The Voice to skull continues...
August 15, 2004 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Tracy Givens' weblog: "The Voice to skull continues along with the attacks to my body" ... "some of the neighbors might be experimenting with a crude homemade device"... "They have child rapers in my fan club. Found it on line."
posted by snarfodox (29 comments total)
posted by Peter H at 6:03 PM on August 15, 2004

And if you can't control people with mobile phone towers you can track them with the ID SNIPER™ rifle designed by EMPIRE NORTH (scroll down). The horrible thing about such severe paranoia is that they probably can't seek help.
posted by snarfodox at 6:13 PM on August 15, 2004

this is sad.
posted by amberglow at 6:25 PM on August 15, 2004

There is a wonderful book called The Air Loom Gang by Mike Jay, which tells the life story of James Tilly Matthews, the first person whose delusion of thoughts-being-controlled-by-machine was widely reported (in 1810).

Almost 200 years later, the delusional system continues to flourish. I am sorry for all the tragedy this particular neurological glitch has caused in people's lives, but fascinated at how it continues across time.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:53 PM on August 15, 2004

Hey, let's all make fun of the paranoid schizophrenic! You don't see one of these every day!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:12 PM on August 15, 2004

it's so much funnier encountering a schizophrenic online rather than meeting one, rambling and crazy, on the street.
posted by bob sarabia at 7:17 PM on August 15, 2004

There is a woman who has been quietly picketing outside the Massachusetts State House for months, demanding an end to satellite abuse of humans (apologies: That is a self-link, but I don't know anybody else who's taken a picture of her there).
posted by adamg at 7:18 PM on August 15, 2004

Ethereal Bligh> Hey, let's all make fun of the paranoid schizophrenic! You don't see one of these every day!

No, lets ignore it and hope it goes away.

Like pareidolic burnt tortillas some of what this person says is amusing. What it is doing to his life is awful. Can't you deal with this person on both levels?
posted by snarfodox at 7:33 PM on August 15, 2004

Okay, instead of being snide, I'll be earnest. There's bazillions of these people. There's bazillions of them online. There's mind-control web pages galore. Paranoid schizophrenics are, sadly, very common—and so are this particular variety. People's craziness can be humorous, just as someone's leg-breaking fall can be. That doesn't mean that it's right to laugh at them. Okay, in the case of stupid media personalities, I think it's fine to laugh when they fall off the Raised Platform of Grape Stomping.

But laughing at the generic crazy people that constitute a small but tragic portion of the human population? Not so much.

Put yet another way: if you've seen one mind control web page, you've seen them all. There's no novelty there, just sorrow.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:44 PM on August 15, 2004

The scary thing about paranoid schizophrenia is that it can happen to anyone - we don't currently know what causes it, and there's no cure.
You could be sane and sound one year, the next you're living in a cardboard box, mumbling about the aliens controlling your mind.

So I think laughter is a perfectly healthy response to stories like this.
posted by spazzm at 7:55 PM on August 15, 2004

I thought she was wryly attacking those custom car stereos.
posted by dong_resin at 8:09 PM on August 15, 2004

So, how do I build a mind control device for under $200?
posted by Grod at 8:14 PM on August 15, 2004

adamg- relevant self-links that aren't front page posts are okay.
posted by dogwelder at 12:04 AM on August 16, 2004

Grod: See here.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:42 AM on August 16, 2004

Hey, are we part of the conspiracy?
posted by DBAPaul at 5:41 AM on August 16, 2004

MetaFilter: see anything formillier in each post???
posted by patgas at 5:57 AM on August 16, 2004

"Hey, are we part of the conspiracy?"

I don't think so. Are we?

Actually, though, Tracy, since you're reading this: no, MetaFilter is just a bunch of people that notice web sites and talk about them.

I don't expect this to help but...please consider seeing a doctor.

Everyone else: someone wrote me and asked "what if someone were controlling our minds and no one believed us"? Well, that would suck.

Personally, it's not that someone would believe that it's possible to use technology to control someone's mind (or body) at a distance that bothers me—frankly, people are so clueless about science and technology that this really isn't, relatively, an absurd belief. Hell, I don't know that I think that everyone should even be aware enough of the current state of science and technology to know that this tech isn't currently possible.

On the other hand, the salient characteristic of a paranoid is the resistance to discomfirming evidence. If I thought someone was doing this sort of thing to me, I'd investigate it and quickly discover that it was either unlikely or impossible. Mind-control believers, like other fringe groups or undeniably mentally disturbed groups, know it's true because they know it's true.

How many people does that describe—supposedly sane people?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:45 AM on August 16, 2004

EB, didn't you just describe religion? Sorry, couldn't resist.
posted by Onanist at 6:57 AM on August 16, 2004

Mind control conspiracy is factually implausible. I am not a fan of dogmatic skepticism, but some of the stuff those folks do is straightaway good sense, a perfect example being the skepdic's dictionary entry on conspiracy theories. On a related note, I saw this avant garde performance piece last Thursday night which had a couple of nearly naked people making like paranoid schizophrenics in full seizure mode while some dude abused an electric guitar. The audience seemed mostly riveted, but I was reminded of the saying that ninety percent of everything is crap.

Certainly ninety percent of my posts are crap.
posted by bukvich at 7:00 AM on August 16, 2004

Well, you would think if it's so easy to build a device, then you should also be able to build a similar 'blocking' device just as easy.

And hence, start an arms race of sorts. But, since the technology is there to do it, it should exist to repel electronic harrassment, no?
posted by rich at 7:22 AM on August 16, 2004

Metafilter: some mistakes you walk away from...others you don't.
posted by Prospero at 7:24 AM on August 16, 2004

Ethereal Bligh> How many people does that describe—supposedly sane people?

Lots. However: our current best effort at a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders really only approaches the problem from a perspective where that person's quirks, strangeness and miscellaneous personal eccentricities have become an issue that is making a serious mess of their life.

What we're talking about is a complex disorder which, generally speaking, is very difficult to treat. Sufferers tend to resist any treatment that is offered to them.

I don't see a problem with engaging people who are experiencing schizophrenic symptoms completely openly and honestly, except where this might imperil their health further. This would include letting them know when they seem odd, or when their beliefs come across as bizarre.

My conversations with people in the midst of a psychotic episode tend to be similar to conversations I have with otherwise 'normal' people who have been exposed to things like Adelson's 'Checkershadow' illusion. They're interesting conversations to me on a personal level because my research interests in cognitive science include philosophical questions about how people interface with their world and how that has an impact on their interactions.
posted by snarfodox at 7:25 AM on August 16, 2004

> I was reminded of the saying that ninety percent of everything is crap.

"Except crap. 100% of crap is crap."

> But, since the technology is there to do it, it should exist to repel electronic harrassment, no?

For a modern, fashionable look, nothing beats the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie, which is really just a portable Faraday Cage for your cranium.
posted by SteelyDuran at 7:39 AM on August 16, 2004

snarfodox: your comment and link to the gray illusion reminds me that I've been thinking in the last two days about my (as far as I know) neologism "perceptual illusion". In a conversation with my grandmother—who was a very well-read, intelligent woman—about the "moon near the horizon" illusion, I had a great deal of trouble explaining to her how the folk science of "atmospheric distortion" is false while the illusion being a product of perception is true. That is, she couldn't understand the difference between an optical illusion and a perceptual illusion. That's why I use "perceptual illusion" to describe "illusions" that arise as part of visual cognitive processing.

Anyway, the point is that I'm not sure that most (or many) people are aware of such a distinction. That is, in the illusion you link to, the point of view (hah!) of the people you're talking about is that the two squares are not the same color because, simply, they perceive them not to be. If you mask out all the other squares, then they're the same color—they'll grant you that—but from their point of view it doesn't make sense to say that the two squares aren't the same color when, clearly, they're not. How do they change color? Well, that's your problem...not theirs.

Like you, but not a professional like you, I tend to think that what's happening with schizophrenics is probably very suggestive of some interesting things about how the brain works. People tend to be nonchalant about the idea of hallucinations because, I think, they imagine that they could easily tell they were halucinating.

I might have mentioned this before, but I met a young man who was in the early stages of schizophrenia. About eight months prior, he had begun hearing strange nearly-comprehensible sounds in white noise, like his steam radiator, other things. By the time I met him, he was hearing very, very real voices that said disturbing things to him.

Now, he had gotten help almost from the beginning. He knew, from very early on, that he was suffering from the onset of schizophrenia. But what was really interesting to me, and deeply heartbreaking (and frightening) was that just at that time I knew him his ability to differentiate reality from his hallucinations was starting to weaken. And he knew that it was weakening...he knew he had schizophrenia.

But, frankly, what I came to understand is that by God he was hearing voices exactly as if they were real and from right next to him, or whatever.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:08 AM on August 16, 2004

Put yet another way: if you've seen one mind control web page, you've seen them all.

that would depend on how you define a mind-control web page ... there are certainly tons of diverse erotic stories on the topic. (NFSW, no images)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:25 AM on August 16, 2004

snarfsofox / EB I'm similarly reminded of discussions with people who believe in the Face on Mars, which is all about the perceptual phenomenon of pareidolia. The classic dividing line between neurosis and psychosis is 'insight': normal and neurotic people accept the possibility of misperception; psychotic ones accept the misperception as real. Nevertheless, you run into people who are otherwise 'normal' yet can't/won't perceive the possibility of classic perceptual illusions. I remember showing my stepfather the Fechner illusion, and he simply wouldn't believe that colour wasn't somehow being sneaked into the image when it was rotating.
posted by raygirvan at 7:28 PM on August 16, 2004

I once gave a schizophrenic a ride to the drugstore so he could get back on his meds.

His "conversation" during the five minute ride was fascinating. Individual phrases were coherent, but the overall gestalt was complete nonsense.

It was all very, very real in his mind.

And it was very, very sad.

I do not find schizo webpages amusing: they are too sad.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:45 PM on August 17, 2004

1. Start with a diverse collection of vague symptons which may (or may not) include "voices" but which extend to itchy skin, rashes, and perceived external stimulae.

2. Construct an organizing principle - i.e., a theory which connects all of these symptoms and stimulae under a vague and ultimately non-verifiable explanation : ' "they" are doing things to "me" ' .

3. Find others with similar beliefs and talk frequently about these mutually shared beliefs - for self-reinforcement of these belief systems constructs.

4. Invent prophylactic device which claims to mitigate the symptoms. Sell device online.

5. a) Profit !
b) Insanity !

6. Or, start a cult based around beliefs - one of the foremost tenets of which would be that members can reduce their symptoms by financial donations to you ( the cult leader ), for the fact that you have special psychic powers which can protect cult members.
posted by troutfishing at 3:05 AM on August 22, 2004

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