May 14, 1997
Though authorities have assured the public they have nothing to fear, Sunnydale is still reeling in the aftermath of one of the strangest occurrences in the town’s history.
Emergency responders scrambled Tuesday afternoon as residents flooded 911 with calls describing all kinds of bizarre sightings across town. By 4pm, all signs of the gas’s effects had ceased, though in some areas residents claimed that the hallucinations lasted for hours, even stating that nighttime had come and gone. Dr. Burt Aaron and other experts from UC Sunnydale quickly combed the area for traces of the gas or aftershocks, but found neither.
Just after noon on the 13th, a slight shifting in the fault lines beneath the town released a combination of natural gasses, which then spread and caused mass hallucinations and hysteria. Dr. Aaron, a professor of tectonics, said that all signs pointed to the gas being a mixture known as methylethylene. “Any of the gasses in this mixture could cause nausea or render a person insensate, but the two bonded together is another thing altogether,” said Aaron at a press conference. “In conjunction with the police and the local hospitals, we can confirm that everything witnessed during Tuesday afternoon was indeed a hallucination caused by this gaseous mix.”
The first signs appeared to be localized around Sunnydale High School on Monday afternoon, where one student claimed to be attacked by a man in the school basement, suffering broken bones and a concussion. SHS principal Reginald Snyder said that the student was indeed suffering from hallucinations, however, as no one else witnessed this supposed attacker. “It appears the student was sneaking into the basement to smoke tobacco,” said Snyder by phone. “I won’t say she got what she deserved, but we all know that smoking kills.”
“With the recurrence of earthquakes and the crossing of multiple fault lines beneath the town, it was really only a matter of time before this occurred,” said Dr. Aaron. However, Aaron pointed out that it would take many years for such gasses to build up in such an amount again. The last major earthquakes to strike Sunnydale were in 1932 and 1937, the latter of which leveled many important parts of the town, including the historic Church of St. Emygdius.