The Resonator

The Resonator

The Resonator is an electronic machine designed to stimulate the pineal gland (sixth sense), and open up a door to a parallel (and hostile) universe, it plays a role in both the short story "From Beyond" by H.P. Lovecraft and the 1986 sci-fi horror film of the same name.


From Beyond (short story)

The story is told from the first person perspective of an unnamed narrator and details his experiences with a scientist named Crawford Tillinghast. Tillinghast creates an electronic device that emits a resonance wave, which stimulates an affected person’s pineal gland, thereby allowing them to perceive planes of existence outside the scope of accepted reality.

Sharing the experience with Tillinghast, the narrator becomes cognizant of a translucent, alien environment that overlaps our own recognized reality. From this perspective, he witnesses hordes of strange and horrific creatures that defy description. Tillinghast reveals that he has used his machine to transport two of his house servants into the overlapping plane of reality. He also reveals that the effect works both ways, and allows the denizens of the alternate dimension to perceive humans. Tillinghast's house servants were attacked and killed by one such entity, and Tillinghast informs the narrator that it is right behind him. Terrified beyond measure, the narrator picks up a gun and shoots it at the machine, destroying it. Tillinghast dies immediately thereafter as a result of apoplexy. The police investigate the scene and it is placed on record that Tillinghast murdered the two house servants.

From Beyond (film)

Dr. Edward Pretorius is a scientist who has developed the Resonator, a machine which stimulates the pineal gland and allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. His assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast, activates the machine and soon sees strange creatures in the air. When he is bitten by one of them, he urges Pretorius to turn the machine off. However, the crazed Pretorius refuses, claiming that the machine's effects on his brain are giving him an "orgasm of the mind." Events transpire to the point where Crawford escapes Pretorius' attic laboratory with an axe, fleeing outside. When the police arrive, they find Pretorius decapitated. Crawford is arrested for the murder.

Crawford is committed to a psychiatric ward, where he is treated by Dr. Katherine McMichaels. After Crawford gives his account of Pretorius' death, Katherine conducts a brain scan and notice that Crawford's pineal gland has grown. Katherine, convinced of Crawford's innocence, decides to let him return to the house in order to show her the Resonator. They are accompanied by Detective Bubba Brownlee, who investigated Pretorius' death.

Upon returning to the house, Katherine and Crawford rebuild the Resonator. Crawford reactivates the machine, which causes more creatures to appear. A severely deformed Pretorius, still alive, appears in the attic and tells the trio of a world beyond that is more pleasurable than normal reality. Pretorius' body gruesomely breaks apart when Crawford attempts to touch him, leading Bubba to draw his gun and fire at the mad doctor. Crawford shuts off The Resonator, making Pretorius and the creatures vanish.

It is now morning, and the three discuss the creatures over breakfast. Katherine - who insists that the Resonator could possibly cure schizophrenia - suggests that they turn the machine back on, but Bubba and Crawford disagree. They all go to sleep, each with a headache. But while everyone is sleeping, Katherine gets back up to feel the pleasure from the machine and turns it back on, bringing forth a worried Crawford and the now almost unrecognizable Edward who is mutated and covered in slime. Bubba enters the scene as Edward grabs Katherine and rips off her clothes, preparing to eat her mind and take her to the world of beyond. Crawford and Bubba go down into the basement to shut off the power, but encounter a giant worm-monster, prompting Crawford to conclude the vibration waves permeate the entire house. The worm begins to devour Crawford, but Bubba succeeds in shutting off the power, bringing a hairless Crawford back, and sending Edward away. The freed Katherine then turns off the machine and meets the others downstairs, crying and feeling ashamed and horrified for turning it back on.

Bubba decides that they should leave the house, but as Katherine puts lotion on Crawford's inflamed skin, she expresses her desire to monitor the machine to figure out where the creatures are coming from. Bubba refuses and tells her to go get dressed. She begins to explore other parts of the house, finding Edward's old S&M outfits and putting one on. She then starts to tease a sleeping Crawford, until Bubba comes in and tells her to snap out of it, which she does, throwing a robe over the outfit. All of a sudden the power returns and The Resonator turns back on, as all three of them run up into the attic to deactivate it. Katherine and Crawford are attacked by little bee-like creatures that strip the flesh off of their victims, and as Bubba pushes them out of the way, he is devoured to the bone. A now almost fully mutated Edward, without any legs or proper arms, grabs Katherine and starts to drag her flesh torn, bleeding body towards him. Crawford fights Edward and succeeds in freeing Katherine but then his enlarged pineal gland pops out of his forehead like an antenna. Katherine short circuits the machine by spraying it repeatedly with a fire extinguisher.

She then takes Crawford back to the hospital, where she is evaluated for insanity and schizophrenia, since her story was just like Crawford's and she is blamed by Dr. Bloch and the police for this evening's events. Vindictive Dr. Bloch then orders for Katherine to get shock treatment. Dr. Bloch then goes to perform an autopsy on an undead Crawford, who is on the lookout for brains to eat with the use of his antenna. As Katherine is being prepared for shock treatment by a sadistic staff member, Crawford attacks and eats Dr. Bloch's brain. Katherine escapes, gets new clothes, and drives back to the house with a bomb. Crawford follows her on a hijacked ambulance car. Katherine puts the bomb on The Resonator, sets it for 5 minutes, and goes to leave, only to have Crawford chain her up in Edward's S&M room, claiming that he loves her. As he is about to eat her brain, she bites off his exposed, enlarged pineal gland, reverting him to his senses. However, Crawford is pulled away by a completely deformed, mutated Edward. Meanwhile, Katherine manages to attract the leech creatures that sense her movement and bite through the straps, releasing her. Crawford fights Edward, only to be eaten by him. Edward chases Katherine into the laboratory, where Crawford's form begins to tear out through Edward's skin and muscles. The two fight for the control of the deformed body, until it dissolves in its own digestive fluids. Katherine finally frees herself and jumps out the attic window, right as the whole attic explodes. She lands on her legs, breaking one, and as the neighbors gather around her, she goes from sobbing to laughing hysterically as she tells them, "It ATE him!"


  • The Resonator Device
    The Resonator Machine
    Charles Stross' novel The Jennifer Morgue features an electronic device known as a "Tillinghast Resonator", which allows the user to see otherwise invisible entities.
  • The video game Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy features "Aura Beasts" that are seen using one of the psychic powers the main protagonist develops called "Aura View". This ability parallels the effects Crawford Tillinghast's device has on the characters in "From Beyond", who perceive creatures from another dimension as a result of using the device.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Sight Unseen", an alien device is accidentally activated that allows members of SG-1 to see, but not interact with, strange insect-like creatures who inhabit a dimension parallel to our own. Though originally confined to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, the phenomenon of this "second sight" is also spread by touch. It quickly spreads to nearby populations, mostly by way of a "sight-infected" conspiracy theorist who stumbles upon a real government conspiracy concerning aliens and the SG-1. Parts of Colorado and Wyoming are "quarantined" until the process can be reversed. Hallucinogenic gas is used as a cover-up story.