I am not sure how I missed the third Halloween lore from last year, but this is the time for it! I didn’t want to spoil this year’s one so I think I’ll be always a year behind. The 2014 event revolves around Golden Age old-timey radio, and it is very fun.
Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.
TRANSMIT – initiate the broadcast day – RECEIVE – initiate bands 3 to 30 MHz – WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL LURKS IN THE HEARTS OF MEN? – initiate that oldtime radio – I AM THE WHISTLER, AND I KNOW MANY THINGS, FOR I WALK BY NIGHT – our buzz is your signal for the Signal Oil program – WITNESS – the Number Station.
Listen, sweetling. Listen.
Listen for the first two bars of “The Lincolnshire Poacher.” Listen for the music of Jean Michel Jarre. Listen for “¡Attención!”
We call upon their names: Nancy Adam Susan, The Swedish Rhapsody, The Gong Station, the English Woman, Magnetic Fields, Tyrolean Music Station, 3 Note Oddity, The Counting Station, Papa November, and The Lonely Patriot.
Entities made out of signals. Beings made of message. It tickles our empathy! We flirt with those heady strings of numbers, those cosmic sonnets – we blush – we burn – a strange melody – a beep – a child’s voice – a woman’s voice – synthetic – distant – valentines in slinky static. We’ll cop your cipher.
People noticed the numbers sometime after World War II. Rumours breed like beetles under the floor. No government has acknowledged the existence of these phantom stations, and still they play. The numbers live and breathe and move without paying much care to the speculation of the ears.
Two numbers station enthusiasts meet at a diner. They guzzle damn good coffee. They shiver at electronic feedback. “Once you listen…it changes you,” one says. They show each other forearms filled with tattooed digits.
They trade theories: it’s spy games on the air waves – it’s extraterrestrial commandments – it’s behavioural programming from the queens, and every city is a hive – it’s a century-long, global prank – we are in a divergent universe, and it’s the mother reality trying to guide us home. They go back to tend their shortwave radios, listening and dreaming conspiratorial dreams.
Somewhere, Dave Screed listens in on his shortwave radio. Hissing, numbers, laughter. He hears something that voids his bowels. No amount of thumping dryers or Q-tips can remove it from his ears.
Listen for the voice.
“Jingle sung and patter said – radio’s more fun when you’re dead.”
Somewhere, a scientist sits in his lab. He listens to Golden Age radio dramas to relax. It’s how he learnt English. He practises parroting the radio voices, the dramatic intonations, the sinister laughs. His presenter voice. Radio waves! If he could just find the right resonance, life and death could communicate. In despair, he ends his life. As he dies, he realises how he could make it all work.