The Boob-Tube, the Idiotbox, the Telly, the Goggle Box. Whatever name takes your fancy, they all do the same thing. 96.7% of American households plop down in front of their Television, and spend hours watching their favorite programming.
Almost zombie-like, families across America watch their Television-sets in complete silence, only breaking their social-ineptitude when the inevitable five-minutes of paid-programming from the network's sponsors interrupt their show for short breaks.
In today's day-and-age, commercials are a thing of the past. We've got our Tivo, DVR, Netflix, and so-on. These technological advances in media have rendered most forms of media-related advertisement virtually unwatched.
In the early 90's, the company ElmCorp began development on a piece of technology that does what most modern DVR devices do today. It would give every-day Americans the ability to pause, fast-forward, rewind, and even record their favorite shows onto a small cable-box.
On June 20, 1993, near one-hundred prototypes had been released to households around America. Many of the families were confused at first, due to the device's lack of any means to plug it into their TV set. The small box simply needed to be set atop or near a television, and the remote-controller user-interface would display on the screen.
User reports state that children, aged 5–12, would act strange after constant exposure to the ElmCorp device. Aggressive behavior, anti-social behavior, and in rare cases, nosebleeds. Many of the beta-testers had been forced to send the prototype back to the company because of the constant image distortion during programs. A few families even claimed to hear distorted dialogue, completely unrelated to the corresponding program. It was always a deep gravely inaudible voice, seemingly whispering gibberish.
One family, the Adams, had the most unique experience.
"In the first few months, the product worked like a charm! It was everything that we thought it would be, and more. Our fourteen-year-old son enjoyed the product most of all. Being able to record his favorite shows, and access them at any time was a big deal for him! Every day, he would come home from school at around 4:00pm. My husband and I would come home from our jobs around 6 or 7. Our son's job was to do his chores, finish his homework.
Y'know. Normal stuff for a kid his age. Now, he'd finish his chores, do his homework... but then he'd always go back to that damned TV! We thought nothing of it at first, but a few months later, he started acting strange. Talking to himself. Constant nosebleed. Not speaking to his friends. Acting distant... One day, we come home. He's sitting in the living-room. No lights on.
Watching one of his action-shows. He wouldn't respond to me. I kept shouting his name, but he wouldn't turn around. Something was wrong. The TV started making these strange noises. Like, coughing almost. The TV set had displayed random colors on the screen. When we looked at our son... His eyes. They were glazed. There were scars all over his face. It was terrifying. He was still conscious, breathing. We took him to the hospital, where he died. He'd developed some sort of brain-tumor. I don't know how this happened, but we pray this doesn't happen to anyone else."
The beta-test had ended on August 10, 1994, a day after the death of the Adams child. Every last box had been returned to the company. ElmCorp's CEO, Ned R. Elmsman had nothing to say regarding the boy's death, or any other strange incident for that matter. The final version of the product had never been released. The company eventually fell apart a year later, and other companies began to develop working versions of the product.
It's strange, actually. I had obtained the phone numbers of several ElmCorp employees, only to have a dropped calls every time, always after I'd asked about the man who owned the company. I've tried getting ahold of this man, asking around, looking through old yellow-pages. Nothing. It's as if the man had vanished into thin air.