December 15th – The Festival of Electrical Avoidance

Back in the days when Buentoille had a surplus of energy, there was little to stop people experimenting with it. Trivalla Minoré was one such person who had something of a penchant for electrical experimentation, a penchant that was ultimately to spell her doom. Whilst many of her creations were scrapped after her death, but one survives still, in the basement of what was once her home. It is cut off from the mains now, thankfully, as this was the machine that actually killed the inventor.

Minoré is often called a ‘mad scientist’ by the folk who attend and organise today’s festival, but this is not a fair description. Firstly, she was never diagnosed with any form of mental illness. Secondly, her experiments were far too haphazard and disorderly to have followed any true scientific method via which proper conclusions could be drawn. Minoré can perhaps be best described as a practical philosopher, though her preferred job title was ‘electromagnetic spiritualist’; she was a firm believer in ghosts, and was certain that they dwelt within the electromagnetic spectrum, that this was the same as the ‘spirit realm’ or even the afterlife itself. Her beliefs can perhaps be best summed up by the words she had engraved on her tombstone: ‘Our bodies are electromagnetic capacitors, binding our spirits to this world, working against the innate gravity of the spirit realm.’

At first, Minoré’s experiments focused on the recently deceased: she managed to persuade a number of individuals to donate their corpses to her, on the misplaced belief that she would be able to revive them when they died, re-trapping their spirits in their bodies by the application of massive electrical surges. Whilst it was pretty obvious that this wasn’t going to work, she kept tweaking the process, and was only made to stop when the neighbours began complaining about the smell of burning flesh. Somehow, despite a very lax approach to electrical safety, Minoré managed to survive this stage of her experimentation, and move on to the creation of the Person of Circuitry, the machine which ultimately killed her.

Today, for about five blocks around Minoré’s old house in Ranaclois district, nobody will touch a light switch, turn on a computer, or boil a cup of water using an electric kettle. In fact, everybody in the immediate vicinity of number three Grange Way will avoid all contact with any electrical appliances connected to the mains supply, and many even avoid battery-powered devices as well. The whole area will instead rely on candles and lamps to light their homes, and wood-burning stoves to cook their food. As not every home has this latter requirement, a few of the houses put on big dinners for their neighbours, made from food kept outside their refrigerators. It’s a touching moment of community solidarity, and an exciting time for young children who get suddenly to live in another pre-electrical world.

Yet this annual tradition is not just a quirky bit of fun, but driven by a real fear of possession: on this day, the day that Minoré fried herself on an exposed wire in the Person of Circuitry, on at least two separate occasions, people have found themselves inexplicably in that basement, switching on and off the circuit breaker attached to Minoré’s final creation. The last thing they remember is getting a small shock from an electrical appliance in their house, and thankfully the circuit breaker is no longer wired to the mains or they could have been getting a much larger shock.

Everyone in the area has heard the stories about the house, about the terrible experiments that went on there, about the Person of Circuitry, a tangle of exposed wires designed to mimic the various neurons of the human body, in order to draw in spirits, like the ‘capacitor’ which was written about on her gravestone. Everyone the area knows about her spirit, kept trapped in the electrical supply, released only once a year to find a new body to inhabit, yet tragically (or thankfully) unaware that the machine, her only way back, has been cut off.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Internal Temple Festival
  • The Development Fantasy Festival
  • The Festival of Endurance Tasting