Copied from handwritten notes found in a copy of "Phylogenesis of the Ear" by Louis Guggenheim MD. Author unknown.
*Tropical – S.E Asia, Borneo, Sumatra etc. Consult Howard. Re. cases in urban centres. Europe.
…[The parasite] insinuates itself between two of the tiny bones that connect the tympanic membrane and the cochlea by latching onto the ligament connecting two of the bones with its mouth parts, and consuming the ligament tissue - eventually substituting itself. In placing itself interstitially within the ossicular chain, it becomes an integral part of the hearing process – a sensorial mediator and gatekeeper.
Verto Parbulus’s exoskeleton is telescopically articulated, with a powerful cartilage / muscle composite girdle connecting [the] segments, which sit in a naturally contracted state. [The muscle] acts to keep the cartilage with which it is intertwined under intense compression…
When the parasite detects a sudden transient vibration of above a certain amplitude threshold, it responds with an almost instant relaxation of its exoskeletal muscle system, thereby increasing its length by typically 170% (check figure). This acts to restore the integrity of the ossicle chain in an almost perfect inverse of the tympanic reflex, which has evolved to protect the inner ear from damage due to sudden loud events. It then winds back (wrong term.?)the muscles after a few milliseconds, thereby dislocating the stapes from the oval window in the cochlea, and attenuating the transmitted vibrations by as much as 98%.
This entity, like many parasites (?), seeks to maximise its own chances of survival and reproduction by modifying its host’s behaviour (supposition? Check). In an attempt to mitigate the traumatising gunshot dynamics bestowed upon him / her by the parasite, the host will eventually gravitate toward dynamically bland sonic environments – where he or she may make contact with similarly afflicted individuals.
The mating processes of Verto Parbulus are as yet undiscovered - due in part to its rarity but also to its size and location within the body. Removal would bring on certain and irreversible deafness and studied specimens have all been acquired post mortem – usually following suicide. talk to tropical deseases in Dulwich. h.o.d may have some data on epidemiology. also cochlear implants… can we get output?
For further reading see:
Cattermole-Tally, F (1995) The Intrusion of Animals into the Human Body: Fantasy and Reality. Folklore, Vol. 106, pp. 89-92.
Commissioned for Signal
Rob Mullender is a carpenter/fabricator/musician/sound artist.
He has worked on installation, noise, sound sculpture, radio and music projects since 1994. Current works in progress include uses of interferometry in different media to generate audio, composition of small choir pieces for roller-coaster and dodgems (as part of a project developing situationist "plug-ins" for musicians), food motivated instruments for pigeons, The Enigma Convolutions (for Elgar's original score and an Enigma machine emulator), and various optophonic and ultrasonic synthesis devices.