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September 17, 2011 5:05 AM   Subscribe

"Earlier this year my estranged father passed away. Among his limited possessions was a box of VHS tapes. They included strange footage hidden away for years."

For the last month and a half, a YouTube user going by the name MyDadsTapes has been uploading increasingly disturbing footage found hidden in a collection of video tapes his father left him. Not long ago, he received a mysterious note containing an as-yet unsolved cypher.

Uploaded so far: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.

MyDadsTapes is also on Twitter, but some think this is nothing more than an ARG.
posted by xchmp (107 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boy I sure do love skiiing in Taos, New Mexico...
posted by PenDevil at 5:12 AM on September 17, 2011 [21 favorites]


Are these like Slenderman-disturbing? Or like child-abuse disturbing? Or something else?
posted by muddgirl at 5:19 AM on September 17, 2011


Well that "mysterious note" is clearly a link to a YouTube URL; not sure about the encoding though.
posted by alby at 5:23 AM on September 17, 2011


If he's looking for a title, I suspect that the Blair Witch Project folks aren't going to let him use that one.
posted by tomswift at 5:23 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


From the stills in the unfiction thread, seems like a combination of creepies - peeping toms in creepy masks, not what I need on a dark, quiet morning...
posted by muddgirl at 5:23 AM on September 17, 2011


So...What upcoming movie might this be an attempt at viral marketing for?
Related question...Were there ever any VHS cameras that could shoot video in 16:9 widescreen format, which seems to be the format of the supposedly long-hidden tapes?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:24 AM on September 17, 2011 [56 favorites]


The one with the mysterious note has creepy music playing. I doubt anyone who was truly investigating strange tapes left by their deceased father would add strange music to the videos. It seems to gimmicky to be real.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 5:26 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Um, I don't think there's any question as to the reality of this narrative, is there? The question generally is, is this something being produced by a creative individual with lots of free time (aka slenderman) or is this a marketing gimmick?
posted by muddgirl at 5:27 AM on September 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Going by the fact that there's a bunch of Imgur stills:

DEFINITELY an ARG.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:31 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


This sounds exactly like some sort of Marble Hornets-ish web series, from the premise ('Found creepy footage') to the innocuous but somehow unrealistic name of the YouTube channel.

It also sounds right up my alley. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!
posted by anaximander at 5:32 AM on September 17, 2011


ARG=alternate reality game. I looked it up.
posted by Yakuman at 5:33 AM on September 17, 2011 [17 favorites]


Eh, definitely looks like a Marble Hornets type ARG. I feel (hope) that most marketers know now to show their hand a little before doing this.
...Which is good, because I've enjoyed Marble Hornets more than I'd care to admit.
posted by Vhanudux at 5:34 AM on September 17, 2011


tl;dw
Anybody got a synopsis?
posted by NoMich at 5:37 AM on September 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I recently learned that I have the same sign as the Zodiac Killer. How scary is that?
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:58 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oooh I can't wait for the spooky QR code he unearths!
posted by nathancaswell at 6:02 AM on September 17, 2011 [51 favorites]


Which segment is 16:9? A quick scan looks like it is all 4:3 (doesn't mean it's not fake). And you could shoot analog hi-8 in 16:9 but never heard of a VHS camera that did.
posted by starman at 6:15 AM on September 17, 2011


"Earlier this year my estranged father passed away. Among his limited possessions was a box of VHS tapes. I threw that shit straight in the trash. Fuck him."
posted by The Hamms Bear at 6:17 AM on September 17, 2011 [65 favorites]


doesn't mean it's not fake

I thought the fact that it's fake meant that it was fake.
posted by Mike Mongo at 6:25 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


No! Nooo! Go back! Run! It's a last gasp desparate viral for Bucky Lars---- (static)
posted by hal9k at 6:33 AM on September 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is for that new sitcom, Shit My Dad Taped.
posted by cropshy at 6:33 AM on September 17, 2011 [27 favorites]


I do believe YouTube member getoutofyourmind1992 has offered up the definitive critique -

"this is the´╗┐ fackest video on youtube"
posted by davebush at 6:54 AM on September 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


So glad my estranged dad was a porn star who liked rocket launches.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Every time an ARG starts up, hope swells within in me that maybe, this time, it really will be about Ovaltine.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:05 AM on September 17, 2011 [27 favorites]


Did anyone else notice a slight English accent from Uncle Don on tape #16?
posted by Vrai at 7:12 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uncle Don sounded like an Aussie transplant to me.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:14 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Uncle Don sure had a sweet t-shirt.
posted by catseatcheese at 7:16 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's an ARG?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:17 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


After the reality-warping madness that was the Year Zero ARG, I've not found many which intrigue me or have enough depth to pull me in.

Although Marble Hornets kind of fucked with me (not that I involved with the ARG, but the videos... SlenderMan. AAAAAAAAAAAAH!).
posted by hippybear at 7:21 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uncle Don sounds like an Englishman who's lived in eastern Canada about 40 years.
posted by Flashman at 7:29 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


you know what i liked was "This Is My Milwaukee"
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:34 AM on September 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


What's an ARG?

It's the noise you make when you discover some creepy videotapes left behind by a relative is just a shaggy dog story.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:39 AM on September 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I never really get involved actively in ARGs, but I love reading about the well done ones (kinda like EVE, I guess). Year Zero was awesome, I thought, but I absolutely loved the A.I. game. The only problem with good marketing ARGs is that they usually end up completely overshadowing the thing they want to hype. I'd much rather see a movie based on the game than actually watch A.I. again.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:41 AM on September 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think it's totally fake. Uncle Don sounds like the typical not-so-great actor who is trying to improvise while remembering a list of key points he's supposed to make. The way he's speaking is very typical of a bad amateur actor trying to say a monologue, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, thanks for posting. I kind of hope it's an ARG because I used to love ARGs but I've never actually finished one. At some point, they tend to get either really really complicated and technical or they just sort of fizzle out as the puppetmasters lose sight of their script or are side-tracked because they don't anticipate how the participating players will run with certain parts of the story and they have to scramble to make it fit with their plans.
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:42 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know for a fact that Uncle Don was born in New Zealand, spent four years in India as a child (he doesn't like to talk about that), moved to Key West until he was 10, then to England until he turned 16 and was able to get the courts to force his mother to release the estranged dad (Ed) guy and Uncle Don to the REAL biological father, Herman Kemper.

Herman had lived a long and lonely life, estranged from BOTH of his sons and his somewhat abusive, yet beautiful wife, Agnes Kemper. He died just days after seeing his two sons (Estranged Dad (or Ed) and Don), leaving them to wander with a Gypsy tribe until they eventually landed in Columbus, Ohio where they spent years tending Buckeye Trees on the OSU campus (often stealing them and shoving them into car exhaust pipes as a lark, although some say they were paid on a piecework basis to do this by the local auto repair shop, this has never been proven and the shop owner drowned in his bathtub shortly after the allegation was made).

The accent, however, is not due to the geography of his upbringing, but rather to a bout of mumps when he was 14 that resulted in his tongue being displaced an inch to the left, causing a slight speech defect. He also finds that it causes him to drool when eating very hot soup or kissing women with red hair. The upside was that it enabled him to wrap his tongue around a 2 inch diameter pipe and touch his own nose. His popularity in certain circles was legendary.

Don't ask me how I know all this.
posted by tomswift at 7:44 AM on September 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


Also, after watching that first video, I'm terrified that I only have 7 days to live now...
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:44 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd much rather see a movie based on the game than actually watch A.I. again.

Well, the good news is, Trent Reznor has actually been working with HBO to develop a Year Zero miniseries.
posted by hippybear at 7:45 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the 'mysterious note' is upside-down and it appears to be a link to a youtube video "watch?v="
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:48 AM on September 17, 2011


Ugh, nvm I should've watched the whole video. Sorry.
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:50 AM on September 17, 2011


"Dad" is Windom Earle. Thank me later.
posted by davebush at 7:51 AM on September 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


With some shifting, the only YouTube-y patterns I've got from the encoding are:

ZeGhWXHWJj
YdFgVWGVIi
XcEfUVFUHh
WbDeTUETGg
VaCdSTDSFf

None work, even with cases swapped. I wasn't able to spot any other possible shifts where all the characters match the right format (i.e. 0..9, A..Z, a..z, _, -)

There's a list of countries in the background, which makes me think this is actually a deeper, multi-step puzzle. No doubt the solution is a trailer for a movie.
posted by rh at 7:51 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to think that ARG's were a lot of fun but I can't really be assed to try and solve them anymore. They feel too exploitative to me -- our culture is obsessed with passing fake stuff off as being "real" to give the stuff increased authenticity/cred/emotional impact, whatever -- and ARG's just seem to be the gamer end of that shallow pool. I'll pass.
posted by Avenger at 7:58 AM on September 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


In video #7, the man in the video (hugging the boy) has some written text on the back of his shirt. Seems to say "___ anyone out there? YES." and then a website.

Anyone catch the website? I can't seem to make it out.
posted by Vrai at 8:12 AM on September 17, 2011


From some stills in #11, I think an urban tribe of the Tusken Raiders, judging by the mask(s).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:18 AM on September 17, 2011


Yakuman: ARG=alternate reality game. I looked it up.

You didn't look far enough, the possibilities are overwhelming. This rabbit hole doesn't stop where you think it will.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:21 AM on September 17, 2011


I never really get involved actively in ARGs, but I love reading about the well done ones (kinda like EVE, I guess). Year Zero was awesome, I thought, but I absolutely loved the A.I. game. The only problem with good marketing ARGs is that they usually end up completely overshadowing the thing they want to hype. I'd much rather see a movie based on the game than actually watch A.I. again.

Oh God, I loved the AI game. I keep wanting ARGs to be like that--to seem to encompass strange parts of the FUTURE INTERNET. But they never seem to.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:22 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


rh, I think youtube videos always have 11 character codes. (If so, yours are missing one character). And how did you determine your pattern of uppercase and lowercase (which seems consistent among your tested strings)?
posted by nobody at 8:40 AM on September 17, 2011


Tangential - was there an ARG for Deus Ex: Human Revolution?

I recall there was, but I may have dreamed it.

(Or never asked for it).
posted by subbes at 8:44 AM on September 17, 2011


I remember being most impressed by how real they made the world seem, and how the "realness" of the film paled. Also, I was impressed by the people playing the game, strangers coming together go puzzle out increasingly technical clues. It was the first time u really saw that happening online. My favorite part is still the random square jpg image with seemingly random ukiyoe images of geisha and such combined with randomly scattered words. Someone figured it out and folded it into a crane, and across the crane's back and wings, the words came together to say "I killed Ivy." I think I still have the one I printed out and folded all those years ago.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:45 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's cute how numerous people on the unfiction board are suggesting ways to open the lockbox without a key.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:47 AM on September 17, 2011


Original poster is active on Reddit.

Here's the full story:
My father and I didn't get along. He didn't get along with anyone in the family really. My parents divorced and he went his own way. I still saw him from time to time but eventually we drifted apart. I hadn't spoken to him in over ten years. One day I get a text from my sister that he died. I barely knew the man, so expected this sooner or later, never really knowing how I would feel.
He didn't leave much behind. Clothes, an unopened DVD player, two cars, a mobile home, and the box of tapes and diskettes. Growing up, the bit I did spend with him, I would say he was a troubled person suffering from depression, personality problems, and anger issues. My mom used to comment on how smart he was and it was a shame he never did anything with himself.
These are the real clips that I am finding. I've been a lurker here for sometime and know Redditors are good at debunking this stuff. What I'm really hoping by posting them is to get a third party opinion on why these aren't real. I am hoping dad under his issues was actually some kind of starving artist at heart.
What you are seeing is the actual tape recorded off my TV using my phone video camera. That's about all I can tell you at this point.

posted by Midnight Rambler at 8:51 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this LonelyGirl15's dad?
posted by Ideefixe at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Um, I don't think there's any question as to the reality of this narrative, is there?

Well, my bullshit detector was screaming before I clicked a link, mainly because an opening like ...

"Earlier this year my estranged father passed away ...."

... is about as cliche as "It was a dark and stormy night." In other words, the work of a hack. So yeah, after less than ten seconds of watching the first video link, my immediate assumption of fake was verified, so I stopped watching. Life's too short. I could be surfing 4chan instead, looking for gore-threads.

The question generally is, is this something being produced by a creative individual with lots of free time (aka slenderman) or is this a marketing gimmick?

I half agree in that I do find viral shit odious (ie: a cynical waste of my time). But I'm fast coming to hate ineptly executed stuff "by a creative individual" even more. Because when it's as inept as this stuff is, it's not exactly what I'd call creative. It's just bad, the worst kind of failed art, utterly lacking in finesse, or magic. (ie: amateur hour).

Man, I'm feeling bitter this morning. It must be the rain.
posted by philip-random at 9:10 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love how the smart people point out that this is made up. Most of us thought it was totally real.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:13 AM on September 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Earlier this year my estranged father passed away ...."

Personally I appreciated the clarification as to which of his fathers had passed away.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:19 AM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, we can rule out a viral marketing campaign for the Sentry 1100 safe.

How to Open a Sentry 1100 with a Paper Clip (YouTube)
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 9:28 AM on September 17, 2011


Hmmm. Google keeps on subtitling these clips with ads from a Ft. Collins divorce lawyer. My wife was married to a man in Ft. Collins for seven years. I'm just thinking out loud here.
posted by kozad at 9:31 AM on September 17, 2011


"Earlier this year my estranged father passed away. Among his limited possessions was a box of VHS tapes. Christ, the old man was obsessed with that weather girl."
posted by octobersurprise at 9:40 AM on September 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Too much to do today to focus on this. However I suspect that the enumerated items on the back of the receipt are probably related to the key. Also perhaps the 0 at the end is _

Here is an image of the code note.
posted by humanfont at 9:54 AM on September 17, 2011


Yes it's Cracked, but The 5 Most Insane Alternate Reality Games is a fun read.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:54 AM on September 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Whoever uploaded this stuff is yanking everyone's chain. I did a LOT of work with VHS, SVHS, and Hi-8 over the years, and eventually had professional studio decks in my collection. I eventually uploaded some of it to YouTube. By god, this is not VHS, no way. I have not even ever seen any SVHS that ever transferred with this kind of quality. This almost certainly came off some sort of HD/memory cam.

THIS is an example of why I am skeptical of pretty much everything I see on the Internet unless the story + source + details add up. The burden is on the "hey, I found a box of VHS tapes" for why we should believe them. Anyone have any hard facts on who is behind all this? I'm betting not.
posted by crapmatic at 10:00 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've watched all these clips now but I fail to see how they make a convincing argument as to why the Star Wars prequel sucked.
posted by mazola at 10:02 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the email address in the coded message video isn't usable.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:07 AM on September 17, 2011


Whoever uploaded this stuff is yanking everyone's chain

I don't think the person who uploaded this video expects people to think it's real. It's a kind of art project.
posted by muddgirl at 10:11 AM on September 17, 2011


crapmatic is yanking your chain.
posted by Dumsnill at 10:17 AM on September 17, 2011


Oh sure crapmatic, next you're going to say that H. Ryder Haggard made all of his stuff up and didn't find ten or twelve manuscripts while cleaning out the garage.

Anyhow, having made a weekly pilgrimage to go answer payphones back in the day, I can honestly say that I had a blast but I don't really feel the need to get elbow deep in another one any time soon. I already feel a vague sense of comradery with more people than I only know by a pseudonym than any man has a right to, have seen too many things on the internet trying to be just like [Really Cool Thing] that utterly failed to be anything like [Really Cool Thing] and have crap I need to get done.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:20 AM on September 17, 2011


This reminds me of The Ring.
posted by Meatafoecure at 10:33 AM on September 17, 2011


When are Hotch, Reid, Prentiss, & Gideon going to show up?
posted by Fizz at 10:35 AM on September 17, 2011


What I've seen so far reminds me a lot of the descriptions of the videos from Butcherface, a series of stories posted recently in the subreddit r/nosleep. IMO, that story had ARG written all over it, so I wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be related. Warning: creepy and unsettling story is creepy and unsettling.
posted by treepour at 10:46 AM on September 17, 2011


Is this LonelyGirl15's dad?

Nope. Chuck Testa.
posted by rhizome at 10:52 AM on September 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


What I'm really hoping by posting them is to get a third party opinion on why these aren't real.

Well there you have it: it's R&D, perhaps for an upcoming James O'Keefe project.
posted by rhizome at 10:55 AM on September 17, 2011


The hiding of your creepy stalker clips inside old VHSes no one is ever going to watch has a nice The Purloined Letter quality to it
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM on September 17, 2011


Kid Charlemagne: "Anyhow, having made a weekly pilgrimage to go answer payphones back in the day, ..."

Oh, man! Which Axons did you enhottenate?
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:35 AM on September 17, 2011


Just watched the interview with the uncle, and I confess I was spellbound. I love this kind of thing... when it's real. So now I come on Metafilter and I guess it's phony baloney. Very disappointing. Anyone have links to something that actually happened along these lines? Interviews where people say, "I'm not comfortable talking about this any more" are especially welcome.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:36 AM on September 17, 2011


Obviously the next project of a lonely mentally handicapped girl in Russia.
posted by Evilspork at 11:36 AM on September 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


If the Butcherface story is part of an ARG, I think it's pretty well-done. The style of the piece seemed perfect for the supposed author--like not knowing the name for the pins with little round things on top, focusing on how breaking the window seemed loud but wasn't really. It reads as still a little too polished, but well done.

But why did I read that? I knew it was going to be creepy and unsettling! And now I'm all creeped and unsettled!
posted by meese at 11:39 AM on September 17, 2011


This is also really well done, but it's always the acting that slams these things.

Just in general, I like how this whole new way of telling horror stories is evolving. The Internet makes it weirdly personal and intimate and it gets a really creepy affect with almost no money. Some of these videos are definitely spooky and I say that as an unspookabke horror movie vet.
posted by The Whelk at 11:49 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The police department seen in Video #10 is most definitely the Hollywood station of the LAPD.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:24 PM on September 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The guy's reddit username is EvilGeorgeLucas, per the link above. If that's not evidence of an art school project or equivalent, I don't know what is.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:26 PM on September 17, 2011


The creepy music over the introduction text is definitely overselling the thing. The key to these stories is to be as authentic as possible to aid suspension of disbelief but the music just screams "THIS IS FICTION". I mean, we know it is fiction but you have to help us pretend we don't. Too bad, I usually like these things.
posted by Justinian at 12:29 PM on September 17, 2011


This is a great story hook but what kept my disbelief from suspending, more than anything, was the editing of the "found footage" - I have a hard time picturing Dr. Gimp Mask working so hard to get all those angles then sitting down at a VHS editing bay to cut them together for maximum SPOOKY SCARY affect, THEN taping the finished product (which always comes out at a Youtube friendly runtime) into the middle of his Seinfeld reruns. (Also, the acting. Ha geez.)

Again though, the story hook is potboiler perfect. A solid effort, even if it lacks in verisimilitude.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:44 PM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else, like me, watch a couple videos and think this was transparently an ARG in preparation for the October premiere of American Horror Story?
posted by Matt Oneiros at 12:51 PM on September 17, 2011


.
posted by Ice Cream Jonsey at 2:02 PM on September 17, 2011


Someone is trying to sell something here. Lame Pepsi Blue-filter.
posted by clockzero at 3:04 PM on September 17, 2011


In my experience, the really intriguing mysteries don't present themselves with a lot of dramatic music and obscurity.

They're just there ... with no clues. Maybe a little cold wind or a couple of crows cawing 400 yards away.
posted by Twang at 3:09 PM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The lynchian "oh shit even though this looks mundane it is totally disturbing" noise totally makes it disturbing.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:14 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


In my experience, the really intriguing mysteries don't present themselves with a lot of dramatic music and obscurity.

The manifestation of this that really took me out of the narrative were the three interviews: "your dad was creepy and unpleasant, but I'm not going to be specific about anything that a normal person would be specific about because we're saving those reveals for later". That said, I enjoyed what there is so far, even if the construction is a little creaky.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:22 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this whole thing might be related to this.
posted by doublehappy at 3:23 PM on September 17, 2011


The random horse eye screamed "I watched and appreciated the American version of the Ring, but couldn't think of something creepy to put here on my own."

The jumpy edit random scene thing was nicely explained in the Ring (scary magic/psychic powers and a deeply unpleasant stream of consciousness), but yeah, why would dad spend the time (probably a lot of time here) to make cut-rate Ring effect videos?

Next time we get a box of mysterious videos, it'd be nice if they were the kind that people actually made with camcorders. For good or bad, Blair Witch got that right, and to a large extent, so did Cloverfield (aside, of course, from the absurd battery life if that camera). If this is art project stuff, it would be easy to imagine that the creator is quite young, and never really had VHS growing up, because as mentioned above, tape doesn't work this way.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:12 PM on September 17, 2011


I watched the first few, but got tired of waiting for the girl to climb out of the well and through my screen.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 4:41 PM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Ring was so effing good.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:48 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this whole thing might be related to this.

Don't you mean this?
posted by philip-random at 5:02 PM on September 17, 2011


I love a fun and genuinely creepy narrative like this. My sole complaint was that they could have made it less obvious - like, not in the second film - what his dad was up to.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:07 PM on September 17, 2011


So does this mean Red Letter Media won't be doing any more movie reviews?
posted by ShutterBun at 6:02 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's hard to get into it when he keeps getting details wrong: For example, I love it that someone who's supposedly so unskilled that he has to point a camera at a screen to capture the footage doesn't seem to have any problem mux'ing in a soundtrack, zooming in on stills, and doing the titling.

But then he's an exceptional guy -- the only fellow on YouTube who won't talk into a webcam. But his Dad was exceptional too, the owner of a black & white camcorder.
posted by tyllwin at 7:30 PM on September 17, 2011


Which is good, because I've enjoyed Marble Hornets more than I'd care to admit.

Marble Hornets is genuinely good and genuinely creepy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:36 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else play the whole of Jejune Institute? My god it was amazing.
posted by JimmyJames at 8:07 PM on September 17, 2011


Oh, man! Which Axons did you enhottenate?

38.567032 -90.420820 Kirkwood Missouri
38.561793 -90.369923 Crestwood Missouri
38.558276 -90.377678 Crestwood Missouri

I alos got a personal call, but I see I'm not the only one.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:41 PM on September 17, 2011


A call? With those coords or what?
posted by Matt Oneiros at 8:46 PM on September 17, 2011


The back of the dad's (?) shirt in video 7 seems to have a website on it. I spy text saying "[something something] out there? yes." and ".com" around :18.
posted by juliplease at 8:54 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, he seems to have inherited his father's filmmaking style.
posted by radiobishop at 2:08 AM on September 18, 2011


Probably not totally related, but one of my little joys in life is finding odd footage in antique stores. several years ago i picked up an awesome looking 16mm projector and a ton of films, mostly movies and a couple rolls of commercials (which confused me to no end, like 1950s ones). In this stack though, was one small film, simply titled "Jim and Snakes". While i guess youtube has now taken over that, i still love searching for those odd things.
posted by usagizero at 2:53 AM on September 18, 2011


The coordinates were placed on a web page in a format that didn't make it abundantly clear that they were longitudes and latitudes and PST times. (This after things had been running for like 6 or 8 weeks already.) For 13 weeks a payphone would ring at those coordinates and someone would have to answer listen to a prerecorded message, know that week's passphrase or trivia answer or whatever and then they'd hear a clip of this radio drama thing. When enough of the phones in a cluster were answered, the clip would go live on the web.

Then, about week three, people started getting live calls - not prerecorded messages but the voice actress who had been doing the prerecorded messages - about 15 a week. She would have a task for you to try to complete in the next hour or so, which usually involved coordinating and communicating with other players. Apparently both Shawnstruck and I answered two of those calls.

Not all ARGs use this mechanism (it'd be pretty damn tough these days considering how few payphones are left) but it was a fun at the time.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:06 PM on September 18, 2011


Did anyone else play the whole of Jejune Institute?

Are you kidding? I'm one of the most "June" people in all of the Russias!
posted by ShutterBun at 2:28 AM on September 19, 2011


the owner of a black & white camcorder.

Camcorders have had "black and white" settings since (at least) the '90s.

And as long as we're analyzing, it's completely conceivable that the footage (which "doesn't look like VHS") had been originally shot on film, then transferred to video, then duped onto a VHS tape.

Unlikely, yes. But still within the realm of possibility. "Presented on video" doesn't always have to mean "shot on video."
posted by ShutterBun at 2:32 AM on September 19, 2011


The truth is that his dad was really a teenaged Syrian lesbian.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:14 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm going to wait for more of an actual story to emerge here...
posted by Theta States at 8:33 AM on September 19, 2011


Is anyone else still following this? It's gotten creepier and creepier, and also more confusing. As best I can tell, the decoded note lead to a YouTube account for a user called (warning: disturbing) donotcontinue, who has posted videos that are creepier still (stalker-style footage and female hostage videos of unclear origin), and maybe hinting at tinyurls that end in things like "doinggodsworkalone", "killtheimposters", "noonewillwin", and more codes like "C2A2B1B2F2C5C3FD". Of course there is also a twitter account. And a puzzle that leads to a storage unit in Santa Monica.

I've never followed an ARG before and it seems that there was some "gamejacking" or at least claims of it, though that's quieted down. In fact, all of it has quieted down lately, with MyDadsTapes recently questioning the safety of pursuing it further. He claims to have met with the police, and that he is receiving confusing and frightening emails. The last input from donotcontinue is encouraging him destroy the tapes. To give you a sense of the "rules", the people on unfiction know from that picture to check http://tinyurl/beagoodson and then are directed here to a years-old "how-to" on destroying VHS tapes. (The slashed zero you see added to the twitter image of the gravestone is his "signature".)

I don't even know where to start with the thread at unfiction. As someone new to ARG, it has been interesting to watch unfold. But at this point, I have no idea what the hell is going on.
posted by juliplease at 9:45 PM on October 16, 2011


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