The world we live in is full of things we don’t understand. Being the curious humans that we are, we naturally try and seek these things out. Doing so has lead us to remarkable discoveries and inventions that we never could have imagined a hundred years ago. We have defeated disease, built to the sky itself and even created machines that could take us beyond the clouds and into the stars. If our ancestors could see us and what we have created, I’m sure many of them would see us as gods.
Our innate curiosity and lust for knowledge has not always led us to greatness, however. True evil and darkness have also been uncovered in humanities conquest of knowledge. And in the end, I fear this evil will be our doom.
I do not say this from the standpoint of a great philosopher who has sat and simply pondered things either, no, I say this because I have seen it; experienced it. I was a part of it.
The event I am about to relay to you is true in its entirety, this I swear. I feel certain that this will fall on deaf ears and many of you will believe this to be just another spooky story meant to give you cheap thrills, but I promise you that this is neither my intent nor my purpose. The purpose of this story is to simply warn you of what lurks beyond the veil of what we can see and understand; to show you what awaits us in the darkness. Even if I myself don’t understand it.
What I am about to tell you has happened, and I feel certain it will happen again.
In 1971 a not-so-well-known scientist began preparations for an extremely secretive project known simply as “The Harbinger Experiment”. I would like to keep the identity of the scientist a secret for personal reasons, so throughout this recounting I will refer to him as “Zimmerman”. Zimmerman’s background is unclear at best beyond 1971. All that is known about him before that time is that he had grown up somewhere in Maryland with a strange fascination of the occult and supernatural. This later made him an outcast among his fellow scientists due to how scoffed upon the metaphysical was (and still is) at the time. Zimmerman’s opinions concerning the “other worldly” were not the sole cause for him being an outcast though; it was his methods that made him widely unaccepted among his peers. Zimmerman was well known during his time for being ruthless and cold beyond measure. He never cared about the means; all that mattered to him was results, and if he predicted the results to be valuable enough, anything would be worth obtaining them. It was this insatiable and brutal lust for the truth that made him feared among those that knew of him. And the few that knew of him and did not fear him believed in him and followed him and his work closely.
The word harbinger itself has such a mysterious and intimidating taste to it. Maybe it’s the way it rolls from our tongues or maybe it’s simply due to its association with the project, but the word always seems to carry a certain amount of doom with it. Which would make sense, the word itself means to warn or forebode. I can’t imagine Zimmerman’s reason for giving the experiment this title, but in retrospect, it fits perfectly.
Zimmerman came to a select few (me being one of them), he told us he was working on “something big” and that he needed people who could keep confidentiality and not spread idle gossip of his work. While he did not fully trust some of us, he did know that we were professionals and that for some reason or another, we were all in dire need of employment. I had worked at the local clinic as a doctor, but I was caught stealing medication and was promptly fired. This left a very dark mark on my resume, so work was hard to find. I was also a native to Alaska and lived near where the experiment would take place, so I guess you could say I was a convenient choice. As you can imagine, I jumped at the opportunity. It was hard not to when I saw the payout.
Fifteen of us were hired in total. Some were colleagues of his that has been working with him for a while, some were maintenance workers and a few were hired as “private security”. I was the only medical professional to be hired. It is still a wonder to me how he even attained the funds necessary for the experiment, I would not be wholly surprised if his financing was not entirely legal. But legal or not, I needed the money and he was paying. Looking back, it’s a decision I have come to regret.
After Zimmerman obtained his money, he used it to buy a relatively large plot of land deep in the frozen wilderness of Alaska. And upon that piece of land Zimmerman built a concrete structure, not dissimilar to a bunker in fact. The sole difference being that its goal was to keep any potential damage contained within the structure rather than keeping it out, as he put it. Most of the structure dug underneath the earth which had the effect of making the underground complex seem so much smaller than it really was from the outside, as would be expected. There was only one way of entering and leaving the underground structure, and it was via a ladder that lead from a small unassuming concrete building on the surface (Which I will refer to from now on as the entrance building for convenience.) to the network below. After everyone had gone to bed at night, the hatch that contained the ladder would be sealed off with a very large and thick metal lid. Zimmerman was very strict about this. Located not too far away from the entrance building was a series of wooden cabins that would serve as the sleeping quarters for the staff Zimmerman had hired.
Compared to entrance building standing on the surface, the underground system was massive. At the center of the complex was the control room. This is where all the facilities electronics and such were linked to, this included security cameras, lights and door controls. Consoles, monitors and computers lined the walls of this large central chamber. This is also where the ladder in the entrance building connected to in the underground complex.
Connected to the control room were three doors; one lead to a smaller room that served as the infirmary, another door lead to a break room and the last door lead into the hallways. The hallways are where the complex began to feel extremely eerie. They were for some reason laid out in an extremely confusing scheme that led in circles and to complete dead ends. These hallways made up a vast majority of the complex and it would be very easy to get lost in the maze if you were unfamiliar with the complex.
But if you knew where you were going you would find yourself standing before one of three 8 by 8 foot rooms before long. Each room had a camera hooked up to one of the corners of the room and all three of those cameras were connected to a corresponding monitor in the control room. Cameras were also scattered throughout the hallways so that whoever was watching their corresponding monitor could see anywhere they wanted to when they wanted to.
Thick metal doors stood at the entrance to each of the three 8 by 8 foot rooms and in order to open them you would have to enter a four digit code into a panel located near the door.
I remember when I first arrived at the complex how badly the hallways frightened me. I have always been claustrophobic you see, and those hallways were so very narrow. The noise (Or, more accurately, the lack of noise) was also a tremendous source of fear for me in those bleak, narrow hallways. It was always so unnaturally silent, as if the entire world had stopped moving. It really made you feel like you were trapped down there. Thankfully though, I only rarely ventured into those hallways for I was the only medical professional in the facility and I had virtually no reason to go into them.
In the beginning I found it so peculiar that Zimmerman would ask for a medical professional like me on a project like this but by the time it was all over, I understood why.
The official purpose of the Harbinger experiment was to test and observe the effects of extended isolation on the human mind. This is what was listed on reports being sent out at least. But unbeknownst to all those who were not participating in the project, excluding the subjects, the true purpose was much darker.
Like I said before, Zimmerman had always had an obsession with the occult and supernatural. He sought to prove himself to those who did not believe in him. He wanted physical proof that the supernatural was a real phenomenon, and he wanted to be the first one to attain said proof.
The true purpose of the Harbinger experiment was to find proof of the metaphysical; a world we could not see. The thought of doing this was naturally a tad bit daunting and even scary, but it was Zimmerman’s method of doing so that was truly terrifying. Zimmerman believed that he would be able to open a portal between worlds momentarily, allowing three random ‘entities’ to cross over to our world, and each one these beings would be trapped within one of the three rooms.
Zimmerman had the theory that any “entity” would try and latch onto the nearest living thing that had the capacity for it. He wanted to use this “technique” to trap a spirit in a physical form by allowing it to enter a living being that had been injected with compound mixture of Zimmerman’s creation.
In theory, this compound would keep the entity from simply leaving whatever it was attached to; the only way it would be able to leave a host who had been injected with the compound was through death. According to Zimmerman, the host would have to be something living, with a will strong enough to survive the possession. And there is only one known species that possess the amount of will required for this; humans.
Zimmerman had also done something to ensure that the entities would only enter the three rooms and that there would only be one entity in each room, though I cannot say I know what exactly he did. In fact, I know next to nothing when it comes to how Zimmerman managed to do what he did. He liked to keep his methodology a secret to his most trusted and himself, most likely due to his paranoia that someone would steal his ideas and take credit for the success of said ideas.
If I had known that this was the true purpose before I signed up, I may have reconsidered. But Zimmerman decided not to tell us until we were all gathered at his “fortress”. Even if any of us wanted to leave, I doubt we would have been allowed to do so. The security team Zimmerman had hired was loyal to him and the payout; it is not unlikely that Zimmerman had given them the order to now allow anyone to leave.
There were three different subjects included in the experiment, all were native to Alaska and each one was lured into the project under the belief that they would be participating in a harmless study of the effect of isolation on the human mind, as I mentioned before. Which is why none of the subjects objected when they realized that they would be confined to one of the three rooms that I mentioned earlier. The first subject was a young man; he was apparently out of work and desperately needed the money that had been offered for participating in the study. The second was a woman; by looking at her, I could tell she was an addict of some sort. The third and final subject was an older man, a drifter if I had to guess. One thing that they all had in common was that none of them had any family or friends left. In short, no one would miss them, which is why they were chosen for the project.
I am sorry, I wish I could supply more information about the subjects, but all of this has been drawn from memory and I was given little information on the three to begin with.
The experiment did not officially begin until 1987, 16 years after its original announcement. I was eager to begin, so I packed up and headed out to the complex as soon as I could. I arrived at the compound a week before the subjects had even signed up, and a whole month before the project even began.
I was not the first to arrive by any means. When I got there, Zimmerman, his colleagues and the security team had already arrived. I suppose you could say I was the first among the people Zimmerman did not trust to arrive.
Everyone had arrived about a week before the experiment began. There was a noticeable rift between those who were there simply for the money (like me) and those who were followers of Zimmerman.