The Tell-Tale Heart

Imagine coming home from your classes only to find a set of eyes glaring at you, like how a vulture stares upon dying prey, knowing that it wants nothing more than to scavenge over a carcass. How long could you endure the feeling of having your every move watched intently? As if someone was always there, waiting to gain for your demise. Now imagine you committed a crime, how heinous of a crime would you do if you knew you could get away with it? How would you feel if you killed and could never be caught or tied to the deed? Could you keep your sanity? Or would you be forever haunted by the demons of your own mind, slowly but surely losing grip on reality and plunging into the embrace of insanity?

Almost anyone could pick out the familiar writing style of Edgar Allen Poe. The discordant trochaic poetic metre and the notorious macabre imagery is the signature style of Allen Poe. In his short-story The Tell-Tale Heart, Allen Poe allows the reader to share the same thoughts and feelings as the narrator of story. In the short-story, the narrator claims to have hyperacute senses, which could very well just be the narrator suffering from severe delusions. The narrator is haunted by the pale blue cloudy eye of an old man, which the narrator describes as “vulture-like” or “evil’. 

The narrator then carefully plans out murdering the old man for seven days. He insists he cannot be insane at this level of calculation. During those seven days, every night, the narrator enters the old man’s room an lets a single ray of light revealing that the “evil eye” is still open peering upon him. On the seventh day, after claiming to hear the heartbeat of the old man, he decides to strike, thus killing the old man, then lastly hiding the body. Only to hear a knock on his door, followed by heartbeats from under the floorboards. 

Perhaps, instead of trying to finish reading one of Stephen King’s 1000-page horror stories, or 2 to 3-hour movies, we should return to the works of Edgar Allan Poe. We’ve all heard the saying, “sometimes less is more”. To make Allan Poe’s short-stories seem even more scary, I recommend reading the story in a pitch-black room; except for light from your phone, late at night, alone, regular uniform television/radio static. The reason why the uniform static, is because of something called the Ganzfeld Effect. Which basically means that prolonged exposure to uniform stimuli, causes the brain to hallucinate, and given that you would be reading Allen Poe’s short-stories, due to priming, you might start hallucinating the sounds from the story. The Ganzfeld Effect usually starts to kick in around 30 minutes.