Correlations Between Fear and Memory Lapse
A Field Analysis
In lieu of a research paper, I have chosen to conduct a field study involving four test subjects. Each is of a different age and is paired with another of the opposite gender: Elija, male, 25; Tabitha, female, 25; Maxwell, male, 18; Aspen, female, 18.
All four subjects have been lied to about my purposes with this experiment. This is to ensure that none of them go into the assessment with preconceptions about their own belief systems regarding concepts of death and the afterlife.
They have been told that this is an experiment about sexuality and compatability. All four will be in a large mansion (approx. 16 bedrooms, atop 20 acres of densely forested land) and paired up according to their ages in a bedroom of their choosing.
I have been completely forward in explaining to them that the house will be full of hidden cameras and microphones. However, what I did not tell them, is that there is a small shack within the acres of forested land that will be locked. Two helpers and myself will be staying there for the duration of the experiment. From there, we will be emulating a terrifying (haunting, if you will) experience for the participants by venturing to the house when possible. I was very careful in my selection of two discrete, serruptitious troublemakers.
As you can already tell, I am writing this study as it is happening. This is for a most disturbing reason; however, one that I, and the other participants, are all willing to risk. The Rosewood Manor has seen a slue of murders involving the house's successive owners over the past 20 years. Five families in all have met their fate here. Of course it is only speculation, but popular belief holds that the murders have all been committed by the same man, who will continue this tradition until the end of his days.
We have done enough research to find that the house's occupants have all dwelled in the house for at least five months before being murdered. The numbers vary, however the minimum of five months would seem to give us the cushion room needed to conduct this 4-week trial. Thus, the unusual present tense style of this paper is, as all things, a product of circumstance. Surely there is nothing to fear, but one can never be too careful.
When asked by the test subjects, 'why I needed this mansion to conduct a sexuality experiment' I told them that we needed a lot of room for the experiment to be viable. The 18 year old subjects accepted this premise, but the older participants were still skeptical. This was one of the primary purposes for having the different age groups in the first place.
We expect that, under conditions of duress, the older subjects may retain more accurate memories of the experiences. Being older and more acquainted with the ways of the world, their skepticism of haunting things is expected to offer a kind of protection against memory loss from overwhelming stimuli. In other words, the less they believe, the more they will remember. This is the crux of the experiment.
The main body of this paper will therefore consist of journal entries updated day-by-day, all documenting the findings. And each journal entry will be uplinked to an online backup file. In the event of a most inconvenient death, my findings will still be available by the time it is discovered that I may not be returning.An Aside - Once again, Professor, thank you for giving me leave from your class for a month in order to conduct this research project. Unfortunately my other instructors have given me stacks of work that will need to be completed upon my return, but that too is a small price to pay for this unique opportunity.
-A/N- Dr. Sandoval, if you are reading these uploads before I have had the opportunity to edit them back home, then please note that what you are seeing is not the body proper of my report. As it turns out, my Loveable assistants are actually incapable of performing the technical duties I specifically vetted them for. Thus, we cannot upload direct footage. So some of this information will be cataloguing of empirical data, complete with subjective commentary. This is just for archival purposes. -End Note-
All four participants are currently intoxicated. Already it is obvious that they are fully convinced that this is indeed a study in sexuality and compatibility. In the living room Tabitha (25) and Aspen (18) are seated together upon a couch. On the floor in front of them Elija (25) and Maxwell (18) are having a contest to see who can do the most pushups. Maxwell took his shirt off after the third shot of whiskey, eliciting howls from the girls and jealous peaks from Elija.
However, seeing as how this is in fact Not the purpose of our field study, I have sent my assistants, Garett and Edward, in to 'fix' the mood in Rosewood Manor.
This day had begun with the right atmosphere of uncertainty, before they found the alcohol. To further instill the illusion that the participants are completely isolated, I met with the groundskeeper yesterday and took care of all the accommodations. I handed him a check from my parents for $2,000, a month's rent here. He said that the bank was happy even to receive this amount, considering that no one has been interested in the house since the last murders.
Thus, with everything settled beforehand, the participants arrived completely on their own today, not even sure where to put their luggage. I have allowed one cellphone between all four, which they promptly used to call me; which I promptly declined to answer. This would all have worked towards a sentiment of constant foreboding, had it not been for the one bottle of liquid courage I left for them.
After knocking back a few drinks, you would have thought the mansion was their family inheritance. But I digress. Garett and Edward have almost reached the house now.
We took it easy on them tonight. Garett positioned himself so that he could be seen through the living room window, silhouetted against the pillar lights from the gates. Meanwhile Edward had reached the front door and began tapping on it, increasing slowly in volume.
"Quiet," said Aspen. "There's a weird sound."
They were all in the kitchen, sitting around the counter on barstools. By now the tapping had gotten loud enough for me to hear through the monitor.
"Do you hear that?" Tabitha asked the others.
All exchanged concerned glances, except for Elija. Perhaps seeing an opportunity to gain back some degree of machismo in front of the girls, he puffed out his chest and went to the door. Both girls eventually started tiptoeing after him. Maxwell remained in the living room. Looking around nervously, he spotted Garett's shape through the window and gasped aloud.
Maxwell went running towards the others and proceeded to bring them back into the living room to make a scene. He showed them to the window, but I had already radioed Garett to return. Max was ridiculed for being a "scaredy cat" by Aspen, his assumed sexual mate. This had a visibly debilitating effect on him.
I have contacted Maxwell and asked him to do a video recap in the Footage Room concerning what had happened last night.
"I saw a monster last night," Maxwell said into the camera. "A big fucking monster that was carrying a big sword." He pantomimed unsheathing a broadsword. "It looked at me and it had two big glowing eyes. I don't know about this place, man. We're supposed to be getting laid here but I'm getting bad vibes. I woke up in the middle of the night and heard the girls' voices in the backyard. They were saying something has dried up. Bone dry or something."
Curious about the last part, I asked my assistants if they had gone back to the house after I fell asleep. They did not. It can only be assumed that he did not hear the girls, but was rather deluded by another self-deception along the same lines as the "demon monster" he had claimed to see while drunk.
"I mean the only chance I have of getting lucky is with alcohol," Maxwell continued. "But you only left us enough for last night."
Indeed I did. I ought not to have left any at all.
This whole confession of his would have served as a vast step forward for my hypothesis, had it not been for the effects of alcohol. This was further reinforced by Tabitha's interview later, in which she described the tapping sound as more of a clawing noise- like someone was scratching long nails down a chalkboard. Thus, we were given two absurd testimonies, distorted by a little fear and a lot of liquor.
That is, unless the noise I heard was not the same noise they were hearing. However implausible this obviously is, it is worth noting alternative lines of reasoning when they present themselves.
Aspen and Tabitha are bathing in the communal bathroom on the third floor, west wing. They have described to each other a dream that they both claim to have had last night; not for the camera, but for themselves in conversation. Although not identical, their dreams are similar. They described going out to a well that had sprung up behind the mansion, and that they had dipped a bucket down to collect water, but brought forth only sand.
Could this be further consequence of the alcohol?
Rather, it may be more logical to assume that one of the two is exaggerating the truth of her dream. Sometimes when placed in isolating situations, social creatures can overextend themselves in attempts to reach common ground with those few individuals that are available to them. I.e. pretending to have common experiences that have never actually happened to them.
Having received a hangover day of rest and recuperation, the real experimentation now begins.
Today the participants will be venturing out into the 20 acres of forested yard. These orders were met with unanimous disapproval. Maxwell was the most disturbed, perhaps because of his encounter with "monster." But being amongst the females, he did not expound upon his fears.
I have given instruction for each pair (again, Elija and Tabitha; Maxwell and Aspen) to set out on opposite ends of the manor before marching back through the forest. They are to find the blue and red flags I have hidden for them and then return home. The facetious reason I provided was that this is a trust-building exercise.
However, what we have really prepared for them are landmarks complete with slight traces of fake blood (just enough to evoke a concerned curiosity), scraps of torn clothing and a couple fire pits that will have just been put out, still emitting wisps of smoke into the cold. All the signs necessary to make them believe that there are unseen others amongst them indefinitely. I'll post the results by 5:00pm tonight.
They have all stopped. They are all gathered in a circle directly behind the house. I can't see what they are surrounding. I don't know if I should risk sending Edward in. It is in a place where the cameras won't swivel to directly.
Maybe they are just too afraid to go farther. I will give them another thirty minutes to decide what they will do before calling.
I called their cell. Tabitha was the one who picked up. I told her I could see on the cameras that they weren't moving. I asked what they were doing.
"Come here," she said.
"What?" I was a little nervous. Did they know I was there? "No, Tabitha."
I heard a shuffling noise. Now Aspen was on the phone.
"We have something to show you," she said.
She didn't sound frightened, or perplexed. Her voice was even and collected.
"I can't," I said. On the monitor I could see Edward inching as close as possible in the surrounding bushes. Too close; he was almost too close. "That would interfere with the experiment, you know that. Besides, I'm over 50 miles away."
"She said she can't," Aspen was saying to the others.
"Aspen, why aren't you guys going to find your flags?" I asked. "What did you find?"
"Come on," she was still talking to the others. "Let's just go back inside."
I saw her close the phone through the video feed. They stood huddled there for a few more minutes, and then turned to walk back to the house together.
Garett and Edward are both back. Garett knew nothing of what had happened, as he was making the last preparations in the wilderness. But Edward had gone in to investigate where the participants were standing. He says there is nothing there. Not even an upturned stone.
Meanwhile, all four participants are in the master bedroom. Aspen is going through a large, ornate closet. Tabitha and Elija are sitting close to each other on the bed, and Maxwell is looking out the window. No one has spoken to each other for several hours, unless the microphone feeds have been broken for some reason.
I find myself thinking the only way to keep this experiment on track is to go back down the road and drive my car back up, as if I was just coming to visit. We had left it hidden on a dirt road turn off about a mile down the hill. But then a strange thought occurred to me. Tabitha and Aspen said they wanted me to come. And now, they are behaving in a way that is making me feel compelled to come.
What kind of design is this? I need to know more before I contact them again, and before I make any decisions. We are going to focus all of our efforts on reviewing the footage and audio recording from yesterday afternoon until right now. Hopefully we will have something tangible to go off of by tomorrow. Some explanation. Perhaps they are simply having second thoughts about the experiment.
If that were the case, I would think they would tell me. There is more to this.