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.


  1. "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."

    this is how i was able to sneak to alora's house for thanksgiving, basically. it's mind manipulation, convincing the brain that i'm not there or not worth dwelling on. i know when i do it i have to focus or else the illusion slips, but i don't know how it works with other people.

    on a different note, do you have an cough remedies? me and alora have been sick as hell since yesterday and off-brand medication isn't helping. she's calling it marble hornets syndrome. she looks awful.


  2. My, my, my. Aren't we a good little detective Haku-Chan. You are smarter than you LOOK.

  3. @Daniel: Seriously, dude, I don't trust that cough, and I definitely don't trust the pills that some people take for it. Deal with the cough, try not to collapse, but DON'T medicate yourselves. That right there is my professional opinion on the subject.

    @Douchebag: I try, man. I try.

    But really, WERE you lying to Inky? That's not cool.

  4. You are good at reading people. You figure it out.

  5. you're probably right. things...well, things have been weird enough. i don't think we need medication added into the mix. it might make things worse.


    hmm.. never saw it that way, mainly, never gave it an importance.

  7. *pokes* I just saw your comment on Sage's latest blog post. You are so far from useless it's not even funny. Don't make me drive down there when I'm still taking painkillers for my ribs.

  8. @Kay: Heh. I dunno about all that, but thanks anyway. It means a lot. -hugs-