For immediate release to all afflicted psychics and men of good will:


Our operatives have obtained proof from top-secret archives that the Central Intelligence Agency is the source of the phenomenon commonly known as Spontaneous Human Combustion. Their goal: nothing less than the fiery doom of every psychically endowed man, woman and child on Earth!

The new documents are corroborated by mind probe and the Foundation's rigid interrogation of captured CIA infiltrators. In the next 60 days, the Merlin Foundation will publish them in their entirety. Suffice it to say that since 1975, hundreds of psychics have been immolated by "fire of unknown origin."

Now that origin is known:

Spontaneous Human Combustion, of course, is to be distinguished from the commonplace act of Pyrokinesis, whereby a psychic lights a cigarette, roasts a wiener, or visits flaming retribution upon a miscreant. Such conflagrations are hardly "spontaneous." They originate in the throes of a superhumanly focused will, trained to razor-sharp perfection.

No! The typical case of Spontaneous Human Combustion involves an isolated subject, generally of superior psychic ability, found burnt to powder. No damage to surrounding objects or structures is noted.

Our information shows that the CIA, under cover of the heretofore mysterious Project CDC/1431, has unleashed an abominable retrovirus into the environment. This virus targets the brain. It thrives not on DNA, but on psi-energy. The inert majority of the population are therefore unaffected. The pitiful psychically-endowed 1% who are afflicted, often mercifully end their own lives or develop thought aberrations, diagnosed by the witch-doctors of psychiatry as "schizophrenia."

However, in the rare soil of a natural psychic talent, the virus can multiply, wildly amplifying power while destabilizing control. The resulting condition is known as Acquired Psychokinetic Extremis Syndrome (or APES).

Sufferers of APES generally find their psychic power improved in the early stages. But this apparent blessing is in fact a curse!

In the terminal stage, the APES patient loses all control of her psychokinetic abilities. At the end, her ravaged brain turns on her body, causing its very molecules to undergo cold fusion in the storm of psychokinetic death throes! The result?

A burned and blackened corpse!

Worse, APES appears to be highly contagious. APES may be transmitted through the blood, or by reading the thoughts of the infected. Indeed, many of our most gifted faith healers have been infected through their attempts to cure the very disease which killed them.

Worst of all, at present, APES seems to be incurable. The only sure method of prevention is quarantine or destruction of the afflicted.

This Foundation is researching a cure. We hope, one day, to inoculate the populace through cranial implosion of all infected normals, but this remains a long range plan...

For now, all we can promise is vengeance. Watch this space for further details.


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