In the series Fringe, Edina N.Y. (not a real town) is a small town full of normal looking, good-old fashioned, salt of the earth folk. There’s a sheriff with deputies, a Main Street, a diner, the works. Everyone has a shotgun in their home (my kind of town) and hardly anyone ever appears as if they are different from other people in the U.S.
Until the residents leave town.
Then, their true faces are exposed for all the world to see. And be afraid of.
In the season 2 episode “Johari Window” a little boy runs away from home and is picked up by a sheriff’s deputy from a neighboring town. As they travel down the road, the boy’s face changes from normal looking to, well, Elephant Man (cue screaming).
His kin come to get him and kill four deputies, take the kid and the FBI are called in. Through a course of events, which include a beautiful butterfly that’s really a disfigured, butt-ugly moth, more screaming (this time from Agent Astrid Farnswarth), and a clue set to the theme from Carmen, Dr. Walter Bishop figures out what’s going on.
Apparently, back in the 70’s (in the show, of course) the military had an obsession with finding a way to camouflage soldiers. They apparently found a way using a form of an electromagnetic pulse on a special frequency. The frequency was supposed to scramble the optic nerve and cause the soldiers to appear differently to the enemy. The enemy wouldn’t see American soldiers, they’d see their fellow countrymen.
In true Fringe form; however, the experiment failed spectacularly and the poor denizens of Edina (who were the lab rats) were horribly disfigured. Dr. Cobb, who ran the experiment, gave the residents a choice: They could either leave town and see the world, but be disfigured, or live in Edina and appear normal. The townsfolk chose to stay put. So, using the same EMP that he’d used to jack them up, he created a pulse that would cover the entire town and everyone would appear normal–to each other and visitors.
So my questions from this episode are, A) is it possible to use some form of EMP to disfigure people, and B) is it possible to use the same or a similar pulse to fool the optic nerve into seeing something that isn’t there?
Do you think it’s possible? If so, leave me a comment explaining how.
Join me over the next two weeks as I bring you some of the research that I’ve found on both questions.