The Feraliminal Lycanthropizer is a fictional machine invented by American writer David Woodard, whose 1990 pamphlet of the same title speculates on its history and purpose. The brief, anonymously published work describes a vibration referred to as thanato-auric waves, which the machine electrically generates by combining three infrasonic sine waves (3 Hz, 9 Hz and 0.56 Hz) with concomitant tape loops of unspecified spoken text (two beyond the threshold of decipherability, and two beneath the threshold).
This combination of drastically contrasting emotional trigger mechanisms results in an often profound behavioral enhancement which occurs strikingly soon (within moments) after the user enters and remains in the auricular field of the machine.
The premise is that a mind-altering technology has for decades, at the behest of American intelligence during the Cold War, been withheld from scrutiny. Dispensing sensitive information in the interest of enhancing civilian life, the author shares his own notes as well as those left by earlier researchers.
The name Feraliminal Lycanthropizer is composed of two portmanteau words. The first, Feraliminal, is a combination of the Latin ferus (wild animal) and limen (threshold), while the second, Lycanthropizer, combines the Ancient Greek root lycanthrope (werewolf) with a generic suffix, -izer, conferring agency. Together the words suggest something hidden that triggers wild or aggressive conduct.
Legacy and influence
Despite the pamphlet's brevity and obscurity, its story has acquired mythic overtones, and readers have since made attempts to replicate the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer or invoke its described "animalizing effects on human subjects tested within measurable vibratory proximity." The machine's neologistic name has thus appeared in conjunction with disparate music groups and artists, as indicated:
- The Feraliminal Lycanthropizers, a free improvisation ensemble founded in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2000
- "Feraliminal Lycanthropizer," a 2004 song by one-man English doom metal band Uncertainty Principle
- The Feraliminal Lycanthropizer, an art exhibition featuring work by Peter Coffin and other artists, curated by Craig Kalpakjian, at Champion Fine Art, Los Angeles, 2005
- "Feraliminal Lycanthropizer," a song by Prague-based American ambient duo Schloss Tegal, featured on their 2006 album The Myth of Meat
- Feraliminal, a 2006 album by Russian ambient black metal band Adoniram
- Lycanthropizer, a pseudonym adopted circa 2006–2011 by the lead vocalist of American black metal band Miasmic
- Feraliminal Lycanthropizer, an active goregrind/porngrind band founded in Yaroslavl, Russia in 2009
- "Feraliminal Lycanthropizer," a song by English electronica duo Posthuman, featured on their 2011 album Datalinks
- "Feraliminal Tremens," a 2012 song by Chicago-based experimental electronic project Blood Rhythms (Arvo Zylo) with Christopher Turner and Michael Esposito
- Feraliminal, a 2016 anti-cosmos cassette EP by Irish death metal band Vircolac
Feraliminal Lycanthropizer-themed works also include:
- Progressive Lycanthropy, a 2010 cassette and booklet by Tulsa, Oklahoma-based psychoacoustic artist Thomas Bey William Bailey[n 1]
- Wolf Hunter, a novel by Denver-based horror writer J.L. Benét, winner of the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Award
Scientific and historical inconsistencies
Apart from its title and the term thanato-auric, other hitherto unknown coinages introduced in Woodard's text are, in order of appearance: Plecidic, aurotic, nucleopatriphobic and Eugenaestheticus. Moreover, journalistic coverage appears to have roundly debunked the myth of the machine.
According to Fortean Times:
[L]egends about the machine challenge belief; besides being credited with sparking unrestrained orgies, it has...been blamed for the sex-and-strangulation deaths of six youths. Some, who claim to have used the machine, have felt themselves become mentally stronger and their will more focused. [The] essay claims that 'a Catalan national using the machine daily over a period of five or six weeks eventually managed to ingratiate himself to Adolf Hitler [and] persuade his quarry to adopt the swastika as high totem and emblem of the burgeoning National Socialist Conference.' Such stories are, clearly, beyond belief. There is no evidence that the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer exist[ed] or could have such effects.
In TechnoMage, a compendium of writings on technology and the occult, author Dirk Bruere relates, "The recording '...contains two infrasonic frequencies, 3hz and 9hz, which, combined, generate a lower, third frequency of 0.56hz.' They do not.":369–370 Paranormal researcher Michael Esposito opines, "I’m not sure the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer is as effective as a woman leaning against the spin cycle of a Maytag."
- "The [three pieces] on this cassette were built up from a Feraliminal Lycanthropizer drone, an experimental binaural frequency supposedly used by the military as an audio truth serum or combat stimulant. As the name suggests, this technique was meant to hurl individuals into 'wolf-like' states in which they would careen between poles of focused rage and woozy ecstasy."—Bailey
- Woodard, D., "Feraliminal Lycanthropizer" (San Francisco: Plecid Foundation, 1990).
- Sergeant, J., "Sonic Doom", Fortean Times, Dec 2001.
- Bruun, J., "Dreamachines, Wishing Machines or Feraliminal Lycanthropizers, Anyone?," in Kerekes, D., ed., Headpress: Journal of Sex, Religion, Death—Issues 24-27 (Manchester: Headpress, 2002), p. 32.
- Anon., "Inaudible sound that kills", Украина Криминальная, Jul 31, 2012.
- Afe Records, Craig Hilton bio.
- Uncertainty Principle, Acoustical Weapons Division (2004), MA.
- Champion Fine Art, The Feraliminal Lycanthropizer, May 6–28, 2005.
- Schloss Tegal, The Myth of Meat (Moscow: Waystyx, 2006), Discogs.
- Schloss Tegal, "Feraliminal Lycanthropizer" (audio only), YouTube, Sep 7, 2015.
- Adoniram, Feraliminal (Izhevsk: Firstborn Chaos Productions, 2006), MA.
- Lycanthromancer (artist page), MA.
- Feraliminal Lycanthropizer (band page), VK.
- Posthuman, "Feraliminal Lycanthropizer" (2011), Bandcamp.
- Blood Rhythms, "Feraliminal Tremens" (Chicago: Land of Decay, 2012), Discogs.
- Weepunkt, A., "Tape gehört: Vircolac Feraliminal", Totgehört, May 14, 2016.
- Vircolac, Feraliminal (2016), Irish Metal Archives; op. cit., MA.
- Bailey, T. B. W., Progressive Lycanthropy Archived 2016-04-28 at the Wayback Machine (Kuala Lumpur: Mirror Tapes, 2010), Big Cartel.
- Independent Publisher, "2013 IPPY Awards Results", May 2013.
- Hughes, A., Review of Wolf Hunter, Fantastic Reviews, Feb 9, 2014.
- Bruere, D., TechnoMage (Bedford, England: Dirk Bruere, 2009), pp. 369–370.
- Zylo, A., "Interview with M. Esposito", WFMU's Beware of the Blog, Mar 14, 2013.