Bygone Jocundity
rating: +5+x
Item: Bygone Jocundity
Size: 352×240 @ 29.97 frames per second
Type: Video Recording (Digital)
Potential/Current Hazards Exposure to the Item may lead to memory loss and psychological trauma.
Required Wear/Weaponry None
Location: N/A
Reported Anomaly: Memory Replacement
Still1.jpg

Blurred still frame from 0:12

Usage

The Item may not to be viewed in whole or parts by anyone but the intended target. Personnel working with still frames are to be selected for their youth and good memory. Sufficiently blurred versions of the Item are safe to work with.

The main area of application of the Item are Insurgency PsyOps, allowing to gain trust by showing familiarity and intimacy with a target. Repeated exposure of individual still frames is also a reliable emotional trigger for priming and suggestion.

Alternatively, the obvious discrepancies between memory and factual history make for a good starting point for gaslighting and smear campaigns and can be tied into psychological torture.

If necessary, important replaced memories may be retrieved using mnestic drugs and techniques.

Report

The Bygone Jocundity is a cognitohazardous video recording 3:15 minutes in length. The original physical version was lost (and most likely destroyed), but digital copies retain their anomalous properties as long as the quality is high enough.

Subjects watching the Bygone Jocundity will gain memories of spending their childhood in a coastal village which gradually supplant their actual memories. The amount of memories gained increases with each still frame a subject is exposed to. The effect is stronger the worse a subject's recollection of their childhood is. Subjects that are too young to have lost significant childhood memories are immune to this effect (this includes everyone aged 21 or younger). The audio track has been deemed non-anomalous.

The recording shows a walk along a shore which ends with the discovery of a dead body beneath a cliff. None of the landmarks seen in the recording could be identified. The absence of the moon and the presence of different celestial body in its place (for further information, see Appendix A) have been noted.

The memories gained are mostly identical between subjects, taking place in the same region (outlined in Appendix A) and featuring the same events (outlined in Appendix B), but may feature confabulations which accommodate for the subject. For example, each subject remembers their own parents (or other legal guardians) with them, but these persons may behave contrary to their real-world demeanour. A deaf subject may remember every conversation taking place in sign language, but subjects with a walking impairment will remember being physically able to walk, even if they were born with it. It is also notable that the first love in the memory will always be female, regardless of the subject's romantic and sexual preferences, but will look attractive to them.

Subjects usually feel emotional ambivalence over the content of these memories. Common reactions include developing an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia or being drawn out to the sea, homesickness for the place from the memory, depression, a feeling of unrest or discontent with their current life, remorse, and melancholia.

Most subjects are able to recognize the memory as impossible to have really happened and enter a state of cognitive dissonance over it. Experiments introducing astronomers or medical professionals in order to have them learn more about the celestial mechanics or the love interest's condition have shown that expert knowledge may not be retroactively applied to the memory.

Appendix A: Description of the Setting

Still2.jpg

Blurred still frame from 2:41

The entirety of the memories gained through the Bygone Jocundity take place exclusively in the same north-western region of an unknown landmass, determined to be southern hemisphere from the movement of the sun. The local terrain chiefly consists of plains and low hills. The regions south of the northern coast are never visited, but are implied to be both heavily industrialized and in a state of decline. Many negative and outright unpleasant or apprehensive associations are connected to the south.

The most notable discrepancy to reality is that the earth has no moon in this setting; instead, earth itself appears to be the satellite of a gas giant (which is called "the moon"). The presence of this massive body is having noticeable effects on earth, including much stronger tides and seasons that depend on earth's orbit around the host body, and not axial tilt.

A small rural town which used to be a fishing village, but had become the site of a large printing house serves as home town in the fabricated memory. Due to the remote country locale, it lacked many important institutions like a school or a doctor.

Besides the subject's family, a couple characters are recurring in the memories, acting as important persons to the subject, like friends, mentors or love interests. Neither physical characteristics nor names of these characters are consistent across subjects, but share common themes. For example, the love interest was reported to be called "Ai", "Chara", "Freyda", "Joy" or "Yuki". The most important of these are:

  • The love interest, who is the same age as the subject and orphaned due to a fishing accident.
  • Her elder brother, who is working at the printing house and taking care of his sister.
  • The postman, who used to offer villagers a free ride in his post car.
  • The mayor, the widow of the former mayor. She also sometimes acts as supply teacher for the local children.
  • The boatman, a stern figure who is often pranked by the local children and likes to scare them in return.

The local culture is mostly result of confabulation, with the exception of the "Tide Festivals" celebrated during the apo- and pericynthion of earth's lunar year.

Appendix B: Fabricated Biography

Unlike details of the setting, the remembered events are very specific and congruent in sequence, order and impact. They form, as a whole, an entire fabricated biography of the subject up until the age of 17. A brief summary follows:

  • The subject spends their early childhood mostly outside due to a lack of kindergarten or other child care in town and their parents working.
  • From age 6 on, the subject has to visit school in a neighbouring village. They are usually taken there by the postman or the mayor, and sometimes skipping school if forced to walk.
  • The subject and their later love interest play a prank on the boatman which ends up indirectly causing the capsizing of a fishing boat. Nobody is harmed, but the owner is financially ruined. The children agree to keep secret on being responsible for this prank.
  • At age 13, the subject's later love interest is diagnosed with chronic condition (the actual condition is unknown but presumed to be liver or kidney failure) causing a slow build up of toxic substances in her body.
  • After the diagnosis, the later love interest falls into depression and eventually drops out of school. Worried about her, the subject starts visiting her and her brother on a regular basis.
  • The close connection between the subject and the girl eventually turns into love and they start dating in secret.
  • The subject's girlfriend gets an offer to have her condition treated in a hospital far in the south. Against persuasion by the subject, her brother and the rest of the village, she decides to stay because the treatment has no guarantee of success.
  • The subject finishes school.
  • In the following holidays, the couple has their first sexual experience.
  • The village's Summer Tide Festival takes place. The couple confesses their love in public. The village elders react positively and invite them to be the ones who traditionally begin the ceremonies with a kiss.
  • The girl's condition abruptly worsens the following week. Her brother tries to make her get treatment, but she sternly refused.
  • Soon thereafter, she goes missing. The village organizes a search for her. Naturally, the subject partakes in it.
  • The subject discovers her dead body at the bottom of a cliff. The death is ruled a suicide.
  • Her griefing elder brother has a dispute with the subject, leading to mutual animosity.
  • The subject leaves the village and breaks all ties to their past.
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