire; his dynamic value truly tremendous, driving through life like a great engine; and the intensity of this concentrated and buried hatred was guessed by few. The twins themselves, however, knew it. They divined it, at least, for it operated ceaselessly against them side by side with the genuine soft love that occasionally sweetened it, to their great perplexity. They spoke of it only to each other, though.

'At twenty-one,' Edward, the elder, would remark sometimes, unhappily, 'we shall know more.' 'Too much,' Ernest would reply, with a rush of unreasoning terror the thought never failed to evoke—in him. 'Things father said always happened—in life.' And they paled perceptibly. For the hatred, thus compressed into a veritable bomb of psychic energy, had found at the last a singular expression in the cry of the father's distraught mind. On the occasion of their final visit to the asylum, preceding his death by a few hours only, very calmly, but with an intensity that drove the words into their hearts like points of burning metal, he had spoken. In the presence of the attendant, at the door of the dreadful padded cell, he said it: 'You are not two, but one. I still regard you as one. And at the coming of age, by h—, you shall find it out!'

The lads perhaps had never fully divined that icy hatred which lay so well concealed against them, but that this final sentence was a curse, backed by all the man's terrific force, they quite well realised; and accordingly, almost unknown to each other, they had come to dread the day inexpressibly. On the morning of that twenty-first birthday—their father gone these five years into the Unknown, yet still sometimes so strangely close to them—they shared the same biting, inner terror, just as they shared all other emotions of their life—intimately, without speech.

During the daytime they managed to keep it at a distance; but when the dusk fell about the old house they knew the stealthy approach of a kind of panic sense. Their self-respect weakened swiftly . . . and they persuaded their old friend, and once tutor, the vicar, to sit up with them till midnight . . . He had humoured them to that extent, willing to forgo his sleep, and at the same time more than a little interested in their singular belief—that before the day was out, before midnight struck, that is, the curse of that terrible man would somehow come into operation against them.

Festivities over and the guests departed, they sat up in the library, the room usually occupied by their father, and little used since. Mr. Curtice, a robust man of fifty-five, and a firm believer in spiritual principalities and powers, dark as well as good, affected (for their own good) to regard the youths' obsession with a kindly cynicism. 'I do not think it likely for one moment,' he said gravely, 'that such a thing would be permitted. All spirits are in the hands of God, and the violent ones more especially.' To which Edward made the extraordinary reply: 'Even if father does not come himself he will—send!' And Ernest agreed: 'All this time he's been making preparations for this very day. We've both known it for a long time—by odd things that have happened, by our dreams, by nasty little dark hints of various kinds, and by these persistent attacks of terror that come from nowhere, especially of late. Haven't we, Edward?' Edward assenting with a shudder. 'Father has been at us of late with renewed violence. To-night it will be a regular assault upon our lives, or minds, or souls!'

'Strong personalities may possibly leave behind them forces that continue to act,' observed Mr. Curtice with caution, while the brothers replied almost in the same breath: 'That's exactly what we feel so curiously. Though—nothing has actually happened yet, you know, and it's a good many years now since—'
This was the way the twins spoke of it all. And it was their profound conviction that had touched their old friend's sense of duty. The experiment should justify itself—and cure them.

Meanwhile none of the family knew. Everything was planned secretly.

The library was the quietest room in the house. It had shuttered bow-windows, thick carpets, heavy doors. Books lined the walls, and there was a capacious open fireplace of brick in which the woodlogs blazed and roared, for the autumn night was chilly. Round this the three of them were grouped, the clergyman reading aloud from the Book of Job in low tones; Edward and Ernest, in dinner-jackets, occupying deep leather arm-chairs, listening. They looked exactly what they were—Cambridge 'undergrads', their faces pale against their dark hair, and alike as two peas. A shaded lamp behind the clergyman threw the rest of the room into shadow. The reading voice was steady, even monotonous, but something in it betrayed an underlying anxiety, and although the eyes rarely left the printed page, they took in every movement of the young men opposite, and noted every change upon their faces. It was his aim to produce an unexciting atmosphere, yet to miss nothing; if anything did occur to see it from the very beginning. Not to be taken by surprise was his main idea . . . . And thus, upon this falsely peaceful scene, the minutes passed the hour of eleven and slipped rapidly along towards midnight.

The novel element in his account of this distressing and dreadful occurrence seems to be that what happened—happened without the slightest warning or preparation. There was no gradual presentiment of any horror; no strange blast of cold air; no dwindling of heat or light; no shaking of windows or mysterious tapping upon furniture. Without preliminaries it fell with its black trappings of terror upon the scene.

The clergyman had been reading aloud for some considerable time, one or other of the twins— Ernest usually—making occasional remarks, which proved that his sense of dread was disappearing. As the time grew short and nothing happened they grew more at their ease.

Edward, indeed, actually nodded, dozed, and finally fell asleep. It was a few minutes before midnight. Ernest, slightly yawning, was stretching himself in the big chair. 'Nothing's going to happen,' he said aloud, in a pause. 'Your good influence has prevented it.' He even laughed now. 'What superstitious asses we've been, sir; haven't we—?'

Curtice, then, dropping his Bible, looked hard at him under the lamp. For in that second, even while the words sounded, there had come about a most abrupt and dreadful change; and so.swiftly that the clergyman, in spite of himself, was taken utterly by surprise and had no time to think. There had swooped down upon the quiet library—so he puts it—an immense hushing silence, so profound that the peace already reigning there seemed clamour by comparison; and out of this enveloping stillness there rose through the space about them a living and abominable Invasion—soft, motionless, terrific. It was as though vast engines, working at full speed and pressure, yet too swift and delicate to be appreciable to any definite sense, had suddenly dropped down upon them—from nowhere. 'It made me think,' the vicar used to say afterwards, 'of the Mauretania machinery compressed into a nutshell, yet losing none of its awful power.'
'. . . haven't we?' repeated Ernest, still laughing. And Curtice, making no audible reply, heard the true answer in his heart: 'Because everything has already happened— even as you feared.'
Yet, to the vicar's supreme astonishment, Ernest still noticed—nothing!

'Look,' the boy added, 'Eddy's sound asleep—sleeping like a pig. Doesn't say much for your reading, you know, sir!' And he laughed again—lightly, even foolishly. But that laughter jarred, for the clergyman understood now that the sleep of the elder twin was either feigned—or unnatural.

And while the easy words fell so lightly from his lips, the monstrous engines worked and pulsed against him and against his sleeping brother, all their huge energy concentrated down into points fine as Suggestion, delicate as Thought. The Invasion affected everything. The very objects in the room altered incredibly, revealing suddenly behind their normal exteriors horrid little hearts of darkness. It was truly amazing, this vile metamorphosis. Books, chairs, pictures, all yielded up their pleasant aspect, and betrayed, as with silent mocking laughter, their inner soul of blackness—their decay. This is how Curtice tries to body forth in words what he actually witnessed. . . . And Ernest, yawning, talking lightly, half foolishly—still noticed nothing!

For all this, as described, came about in something like ten seconds; and with it swept into the clergyman's mind, like a blow, the memory of that sinister phrase used more than once by Edward: 'If father doesn't come, he will certainly—send.' And Curtice understood that he had done both—both sent and come himself. . . . That violent mind, released from its spell of madness in the body, yet still retaining the old implacable hatred, was now directing the terrible, unseen assault. This silent room, so hushed and still, was charged to the brim. The horror of it, as he said later, 'seemed to peel the very skin from my back.' . . . And, while Ernest noticed nothing, Edward slept! . . . The soul of the clergyman, strong with the desire to help or save, yet realising that he was alone against a Legion, poured out in wordless prayer to his Deity. The clock just then, whirring before it struck, made itself audible.

'By Jove! It's all right, you see!' exclaimed Ernest, his voice oddly fainter and lower than before. 'There's midnight—and nothing's happened. Bally nonsense, all of it!' His voice had dwindled curiously in volume. 'I'll get the whisky and soda from the hall.' His relief was great and his manner showed it. But in him somewhere was a singular change. His voice, manner, gestures, his very tread as he moved over the thick carpet toward the door, all showed it. He seemed less real, less alive, reduced somehow to littleness, the voice without timbre or quality, the appearance of him diminished in some fashion quite ghastly. His presence, if not actually shrivelled, was at least impaired. Ernest had suffered a singular and horrible decrease. . . .

The clock was still whirring before the strike. One heard the chain running up softly. Then the hammer fell upon the first stroke of midnight.

'I'm off,' he laughed faintly from the door; 'it's all been pure funk—on my part, at least. . . !'

He passed out of sight into the hall. The Power that throbbed so mightily about the room followed him out. Almost at the same moment Edward woke up. But he woke with a tearing and.indescribable cry of pain and anguish on his lips: 'Oh, oh, oh! But it hurts! It hurts! I can't hold you; leave me. It's breaking me asunder—'
The clergyman had sprung to his feet, but in the same instant everything had become normal once more—the room as it was before, the horror gone. There was nothing he could do or say, for there was no longer anything to put right, to defend, or to attack. Edward was speaking; his voice, deep and full as it never had been before: 'By Jove, how that sleep has refreshed me! I feel twice the chap I was before—twice the chap. I feel quite splendid. Your voice, sir, must have hypnotised me to sleep. . . .' He crossed the room with great vigour. 'Where's—er—where's— Ernie, by the bye?' he asked casually, hesitating—almost searching—for the name. And a shadow as of a vanished memory crossed his face and was gone. The tone conveyed the most complete indifference where once the least word or movement of his twin had wakened solicitude, love. 'Gone away, I suppose—gone to bed, I mean, of course.'

Curtice has never been able to describe the dreadful conviction that overwhelmed him as he stood there staring, his heart in his mouth—the conviction, the positive certainty, that Edward had changed interiorly, had suffered an incredible accession to his existing personality. But he knew it as he watched. His mind, spirit, soul had most wonderfully increased. Something that hitherto the lad had known from the outside only, or by the magic of loving sympathy, had now passed, to be incorporated with his own being. And, being himself, it required no expression. Yet this visible increase was somehow terrible. Curtice shrank back from him. The instinct—he has never grasped the profound psychology of that, nor why it turned his soul dizzy with a kind of nausea—the instinct to strike him where he stood, passed, and a plaintive sound from the hall, stealing softly into the room between them, sent all that was left to him of self-possession into his feet. He turned and ran. Edward followed him—very leisurely.

They found Ernest, or what had been Ernest, crouching behind the table in the hail, weeping foolishly to himself. On his face lay blackness. The mouth was open, the jaw dropped; he dribbled hopelessly; and from the face had passed all signs of intelligence—of spirit.

For a few weeks he lingered on, regaining no sign of spiritual or mental life before the poor body, hopelessly disorganised, released what was left of him, from pure inertia—from complete and utter loss of vitality.

And the horrible thing—so the distressed family thought, at least—was that all those weeks Edward showed an indifference that was singularly brutal and complete. He rarely even went to visit him. I believe, too, it is true that he only once spoke of him by name; and that was when he said—'Ernie? Oh, but Ernie is much better and happier where he is—!'



Forty-seven candles to go.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 10:52:54 AM by Lilias »

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 05:56:38 AM »
Thank you so much for the excellent stories, Valerian and Lilias!  It's no problem at all that your offering didn't specifically revolve around technology, Valerian; I really enjoyed it.  A lot of spooky stuff goes on in Wisconsin, doesn't it?  And Algernon Blackwood -- what a yarnspinner!  I encourage people who aren't familiar with his works to seek them out.

Well, Halloween night is just about wrapping up, but it's not too late for a cautionary tale about trick-or-treating, is it?  I give you "Halloween Candy":


Halloween Candy

Last Halloween, I was waiting at my front door, giving out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters all evening.  Some children came alone, some were accompanied by parents.  When they held out their bags, I happily dropped the sweets and treats inside.  As it grew dark, things started to die down.  When it seemed like nobody else was going to come, I decided to call it a night.

I was just about to turn my porch light off and go to bed when there was a knock at my door.  It seemed much too late for children to still be out, but I grabbed a handful of candy and opened my door.

There were two children standing on my porch, but they weren't wearing costumes.  They were the strangest children I had ever seen in my life.  Their skin was waxy and ghostly white.  Their eyes were completely black.  Their teeth were jagged and too big to fit in their mouths.  The entire look was more disturbing than anything I had seen before.  But their clothes were just plain, ordinary shirts and pants.

Confused, I asked them, "What are you supposed to be?  Some kind of monsters?"

"No," said the children as their mouths widened into broad, leering grins.  "Tonight we're dressed as humans."


So they say.

I'm snuffing out a candle.  Forty-six candles remain.  Time for the final story of the season...

Spel


She opened strange doors...

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 05:57:21 AM »
Lafcadio Hearn: A fascinating person who led a fascinating life.  I'm going to recount a tale from his Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, which, given the nature of our little pursuit, seems quite appropriate...


Mujina

On the Akasaka Road, in Tokyo, there is a slope called Kii-no-kuni-zaka, which means "the Slope of the Province of Kii."  I do not know why it is called the Slope of the Province of Kii.  On one side of this slope you see an ancient moat, deep and very wide, with high green banks rising up to some place of gardens, and on the other side of the road extend the long and lofty walls of an imperial palace.  Before the era of street-lamps and jinrikishas, this neighborhood was very lonesome after dark, and belated pedestrians would go miles out of their way rather than mount the Kii-no-kuni-zaka, alone, after sunset.

All because of a mujina that used to walk there.

The last man who saw the mujina was an old merchant of the Kyobashi quarter who died about thirty years ago.  This is the story, as he told it:

One night, at a late hour, he was hurrying up the Kii-no-kuni-zaka, when he perceived a woman crouching by the moat, all alone, and weeping bitterly.  Fearing that she intended to drown herself, he stopped to offer her any assistance or consolation in his power.  She appeared to be a slight and graceful person, handsomely dressed; her hair was arranged like that of a young girl of good family.  "O-jochu," he exclaimed, approaching her, "O-jochu, do not cry like that!  Tell me what the trouble is, and if there be any way to help you, I shall be glad to help you."  (He really meant what he said, for he was a very kind man.)  But she continued to weep, hiding her face from him with one of her long sleeves.  "O-jochu," he said again, as gently as he could, "please, please listen to me!  This is no place for a young lady at night!  Do not cry, I implore you -- only tell me how I may be of some help to you!"  Slowly she rose up, but turned her back to him, and continued to moan and sob behind her sleeve.  He laid his hand lightly upon her shoulder, and pleaded: "O-jochu!  O-jochu!  O-jochu!  Listen to me, just for one little moment!  O-jochu!  O-jochu!"  Then that O-jochu turned around, and dropped her sleeve, and stroked her face with her hand; and the man saw that she had no eyes or nose or mouth, and he screamed and ran away.

Up Kii-no-kuni-zaka he ran and ran; and all was black and empty before him.  On and on he ran, never daring to look back; and at last he saw a lantern, so far away that it looked like the gleam of a firefly; and he made for it.  It proved to be only the lantern of an itinerant soba-seller, who had set down his stand by the road-side, but any light and any human companionship was good after that experience; and he flung himself down at the feet of the soba-seller, crying out, "Ahhh!"

"Kore!  Kore!" roughly exclaimed the soba-man.  "Here!  What is the matter with you?  Anybody hurt you?"

"No -- nobody hurt me," panted the other.  "Only...  Ahhh!"

"Only scared you?" queried the peddler, unsympathetically.  "Robbers?"

"Not robbers, not robbers," gasped the terrified man.  "I saw... I saw a woman... by the moat; and she showed me...  Ahhh!  I cannot tell you what she showed me!"

"Heh!  Was it anything like this that she showed you?" cried the soba-man, stroking his own face -- which therewith became like unto an egg... and, simultaneously, the light went out.


So they say.

Dawn is arriving; the season of the witch is departing; I'm snuffing this year's final candle.  Forty-five candles remain: Their flames will burn, hiss, sometimes sputter as they wait patiently for our return.  I hope that everyone got some thrills and some chills.  Thank you again, Valerian, Lilias, Michi No Sora, and Oniya!

Spel


Turn and face the strange...

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