“Ladies and gentlemen. I realize that what I am in the process of telling you is incredibly difficult to accept. While it might sound like the ravings of a lunatic, I assure you that all of it is absolutely true. All the people affected by the malignant events of today were harmed by something they witnessed in that room. The original patient admitted to room 723 had a personal journal sitting open on his bed. While I am unable to prove what I am about to say; I know it to be fact. There is a written word or passage in his notebook that caused all of the victims to enter a permanent, irreversible vegetative state when they saw it.”
The deeper the doctor got into explaining the unbelievable events, the greater the doubt became among the authorities listening. He tried to quell the discontent by raising his hands in a call for more open mindedness. He continued:
“Scientists call this coma-like state: ‘locked-in’ syndrome. The original patient’s name is Howard Phillips Lovecraft. He was diagnosed with this disease last night by myself and Dr. West. Somehow Howard managed to document the contagious trigger phrase on the last page of his journal before he was seized with its dead-end discourse. I actually witnessed this terrible affliction occur when nurse Schoenberg came in to assist me. Before I could warn her, she looked at the open journal page and fell to the floor.”
Before he could continue, he was interrupted by one of the many present skeptics. “Are you saying that anything that looks at the man’s diary will instantly drop unconscious to the floor?”; The lead detective sneered. “You’ll pardon me if I am willing to accept the risk and take a peek at this ‘Medusa notebook’ of his for myself.”
“No. Not just anything.”; The doctor replied with both exasperation and annoyance. “An animal could see the page and be unaffected; just as someone who couldn’t read or speak English. The dead-end discourse that affects the viewer would only happen to those who can comprehend the trigger phrase. It most likely requires full understanding of the English language to fall prey to the unsolvable puzzle. So far, this psychological mind trap has consumed everyone that looked at it but if you insist, be my guest. It’ll prove my testimony to the rest of the skeptics here. Just make sure you say goodbye to your family and loved ones first.”
The detective initially reached for the container with false bravado but slowly backed away from the idea. He had enough doubt in his mind from the doc’s explanation to exercise a reasonable level of caution.
“The smartest thing we can do is to destroy Mr. Lovecraft’s deadly tome before it infects someone else with its maddening power to lock-in its viewer. If the military gets hold of this diabolical thing, they will try to use it as a weapon. I don’t want that to happen. If this was a bomb, they would send in a squad to detonate it. Can we all agree to destroy it now before it claims more victims? It would be safest to take it to the incinerator and just burn it to ashes.”
After considerable debate and discussion, the authorities were swayed by the doctor’s cautionary words and agreed to destroy it. Far more difficult was how they were going to explain what happened to the relatives of over a dozen new victims of the syndrome. They all agreed that no one would buy the truth. A hospital liability-free cover story would have to be fabricated. Every person in attendance swore to maintain the lie.
Unfortunately a maintenance man was not present for the either the truth, or the discreet cover-up that day. A few weeks later he was emptying ashes out of the full incinerator bin when he discovered a thick, strangely bound book. Although it had clearly been inside the furnace for some time, it was completely unaffected by the continuous inferno. Emblazoned on the cover was a single word that was unfamiliar to him: ‘Necronomicon’.