By Chef Ghost_Hit (Luke Hartwick)
//Original Title “I just found an old jump-drive left in one of the computers at the library. There are 28 files here documenting a psychology student’s “experiment;” changed to reduce length. Source
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.
Someone is knocking on our shack door. I am looking at the cameras right now; all four subjects are asleep in their rooms. Garett is brandishing a kitchen knife, and Edward is hiding in the room. Not only were we foolish enough not to point any cameras at the entrance to our hiding place, there are not even any windows here. And there is only the one door leading out.
I am suddenly imagining one of those above-ground kiddie pools, filled with blood instead of water. Imagine someone cutting into one of the walls and all of the gooey, coagulated blood washing out like a broken dam. That is what it will be like when the authorities find us in here, chopped up like little pieces of meat in a crimson stew. Sorry, I’m just a little scared. I’m supposed to be the one in charge here.
The knocking has stopped. It wasn’t very rough, like what you would expect it to sound like when the person knocking has come with the intention of flaying you alive. Now that I think about it, I am really bothered that we have no idea who was just on the premises of this place that is virtually in the middle of nowhere. This is only the fourth day that we’ve been here.
If we weren’t so busy going over all of the footage from Night 2 to early Day 3, we would likely have seen whoever was approaching on one of the tree cams. As if this is not enough, Edward had spilled coffee on the computer tower set up with the recording software. All we have left are live feeds. Whether it is me, or some deranged person outside the door, one of us is going to kill Edward.
A realization came to me suddenly: maybe the person knocking was the groundskeeper, coming back to check on us and make sure we’re okay. Having intimated this to Garett and Edward, I made for the door, only to be shoved onto the ground.
“I’m sorry,” Garett said. He seemed a little surprised at himself. I was too, honestly. I didn’t think he had it in him. “You can’t just open the door like that to a stranger out here in nowhere land, at 2:00 in the morning. Maybe it was the groundskeeper, or maybe it wasn’t. But if it was, I think he would have announced himself.”
He was absolutely right. This has prompted me to begin analyzing my state of mind more completely; with the participants behaving strangely yesterday, and now this knocking, I think I may be unwinding just a little bit. Edward piped in from the other room that maybe I need to take a little break from everything. As hard as I’ve been finding it to trust Edward again, I think he has a point. I have asked him and Garett to glue their faces to the monitors while I rest. They are, under no circumstances, to go outside until I am up.
Garett nodded, but Edward only gave a strange, grunting half-laugh from the bedroom. I shrugged it off. I am suddenly feeling exhausted.
I have just slept for 16 and a half hours straight. I didn’t think that was possible.
And if it is, why am I still tired… I must have come down with something. Altitude sickness or food poisoning maybe. I am still very tired.
Maxwell is gone. I’ve been up for two hours now and he is nowhere to be seen. Garett and Edward are fast asleep in their bedroom. They left sticky notes for me all over the monitor, but none of them mention Maxwell having departed. And we don’t even have the capacity to go over old footage anymore. Every day I lose more and more control over everything that is happening here.
I need to start getting things back in order. But this cannot begin unless I find Maxwell and get him back into the house. I can’t even imagine that he would have gone far from Aspen. There is one sticky note here in particular that Garett left.
“At least the Sexperiment is a success,” it read.
I looked up into the monitor and found Elija spooning with Tabitha in their own bedroom. Down on floor one of the eastern wing I found Aspen alone in a very large bed, cuddling with a pillow. Maxwell’s luggage was in the room with her. If he didn’t take his belongings, then it is highly unlikely that he has skipped out on the experiment.
Having decided that this was indeed an emergency situation, I called their cell phone, hoping to wake them up. It just rang on and on. Nothing seemed strange at first, because the ringing seemed to be coming through the monitor speakers. But something was off. I turned the speakers down and called again. I could still hear the ringing. Their cell phone is in the woods outside our shack.
Edward woke up first, so it was him that I sent outside to find the source of the ringing while I called it. Having found the cell, he stole into the mansion while the others were just waking up. I watched him make his way stealthily through the house, placing the phone on the kitchen counter before returning to the shack.
Garett is up. Him and Edward are acting very weird around each other. There is an obvious tension here. It needs to be resolved if we are to start taking proper steps to salvaging this experiment. From just a cursory glance at the monitors I can also see that the participants (if they can still be called that at this point) are utterly devoid of spirit. It seems that a chilly disposition has blanketed everything within the reaches of Rosewood Manor.
Aspen has taken to looking out the windows every so often. She seems utterly obsessed by something out there. Was it Maxwell? When Tabitha came into her room, they sat together and talked a little.
“Has it come again?” Tabitha asked quietly.
“I know you’re scared,” she pet Aspen’s head a little. “I am too. I’ve never been a big sister to anyone, but I can tell you need one right now. Whatever has been terrorizing us the past day and half may have just been some local teenagers. A lot of people know about this house. Maxwell didn’t have to…”
Tabitha broke off, looking directly into the cameras. Taking Aspen by the hands, she led her out of the room and only faint whisperings could be heard now from some unknown location.
As I look back over my entries I realize that up until this point, my notes have been quite off-topic. I don’t know where my direction has gone, but it seems to be penetrating inward rather than out to my experiments. Of course I was sick, but I have to wonder did I have direction before, or was this whole trip a mistake? I need to find out what my “assistants” know about Maxwell and the other participants. What has been terrorizing them while I was out cold?
All three of us have sat down to get back to zero. It turns out that Edward had gone outside while I was asleep. He claims that it was only because he was concerned about one of the girls, but from the look Garett is giving me, I don’t believe he is giving us the whole story.
“You failed to mention this sooner,” I scolded Edward. He did not seem phased. Garett and I have recently taken to wondering quietly amongst ourselves just how much Edward has been failing to mention; or how much has been slipping by him. “So I’m guessing those are your footprints in camera 23?”
He stared into the monitor for a long time before quietly saying that they were not. Camera 23 was pointing down the back-side of the west wing, whereas he had made his way around the east. But there weren’t just a few footprints. The place was covered in them.
“I’m going to have to go check this out myself now,” I said, grabbing my jacket. The thought did not altogether please me, but I felt as though I had reached a position of no other recourse.
Garett looked hard at Edward. The latter shifted uncomfortably. It was enough to draw my attention. I was getting frustrated. I demanded to know what really has been happening while I was asleep.
“Those are my footprints,” said Edward. “But not from this morning, and not from just one trip. I was just trying to keep the original spirit of our experiment alive… you know. The fear.”
Now highly interested, I sat back
[A small aside from Ghost_Hit:
That was all that was contained in the file for that day. It has obviously been tampered with or deleted. Below it is a folder entitled: 22 Auxiliary Edward. This folder contains four documents, all fragmented themselves. One in particular contains only a single word. They give little evidence about the time they cover, but from the name of the folder it may be safe to say that what is left therein covers the rest of Day 6.
I do not want to deprive those interested of anything I have access to, so I suppose I will just post the respective fragments down a line, as they appeared in the folder.]
22 Auxiliary Edward:
2. Edward’s biggest mistake was not his seizing the initiative,
3. symptomatic of an emerging sociop
4. Denial evident in
Edward was not supposed to be scaring them anymore. He was just supposed to be doing reconnaissance. They are becoming more adept at avoiding our planted microphones and video recorders. We will soon need a frank line of communication opened in order to get to the bottom of this mutiny.
In the meantime, Edward cannot be allowed to have free reign over this place anymore. He has gone and absolutely terrified Aspen and Tabitha. To top it off, he snuck out again last night, after confessing how sorry he was for his behavior during my illness. He went to terrorize the girls again. Elija, poor bold idiot that he is, was coming after him with a baseball bat when we found them on the cameras.
Edward is very lucky that Maxwell had just arrived back at the house when he did. Elija thought he was the one who had frightened the girls. Max looked wholly unconcerned about the bat or Elija’s exasperation.
“Where have you been, man?” Elija exclaimed. Edward, not more than ten feet away around the corner, took to hiding behind a large oak. “I thought that freak guy was coming after us again, but it was just you. What the hell have you been doing? Did you find-“
He looked at the camera and stopped. This was becoming very irritating. They seemed to be very aware of every camera location, like they had a map or something.
“I’ll tell you inside,” Maxwell replied lowly. “Let’s get out of view.”
Edward then started making his way back. I will no longer abide his mutinous, rogue behavior. He will not further jeopardize this study now… whatever that study may be. Perhaps, on another day, I can thank him for helping this experiment to take on the rather new and exciting direction it is headed. But this is not that day.
Finally, this experiment is back on track. I believe Edward has rather taken a liking to his new arrangement in the tool shed on the other side of the yard. Seeing as how he cannot afford to be noisy, for his own safety, it is the perfect situation for all of us. It’s just strange that the groundskeeper failed to mention that there was another shed on the property.
Uplifted from this turn of events, I was even able to get the participants on the phone and arrange a video interview with Aspen. She is seated in the Footage Room now. She has a considerable amount of makeup on, as though she is about to go on a date. Her blonde hair is elegantly curled, and her skin is absolutely glowing.
“Maxwell is back,” she smiled.
“Odd,” I said to Garett. He nodded. With Ed out of the picture, we had become somehow closer, conferring almost as partners now. “When did she start caring so much about him?”
“Must have finally hooked up together,” Garett said, grinning.
I gave him an appeasing smile, but I had other thoughts racing around my mind. I do not accept that this is the only explanation. It would hardly suffice for all of the other behavior modifications occurring around the board.
“Tell us about Maxwell,” I said into the microphone.
“Sorry,” she said, still smiling oddly. “Only Max can tell you about Max. I am not his keeper; I am not anyone’s keeper, nor their biographer. But I thought you might like to know we all did some talking last night. We think you will be pleased to know that we are ready to be good participants in your study again. Do you have any immediate requests, Master? Or shall we continue exploring our sexuality and compatibility?”
The power failed.
I’ve been thinking about the weird timing of their power failure, right as she said that. But more so, I’ve been thinking about being called Master. She did not sound patronizing, sarcastic or rebellious. Her voice was even, neutral. What was she thinking?
It is difficult right now to be excited about resuming exactly what we came up here to do. This does not feel normal anymore. However, there seems to be something new to discover here, of a most interesting psychological nature. I cannot put my finger on it yet. Garett and I both feel that it will present itself soon enough: the true discovery that was meant to be unveiled here in Rosewood Manor.
This morning we woke up to find that Maxwell was naked in bed, lying between both Aspen and Tabitha. Elija is also in the room, although he is sleeping with a small blanket on the couch near the window. Clothes are scattered all over the room as though they have been flung around at random. Suddenly the questions of Maxwell’s whereabouts during his prolonged absence are of the utmost importance to this experiment.
As stated briefly last night, the direction of this experiment is changing. All throughout the past four days I have been struggling to hang onto the threads of the original thesis, but that has proved almost impossible. This is partly due to a rogue assistant, partly for reasons that are quite beyond rational explanation at the moment and, moreover, due to my resistance of the inevitable change that was taking place. However, one thing is clear: the correlation between fear and memory lapses has become eclipsed by the emergence of more pressing circumstances.
-A/N- If you are reading this, Professor, you will have noticed that I have been slipping lately in my professional rigor. It is this observation of mine that has solidified my resolve to now redirect the analysis at hand in a direction more accommodating to the unusual behavior being elicited by the subjects. They are indeed mutinous. They are shifty and discreet. They are, in short, adapting to this place and to the continual terror. We have Edward to thank for this experimental evolution.
I am glad to say that I have put those weaknesses behind me. It is back to business a susual. -End Note-
I have contacted Maxwell on the phone. He has agreed to sit in the Footage Room with me in a few hours. More importantly, he has agreed to discuss what prompted him to leave the house, and why he has returned. But he did give one condition: I cannot inform any of the other participants of what he has to tell me. This is an odd request, considering that I have thus far discussed virtually nothing with the others. I hate to keep falling back to this one presumptuous thought, but Garett and I are both wondering if Edward does not have something to do with this insinuation.
After my phone call, all of the participants woke up and began preparing for their day. Aspen, Tabitha and Maxwell all got into the shower together. Elija did not. He went down the hall and used a different bathroom to get ready. What’s more, before they set off in different directions, Maxwell bent in to whisper something into Elija’s ear. Whatever it was, it seemed to disturb Elija greatly.
This may warrant an interview with Elija soon. Whatever may be happening, it is our belief that there must be a tiny strain of jealousy or bitterness within him about this change of events that will bring forth more of the truth. We are not highly confident that we will get the whole truth out of Maxwell alone.
Slowly, but surely, we will peel the layers back.
“I am only telling you this because I know that you won’t believe me,” Maxwell said.
There is something very different about his demeanor. No longer is there even a trace of that 18-year-old uncertainty, or that sexual yearning (obviously he has sated this, but the changes have obviously preceded the deed). At the same time, there is less vivacity in his face. His eyes are listless, heavy.
“Someone is here, in the yard,” he said. Thankfully he cannot see our expressions, because I couldn’t help but smile. “He has long, black hair and glasses. Wears these green corduroy pants and a baggy shirt. Pretty much every day.”
Maxwell has just described Edward. But one thing struck me in particular, ‘every day.’ I asked him just how often he saw this man in the backyard, and what kind of interactions they have had.
“He was the one who showed me the filled-in well on the third day we were here. It was really early in the morning. No one was sharing rooms yet, so I was alone when he came up to the window. Said he knew about my dream. That shit really freaked me out, man. Because he was spot-on.”
It is difficult to believe what we are being told. I was well aware that Edward had developed his own agenda once I had fallen ill, but for him to have been acting of his own accord since day three implies something very different, and very disturbing. But there has been enough investigating inside my own camp already. Whatever the case may be, it is taken care of.
“What well has he shown you?” I asked. “We see no well on the cameras. Is it where you all were grouped together on the afternoon of the third day?”
“No, that was just where the man told me to bring the others. It was then that he started telling us stuff about the history of Rosewood Manor. He says there is more to it than just the murder stories. Apparently he knew about the microphones, because he covered the one stuck to the tree he was at. I don’t think he wants you to know he is on the property.”
We are now sitting here in silence. There is so much more I need to know; so much more that it cannot be covered in just a video interview. I think the time has come for me to go there in person. I think I know now why they had wanted me to come in the first place. I feel guilty, very guilty. They must be terrified. That was the purpose, yes, but not like this. It was supposed to be in measured increments, but this is just chaotic terror.
“But where did you go for all of those days?” I asked.
“The guy with the glasses brought his friend to see me. I don’t know why, but I just followed him out into the forest… and I can’t tell you the rest, Patricia, I’m sorry.”
“Because I don’t trust you. Where are you? Who are you…”
“Okay. I guess there is no choice. I will be coming to see you guys soon.”
I did not need Garett to say his concerns aloud; I was already thinking of them myself. But this is the direction we are going; and I am going to follow this experiment until the end.
I have informed the participants that I will be arriving at the house later today. The best course of action still remains for me to sneak down unseen to the car and drive it back up. To walk on foot would raise suspicion; to reveal to them that we have been on the property the entire time would be the ruin of this experiment.
Although Maxwell has made it clear that Edward has had a rather disasterous effect on everything thus far, he seems at least to have refrained from giving up our positions.
For right now, the main thing is to clear the air at Rosewood Manor personally. In my absence, I have requested that Garett take up my post in documenting everything he sees. In fact, this has seemed to present a rather unique opportunity for a meta-analysis. I.e. an analysis of the Facilitator mingling with those who are being analyzed. I will soon be back in full control, and ready to take this research to even greater heights.
I am now departing. It is up to Garett to carry the torch until my return. I believe I should at least spend one night amongst the participants, for full immersion. It will only be then that they may start believing I have their best interests at heart, beyond the conditions of the experiment. I only hope that Garett can properly fill his greater role here.
I am going to immediately delete this file from entry after having uploaded it to the online backup. This is Garett. Patricia Hume is not who she seems. While we still trusted her, we handed our cellphones over to her, so we have no other way of communicating anymore. She has blocked all internet access, except for the online backup of the files. This was a huge mistake.
She has been gone for half an hour now, and I’ve had a bit of time to go through all of the notes she’s saved locally. I can’t believe the shit she’s documenting. Edward has done absolutely nothing. Patricia was not asleep on Days 4 and 5.
What’s more, She is not planning on driving the car up to Rosewood Manor. I saw her taking wire-cutters and a pointed rod she found in the tool shed After having knocked Edward out cold with a crowbar she brought along. I am afraid Edward may be suffering severe head trauma right now. Edward saw the warning signs sooner than I did and tried helping Max to escape, with the aid of the groundskeeper. Why did Maxwell return without help? Why did he return at all… The groundskeeper was supposed to have shown him how to reach town.
But more importantly right now, I believe she has taken those tools down to disable the car. All I can do to prevent the same fate as Edward is to pretend like I don’t know a fucking thing and just go along with what she says. After I upload and delete this, I will be forced to report like normal, so that she does not become suspicious. I have no idea how
She’s back. She turned around for something.
Patricia has arrived at Rosewood Manor on foot. The participants have just learned that her car has broken down on her return journey. Thus, she has been able to avoid any suspicion by the participants as to why she was showing up without a car.
She has brought quite a few bottles of alcohol, procured from where, I do not know. Seems like a good idea though. The participants seem to be a bit stand-offish towards her. Surely this night will mostly involve breaking the ice and easing them back into an open line of communication. I will keep you posted.
Patricia seems to be accidentally reaching spaces in the house with Maxwell that are not covered by the cameras or microphones. So too has the camera placed in bedroom #8 oddly begun malfunctioning. As “ill-luck” would have it, this is the room where Patricia has decided to bunk up.
It occured to me to contact her about this, but it seems she forgot to leave one cell phone with me before leaving. What an unpleasant accident. All communication seems to be severed unless she wishes to communicate with me.
Last night, after getting extremely drunk with the others, Aspen wandered around the mansion, looking into each room. She only had one slipper on, and she was still hanging onto a bottle of something brown. She went into a room, laid down on the bed, turned to the window and then rose to proceed to the next room. This went on and on until she finally entered Patricia’s room. The camera being out, I do not know what occured within, but Aspen did not emerge again as with the other rooms.
I observed Elija break away from Rosewood Manor. I watched his progress as he came closer and closer to our shack. Then I heard a knocking on our door. I did not answer; not even as he whispered through the locked door: “Master?”
The others have meanwhile begun getting intoxicated again. Patricia’s strategy of regaining the trust of the participants is proving quite successful. They seem to really adore her now. As they sit in the living room, the participants take turns kissing her forehead in some kind of ritualistic way.
Getting drunk again. Other lude acts. Nothing substantial. Elija has taken to wandering around the yard and engraving something into the tree trunks. I cannot get a good enough picture to see what it is.
Tabitha is in the bathroom, tearing her hair out by the roots one strand at a time. Aspen took the scissors to hers. She is almost bald now. On one side of her head, she cut so close to the scalp that she has actually opened a wound and started bleeding.
You guessed it. Drunk. I had no idea Patricia had packed that much alcohol for the trip. Could she have had a design of this type planned ahead of time? If so, she must be a genius. Not in an evil or devicive way; but in a glorious, beautiful kind of genius. All of the subjects, with the exception of Elija, are eating out of the palm of her hand.
They are still being a bit dodgy of the microphones and videos. I can only guess that this too is a part of the strategy by Patricia. One can only imagine what she is feeding them in order to rekindle this trust and belief. However, one thing is certain, the alteration of the subject of this experiment is quite unknown to me.
We seem to have abandoned the instilling of fear. We seem to have abandoned any meothodology at all. I say this not out of criticsm of Patricia, but of objective perception. I trust her decisions and her approach, whatever it may be.
Patricia and Maxwell have gone out into the forest. I followed them over the cameras down the side of the backyard opposite our own shack before I lost track of them. I waited. Meanwhile, Elija has slipped into the Footage Room. He seemed greatly distressed.
“Tonight,” he said, in a whisper. “12:00”
I can only speculate that this means he wants me to be ready to communicate with him in the Footage Room at midnight. Or maybe he is saying that something will happen at midnight. I can’t be sure.
They have Edward. Maxwell and Patricia are dragging him over the grounds towards Rosewood Manor. He is not moving, and he has a large sheet strapped around his whole upper-body. They dragged him into the mansion and disappeared around the base of the stairwell upon their entrance. I cannot see their progress anywhere else on the monitor.
I have just talked to Elija. There is a basement we were not aware of. Patricia revealed it to Maxwell. Elija doesn’t know if the girls are terrified into submission or are going along with this fucked thing, but they are pretending like nothing is happening.
“They dragged a guy in here,” he said. “Maxwell and Patricia seem to know him. There’s a big blood stain on the sheet that’s over his head.”
I told Elija to go now, before anyone found out what he was doing. I have had to make a difficult decision for myself, and for the sake of those in Rosewood Manor.
I am locking this door and no one is getting in. I will barricade myself in this fucking shack until I can get help to come and we get out of this place. Now that she took the car out of commission there’s no way I can hope to run away. I don’t even know what they did with the groundskeeper. One thing is certain, however. I will not give up this space without a fight.
Days 15-19 are completely empty .txt files. It is just now that I have realized: The tampering of these files has been on the end of whoever has been receiving them. Whatever is erased or altered, has been so from the one collecting the uploads.
The further I read and transcribe, the harder it becomes to handle the contents of this flash-drive. I can only imagine who this has belonged to. How have I come to be in possession of it now?]
Garet has performed splendidly. He has finally rejoined his old friend, Edward, in the basement of Rosewood Manor. I will now be moving my equipment into the mansion itself. The final phase of my experiment is prepared.
The participants have all reached the final stages of their conditioning. Max is digging up the old well as we speak. Aspen has grown quite fond of putting the smooth, rounded rocks in her mouth. Only Elija is uneasy. But Tabitha is taking care of our little baby boy for now; his role will come soon enough.
Perhaps you have been curious, Professor, exactly what has been going on. Garett proved to be just as incapable of describing our sessions as expected. I will sit with our participants tomorrow and assess their grasp over the changes to their being. It will be a comprehensive recapitulation.
I am quite convinced the hypothesis has been proven a hundred-fold. A great dose of fear has indeed had a tremendously negative impact on their ability to rationalize and remember all that has been happening here.
I had a dream last night that I was in a bright, warm room. The window was open and the sky outside was blue. Everything was quiet, except for me. I was sitting in bed, crying uncontrollably. My cheeks were soaked and the tears rolled down until they fell into my lap.
I felt a heavy burden of guilt in my stomach. It punctuated the warm, beautiful room like a black presence. Something was wrong with me. When I thought I was getting close to discovering what it was, I would wake up into another room, still dreaming. This went on for what felt like an eternity.
Now that I am awake, my face is still wet. The tears have slowed, but they still drip down sometimes. I do not know why, even in consciousness. Tabitha and Aspen are cuddled together, asleep on the couch in my room. This real room is nothing like the one in my dream. It is dark and freezing cold and filled with ebony masks on the walls, depicting all kinds of horrible expressions.
Why has Aspen mutilated her hair? Tabitha has none at all. There are splotches of red in places where it looks like the roots have been torn out. These are not the participants I chose. This was not the plan, I am sure. But try as I might, I am incapable of remembering exactly what the experiment was designed to prove before. What grand hypothesis was I even approaching… was it all an illusion?
Why am I even in the mansion right now, and not the shack? I awoke to find this laptop here, and I remembered that I am journaling. I do not know where my assistants are, but when I say their names in my mind, I can feel a mental door resisting my efforts to open it. I cannot see their faces, but there are visible traces of their existence in my memory. They are like chalk outlines at a murder scene. They seem to belong to the mind of another now.
More than anything, however, I would like to know what all of these awful voices are. It sounds like there is a banquet hall full of angry people outside my room, filling the mansion. I feel vaguely obligated to respond to them. Are they expecting me? I suppose I have only one choice. I will go out to answer them.
Maxwell finished digging the well. He found me, finally. Oh you should hear the roar and the splendor of the house as it greets me. Aspen and Tabitha are dancing around me, locking arms. We are watching Garett and Edward squirm now as they hang from the ceiling of the basement by their feet. They are still alive. But it is excellent how fucking squirmy they get once Tabitha and Aspen sing my songs to them:
“The pigs are hanging up to dry
The white has come to fill their eyes
Their throats will slice open wide
For the world to look deep inside
And Now we know
Now we know why
Our pearls are hidden from the swine”
I see great things in Aspen’s future. She knew so soon. Precocious little girl. She will be greatly rewarded. She knew so long ago that Master was here. And now I have truly come.
We can’t find that little piglet, Elija. He may be smart enough to know that his time has come. Hey may be able to tell by the sounds of the screams in the basement. I am sure even a naive 25 year old can tell the difference between the yells of a man being tortured, and the unconscious, primal shouts of a man inches from imminent death.
Still, Tabitha has somewhat displeased me. I told her not to raise the blade too far up when she impales the chest cavity. It is a hairsbreadth of a mistake that can result in the loss of a perfectly good Toy. And Edward was my favorite play thing. No matter. Down the well he goes. We still have Garett.
Maxwell is oddly dejected. I am concerned that he is not responding as well to the experiment as the two girls are. Still, he has already served his purpose. Perhaps we’ll string him up next if we can’t find Elija by sundown.
I saw my mother in a dream. It was warm again. We were outside and it was summertime and everything was okay again. I must have been five years old. She was pushing me in a swing on the playground. The other kids were laughing and playing with their parents too. And then I woke up.
I was awoken by a terrible pain. I found myself digging my nails into my own flesh. I was tearing at my arm so hard the skin is broken. But I wanted to stay. I wanted to live there in that dream. I don’t want to wake up anymore.
Elija truly did prove to be a cunning little piglet. He is smarter than I gave him credit for. He has been etching the names of everyone who has died here on the trees. How did he know the ritual? He must have been rooting around in the library. The Edmonds’ daughter hid her efforts of thwarting me somewhere in there. Still, it never comes to anything more than a silly game.
I can feel them now, their spirits. They are trying to pry Master from my heart, but I want him to live in me always. I will fight tooth and nail against anyone who tries to take Rosewood Manor from me.
Death will be too good for that little bastard once I find him.
It is interview day. Unfortunately, there seems to be no more scientific ground to break here, but we have made great leaps forward in certain other areas of study. This is the end result of what I have worked for. We are all in the basement now, sitting in a nice little circle like kindergarteners playing show and tell. My mind was too shallow before to comprehend that my original experiment was lacking across the board. This is where the real discoveries are being made. Surely I cannot stop documenting just on account of Master.
The subjects will tell you a little bit about themselves as of late. They no longer seem to know who they were, but that is where the great success truly lies. Look how far these creatures have evolved in such short time. They were the most pitiful souls before. Now, see what great servants of Rosewood Manor they have become.
Allow me to transcribe for you.
“Tell Master about our successes,” I have directed them.
“Rot in hell, bitch.”
-A/N- Eloquent, yet trite. I always adored this little piggy the most.
“Amghghgm Ammm mghghg”
-A/N- Just this morning I ordered her to cut her own tongue off with a knife in the kitchen. She followed orders without hesitation. A real soldier, that one.
“When the well is clear
We all will hear the most beautiful voice
come to cleanse the noise
of a destitute world.”
-A/N- Even now she is dancing as she sings. This one loves to entertain. I may keep her after all.
-A/N- Some servants must be sacrificed for the good of the household. This is the response a dead man gives. If only you could have heard what he had to say while we were scooping his insides out with our garden spades. I guess you could say we planted a seed of retribution in him.
Only the strong have survived the experiment. Only those with fortitude can live to serve Rosewood Manor. We were doubtful at the beginning, honestly, when we first started watching the participants. We did not think any of them would survive the experimental transformation required to become true servants. But we were mistaken. It is lovely that we have this all documented for you.
I sometimes wonder who you even are, reader. Who do these words reach? Do they compel you to greatness like those brave participants We have documented so thoroughly? I am sure this elusive Dr. Sandaval cannot be enduring any longer. He will have delegated the task of sifting through these files to someone else by now. I wonder did he ever give a shit about our experiment in the first place? I bet the only thing he cared about was how fast he could get our panties off every time we went to his office hours.
I may be Master, but Patricia is still me. And we remember E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. But who am I even talking to? I would love to know. I would love to understand what makes your insides tick, reader. What deep, dark places do you keep concealed beneath your many cheap surfaces?
Do you want to know how we did Maxwell? He tried trapping me back down there again. That little snake. I knew he would try to pull something like that eventually. Of course everyone thought he was such a hero at first when he killed the groundskeeper and kept Master happy. But we knew from the moment we first laid eyes on him: he didn’t have the stomach for what was to come. Not like Aspen, whom he was not even worthy of licking her feet.
As punishment, we broke him in, like the way you break down a collapsible lawn chair. We snapped his arms and legs and folded him into a nice little package and tipped him down the well. He was still alive. Might even be alive right now. It is not so deep. Maybe I will go see if he is still screaming down there, with his arms and legs crumpled up beneath him like a dead spider.
Am I dreaming now? I feel warm. It is pitch black outside, but the warmth from the dream is inside of me again. I can see my parents’ faces. If you ever see this, mom and dad, I love you. I love you so much, and it kills me that you will never be able to love me again after this. I hope you know that I fought every step of the way.
Please God let this be reality. Please don’t let this be a dream. I want it to be over. I want everyone to know what this place is. Aspen and Tabitha are gone. I could not let them go on like that. I have fought and struggled to see clearly, and I can finally see that they are such pitiful creatures. I had to end their lives.
At least Tabitha was willing. She looked so grateful when I raised the knife over her. She bore her chest as though she would impale herself on it if I could not. Aspen was harder. She squirmed away from me like a rat, running and looking back with those unseeing, charcoal eyes.
I had to tell her Master wished it. Master wished for her to end everything. Was it not a dream? It could not have been reality, none of this can possibly be so. And yet, I watched her do it. I felt the cold ground biting into my feet as I followed her to the unearthed well. I felt the vomit spill over my chin as I grew nauseous, yet refused to avert my gaze from the sight of her stuffing the smooth, water-worn rocks down her throat until she could not breathe any longer. She was a soldier until the end.
And now, the sirens are coming. They are a lullaby. They are singing me to sleep, along with all of the bleach I just drank. I can almost remember the humble beginnings of this experiment. I had the best intentions; I had so much zeal to see into the human psyche. But what I have found there is a chasm desperate to be filled: with love; with hatred; with religion; with doubt. With fear. I have seen into the well of the soul. It is bottomless. It is corruptible.
But who am I really to say these things? What do I know… I can’t even tell you when the corruption in me began. It was long before we arrived here. It carried me to this place. It ensured that I would find a way. I do know that I am sorry. Deeply sorry. And I no longer have a place in this world. I may never have had a place to begin with. But at least now, I can die with the warmth in me. I can die knowing exactly who, or what, I am.