“Gray Matter” (2010): Paranormal Phaenomena or Illusions?

This post may contain content inappropriate for children. “Gray Matter” may contain content inappropriate for children as well. It targets youth over 12 years of age.

“Gray Matter” is a video game developed by Wizarbox. Its designer is Jane Jensen – the creator of “Gabriel Knight” series, popular in the 1990s. You can watch “Gray Matter” trailer here:

Genre: Point-and-click adventure

Target Group: +12

Platform: Windows, Xbox 360

Release Details: The game was released in Germany and Spain in November 2010, in North America and the rest of Europe in February 2011, and in Australia in March 2011.

The game’s protagonist is a young American girl Samantha “Sam” Everett who wants to become a magician. We come to know her in the moment she arrives to the mysterious Dread Hill House on her way to London. At first we watch an introduction with foreboding atmosphere, then the game begins: Sam decides to become an assistant to a mysterious neurobiologist – Dr. David Styles. During one of his experiments, she starts to discover his dark secrets, the apparently haunted house, and the links between various unexplained events going on in Oxford. Sam also tries to become a member of the Daedalus Club, by solving their enigmas with references to Greek mythology (see the illustrations below) and Lewis Carroll’s famous novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.

Prometheus bound to a rock with an eagle that eats his liver [source]
Mercury Fountain in the Christ Church College scenery. The game’s action takes place in Oxford so most of the city locations were reproduced [source]
Daedalus is the name and the symbol of the magic club [source]
Artemis and Atlas [source]
Cupid and Psyche statue by Antonio Canova [source]
Found by Aleksandra Bondarczuk (student in MA course)

Elaborated by Dorota Bazylczyk

Trojan… Cheese

Historia de una gaviota y del gato que le enseñó a volar (1996, The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly) is an amazing novel by the Chilean writer Luis Sepúlveda, for children from 8 to 88 years of age, as the author declares:

Sepulveda English
Source: Books Google

In 1998 the Italian director Enzo D’Alò created an animation, La Gabbianella e il Gatto (in Engl. as Lucky and Zorba), based on the novel. His vision met with Sepúlveda’s approval who even agreed to give his voice to the character of the Poet in the animation. It is a “must-see” because of the touching story, artistic values, and a wonderful soundtrack. And the Antiquity-lovers will discover in the movie the traces of the Trojan myth:

DVD cover (Italian edition), phot. by K.M.

The Poet and his daughter live in a port city, they help a group of street cats and they feed birds. Both the book and the movie transmit a powerful ecological message, however, without moralizing, but in a deeply touching way. The protagonist is the cat Zorba who comes to know – in dramatic circumstances – a young seagull Kengah, wounded after the contact with “the curse of the humans”, that is a petrol spill due to an oil tankship disaster. She knows she is dying, so she uses all her strength to bear her egg and she beggs Zorba to make her three promises. (1) Not to eat the egg. (2) To incubate it. (3) And to learn the chick-to-be-born to fly. Kengah indeed dies and Zorba – “who always keeps the promises he makes” – becomes a cat mother-father for the little she-seagull who soon comes to the world. With his friends, he names her Fortunata (diminutively Fifì, in English Lucky), as she was lucky enough to be under their protection. As time passes, Fifì growns up, thinking she is a cat…

Source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_gabbianella_e_il_gatto

The charming story merits to be discovered in full directly, while reading and watching it, so here we will focus only on the ancient motif that appears in the animation. At a certain point Fifì gets kidnapped by the rats. The cats prepare a rescue expedition. They consult the Encyclopaedia, owing to the help of the library cat Diderot. They find the right strategy under the letter “H”, that is Homer and the myth of the Trojan Horse. A short council brings the clear plan: Zorba and his friends know what an equivalent for the Trojan Horse to use: a huge loaf of cheese – the Trojan Cheese, inside of which they will hide to jump unexpectedly at the rats:

Screenshot by K.M.

Will they succeed? And will Fifì-Lucky learn to fly? See for yourself and enjoy the story embedded in the timeless mythical tradition.

Text by Katarzyna Marciniak

Post scriptum:

“Siamo gatti” – “We are cats”, a song from the movie (Italian version):