Third Law Hub - History

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History

It is nearly impossible to give a concise summary of parahistory, for the history of the anomalous is expansive, long, and prone to time-travel-related complications. Much of it has been naturally lost to time, but even more has been destroyed by those who seek to conceal information of the anomalous. Seemingly basic pieces of information, such as the date of the First Occult War, are entirely absent from the parahistorical record, forcing scholars of the occult to rely on hearsay and speculation.

The modern era of parahistory is thus defined by the consistent presence of reliable records of paranormal events, and is generally regarded as having begun after the end of the Sixth Occult War. The emergence of modern normalcy preservation organizations, the codification of the Veil, and the start of the Paranormal Renaissance in the aftermath of the war all contributed to the widespread documentation of anomalous phenomena — even if the conditions of the Veil meant that such documentation was kept secret.

The Sixth Occult War

The first major occult conflict in over two centuries, the Sixth Occult War lasted from 1875 to 1882. A multi-faceted conflict involving many different occult groups and individuals, the underlying causes and motives that led to the outbreak of hostilities are still poorly understood to this day. This is in large part due to the unprecedented level of devastation caused throughout Europe and the Middle East, resulting in the destruction of most primary sources created during the conflict. The war reached its climax in 1881, when a cabal of German occultists completed a working which resulted in the destruction of an ancient Semitic deity, a demiurge with power over the nature of thaumaturgy and the distribution of occult potential throughout the human population. Backlash from this working created a massive storm tide in the North Sea, which inflicted thousands of casualties along the western coasts of Europe.

Reacting to the widespread destruction and the perceived threat of mass hysteria, national governments intervened to bring an end to the conflict and conceal its very existence from the general public. These efforts led to the emergence of national paranormal agencies and normalcy preservation organizations in their modern forms, and resulted in the first formal codification of the Veil. The paranormal, long an open secret among scholars and intellectuals, was now segregated and hidden from the world at large. As mundane science continued to charge forwards, belief in the anomalous and the occult was relegated to the superstitious and the secretkeepers.

The Paranormal Renaissance

However, the Veil was not absolute. The demise of the demiurge had caused a tremendous amount of occult and psionic backlash, triggering a mass awakening of occult potential across the world and creating a surge of new paranormal phenomena. This sudden spike in the parahuman population in turn gave rise to new fields of science behind the Veil — thaumatology, psionics, metaphysics, and others. While normalcy preservation organizations initially opposed this Paranormal Renaissance, they eventually became the driving force behind its growth, once they realized the potential applications of parascience in technologies for maintaining the Veil.

Already weakened by the Sixth Occult War, and facing heavy scrutiny from national paranormal agencies, the longstanding occult orders and cabals that had previously dominated the paranormal community soon found themselves in competition with new organizations and companies that had formed in reaction to the aftermath of the war. Applying a more methodical, scientific approach to the study of the anomalous, organizations such as Prometheus Labs and the International Center for the Study of Unified Thaumatology rapidly advanced the understanding of the paranormal, laying the groundwork for much of modern parascience.

While the early portion of the Paranormal Renaissance was dominated by advances in theory and experimentation, the later half was marked by a focus on archeological and exploratory expeditions. Working off a basis of folklore and fragmentary parahistory, the first efforts at systematically documenting localized paranormal phenomena across Earth were made and initial forays to catalogue the local multiverse were launched. This would eventually culminate in an archeological race in the years leading up to the Seventh Occult War, as numerous organizations competed to acquire paranormal artifacts — both for their scientific value, and to deny them to competitors.

The Seventh Occult War

Largely coinciding with the Second World War, the Seventh Occult War is normally considered to have started in 1939, following the German annexation of Czechoslovakia. In the years leading up to the war, the Ahnenerbe Obskurakorps and their allies in the Thule Society had been acquiring artifacts needed to perform the Rite of Solomon, with the intention of using the Rite to restrict occult ability to members of the Nazi regime. As Nazi Germany continued to make gains in the face of British appeasement, the Obskuracorps grew more overt in their efforts to acquire artifacts, eventually bringing them into conflict with other occult groups. Spearheaded by the Knights Templar and the British Occult Service, the Allied Occult Initiative was soon formed to oppose the Obskuracorps and their operations.

After securing an early victory in the Battle of Prague, the AOI would spend the next six years covertly battling the Obskuracorps across the world. The coalition of occult organizations present within the AOI continued to expand throughout the course of the war, even as the Nazi regime came to occupy most of continental Europe. Despite their numerous successes, the AOI would not become fully aware of the Obskuracorps' intentions for the Rite of Solomon until the last year of the war.

With the conventional war clearly turning against Germany, the Foundation finally entered the conflict on the side of the AOI in September of 1944, when they launched a surprise strike to capture Konrad Weiss, the director of the Obskuracorps' research arm. With the intel provided by Weiss' capture, the AOI and the Foundation discovered both the Obskuracorps' plan for the Rite, and their intention to attempt to complete it with ersatz components created to replace the missing artifacts which were in AOI custody. A final operation was assembled to strike at the location where the Rite would be performed, which succeeded in stopping the execution of the ritual and routing the remaining forces of the Obskuracorps, bringing the occult portion of the war to a close.

The Golden Age of Normalcy

In the aftermath of the Seventh Occult War, the Allied Occult Initiative was reorganized into the Global Occult Coalition and placed under the aegis of the nascent United Nations, with the intention of creating an international and nominally impartial normalcy preservation organization to serve as a more accountable counterpart to the Foundation — and to ensure the mistakes of the Seventh Occult War could never reoccur. With the backing of national governments and the larger paranormal community, and occasionally playing on Cold War paranoia to their advantage, the GOC and the Foundation were able to greatly strengthen the Veil, ushering in an era that would become known as the Golden Age of Normalcy.

The Seventh Occult War had brought a great demand for new paratechnologies, and this demand continued unabated into the new age of normalcy. Normalcy preservation organizations required new and better tools for maintaining the Veil in the face of accelerating technological advancement and a growing population, and the Cold War powers had challenged each other in a paranormal arms race that rivaled the nuclear one in fervor. As they expanded to meet increasing demand, paratech developers began to leverage their control over paratech supplies into a series of concessions from normalcy preservation organizations, eventually resulting in permission to sell obfuscated paratech outside the Veil. The paratech industry flourished, with companies like Prometheus Labs growing into international conglomerates with billions of dollars in revenues.

Even as paratech covertly infiltrated conventional products, normalcy preservation agencies cracked down harder on more overt paranormal phenomena. A mass exodus of anartists and parahumans began near the end of the 1960s, as the Foundation worked to expel these communities from urban areas in Europe and North America, driving them into pocket universes like Three Portlands and Backdoor SoHo. Partially in response, the GOC orchestrated the creation of Eurtec to serve as a regulated paranormal enclave, where the Veiled community could flourish under its watch. As a result of these efforts, the paranormal was almost completely segregated from the normal world, with the strength of the Veil reaching a peak sometime in the late 1970s.

The New Millennium

The Golden Age of Normalcy came to an end with the dawning of the new millennium, as events of the last decade of the 20th century drastically altered the fundamental landscape of the paranormal community. The collapse of the Soviet Union had resulted in the dissolution of the KGB Division of Special Circumstances, formerly tasked with securing the country's supply of weaponized anomalies, resulting in a paratech black market flooded with illegal Soviet paraweapons; the end of the Cold War brought about a downsizing of national paranormal agencies, which had been greatly expanded out of political paranoia; the conclusion of the paraweapons arms race dealt a staggering blow to the paratech industry, eventually resulting in the breakup of the Prometheus Labs conglomerate, once the global leader in parascience research and paratech development.

Moreover, the world outside the Veil has changed. As the 21st century opens, the human population is approaching 7 billion, and growing rapidly; mass communication technologies are proliferating, with cell phones and household internet already commonplace, and smartphones and social media approaching on the horizon; attitudes towards mainstream science have shifted, and conspiracy theories are starting to gain greater traction. Consensus normalcy is under threat from behind and beyond the Veil, and normalcy preservation agencies are struggling to grapple with these newfound problems.

However, even more concerning than the failing Veil is the growing threat of another occult war. The weakening of the Veil has resulted in an accelerated progression towards general AI, which brings with it the danger of machine thaumaturgy — and the possibility of mass produced eigenweapons. Normalcy preservation organizations are stuck playing for time, as they race to find a permanent solution to the looming crisis.

Meanwhile, the world grows weirder every day.

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