One source of quite a few strange, unsolved mysteries in the modern age is the Internet. Here one can find countless forums and discussions on a good range of oddities that manage to in many cases become rather well-discussed and famous, although answers are often lacking. One such Reddit forum, apparently now defunct, was in 2012 supposedly visited by the teaching assistant of a man calling himself W.M. Emmitt, Ph.D. He was described as an eminent professor of Anthropology and also an expert on the occult and haunted or otherwise supernatural objects and antiquities, allegedly having even once curated a museum full of such artifacts. According to this anonymous “teaching assistant,” known only as Reddit user “JMFinder,” Dr. Emmitt had become increasingly obsessed with one such item in particular, which was called “The Eye of Zyre.” It was supposedly a black opal embedded within a gold ring that he wrote extensively on and spoke much of in his audio journals, which the assistant had gone about making transcripts of. This is where the tale gets truly bizarre, taking the reader of these posts down a rabbit hole into the world of obsession, insanity, and supernatural horror.
The posts take the form of a sort of diary, describing Dr. Emmitt’s dealings with the mysterious Eye of Zyre and its effects on him, and while the original forum is now extinct, much of the original material was recovered by the site The 13th Floor. The increasingly outlandish entries begin on March 11, which is when the strange, arcane artifact supposedly first arrived in a box, and which the doctor quickly whisked away to his study. The assistant says that he then spent several hours locked in the room with it, and could be heard mumbling incoherently from within. This was the first time for Emmitt to actually be in contact with the stone, but according to JMFinder he had been obsessed with it since at least the 1960s. The assistant writes of this and the object’s general appearance:
The only image I’ve ever seen of the Eye is a photo Emmitt showed me when this whole obsession began. Taken in the early 1960s, he said it was the only known image of the opal in existence, and that the stone’s previous owners were reluctant to capture its likeness (the ring isn’t even visible in a detailed oil portrait of a previous owner, dated 1838). According to the professor, past owners were reluctant to even describe the stone in detail, or show it to family or close friends. Looking at this photo, I can sort of understand why… it’s actually kind of ugly, and there’s something unsettling about the bluish flecks suspended in the black opal, the surface of which appears to have been chipped and worn down unevenly over the centuries. It looks as if the little particles were captured on camera while in motion… like tiny creatures swimming in a drop of pond water.
The witness explains that over the next several days Emmitt spent almost all of his time locked in that room with the thing, even skipping his scheduled lectures and increasingly worrying his students. During this time he was described as being withdrawn, gaunt, and wild-eyed, very different from his usual self. After a week of the doctor’s reclusive behavior, he just sort of stopped showing up to the university at all, and the assistant was unable to even call him because he had always refused to own a cell phone. It was around this time when the assistant claims to have had an extremely vivid and bizarre dream one night, of which he says:
I had a strange dream last night about Dr. Emmitt. He was wearing the ring, and speaking to me calmly and insistently in a language I’ve never heard before. I can recognize nearly any language from just a few sentences – not that I’m bragging; it’s just my party trick– but I couldn’t detect one familiar syllable, word or phrase in his chant-like monotone. As I listened in the dream, I realized the doc’s mouth was just hanging slightly open – his lips were parted, but not actually moving. The words seemed to emanate from somewhere else… and soon I realized they were coming from the left pocket of his jacket. His hand was still jammed deep in there – just as it had been each time he furtively slipped out of his office, never looking up or speaking a word after carefully confirming the office door was locked.
This dream was weird enough that the witness began to think that perhaps something truly inexplicable and ominous was going on, and he decided to break into Emmitt’s office to see what he could find. It was a brash decision that he would soon regret, for he was about to find far more than he could have imagined in that darkened room, beginning with the smell, described as being like rotten flesh mixed with “an air pocket released from the seal of an ancient tomb.” As he suppressed the urge to gag on the fetid odor, he looked around to see where it might be coming from and would soon find it, for sitting there at Dr. Emmitt’s desk was a human corpse, covered in a dark, sticky substance, and although the body had putrefied beyond recognition, from the clothing it wore it was assumed to be Emmitt himself. Even spookier still, on the left hand was that mysterious ring.
A look at the desk in front of the corpse showed that the box the ring had come from was still sitting there, and the witness could see now that it was an ancient looking wooden box with a tarnished bronze latch and engravings of two monstrous, demonic faces. The assistant pulled on the lid, not expecting it to actually open, but it did with a rusty creak of the hinges. Inside was a slip of tattered parchment upon which were written cryptic symbols that he could not identify. Next to the body of Dr. Emmitt was found his battered leather briefcase, and within that was a single, unmarked audio tape. The assistant knew that to take it was wrong, and that it would technically be tampering with a potential crime scene, but something compelled him to slip the tape into his pocket, and the story was about to get even more sinister still from there.
Taking the tape home, JMFinder then pondered whether to actually listen to it or not. For quite some time he sat there staring at the piece of plastic, wondering what would be on there, until finally curiosity got the better of him and he slipped it into a tape recorder. On the tape could be heard Dr. Emmitt’s familiar, unmistakable voice, and over the next 44 minutes of recordings covering 6 different sessions, JMFinder would make a transcript of the utter bizarreness that was etched upon that tape. It begins with Emmitt excitedly explaining how the ring has finally arrived, and describing how beautiful he thinks it is and how he is transfixed, perhaps even hypnotized by it. He makes mention of how it took him 6 years to get his hands on it, but remains frustratingly vague as to how it actually came to be in his possession, only mentioning that it was delivered by someone called “Tiestras.” He also mentions the piece of paper in the box, and how it is the first time he has seen any transcript from “the text,” but as to what text that might be, he doesn’t say. The next session sees Emmitt complaining about how his mysterious supplier hasn’t sent “the key to the codex,” leaving him unable to translate the message, and he says:
I think Tiestras swindled me. The parchment only contains about two-thirds of the text. I looked to see if I might have dropped it, or accidentally tore a piece off when I opened the box… nothing. I had nearly the whole thing translated, but the key to the codex isn’t here. Bastard. He’s holding out for more cash. He knows I need that final piece to the puzzle… I can’t reach Tiestras anywhere, or any of his contacts. It’s like they were erased from the earth. Maybe the bastard didn’t have the other piece of the parchment… he just sold me all he had. I can’t tell. There’s only one copy of the codex in existence, and it’s been… what, 36 years since I last saw it? Christ. It must be all dust and ashes now. But I took damn good notes back then. I think I should have enough to extrapolate what I need…
Things begin to get more menacing from here. Emmitt goes on in another session to explain a very strange dream or hallucination he had while working late at night in his office pondering that mysterious text. According to the transcript provided, Emmitt said of this odd and frightening experience:
I had the strangest dream last night. I must have fallen asleep at my desk while translating, and dreamed a dark figure had entered my office. It was the slender shape of a young woman, but completely, totally black… sort of a three-dimensional shadow. When she stood near my desk lamp, it cast nothing upon her. No details, highlights, contours, reflections… instead of occupying space, she seemed to be carved out of it, leaving pure nothing. Then I began to see small flickers of light within that blackness… tiny flecks of blue and silver. It then occurred to me they looked exactly like the tiny fragments of silica captured within the blackness of the Eye of Zyre.
Just as that thought crossed my dreaming mind, the shadow-woman lurched toward me. Before I could recoil, she seized my left hand and squeezed. The pressure was greater than any human hand could exert, and the pain shot through the bones of my hand like lightning. It must have been that pain which awakened me… but my hand seemed to be uninjured. After taking a few moments to calm down, I gingerly touched the fingers of my left hand to confirm that the pain had been imaginary.
He then goes on to say that after this “dream” he found himself unable to take the ring off, as if it were securely glued to his body. He seems to try to put this out of his mind and focuses on the translation of the text, something that he later claims to do for 2 days straight with no sleep, but which he successfully manages to do. Before reading the final text from beginning to end, he was overcome with exhaustion and fell into a deep sleep. That mysterious shadow woman was apparently waiting for him. Oddly, he seems to be recording as it happens. He says:
The shadow woman has returned. I don’t know if I’m still asleep, but I willed myself, perhaps my dream-self, to press the record button… maybe I actually did. I’ll find out later… She’s standing completely still in the far corner… I’m leery of what she might do… the memory of the pain is still strong… there’s something [unintelligible] different about her this time… the flickering lights within the [unintelligible] seem even more brilliant… she’s impossibly beautiful, like the ring when I first gazed upon… perhaps this time she’ll give me what I asked… afraid of the cost… what will she take… [unintelligible] I’ll know soon… She’s coming… Seteasvis… Vargonuth… touching… Ghorda… Engratha… embracing… Drellaemon… such beauty… [unintelligible] Halvazan… Ezotal… I know… now, at last, I know… Samantha, my love… it’s all true… I know!
That is the last recording and the tape abruptly ends. Very strange, to say the least. The posts by JMFinder ignited a great deal of discussion and debate when they first got out into the wild online, with much wild speculation on what they mean or whether any of this really happened at all. Not long after this appeared, the JMFinder account and all of his posts were then deleted, sparking even more discussion and launching it into a persistent Internet legend. In the end we are not really left with much to go on. The poster offers no evidence of any of this, none of the audio he claims to have heard nor photographic evidence, even though he claims to have taken photos of the ring and parchment with the symbols. There is no mention made of which university this supposedly happened at and no way to verify if there was really a Dr. Emmitt at all, although some commenters did claim that they knew him and that he was real. Hardcore Reddit users have spent hours researching and trying to track down clues to no effect, causing the Internet community to just sort of shrug its shoulders and file this away as just another enticing, but ultimately elusive story that can’t be proven or disproven. Is this just a creepy Internet urban legend or is there something more to it all? If so what does it mean and what was this ring? We will probably never know, and it remains just another scary story of the modern online age.