[Wrote this the other day. First, shaky, incomplete, rough, and altogether gleeful draft.]
The Institvte has a long history of involvement in government programs, of course, and the government is still a major source of its funding. The noisy inrush of corporate money in the 1980's (centered on the Media Lab, at least - ha - in the media) earned the school negative publicity, but this was very much in MIT's interest - after all, the public would be a good deal less understanding about the school's spectrum of government-sponsored research initiatives. Indeed, military involvement in the school is the most run-of-the-mill form of government investment in MIT; less money has been spent in the Eldritch Science and Engineering program, but the impact of the program has been more far-reaching than that of even the splashiest military systems.
FOR INSTANCE: thought exists in the brain as electricity and passes through suspensions of complex, largely unknown media to affect physical matter. Human thoughts can of course be amplified and transmitted by normal electrical means, but it is well-known by eldritch scientists (and understood practically to the dismay of their counterparts in engineering) that eldritch media respond to qualities of thought understood discernible by few humans. Indeed it is speculated that the sense/translation capacity of eldritch media could enable a kind of eldritch computation, likely not directly adaptable to mundane human display/interface but able to characterize and untangle metaphysical (supernatural) systems and relations. Optimists in the field of eldritch studies project that a prototype eldritch computer could be functional inside of a decade. MIT scientists do know that other groups are dong similar experiments, though it's not known whether such progress has been made.
The difference between amplified and unamplified thought-signals, from the perspective of a medium of eldritch transmission, is analogous to the difference between a piercingly loud upper-register musical note and the burnished sound of a lower-register tone; if you can imagine remapping amplitude to frequency, think of eldritch matter and media as responding to chordal tuning rather than the content of a single neural signal. 'Second sight' has long been understood as a matter of 'seeing differently,' which noninitiates take to mean 'seeing more.' Again, this is to mistake volume for purity.
Devices to amplify and reconfigure eldritch stimuli are essentially mood organs, which alter the nature of thought, its contours, its musicality. Ritalin is a stimulant that speeds up the brain, syncs the rate of mental processing to the information throughput rate, and so enables deliberate thought - it slows down thought by speeding up the brain, and so focuses the user. Eldritch tuning is analogous to this cognitive reconfiguration; eldritch computation, when it arrives, will systematize the application of tuning methods to the human (and superhuman) brain.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE: One of the more controversial initiatives to come out of MIT's eldritch sciences program in the last decade recharacterizes lycanthropy not as a blood disease of a single organism but as heightened receptivity to an atmospheric transformation, which induces something like a bit flip in the organism - actually removing the human self from this plane and replacing it with another creature via a metaphysical conservation law. In this framework, vampirism can also be rethought as serving not the human host but an extraplanar entity for which the human 'vampire' is himself nothing more than a vessel - with blood serving not as food but as a kind of interdimensional lubricant. In these terms vampirism isn't a disease but an unwanted responsibility to an unwelcome third party. This links up the 'demonic soul' and 'bloodthirsty lost human' theories of vampirism - the vampire's loss of moral compass is a form of eldritch Stockholm Syndrome, eliding the barrier between the host (the human 'vampire') and the rapacious vampiric entity and giving rise to a hybrid creature. In line with normal principles of eldritch embodiment, this elision manifests physically (and simultaneously!) as unnaturally extended youth and physical decrepitude within the most convenient physical framework, i.e. the vampire's (former) physical appearance, bone structure, etc. Study of the 'mysteries of the universe' - supernatural laws in other words - makes certain modes of physical transformation available to the supplicant, whether she's a psychically-sensitive human or a vampiric host, of course. But vampires are known to have easier access to these methods of transmutation, and can indeed suffer induced lycanthropy under controlled, amplified conditions (one of the key findings of the MIT lycanthropy initiative, though the lycan/vampire relationship fell outside the project's original ambit).
ELDRITCH GEOGRAPHY OF MIT: The Institvte's location across the Charles River places it within Boston's paranormal penumbra, but certain physical features of the campus do increase its suitability for eldritch research. The steam tunnels that crisscross the campus are laid out such that certain weather patterns, particularly certain confluences of coastal climate and lunar phase, yield much greater than normal amounts of eldritch gusting and pooling; the concrete superstructure of the tunnels masks a substructure of rare ferromagnetic substances not fully characterized by mundane chemistry.
(Yet another case of 'no such thing as bad publicity': media attention to BU's supercollider plan for south Boston handily drew media focus from an MIT plan to expand its subterranean extent by 150% over ten years, largely at the behest of the only-unofficially-titled Dean for Eldritch Studies. The Mayor of Boston is a powerful man with a good deal of influence over local comings and goings; the Mayor of Cambridge has long served at the pleasure of MIT and its larger neighbour to the northwest Harvard University, de facto co-regents of Boston's younger, smaller sister city. Eldritch Harvard is a subject for another day; suffice it to say that Harvard's focus has always been on more traditional arcane studies - alchemy, astrology, invocation, necrography, necrohistory, diabolism, etc. - and its more traditional scholarly scholarly has much in common with that of the great Oxford/Cambridge magical societies, whose members tend to dislike the rationalist approach of MIT's eldritch research programs.)
The tallest buildings in Boston (the new Hancock Tower) and Cambridge (MIT's Green Building, geographic center of campus) were designed by world-famous MIT graduate (and secret eldritch adept) I.M. Pei, who customarily produced two separate sets of plans for each building. The public documents are available from the respective municipal planning offices, while the secret and of course more accurate plans are open only to MIT adepts. The proper plans for the Harvard Bridge are open only to Harvard's arcanists, though MIT engineers determined in the 1920's that the Bridge serves as a walkway for the dead among other things.
HACKING: MIT's hacking community has always straddled fields of mundane and eldritch inquiry, and the best-known MIT hacker signs (Jack Florey, Irving Q Mojo, J Arthur Random) unwittingly honour arcane adepts of the late 19th century. Jack Florey in particular is well-known to lovers of fairy tales, though in mundane tales he goes by a different surname. Abstract 'hacker signs' spotted throughout MIT have historically been attributed to old-time tunnel hackers; their true purpose is magical and their provenance dates back, in the strangest cases, to before the founding of MIT itself in Boston in the 1860's. Of course MIT's present-day main campus in Cambridge wasn't built and opened until 1916.
And yet there are the signs, clear as night.
('Nevertheless, it moves.' --Galileo)
Like all brainy college students, MIT undergrads hold on to fanciful numerological traditions - Random Hall's 17, Tep's 22, the Discordian fives at East Campus, various fraternity signs, etc. But the hidden numerology of the campus is a good deal more interesting, and largely unknown among students, except to the research apprentices who generally end up bound to the campus all their lives in some semi-official capacity. What do you think drove Stallman mad, for instance? Or drove Lebling and Blank to reimagine the Colossal Cave as the Great Underground Empire? Or prompted Marvin Minsky - a madman and former prodigy who could allegedly play complex piano pieces backward after a single listen - to imagine his emotion machine, his Artificial (emotional) Intelligence, which is nothing if not a cosmic mood organ, an Overmind embodied only in hypothetical computational devices beyond the capacity of silicon and electricity?
Do you imagine that the symmetry of MIT's campus is accidental, or worse - ornamental? And do you suppose that the school's tradition of numbering its buildings is really just a navigational aid, when studies have long shown that humans typically retain lexical schemata more readily than numeric? Do you suppose the main lobby of MIT is numbered twice-five for...convenience?
No, of course not. You would never be so naive. Nor would MIT's hackers, crafty engineers that they are. Even among mundane MIT students there's long been a suspicion, an imaginative motive, that part of the campus remains hidden. 'Zork' is of course an encoding of this fancy, as is the 1980's fiction of 'Miskatonic Institvte of Technology.' The truth - that part of the campus exists outside the visible realm - can compel student hackers but is unlikely to be revealed by them, though the astonishing incidence of mental illness and suicide among MIT students might reflect unwelcome, unfathomable knowledge as well as preexisting emotional instability or normal college jitters and self-selecting social maladaptation. The central artery for MIT foot traffic is, after all, a hallway called the Infinite Corridor; since the key fact about that hallway is its impressive but decidedly finite length, we can label its name a juvenile fancy, or credit it with identifying something true and yet unseen. 'Infinite,' for most (mundane) users of the word, may as well mean nothing more than 'Beyond the visible,' and we can suspect that MIT's famous Corridor - the aorta of a hallway-network larger than any but the Pentagon's - might indeed stretch beyond normal sight.
The twice-yearly phenomenon of MIThenge sheds light (ahem) on the Corridor's true nature - two days on which the sun shines directly down the Corridor, blinding and bright and utterly breathtaking. The same phenomenon occurs in New York City, which naturally has its own arcane tradition. Like the odd structure and layout of MIT's tunnel network, the idiosyncratic lineation of MIT's aboveground Corridor refers to something other than itself. Built during the twentieth century's first great mechanical horrorshow, the 1914 outbreak of 'world war' which would give us chemical and trench warfare, MIT's campus layout reflects a common urge to rationalize and reorder the world, to stave off dark fancy that feeds on itself and the minds that give in to it. But the school's layout exists in dimensions beyond the merely spatial. Its physical array has metaphysical uses - serving a salad with a tuning fork misses the device's use but no one's stopping you doing it, and whatever the Corridor's purpose, it's not upended or subverted by women and men merely walking through it.
It is speculated that a system of complex formulae relates MIT's layout nomenclature (even-numbered buildings east of the campus center, rough increases as buildings radiate outward, mirrored pairs across the N-S axis of campus, etc.) to the absolute locations of buildings and certain eldritch-geographic characteristics. Inquiry into these matters would be aided by consideration of the design and construction history of MIT's campus, particularly in the years just prior to 1916. (Was the campus designed during WWI? What effect would that cataclysm have had on an American architect?) Special attention should be paid, in the course of such study, to the list of scientists' names which ring the inner green court of campus, and the layout of text on the walls of Lobbies 10 and 7 (and 10+7=?). The line connecting transmitters/receivers atop the Green Building and the Hancock Building should also be considered, as - (un)naturally - should the experiments that utilize the complex scientific apparatus atop Building 54, which location has long carried a ten-times greater fine for trespassing than the standard $50 for MIT's other rooftops. The sensitivity of the rooftop equipment explains the hefty fine, but 'sensitivity' refers in this case not to atmospheric phenomena but to something far less well understood...