FEAR CELL by Rob Bliss
Medicine is not without its radical treatments. All sciences must attempt new methods or stagnate into antediluvian voodoo. Phrenology, after all, went the way of the dodo, yet it was once a legitimate medicine.
We here at the Clinic have pioneered the ‘Fear Cell’. Despite its controversy, it has been quite successful. Nothing is perfect, of course, but we come close to perfection.
Essentially, the subject comes to us wishing to alleviate themselves of a phobia. Or they have been referred to us by a qualified psychiatric establishment. If they confess to suffer to more than one phobia, we only work on one at a time. Residual curing may occur, however. But, generally, over-stimulation of the fear impulse can too often have negative, anti-social results.
And unfortunately these peculiarities have made our method somewhat controversial.
For example, a common phobia: fear of snakes. The subject is put into the ‘Fear Cell’. It is a rectangular walled bed with a lid (some have termed it a coffin—we do not favour this moniker) which is composed of a silicon-plastic compound with prismatic projection properties. A mouthful, I know, but I can’t reveal too much, since its composition is a trade secret.
Within the box is projected film and photographic images of the phobia. We actually use claustrophobia as a tool. If the snake is far removed from the subject, then the fear is lessened and the treatment not as effective; therefore, we surround the subject with the object of their fear, passed their comfort zone to force them to acknowledge and deal with the snake.
A radical cure, but one that works. Cruelty is a matter of perspective.
The subject has snakes writhing across their body, slithering by their feet, hissing with gaped mouths beside their necks. All are images projected on the inside lid and walls of the coffin (my apologies), and the subject will mentally project the two-dimensional images into the third dimensions and see—even feel—the serpents entwining around their limbs. The coffin is sound-proof so the subject is allowed to scream at will.
After the first day, the subject is, of course, traumatized. After the first week, however, there is a marked improvement. The daily increments start at three hours a day, then six, then eight, up to ten hours a day seeing, hearing, feeling, even smelling the phobia, all senses coming into play. The human brain is an incredible mechanism, which we are still exploring to know its full potential and power.
The subject soon sees a snake in every cylindrical, phallic object. A pen, twisted wires, a straw, a garden hose, human hair. Even, if male, their own penises. Females have sometimes even projected snake-like properties on their clitorises or nipples, if these body parts are longer than average. Men are terrified to urinate at first and a catheter must be inserted. Masturbation and sex are impossible. There are side-effects, naturally.
But soon enough, since the subject perceives snakes in everything, they become accustomed to them. Snakes become a part of their newly-constructed world; instead of expending energies avoiding snakes, fearing them, the subject now embraces the fear, allows the reptile a place in the new order of their world. Acceptance, in a word.
I mentioned peculiarities and controversy. You have assuredly heard of Alex S., our former patient. A snake phobic whom we cured, I assure you. The difficulty came when he became so accustomed to snakes in his world that he needed them. Constructed them when they did not exist. Not many snakes in a bachelor apartment in the crowded city where he lived.
Yes, it’s true that he had once been a heroin addict. But we residually cured him of that as well. (Now our ‘Fear Cell’ is being studied for the substance addict, to our honour.) However, in the case of Alex S., instead of injecting his veins with syringes, he tied two of them to his inner left wrist and filled them with bleach, anti-freeze, sometimes with heroin, various other poisons. Allegations that he once tried to solicit an AIDS-infected person for a vial of their blood have never been proven.
Wearing long sleeves, Alex S. approached random persons on the street, in stores, and stabbed them with his ‘serpent’s fangs’, as he called the syringes. Many were made sick, some died. We mourn their loss. As you may have heard, Alex S. has yet to be apprehended and his whereabouts are unknown. But we assure you as we have assured the authorities that the ‘Fear Cell’ is eighty-six percent effective. Some patients of ours are peculiarities.
As I said, no medical procedure, ancient or modern, is perfect. We are human beings, despite also being doctors and scientists, and, thus, we are imperfect. Please do not take this the wrong way, but sometimes a few people must die in order for potentially millions to live.
It is the natural order for both animal and homo sapiens alike. If there was a god, we would merely be doing His will. So our methods are not wrong. More than likely, it’s the people, not the science, who are unsound. They need help. We help.
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