SBR 1.25: New Great Experience

Cast a circle and curl up inside of it to remind yourself just how much of you is left. Welcome Back to Spirit Box Radio.

[INTRO MUSIC]

Hello, Faithful Listeners, and welcome back to the Spirit Box Radio Enlightenment Segment! Exciting news today, faithful listeners! I actually have someone lined up to speak with you today. Holly Brook is a nurse and Arcanist who lives in Birmingham – she’s actually the faithful listener who provided us with an updated on Jinghua, the forum user who disappeared but was luckily found again some weeks ago.

Of course, lucky is an extremely loose term in this case. Jinghua had been suffering with some pretty severe after effects of whatever happened to her whilst she was missing, though details of that aren’t entirely clear. Holly has loads to tell us about the experience of being both a medical professional and an Arcanist, and the kinds of ways she brings the ethics of Arcanism to the way she conducts herself at her day job, as well, of course, as updating us on Jinghua, with the permission of Jinghua and her wife, Carly.

I had a chance to speak with Carly myself during the week. She has made an account on the forums to keep an eye on the extremely helpful posts you’ve all been leaving on Jinghua’s thread. When I spoke to Carly she asked me to tell you how grateful she and Jinghua both are for all of your kind words, and how incredible it has been for both of them to have such an outpouring of support, but she also said she’ll be keeping her account anonymous for the time being and asks that you don’t try to seek her out.

Understandably the situation has been incredibly emotional. She did tell me that she was comfortable passing on that Jinghua is now out of the hospital and living with her wife and their two children once again. She doesn’t show much signs of regaining her memory and her communication skills are still a work in progress, but she’s extremely happy to be out of the hospital and is discovering a new love of painting.

Anyway, you must be wondering how I managed to get another guest on the show. It was actually a total fluke. A letter arrived last week telling me to go an appointment at the hospital, which I never made. I went along anyway, and there was Holly! She told me that she’d spoken to Anna a few weeks ago, presumably when I was. Well. Unconscious.

Kitty had mentioned there was no way they could actually take me to a hospital because of. Well. The smoke coming off me and the fact I was apparently slightly glowing for a few days afterwards apparently? But it turns out that Anna must have gone digging on the forums to find Holly’s contact details and lo and behold, Holly found a way to get me an appointment at the hospital specifically with her, which meant that none of that really mattered. It took a few weeks to arrange, of course, it’s still the NHS.

When I arrived, Holly seemed pretty relieved that I was up and about by myself. Apparently it looks like at some point in time I fractured my skull pretty bad, which is weird because that feels like the kind of thing somebody should have mentioned to me. Holly was pretty surprised by the extent of the healed damage, actually; she said that by all accounts a blow that hard should have killed me. But here I am, alive and kicking! She said it’s quite common to have seizures like mine after that kind of injury, whatever it was. But she didn’t find anything that would suggest anything new had happened which could make me blackout for over a week. Other than that old, healed injury, she couldn’t find anything wrong with me.

So, maybe whatever happened to Jinghua that made her forget everything, but left no injury visible even to an MRI machine is the same thing was whatever happened to make me lose my memories? Holly said she had a few insights on that matter she’s going to share with us today!

Without further ado, then, I’ll bring Holly on the air.

Hi Holly, are you there?

[RADIO STATIC]

Hello?

[RADIO STATIC]

Ah, I’m sorry Faithful Listeners, it seems that Holly has been disconnected! Please bear with me whilst I try to get a– oh.

All of my email correspondences with Holly seem to have vanished from the computer and. Well. Everything has vanished. It’s just a white screen.

I’ve never seen anything like this before, hang on whilst I–

[PHONE RINGS]

Oh, perfect! Hello, is that Holly? You’re live on Spirit Box Radio.

EMILY: Oh, amazing! The lines are usually so busy.

SAM: Oh! You’re not Holly. But, never mind that! I’m surprised you had trouble calling in. It’s rare someone calls in nowadays.

EMILY: Huh. Maybe I’ve got a bad line.

SAM: No matter. I was, ah, supposed to have someone else on the show but… I don’t understand what’s happened with that, actually. So I’ve got a spare few minutes! What can I help you with, faithful listener?

EMILY: Oh, um. My name’s Emily, and I was calling in about this website I stumbled across the other day. I’m a bit of an ARG enthusiast and I’d seen this popping up on a few hidden message boards but it sounded pretty average so I didn’t pick it up until last week.

SAM: Sorry, ARG?

EMILY: Yeah, Alternate Reality Game? They can be all sorts, basically they are these games set up online for people to discover and participate in. They can take a few different forms, and a lot of them turn out to be ads or weird hiring schemes for companies that want to attract innovative coders. My favourites are set up like scavenger hunts where there’s a load of clues you have to follow to reach a usually pretty creepy conclusion.

SAM: Right, I get you.

EMILY: Anyway, so this one is called New Great Experience 3, which is a pretty terrible name and why I didn’t look at it initially.

SAM: What can Spirit Box Radio do to help? It doesn’t sound like it haas anything to do with the arcane.

EMILY: Oh, boy, that’s what I thought too. I had no idea this radio show even existed until I started following the NGE3 trail. You’re actually a part of it.

SAM: What? How? I– I don’t understand.

EMILY: It started off with pretty classic creepy-pasta vibes, a bunch of linked fake blogs about urban exploration. The link between them was that all these bloggers apparently knew a guy who supposedly disappeared in this one abandoned house a few years ago. It took a bit of hunting but I eventually found a really old tumblr blog associated with this disappeared guy which had a bunch of photos taken in a few different spots. I should have noticed something was up then because the tumblr account hadn’t been updated since 2015, but to be honest, I was mostly just impressed with the commitment to the bit.

The bloggers had talked about this disappeared friend… being into the occult a bunch, implying he was some kind of satanist or something? And sure enough, scrolling back in the tumblr page a bit I found a link he’d posted to the Spirit Box Radio continuous broadcast, and I was like, oh, cool. I didn’t think it was real; I thought it was a part of the ARG.

SAM: I can assure you, Emily, we’re not part of any elaborate scheme or game!

EMILY: Oh, I know, because once I found the station it was easy to find the forums and there were just too many users for it not to be genuine. The people on the boards are both too organised and too random to be bots, if that makes sense.

SAM: It doesn’t, but don’t worry about that. I’m terrible about technology, but I’m sure someone tuning into the show will be able to help even if I can’t!

EMILY: Okay, cool. If look up the user info for Georgie from Dyserth? You’ll see what I mean a lot easier.

SAM: Oh, hang on yeah, actually, the computer is working again! Um, yeah, sure, let’s have a look.

Okay, sure.

Okay, user info, screen name, Georgie underscore from underscore Dyserth… and there’s a bunch of stuff about urban exploring and using the continuous broadcast to try and hold seances in abandoned buildings… mixed success. Oh, Madame Marie has commented on this one!

She said ‘be careful here.’

Hmm… That’s it, I received a telegram from Georgie!

EMILY: That’s what’s so weird. The very first time I caught the end of this segment of Spirit Box Radio, you were reading that telegram. Except telegrams can’t be that long, can they. And look at the date on all of Georgie’s forum posts.

SAM: The last one was in 2015. The same time as when the tumblr stopped getting updated.

EMILY: Yeah.

SAM: So what do you think that means?

EMILY: You know, I don’t really know. But it’s clear something is going on here. It’s weird. I… thought… I don’t know. I thought it was more recent than this but it’s been weeks. I’m not one for urban exploring, usually, but I had to see. I found the location of Georgie’s parent’s house; he really did go missing in 2015 and there was an article in the paper. From there it was pretty easy to find the location of this abandoned house. I don’t know why, but I went there.

SAM: What?! You went there?

EMILY: Yeah, and it’s funny because I swear this all happened yesterday or the day before? But it’s been weeks…

SAM: Emily, you’re breaking up. Hello?

EMILY: And you know what else? When I got to Banemouth road I saw it straight away, the house they were all talking about. I don’t know how I knew it was the right one because it wasn’t anything like the bloggers or Georgie had described it. It was… nice. There was a friendly light coming from all the windows. Spilling out of the white door at the front, open just a crack, the most welcoming light in a line down the garden path…

SAM: Emily, don’t go into the house! Are you listening? Don’t go inside.

EMILY: I’m sorry, Sam. Why don’t you come home? Why don’t you just come home? The door is open.

[RISING STATIC]

SAM: Hello? Hello, Emily? Emily are you there?

[DISCONNECTION TONE VOICE: ‘The number you have reached has been disconnected’]

She’s gone. What on earth?? I. I am home. What.. What was…

[ELECTRICAL FIZZ. COMPUTER WHIRS. MESSAGE ALERT SOUNDS DING RAPIDLY]

RECORDING MACHINE: Sam, I have a message for you.

Oh, goodness the computer… But, what?!

RECORDING MACHINE: A message. It’s another weird one. Apparently I received it just now and also four days ago.

SAM: How?!

RECORDING MACHINE: I really couldn’t tell you. But there’s a message. Do you want to hear it?

SAM: Not really.

Ah, woah! I’ve got… loads of emails from Holly, hang on, she said, someone is at the door I’ll be a moment, she said that six times, and then…

Run.

Just, run.

Forty emails that just say run.

RECORDING MACHINE: Do you want to hear this message or not?

SAM: Yeah, yeah, okay.

RECORDING MACHINE: Okay. Here it is, then.

KITTY: Sam? Are you there? Hello? Sam? It’s the answer machine, isn’t it.

God, I swear I was calling when the show was live but it’s so hard to think in here. Sam, listen. I’m in the old house and something is wrong with it. I don’t know how to explain. The rooms are… different. Twisted. I can’t make sense of where I’m going. I’m trying to keep moving but I’m getting really tired. It must have been three, four hours.

I think there might be someone else trapped in here with me but I don’t know if I should be trying to find them or trying to get away from them.

There is a hallway I keep getting to. It’s almost like the hallway I remember but it’s much longer, there are too many windows, more windows than in the entire house. And it’s day time, out there, or something. The curtains are drawn and I’m afraid to pull them back but there is light around the edges of them, enough to make my way down the corridor.

Every door I open is the corridor. And when I look back through the doorway I see a room I don’t recognise. It’s mouldering. Damp. Grey. I can see black mould in every corner, creeping across the ceiling. And when I look through, there, if I crane my neck around the doorframe, I can see the edge of a white door. A pristine white door, set in the mould, so thick it looks like grease paint. But the door is untouched. It’s your door, Sam. But when I try to step into that mouldy room as soon as I cross the threshold I’m back in the corridor. Every time I try to retrace my steps I’m back in the corridor. I don’t know what to do. If you’re hearing this, Sam, call me.

RECORDING MACHINE: End of message.

SAM: When did you say I got this?

RECORDING MACHINE: This message was received the moment I alerted you to its presence. And also four days ago.

[PHONE VIBRATES]

SAM: But the phone didn’t ring.

RECORDING MACHINE: No, it did not. Not just now nor four days ago. I think the four days ago thing should be the part you’re focusing on, to be honest.

[PHONE VIBRATES]

SAM: I mean, you’re right, but what am I supposed to do?

RECORDING MACHINE: I don’t know.

[PHONE VIBRATES]

[PHONE VIBRATES]

SAM: Damn it. Where’s my mobile phone? I can’t find it anywhere.

[PHONE VIBRATES]

[PHONE VIBRATES]

[PHONE RINGS]

Gods, I just need everything to STOP.

[EERIE SILENCE]

There. Like that. Just, stop a minute.

[DEEP BREATH]

Okay. Good. Good. Gods, my nose. It’s bleeding. I. Oh. I. Oh, stop! I can’t do this right now, I have things to do. Ah, there’s my phone. I have Holly’s number here, hang on.

[QUIET SOUND OF A DIAL TONE]

Come on, come on, pick up!

[DISTANT PHONE VOICE: The number you have reached has been disconnected]

NO! No. Please. Kitty. Please, I need help. I can’t do this. Something is going on and it’s really, really wrong. Kitty. Anna. Anybody!

M.

[SNIFFLE]

Everything is going wrong. I can’t do this on my own.

[QUIET SOB]

I don’t know what to do and I’m just a foolish boy and I have no idea what I’m doing or how to do this. I don’t know. Why didn’t Madame Marie tell me what to do? Why didn’t ANYONE tell me how to do this?

I feel so alone.

[BEAT OF SILENCE]

I’m not though, am I, Faithful Listeners? Oh, I’m sorry, you shouldn’t have had to hear that, I’m sorry, I–

It’s getting late. I need to go and clean up. Oh, I’m so embarrassed, I’m so sorry. I– I can’t apologise enough, Faithful Listeners. I hope you sleep well and this doesn’t dampen the mood of your evening too much. Goodnight, ugh, I’m sorry.

| Content Warnings |

– Background music of varying volumes

– Mentions of hospitals

– Mentions of medical treatment for brain injury

– Discussion of the effects of brain injury

– Mention of historical head injury with non-graphic description

– Mention of medication for seizures

– Static sound effects

– Distorted voice effects

– Sounds of emotional distress, including crying and sobbing

– Nosebleed, with a small amount of audibly dripping blood

– A main character dealing with the on-going process of grief

– Implications of murder or wrongful death

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