2010

1

Report on Lanark’s Lost Forms: The Radius Trace of Spooky Viscosity

By Mr. Douglas Payne, local researcher and so-called ‘Archaeologist of Twilight’’.

Noises were picked up on signal radar, sometime on the cusp of 2001. Registered calls from residents were made concerning a low-level hum emitting from hedgerows bordering the town of Lanark, specifically in locations surrounding Hyndford Road. After a small press release, an unnamed boy from the local school sent in a recording made on an amateur tape device. His device was taken to the city for sound analysis, the strangely mingled rasps translated to spectrograms. Despite the minimal volume of the recording, visually it spread with unusual profusion across the space of its twinned axes.

Amid the polyphony of initiating sounds, laid down on tape, a waxen crackle would enter the field. At first, the crackle was thought merely to be the white noise of the tape itself, a typical magnetic reaction; however, on closer inspection a curious, animated pulse was detected, attuning itself to the originary noises. These originary noises turned out to be normal phenomena: crickets, church bells, traffic, the rustle of wind through grass. Together at a certain temperature of melodic roar, the flickering of contrapuntal blips and beats, they had coalesced into this hum. What remains curious is how this hum appears hollowed out, as if it had shed its source and become pure sense--no instruments required, no filaments of nature to furnish the whims of climate, ecology, spirit. Just this uncanny drone, the pared-down murmurs of Gregorian chant, stripped of the tones of the human throat.

After the tape was distributed among closed circles, various experts were called into the town to inspect possible source material. A temporary base was erected near St. Kentigern’s cemetery, where an unusual zone of eventide light was soon detected. At certain points of the day, the vespers of sun dripping gold on the graves would acquire a burnish that seemed completely unnatural--no longer the gilded colours of fire one expects from a casual sunset. Photography was attempted, but it was impossible to capture this glow. Notes from the trip suggest that what was found was a new colour entirely, some alien hue that blurred the eyes into stoned submission.

In pictures, the graves are simply laden with shadow, the inverse of that refulgent futurity known only to physical witnesses. One report states that a project intern dared reach out to the miasma, but as his fingers caught the luminous ooze a shower of sparks came off its surface, distorting the scene of contact. When the intern pulled back, his hand was bleeding profusely, nothing left but gaping stumps and severed sinew. No medical reports were attached to the document to confirm this. Unfortunately, we have been unable to track down any member of the research team, despite some assistance from both local media and national intelligence teams--implying that their findings were circulated under pseudonyms.

It is not easy to draw conclusions from such documents, discovered only by chance during a long-overdue digital archiving project in the Lanark Library. Though the team set out to discover a sound, what they found was a visual effect that crossed the bounds of the senses. The language used in many of the notes (some of them scarce remarks made hastily on post-its) recalls the discourse of reports on oil spills, where a glut of adjectives supplements the effective absence of explanation. Unguent, coagulate, mucilaginous abound. Where words failed to render a notion of colour, the writers resorted to a fetish for texture, as if slime itself poured thick through the ink of their pens. It is unclear at what point these visions became reified from sound, or indeed if there is any connection between these forms. Strange tones of colour and noise imply a cause or source, yet one whose lucidity remains painfully elusive. It is thought this source may be related to other unusual phenomena tracked in the area over recent years: the radically altered flight paths of swallows, the sundering of telephone lines in stormless skies, the glitched-up time of a farmer’s sundial, black holes of space where no technology can pick up WiFi.

In subsequent years, several of the churchyard graves have been restored or replaced, making it difficult to map the team’s diagrams onto present reality. Local tourist boards have made it increasingly difficult to gain permission for intrusive research in the area, and the funding body which supported the initial study have all but disappeared, thought to have dissolved in mysterious financial circumstances during the 2008 recession. What remains are scattered traces of peculiar matter, manifesting in volatile forms whose ephemera denies the context of technics or conscious thought.

Our hope is to probe deeper into the town’s topology in order to track the possibility of objective sources for these sensory phenomena. This will involve meteorological tracking and rigorous fieldwork, as well as establishing bonds of confidence with locals who may provide historic context on the architectural and organic structures in which such events took place. The ethical, environmental and legal implications of such research have yet to be mapped out, but a proposal is intended for release in the spring of 2013.

<>The proposal in question never was completed. In fact, not long after the above report was circulated online via a since-extinct GeoCities 'Celtic Conspiracies' webring, the report’s author vanished. His last login can be traced to the 21.12.12, from an IP address just outside of Glasgow, Scotland. No contact has been made with family or friends, in line with the webring’s code of anonymity. All noted documentation relevant to the project (including user lists of research colleagues, artefact catalogues and journal entries) was withdrawn with the site’s closure.>>>>