Tuesday, 17 November 2020

9 Anomalous Media

 Inspired by the posts over at Throne of Salt and Archons March On. Big Bandwagon Energy. 


1.  Vilnius  

Microfiche contained inside heavy briefcase found in bomb shelter in Ukraine.

Written primarily in Lithuanian, the text of the microfiche is the personal diary of an unnamed c.18th century officer in the Lithuanian Armed Forces. It chronicles, with crude illustrations, his journey across eastern Europe in pursuit of a creature he describes as ‘the mouth’.

The officer eventually tracks the mouth to outside Poltava, where he is eaten by it. The next eight pages describe his experience of the space inside the mouth. After the eighth page, seventeen are left blank. New handwriting picks up in the last few pages of the book, writing from the officer’s point of view about how different the 1950s are. The book ends with a six-page rant, with no punctuation, on the horrors of Mutually Assured Destruction before scrawling off into incomprehensibility.  

 

2.  Owls

Fifteen-minute-long videotape. The opening six minutes are an elderly woman calmly discussing what she likes about owls. She is sitting inside a screened porch, at night, with only a small white-light lamp. She begins with discussing their ‘cute faces’ and ‘beautiful wings’, but gradually moves into describing their ‘heaving bulk’ and ‘wise piousness’.

At six minutes and fifteen seconds, an indistinct, horse-sized object moves past the screen behind the woman’s head, making no noise.

A minute later, she finishes talking, begins to cry, stands up and exits the porch, and does not return.

 

3.  Bronze Age Collapse

Two clay tablets written in Babylonic Cuneiform. Each has been carbon dated to c.3000 years old. Each is a poem.

The first poem describes a way to make bronze fragile involving ‘the sea-woman’s blessing.’ The second describes a phrase that, if read aloud, will inspire homicidal rage in listeners. The final word of the second poem is the word in question.

The tablets were found in the office of the former Professor of Archaeology at the University of Manchester in 1983. He had been beaten to death by four PhD students, all of whom are still currently in prison.

 

4.  The Rhine Chronicle

A long, winding chronicle written in Latin, presumably around the reign of Charlemagne’s son Louis the Pious. It was allegedly written by Wala of Corbie, judging by commentary from later documents found with the chronicle.

It discusses at length the appearance of a ‘white knight’ with a ‘glass face’ on the banks of the Rhine in the third year of Louis’ reign. The figure is described as being bulky, moving slowly, and carrying an unknown banner with red and white stripes and many white stars.

 

5.  Cats

A forum thread on AlternativeMedicineTalkspace, written by forum user ‘88Cats’, who has apparently been raised in the same household as 88 cats. Their parents are cat-breeders, although account suggest they also appear to be involved in community organising and various poorly described religious movements.

After one of the cats is killed when it is hit by a car, 88Cats comes to the forum to ask for a way to ‘help it’. Another forum user, ‘OpalCarnelian’, sends a detailed series of posts totalling around 50000 words, which describe a variety of rituals involving blood, gasoline, bones, invoking the name of various underworld gods and the disclaimer that the cat will not have the same personality when it returns.

One day later, 88Cats responds with ‘worked :)’ and closes the thread.

 

6.  Mona Lisa 1999

A semi-accurate forgery of the Mona Lisa, excepting the fact she is depicted with a cut throat. Collected from a large collection of paintings, some reproductions of older paintings, alongside a few original works depicting contemporaneous celebrities. All have gruesome wounds.

All living people depicted died within 3 years, usually in violent or tragic circumstance.  

 

7.   Neon Genesis Evangelion REDUX

A DVD supposedly produced some time around 1998. Depicts a heavily rewritten version of the cult anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion in which a number of primary characters are cannibals. The plot spirals into incoherence far earlier than in the original work, and characters often eat the large monsters felled during the episodes. The original audio appears to be in Portuguese, and the animation quality varies wildly.

The characters themselves don’t react to the internal incidences of cannibalism, and many are written as being happier or more stable than in the original series.

 

8.  17 Ways to Improve Your Life!

A VHS tape presumably intended as a self-help product, although produced by an amateur single-person team, as noted on the box. The primary speaker of the VHS is a woman with a south English accent. Identification is inconclusive due to the large rabbit mask she wears throughout the VHS. Each ‘episode’ covers a ‘method’ with which to improve one’s life.

They begin innocuously, as you may expect by now, with various tips about public speaking, comedic timing, and ways to make friends more easily. Episode 4 features the first instance of a monochromatic, featureless humanoid figure standing in the apartment.

As each episode passes, the speaker’s apartment becomes more dishevelled, the rabbit mask grimier and more threadbare, and the speaker herself more visibly emaciated. More and more figures begin to appear in the back of the shot, never moving or doing anything.

Around Episode 10, the host is lying prone on the couch, rabbit mask sideways on her head to look straight into the camera. She goes on a muffled rant about killing everyone who has wronged you and taking their things. Nineteen figures crowd around the couch.

Episode 11 is made up of ‘guest speakers’, that is to say, strung together clips of other self-help media.

Episode 12 appears to be filmed from a hospital bed. The host is visibly healthier, has a new rabbit mask, and a ‘co-host’, a young woman with a north English accent and a cat mask.

The remaining five episodes have a far lighter tone. No further figures appear in the woman’s apartment. The episodes move away from the self-help framing device into long, podcast-format discussions of how lying to yourself leads you down a dark path, and asking for help is crucial to improving your situation.

The final episode is filmed by both co-hosts in a new apartment. It’s mostly devoted to their new cat, Mr. Snuffles, and the positive qualities of the new apartment.

 

9.  Minutemen Meeting 2005

A six hour long .mov file recording a meeting in a small function hall. The file was recovered from FrontierJustice, an obscure forum that mostly contains amateur recordings of violent acts.

A flag on the wall suggests the meeting takes place somewhere in Arizona, although the primary speaker has an accent more consistent with Florida. The primary speaker remains unidentified. There are around fourteen subjects sitting in plastic chairs in the field of view, with at least six more off-screen.

The primary speaker gives a rambling, incoherent speech, mostly made up of castle doctrine ideology, anti-immigration rhetoric, racist dog whistles, nationalist quips and border patrol slogans strung together with little grammatical sense. The attendees clap enthusiastically whenever he pauses.

At 00:14:17, the primary speaker reaches behind him to a black violin case and produces an object. What the object appears to be changes on a frame by frame basis between a Smith and Wesson revolver, a flute, a matte-black crowbar and a square graphic imprinted directly onto the speaker’s hand.

At irregular intervals, never more than 5 minutes, the speaker says ‘how about a demonstration?’ and ‘shoots’ one of the subjects. The subject’s place on the screen is immediately replaced by extensive visual disruptions that render viewing the subject an impossibility.

The first six shots are accompanied by raucous applause, the last fourteen are met with silence, although the applause continues whenever the speaker pauses. At the end of the speech, the speaker walks into the visual distortions. The empty stage is all that is visible for the last hour and sixteen minutes of the video.

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