For the main hub of the story, see here: Project Human Adaptation
Project Human Adaptation - Spectral Fog
First Test: Entry 5
We were half way through. Most of the ones who were left looked unsure if they wanted to continue. After some coaxing from those who finished, it was decided that Subject #8 would go next.
The image that formed was once again a room of a house. Like before, no one else was there with us. The only things that stood out in the room were a few toys scattered about and some old furniture. So far, the subject was fine.
We waited for a few minutes. Nothing seemed to be happening, though it felt like something always moved out of the corner of our eyes. The light on the amplifier started darkening. She was getting nervous.
Subject #7 asked if she was ok, and she said she felt like someone was watching her. She jumped back suddenly, with a cry. A rocking chair in the corner had swayed slightly. She moved to the other end of the room, but was startled again when one of the toys on the floor toppled over. She ran over to the rest of us and put us between her and the rest of the room.
It would be difficult to get proper results if she backed down from the test like this, so I tried to persuade her to follow it through. Reluctantly, she returned to the middle of the room and looked to the stack of boxes. Suddenly, a thump came from above us. Her eyes darted to the ceiling, and slowly trailed down to a staircase just barely visible from our location. Her eyes widened and the amplifier grew darker still. Creaks could be heard from the second floor, working their way to the stairs. Someone was coming down.
After a few silent moments, the top step creaked. The subject looked as if she might try to flee again. I reminded her of the boxes. However, her attention was fixed on the staircase. Another creak, this time about half way down the steps. The amplifier became red. She was getting herself worked up, without actually seeing what was there.
A final, slow creak emanated from the bottom step. What? Nothing was there. Subject #8 noticed this too, and the amplifier began flashing red. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but she was at her limit. Once more, I mentioned the boxes. She didn’t move. I was about to tell her again when one of her bangs gently raised up and flopped back down.
Her body sagged a bit. Was she about to pass out? The whole room was suddenly filled with a fog. One of the boxes fell from the stack without any apparent push. The action was enough to dispel the illusion and return us to reality. But how? It was clear that whatever had come down the stairs was supposed to be a ghost, but what attacked the boxes? Subject #8 hadn’t moved from her spot.
She collapsed on the floor.
We ran to her side and removed the amplifier. We tried to rouse her. Within a few moments, she came to. She seemed confused. I asked what had happened, or what that last thing she remembered was. She said her hair moved and then she woke up on the ground. The other subjects looked to me questioningly.
So, she wasn’t the one to break the illusion? It didn’t add up. Though it was hard to conclude anything when none of the other subjects had the same reaction to their fears. Like fight or flight, the body shutting down is another possible reaction. Fainting is a common occurrence to some, and can happen from fear or surprise. It’s possible that this means she will have trouble with this experiment…
And by extension, possible that human adaptation won’t occur in everyone.