TELEPRESENCE IN POPULAR CULTURE

A study of portrayals of presence

Tales from the dark side: The false prophet

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ABOUT THE WORK

MEDIUM:

TV episode 

YEAR:

1985 

WRITER(S):

Mark Patrick Carducci Scott D. Jackson  

OWN COPY?

No 
 

ABOUT THE STORY

SUMMARY:

from imdb.com A silly woman believes a fortune teller machine named Horrace X is a god and can tell her future. She falls in love with the machine, sort of, but realises that she has been led down the wrong path by herself all these years. Twist ending. 

ERA/YEAR:

Present day when produced 

CHARACTERISTICS
OF WORLD:

Present day 1985. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE-EVOKING TECHNOLOGY
NAME:
Horace X 
DESCRIPTION:
Horace X is a fortune teller machine, large and stationary, similair in build to an arcade game. He speaks with a male voice, and can identify Cassie, the woman he loves. He says his mother is another fortune telling machine Cassie is familiar with. He claims to be able to feel when people place thier hands on his screen. He interacts with people as if he were a man, albeit one rooted to the floor. He can kill by using large amounts of electricity. He is malevolent and pretty evil, very manipulative of the humans around him. 
NATURE OF TASK OR ACTIVITY:
The user is asking Horace X to tell her future. A man interacts with Horace through conversation - when he approaches Horace, Horace kills him. 
PERFORMANCE OF THE TECHNOLOGY:
Initally he is supposedly telling the future. Really, he is manipulating the attractive woman into spending time with him. Then he acts not as designed, we assume, killing both the humans. 
 
ABOUT THE CREATORS OF THE TECHNOLOGY
DESCRIPTION:
unknown. 
MAJOR GOAL(S):
presumably to entertain, possibly make money for the owrners. 
 
ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE PRESENCE
DESCRIPTION:
An attractive woman named Cassie, obviously working class, looking for her destiny, a believer in fortune tellers. She is white and in her 20s/30s. A man, an itinerant preacher, also interacts. He is also somewhat attractive, white, and in his 20s/30s. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE EXPERIENCE
TYPE(S) OF PRESENCE:
Social presence 
DESCRIPTION:
Unsettling. First, Horace predicts your future, ina creepy way. Then, he instructs the user where to go, who to interact with. Finally, he kills the man who disobeys him, and kills the woman to ensure that she stays with him forever. Her soul? personality? is trapped in the machine with Horace. 
USER AWARENESS:
yes. 
VALENCE:
no, it is not enjoyable. While Horace at first merely seems creepy, he is murderous. 
SPECIFIC RESPONSES:
wonderment at his abilty to tell the future, fear of his creepiness and murderous intentions. finally, terror and clausterphobia at being trapped with him forever. 
 
ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF PRESENCE
LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES:
The story ends with the man electrocuted and dead, while the woman, also electrocuted, has lost her body and is permenently trapped in the machine of Horace X. 
 
AND FINALLY...
OTHER INFORMATION:
scary and creepy. 
CODER NAME:
Amanda Scheiner 
CODER E-MAIL:
amandags@temple.edu 
CODER AFFILIATION:
Temple University 
DATE CODED:
2/28/2007 

 


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