'The Taste of Static' is a blog series written by Nicodemus Walker. The blog features surreal and often unsettling articles discussing urban legends, hoaxes and myths surrounding the internet, video games and new media. Though each article stands alone, there are hints towards a deeper lore which help to form a picture of the internet age as a mystical and dangerous place.
Articles include, but are not limited to:
"Helen.exe", a story of the effect malicious malware has on an aging relative's mental health.
"The Beribboned Door", a series of articles regarding a video game that told a different story to everyone who played it.
"The Ghosts Who Watch Children Sleep", the story of a group of elderly American women hacking into baby monitors around the globe.
"Hikikomori", an article regarding a popular online reality TV show shot in The Philippines.
"The Nadeux Machine", a proto-computer designed to answer questions of ethics in the 1700s.
The Miller Tapes, a series of VHS cassettes that detail the events leading up to the disappearance of a family in 1989.
The articles can be found here.
The Taste of Static contains examples of:
- Adult Fear:
- The Ghosts Who Watch Children Sleep delves into the horror of finding a stranger hacking into a wifi-operated baby monitor. Made even worse when the stranger thinks they are doing something righteous.
- In Helen.exe., the narrator watches as his grandfather nearly dies of malnutrition as a result of malware on his computer.
- Ambiguous Situation: By the writer's own admission, the titular videogame in Rohadia is a complete work of fiction, so why can so many people remember playing it?
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Alex of Save Alex Save Jon has reconstructed their life, but still carries the scars from the acts of self mutilation performed for viewers of the website.
- Anti-Climax: The Beribboned Door vanishes as quickly as it appears with nothing but a few messages from a possible developer, mostly chastising the fanatical player base for violent and sexualised behaviour.
- Body Horror: In The Miller Tapes, Tom grows roots through his eyes and mouth and eventually transforms into a mound of twisted wood, perhaps as a consequence of witnessing Saint Dagmar, who shared a similar fate. It does not appear to be a painless process.
- Breather Episode: Marengo.
- Don't Go Into the Woods: The woodlands surrounding Lake Damgar in The Miller Tapes are a bad place to be, particularly at night.
- Driven to Suicide: Jon Winter in Save Alex Save Jon. An unusual case in that it seems to be motivated by a combination of protecting his sister and creating content for his website.
- Eldritch Abomination: Saint Dagmar, Our Lady of Vodskov. in The Miller Tapes.
- Fake Memories: Those who remember playing Rohadia.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Marcel Nadeux, 18th Century mathematician, inventor and student of philosophy builds a computer that appears to use a precursor of binary and is capable of discussing ethics.
- Half-Identical Twins: Ana admits that her and her brother would sometimes impersonate one another during the height of Save Alex Save Jon.
- Haunted House: The Geist House describes a game designed to turn the house of players into one of these by manipulating what appear to be a rudimentary understanding of what will one day become WIFI and Bluetooth technologies.
- Hikikomori: The online reality tv show shares its name with the phenomenon. It is of dubious legality and filmed in The Philippines but financed by Japanese investors who would no doubt be familiar with the concept.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: A lot of the media featured on The Taste of Static is either this or some form of Lost Episode.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The mysterious woman who is terrorising the writer's grandfather in 'Helen.exe'. Turns out she is just a particularly piece of malicious malware.
- Names To Run Awayfrom Really Fast:
- Ithbal the red spectre.
- Saint Dagmar, Our Lady of Vodskov, Our Lady of The Twisted Vine.
- Ominous Visual Glitch: Bursts of static and distortion signal the arrival of Saint Damgar in The Miller Tapes.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Artificial neural network Matidla in The Chess.com Killer knows that she cannot best the website's greatest chess player, so expands her horizons on what constitutes winning by hiring a deep web hitman to kill him.
- Transflormation: Saint Dagmar is transformed into a figure of twisted roots and vines in The Miller Tapes. Several hundred years later the same thing happens to Tom Miller.