February 21st – The Festival of the Kane Broadcasts

On February the 21st 1975, a woman called Xanthe Kane graced the screens of Buentoilliçan televisions for the first time. Everyone knew she was called Xanthe Kane, because she said so, but besides that nobody seemed to know much else; nobody had even seen her before, as far as we are aware. Only her silhouette was visible at first, tall and thin, with a very long neck; it would be years before she revealed her face on her annual broadcast. She said, in her quavering voice with its strange accent, that the Aliens had asked her to talk.

The broadcast, which has come to be known as the ‘Kane broadcast,’ lasted for exactly five minutes, and ran at the same time every year for eleven years. Every broadcast would begin part way through the most popular television programme of the time, Kitchen Talk, with a sudden jump of static and a squeal that became progressively high pitched as the static began to coalesce into recognisable shapes. When the squeal hit an inaudible pitch the static dispersed, revealing Kane, who was mid way through a sentence. She kept talking for the entire five minutes, strange visual and audio aberrations and moments of static interrupting her randomly, when she was suddenly cut off and the original programming resumed. There were many complaints to the Buentoilliçan Broadcasting Service (BBS) after the original Kane broadcast, as it caused thousands to miss five crucial minutes of their favourite TV show.

Regardless of the fact that it hasn’t been on television for so long, the broadcast held such mystery for so many that it is remembered each year in a conference-style gathering. Hundreds of people, mostly Buentoillitants, but also citizens of other nearby cities who have become obsessed with the broadcasts after being sent recordings in the post, will gather in the conference room of the Grand Central Hotel, where talks about the Kane broadcasts will be hosted. These usually revolve around academic theories about the origin of the broadcasts, though they often degrade into conspiracy theories instead. The BBS has consistently and resolutely denied any involvement whatsoever in the creation or deliberate broadcasting of the strange televisual artefacts, and have conducted several internal investigations, all of which concluded that the television channel must have been ‘temporarily hijacked’ by a prankster with some specialist equipment. No persons by the name of ‘Xanthe Kane,’ or any other similar spellings have ever been recorded to have lived in the City.

Many recordings of the Kane broadcasts will be pored over at the conference today by academics and technicians from various fields of expertise. The images and sounds will be run through spectrographers and audio-visual synthesisers, slowed down, sped up, played backwards, zoomed in upon, pulled out of synch, laid over one another. The static and audio-visual aberrations are particular areas of focus for these disciplines. Whilst they have produced a few interesting theories, few of them are truly convincing. Poets, psychologists, linguists and historians have also studied Kane’s speech patterns, cadence, and vocabulary, alongside the historical veracity and emotional impact of her words. Various scientists of all creeds have been consulted as to the accuracy of the scientific understanding that Kane seems to show. Much of this work will be shared today.

Whilst most at the conference treat the claims that Kane makes in her broadcasts with scientific detachment, many are true believers, and can be seen wearing poori hats; tight-fitting caps which are woven from threads of silver and poori fern fronds, held together with colourful cotton cords. Kane explains, across the eleven broadcasts which all seem to be muddled up sections of one larger recording, that the combination of these factors is enough to keep ‘God’ from entering your mind and controlling your actions, allowing you to truly be free. This information was apparently given to her by an alien species known as the Cassiat, who have found more esoteric ways in which to see this god and remain unseen by it, and are therefore invisible to us as well. Somehow they were apparently able to communicate with her, choosing her as their spokesperson to share these techniques. Often her exact meaning is unclear, due to the various static interruptions, the muddled nature of the broadcasts (there seems to be at least five ways of arranging the broadcasts, each giving a slightly different meaning to Kane’s words), and the way in which she seems to flit between subjects like a bee between flowers.

Most of the broadcasts seem to be focused around the construction of a ‘matter converter’ which will supposedly allow humans to change their corporeal forms into something ‘other than corporeal,’ as the Cassiat did. Whilst attempts have been made to actually build the fabled machine, it seems that Kane never finishes what she is trying to communicate, and few have made anything more than a pile of scrap. An attempt in 1993 was widely reported as a success, but under further investigation it was found to be a hoax; the machine was nothing more than a mirror box that gave the appearance of its subject disappearing.

Of all the theories at the festival today, the most popular surrounds an orphan called Kirio, found to have a 93% facial match to Kane, whose face can be seen when she steps out of the shadows in the later broadcasts. The orphan in question never knew her mother, and was left on a doorstep as a newborn. Now 45 years of age, it’s thought that Kane could be her mother, such is the similarity in appearance. Unsurprisingly, Kirio has denied all involvement, and has asked to be left alone. She has refused to consent to have her DNA sampled, to see if any matches can be found, but the theory suggests that it would be a close match for an ‘Elizabeth Care,’ a woman who, according to the ‘Odd Occurrences’ section of the Ranaclois Herald, made an impassioned speech at parliament square about ‘the ungodly powers of a mysterious alien race’ with a babe in her arms, whilst wearing a black mourning veil.

Other theories focus on the snippet of song that can be heard in the background of end of the final Kane broadcast. It’s difficult to make out, but it seems to be a male voice, singing ‘different types of love’. There are no songs known to Buentoillitant scholars that share these lyrics.

Other festivals happening today:

  • A Quiet Gathering

  • All the Little Mice are Lost in the Attic