The Forgotten RoomPaperback - 2015
A hidden room in a vast seaside estate. . .
An investigator marked for danger. . .
On a sprawling estate on the coast of Rhode Island, at the nation's oldest and most prestigious think tank, an unfathomable tragedy takes place. No one knows what to make of the disturbing evidence left behind. Then reports begin to surface of increasingly bizarre behavior among the organization's distinguished scientists.
Called upon to investigate these strange happenings, history professor and analyst of inexplicable phenomena Jeremy Logan comes across an ingeniously concealed room in a long-dormant wing of the mansion. What he discovers within may provide answers--and, in the process, unleash a new wave of catastrophe.
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***Spoiler Alert*** Suggest to read after the book; for future reference.
The Doctor who could have been a young Pendergast before he overloaded in the world of the weird:
“ ... He is perhaps the only, and certainly the preeminent, enigmalogist operating in the world today. His job is to investigate, interpret, and explain the— for lack of a better word— unexplainable. He throws light upon riddles of history; he separates myth from truth and the natural from the supernatural.”
... he was an empath— someone with a unique, almost preternatural ability to sense the feelings and emotions of others.
... the gray eyes of a tall man with light brown hair, who, judging by his face, was perhaps forty years old. It was a nice face, she thought: reflective, with sculpted cheekbones and the faintest hint of a cleft in the chin, the skin smooth ...
In times of great agitation or emotional unrest, Logan relied on Zen meditation, along with his skill as an empath, to calm his mind.
“I’d call it the paranormal version of a bulletproof vest. But I suppose that ‘ghost catcher’ is as good a term as any.”
The more evil the person, the longer the aura tended to remain after death.
" ... What was its purpose? And why isn’t there any means of ingress or egress?”
“ ... is an exceptional scientist, but he’s also like the schoolyard bully who never grew up. He still likes to pull the wings off flies."
“Ectenic force?” Olafson repeated. “Yes. That’s especially interesting, isn’t it? ‘Ectenic force,’ otherwise known as ectoplasm, was the substance believed to be emitted by spiritual mediums during séances,
“Synesthesia?” “A neurological term for an unusual phenomenon where stimulating one sensory pathway causes the stimulation of a second. Tasting colors. Seeing sounds. It was a topic of great scientific interest in the early part of the twentieth century, but that interest died out long ago.”
“You know it’s bad form to enter a woman’s boudoir without getting an invitation first.”
...it was the way he looked at you when you spoke, almost as if he comprehended your feelings better than you did yourself— and as a result she had never felt judged that evening… only understood.
Tourists, or the dot-com billionaires who showed up to display their yachts and pretend to drop in on the Jazz Festival…?
A flashlight. A kitchen knife. A digital recorder. A cell phone… As his hand closed over this last item, the vaguest outlines of a plan began to come together.
“As best I can tell, the high-frequency sound waves stimulated— in today’s terms— serotonin receptors in the frontal cortex of the brain. Perhaps they acted on the raphe nuclei, as well.”
“What phenomenon was that?” “Unusual sensory manifestations. Odd, unpredictable behavior. Even, in extreme cases, what a psychologist would term ‘dissociation.’ ” “That sounds like a form of schizophrenia,” Logan said.
This haunting had been a discovery by researchers at Coventry University: that extremely low-frequency sound, in the vicinity of 19 hertz, caused feelings of disquiet and dread. A side effect of this infrasound was a peculiar ocular vibration that triggered visions of a shadowy, ghostly apparition.
“All manner of false sensory signals. Enhanced sight, sound, taste, combined with hallucinatory factors. Eidetic imagery. Ego death. Altered sense of time. Catastrophic shifts in cognition. Complete dissociation from reality—”
“The devil’s interval,” Logan murmured. She looked at him. “I’m sorry?” “The flatted fifth. G flat, for example, over C. It was a particular interval between two notes banned from church music in the Renaissance for its supposedly evil influence.”
This device of yours is… unthinkable. To drive somebody, perhaps an entire army, insane… There are reasons chemical weapons were outlawed. Just how long do you think it will take for the technology to be leaked— and the same diabolical ordnance used against our own men and women?
“You’re talking not only about complete psychosis here— you’re also talking about the worst LSD trip of all time!”
‘ O spirit of love,’ ” Logan said almost under his breath,
How quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, naught enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls into abatement and low price
Even in a minute.
“ ‘ Severe catatonic disorder, marked by stupor and rigidity.’ Again, the doctors are at a loss for an explanation, because CT scans show none of the damage to the limbic system, basal ganglia, or frontal cortex that would normally explain catatonic schizophrenia.”
Basically, the man’s brain is being flooded by sensory signals— grotesquely enhanced, distorted, and unavoidable— that are simply too overwhelming and violent to be processed.
“Then I guess there’s nothing left but to say thank you.” Olafson hesitated. “That sounded a little facile. ..."
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