In 1982 a psychology postgraduate student named Jacob Frenz broke into the ruins of Rose Hill Penitentiary, ostensibly to impress Marie Knepler, an undergraduate psych student and potential love interest. Franz left his father’s old Ferrograph Series 6 reel to reel tape recorder running overnight whilst he and Knepler drank a beer and got high in the next room. The resultant six hour tape – The Rose Hill Recordings – set a standard for Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) that persists to this day.
The first hour of the tape so mortified Knepler that she never spoke to Frenz again. The five hours of white noise following the record of Frenz and Knepler’s inebriated fumblings set the world of paranormal investigation on fire.
What was so singular about the Rose Hill Recordings was the clarity of the captured voices and the identifiable phrases repeated throughout.
Parapsychologists and paranormal researchers concur that eight distinct voices can be heard, each repeating a separate phrase.
“Holy Mother Mary and all the Saints”
“…don’t touch my stuff”
“I’m still waiting”
“You don’t like it, you don’t want it”
“My friends are here, and I’m there”
“She’s coming up the stairs”
“Thirteen, twenty one, thirty four, fifty five, eighty nine, one forty four”
Frenz became a minor celebrity within the paranormal, and flirted with mainstream acceptance thanks to his awareness of documented methodology and formal scientific approach.
Sheep and Goats alike attempted to reproduced Frenz’ results, to varying degrees of success. Famously, Terrance Morrow, a former ‘psychic’ turned debunker, captured clear instances of Electronic Voice Phenomenon using Franz’ methodology, and was unable to satisfactorily explain the source of these intelligible ‘voices’.
Frenz niche fame lasted until the mid 1990’s, when he faded from view. Conferences and seminars booked other paranormal alumni, publications and periodicals found other case studies to investigate, more exciting conspiracies and phenomenon diverted popular attention, and the world forgot about Jacob Frenz and the Rose Hill Recordings.
Frenz passed away on March 27, 2012, alone in his family home, after a short battle with prostate cancer.
He left no survivors, and his estate was auctioned off locally the following month without fanfare or note. Eight people came to his funeral. One friend commented that maybe that number was significant. Nobody laughed.
Frenz’ original copies of the Rose Hill Recordings, the old reel to reel tapes, were acquired by Alexander Perro – AKA Red Monkey God – a musician and producer renowned for his post-industrial style, stark and abrasive soundscapes and innovative use of noise within his work.
Looking for a new inspiration for his work, Perro had learned of EVP and was actively searching for some examples of broadcastable quality that could be incorporated into a song, at the very least.
Perro found the Rose Hill Recordings, though, and bought them outright for $120 plus taxes and commission.
Back in his studio, Perro mixed the recordings into an eight song concept album – Rose Hill Remixes. He recruited long time collaborator Avery Adams for vocals, and used the eight separate voices as hooks, middle eighths and choruses.
The final album clocked in at 43 minutes, and was never released.
Perro and Adams were both found dead at Perro’s studio. The coroner returned an open verdict for both men after a closed hearing.
The ownership of the Rose Hill Recordings reverted to Perro’s sister, Veronica Teller (nee Perro), who boxed everything not of immediate cash value up and sealed the crates in secure storage.
The master tapes of the finished Rose Hill Remixes album remain the property of Phat Trax Wreakords, as Perro was still contractually obliged to deliver two more albums at the time of his death.
Phat Trax have mothballed the masters following Perro and Adams’ death, and the subsequent suicides of Perro’s manager, Don Basildon, Phat Trax A&R man Greg Sang and his girlfriend Tina Moon.
Company legend has it that anyone who listens to the Rose Hill Remixes will die within eight days, killed by Perro’s restless ghost.
Using the Rose Hill Remixes in your game
Here are some options for using the Rose Hill Remixes in your game:
Traditional Ghost Hunt
The tapes are tied to a traditional ghost story. If your game revolves around solving mysteries and investigating the unknown, then the players can simply learn of the Rose Hill Remixes and follow the thread of clues between NPC and haunted ruins.
This scenario starts with a night in the ruins of the Rose Hill Penitentiary as the players attempt to capture further examples of EVP, moves to Frenz’ old house for further readings and a possible encounter with Frenz’ ghost, then Perro’s studio and ends with a playback of the Remix masters and a confrontation with eight angry spirits.
The Modern Ghost Story
The Remixes can be used as a gateway to a Ring or Drag Me To Hell modern horror story.
Anyone who listens to the Remix tapes will die within eight days, after being harrowed by Frenz, Perro, Adams and the eight voices.
The player characters are exposed to the Remix masters, and must find a way to break the curse and appease the angered spirits before they meet a gruesome fate.
The Rose Hill Remixes are weaponised supernatural artefacts. Someone with access to the tapes, knowledge of the consequences of listening to them and motive kill can get themselves into a whole boatload of trouble.
The characters are investigating a series of mysterious deaths amongst the staff and executives of Phat Trax Wreakords. Five have died in the past two weeks. Foul play is suspected, and a number of surviving employees have motive, yet no definitive cause of death has been determined.
What is the murder weapon? Who is using it? It’s the ultimate locked room murder mystery.
Artefact Collection and Recovery
Maybe you are playing a Warehouse 13 inspired game, in which skilled agents identify, retrieve and nullify dangerous artefacts for the good of mankind. Maybe your characters collect these dangerous artefacts for other reasons.
The characters become aware of the Rose Hill Remixes, and must find and retrieve them. The master tapes are locked in a shielded secure room in a Phat Trax Wreakords storage facility on the edge of town. The building is designed to inhibit electromagnetic fields to protect any electronic media stored within, and each storage room is a functional Faraday cage. The master tapes themselves are sealed in a protective cases.
Whilst all of these security measures ensure that the master tapes cannot be affected by any nearby magnetic fields or electrical disturbances, they also do a fine job of containing the spirits anchored to the recordings as well.
This scenario requires that the characters acquire the Remix master tapes, but also that they obtain the original Rose Hill Recordings as well. As long as the originals are in the wild, they can be used to recreate the effects of the Remix tapes, therefore must be contained. This will require the characters to track down Veronica Teller and the storage facility where she placed the rest of Frenz’ estate, and buying, stealing or destroying the old reel to reel tapes.