Thursday, March 23, 2023

Sporadic Updates to Come

So, this is basically the situation as it stands.

The Head of the Institute, and several board members, were concerned upon seeing my vent post a week or two ago, and they decided a re-assignment would be best for me. I'm still going to be in the Midwest; unfortunately, we don't have bottomless resources to help an archivist and scribe like me move. 

As I write this, I'm getting ready to present my two week notice to my civilian job. That's already going to help a bunch with my state of affairs; I don't mean to sound elitist, but I'm overqualified for pretty much every job in this hick town I live in, and my degree makes my resume noxious to anyone looking to hire me within Hornbeck County. It's hard to believe that Superior is less than an hour's drive away from the literal parade of Blue Lives Matter flags I've seen every Fourth of July for the last four years.

My new assignment is going to be in Cleveland. I know Cleveland has a certain image to it (thank you, Mike Polk Jr.) but it's been an area of focus for a few reasons, and yes, one of those reasons is the fact that Bill Watterson seems to be completely impossible to photograph. He's like bigfoot or something. Plus there are marketing jobs all over Cuyahoga County that are looking for people with film degrees, so it shouldn't be too hard for me to find a job up there.

Only problem is that Cleveland is home to a more... athletically-focused branch of the Institute, shall we say. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the local anomalies there relate to the abysmal performance of the Cleveland Guardians (née Indians) and the Browns; at least one person claims to have captured a version of the 2016 World Series on their DVR where the Indians won instead of the Cubs. Someone in Chagrin Falls claimed to have captured a time loop occurring in a game between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, but considering that is literally the premise of an SCP, I'll press X to doubt.

I don't care. I'll learn about knuckleballs and quarterbacks if it means I can get out of this shithole town. Goodbye, Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin and your freaky-ass plastic industry. 

But yeah, more sporadic updates. I have gotten a couple of reports I've been meaning to put up, so expect those every other week or so until I get myself situated.

Saturday, March 18, 2023


Ms. di Corci from the Alescio Manuscripts case has returned to us with another write-up. This is something she pulled from the files of one of her ‘father’s’ colleagues, regarding a strange art exhibition in the middle of the 2000’s.

As an aside, I have to applaud Ms. di Corci for growing so diligent in her research already. New York, as you can imagine, is a hotspot for a lot of odd media activity; she’s already written up half a dozen cases since joining, but this is the one she’s most comfortable with presenting at the moment.

Before I let her take the metaphorical floor, I leave you with a quote:

“Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” --Sir Terry Pratchett


Here's the deal: it’s June 2005. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is hosting an exhibit by an up-and-coming sculptor from the Lower East Side known as Herman Binger. It was a series of stainless steel sculptures depicting melted or melting figures, called ‘Sunwalkers’, because Binger thought that this is what would happen if people walked on the sun-- he called it a ‘perverse transmutation’.

The sculptures looked neat, but nobody knew how they were made; they resembled cast steel, but (this is a quote from the NYT) ‘the combination of humanoid forms below and melted steel on top seems too complex for current artistic techniques’. Binger explained how he did it, and most people accepted his explanation; he took department store mannequins, dismembered them into poses, and dumped molten steel on them. Even from pictures, you can tel something is off about the display. Some of the sculptures had faces that seemed too detailed for a mannequin.

One weird thing is that each of the sculptures also had at least two holes somewhere on them; no larger than a few millimeters. Binger explained that it was his signature, and that if anyone else copied it, he knew that it was plagiarism.

They’ll believe anything in the world of art, it seems.

There was one piece, “Prostrated”, that had a kneeling figure with its mouth open, apparently praying. It was one of the most evocative pieces, in no small part due to the fact that it looked the most melted out of the whole exhibit. It made noise when wind blew through it, so they set up a fan, creating a sound somewhere between a whistle and a scream.

Critics ate it up; the New York Times called the display ‘haunting and evocative’, while the New Yorker called it a ‘must-see’ for anyone visiting the city at the time. MoMA extended the time it would be exhibiting the museum by two more months.

Binger, for his part, had some odd habits when it came to the exhibit; he wouldn’t let anyone else touch the pieces, and insisted on coming in three hours before the museum opened to polish them all by hand. He insisted that he not be disturbed while doing this, on pain of lawsuit against the museum and removal of his exhibits.

In July, Binger announced a new piece for the exhibition; this is unusual in any museum, moreso as the MoMA decided to allow him to display it. Called “Amalgam”, it was almost twenty feet tall, made up of bodies piled on top of each other, all coated in layers of steel, with a single screaming figure at the top.

Nobody was really sure what the exhibit was actually trying to say. Some thought it was a commentary on the horrors of war, with the melting forms being based on allegations of white phosphorus rounds being used in the First Battle of Fallujah. Others thought it was a take on just how badly 9/11 scarred the country, with the melted steel being an allegory for the ruin of the World Trade Center. Some thought it was a parody of statues around the city; Binger had lived in New York his whole life, so the thought was that this was his view of the statues around Manhattan.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far as part of this weird-ass project or community, it’s that the only thing worse than an art critic is a New York art critic.


It took until August for people to notice the smell.

Nobody knew what it was, at first; maintenance at MoMA was called to look into the possibility that a rat or a pigeon had gotten into the ventilation shafts and died, but even that didn’t fix the putrid, stinking scent in the exhibition hall. Anyone who’s been to New York knows that the city has some… interesting smells, but most New Yorkers are used to clouds of gas from the sewers, not rotting flesh and filth. Well, okay, if you live by the Hudson, maybe you’re used to filth.

Eventually, Binger came in and removed one of his sculptures, called ‘Venus di Argent’; it was a take on Venus di Milo, complete with arms being removed, but she was bent in half like she was throwing up, and once-molten metal was coming out of her open mouth. The smell vanished over the course of a few days; Binger explained that a family of mice had gotten trapped in the podium the piece was being displayed on and died.

Again: people in the art world will believe anything.

Nobody knew what Binger was actually doing until a few days before the exhibit was supposed to end. A family visiting from Nebraska came to the MoMA with their six-year-old son. Bringing a six-year-old into a museum with expensive art is already a risk, especially one who’s angry at his Gameboy being taken away by his parents. So, when they got to the Sunwalkers exhibit, this kid started messing with the statues. Eventually-- and don’t ask me how, these were supposedly solid steel-- he ended up knocking over a piece called ‘Mother of Babylon’, a female figure with no legs, sitting on a pedestal. The steel on the face chipped off when it hit the ground.

Beneath that steel was human skin, and a human eye. At first, when the NYPD got there, they thought they were dealing with a corpse inside the statue, like Binger had been grave robbing or something, but that wouldn’t explain why the body was so-well preserved.

And then the eye turned to look at them, and the person inside started letting out a low, rasping moan-- the closest thing they could make to a scream.


All fifteen pieces in the exhibit of them had at least one person inside them; Amalgam had at least ten by itself. Most of the people inside were dead, early works when Binger hadn't perfected his process, but only Venus di Argent had started to rot. Seven survivors were found among the sculptures, and several things about the exhibit began to make sense.

The signature holes left in the metal by Binger were just big enough to put in an IV tube and a catheter. That’s what he was really doing whenever he would ‘clean’ the exhibits by himself--keeping his statues alive with a liquid diet and removing their waste. One of the survivors was the subject in Prostration, and he actually had his mouth propped open so that Binger could force liquids down his throat.

But nobody could explain how they got in there. Pouring molten metal over a corpse makes some sense, god knows it’s probably a more humane way to display bodies than what those fucks who make art out of the corpses of political prisoners do. But pouring molten metal over a living human being, even one who’s drugged or restrained, will definitely kill them. The main explanation for it was the Leidenfrost effect, which is something involving why you can stick a wet hand into a pot of molten metal and not get burned (don’t try that at home) but I call all sorts of bullshit.

You can't just stick steel on top of someone and expect them to survive. The weight of the metal alone would crush bones and organs, assuming they weren't incinerated outright. Binger did something to these people to keep them alive.

I tracked down one of the survivors in Jersey City. She doesn't really remember being in the statue, which I guess is a blessing. All she knows is that she was invited home by Binger one night after a gallery showing of his, had some tea that he said was from "the old country", and next thing she knows, a team of surgeons and engineers are working to get her out of a steel sculpture.

At first, I didn't necessarily think there was something spooky or kooky going on here, beyond some people surviving being encased in steel for a few months. Not that it matters much, because we'll never know his "technique"; one of Binger's victims-- the woman who was in Venus di Argent, the only person who died while on exhibit-- was identified as the niece of an NYPD officer, whose gun "accidentally discharged" into Binger's brain stem when he was cuffed.

At first, I thought the only clue we might have is the tea, but even then, it might just have been drugged. Then I tried to find Binger's autopsy report, hoping to find something behind the miasma of bullshit the NYPD uses to cover their tracks-- but there just wasn't one, nor was there a paper trail indicating that one was absent.

Even for 2005, way back before police accountability was a hot topic, that was weird. But paperwork kept on referring to an incident report not included with the rest of the case file; one FOIL Act request and a bunch of stonewalling from the NYPD later, I had a redacted copy of it in my hands. The report read:

"On 9/25/2005, Assistant Medical Examiner ████████ █████ attempted to begin an autopsy on a subject who died following arrest in connection to Complaint 952930918. Subject's remains had been delivered to the City Mortuary two days prior and were in cold storage.

A.M.E. █████ attempted to begin the autopsy at approximately 5:20 P.M., after a period of thawing. Subject's remains were in a standard body bag, and despite A.M.E. █████ claiming that the profile of the subject's body could be seen while the body bag was closed and had the appropriate weight for a human body, upon opening the body bag, a mass shredded paper smelling heavily of ozone was found within, with no sign of the deceased subject.

The shredded paper appears to correspond to an obscure, currently out-of-print erotic novel originally published in 1978, titled 'Skin of Steel, Heart of Gold'; the similarities between the contents of the novel and the method in which the subject carried out their crimes has been noted.

A. M. E. █████ has been placed on paid administrative leave; as the subject has no known next-of-kin, and was the perpetrator in the deaths of at least seventeen people, the condition and location of his body are considered low priority. No follow-up is required."

I've tried tracking down Skin of Steel, Heart of Gold, but I haven't found anything other than a couple of pieces of superhero-related smut. Considering it's 45-year-old spank material that sounds incredibly niche, and the author died in '89, I'm not surprised. But I'm not sure how Binger could have been inspired by it; he was born in '78, and by the time he would have been old enough to enter a shop that sold that kind of thing, the book would have been out of print for a decade.

I'll keep looking for it, but that's firmly on the back burner. There's a lotta weird shit going on in the five boroughs, and I can't really focus on a serial killer who's been, metaphorically speaking, in the ground for almost twenty years.

Friday, March 10, 2023

I lost a friend.

I’ll be real. The reason I haven’t updated lately is because the arcade job went south. Not in the way you think-- nobody’s in jail, nobody’s dead. But I did lose a friend.

I was looking forward to talking to you all about how we broke into an abandoned resort, decimated thanks to COVID, to recover a cursed arcade cabinet. It’s actually a pretty fun game called Crime Stoppers, a light-gun game developed by the now-defunct Yumegemu Entertainment (they got bought out by Capcom in 2003 or 2004). But when you play it around loaded firearms, those firearms have a tendency to spontaneously discharge. Not a problem in Japan, but in America, where there are 1.2 guns for every person, it’s a big yikes. We’ve been going around and disabling them for years by ripping out the board that actually has the game’s programming on it and…

It doesn’t matter.

It just doesn’t fucking matter.

There are times when I really, really hate this fucking job. It’s not even my real job; god knows it pays pennies on the dollar. My job at the hospital isn’t much better, populated by miserable people who commit so many HIPAA violations on a daily basis that I’m surprised the hospital where I work hasn’t been wiped off of the earth by a wave of lawsuits-- a sue-nami, if you will.

Therapist says I deflect trauma with humor. Guess she’s right.

After the job was done… We went to an IHOP. It was the only place open late enough that we could get food. There were about half a dozen other people from the Institute there. One of them was a friend I’d known pretty much since getting into this business-- let’s call him David. It’s not his real name, do you think we’re stupid enough to use our real names here?

David and I were… I’m not sure ‘thicks as thieves’ would be the right term here. He used to be a really mean son of a bitch; I remember having to hold back Cecilcy (who’s AMAB and now identifies as trans-NB) from punching him because David used to be fairly transphobic.

I’m a misanthrope, and part of that is because I believe people can’t improve in terms of morality. In terms of skill, you can learn and get better at something, but actually improving as a person is basically impossible. People always take the easy way out, and it’s always easier to fall back on bad habits, to crawl back in the cave, to live in blissful ignorance.

David is probably the sole exception I’ve met. No offense meant to any other members of the Institute, but we do have a tendency to wallow. After being yelled at by dozens of people that his attitude wasn’t cool, on top of some personal tragedies that I won’t discuss for his sake, he’s one of the few people I know that has actually shown meaningful improvement over the course of his life.

The job was… it didn’t go smoothly. We were trying to contain the board by ripping it out of the machine, but I kind of smashed it in the process. Squirrel’s confident we can get it back together since the memory chip that actually contains the game was intact, but David broached a subject that many members of the Institute have questioned during our time.

“Why not just destroy it completely?”

At this point, Squirrel and their brother Matt conveniently had to make a phone call. And David and I got to talking. His reasoning was that shit like this was actively harmful, and served no purpose. A lot of the stuff we studied did; why talk about the Hemaphytes like they’re a valid art movement instead of a glorified bunch of serial killers? Why not burn every copy of Adventures in Alorane we find immediately?

I reasoned that we couldn’t realistically do that to every piece of media we find; beyond the whole bracing phenomenon, there’s all sorts of stuff that’s propagated online to the point where it would be impossible to mitigate or undo the harm. LiveLeak dying only helped so much, but the Garrison Footage has popped up on dozens of porn sites, and while we don’t think mind_the_gap$.mov is doing anything beyond giving people non-anomalous nightmares, it can’t exactly be scrubbed from the internet by a group of 200-odd people working on a budget of shoestrings and prayers.

Then he brought up an uncomfortable topic.

People in RPG circles have probably heard of Mr. Welch’s List, or as it is properly known, “(X) things Mr. Welch can no longer do during an RPG”; the last known count was at around 2500. Copycats have popped up to the point where there’s a Tv Tropes page about them; there’s one dedicated to XCOM, one to the MCU, one dedicated to Shipgirls (I don’t know what that is and I don’t want to know)... basically if a fandom exists, assume someone has made a Welch list. (Or a Skippy’s List, apparently?)

He brought up a list that falls under our purview. “Things Mr. Drake Is Not Allowed to Do in [REDACTED]”. The redaction is there because I don’t want to call out the fandom associated with it. The Drake List is a fairly minor anomaly, all things considered; the person who wrote it somehow made it so that the entries on it are burned into your memory. Fairly harmless, all things considered.

But there was a secondary component we weren’t aware of until a couple of years ago. A second half of the list, as it were, one that the original person who wrote it would send to… to children. While it doesn’t have a name officially, we’ve termed it the “Things Mr. Drake Is Allowed To Do To You” list. It’s sickening, and I don’t want to talk about it; the man who wrote it is somehow still free, likely because he can coerce his victims to consent.

Inarguably, the world would be a better place without the list. We technically have the means to remove the first half of it from the internet, but it would be a logistical headache that would essentially be an all-hands-on-deck situation for the Institute, an expungement that would have to be approved by the Institute’s Board.

I’m for media preservation in general, no matter how harmful it is. I realize that’s not the best viewpoint to take when your job is literally to study media that can kill people, but in my eyes, it’s like studying diseases; we have to understand what’s causing it before we can make the vaccine.

It got heated after that. I barely remember what was said, but I remember it was stupid. I would like to think I told him that he was an idiot if he thought removing the public list would undo, or even mitigate, the harm that it did, but in all honesty, everything I said to him was a blur. I tried making a point about how, if we wanted to talk about harmful media, we should be destroying every copy of the Bible we find, and taking flamethrowers to Harry Potter.

I’m not very good at rhetoric. My friend Dora (not part of the Instittue) says it’s a weakness of mine, and I’m hoping is a flaw in skill rather than a flaw in morals; if it isn’t, then I’m kinda fucked.

Eventually, I told him to go to hell and left. I didn’t drop below 50 until I got back into my hometown in Wisconsin.


Why the vent piece, you might ask? God knows why. This blog is my outlet, and I feel bad for not posting for a month. People have apparently been worried about me, so this is me just. Writing for the sake of it.

I’ve listened to music that’s gotten me hospitalized. I’ve had to help photograph paintings that have survived fires that destroyed families. I once had to read a book that told me, in excruciating fucking detail, what my fucking sociopathic redneck neighbor did to the cats he caught on his property.

This has made me feel worse than any of that. Because now, I realize he was right.

This list, this fucking list, is on the verge of being pulled down, but I can’t even express my support for it without looking like some kind of hypocrite. It’s not like it’ll accomplish that much; it’s been adapted into other forms by now (I think the monstrous son of a bitch was trying to sell individual entries on it on T-shirts for a while) and he’s still going to be able to exert control over people who read it.

David, on the off chance you read this: you were right. I’m sorry I wrecked everything over this. You know how to contact me if you don’t think I’m a complete asshole.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Change Your Number: 424-555-0177

Expect the write-up about the arcade cabinet next week; right now we’re in the process of re-assembling it, as it were. This came across my desk a bit earlier today.

If you’ve ever watched TV, you’ll know that pretty much every phone number in any given TV show includes the local block code “555”-- for instance, an episode of Law and Order: SVU might display a New York City phone number as 212-555-XXXX. ‘212’ is New York’s area code, but ‘555’ as a phone code is restricted in North America, and is basically only used for fictional works, so that actual phone numbers aren’t dialed. 867-5309/Jenny by Tommy Tutone caused issues by using a valid telephone number in its chorus, resulting in several people in the 1980s having to, ironically enough, change their number.

With that being said, here’s a question for you: why has the phone number “424-555-0177” been appearing in real-world advertisements since 1985? And what happens when you call it?

‘424’ is the area code for a large portion of Los Angeles. That much I can attest to, having blocked dozens of phone numbers from that area. The 424-555-0177 number is not registered to any Los Angeles business or home, but nonetheless has appeared several times over the years.

It first appeared as a toll number, 1-900-555-0177, in an advertisement for… let’s not sugarcoat it, for a phone sex hotline. It appeared on late night television commercials in the LA area, but sadly (or thankfully) there are no reports of what happened to people who called this number; however, in August 1985, when this number was used, there was reportedly a strong smell of ozone in residential districts of LA, even on smog-free days.

It next appears in an infomercial for the Magik Oven, by Magik Technologies, an oddly-named start-up from the early 90’s. It was one of the first convection ovens that was small and light enough for home usage; basically an early air fryer. They had the toll-free number 1-800-555-0177, but they never sold a single unit through their infomercial; the following is a transcript of a phone call attempted by a member of the Institute in 1992.

Caller: Hello? Is this the Magik Oven order service?

Operator: Thank you for calling the Algernon Board of Tourism, this is Laverne, how may I help you?

Caller: I’m… I want to order a Magik Oven.

Operator: I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong number, ma’am.

Caller: No… this was the number on the infomercial, I swear.

Operator: This has been happening a lot, they put the wrong number in the damn commercial. Have you tried dialing 455 instead of 555?

Caller: I’ll try it, thank you.

Operator: You’re welcome. Happy False Saints Day, ma’am.

Caller: …you as well.

1-800-455-0177 did connect with the ordering service used for the Magik Oven, but sales were low due to this error. Magik Technologies eventually went out of business due to this blunder, as has been recounted on the product review and history podcast Disinfomercial.

(There’s a podcast for goddamn everything, isn’t there?)

The first instance of the 424 area code preceding the phone number was recorded in 1997, where it appeared on a commercial for the law firm of Schuyler, Baumer and Walker in Los Angeles. The law firm still exists there, so clearly the number didn’t affect their business too much. The number’s even been seen in the background of a couple of LA-based television shows.

Its most recent, and most troubling, manifestation occurred only three weeks ago.

Marc Koch was a YouTuber based out of Antwerp, Belgium, whose channel was, to be frank, predatory. It was a genre of channel that created content based on making phone calls to fictional characters and pretending to hold conversations with them; Marvel heroes and villains, Disney princesses, Freddy Fazbear, Fortnite characters, that kind of thing. Cheap and easy to produce, brings in ad money like gangbusters.

Koch’s body was found in his bathtub, sans left kidney; he had a rare blood type, so it was assumed the organ was harvested and he was left to die. However, this does not explain the footage that was found on his video camera.

In the footage, Koch sets up his camera and announces he is going to call the Madrigal family, from the Disney film Encanto. He holds up the phone to the screen, dialing the 424-555-0177 number, and calls. “Hello, is this--”

“Thank you for calling the Algernon Board of Tourism, Happy Windelsmith’s Day. How may I direct your call?”

Koch looks alarmed. “Uh, no, I have the wrong number. I’m trying to do this thing for a Youtube video where I call, uh…”

“Oh, I know exactly who you’re looking for! Just have to route you through the Ol Coman(?) exchange…”

“The what?”

The line dies, briefly, and then a woman’s voice talks to him from the other end. “Hola?”

“Uh… wrong number.” He tries hanging up, but the phone is unresponsive. He turns the camera to show the phone number, mouthing something that I’m told is essentially the German equivalent of ‘what the fuck?’

“No, Marc,” the woman says, “I think this is exactly the right number. You have a few things we need. What you need to do is--”

He manages to shut off the camera. When it’s turned back on, it’s on the floor next to him, and he’s piling something up by his feet. A pair of tweezers will enter the frame, deposit an object, and then go back up. After a while, the female voice says, “That’s enough.”

“I think I have one more--” Marc says, before there’s a sickening squelch. “And that was one of his arteries. God dammit.”

“Do they have those in their mouths?”

“They bleed so much so I just assumed--”

“You idiot. Extract, now.”

There’s a sound of falling viscera as Marc Koch’s body hits the floor, scattering the pile of teeth. “Oh come on!” a distorted voice says. “Took me five hours to do that. Fucking tax.”

Marc Koch’s only injury was the removed kidney; he was found with a fully intact set of teeth, but they did not match dental records taken antemortem.

Koch was the first confirmed death caused by the 555-0177 number in almost thirty years. Others had been suspected in the interim, but this was the closest we’ve gotten to video footage.

Do not call this number. If you’re lucky, you’re wasting minutes calling a fictional number. If not… at least leave a record for us.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Safety Square (2002-2003)

I’m sorry for this blog being dead for so long; I got swamped with projects by other Institute members, on top of recovering from COVID. What projects, you ask?

Some members of the Institute prefer to record their findings with audio and then have someone like me transcribe it. The Institute doesn’t have many rules, but one of them is absolutely no automated speech-to-text software like Dragon or Speechnotes; either a human transcribes it, or it collects dust. We learned our lesson the hard way in London.

Believe it or not, this is normally my ‘job’ at the Institute when I’m not busy pursuing a case; the Institute’s Board (if it can be called that) prefers that we have written copies of all reports. I only started this blog, and started documenting new cases, literally because I ran out of work.

Then I got twenty audio recordings on my desk the same day. This is just one of them, sent by an investigator I’ll call Clark, sealed inside a Faraday pouch wrapped under six layers of masking tape in a tamper-proof envelope.

I should note that this transcript discusses the deaths of and injuries to children aged eight and under.


[several seconds of clapping to calibrate the audio]

Begin recording.

This is a story that can be told using three graves in Northern Ohio. Their links are not obvious; their dates of death do not line up with each other, but each of them are connected by an insidious thread that I aim to unravel.

The first grave is located in Woodlawn Cemetery in a small town called Norwalk, situated almost exactly at the midpoint between Cleveland and Toledo. It is in an area dedicated to children, and belongs to Suzanna Moore, born May 1997, died October 2003. The circumstances of her death were bizarre-- her father, Alexander Moore, carried her through the front doors of the Emergency Room at the local medical center, saying that she wouldn’t wake up, apparently oblivious to the massive wound in her head and the blood that had run down her face and stained not only her Halloween costume, but also her father’s jacket. Furthermore, he seemed to not comprehend that the ER nurses were telling him that his daughter was dead for almost three hours, until he saw her in the morgue, at which point he had to be restrained for violently attacking several members of ER staff.

I cannot interrogate Alexander Moore about this topic, as he took his life in 2009. His grave is in his native Connecticut; part of his divorce settlement with his ex-wife included the stipulation that he not be buried within five-hundred miles of his daughter’s grave. I did not wish to bother the former Miss Moore, though-- [the tape cuts off here before resuming, audio may have been deleted]

In any event, the information I seek can be more easily obtained from public record than private testimony. Autopsy information does not fall under HIPAA, and I was able to glean the information I required from a line describing the clothing of the deceased.

‘‘Halloween’ costume, styled after an alligator/crocodile wearing a tutu”.

If this sounds like a non-sequitur, then it is time to move on to the second grave.

This one belongs to the Spinelli Family. Miranda Spinelli, born June 1964, died July 2014, and her son Carter, born August 1992, died September 2000. The name ‘Carter Spinelli’ may be familiar to those of you who walk in the more morbid circles of the internet; the ‘true crime’ [He says with no small amount of disgust] podcast Strange Deaths of the 90’s covered it in Episode 129, ‘Kids These Days’.

Carter Spinelli died after jumping off a bridge in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. While not suicidal, Carter was developmentally disabled--though they used a much harsher term in 2000--and may have had trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. That was the assumption police made when they found him in between the train tracks with a nylon cape from a superhero Halloween costume wrapped around his body. There were allegations that bullies from his school had encouraged him to attempt the jump, as he was apparently called “Specialboy” [all one word, per Clark’s notes] due to his developmental issues, with the words “Specialboy: the World’s First [slur removed] Superhero” written in his 1999-2000 yearbook. These allegations never panned out.

Miranda had a surviving son from a previous marriage, sixteen-year-old Martin Spinelli. After shoving a reporter who was attempting to interview him on the way to school and being suspended following this incident’s broadcast, he threw himself into a project, a video tribute to his little brother, using various imaginary friends of Carter's. Among them was ‘Manda’, who Carter had drawn in the image of a crocodile wearing a tutu.

This was a very elaborate video tribute, with Martin creating puppets and drawings in the image of his little brother's imagination. This became a sort of obsession with him, and he would claim to find himself lurking-- pardon, working on it as late as 3:00 AM. His efforts manifested through his failing school grades, and eventually, the video was shown at a memorial service to Carter on what would have been his ninth birthday in 2001.

An uninvited party was in attendance at the service-- their name was Winston Plummer, a station manager for the local PBS affiliate, WGTE. He was impressed with Martin's work, and asked if he would be interested in working on a series of safety-focused TV shorts that they were planning to air early in the morning; specifically, they were interested in using the Manda puppet. Plummer explained that the aim of the program was to teach children about dangers such as peer pressure, loaded firearms, and high falls. They also invited Miranda onto the show to discuss her son.

The program, called Safety Square, began production in September 2001, before being postponed for reasons that should hopefully be obvious. It resumed in November of that year, and in February of 2002, the first episode, “Don't Go Up”, aired, focusing on the dangers of high falls.

Safety Square is clearly a public access production; it was shot on tape, and the copies of it that exist today are full of magnetic aberrations and glitches that even Institute technology struggles to compensate for and repair when it’s digitized. None of the child actors seen on-screen have camera presence, several of them mispronounce their lines, and they look past the puppets and at the people operating them. To call it ‘low budget’ would be generous.

And-- [clunking sound, scream of pain] SON OF A BIT[audio cuts out here]

Apologies, apologies. I made the mistake of watching “Don’t Go Up” while doing research on this. Its anomaly is probably the least obvious of the six episodes produced; after approximately thirteen minutes, around the time when Manda says the line “Make sure you always hold onto something when you’re going up and down the stairs”, viewers begin to experience feelings of intense vertigo when looking down from a height-- for instance, descending stairs from the second floor to the entrance of your apartment building. It’s just a sprain, and I know that someone is going to lecture me about watching media before it’s been parsed, and I’m not about to let it be you, Tristan.

I didn’t watch any of the others after that. The only reason I watched “Don’t Go Up” was because of Miranda Spinelli’s testimonial at the end, about Carter. She wanted to dedicate the series to him to make sure that no other child in North-West Ohio suffered the same fate that he did.

In the aftermath of “Don’t Go Up”’s airing in February 2002, seventeen children eight and under were admitted to hospitals in the area after falling down flights of stairs, off of playground equipment, or in one case, off of a couch. No fatalities resulted.

Episode 2 of Safety Square is entitled “Safe in the Kitchen”. Individual frames I collected safely this time, Tristan, show Manda and several other characters learning how to be safe in the kitchen-- not to drink stuff in cupboards that isn’t clearly labeled, always checking expiration dates, staying away from the knife drawer. That kind of thing. It aired in June of 2002; reportedly, a four-year-old in a town called Berlin Heights crawled into the oven as his mother was starting to prepare dinner, but was unharmed.

The tape for Episode 3, “Fire Safe”, was presumed lost. It evidently surfaced at a garage sale in 2009, shortly before a house fire killed a family of three. The slagged remains of a VCR were found, but the tape inside was not identified, see included documentation.

[I’ll spare you that much. Official Institute reports are very dry compared to what I put up here.]

I believe you see the pattern by now, but in case it’s not evident, Episode 4 was called “Guns Aren’t Fun”. See included data drive for a series of autopsy reports dated to October 2002, soon after the episode aired.

[Again, sparing you that. This is already rough enough to write without me transcribing the autopsy report of a six-year-old.]

Episode 5 was called “Owie!”, make sure there’s an exclamation point in there. It talked about how to deal with injuries if you got hurt-- cuts, scrapes, bruises. It was simple enough for kids to understand, and…

The last episode of Safety Square aired in May of 2003, but they had finished “Owie!” by that time. They didn’t air it until October of that year, to fill a gap in the schedule. It aired a couple of weeks before Halloween 2003, just enough time that a father could help his daughter put together a Halloween costume based on the alligator puppet.

I don’t think the connection was ever made while Miranda Spinelli was alive. It would have broken her heart, knowing something that her surviving son helped create negatively affected, or even killed, so many people.

I talked with Martin Spinelli about this; he works at the local CBS affiliate in Toledo, and denies any knowledge that what he created caused so much harm, going so far as to call me a lunatic and… well, suffice to say, I’m happy that it didn’t escalate. Man looked like he could do some damage with the equipment he was carrying.

I did mention that there were three graves that told this story, but that isn’t quite true; the third one is in the process of being dug. It belongs to a man who was found inside a red 1990 Hyundai Excel in an inlet in Lake Erie. Police ran into some trouble with identifying the body, and understandably so; it was entirely skeletonized by Lake Erie and its wildlife over the course of over twenty-five years. They ran into a break in the case when the glove compartment was opened, and they found a mostly-intact wallet inside. Among other things were a AAA Membership card, a photograph of the deceased and their family, and a driver’s license, issued in 1995.

The name on the license was Winston Plummer, the aforementioned WGTE station manager, who, by all accounts, was alive at the time. Dental records on the body did not match those taken from the entity calling itself Winston Plummer during an exam in 2021-- but they did match those taken from Plummer during a dental exam in 1994.

It’s the teeth. It’s always the teeth they get wrong. They can replicate somebody down to the pattern on their retinas, but they always have trouble with the teeth. I don’t know why.

Winston Plummer, whoever this version of him was, was not located following the discovery of the wreck. He had reportedly come into the station that morning and locked himself in his office; when maintenance unlocked the door, the office looked as if it hadn’t been used or had upkeep done in over twenty years, with rotting carpet, peeling paint, and a stain on the ceiling over where Plummer’s chair used to be.

Publicly, Winston Plummer died from crashing his car into Lake Erie about… four days ago? As of recording. Privately, something is rotten here, and everyone knows it.

I am still investigating Plummer’s posthumous tenure as station manager, and I’m dreading what I will find. While Safety Square was thankfully not more widespread-- the range of casualty failed to even reach nearby Detroit-- Plummer, whatever he was, collaborated with PBS stations across the nation from 1997 until 2023. The infamous ‘Hat Man’ episode of Sesame Street aired during this time-- surely you remember that, with how Big Bird dedicated a whole minute to telling children how important it was to have a fire extinguisher in their house?

Whatever happened to this version of Plummer… the entirety of the office smelled like ozone, and there were… footprints in the carpet. Snowmen don’t come after normal humans, and they don’t attack unprovoked.

I think that Plummer was an Algernite. If so, that’s the longest one has continually existed in our reality. As you can imagine, I’m going to be asking for more resources dedicated to investigating Algernon.


Algernon, where Algernites come from, is… a whole can of worms I don’t have time or energy to get into. Turns out, getting COVID makes you long for the sweet embrace of death long after your symptoms are better.

I’m well enough to travel, at least. Algernon will have to wait; some urban explorers and a few dozen institute members are getting together to perform a rescue operation… on an arcade cabinet.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Black Rondeau

So, here's the deal. Tristan is bedridden with COVID right now, so I'm taking over this week. Hell of a way to spend the New Year.

I'm Squirrel, musician and audio engineer by day, person-shaped thing that looks into cursed audio by night. Let’s talk about the Black Rondeau.

In our line of work, when you want to research the weird shit we find, sometimes you have to create or perform it. Sometimes that means you have to emulate the Hemaphytes and paint with your own blood, or put on a production of Love's Labours Surrendered, or playing a game of Calliope (never again). In my case, it means trying to perform various pieces of cursed music. Some stuff isn't too bad; sure, Everdeath's discography will make everyone who listens to it have a nosebleed, but that's only a danger if you're on blood thinners. But there is something I will never play again.

The Black Rondeau is an incomplete piece for cello from 1748, and the first recorded performance of it was in 1749, but the most infamous performance took place in Cleveland in the 1970s; if you've ever read about the Severance Music Hall massacre, you now know the cause. 

The sheet music that we have for it is seven pages long and can be played in about seventeen minutes, but it was originally believed to have been thirteen pages and required approximately twenty-three minutes of playtime. The last six pages were destroyed after the original performance.

The piece is notable for requiring two people to play it, despite technically being listed as a soloist piece. One person mans the fingerboard to help generate the chords, while the other actually plays the notes on the strings. It’s a difficult piece to play, and getting it wrong can cause horrible consequences. Getting it right can do even worse things-- again, Severance. 

The 1749 performance was a private one, held in Leipzig. Approximately thirty people were in attendance, and the performance was done by twins, Hans and Alfons Koch. Otto Koch, their father, composed the piece. Hans and Alfons were both cellists in an orchestra at the time, and both of them bemoaned the ease of the pieces they had to play; their father is said to have written their Rondeau in an attempt to challenge them. We’ll get more into what happened during this performance in a little bit.


The performance I put on occurred in mid 2018. While I did the chords on the fingerboard, I had my brother, “Matt”, play the strings. It was an awkward set up, with me having to sit in his lap. We had an audience of ten people, seven from our community, and three willing participants from outside of it. We took all of the appropriate measures we could-- we left appeasements, we said prayers, we took showers to cleanse ourselves. But the whole time, I was afraid it might not have been enough.

One thing I have to stress about this: if you’re a student of classical music and manage to find a copy of The Black Rondeau and want to play it: don't. It's a test of endurance after you get through the last intact page, and can take anywhere from five minutes to six hours. You can not stop playing.

To play the Rondeau, the cello has to be tuned in a specific manner; the D string has to be slackened, which risks compromising the integrity of the instrument. By contrast, the A string has to be tightened to the point where, if you try to play pizzicato, you end up slicing your fingers open; this is completely intended.

The performance began with a standard canon progression. The sound it made was the musical equivalent of a train wreck-- it sounded utterly wretched, but it was completely enthralling. The three members of the audience from outside of the community tried covering their ears in some manner as we progressed through the first several bars. Matt was clearly uncomfortable playing his cello from high school in a manner that was potentially destructive to the instrument. But that discomfort was nothing compared to what came next.

At the start of the eighth bar of the piece, the playing instructions call for the person who’s manning the fingerboard to pluck the A string as hard as they can. Despite the thickness of the cello's strings, it drew blood. I gasped in pain, and those who weren’t in the community looked ill when they saw blood flowing down the fingerboard. But as it did, the tone of the music literally changed.

I felt like an entire symphony was grabbing onto the fingerboard beside me. Notes that could not have been played by one, two, or maybe even ten people resonated from the instrument, and the temperature plummeted. An invisible, slimy hand came up against my bleeding finger, and an invisible tongue licked my blood from between the strings. The good news was that we had begun playing it correctly: but without the final six pages, how it would go from there was up in the air.


In 1749, Hans and Alfons began their performance to an audience of thirty, including some celebrities among the Electorate of Saxony’s musical scene. Accounts of the time confirm a similar finger-slicing to what happened here, with Hans being the one to spill blood. The music that came from the cello after this was described as ‘sonorous and wild… like a murder of crows learning  how to sing an aria’. 

As Hans’s blood flowed down the neck of the cello and began pooling onto the floor, it reportedly flowed uphill from the small pit where they were performing, and up into the audience. It stopped at the front row, and one of the people in attendance there reported that it felt like the blood was somehow ‘looking at me… as if a million invisible eyes were judging my reaction to the piece’.

Others reported feeling claustrophobic in a room that was big enough to hold an audience of two-hundred. One man felt something sharp pressed against and eventually into his skull, right above the eyes, but no blood was produced. Eventually, one woman-- the wife of a nobleman-- stood and bolted for the door.

She found it locked from the outside. And as she panicked, trying to pull it open, the music intensified. 


The locked door was likely intended to contain whatever the hell the Black Rondeau summoned. Thankfully, times have changed, and now all that’s needed is a few powerful electromagnets to keep them from escaping.

These beings, what Alfons called ‘oneiroi’, had flooded the room. One of the non-Institute members stood and fled, screaming about how something was trying to strangle him. As he ran out, the electromagnet hummed, and I picked up the brief impression of something falling against the floor with a thump.

At the midpoint of the piece-- at the top of page six-- Matt was required to make his own sacrifice. He pulled away the cello’s bow as I plucked the strings during a brief interlude, and with a grunt of pain, yanked out a lock of his hair, jamming it it into the horse hair of the bow. He continued playing, and the oneiroi howled.

One of the other non-audience members, an older woman, looked around wildly; part of me wonders if she was looking for hidden cameras, like this was some kind of prank show. Our researchers just took notes, some discussing their experiences with each other. Once you experience an unsound or three first-hand, musical aberrations like this cease to really amaze.

Blood continued flowing from my finger, and as I turned the page, my heart sank; we were on the last one, but we had to keep playing to a point at which the oneiroi were satisfied so that they didn’t tear us apart. That happened before-- in 1749.


We'll call the man who felt the blade by his eyes Sebastian. After seeing two people faint from fear, he decided to put a stop to the performance, drawing a pistol and aiming it at the performers. “Cease!” he called. “Cease this devilish music at once, or I shall silence you forever!”

Hans and Alfons either didn’t hear him, or didn’t care. Another witness reported at least one of them crying, trying to pull his fingers away.

When Alfons moved to join his hair with the bow, Sebastian loaded and fired his pistol. The bullet hung in the air about three inches in front of the barrel, and was slowly flattened and molded by something. It reportedly glowed red-hot for a moment, before being rolled into a long, needle-like shape, and shoved into his eye.

Sebastian didn’t scream in pain-- he just stood, startled, as lead that was still practically molten metal penetrated his left eye and exited his right. His eyes became clouded by cataracts as he fell unconscious; he would not awaken for the rest of the performance.

That left everyone essentially glued to their seats until the song’s conclusion. Hans and Alfons kept playing like a gun hadn’t just gone off within ten feet of them.


We reached the end of Page 7. From there, we had to keep playing to satisfy the oneiroi. Both Matt and I are musicians, but we’d never actively hurt ourselves performing, and this was starting to take a toll. We had some sheet music that we’d managed to adapt for this set-up, something from Beethoven. We could only hope it would suffice. 

The cut on my finger had started to scab over, so I plucked it open again. There’s only one non-community member in the audience by this point, a young woman. She kept trying to look over the shoulders of Institute members to read their notes; one of them invited her into an empty seat, and they began discussing what was happening. We had a new convert, maybe someone to replace us in case shit went fully sideways. 

There was some discordant muttering from the oneiroi. They recognized that we weren’t playing the music that called them forth in the first place, and several of them growled. I kept playing as we transitioned to a more modern piece, something from the 1920s. This seemed to satisfy them.

We renewed the sacrifices every few bars. I had to cut open my finger on the same string, and Matt had to pull out more hair and jam it into the bow while I improvised pizzicato. I felt sick, but there was no applause still, so we couldn’t stop. This was the most difficult performance of a cursed piece I’d ever pulled off.

Twenty minutes turned into twenty-five. Thirty. Forty. I lost count. The group members are looking worried, and a few of them are debating how to safely put a stop to the performance. I just had to keep going until I passed out, or the oneiroi applauded.


Hans and Alfons failed to finish their performance.

After two more people collapsed from fright, with Sebastian barely breathing, someone in the audience took the initiative to storm the pit they were playing in. They were a Frenchman named Gernons, and they were directly responsible for the only death that night.

They strode up to the stage, and kicked Hans Koch in the sternum, driving them five feet away from the cello, and interrupting the performance. He began berating Hans in French; what he said is lost to time. But his kick drove Hans directly into a set of invisible arms. First, growling came from around Hans. Then, heat and music filled the room, tones that were both beautiful and incredibly angry.

The heat didn’t ignite Hans. It dried him out, ‘like a tomato’ as one account puts it. He shriveled into a leathery sack (no bones were reported as being seen) before an invisible knife began cutting off a piece of his skin from his back and forming it into a sheet. Blood was splattered onto the page, and musical notes formed on it.

Gernons took the music and fled the room, never to be seen again. All of the candles in the room flickered and died, before spontaneously re-igniting an unknown amount of time later; Alfons was curled up sobbing by the cello, which was completely shattered.

Another casualty resulted from that night; Sebastian, who was completely blind from the cataracts the oneiroi gave him, attempted to get surgery the next year. Said surgeon was a quack doctor, and Sebastian died from complications at age sixty-five.

You may have heard of him; his full name was Johann Sebastian Bach. 


Two hours turned into two and a half, then three. I couldn’t feel my fingers. My mouth was a desert. I cried as I tried to stand upright, until my knees buckled, and I fell over, exhausted, tears in my eyes. I once played the violin for six hours, but I didn't have to self-harm every other bar.

There was whispering all around me, and for several minutes, I was sure I was done for. Someone in the group tried to pick up an electromagnet to contain the oneiroi swarming around me, but it would have been a temporary measure; they’ll eventually find me, and I’ll just become another piece of sheet music.

However, Matt managed to finish the performance with a flourish, before he also collapsed. Our eyes met as he landed on the floor and then closed, as we waited for the worst. I muttered for people to evacuate the room, but nobody heard me.

Then, the room broke out into thunderous applause. It’s like I’m in a stadium with the acoustics of a concert hall. My ears rang after three minutes, and it took another five for me to realize that they’ve dispersed. 

That one woman from outside of the research group was a nursing student. After she treated us with some help from one of the Institute's medics, she asked the typical questions (“What the hell was that?” “Who are you people?” “Is anyone going to believe me about this?” “How can I help?”) and the questions are answered in turn (“Long story”, “Concerned parties”, “Probably not”, “You already are.”). We gave her our Telegram link, and we got her on the path to help figure out some of the more bizarre parts of the world of media.

I haven’t played cello since, and even playing guitar is harder, thanks to the scar on my thumb. Like I said, I’m an audio engineer; because of this performance, a lot of the music I make nowadays typically involves a lot of MIDIs in the melodies.


The piece of music made from Hans Koch’s skin is called the Bloody Minuet; a short piece, only one page, front and back. I’ve heard that performances of it have occurred as recently as 1995, but it’s fallen off of the face of the earth. Honestly, I’m not even sure if the Bloody Minuet is cursed, or if its just a novelty, with it being printed with human blood and skin. 

I'm one of the Institute's lead music experts, but I don't try to perform classical music anymore. The Black Rondeau was bad enough, but in 2020, I was subjected to one of the Posthumous Symphonies. I recoil at the sight of clarinets almost three years later.

Assuming Tristan's condition improves, he should be back next week. If not, we have plenty of other people who can do essays. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Can't Get You Outta My Brain

Tristan here. Guess who fucking caught COVID in L.A.?

The material I was going to write about this week is only accessible in-person, so until I’m out of quarantine, you’re going to be hearing from some other members of the Institute. Flora (she/her) is an intern who joined late last year, and has chosen to study anomalous music, something I am woefully unqualified for-- I can’t even tell you a single song that released in the last year, let alone fill you in on the specifics of a literal earworm.

Original essay written by Flora Miller, junior researcher

Novelty songs are popularly regarded as somewhat childish in comparison to other pieces of music, but despite this they sometimes have remarkable staying power. Consider, for example, the long-lasting appeal of the works of “Weird Al” Yankovic, or the ubiquity of “Monster Mash” whenever the month of October rears its head. It is a considerable relief that the song “Can't Get You Outta My Brain” did not experience the same kind of popularity. The origins of this particular track are a bit sketchy at best, and it is difficult to determine how many dormant copies of the song exist, but the earliest recorded incident occurred in August of 2000.

Brian Wilson was a computer programmer and amateur music critic who ran the now-defunct website “Just for the Record”, a blog where he reviewed various albums and the occasional single. Fortunately for the continued existence of humanity, it was not an especially popular blog.

According to Mr. Wilson’s final blog posts, he first encountered the song on a CD entitled “Novelty Hits of the Swingin’ 60s” which he acquired at his local thrift store. The disc contained a number of popular novelty songs from the aforementioned decade, including “Surfin’ Bird”, “The Lurch”, and “The Name Game”. As far as can be determined, aside from “Can't Get You Outta My Brain”, none of the other songs in the collection possess any hazardous traits. His initial review of “Can't Get You Outta My Brain” was as follows:

“Track 24 was a little unusual to me, it was a short little number called ‘Can't Get You Outta My Brain’. Now, most of these songs are at least somewhat familiar to me, but for the life of me I swear I have never even heard of this one before, which is a shame because it’s pretty good! Honestly, with a few minor changes, I would have expected this one to get mainstream success. It’s got a nice, slightly jazzy soft rock instrumental backing, with a beat that just makes you wanna snap your fingers to the rhythm. Definitely good music to dance to.

There’s something weird about the backing though, no matter how many times I listen to it I just can’t quite make out one of the instruments, it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It sounds a little bit like some kind of modified guitar, but there’s this unusual resonance to it that I can’t put into words. It was a little distracting the first time I listened, but now that I’m used to it I think it really works with the song!

The main reason that it’s considered a novelty song is most likely some of the nonsensical lyrics. Aside from the chorus (Baby even though you cause me pain/I can’t get you outta my brain), most of the verses contain frequent nonsense words. For example, the opening verses of the song are ‘Oh my baby is special, a real shaladrak/She always makes my tzagthoth krulanak’. Like, sure, it rhymes, but those aren’t real words, y’know? The whole song is like this, but strangely enough it kinda works. I keep finding myself coming back to this track, it’s a real earworm.”

After completing his initial review of the CD, Mr. Wilson began to show signs that something was wrong. According to a surviving friend, who prefers to remain anonymous, “He kept shaking his head a lot, like it was hurting. Sometimes I’d catch him scratching at it, and I swear when he drew back his hands there would be blood, but he always wore that stupid baseball cap so I couldn’t see the damage. He also never, and I mean never, stopped humming that stupid song.”

After the review of “Novelty Hits of the Swingin’ 60s”, Mr. Wilson proceeded to post 27 consecutive reviews devoted entirely to “Can't Get You Outta My Brain” over the course of a week. During this time, he apparently did not go to work, sleep, or eat, and only consumed the bare minimum amount of water to keep himself alive. The later “reviews” eventually devolved into simple repetitions of the song’s chorus.

Below is an excerpt from one of his later posts:

“It’s beautiful. Legitimately, I think it is the single greatest work of art ever produced. I hope that when humanity goes extinct, our lasting legacy is this song. I want this broadcast throughout the universe, I want every single inch of stone on the planet carved with the lyrics. Everyone needs to know about this song, okay? EVERYONE. I didn’t get the words at first. I didn’t know what zolanor even meant, much less why it would be good for it to be alerious, but now I understand. THEY whispered it to me in my dreams. It hurts sometimes. Baby even though you cause me pain/I just can’t get you outta my brain. Baby even though you cause me pain/I just can’t get you outta my brain. Baby even though you cause me pain/I just can’t get you outta my brain.”

Mr. Wilson’s repetition of the song’s chorus continues for around 5000 words.

During the last week of Mr. Wilson’s life, he produced numerous copies of “Novelty Hits of the Swingin’ 60s”, mailing them out to various addresses, including the White House, multiple radio stations, and several of his friends.

Only 7 days after Mr. Wilson first listened to “Can't Get You Outta My Brain”, he died of an apparent seizure while attempting to send more copies of “Novelty Hits of the Swingin’ 60s” through the mail. Officially, the cause of death was listed as a cerebral hemorrhage. The true autopsy report was never released to the public.

Upon opening up Mr. Wilson’s skull, the pathologist found that a significant portion of his brain had been consumed by unidentified insects, similar in overall appearance to the larvae of Hermetia illucens. Preserved specimens are accessible to members of the Institute, with the address of its storage unit in Indiana available to qualified parties.

As a result of Mr. Wilson’s efforts to share “Can't Get You Outta My Brain”, there were 47 casualties, 4 of whom were members of the Institute. To date, anyone who has listened to a full recording of the song, even once, dies within 1-2 weeks. During this time, victims universally develop an intense fixation upon the song, particularly the incomprehensible lyrics. The exact mechanism through which the hazardous effects are spread are not fully known, but the source is believed to be in the so-called “nonsense words” contained in certain verses. Simply listening to the tune or chorus are not enough to result in fatality, and reading an incomplete portion of the lyrics seems to generally be safe.

Since the initial outbreak, there have been 4 other recorded incidents involving “Novelty Hits of the Swingin’ 60s”, resulting in a total of 13 further casualties, and during one such event a copy of the song was uploaded to YouTube. Fortunately, the video was not picked up by the algorithm, and once detected by the Institute the recording was swiftly taken down via copyright strike.

It is of the utmost importance that any copies of “Can't Get You Outta My Brain” are immediately neutralized, as widespread dissemination of the song could potentially result in the near-total extinction of humanity as a species.