What has come to be known as "White Torture" is a method of psychological torture used in Iran during interrogation of political prisoners, often American journalists. During this practice, a prisoner will be sent to solitary confinement in a completely noiseless white room. If the prisoner refuses to give the information desired by his or her captors, he or she will remain in the room for long periods of time. Very quickly, often as few as ten or fifteen minutes after entering the room, the complete absence of outside stimulus will cause the prisoner's brain to begin filling in the space with terrifying auditory and visual hallucinations.
The mind can be one's greatest nightmare.
Jeremy Spann couldn't remember anything. He came to in the corner of a brick room, where several bricks were missing out of the walls, allowing small rays of sunlight to pass through. He tried to get up, but was too weak. He felt like he hadn't eaten in days. He felt his pounding head, discovering a painful bulge on his scalp. He touched it lightly, and quickly regretted doing that. He winced as a sharp wave of pain shot down through his skull and into his torso.
He felt something around the back of his neck. He felt a band of some kind of fibrous material, he couldn't tell what. He looked down, working against a stiff neck, and saw a Sony camera dangling from a strap around his neck. He tried to get up again, and he could support himself with his arm now. He raised his upper body slightly and looked around.
He was startled at the sight of a soldier in green standing to his left, holding what he thought might have been an assault rifle. The soldier's eyes met his gaze, and with an annoyed grunt, he turned, leaned through an open doorway to his left, said something in a language Jeremy didn't know, and received a response from somewhere past the doorway.
The soldier turned back to face Jeremy, looked down, and spit on the ground in front of him. He muttered something in his language, and reached down and grabbed Jeremy by his right arm. He started toward the doorway, dragging Jeremy across the concrete floor.
Jeremy was more awake now, and more alert. He was starting to be worried what was happening to him, and summoned a breath and screamed for help. The soldier quickly turned around and slapped his dusty hand over Jeremy's hand. He dragged Jeremy faster, while Jeremy squirmed in the soldier's grasp, trying to free himself.
They came to the entrance of a new room. When Jeremy could see into it, he was almost blinded. All he saw was white. His eyes adjusted to make out corners, walls, a ceiling, a floor, and several lights. Before he knew it, Jeremy was in the room, tossed on his stomach by the soldier. Before he could get up, he heard a door slam shut behind him.
He turned his stiff body to look at the door. The door was metal, also white, with a heavy lock that had been locked. Jeremy lifted himself to his feet and looked around.
He saw nothing but white walls. He was alone. He turned and leaned against a wall. He tried to remember something, but thinking only sent more pain through his head.
Several minutes passed. He started pacing to pass the time. He didn't know what he had been forced into. He didn't feel good about it.
Several more minutes passed. Time seemed to be slowing down to Jeremy. He couldn't see anything else except his own body. He couldn't hear anything.
More minutes ticked by. It had already felt like an eternity when he heard the knock. It was a single knock, like that of a knuckle on a wooden door. His head perked up and he looked toward the door. A metal door wouldn't produce that noise, would it?
He asked who was there. It sounded strange, hearing his own voice. No reply. He asked again. Another knock. He approached the door. Then he realized what was going on.
"Real funny," he said aloud.
He knew the soldiers were messing with him. They wanted to see him panic, wanted to see him breakdown and go insa-
Another knock. Followed by a loud crash.
Jeremy was startled, almost falling backward. Then the knocking started again. Except now it continued on and on.
Jeremy glanced around in fear.
The knocking was louder now, drilling into his eardrums. He saw something out of the corner of his eye, off to his left. He glanced that way and saw nothing.
A crash again, nearly drowned out by the knocking.
Jeremy backed against the wall. He started breathing heavily, his eyes darting around him. He saw something else in his eye, off to his right. He tried to focus. It was a cockroach.
It crawled across his field of vision. Jeremy scratched at his face, trying to find it.
It crawled toward his peripheral vision and disappeared. He saw something else off to his left. A dark mass. He tried to look toward it, but he was stopped by an incredibly high-pitched buzzing tone in his left ear.
It was so intense that it forced him to his knees.
The tone buzzed in both ears now. He clutched at his ears. He felt his hair, which was sweating profusely. It grew louder. He banged against the wall. It made no noise. A faint voice poked at his eardrums. He turned around to see a dark silhouette of a main standing in a corner of the room.
"Who are you?" Jeremy shouted above the ringing in his ears.
The person charged at him. He threw his hands in front of his face and cowered back just as the person vanished. He slowly raised his hands, glancing around at the room. He thought of how he hated this horrible room that made him feel powerless.
The room was destroying his mind. Making him crumble. Slowly killing him. His skin was crawling. His ears were buzzing. His eyes were dying. He clawed at his head, trying to get the visions out of his brain. Eyes were around him. Watching him.
His breath came in choppy gasps.
He scratched at his head. It became numb. He scratched and scratched. He couldn’t feel anything. He scratched until he felt something. Something soft. It became covered in something watery. The watery feeling spread across his head. Down his neck, over his ears, and into his eyes.
His vision turned red.
He kept scratching. He felt something hard. He scratched at it. He couldn’t get through. Monsters were crawling on his eyes. His ears were filled with screams, moans, wails.
He managed to stand up. He charged at a wall. His head struck the wall. He felt something crack.
He hit the wall again.
Another crack. He stopped and looked around. He saw fire, spiders, sharks and monsters; and eyes and devils.
He heard screams, buzzing and beeping and laughing; moaning and crying and whispering.
He charged the wall again. A loud crack.
And then nothing.