Monday, May 19, 2008

The Tepaphone Comes to Malaysia

In Fire and Ice, Stephen Edred Flowers mentions the tepaphone. This device was used by the Free-Masonic Order of the Golden Centurium, an esoteric lodge of German industrialists that existed prior to World War II. The function of the tepaphone was simple:

This machine (consisting of optic lenses and copper coils) focussed human thought to kill at a distance using combat- telepathy to create a psychic death ray.

Apparently some folks in Malaysia are a little unclear on the difference between a tepaphone and a telephone. Someone there is sending out death curses in the form of "black magic" text messages.

Police advised the public to ignore a Short Messaging Service (SMS) text involving a so-called group of black magic followers from Indonesia trying their witchcraft through the telecommunication network.

This is probably a hoax and all, but the reason that it wouldn't work is actually kind of interesting.

In the 1980's there were rumors in the computer bulletin board community regarding a "yellow and black box" that could be used to destroy computer modems. The idea was that the device could send a high-voltage low-amperage current over the phone lines that would not trip the phone company's breakers but which was strong enough to damage the delicate microcircuitry of a computer connected to a telephone line. What made this possible was the use of crossbar switches by the telephone company. These switches connected calls by creating a direct electrical connection between two telephones, and as a result current could flow from one phone to the other.

In the late 1980's and throughout the 1990's, crossbar switches were replaced with digital devices that no longer made direct electrical connections. The information moving between the phones is now digitized and carried over high-capacity fiber optic lines, so no direct line connects the two phones any more. As a result of this new technology, the "yellow and black box" would have stopped working - that is, if such a device was ever actually built. The same thing applies to magick, in that a direct connection creates a strong magical link whereas a digital connection creates a weak link at best.

There are two kinds of magical links - similarity and contagion. A similarity link is based on the connection between two things that resemble each other, while a contagion link is based on the connection between pieces of matter that have interacted. The "voodoo doll" makes use of both of them, in that the doll is designed to resemble the target (similarity) and also incorporates pieces of the target's clothing, hair and fingernail clippings, or small items that have been in the target's possession (contagion).

Photographs are generally good magical links because they resemble the target precisely, but digital photographs are not nearly as good as the old-fashioned kind in which light from the target actually creates a reaction on the film. The best of all are Polaroid photos because they don't need to go through the extra step of development in which the final photo is created from the negative. With a Polaroid, you have a strong contagion link combined with a strong similarity link. So stock up on those Polaroid cameras and film! For the purposes of magick, digital technology will never replace them.

Getting back to the news article, before digital switching the electrical connection through the telephone network could serve as a contagion link and in theory a spell could be cast across it. However, a text message is simply a piece of information that bears little similarity to anything besides a few words traveling over the completely digital cell phone network. There is no way that a magical attack launched like that could ever succeed since there really is no magical link to connect the caster and the target. Before trying to integrate ancient practices into new technological frameworks it's a good idea to understand how the new technology actually works.
Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: