Friday, April 29, 2011

Keeping it together. Mostly.

"Singing without tongues.
Screaming without lungs.
I want more than a Lonely Nation.
I want more than a Lonely Nation.

"Desperate - we are young.
Separate - we are one.
I want more than my desperation.
I want more than my Lonely Nation."




I have been all kinds of depressed and anxious for the past few days, and I know the blame doesn't lay entirely with final exams. Just turned in my penultimate essay, by the way. The very last one is due on the 5th, and then I'm done for the summer. Goodie, I can finally focus on supernatural troubles rather than mundane ones. -_-

I was starting to feel slightly better yesterday. Now I'm just numb. I'm crying, but... I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to fucking talk about it.

Instead, I'm going to do the stupid thing and bury my emotions. Because god knows that's worked so well for me in the past, right?

Here's what I was almost finished writing yesterday. I finished it today, and I'm just going to leave it as is.


When you feel like your entire life is spiraling out of your control, it's a natural instinct to reclaim control of something. Usually that something is trivial and mundane, but for you, it becomes a lifeline. Some even get irrationally wrapped up in their lifeline, but that is usually not advised. A commonly known practice of this idea is anorexia - as Sage mentioned to Cynthia the other day, it's not about being thin, it's about having control over their own bodies when control of everything else is slipping away. Cynthia controls her own blog. Hell, so do we all. But I personally recommend something a hell of a lot more informal. And, come to think of it, a lot simpler.

Just have some fun. If you can actually accomplish it without tossing yourself into an unnecessary guilt trip, there's no greater slap to the senses, no better way of cleansing accumulated baggage. What it essentially is is a reminder that It is not at the center of your existence, and therefore does not have the level of control over your life that It'd like you to think It does.

The thing of it is, you are always at the center. You are always in control. It will try to hedge your decisions around with circumstances and threats, and It will get inside your mind and make you forget your own autonomy. But this is one of, if not the most important think you have to remember in life: the choice is always yours.

No one is ever forced into anything. Nobody does anything they don't want to do. But it's so, so easy to forget this.

Hence this post: the best way to remember that your life is your own is to make it your own by doing something you enjoy. Like saying, "Y'see, universe? I chose the position I'm in because I know I can handle it. Watch me prove that I'm perfectly capable of living my own life while I do it. And guess what else? I choose to survive this ordeal too."

If nothing else, having fun is an excellent way to relax. Being wary is all well and good, but you start making bad decisions when you're tense. Or worse, you become afraid to make any decisions at all.

But I recommend fun as a way to reaffirm your control over your life. It'll mellow you out and make you forget your troubles. Kind of like alcohol, except without the liver damage.

Well there is one other difference: alcohol will do all the work for you, but you need to actively try to have fun. Still, I recommend it to people below the drinking age, or those - like myself - who choose not to drink. I know it may seem bizarre right now, but if you can, it really does help.


...And that's what it was. God, it feels so shallow right now, but I'm gonna do it anyway. I need to do something.

Finally got the call I've been waiting for last night. About damn time, too; some people just insist on "handling things on their own"...not that I have any right to talk, I suppose... But fuck it. Eldritch Abominations and the loss of a truly good person aren't going to stop me from visiting a friend in need. I've got my DVDs, a few board games, and Kingdom Hearts 2, and I'm heading out tomorrow afternoon. At this point, I probably need this almost as much as Kay does.













He was my hero. My inspiration. Reading about everything he went through, everything he triumphed over... It's because of him that I finally got the courage to speak up, to help people, to try.

Now he's gone. And my last words to him were, "It's never that easy."

Monday, April 25, 2011

WTF

"How come you just want to hurt me?
How come you just want to push me?
I can't ignore you anymore.
What do you want from me?!"


Okay, it's a new day. I'm not over my angst, but Sage is right about one thing: should-haves and might-have-beens are the stupidest things anyone could possibly waste time thinking about. Whatever else could have happened, what's done is done, and there's nothing left but to deal with it.

The fact of the matter is, something... slightly abnormal is going on. Mainly revolving around this... thing. This comment I received a couple nights ago. I mean, I don't even allow anon comments, so I don't think it's a troll. Plus, the details are a bit... well, just take a look.
Anonymous said...
 
Who are you? 
 
They tell me of you. An upstart. Trivial, meaningless, nothing. You are nothing. I have heard, but I cannot see. 
 
I cannot see you. 
 
Where are you? 
 
The other one sees you. The girl, the one with such delicious thoughts in her mind. 
 
She who belongs to me. 
 
You are with her, always. The thought of you has caged her dark desires, her true self, the abyss. No more. 
 
You are nothing. But even a fly can become a nuisance. 
 
Make no mistake. 
 
I cannot see you. 
 
I cannot find you. 
 
But I can still reach you. 
 
 
Regards,

Timestamp: eleven minutes to midnight. Cute.

Michelle is of the opinion that, if it is indeed Slenderman who posted this comment, that It saw me inside her mind and decided to remove me in order to get to her - hence my little adventure with Morningstar yesterday. It makes some sense, I suppose; Michelle has stated outright that she considers me to be a sort of Morality Chain (though I really doubt she needs my input anymore, regardless of what RT thinks of her stability), the comment was apparently posted just after she had her "encounter" with It, and she did say she felt something go through her.

However, I have a few problems with this. As I've said before, Morningstar has been tossing idle threats at me for a while. Even if it somehow was because of Michelle that Slender decided to take more of an interest in me (and, aside from Morningstar himself, I've seen no evidence of that), the events of Sunday morning would have happened anyway.

Also... one little portion of this makes me particularly annoyed.

So. You think Michelle belongs to you? In the words of Stella McKenzie, "No. Fuck that. With a rusty shovel." Once I saw this stupid comment, we spent hours checking all kinds of possible indicators, and guess what? There's nothing hollowed about her. She's no more insane than she's always been, and I happen to like her that way.

I do have some thoughts about the... other stuff mentioned, but... I'll keep that to myself for the time being. Since it's not even entirely confirmed who this comment is from, there's no point in speculating just yet. And... no, there's no point in speculating anything.


I suppose that, when all's said and done, not much has changed for me. I'm still here to do what I can, while I can, just now someone I help happens to be a close personal friend. I'll keep going, just like I always have. And we'll watch each other's backs. Nothing more to it.

Well... okay, that's a lie, there's a lot more to it. But it's all my brain can safely process right now. 



Addendum: Well damn. The computer thinks it's a representation of god. This... could get interesting.

Additional Addendum: Oh, fuck.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

No...

You know... I had a feeling from the beginning that going by my regular handle was probably a bad idea, but I figured, what harm could it do? I wasn't planning on going on fucking adventures, I wasn't planning on drawing attention to myself. I just wanted to help people. I just wanted to do what I can, while I can. I knew I would put myself in danger eventually, but I knew that, I had accepted that. I thought it wouldn't matter.

My mentality is a funny thing. I spend most of my time alone, even from my family. My mom always complains that she only sees me about once a week, even though I live at home. It... It gets to the point where I really do think I'm as isolated as I act. I start thinking that nothing that happens to me can affect the people I care about.

What a laugh that is, huh? I'm arrogant enough to think that I can help strangers, but it never occurred to me that I might also be arrogant enough to think that I wouldn't hurt my friends.

It's my fault. All of it. And now I'm dragging my best friend down with me.

Oh god, Michelle, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

I Am Not Left-Handed

I am slightly tempted to pull a Redlight and post some lyrics from Poker Face up here... but I'll settle for the reference in the title and leave it at that. The Princess Bride pwns Lady Gaga any day of the week anyways.

I feel... accomplished. And somewhat giggly, but I'll assume that's the adrenaline high. I literally just got home from... whatever today was. o_O

---

I had decided to spend the day at the campus library because finals are coming up and I had opted not to shell out for several of the textbooks I now need. Not to mention the internet at my house is... somewhat unreliable lately. -_-

It was about when I reached Cooper Street that I realized I was being followed.

Now, I try to avoid unnecessary paranoia, but unidentified stalkers raise alarm bells even in normal people, let alone... well, you know. So, standard procedure: make random turns and see if the stalking is intentional.

Long story short, it was. And I didn't want to stick around and find out why.

I ducked behind a fence and quickly made my way up a side alley. This being a Sunday, there weren't many people out and about, and those who were gave me strange looks as I passed. At least, I think they did. Either that, or said unnecessary paranoia was kicking in. But I kept my head down and tried to look unnoticeable. I started to round the corner when...

"Well well, if it isn't Haku-chan."

Oh yeah. Major fuck.

For those wondering, Morningstar has pale blond hair and pale blue eyes... everything about him looks washed-out, essentially. Tall, but not that much taller than me; I'd peg him at about 5'10 or 5'11, and probably average build. Somewhat pointed features, sort of. And always smiling. He never - stops - smiling.

I'm proud to say that my brain hadn't yet completely checked out, however; I had considered this possibility as soon as I noticed someone following me.

"Excuse me?" I said, doing my best to look and sound incredulous/confused. Our favorite Quisling, however, just smirked even wider.

"You really shouldn't have posted a video of yourself, little girl," said Morningstar. "Your voice is rather distinct."

I fucking ran.

He took his time in chasing after me, the bastard, but it didn't do much to alter the distance between us. And then... I can't even remember the number of turns I took, or how I wound up where. I am not a physically fit person, by any means, but fear is a funny thing. Interesting discovery of the day: going weak-kneed from fear is not actually weakness, it's trembling from pent-up energy. The whole fight-or-flight mechanism thing, y'know?

And I know I said before that I wasn't really afraid of Morningstar, and I'm still not. Not really, anyway. But... I won't deny I was afraid of what he might do to me. I liked him a lot better when he was on the other side of a computer screen.


Three realizations made things difficult for me:

My cell phone had died in the middle of the night; whoop-de-friggin-doo.

It was Sunday, so there were fewer guards around campus. Whenever I tried to go to where I thought one might be, Morningstar cut me off.

I couldn't head back home, or he'd follow me and find out where I live, and I absolutely COULD NOT lead him to my workplace. Top priority, right there.

...Well, okay, four realizations. Priority number two: Morningstar must be caught, not killed. And he must be caught properly the first time.


I actually did succeed in losing him a few times though, I remember that. The first one was in the nearby garden with the Peter Pan statue. I ducked into the trench around the white building in the center (what is that thing anyway, a mausoleum??) and ran in the opposite direction as soon as Morningstar passed. There were dead leaves around, though, and he heard me. I know because I heard him start to laugh and skip after me.

Yes, skip.

He really likes it to be known how crazy he is.


Shortly after I found myself around by the pedestrian tunnel. Well, not in the tunnel, but in the parking lot near it. This one was really more of a temporary respite, actually, since there were astoundingly few cars to duck between, this being a Sunday, and all. But the goal with this one wasn't to hide, it was to lead Morningstar far enough away that I could hit the button on the Emergency Call Box (one of those red pole-looking things with the blue light on top used to contact campus security) as I passed it... without him seeing me.

I don't think he saw me, but he was definitely still following me, so I ran inside the nearest building, which happened to be Armitage Hall. We had been running around long enough by now that I could, hopefully, end it. I took the only working elevator up to the fourth floor, and then stuck a nearby classroom chair between the elevator doors so they couldn't close. This would force Morningstar to go up the stairs, which are on the opposite end of the building.

The offices on the fourth floor were completely deserted, but even better, even though the single hallway is a completely straight line, the offices themselves are ajoined in weird ways that make them difficult to search by hand.

Since stairs are on the opposite end of the building to the elevator, I hid in the set of offices that was second-nearest to the elevator. The offices themselves were all locked, so I could only hide behind some furnature in the shared waiting room between them.

Oddly enough, I heard him coming only a minute or so later, which seemed like a dumb move on his part. Suppose I had only gone to the second floor? I could have made my escape while he was still two levels above me. But anyway.

This was the hardest part of the plan: waiting for him to get close enough.

Again, he took his time. He kept whistling... something. I couldn't tell if it was showtunes or cartoon themes, or maybe he was just making noise. He does seem to like doing that, 'cause I also kept hearing these loud thumping noises. I later learned that he was hurling knives against the office doors and pulling them out again as he passed.

"Y'know," Morningstar said loudly, "I get the feeling Father only gave me this job as a punishment. He knows I'm a violent person, and He knows I would like nothing more than to strap you to some train tracks, and what does He give me? Fucking recon."

I blinked. Recon?

"Oh come on, I know you're up here!" he shouted. "Get up high and bullshit like that. You honestly think that actually works?"

More thumping. I kept silent, but I could tell he was getting closer.

"I'm supposed to be a good little proxy and tail you without even letting you know I'm here." -thump- "Best way to gain information, or so they say." -thump- "I happen to disagree, of course." -thump- "I prefer a much more hands on approach..." -THUD-

I took a chance (praying there were no creaky floorboards) and moved from my hiding spot to glance out the window. A couple of uniformed guys were heading toward the Call Box. It was almost time.

"But what do I know, right?" Morningstar laughed. "Personally, I figured that, since you and I are such good friends and all, we could bend the rules a little bit - go out, have a drink, chitchat about the merits of crushing individual limbs versus simply tearing them off... You know. The simple stuff."

Morningstar was practically outside the door. I was about to move into position when...

"Valerie," he said in a suddenly quiet voice. "I know you have no reason to believe me, but... I really do just want to talk. He... The Master won't get out of my head, he won't leave me alone. I can't... I can't think anymore. I need... I..." He paused. "Please. Won't you just come out and talk to me?"

...I wanted to believe him. I wanted so goddamn bad to think he was being sincere. But you know how I said before that I'm good at reading people? Well, Morningstar is good at reading people too. He knew exactly what I wanted to hear and gave it to me. And inwardly, I saw, he was laughing at me. If he did actually want to talk, which I doubted, it wasn't his freedom he wanted to talk about.

And even if it was, I wasn't stupid enough to think that the fourth floor of a deserted building, with him holding a knife, was a good place to do it.

At a police station with three inches of bulletproof glass between us, on the other hand... that was a good place to talk.

The guards outside had reached the Call Box and were looking around. Morningstar began to open the door to this office-set. I was ready for him. There was a reason I had chosen this room, after all.

I pulled the fire alarm.

Morningstar looked up out of reflex, just inside the door. I clocked him with my backpack, shoved him further into the room (out-weighing most people has it's benefits) and shut the door, left my bag there for speed, and sprinted down the hall toward the stairs. I managed to keep a good distance, but he wasn't just stalking me now, he was actually chasing me. He started to catch up on the way down the stairs, and by the time I exited the building, he was right on my tail...

...which immediately set the security guards (who had been put on alert thanks to the fire alarm) upon the tall, angry, knife-wielding man chasing a frightened and helpless-looking female college student. A police car was there in no time (again, thanks to the fire alarm), and there really wasn't much Morningstar could do about the situation after that.

Judging by his expression, I think that was the first time he had ever been genuinely surprised.

---

So yeah. I had to give the cops a story, of course, but... well... The guy's been tossing idle threats at me for a while, and I had been planning this little contingency for almost as long, just in case they weren't so idle after all. I had debated on whether I should find a way to give them Morningstar's real name, but in the end decided that would make things too complicated. So I told them the entirety of what happened, but I told it as though I had never seen or heard of Morningstar before that day. They'll figure it out once they fingerprint him, anyway; I'm certain Luke Cifer has a criminal record somewhere.

Forgive me for writing all this down, by the way. I just want to make sure the details are kept straight.

But yeah. Since it's obvious my location isn't much of a secret anymore, I might as well say: I go to school at Rutgers in Camden, NJ. That's not where I live, I'm thankful to say. And I'm even more thankful that it doesn't seem like proxies know where I live either, so that information stays hidden for now. But if anyone wants to contact me, that's where I spend a large amount of my time.


I guess I'm proud of myself for evading capture and all that, or whatever it was he wanted, but... oy. What a day.

Naomi, if you're ready for him, e-mail me and we'll arrange to meet up. I've got some friends in the psyche department who can help me convince the police that electroshock therapy would be a very, very good idea.

Right now, though, I'm going out and investing in a can of pepper spray.



EDIT: Well damn, now I realize why the campus was so ridiculously underpopulated today, because even weekends should have more people around than there was... Today is Easter.

Frig, I don't even bother with Easter anymore, and between this crap and exams, I completely forgot. Um, happy Easter to whoever celebrates it! ^^U 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Staying Grounded

"A winter's day,
In a deep and dark December.
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly-fallen, silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock.
I am an island."


Scott inspired me to write this up. Honestly, it's an important one, I'm surprised I didn't think of it sooner. We've gone over the basics of prevention already, but what to do if they don't work? What do you do if you're already starting to lose it?

The thing to remember is that we're dealing with a supernatural entity here. Your mind already knows that It doesn't belong on the physical world, but you do. You instinctively recognize that there should be some kind of barrier between you and It, even though there isn't.

The other thing to remember is, there actually is no barrier, and shouldn't be. Although your body and conscious mind operate here, in the real and tangible, your unconscious mind works on the same level as It and any other supernatural entities you may come across. That's why they - Slenderman included - always go for your mind first.

There are many effective ways around this and, to be honest, it works differently for everyone. What works best for you will probably be the way you invent yourself. But here are a few examples.


Tampering with what your mind recognizes as "real" and "unreal".

This can be accomplished a number of ways - annotations, associations, barriers, anything you can think of to train your mind to act slightly differently. A prominent "barrier" example is Kay's usage of stones and crystals to prevent nightmares and sleepwalking. Her mind recognizes that the stones have an effect, and the stones themselves resonate with that. I'm not gonna call it the placebo effect, because it's sooo much more complicated than that, but it works. Ask her about it for further information.

Music, again, works fantastically here too. As I've mentioned before, we've already trained our minds to let background music set the mood for whatever we're doing or thinking. We associate happy music with luck, health, happiness in general, so if we play happy music, it becomes more difficult to become afraid. However, I won't say that it makes it more difficult for hallucinations to set in, because it's not exactly true. Hallucinations are another defense mechanism (of a sort), so associations on that count can be detrimental regardless of the mood. More on those and other problems will probably be put into another post.


Totems.

Not to go all Inception on you guys, but the concept is a sound one. It's basically something simple, but tangible, that reminds you of what reality is supposed to look like. Mine is a copper coin medallion I had hand-pressed down in Florida. And I can tell you this because, unlike in Inception, it's not the physical properties of the object that mater, but the object's emotional significance to you.

Even children understand this concept. They try to imitate it with teddy bears and security blankets, and sometimes they can make it work. But usually the connection has to be deeper than that. The object has to remind you of something, and remind you strongly, strong enough to break whatever hallucination or depressed state you might be under. What it reminds you of, of course, depends on your personality. It can be of your loved ones, or a reminder of why you're fighting. Anything will do, as long as it works for you.

Said connection usually needs to develop naturally over years - there is, after all, a reason we value things we've owned for a long time: memories become attached to the object. It's these memories that are usually what breaks us out of dangerous cycles. Now, like music, it's not foolproof. Memories can be tampered with. However, it's much harder to alter your perception of the emotional significance of an object than it is to straight-up screw with your memories.

I know it's a bit weird to wrap your head around all this, but please trust me when I say I have experience with this stuff. Strange as it is, I do know what I'm talking about here.


Finally, there is a simple matter of luck/chance. This one comes with a story, actually.

Some years back, I had a bad run-in with an... entity, I suppose. I mean, it's a well-known fact that Slendy's not the only malevolent supernatural beast out there, so... -shrug- Anyway, this entity had me in a lock - I couldn't move, couldn't speak, could barely breathe, and couldn't get away. My totem wasn't working. I was so focused on keeping the entity at bay that I actually inadvertently tightened its grasp on me. I was trapped in a very And I Must Scream position for nearly an hour when...

...a light bulb in my bedside table lamp went out.

Nothing special or magical about that event, the bulb was just loose. I had known it was loose for some weeks prior, actually, I just never bothered to tighten it. But that random act of chance snapped my thoughts back to reality faster and harder than a stretched-out rubber band. I was free, and the entity was gone. No lost time, no disorientation. Just sudden, glorious clarity, so instantaneous it was almost dizzying.

Ever since that day, I've always remembered: though we can enter and leave it as we like, reality is here for a purpose, and we should use it as intended. I'm not sure how sheer luck such as this could be used as a defense, short of programming your lights to go on or off at random intervals... but it certainly does help to look for things like that - little reminders of physicality, of what the real world actually looks like.

In the real world, loose lightbulbs sometimes randomly turn off.

In the real world, we have family and friends and interests and hobbies and all those other pointless-yet-unbelievably-important things that make up Who We Are.

In the real world, we were just regular people who aren't being hunted down by an Eldritch Abomination.

In the real world... maybe we were sane.


With all of these, it is simply a matter of training your mind to focus on one thing instead of another. What you want to notice are the normal, mundane things, rather than all kinds of possibilities, might-have-beens, and suspicious details. As with all things, it takes practice to cut through the haze effectively. It's best if this is done before your screws are loose, but it can be done after the fact as well, with a bit of help.

As always, if anything's unclear, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Finals are approaching, so don't expect to see another full post for a good while, but I always try to be prompt with my replies.

Until next time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Operator Symbol I drew is gone. Friday morning, I walked past the church and realized that I hadn't seen it there since before Sage and I went looking for Kay. I don't know why it's suddenly gone, but it is. And there's more.

There have been no sightings of It, nor anything related to It, for over a week. No shadows, no cryptic scribblings I don't remember making, no sense of being watched aside from understandable jumpiness on my part. I filmed a sweep of the campus on Saturday; no distortions. The first place I went to was the goddamn pedestrian tunnel, but... not a thing. I think I'm in the clear.

How in the hell am I in the clear? I mean, it's a bit early to say so with finality, but still, you'd think there'd be something.


video


I'm withholding most of the footage because there are signs and landmarks that would give away my location. But take my word for it: There was nothing. Anywhere.

Nothing in the tunnel. Nothing around campus. Nothing by the church. Nothing around the preschool, or the elementary school for that matter. Nothing in Bay's goddamn dorm room, or the surrounding property. Nothing by the train station or the subway. I spent all Saturday traipsing around the city with an increasingly confused but amicable Bashawn, and all Sunday scouring the footage minutely for even slight signs of distortion, and goddammit, I have nothing to show for it.

Most people would consider this a good thing, yes?

It's just... It's not that simple, guys. It's never that simple.

Once you've been seen by It, it's supposed to be only a matter of days before distortions and stalking start kicking in. I put it down to luck the first time; luck and sheer force of will. This time... The past few weeks were different than two years ago, both in terms of what happened and in my reaction to it all. I was more than seen, I directly defied It in helping with Kay's rescue! I figured that if I was already slated for an early death, I might as well do something useful while I still could. But... I'm not even being stalked. There's no sign of It anywhere... and I don't know why that is.

I have the seed of an idea growing in my mind. If I'm right... I really have no idea what'll happen if I'm right. There are a lot of things I could test or try to exploit, but I really don't have the courage just now. It's not on the footage I showed you, but... as the day wore on, I kind of got in a bad way. Bay didn't understand at first, but then I told him the reason... well, one of the reasons... and he understood.

...Yeah, to be perfectly honest, revealing locations weren't the only reason I withheld parts of this video.


I just... I don't understand this. I don't understand.

There is no such thing as a gift horse. Not with this.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Perception Filter

"We are the target market.
We set the corporate target.
We are slaves of what we want.

"We're just not amused, and
We're just used to bad news, and

We are slaves of what we want..."


Things have been bizarrely quiet on my end. I keep being afraid to look out the window, expecting to see It there, but everytime I do, there's nothing. I don't know why there's nothing. By all rights, there should have been something by now, but... I don't know. Am I thinking too much into it? Don't wanna look a gift horse in the mouth, after all...

At the same time, I get the feeling things are shaking up again everywhere else. I honestly don't know what to make of most of it. I can sort of make connections and possibilities in my head, but some of them just... don't bear thinking about.

And yet, what else am I here for, if not to think about this stuff?

Regardless, this is what I have for now. More on this and other ideas later. I've got to get to work.


...Sage, if you die today, I am going to kill you so hard.

---

The Perception Filter.

I call it that because of its similarities to the regularly-employed ability/technology shown on Doctor Who, and the name appears to be catching on. In the show, it is explained to work either with light refraction into the subject's eyes, or within the brain itself. Given that some "hidden messages" are clearly not invisible to the majority of Runners, we'll go with the brain theory, but more on all that below.

So. Our questions.


Who can lay/apply/cast a perception filter?

Our dear friend Morningstar has been kind enough to supply something of an answer.

"We have the perception filter of course but it's usage is restricted and not up to us."
Of course, Morningstar's trustworthiness is far from exemplary. In a private e-mail, Tensor/Naomi said:
"I will deny Morningstars' claim. The only one I know who can cast the perception filter is Slender Man himself."
Difficult. However, for the sake of argument, I will put forth my thoughts on both theories.

Via several leaps of logic/faith, it is possible to conclude from Morningstar's post that all or most proxies have the ability to cast a perception filter, but the power itself comes from an outside source - aka, Slenderman. Slendy can grant or restict the use of this ability, but proxies can do it themselves. This has also been evidenced by Cynthia, who once mentioned (somewhere, though for the life of me I can't remember where) that she the one keeping her parents from seeing her blog.

On the other hand, Naomi maintains that proxies do not have this ability, and that only Dapper Itself can can pull it off. This idea also makes sense, because if all proxies had the ability to render certain things or certain information invisible/unnoticable, why wouldn't they do it more? Moreover, what of former proxies? Would they still have any such ability? Namomi claims not. Plus, if they did, I think Reach (yes, he still counts as a former proxy, even though his tenure was much shorter than previously thought) would have mentioned it when the Cynthia situation started heating up.

Conclusion? I'm willing to agree that only Slendy can apply a filter, but I'm open to evidence to the contrary.


How does a perception filter work?

That would be the million-dollar question, wouldn't it? There are numerous possibilities that I've attempted to test, but they always wind up inconclusive. Nevertheless, here are the possibilities:

Light refraction/Standard invisibility.

It's still there, it just doesn't register on our retinas. This is the weakest explanation of them all, because not only does it fall apart when compared to half the situations in which a filter has come up, it simply isn't the way Slenderman does things. As Reach said, it's a lot more subtle than that.

Brain interference/The power of Ignorance.
"Pick a person, place, or thing. Call it X. Your mind doesn't forget X exists, it just wants to pass over it because it's inconsequential. It makes X into a detail not worth remembering ... It makes your mind not want to know about X." --AmalgamationSage in a private AIM conversation.
This option makes the most sense, honestly. It's not that the hidden text is invisible, it's just that our brains are programmed to ignore its existance. You look at it, your eyes subconsciously slide over it, and your conscious mind thinks there's a blank space there when really, you haven't actually looked at it at all.

This also follows in the consequences of attempting to get around a perception filter - namely, the psychic nosebleeds experienced by the EMH crew and both Delmont parents. It would, quite literally, be a subconscious battle between your mind and the mind of whoever cast the filter. Considering either possibility for Question 1, it's really no surprise that we usually lose.

However, these more severe consequences appear to be limited to the times people try to punch through the filter by force - by choosing the most direct way around it. It's still possible that more oblique ways can be utilized if we are subtle about it.

Blackouts/Lost time.

The final option is an extension of another common symptom of Slenderman exposure, and one that applies primarily to the situation at EverymanHYBRID, wherein they have hidden videos and hidden segments of normal videos, rather than hidden text.

This actually marks a very large difference. Maybe they could ignore the existance of hidden videos, but the hidden video segments embedded within normal, perfectly visible videos, are another story entirely. It's not a matter of seeing a blank screen with those, because time would still have to pass while the hidden segments are playing. And yet the HYBRIDs must not be aware of this lost time, or they would have mentioned it, or at least attempted to edit the "blank" segments out. But no, it appears that all they are aware of is their normal videos flowing continuously, with no blank spaces or gaps stuck in the middle.

One cannot just ignore that "blank" time, even if there's just a few seconds of it. If it was not ignored, warnings of the earliest videos and segments would not have been dismissed as trolling, I think. So the logical conclusion is either that time "skips" for them (very mild time displacement), or that they black out during those segments and wake up again when the segments end.

I would dearly love to videotape one of the HYBRIDs as they watch a video with hidden segments in it, and watch their eyes as the segments pass. That would be the real test, honestly.


Anomolies I've noticed:

It appears that a perception filter, once applied, can be changed from moment to moment. For example, the filter on Tony and Cathy (or, just Cathy now) appears to fluctuate wildly, and the fluctuations are always intentional. Cathy used to be able to see posts that repeat Cynthia's messages word-for-word, but later could not. Subsequently, she used to be able to see paraphrases or retellings of what Cynthia had said, but now cannot. And yet, at the same time, she was able to see an e-mail Kay sent her of the cryptic poems that Cynthia posted, which was word-for-word. Finally, there was this.
"I don't think...I don't think that it worked. What it translated to over and over was, "Stop trying.""
I... honestly don't know what to make of that one.

Conclusions? It appears as though there isn't really anything Cynthia wants to hide from her mother; rather, the filter laid is there purely to screw with Cathy's head. On that note, there are certain things that Cynthia does want Cathy to see, regardless of the filter, so it gets temporarily adjusted somehow.

I honestly do not know what to think of the implications of this.


Is there any way around a perception filter?

This has been the main thing I've been researching, usually with Cathy (big thanks to her for putting up with my questions, btw), although AmalgamationSage has been very helpful as well, despite his filter not actually being caused by Slenderman (I know this is contrary to the conclusion drawn in Question 1, but bear with me; Sage's situation and history are very different from the norm and probably don't have much effect on the situation at large).

First, Cathy. I tried a number of experiments with her, as annotated above. About the only mildly successful one was something involving a tedius word-displacement code that isn't really practical for long-term use, and is far too easily seen through. Heck, if other codes (previously references within links) were caught on and added as something to "filter out", then this one easily could as well. Nevertheless, it gave me an idea.

Yesterday, I tried something along the same vein with AmalgamationSage, who, as mentioned, is under a perception filter of his own. Essentially, I vocally instructed him to write specific words into a word processor, words that came directly from the hidden post on his blog. With each word I fed him, I gave directions as to the word's location in relation to other words - before this, after that, between this and the other one, etc. The word-displacement was the same as what I had attempted on Cathy, albiet more random. However, Sage got a very strong migrane within 30 words, and was forced to quit the experiment at 47 words. (Once again, Sage, I sincerely appologize...)

Now, this is where my thought comes in. The biggest difference between these two experiments is not the method of delivery of the words in the hidden text, but the way the words were analyzed by the subjects. Sage was essentially recreating that which he was not allowed to see and attempting to see it anyway. It was an attempt at a visual cure for a visual block, which clearly does not work. Cathy, on the other hand, did not write anything down when reading through my little code, she put the words together in her mind and understood it without actually reading the completed message.

Are you getting that one? Go back and read it again, and think about what it might mean.

Conclusion: The way around it, I think, is not a matter of taking a roundabout way from point A to B to C. It's a matter of going straight from A to C, while skipping B entirely.

Good luck.




Aaaaaand that's it for now. Any comments, information, or annotations, feel free to add them below.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Better

"I'm a wheel, I'm a wheel.
I can roll, I can feel,
And you can't stop me turning.
'Cause I'm the sun, I'm the sun.
I can move, I can run,
But you'll never stop me burning."

Sorry for the lack of updates. I slept all damn weekend, honestly. And I'll probably spend most of the week catching up on my work hours, which'll suck. Feeling better though. Not great, but better.

Oh! Forgot to say, I actually went home Saturday afternoon. I had managed to cobble together a good enough story for my parents in that time, plus Kay was is definitely on the mend.

There was a bit of mucking about with vehicles between Sage and I before I left, but it's all settled now. Everyone's car is with everyone they belong to, and everyone had a ride home.

And speaking of AmalgamationSage... It appears I have a new test subject for my perception filter experiments. New subject, new variables. Plus, he has some interesting information on the topic. Pretty sure said info doesn't apply here, but hey, it's something to compare to. I think I've got everything I need for at least some preliminary guesses, but I'm going to browse through some proxy-run blogs first and see if can't find anything I've missed. Give me 'til... Friday, maybe? Yeah, Friday sounds good.


School's just starting to get busy again. Guess it's better that it happens now rather than last week. At this point, I'm grateful for anything and everything that's normal.

...Blah. Burying myself in school is easy. Burying myself in work is... decidedly less so. For more reasons than I'd care to list right now.

But y'know what I did do? This afternoon, after work, I took my dog to the local dog park. It was built into the woods behind Slim's Ranch about two years ago. Yep, you heard me: I spent the afternoon in the forest. And it felt amazing. It was a gorgeous day out, people and dogs were everywhere, I couldn't have been alone if I tried. It was like this enormous, cathartic, fuck you to the cosmos. I spent the afternoon among trees. And I am perfectly alive and well. It left me alone, It didn't even show up, didn't even know I existed. Life continues, asshole, and it continues the way I say it will!

Yeah, I'm definitely feeling better today.


Also, a tiny pet peeve: To those who seek a shorter name than Hakurei Ryuu to call me by, might I suggest Ryuu, Rei, Kurei, Valerie, Val, etc. Anything but Hak or Haku. Haku is a boy's name... -_-U



Later dayz, all.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Since everyone else is "celebrating"...

"Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign tower.
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn.
Lock 'em in a uniform, book burning, blood letting.
Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a motive, light a candle. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel, crush, crush. Uh-oh. This means
No fear, cavelier, renegade, steer clear.
A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies.
You offer me solutions and offer me alternatives
And I decline."


I thought of a lot of songs to "celebrate" the holiday with, but ended up deciding on this one. There's a lot of meaning in it for me, for everybody, if you look closely. That's all I'm gonna say on the subject.

Well, that, and: Don't bug me about whether the lyrics are right. This is how I hear them, this is how I write them. Besides, I only listen to the Great Big Sea cover of the song. The original version is too... slow.


As you may have noticed, Kay woke up today. Yes, I'm still at the hospital. After some debating, I finally decided to tell my mom the truth, or at least part of it. She almost didn't believe me when I said a friend had been seriously injured and hospitalized, but I absolutely wasn't taking no for an answer. I said before that I wasn't leaving before Kay woke up, and that still stands. I'm still not sure if I should go yet, honestly, but I'll see what happens.

As for the stuff we did... Yeah, it's unbelievable. But so are a lot of things about the world we live in. For my part, I will say that it's something I've done before, I'll probably do it again in my lifetime, and it does have a fact-based explanation, but I don't want to get into that because it will turn this post into a combination philosophy/metaphysics lecture. So even if I had the inclination to explain a thought process even I can barely wrap my head around, I honestly don't have the energy today. Just... suffice it to say that this is one of the reasons I was so excited when I met AmalgamationSage. Kay too, but mostly Sage. He... clarified a lot of things for me.

Frig, I'm so damn tired.


On that note, for those who haven't figured it out, I should probably mention that tired + irritated = explosion waiting to happen. Last night, Black Leaf was the unfortunate recipient of my wrath, although my small tirade was more directed at bloggers in general. I've said it before: the situation with Zero requires delicacy and subtlty. But did anyone listen? I'm sorry, BL, I'm sure you're a nice guy and all. But you'd think that, of all people, a former proxy would know most of all that there is never no hope, never no point. I mean, come on!

But Val! You flipped out when it looked like Reach was going nuts!

"GoING" is the key word here, kiddies. Sometimes, if you catch it early enough, a hard enough knock to the skull can do the trick. Zero, on the other hand, is so far gone that any hard knocks will just send him deeper into oblivion.

And for further evidence of what should and should not be done, take a look at the behavior of the people who actually knew Zero. Take a good, long look at how they're talking to him, at how they're taking the situation.

Stop a minute, use your brain, and think about why that might be.

Then, think about why it might be a good idea to follow their example.


As for the rest... I don't even know. Everything's going to hell in a handbasket so damn fast... Blog-jacking seems to be the theme today, although given the holiday, maybe I shouldn't be surprised.


Damn. I think I used up all my remaining energy getting pissed off yesterday. Today, I can't bring myself to care about a thing, except Kay.


Goodnight, everybody. Here's hoping the jokes lightened the mood for at least a few people.