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Vincenzo's Reflection

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There was a theory put forward by a group of psychologists many years ago that suggests that we view ourselves as ten times more attractive than we actually are. Another group stated that what we see ourselves as is completely different to what others see when they look at us, and if we saw ourselves the way others see us, we wouldn’t recognise ourselves at all. Ordinary people have always wondered if there truly is a way to see ourselves the way others see us. Unbeknownst to them, there is.

It began in 1961, after Vincenzo Banduros published his research on aggression through imitating another person’s behaviour. The study credited Banduros et al. (meaning ‘and others’) as its authors, but all of the research was actually conducted by Vincenzo Banduros himself. Both the name and the intent of the study were completely different to the actual experiment. The real experiment was much more sinister. A similar study to that of the fake one had taken place in 1959, and all record of that was erased. Banduros wanted to keep his research, so he put it under a different guise and name to its true purpose. The et al. in the name was technically true, but unlike other studies, referred to the participants as opposed to other researchers.

The experiment was conducted with two participants. They were both put in fairly regular looking bedrooms and told they had to stay there for the duration of the experiment. They were both instructed that they had to look into a mirror, directly into their own eyes for at least one hour a day. One of them was told to keep direct eye contact with his reflection, while the other was told to focus completely on only one of his eyes. Both were white, male, in their late twenties and without any previous history of mental disorders or disabilities. The participants were monitored remotely by Banduros through monitors in the bedrooms.

Everything seemed relatively normal until the third day. When Banduros went to check on the monitors, one of the participants was staring directly at the mirror, despite him having completed his hour earlier that day. When Banduros attempted to tell the participant to step away from the mirror, the participant immediately began screaming and clawing at his right eye. Deep, guttural shrieking. He dug his fingernails deep into the flesh around his eye as if it wasn’t there, thick streams of blood pouring down the right side of his face, all the while screaming about how Banduros had made him do this to himself. There was only one clearly distinguishable phrase in the man’s screaming:

“You did this! I did this! You made me do this, you bastard! Look at my eye! Look what you made me do! You made my eye disappear! Where is it? Give me back my eye! Please!”

The man fell to the ground, weeping and sobbing uncontrollably, begging for Banduros to return his eye. Banduros was forced to shut down the investigation, as any direct physical or mental harm to participants could land him in prison for the rest of his life.

Only a select few people in the world know this, and even fewer know about the fact that Banduros’ experiment continued and gained a result behind closed doors. Hunger and desire for answers can make a man do the unspeakable. He claimed he would shut down the investigation to all that helped him set up and fund the investigation, but that night, he silently went through the compound where all the staff slept and slit the throats of all those who could tell of the experiment. What followed was a series of truly disturbing, malicious and sinister experiments on the participant who claimed to have lost his eye. The experiments themselves are almost completely shrouded in mystery, as Banduros did an exceptional job of covering it up so the experiment never existed, but a small amount of people know what he found out. What he found out was that it is possible for one too see themselves as others see them. After intense subjugation, the participant was able to perceive himself as others do. After obtaining the information from the participant that he needed, he released both of the participants. The first participant committed suicide soon after and the second’s whereabouts are currently unknown, as are Banduros’.

I am the only person who knows the extent of the torture Banduros put the first participant through. I am also the only person who knows how to recreate the experience the participant went through. This is how you can do it.

All you need is a room with a closable door and a mirror. Make sure no one will come into the room. The only other thing that is necessary is for you to look into the mirror at your own reflection. Focus on your left eye (in the mirror) and stare. Just stare. You will not get the urge to blink. Just keep staring. Things may begin to distort near the bottom of the mirror. Staring. The room around you will blur. Just keep staring. Your eyes will become a grey colour. Staring. Your face may begin to distort slightly as well. Just keep staring. Your right eye will seem to disappear. And staring. Other parts of your face may warp or vanish. And staring. Your left eye will shrink and grow and eventually disappear as well. Maintain your stare. Things may fly off your shelves or spontaneously break. It is not actually happening. Keep staring. Your whole face will dissolve and melt as though enveloped in volcanic ash. Keep staring. Ignore the fact that your face has now ceased to exist. Continue to stare at the spot where your eye was. Don’t break the stare. Ignore the figure emerging from behind you in the mirror. Ignore its phantom existence. It will become clearer as time progresses. Ignore it until it is fully grown and visible. Only then can you break the gaze.

From now on, whenever you look in a mirror, you will no longer see your reflection. Instead you will see the figure in the background. This is you. This is how others see you.

How do I know this? I’m the second participant.

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