Sifting through the loose leaves of the water-damaged journal, it’s hard to put them into a great deal of context. However, I discovered this snippet which may give some insight into the video and audio I’ve come across over the past few weeks.
Our initial test-run of the apparatus had a most alarming malfunction tonight. Indeed, father’s hands were severely scorched but as always he refuses to call for the doctor, and mother is most upset. We had begun a test transmission but something wasn’t right – the meters were most erratic and certain flues were not up to the requisite pressure, despite many thorough tests. Father insisted we inserted the first punch card and so I obeyed as always, fearing his ire.
There was a huge groaning noise from the very belly of the machine, the like of which I’d never heard before. I saw a crack appear in the second main bellow and some of the mountings began shaking violently. I moved to pull the lever back, to return the machine to a docile state, but father told me sternly to stand back and do nothing.
Suddenly, the first cathode-ray bulb started to show images and landscapes that were totally alien to us, cogs and machines, vertical and horizontal stripes as though laid out by a draughtsman, but terribly distorted. Worst of all, sound was coming from the horn that we had not entered into the machine. It was deafeningly loud, like waves crashing rhythmically on some infernal beach, or a ship of the dead rowing to the beat of a hellish drum. I was terrified, but as soon as it had started, the second bellows finally split and pressure was wholly lost. The machine wheezed to a halt, the cathode-ray dimmed and the horns once again fell silent.
Father had few words to say after the event. He postulated it was some kind of feedback loop – something coming back down the line that shouldn’t have. He had no notion of the destination of the test message due to the inaccurate pressures, and hence we knew not from whence the feedback came. I did not sleep tonight.
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