Monday, July 19, 2010

Final Phase - The Ghost in the Fog

There is a point where the boredom of surrounding your head with televisions tuned in to static melts away. After fighting it off for so long, you resign yourself to the world around you. Your mind blanks for a while, elements of focus are all lost. The static blots out your eyes and stuffs your ears full.

When I came to my senses again, regained the ability to think and focus, it first came as an extreme awareness of the static itself. The television above me, I saw, moved its static like an extreme fast-forward of cells dividing under a microscope, constantly organically reproducing outward. To my left, the television static grew like fireworks. To my right, it moved like mud in a swirling current. Behind me it flashed around and I got the impression that it was like 30 different frames of static, flipping in a sequence faster than I could track. I heard the static differently as well -- one flat and calm, one sharp, one wavering in and out.

After some time of this, I found my thoughts plodding along, occasionally leaping from here to there. It's difficult to recall exactly what went on in my head. I thought about everything I could, all of it seemed to connect. I thought about my grandfather, my family, the church I grew up in, dogs, amoebae, whales, dentures, heartbeats, angels. In my head, I wrote the first chapter of a novel, in a fleeting frenzied pace -- like the words in your head when you're on the fringe of sleeping, or waking up from a dream of isolation, the ones you draw out to gorgeous, thrilling conclusions, one word birthed perfectly from the last, convinced you will remember them without writing them down. Of course, you never do. I wanted so badly to be spoken to.

When my roommates returned home, they found me motionless on the floor, head in TV's, flooded by white noise. I couldn't hear them enter or feel their footsteps. They stopped at the edge of the room, ready to call 9-1-1. Finally one of them decided to check my pulse, snuck in and grabbed my ankle. I woke up, energized, ready to tell them all about it. But when I sat up, any ghost I'd known inside that box stayed there. There was nothing to say, just the maniacal gaze of a man who had invented a masterpiece, the haunting thirst to take it further.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The First Session - In Search of a Ghost

I couldn't tell you exactly what it was I wanted to see when I went in the first time, ghosts, I suppose, but I knew it wasn't the reality. I didn't know what I would see. But laying there, seeing nothing but static, hearing nothing but static -- I began in a maddened state and how dramatically it escalated. I couldn't do anything but cackle, harrowing peals louder than I've ever laughed. Lex Luthor may have laughed this way when he discovered kryptonite. I don't know how long this hysterical laughing went on. One minute? Ten? Twenty? But eventually I settled my self-pleasure down to a calm grin.

I wonder if maybe the laughter was a kind of defense against the wall of static in my ears, because the moment I ceased to laugh it struck me, unbearably. The sound of the static pierced and flooded my ears, overwhelmed my brain. For a while it was difficult to stay in there. Everything tells you to leave, your body cringes against the sensory assault. This phase, I term the Exposure Phase. I've noticed that it has held true in all subsequent trials.

After a few minutes you eventually acclimate and the environment actually becomes somewhat comfortable. The next several minutes are spent fighting boredom. It becomes like staring at a blank wall, in silence. This is the hardest phase, without administration, to get beyond and few do. I call this the Barrier Phase.
Through the first two phases, I estimate (though this is difficult with distorted sense of time, variability between participants and no equipment to unintrusively monitor thought) approximately 8-10 minutes.

The beginning of the final phase, TV Therapy's proper form, is noticeable first as a wash of calm, and then a deep interest in your surroundings. Patterns in the static, heretofore unseen, become apparent. Variations in the white noise also become apparent. For all intents and purposes, entering this final phase, the outside world is non-existent. What follows from this point on has proven dramatically different for each and every participant.

Next: Final Phase - The Ghost in the Fog

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Birth of TV Therapy

About two months ago, I was sitting alone drinking in my living room waiting for my roommate to come home while listening to "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters. On repeat. For roughly an hour. Then the internet went out, and suddenly my lonesome rocking out seemed terrifyingly sad. I desperately fought for a diversion against the booze setting in and spinning me around to the realization I'd just spent an entire hour listening to "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters.

I glanced over at two TV's that were facing each other (I own a total of 10) and the thought of seeing a ghost in the static rushed to mind -- I remembered seeing a paranormal show when I was little about pausing recordings of TV static to find ghostly faces. This then led to me leaning the TVs against each other while I laid underneath, determined to see ghost static in real-time. Three or four times, however, the TVs collapsed on my face, and I realized a more structurally sound apparatus ought to be built.

As mentioned before, I own a total of 10 TVs, so gathering the raw materials was no hurdle. I placed three of the TVs in an open square shape, screens in, then placed a fourth on top, screen facing down. I knew an actual structure would have to be built at some point, but this proved sound enough to stop TVs from hitting my face. This will be known as version 1.0. With v-1.0 constructed, I was ready to begin looking at ghosts, and with all 4 screens tuned in to static and the volume turned up I laid down for my very first session of what I came to call TV Therapy.

Next: The First Session - In Search of a Ghost