The forgotten top floor of the Senate building in one of the colleges of the University of London. The rooms have not been used since the early 1970's when the physics and nuclear research department, under public pressure around the safety concerns of nuclear research being carried out in the crowded urban areas, moved out from the top floor of the Senate building to an undisclosed underground location in the middle of what used to be marshland in Stratford, but what is now part of the 2012 Olympic village. The reactor is still on the site and is occasionally switched on for tests, but the buildings have been renamed The Claygate Climate Change Centre, and nobody really pays it any attention.
The corridor is dusty and abandoned, there is rubbish and random mess that has not been tidied since the early 70's. An old copy of Beat magazine from August 1971 with the Osmonds on the cover lies torn in a corner while random bits of unidentifiable electronics junk lies scattered in apparently random distribution.
There is a loud electronic humming noise outside a door marked Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory.
Crew and Steve knock timidly on the door. They hear loud sounds of electro static discharges.
Dr Kemble: from within Turn it up, the signal is getting stronger. Yes, I can see something it's coming through. Remarkable. Turn on the modulator.
John Hampton: Which one is the modulator?
Dr Kemble: The black button with the bee sticker on it and the words Bravo.
John Hampton: he presses the button I meant to ask you about that. Why a bee?
Dr Kemble: They were left over from a French teacher I suppose, don't know how they found their way up here. Besides if this should fall into the wrong hands noone would know how to use it without the key.
John Hampton: I see, so what does the turtle with the words 'genial' written underneath do?
Dr Kemble: The turtle cuts out the background radiation. Protects the receptor from stray inputs the same way a shell protects a turtle from attack from animals I suppose, there is a kind of reason and logic behind the indicators but hopefully too obtuse for anyone who might try to steal the machine.
John Hampton: Why would anyone steal the machine, nobody knows about it except for me you, the boys and a wooden puppet.
Dr Kemble: Oh my dear Johnnie, I thought you more than anyone would know by know that someone always knows what you're doing. It's just a question of not giving them any reason to try to disturb you.
John Hampon: So why a bee?
Dr Kemble: Listen, after a few seconds there is a buzzing sound as the modulator starts to work on the signal.
John Hampton: Ahhh.
Suddenly there is a knocking sound.
Dr Kemble: Hmmm, that noise is not normal. There must be a problem with the signal transducer.
John Hampton: It's the door.
Dr Kemble: confused and examining his equipment door? There is no door. You mean the flap for the signal correction panel? It is not making this sound?
John Hampton: returning with Steve and Crew The door door, the door to this room.
Dr Kemble: with delight Ahhh marvelous, now we have test subjects to work with.
Crew: Test subjects? I don't like the sound of that?
Dr Kemble: Why not, we have you to thank for all this and we seem to be making some clear progress. Look!
Crew: looking at the TV screen unable to see anything except for TV static I can't see anything professor.
Dr Kemble: Look there, do you see it?
Dr Kemble points Steve and Crew to a specific area on the bottom edge of the screen.
Dr Kemble: Look, there particles that are firing here, notice that they are firing in the opposite direction to the other signals.
Steve: Is that it? I thought we were going to be able to see actual pictures of them, not just fast moving white dots. How can we communicate with that?
Dr Kemble: It's early days yet. All of this static you can see here, this is all electromagnetic radiation, some of it from Earth telecommunications, some of it from all the signal sources in the city and roughly one percent is from the big bang you know. Well if we can shield the source collector from all of these sources and somehow strengthen and focus our source then we will be able to develop the signal into something. At least it's possible but it all depends on how strong these spirit signals are, noone has ever recorded such things.
Steve; Actually that's not quite true.
Dr Kemble: turns to Steve and raises an eyebrow Oh? You're referring to the William Crooke no doubt? A brilliant chemist but rather a poor judge of human character, I'm afraid he was duped by some extremely unscrupulous people, much like Conan Doyle another great mind sadly marred by one fatal flaw: an over willingness to believe.
Steve: Actually I had Uri Geller in mind.
Dr Kemble: He was big in the eighties. Used to have a way with spoons. What do you know about him?
Crew: interrupting He worked with The Mossad on psychic affairs, and the CIA.
Steve: Thanks Crew but I was the one talking to the professor. He worked with a man called Andrija Puharich on a round-table project called The Council of Nine. All connected to the Illuminati Astor and Bell families.
Crew: interrupting The Bell family is old, so is Astor, they both go back to Canaan and the ancient middle east. The Bells are related the priests of Baal bloodline and Astor are the priest of Astarte.
Steve: Puharich was working on contacting extra-terrestrials who claimed to be the pantheon of the nine archetypal Gods of ancient Egypt. Geller was the channel and he would receive these messages from outer space, then apparently he would start to receive messages directly transferred onto magnetic cassettes. This was all taken very seriously and there was a lot of money involved because these people wanted to get hold of ideas and concepts for new technology and like the Nazis there was a lot of currency to the idea that such insights and information which can revolutionise the world comes from the interested other dimensional beings communicating with humans. Then they changed their story and claimed to be an alien race known as Rhombus 4d from a planet called Hoova.
Dr Kemble: So you're saying the myth of Prometheus might not be merely a myth. That these 'things' out there which communicate with us and help us with our development.
Crew: Yeah. What do you think?
Dr Kemble: I don't have a strong opinion. It's possible of course, but it's equally possible that innate human ingenuity can go a long way in these matters especially when beings claim to come from a planet known for vacuum cleaners. Perhaps they invent that who knows? Along with the Corby trouser press and the Goblin Teasmade.
John Hampton: interjecting Steve raises an interesting point. How do we even know that whatever beings we contact are even rock stars at all? What if it's all part of some deception? We need to be wise to this possibility. There was a chap, a journalist who investigated psychic phenomenon and mediums. He wanted to figure out if the whole thing about spirits was real and whether the mediums who were supposedly in contact with these spirits were sincere. He discovered that the mediums were sincere but the spirits were not. They always pretended to be something or someone they weren't. Fisher spent hours and hours of research investigating the stories from these channeled voices from beyond, and every time, some fact or element of their story was out, he could find no evidence of their actual existences despite the fact that nearly all the details of their story were correct.
Steve: So what happened?
John Hampton: He realised that something else was going on, this wasn't just about whether the mediums were lying or whether spirits really existed. The sheer depth of knowledge exhibited by the spirits assured him they were a real disembodied intelligence, and the complete variance of this knowledge to the lives of the mediums who channeled these intelligences assured him that they had no conscious role in any deception. However the inescapable conclusion he came to was a terrifying one, that not only were these spirits not quite who they said they were but they weren't actually human and never had been. They were something else.
John Hampton: Who knows? But certainly not human. They were something which needed human attention for some reason to give it reality. It needed to possess people and be communicated with, and it seemed to have access to whole lifetimes of knowledge upon which to create a mosaic of an invented life on Earth so its words from beyond the grave would be listened to. But the spirits Joe communicated with had never existed as humans on Earth.
Steve: What happened?
John Hampton: Joe Fisher killed himself by jumping off a cliff. He told his editor shortly before his death that the spirits were still after him for having written his book exposing them.
John Hampton: That's right. So whatever comes through that screen, if it ever gets beyond the stage of moving white dots of static then we'd better be circumspect and be on our guard.
Steve: But we met Jim. Jim's real.
John Hampton: Sure, but that's not to say someone might not sneak through who isn't on our guest list.
Crew: Yeah, like Whitney Houston. She sucks. I don't want to see her ghost warbling on my telly, it was bad enough having it as a number one for ten weeks. No escape from that mad screaming ego with voice like a frigging ambulance siren.
Steve: Agreed. No Whitney. And no Jackson. Kid fiddling Pepsi swilling muppet come later day saint. First sign of Jackson's black or white face and I'm putting the boot into that machine.
Dr Kemble: while fiddling and tinkering I appreciate your high standards and stringent entry requirements but there is no question of damaging the equipment I've spent so long messing about with continues fiddling and having a sudden idea spots a biscuit crumb and puts it in the machine. By Jove, I think I've got it.
The screen is suddenly clear of static and a shadowy human form is visible.
Crew: Wow what did you do? How did you reduce all the signals you mentioned?
Dr Kemble: The technological miracle of biscuits. Just a shot in the dark but a perfectly logical one. The biscuit contains fat much like the human brain and serves equally to filter out any extraneous signals which are not required, while serving to strengthen and channel the internal signals we DO need. Well how remarkable. As a scientist I'm continually amazed what a fine sense of humour the universe seems to have sometimes.
Crew: So who is it? It's not Whitney or Jackson is it because I don't want to talk to them.
Dr Kemble: It's hard to tell, we need some way of creating light relief.
Crew: Like a few jokes? Have you heard the one about the ex-pat business man on the Japanese golf course?
Dr Kemble: No and I don't want to. But that's not what I meant by light relief. I mean shading, we need to find a way of shading the features and creating different tones of shades before we will be able to see anything.
John Hampton: Hmmmm. It needs a filter of some kind. Crew, give me your sunglasses.
John Hampton: putting them on No, these are no good. What about yours Steve?
Steve hands over his sunglasses to John Hampton.
John Hampton: Putting on the sunglasses Oh yes that's the ticket. Here Philip, try these on.
Dr Kemble: Oh my, yes, the polarising lens works perfectly. So who is this young lady?
John Hampton: If I'm not mistaken this young lady is called Amy Winehouse.
Crew: Amy Winehouse? We picked up Amy Winehouse? Oh yeah. Talking to the shadowy figure on the TV. Can you sing Valerie for us? I love that. You were so awesome Amy, I saw you at Glastonbury. Why did you punch that bloke though? And why did you come into the audience, what were you looking for? starts singing Lionel Ritchie Was it me you were looking for?
Dr Kemble: She can hear you, but we can't hear her. So there'll be no greatest hits shows for the moment until I figure out a way to channel sounds from the ghost world. In the meantime we all need to get hold of a pair of polarised sunglasses.