Horror and Thriller Fiction posted February 21, 2016

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A recounting of a hypnosis session

A Modern Frankenstein

by Wabigoon

A Modern Frankenstein (a hypnosis story)

"Rose, where are you?"

"1968, Dr. Levin."

Dr. Ira Levin leaned forward in his chair in Dr. Berkeley's office, an intense, interested look on his full-bearded face.

"Where in 1968, Rose?" he asked, half closing his heavily hooded eyes beneath bushy brows.

"I'm in the pantry," Rose replied.

"The pantry?"


"Why are you in the pantry?" Levin asked reaching back to the small table beside his chair where he had a cup of coffee. He grabbed it, his left hand palming the top, transferred it to his right taking it by the handle and took a sip, then held the cup in both hands in front of him as he waited for Rose Seewell, Berkeley's patient, to answer. Dr. Berkeley, the Chief of Psychiatry in the Medical School and head therapist at the campus clinic sitting immediately across the table had called Levin, a hypnotherapist, to ask him if he would help with a case.

"I have a patient, Jacob, I think you will find very interesting; I think she might benefit from your specialty."

"You think she needs to be hypnotized, Bill?" Levin inquired of his colleague at The Temple as the building that housed University Psychological Services was affectionately, if ironically, called. 

"Well," Berkeley countered, "I'm not sure she needs it, but I think she might benefit from it. She, my patient, Rose Seewell, is a hysteric. She suffers from a number of hysterical symptoms including chills, panic attacks, shortness of breath, night terrors all stemming, she believes, from seeing the movie Rosemary's Baby, which, as you know, is the story of a young woman, Rosemary, who is drugged, then offered by her husband, memeber of a Satanic sect to be impregnated by Satan in exchange for success, including his as an actor."

"Yes, Bill, I am familiar with the story though I have never seen the film. I don't go in much for such icons of the popular culture."

"I know, that's one of the reasons I think you're the man for this job -- you're so level-headed, un-superstitious."

"Sounds like she's getting to you Bill; she creeping you out?"

"Well," Berkeley admitted, "she is a bit. Strange things happen around here."

"What sort of strange things?" Levin asked genuinely intrigued.

"Well, I don't want to predispose you, Jacob, but if you come put her under I'll bet you’ll see. She's smart as a whip, a graduate student in Art and Art history. She has a theory probably stemming from the traumatic exposure to this movie, that it is possible to enter the Underworlds, the hells of some of the famous painters she admires, is studying, like Hieronymus Bosch, in her dreams. She believes her hysterical symptoms stem from her encounters with the reality of those worlds depicted by these Medieval painters. Sometimes…it seems she brings parts of those hidden worlds up into the office."

"Sounds scary, but yes, fascinating."

"I thought so too. Trouble is she brings those hell realms close to home, like right next door, not back in the Sixteenth or whatever century. She claims everywhere she goes in her dream explorations she runs into the same thing, the same artifact from the film, Rosemary's Baby."

"Really, what might that be?"

"The crib, Jacob, the black baby carriage from the end of the movie."

"A black baby carriage?"

"Yes, the one with the baby in it, Rosemary's baby, the child gotten upon her by Satan. I thinks its name was Adrien in the movie."

"So everywhere she goes in her dreams she sees, runs into the black crib?"

"Yes, and when she attempts to look in it she goes blank, suffers amnesia, can't remember a thing, wakes with attacks of the symptoms that caused her to consult me."

"So, what? You want me to take her down to peek in Adrien's crib and see what childhood boogieman lurks in there?" Levin joked gently.

"Something like that, Jacob. I thought the challenge might intrigue you."

"You bet, be glad to oblige, sounds fascinating. When do you want me?"

"Well, let me run it by her. I'm seeing her twice a week at the moment. Her next appointment’s tomorrow. If she consents to go the hypnosis route you could come in on Thursday at 11:00, if that will meet your schedule?"

"Yep, I can move things around if there's a conflict, but that sounds like a good time for me. Give me a call and let me know if she consents, Georgel."

"Will do, talk to you later."

"See you!"

*          *          *

"To see the baby," Rose replied to Levin's query why she was in the pantry.

"The baby is in the pantry?"

"Yes, sometimes the baby is in the pantry -- sometimes it is on a hotel balcony. I can smell catfish and hear someone singing a gospel song."

"The baby is on a hotel balcony?" Levin asked looking askance at Berkeley. 

"Yes, the crib is on the balcony."

"Where else do you see the crib, Rose?"

"I see it rolling through the streets of some big city, maybe Chicago."

"Rolling all by itself with no one pushing it?"

"No one pushing it. It rolls down the middle of the street past the lions toward the fountain. No one is watching except me. They all pretend it isn't there or they can't see it."

"Do you see it anywhere else, Rose?"

"Yes, in the halls of a hospital."

"In the halls of a hospital?"

"Yes, it rolls down the hall of a hospital. I think it’s the AIDS ward. The patients are terribly sick. I see two gay men in the hall; one has sores all over his body. His partner is holding him around the waist helping him. The black crib rolls right past them, they do not look in it. No one sees it. The doctors and nurses all pretend it isn't there. I get very cold and very frightened. Then it rolls right toward me and I am so afraid I become paralyzed, cannot move, cannot breathe, cannot scream and most of all I cannot wake up. It stops a few feet from me and then the veil covering it starts to slip off so I can see in. But you don't want to see in.  You wake terrified, heart pounding, unable to breathe."

"But right now you're in the pantry?" Levin continued not commenting, if he noticed which he did, Sewell's change of pronouns, from “I” to “you.”

"That's right, Dr. Levin."

"What does the pantry look like?"

"It's very plain, very dark. There are some big stainless steel coolers over on the left. The floor is very hard, linoleum I think. There are red arrows and dashes painted on it and a red cross marks the spot where it's supposed to happen."

"Something's supposed to happen?"

"Yes, Dr. Levin, I think something is supposed to happen. I think the baby is supposed to come out here."

"Do you see the crib?"

"No, Dr. Levin, I don't see the crib."

"Is anything happening now, Rose?" Levin inquired a bit miffed the black carriage hadn't put in an appearance.

"Yes, Dr. Levin, something is happening."

"What, Rose, what is happening?"

"Watch the wall, Dr. Levin."

"The wall?" Levin asked perplexed, wondering what wall the woman might mean.

"Yes, the wall behind me, the one over Dr. Berkeley's desk."

Despite himself, his built in scientific skepticism, Levin looked up and over Rose's shoulder at the wall above Berkeley's desk. Berkeley turned as well and stared at the stretch of bare wall there beside his display of diplomas and medical degrees, the painting of the Baraboo Hills near Devil's Head, the ski resort he sometimes visited with his wife on weekends in the winter. At first he saw nothing unusual.

"Rose, I'm sorry, I don't see anything."

"Watch, Dr. Levin, Jupiter space is dilating, the baby's head is crowning."

Then Levin saw something that jolted his mind like the vision that felled Paul from his horse on the way to Damascus.

It started very small, just a pinprick of light in the off-white of the wall. The pinprick expanded, dilated and multicolored light poured into the room unfurling in Technicolor fans. It began as a black speck that grew until it was a cathedral door that opened as the baby's head pushed through. Hands held the head up from the hard floor where a huge, dark, red pool of blood oozed into the room from the long, russet hair. Women screaming and men shouting accompanied the head as it shoved into the room. Soon the torso wearing a dark suit and loosened tie pushed through the wall. The baby's hand held a rosary above its hairy chest revealed beneath the unbuttoned dress shirt. Levin found he could smell the blood. The hallucination was phenomenal, real. 

Following the body Levin and Berkeley watched transfixed as Russian tanks belching diesel smoke rumbled forth while thousands chanted, "The whole world is watching, the whole world is watching!" Once the tanks were out of the hole the wall became a red dirt road strewn with bodies stretching back into some impossible distance between strands of bedraggled barbed wire. 

"What is that?" Levin cried out as chills crawled across his temples and up his scalp. 

"The baby, Dr. Levin. The baby that made you and so many other actors rich and famous."

"What does it want?" Levin almost screamed.

"The baby, Dr. Levin,1968, wants to meet its father."


Story of the Month contest entry


Ira Levin was the author of Rosemary's Baby, the novel made into a fantastically successful horror film directed by Roman Polanski and starring Mia Farrow in 1968.

The film 2001, probably the greatest science fiction film of all time, featuring the Star Gate also came out in 1968.

Both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated in 1968. Russia invaded Czechoslovakia with tanks in the same year.

The 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Illinois, was accompanied by massive riots and the world famous chant, "The whole world is watching" by the immense crowd of protestors out on Michigan Avenue near the Art Institute with its lion statues and Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park.

George Berkeley, Dr. Berkeley, was an Anglican bishop and famous philosopher.

Rose See/well is the major character in a number of my writings including several novels.

Hieronymus Bosch was a Medieval Netherlandish painter of triptychs including the world famous Garden of Earthly Delights with its notorious Musical Hell panel. Paintings of such horrific modernity that have never been matched.

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