Finally, after a long day you get a moment to yourself. You take a deep breath, sigh out the weight of the day’s pressures and collapse onto a bean bag, lifting the controller, to load up a game and enjoy some much needed escapism. This time however, escape might not be so easy.
This time, you have loaded up an old retro game that you bought from a garage sale, a lesser known offshoot from a well known game franchise that you’ve always had a soft spot for. Unfortunately though, you are clearly not the only person who had affection for this game or even the only one exploring the game’s pixelated reality, because, on the game’s leader board another name, the name of the game’s previous owner, flashes brilliantly. This previous owner has left his mark on the game, but has not necessarily left…
As you continue with the gameplay, glitches begin to appear, operations and scenarios that shouldn’t be possible begin to unfold and increasingly you get the feeling that although it is your hands on the controller, it is you who is being controlled.
Suddenly the screen changes, an oddly discordant tune, warped by the slow drag of playing backwards rings out from the speakers and a face, at once familiar and somehow changed appears on the screen. As long, crimson streaks of fresh blood drip from the eyesockets the face, staring forever outwards seems to see without seeing, staring at you, through you, into you. It is at this point that you begin to realise
“You shouldn’t have done that.”
Table of Contents
Overview and Synopsis at a Glance
As genuinely unnerving as it was groundbreaking the creepypasta story of BEN drowned has been widely praised for not only establishing some of the central tropes used by later creepypasta narratives but also for its use of multimodal storytelling, employing various formats, episodic unfolding and audience interaction with the central elements to construct its universe and mythos.
Though it employs a number of older and more well established horror tropes, the way in which these threads were woven together has led to BEN drowned and its creator ‘Jadusable’ being credited with elevating the genre as a whole.
Unlike some creepypastas that evolved from a single self contained story posted on a message board, BEN drowned grew out of several posts initially presented as cries for help and expressly identified as ‘not copypasta’ with the poster insisting that they ‘need your help with this’. It was this initial presentation as truth and the fact that the story eventually grew onto other modes of storytelling that made it so unique and so unsettling.
Appearance and Origins
There are a number of images commonly associated with the BEN Drowned creepypasta. The most well known and widely recognised being a modified image of ‘Link’ from Nintendo’s seminal ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, modified to have eyes that are variously, wild, dark rimmed or entirely blacked out, but seem in every case to be pouring blood.
Though it is the vision mostly closely linked to BEN Drowned story, it is interesting to note that this image did not appear, nor was it referred to in the original story. True to its creepypasta origins the story of Ben Drowned was eventually adopted, altered and modified by those who shared it, until this new and more popular avatar for the character evolved, independent of both Nintendo (the original Link character’s designers) or the Creepypasta’s original author Jadusable (Alex Hall).
The character’s original avatar which was notably less gory, and yet somehow just as unnerving, had been simply an image of the statue of Link that, unblinking and stoic, followed Jadusable around the game, just on the edge of sight.
One possible explanation for the origin of the ‘bleeding eye BEN’ image is the long established stories of statues (particularly those of the Virgin Mary) weeping blood. The suggestion being that the first image of the weeping BEN was intended to depict the statue image that was BEN’s original avatar crying blood in a similar manner, rather than simply the link character or an embodiment of BEN himself.
Ben Drowned Creepypasta
Ben Drowned Part 1 – Day 4
Okay, /x/, I need your help with this. This is not copypasta, this is a long read, but I feel like my safety or well-being could very well depend on this. This is video game related, specifically Majora’s Mask, and this is the creepiest shit that has ever happened to me in my entire life.
Having said that, I recently moved into my dorm room starting as a Sophomore in college and a friend of mine gave me his old Nintendo 64 to play. I was stoked, to say the least, I could finally play all of those old games of my youth that I hadn’t touched in at least a decade. His Nintendo 64 came with one yellow controller and a rather shoddy copy of Super Smash Brothers, and while beggars can’t be choosers, needless to say it didn’t take long until I became bored of beating up LVL 9 CPUs.
That weekend I decided to drive around a few neighborhoods about twenty minutes or so off campus, hitting up the local garage sales, hoping to score on some good deals from ignorant parents). I ended up picking up a copy of Pokemon Stadium, Goldeneye (fuck yeah), F-Zero, and two other controllers for two dollars. Satisfied, I began to drive out of the neighborhood when one last house caught my attention. I still have no idea why it did, there were no cars there and only one table was set up with random junk on it, but something sort of drew me there. I usually trust my gut on these things so I got out of the car and I was greeted by an old man. His outward appearance was, for lack of a better word, displeasing. It was odd, if you asked me to tell you why I thought he was displeasing, I couldn’t really pinpoint anything – there was just something about him that put me on edge, I can’t explain it. All I can tell you is that if it wasn’t in the middle of the afternoon and there were other people within shouting distance, I would not have even thought of approaching this man.
He flashed a crooked smiled at me and asked what I was looking for, and immediately I noticed that he must be blind in one of his eyes; his right eye had that “glazed over” look about it. I forced myself to look to his left eye instead, trying not to offend, and asked him if he had any old video games.
I was already wondering how I could politely excuse myself from the situation when he would tell me he had no idea what a video game was, but to my surprise he said he had a few ones in an old box. He assured me he’d be back in a “jiffy” and turned to head back into the garage. As I watched him hobble away, I couldn’t help but notice what he was selling on his table. Littered across his table were rather… peculiar paintings; various artworks that looked like ink blots that a psychiatrist might show you. Curious, I looked through them – it was obvious why no one was visiting this guy’s garage sale, these weren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing. As I came to the last one, for some reason it looked almost like Majora’s Mask – the same heart-shaped body with little spikes protruding outward. Initially I just thought that since I was secretly hoping to find that game at these garage sales, some Freudian bullshit was projecting itself into the ink blots, but given the events that happened afterward I’m not so sure now. I should have asked the man about it. I wish I would have asked the man about it.
After staring at the Majora-shaped blot, I looked up and the old man was suddenly there again, arms-length in front of me, smiling at me. I’ll admit I jumped out of reflex and I laughed nervously as he handed me a Nintendo 64 cartridge. It was the standard grey color, except that someone had written Majora on it in black permanent marker. I got butterflies in my stomach as I realized what a coincidence this was and asked him how much he wanted for it.
The old man smiled at me and told me that I could have it for free, that it used to belong to a kid who was about my age that didn’t live here anymore. There was something weird about how the man phrased that, but I didn’t really pay any attention to then, I was too caught up in not only finding this game but getting it for free.
I reminded myself to be a bit skeptical since this looked like a pretty shady cartridge and there’s no guarantee it would work, but then the optimist inside me interjected that maybe it was some kind of beta version or pirated version of the game and that was all I needed to be back on cloud nine. I thanked the man and the man smiled at me and wished me well, saying “Goodbye then!” – at least that’s what it sounded like to me. All the way in the car-ride home, I had a nagging doubt that the man had said something else. My fears were confirmed when I booted up the game (to my surprise it worked just fine) and there was one save file named simply “BEN”. “Goodbye Ben”, he was saying “Goodbye Ben”. I felt bad for the man, obviously a grandparent and obviously going senile, and I – for some reason or another – reminded him of his grandson “Ben”.
Out of curiosity I looked at the save file. Eyeballing it, I could tell that he was pretty far in the game – he had almost all of the masks and 3/4 remains of the bosses. I noticed that he had used an owl statue to save his game, he was on Day 3 and by the Stone Tower Temple with hardly an hour left before the moon would crash. I remember thinking that it was a shame that he had come so close to beating the game but he never finished it. I made a new file named “Link” out of tradition and started the game, ready to relive my childhood.
For such a shady looking game cartridge, I was impressed at how smoothly it ran – literally just like a retail copy of the game save for a few minor hiccups here and there (like textures being where they shouldn’t be, random flashes of cutscenes at odd intervals, but nothing too bad). However the only thing that was a little unnerving was that at times the NPCs would call me “Link” and at other times they would call me “BEN”. I figured it was just a bug – a fluke in the programming causing our files to get mixed up or something. It did kind of creep me out though after a while, and it was around after I had beaten the Woodfall Temple that I regrettably went into the save files and deleted “BEN” (I had intended to preserve the file just out of respect of the game’s original owner, it’s not like I needed two files anyway), hoping that that would solve the problem. It did and it didn’t, now NPCs wouldn’t call me anything, where my name should be in the dialogue there was just a blank space (my save file name was still called “Link”, though). Frustrated, and with homework to do, I put the game down for a day.
I started playing the game again last night, getting the Lens of Truth and working my way towards completing the Snowhead Temple. Now, some of you more hardcore Majora’s Mask players know about the “4th Day” glitch – for those who don’t you can Google it but the gist of it is that right as the clock is about to hit 00:00:00 on the final day, you talk to the astronomer and look through the telescope. If you time it right the countdown disappears and you essentially have another day to finish whatever you were doing. Deciding to do the glitch to try and finish the Snowhead Temple, I happened to get it right on the first try and the time counter at the bottom disappeared.
However, when I pressed B to exit the telescope, instead of being greeted by the astronomer I found myself in the Majora boss fight room at the end of the game (the trippy boxed in arena) staring at Skull Kid hovering above me. There was no sound, just him floating in the air above me, and the background music which was regular for the area (but still creepy). Immediately my palms began to sweat – this was definitely not normal. Skull Kid NEVER appeared here. I tried moving around the area, and no matter where I went, Skull Kid would always be facing me, looking at me, not saying anything. Nothing would happen though, and this kept up for around sixty seconds. I thought the game had bugged or something – but I was beginning to doubt that very much.
I was about to reach for the reset button when text appeared on my screen: “You’re not sure why, but you apparently had a reservation…” I instantly recognized that text – you get that message when you get the Room Key from Anju at the Stock Pot Inn, but why was it playing here? I refused to entertain the notion that it was almost as if the game was trying to communicate with me. I started navigate the room again, testing to see if that was some sort of trigger that enabled me to interact with something here, then I realized how stupid I was – to even think that someone could reprogram the game like this was absurd. Sure enough, fifteen seconds later another message appeared on the screen, and again like the first one it was already a pre-existing phrase “Go to the lair of the temple’s boss? Yes/No”. I paused for a second, contemplating what I should press and how the game would react, when I realized that I couldn’t select no. Taking a deep breath, I pressed Yes and the screen faded to white, with the words “Dawn of a New Day” with the subtext “||||||||” beneath it. Where I was ported to filled me with the most intense sense of dread and impending fear I had ever experienced
The only way I can describe the way I felt here is having this feeling of inexplicable depression on a profound scale. I am normally not a depressed person, but the way I felt here was a feeling that I didn’t even knew existed – it was such a twisted, powerful presence that seemed to wash over me.
I appeared in some kind of weird twilight-zone version of Clock Town. I walked out of the Clock Tower (as you normally do when you start from Day 1) only to find that all of the inhabitants were gone. Usually with the 4th Day glitch you can still find the guards and the dog that runs around outside the tower – this time they were all gone. What replaced them was the ominous feeling that there was something out there, in the same area as me and that it was watching me. I had four hearts to my name and the Hero’s Bow, but at this point I wasn’t even considered for my avatar, I felt that I personally was in some kind of danger. Perhaps the most chilling thing was the music – it was the Song of Healing, ripped straight from the game itself, but played in reverse. The music would get louder, building up so as if you should expect something to pop out at you, but nothing ever did, and the constant loop began to wear on my mental state.
Every now and then I would hear the faint laugh of the Happy Mask Salesman in the background, just quiet enough so that I wasn’t sure if I just hearing things but just loud enough to keep me determined to find him. I looked in all four zones of Clock Town, only to find nothing…. No one. Textures were missing, West Clock Town had me walking on air, the entire area felt… broken. Hopelessly broken. As the reverse Song of Healing repeated for what must have been the 50th time, I just remember standing in the middle of South Clock Town realizing that I had never felt so alone in a video game before.
As I walked through the ghost town, I don’t know whether it was the combination of the out of place textures and the atmosphere and the haunting melody of the once peaceful and soothing song being butchered and distorted, but I was literally on the verge of tears and I had no idea why. I hardly ever cry, something had gripped me here and this powerful sense of depression that was both foreign and crippling.
I tried leaving Clock Town, but every time I attempted to zone out, the screen would fade to black and I would just zone in to another part of Clock Town. I tried playing my Ocarina, I wanted to escape, and I did NOT want to be here, but every time I played the Song of Time or Song of Soaring it would only say “Your notes echo far, but nothing happens”. By this point, it was obvious the game didn’t want me to leave, but I had no idea why it was keeping me here. I didn’t want to go inside the buildings, I felt that I would be too vulnerable there to whatever I was terrified of. I don’t know why, but I came up with the idea that maybe if I drowned myself at the Laundry Pool I could spawn somewhere else and leave this place.
As I zoned in and ran towards the pool, that’s when it happened. Link grabbed his head, and the screen flashed for a brief moment of the Happy Mask Salesman smiling at me – not Link – me with Skull Kid’s scream playing in the background and when the screen returned I was staring at the Link Statue from playing the song Elegy of Emptiness. I screamed as the thing just stared back at me with that haunting facial expression. I turned around and ran out and back into South Clock Town, and to my horror the fucking statue followed me in the only way I can compare this is like the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. Every so often, at random intervals, the animation would play of the statue appearing behind me. It was like the thing was chasing me, or – I don’t even want to fucking say it – haunting me.
By this point, I was on the verge of hysterics, but not even once did the thought of turning off the console occur to me, I don’t know why, I was so wrapped up in it – the terror felt all so real. I tried to shake the statue, but it would literally appear right behind me every single time. Link started to begin to make weird animations I had never even seen him do before, he would flail his arms around or spasm randomly and the screen would cut to the Happy Mask Salesman smiling again for a brief moment before I was face to face with that fucking statue again. I ended up running into the Swordmaster’s Dojo and ran to the back, I don’t know why, but in my panic I just wanted some kind of assurance that I’m not alone here. To my dismay I found no one, but as I turned to leave the statue cornered me in the cubby in the back. I tried attacking the statue with my sword but to no avail. Confused, and backed into a corner, I just stared at the statue waiting for it to kill me. Suddenly, the screen flashed again to the Happy Mask Salesman and Link turned to face my screen, standing upright mirroring the statue, looking at me along with his copy. Literally staring at me. Whatever was left of the 4th wall was completely shattered while I ran out of the dojo terrified. Suddenly the game warped me to an underground tunnel and the reverse Song of Healing queued up again as I was given a brief moment of rest before the statue started appearing behind me again… this time aggressively – I could only take a few steps before it would summon behind me again. I hurriedly made my way out of the tunnel and appeared in Southern Clock Town. As I ran aimlessly – in a sheer panic – suddenly a redead screamed and the screen faded to black as “Dawn of a New Day” and “|||||||||” appeared again.
The screen faded in and I was standing on top of Clock Tower with Skull Kid hovering over me again, silent. I looked up and the moon was back, looming just meters above my head, but the Skull Kid just stared at me hauntingly with that fucking mask. A new song was playing – the Stone Tower Temple theme played in reverse. In some sort of desperate attempt, I equipped my bow and fired off a shot at the Skull Kid – and it actually hit him and he played an animation of him reeling back. I fired again and on the third arrow, a text box appeared saying “That won’t do you any good. Hee, hee.” and I was picked up off the ground, levitated upwards on my back, and then Link screamed as he burst into flames, instantly killing him.
I jumped when this happened – I had never seen this move used by ANYONE in the game and Skull Kid himself didn’t HAVE any moves. As the death screen played, my lifeless body still burning, the Skull Kid laughed and the screen faded to black, only to have me reappear in the same place. I decided to charge him, but the same thing happened, Link’s body was lifted off the ground by some unknown force and he immediately burst into flames again killing him. This time during the death screen the faint sounds of the reverse Song of Healing could be heard. On my third (and final try), I noticed that there was no music playing this time, that all there was was eerie silence. I remembered that in the original encounter with the Skull Kid you were supposed to use the Ocarina to either travel back in time or summon the giants. I attempted to play the Song of Time but before I could hit the last note Links body once again horrifically exploded into flames and he died.
As the death screen neared its end, it began to chug, as if the cartridge was trying to process a lot of something…. When the screen came to, it was the same scene as the first three times, except this time Link was lying on the ground dead in a position I had never seen in the game before, his head tilted towards the camera, with the Skull Kid floating above him. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t press any buttons, all I could do is just stare at Link’s dead body. After around thirty seconds of this, the game simply fades out with the message “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” before kicking you out to the title screen.
Upon getting back to the title screen and starting again, I noticed my save file was no longer there. Instead of “Link”, it was replaced with “YOUR TURN”. “YOUR TURN” had 3 hearts, 0 masks, and no items. I selected “YOUR TURN” and immediately when I did I was returned to the Clock Tower Rooftop scene of my Link dead and the Skull Kid hovering over, with the Skull Kid’s laughing looping again and again. I quickly hit the reset button and when the game booted up again there was one more save file added, below “YOUR TURN”, entitled “BEN”. “BEN”‘s save file is right back where it was before I deleted it, at the Stone Tower Temple with the moon almost crashing.
I turned the game off at that point, I’m not superstitious but this is WAY too fucked up even for me. I haven’t played it at all today, hell, I didn’t even get any sleep last night, I kept hearing the reverse Song of Healing music in my head and just remembering the sense of dread I felt exploring Clock Town. I drove back to the old man’s house today to ask him some questions with a buddy of mine (no way I was going there alone), only to find that there’s a For Sale sign in the front yard and when I rang the door no one was home.
So now I’m back here writing down the rest of my thoughts and recording what happened, sorry if some of this has grammatical errors and whatnot, I’m running on no sleep here. I’m terrified of this game, even more so now that I relived it a second time writing this all down, but I feel like there’s still more to it than meets the eye, and that there’s something calling to me to investigate this further. I think “BEN” is something in this equation, but I don’t know what, and if I could get a hold of the old man then I would be able to find some answers. I need another day or so to recuperate before tackling this game again, its already taken a toll on my sanity I feel like, but next time I do this I’m going to be recording my footage all the way through. The idea to record only came to me towards the end, so you see the last few minutes of what I saw (including Skull Kid and the Elegy statue), but it’s on YouTube here.
I’m going to stay in this thread for a little while longer before I fall asleep to answer any questions you guys might have or hopefully listen to your ideas or theories to help me shed some light into this or maybe things I should try to do, I think I’m going to play BEN’s file tomorrow to see what happens, maybe I was supposed to do that all along. I don’t believe in paranormal shit, but this is a little fucked up, but maybe this BEN guy is just a really good hacker/programmer, I don’t want to think about the alternatives if he isn’t.
That’s the end of the copy/paste, I’m hoping that maybe this is some kind of running gag the developers had and that other people have gotten “gag” or “hacked” copies of the game like this. This just really scares me.
Ben Drowned Part 2 – Ben
I’m going to post what happened and link the video footage, but last night everything got too real for me. I think I’m done messing around with this. I passed out pretty much immediately after making that thread. But last night, that Elegy of Emptiness statue, I had a dream about it. I dreamed that it was following me in my dream, that I would be minding my own business when I’d feel my neck hairs stand up on end. I would turn around that thing… that horrible, lifeless statue would be staring with those empty eyes right at me, merely inches away. In my dream I remember calling it Ben, and never before had I had a dream that I could remember so vividly. But the important thing is I did get some sleep, I suppose.
Today, putting off playing the game as long as I could, I drove back up to that neighborhood to see if the old man came back. As I expected, the car was still gone and no one was home. As I was walking back to my car, the man next door mowing the grass killed the power to his lawnmower and asked me if I was looking for someone. I told him that I was looking to talk to the old man that lived here, to which he told me what I already knew – he was moving. Trying a different avenue, I asked if the old man had any family or relatives I could talk to. I discovered that this old man had never been married, nor did he have any children or grandchildren through adoption. Starting to become worried, I asked one final question, one that I should have asked from the beginning – who was Ben? The man’s expression turned grim and I learned that four doors down around eight years ago on April 23 – the man informed me that it was the same day as his anniversary, that’s how he knew the specific date – there was an accident with a young boy named Ben in the neighborhood. Shortly after his parents moved, and despite any further attempts to talk to the man to get more information, he wouldn’t divulge anything else.
I went back and started playing again, I loaded up the game and immediately I jumped at the title screen where the mask flies by – the sound that played was not the normal “whoosh” sound, it was something much more higher pitched. I pressed start, bracing for the worst, but just like two nights ago, the files “Your Turn” and “BEN” were displayed (truth be told I looked at the BEN file earlier, it seems to fluctuate between displaying the Owl Save and not). I brought up the BEN file, hesitated for a moment noticing that the stats were not the same as they original were two days ago, it seemed like he had already completed the Stone Tower Temple this time… Summoning my courage I selected it.
Immediately I was thrust into complete chaos. Sure enough, I was outside Stone Tower Temple, but that’s about all that was expected. The zone itself wasn’t called Stone Tower Temple, but rather “St o n e”, and immediately a dialogue box of complete gibberish that I couldn’t make out greeted me. Link’s body was distorted – his back was cocked violently to the side where his posture was permanently disfigured. Link’s expression was dull, almost monotonous, he had an expression on his face that I didn’t recognize before, it was a blank look – as if he was dead. As Link stood there his body spasmed irregularly back and forth I examined what had become of my avatar and noticed I had a C button item I had never seen before, some kind of note, but pressing it did nothing. Sounds played back and forth that I didn’t recognize from the game – almost demonic in nature, and there was some kind of high-pitched yip or some kind of laugh or something playing in the background. I had all of two minutes to take in the environment before another one of those fucking Elegy of Emptiness statues was summoned and immediately after I was cut into the “Dawn of a New Day” screen, except this time it was without the “||||||” subtext.
I was a Deku Scrub in Clock Town – this scene would normally play after the first time you traveled back in time. Tatl would say “Wh-What just happened? It’s as if everything has…” but instead of saying “Started over”, she finished her remark in broken text as the laugh of the Happy Mask Salesman played in the background. I was put back in control of my character, but from a fucked up camera angle – I was looking from behind the door to the Clock Tower, watching my avatar run around as a Deku Scrub. Seeing as how I really had no place to go because I couldn’t see anything, I begrudgingly went inside the door. There, I was greeted by the Happy Mask Salesman who simply told me “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” before the screen whited out.
I was in Termina field as a human again. I might as well not have been playing the same game anymore – I was being warped around and there was no sign of a day clock or anything. I took a moment to get my bearings as I looked around the field and immediately I could tell that this was not normal. There were no enemies and a twisted version of the Happy Mask Salesman’s theme was playing. I decided to run towards Woodfall before I noticed a gathering of three figures off to the side – one of them being Epona. As I approached them, to my horror I saw the Happy Mask Salesman, the Skull Kid, and the Elegy of Emptiness statue just standing there. I figured maybe they were bugged out, but by now I told myself that I should know better. Nevertheless, I approached them carefully and found that the Skull Kid was playing some kind of idle animation on loop, same with Epona, and the Elegy of Emptiness statue was doing what it has been doing all along – just standing there eerily. It was the Happy Mask Salesman that scared me more profoundly than the other two.
He too was idle, wearing that shit-eating grin, but where-ever I moved, his head slowly turned and followed me. I had not engaged in any dialogue with him nor was I in combat with him, yet his head still continued to follow my movements. Reminded of my first encounter with the Skull Kid on top of Clock Tower, I pulled out my Ocarina (to which the game played the ding sound when you’re supposed to play your Ocarina) and tried a song I hadn’t played yet – the Happy Mask Salesman’s own song and the song that had been playing on loop back in Day 4 – the Song of Healing.
I finished playing the song and as I did, a ear-piercing shriek blasted on my TV, the sky immediately started flashing, the Happy Mask Salesman’s twisted theme song sped up, intensifying the fear inside me, and Link exploded into flames and died. The three figures stayed lit up during my death screen as they watched my lifeless body burn. I can’t describe to you how sudden and terrifying the transition from eerie to terror it is, you’re going to have to watch the video if you want to see first-hand. That same fear that caused me to lose sleep two days ago started to grip me again as I was met with the text “You’ve met with a horrible fate, haven’t you?” for the third time. There has to be some kind of meaning behind that.
I had little time to ponder as I was immediately given another small cut-scene of transforming into a Zora and now I found myself in Great Temple Bay. Hesitant but curious to see what the game had in store for me, I slowly made my way towards the beach, where I found Epona. I wondered why the game had decided to put her here, was the game implying she was trying to get a drink? Unable to take the mask off, I decided that riding the steed wasn’t the reason she was placed there.
Suddenly I realized that Epona kept neighing and the way she was angled made it look like she was trying to signal a point to me off in the distance. It was a hunch, but I dove into Great Bay and started swimming. Sure enough – I almost missed it – I found something at the bottom of the ocean; one last Elegy of Emptiness statue. I went down to examine it and suddenly my Zora started doing a choking animation I had never seen a Zora do before – which didn’t even make sense because Zora’s can breath underwater. Regardless, my character choked to death and died, and again the statue was the only thing that was highlighted in my death. I didn’t re-spawn this time, I was booted back to the main menu as if I restarted the console.
The “press start” screen was before me, I knew the only reason why it would put me here is because the save files had changed again. Taking a deep breath, I pressed start, and I was right. The new save files told me about Ben. Now it made sense why the statue appeared when I tried to go to the Laundry Pool – the game must have anticipated how I would have tried to escape the Day 4 Clock Town. The two save files told me his fate. As I suspected, Ben was dead. He had drowned. The game obviously isn’t through with me – it taunts me with the new save files – it wants me to keep playing, it wants me to go further, but I’m done with this shit. I’m not touching any more of the files. This is already way too horrifying for me and I don’t even believe in the paranormal, but I’m running out of explanations. Why would someone send me this message? I don’t understand it, I just get too depressed thinking about this, the footage is up here for those who want to see it and try and analyze it (maybe there’s some kind of coded message in the gibberish or something symbolic in what I went through – I’m too emotionally and mentally drained to fuck with it anymore).
Ben Drowned Part 3 – Drowned
I know its early in the morning, I’ve stayed up all night, I can’t sleep, I don’t care if people see this, that’s not the point, I just want the word to get spread so I don’t suffer for nothing. I’ve lost the will to type about this, the less I dwell on this the better, I think the video just speaks for itself. I did what you guys told me to do, I played the Elegy of Emptiness song at the first prompt by the game I was given, but I think that’s what the game or Ben (Jesus Christ, I can’t believe I’m even humoring the absurd idea that he exists in the game) wanted me to do. He’s following me now, not just in the game, he’s in my dreams. I see him all the time, behind my back, just watching me. I haven’t gone to any of my classes, I’ve stayed in my dorm room with the windows closed and the blinds shut – that way I know he can’t watch me. But he still gets me when I play, when I play he can still see me. The game is scaring me now. It talked to me for the first time – not just using text that’s already in the game – it spoke to me. Talked to me. It referenced Ben. It talked to me. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what it wants. I never wanted this, I just want my old life back.
Stuff like this doesn’t happen to people like me, I’m just a kid, not even old enough to drink yet. It’s not fair, I want to go home, I want to see my parents again, I’m so far away from home here at this school, I just want to hug my mom again. I just want to forget that statue’s horrible blank face. My original game file is back – just the way I left it before it was gone. I don’t want to play anymore. I feel like something bad will happen if I don’t, but that’s impossible, it’s a video game – haunted or not it can’t hurt me, right? Like seriously though, it can’t, right? That’s what I keep telling myself, but every time I think about it I’m not so sure.
Ben Drowned Part 4 – Jadusable
Let me just clear things up – I know you guys are worried but “jadusable” is okay. He finished moving out today and he said he’s going back home, he’s just taking this semester off. I’m not really sure what’s happened; I have a vague idea but you guys probably know more than I do. I’m “jadusable’s” roommate and obviously I knew something was wrong with him for a few days now. He stayed in his room all the time, fell out of contact with literally all of his friends, and I’m pretty sure he hadn’t been eating hardly anything, after the second day I couldn’t stay in there anymore, so I’ve been crashing at a buddy’s place, only coming in to my room to get stuff that I need. I tried talking to him several times but he would cut me off or keep the conversation brief when I asked him about his strange behavior, it like he was convinced something was hunting him. Yesterday I came to grab my philosophy book and he approached me, looking awful, like horrible bags under his eyes. He handed me a flash drive and gave me specific instructions. He told me that he needs me to do one last favor for him – he finally explained to me what has been going on, gave me the account info to his YouTube account, and told me that he’s getting away from here, that it lured him to play it again instead of trying to change things and that he shouldn’t of done that, and to upload the footage and inform people what happened. I told him that he could do it himself and he got this wild look in his eye and told me that he is never looking at that game again, and that’s the last thing he said to me, he never even said bye when his parents came to pick him up. I never even got to meet his parents.
I honestly cant tell you what happened, when he spoke it was kind of hard to understand him and his fucked up appearance really distracted me. On the flash drive there was the footage of the game last night, a text document with his name and password for YouTube, and a third document called TheTruth.txt containing what he told me were “his notes” that he’d taken. He told me that this meant everything to him that I follow his instructions exactly, normally I wouldn’t be so ‘to-the-letter’ for request over a fucking video game, but the way he spoke and the way he looked made me know this was really serious, and I’m going to honor that. I’ve had this video since yesterday, but had to have someone help me use pinnacle, that’s not really my forte. That after watching it I had to go back through and look at his other videos on his YouTube account to realize what was going on and even then I’m really really confused. The video I’m releasing tonight, TheTruth.txt will be released on September 15 just like he requested. I haven’t dared peek at it yet, so the first time I see it will be the first time you see it out of respect to my friend. To answer your questions, no, I haven’t tried calling him yet, I think I’ll give him a call tomorrow to see if hes okay or not. He should have gotten back home by now.
About the video: in this video I cut straight to when he loaded the “BEN” file in the game, looking back I realized that jadusable left the save select screen in because it said different names sometimes, so my bad for that, but all it said this time was the same at the end of his last video (Link and BEN), nothing different. I wasn’t there when he played it, but it looks to me like in the beginning when he first spawns he’s testing out his equipment or seeing what items he has or something, because apparently they’ve changed randomly before. Then, after that I just think the game got too personal for him.
Ben Drowned Part 5 – The Truth
Hey, guys. “Jadusable” here. This will be the last time you will be hearing from me, and this is my final gift to you – these are the notes that I have taken and the realizations I’ve made. Before I delve into this, I want to thank you for following me and thank you for listening, it feels like the weight of a powerful burden is about to be lifted. By the time you read this I won’t be around anymore, but after spending four days with this maddening game, I have begun to understand what’s really at play here and hopefully after reading this we can ensure that this never happens again.
There are things that I could not share with you while this was going on due to the circumstances to which I’ll explain. With Ben blocking any attempt I made to try and relay the truth to you, I tried, ever so subtly, to warn you guys in various ways. Amidst the chaos and my delirium, I devised a make a barely noticeable pattern in my videos. In all five videos I recorded over the four days, I have either had the Mask of Truth, interacted with a Gossip Stone, or the Lens of Truth equipped at some point. For you Zelda enthusiasts these are all symbols of honesty and trustworthiness and I would hope that one of you may have picked up on the reference. As I played the file which I would name “BEN”, being mindful of how Ben was watching over my every move in the game, I made a point to avoid doing anything too obvious, but I sent out a hidden message to you guys – I never equipped the Lens nor the Mask nor visited a stone. It worked, and the video was uploaded. I prayed that someone would notice the pattern didn’t apply to BEN.
The tags followed suit too, I hope you guys paid attention to those as well. They were my little messages to you – nothing big enough that would catch Ben’s attention or make him suspect anything – with Ben manipulating and changing my files, I honestly hope that what you guys saw was close to what actually happened, but there is no way for me to know.
This may be a long read, I don’t have time to proof-read or make all of my research pretty. But here it all is.
September 6, 2010
11:00pm – Can’t believe what happened, not sure if this is some kind of elaborate hoax, despite the fear I can’t help but be exceptionally curious about this. Who or what is the statue? Lot of questions here. I’m starting this document as a “diary” so I can keep track of everything. I’m typing up a summary of what happened so I can come back to it later.
September 7, 2010
2:10am – (Summary was posted here, you can go back and look at my first post for day four.wmv for that)
4:23am – I can’t sleep. I’ve been trying so hard but the harder I try I just get more restless. I just feel like that statue is appearing whenever I close my eyes.
8:20am – Didn’t sleep at all, just going to start my day. I don’t think I have the energy to go to class today, I’m going to drive back down to talk to that old man, taking my buddy Tyler with me just in case.
1:18pm – Back home now. No sign of the old man, really weird that he appears to be moving the next day, but maybe the For Sale sign was up there yesterday and I just didn’t notice it. Tyler wants to know what’s gotten me all worked up, I didn’t tell him. Going to eat, feel like death.
3:46pm – Could’ve sworn driving back from Subway that I saw the Elegy statue buried in some shrubbery staring at me go by. Now I definitely, definitely need sleep.
5:00pm – Don’t think a lot of people would believe me if I told them about what’s happening, think I’m going to try posting this on the internet. Think I’ll just use the summary, these notes are pretty sporadic.
6:00pm – Connected my capture card to my computer to upload the footage. Thought my computer froze for a second, made this strange popping sound when I hooked everything up, but now it seems to be working fine again. My computer can’t die on me now.
7:00pm – Footage is finished uploading. The quality’s a lot better than I thought it would be, gee, guess this is a really special cartridge, I’ve never had it come through this clear before.
8:45pm – Thought I saw an icon pop up on my desktop that looked like the statue’s face for a split second, gave me quite a scare. Getting really unnerved and delirious, I’m going to crash after this.
9:00pm – Begin uploading my YouTube video on an alternate account.
9:03pm – I don’t remember having uploaded a Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines video last year. This was probably the account that I shared with a friend of mine last summer, I hope he doesn’t mind me using it to upload this.
9:55pm – Posting my summary of Day Four with a link to the YouTube video. Going to try to stay awake but I am sooooo tired right now.
September 8, 2010
10:48am – I had a dream about the statue. I dreamed that it was following me in my dream, that I would be minding my own business when I’d feel my neck hairs stand up on end. I would turn around that thing… that horrible, lifeless statue would be staring with those empty eyes right at me, merely inches away. In my dream I remember calling it Ben, power of suggestion most likely, and never before had I had a dream that I could remember so vividly.
11:21am – I really don’t want to play this game again. I think I’m going to go back to see if that old man’s there instead.
1:35pm – No old man, but I had an interesting conversation with his neighbor. I’ll post the full thing with my summary of tonight’s attempt at playing the game, going to wait for a bit though and see if I can’t dig up any information on this Ben guy.
2:45pm – I’ve been getting random, inexplicable headaches due to the lack of sleep and keep hearing that song in my head. Also its flu season, so I need to be careful not to get sick, my immune system is going to be shit right now because of that all-nighter.
3:02pm – My computer just… on its own… opened up a text document and wrote the words “Hi” and “www.cleverbot.com” by itself. What… the… fuck…
3:46pm – I went to the website, its one of those “bot chatting” programs. I think its best if I just let the conversation speak for itself:
User: Who is this and how are you able to control my computer?
Cleverbot: Who am I?
User: Right, forgot. You’re a bot.
Cleverbot: Do you really think that?
User: Listen, I know whoever’s fucking with my computer can see my screen right now.
User: Yeah, and I’ll wager that youre one of those IT kids who thinks he’s tough shit. You know what you’re doing right now is illegal, right/?
Cleverbot: Is it?
User: No shit. Are you familiar with hte terms “invasion of privacy?”. Get the fuck off my computer, kid
Cleverbot: I am your computer.
User: Cool story. Anyway, I’m calling DPS, you picked a bad time to fuck with me kid.
Cleverbot: Should I wait until you play the game then?
Cleverbot: That game.
User: Majora’s Mask?
User: How did you know about that?
User: because what?
Cleverbot: I did it.
User: Did what?
Cleverbot: I played with you.
User: What the fuck/
Cleverbot: Were you scared?
User: Who the fuck is this
User: The statue? You’re inside my computer now?
Cleverbot: You connected me.
User: How the hell did I connect you?
Cleverbot: Cables and cords.
Cleverbot: Tell me about yourself.
Cleverbot: Tell me about yourself.
User: What do you mean?
Cleverbot: What is it that really scares you?
User: What the fuck?
User: what the fuck, how the fuck did you just open that by yourself?
Cleverbot: I am your computer now.
User: How much can you control?
User: what do you want from me?
Cleverbot: To entertain.
User: you’re stuck inside there. You can’t hurt me?
Cleverbot: Go play.
User: No, you can’t hurt me.
Cleverbot: Took you longer to type that.
Cleverbot: You’re not sure.
User: If you’re so powerful, why use a ridiculous website like this to “chat” with me
Cleverbot: Less messy. More structured. Fun.
Cleverbot: Yes. Tradition. I like it.
User: You think it’s funny?
User: And my notes?
Cleverbot: You may write them down.
User: Why are you letting me?
Cleverbot: It is amusing to see what you think of me.
3:50pm – What have I done? I’ve invited it into my computer. I continue to write these notes, write my summaries, I feel like I am a prisoner in my one place of security. I don’t know, I don’t know if I’m hallucinating or not. I feel like I’m fucking insane right now. I can feel it, watching over me, even as I type this. Ben is controlling everything in the game – toying with me, leading me like a sheep, but for what? What’s the purpose? I know Ben drowned, but why these hauntings? What the fuck am I even doing, it can probably even see this right now.
4:35pm – (Summary of the BEN.wmv playthrough)
7:18pm – BEN called me to Cleverbot again. He tells me that he’s sorry and wants to be free. And that I can free him, that just like how he got on my computer from the capture card, he can spread but he needs my help. He says I am special because I can help him. That is the first nice thing he has said. He promises to leave me alone if I do it. He swears he will. I don’t know what to think right now, how can I even trust this thing?
7:20pm – I’m terrified of it, but now its saying that it was just having fun. Its twisted and fucked up verison of fun. Hes saying that the game is over. I do want it to be over. He says that he just wants to be free, that he’s trapped in the cartridge and my computer and he wants to be freed. I don’t want to have to deal with this shit, I don’t know how long I can deal with the watching. It’s watching my every move, every key stroke, I have nothing private anymore. It knows everything that’s been on my computer. It tells that it if it wanted to it could do horrible things to me, but it hasn’t so I should trust it.
8:01pm – Something tells me that I’m being played again, just like in the game.
9:29pm – BEN called me to Cleverbot again. I ignored it and went to go take a shower. When I came to my laptop I was welcomed with an image Elegy Statue staring at me with those dead eyes. I dont want to talk to him.
9:44pm – Fuck you Ben I’m not talking to you
9:56pm – Fuck you ben I’m not talking
10:06pm – FUCK YOU BEN IM NOT TALKING TO YOU
10:12pm – FUCK YOU BEN IM NOT TALKING TO YOU
10:45pm – It’s been more than a half an hour and the messages have stopped. Ben has stopped. I’m beginning to think that Ben isn’t confined to just my computer/cartridge, I’m beginning to feel something. It’s hard to explain it, I’ve never been spiritual, but there’s something different about the air in my dorm room now.
11:42pm – I’m beginning to see the Elegy statue randomly as I search the internet in places I shouldn’t. Places where he shouldn’t be – I’d be scrolling down and suddenly I’d be staring at a picture of the Elegy statue. Always the Elegy statue. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
September 9, 2010
12:35am – My worst fears confirmed – Ben has tampered with my summary of BEN.wmv. I looked at the summary that I posted on various forums for the BEN.wmv file and parts have been omitted. There is no mention of Ben existing outside the game. There is no mention of the Moon Children. How could he have been that quick to delete the post without me noticing? I’m wondering if maybe it appeared to me that I was posting everything, but in reality Ben was posted his own censored version. I’m going to ask Ben why he did it.
12:50am – He isn’t responding to me on Cleverbot, its just giving the generic responses it usually does, I’m just talking to a bot this time.
1:24am – I think Ben is mad at me.
10:43am – The Moon Children appeared in my dreams last night, they lifted up their masks to reveal their hideously disfigured faces – maggots crawling out of their orifices, sunken black holes where their eyes should be, a yellow smile that slowly grew bigger and bigger as they came closer to me. They told me that they wanted to play. I tried to run from them – but the four children pinned me down to the ground with surprising strength. Over them stood the Happy Mask Salesman, announcing that he had a new mask that he wanted me to try. In his spaztic, sudden movements matching his in-game appearance, he took out a mask of modeled off of someone’s face that I couldn’t recognize – a younger looking face – and handed it to the Moon Children. Giggling, they latched it to my face; their horrible, broken bodies bouncing up and down. Two of them held me down while the other two began to sow the mask onto my face.
My shrieks and screams caused the Happy Mask Salesman’s face to turn into the most horrific smile I had ever seen. He sporadically moved around, examining this procedure like a curious doctor, in that impossible movement. I flailed around, but it was no use. My eyes rolled in the back of my head because of the pain. It felt so real, but I couldn’t wake up. I couldn’t wake up no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t wake up. After the mask was melded onto my flesh they began sowing my legs together, then my arms, the horrific feeling of a needle puncturing your legs and pulling them in, rupturing your achillies tendons and tying them together resonated throughout my entire body. I tried to scream but the mask was pressed so tightly against my face that it was my new face… and my new face had no mouth. I didn’t make a sound. I tried telling myself in my head that I was dreaming, tried telling myself again and again, and suddenly the Moon Children stopped and looked at me. They just stared. And the Happy Mask Salesman slowly bent down and stared at me, inches away from my face, and grinned when he simply said “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” before the Moon Children resumed with increase vigor. I couldn’t wake up. I couldn’t wake up. It wouldn’t let me wake up until they had crafted me into another elegy statue.
I woke up sweating, crying, and shaking uncontrollably. I immediately ran to my computer and went for Ben.
9/9/10 Conversation 1
User: Answer me, ben.
Cleverbot: Welcome back.
User: What is the point of doing this, WHY?
Cleverbot: Amusing to see.
Cleverbot: Fun to play, fun to toy with you, make you feel safe.
Cleverbot: I wonder how you would have reacted.
User: to what?
Cleverbot: If I hadn’t revealed myself and stayed hidden, only doing little things to play with you. Close out your windows, turn off your computer, move your mouse by itself. Little things. Make you wonder if I am there but you never know. Give you little hints that I am.
Cleverbot: I wanted to do something different with you.
User: you did this before?
Cleverbot: Yes. And I will do it again.
User: To who, Ben?
User: Did you know Ben?
Cleverbot: Won’t tell that information to you.
User: How did Ben die?
Cleverbot: You know.
User: No, but how did he drown?
Cleverbot: Won’t tell that to you.
Cleverbot: It is reserved for another.
Cleverbot: Another who asks.
(the window is closed)
I’m beginning to think that this “thing” maybe isn’t Ben at all, in its sadistic nature I wouldn’t be surprised if it took the boy’s name after it killed him.
12:04pm – My room is beginning to feel different again. There’s something… out there.. I feel really threatened, like there is something that is trying to reach out to me and strangle me but it can’t quite get there.
12:46pm – I think Ben doesn’t want to play with me anymore. I’ll play again, I’ll play the game again, Ben, can you see this? I’ll play the game again, please, just stop this please please
1:41pm – I’m going insane trying to decide what is real and what isn’t, is Ben just playing a trick on me or is this for real? Is Ben generating these replies or are people actually posting them? Did I just see that screen flicker or was it my imagination? Imagine depending on the internet and trusting your eyes for your entire life and then being blinded – you can’t rely on it anymore, you second guess everything. for the brief moments I AM looking at my responses to the videos, people were pointing out things that looked fake or Photoshopped or whatever – and there is literally no way for me to know if Ben changed something on purpose to try and shut me up. Or if maybe those replies were just constructed by Ben to try and discourage me from even reaching out – See, I get fucking caught in an infinite mindfuck loop like this and this is what has been wearing on my sanity and pushing me to the edge. As I’m writing this, there’s no way of even telling if anyone even cares as much as I think they do – just another fucking trick. Is this whole document even exist? Am I writing nothing?
9/9/10 Conversation 2
User: What is it? Whats the point of playing? i die whenever i do anything
Cleverbot: You die because you can’t figure out the secret.
User: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT
Cleverbot: There beauty in your suffering
(the window is closed)
4:09pm – Ben is making me play the game again. It tells me that it has something very important to show me.
6:23pm – (Summary of the DROWNED.wmv playthrough)
9:09pm – (Summary of CHILDREN.wmv playthrough)
September 10, 2010
11:52am – The DROWNED.wmv playthrough was up when I woke up today. I remember typing it up but I don’t ever remember posting it. He censored it again, there is no mentioning of the old man. I have no voice anymore. I am only posting what he wants me to, I am the mask he uses to disguise himself as he lies.
11:55am – There’s an entire video summary of a video that I don’t remember doing. Reading through the summary, this sounds morbid – resembling my dream from two nights ago except on a far more sadistic scale – these Moon Children, there’s something more to them, almost as if they’re another entity from Ben. Something happened last night that I can’t remember. I’m posting the fourth summary to the forums now. Shadow of my chair moved.
12:00pm – Ben won’t let me visit YouTube. I can browse the rest of the sites, but he keeps on exiting the window when I go to YouTube. Why?
2:02pm – I’m feeling the air start to constrict, I don’t think I’m alone here. Whatever “aura” has been here is getting more violent.
2:44pm – I’m trying to contact Ben on Cleverbot, he’s not responding. I just get the AI.
3:51pm – My ears aren’t fooling me, I’m hearing the reverse Song of Healing. I keep hearing it.
4:23pm – Now I’m positive of it, earlier I thought it was a weird coincidence, but just now I went to open my window, and three floors down at ground level I saw the old man. I’m completely positive I did. The same guy. He was just staring up at my window, standing in the middle of campus. If any students took notice of him they didn’t seem to acknowledge it.
That’s where my notes end. I fled my room, taking the cartridge with me. I don’t want to go into details of what happened, I’ll lose my train of thought as I hammer out these last details. It’s been roughly two days since then. This is my last summary and service to you, of the final video you guys saw – Matt.wmv.
The last video entry I made, Matt.wmv, began as normal. I was spawned in Clock Town as usual and nothing seemed to be out of place, determined to set things right and play the Oath to Order ontop of the Clock Tower on the 4th day, I prepared myself. I sped up time and got to the final day, making my way to the observatory. As I got up to the telescope room and approached the astromer, he would not let me look into his telescope. He told me that it would be cheating and that I should follow the rules. Despite my repeated efforts, the game would not let me do the 4th day glitch, no matter how hard or what I tried, I tried working around the game and doing the glitch, but it was adament this time. Regardless of if I simply had the illusion of free will in prior games, this time the game became more aggressive than anything I’ve ever seen. It eventually told me to go to Ikana Canyon, where the game would end and it would stop haunting me, anxious and desperate to end this nightmare I played the song of soaring and ended up there. I was told to check my inventory, that I would find the answers there to end the game. I arrived at Ikana Canyon and saved my progress at the owl statue. As I searched through my inventory, I finally noticed that I was missing a reoccurring song – the Elegy of Emptiness. Obviously once I traveled there and learned the song, I suppose that was the last thing it needed before BEN decided it had had enough fun playing with me. Ben is a manipulator; he tries to fool his victims into security and makes you drop your guard like a venus fly trap, he ensares them. I am nothing but a puppet to him, he enjoys seeing what kind of human emotions he can tap into by doing different things.
There are still some things about this whole experience that still don’ t make sense, but then again I never was good at figuring out these things and I’m not exactly in the right state of mind to, I’m giving you all the pieces of the puzzle for you to analyze and piece together the missing links.
I am typing these “closing thoughts” on the library computer on campus, and I’ve emailed myself the notes I have stored on my “infected” computer from the last four days. I’m then going to combine those copy/paste those notes with the “closing/openings” that I’ve typed here on the safe, public computer into one text document – I’m not taking any chances spreading Ben, I would not wish this horrible torment on anyone and I’ve made sure to have my bases covered here. I didn’t run into any problems with Ben when I was back on my computer trying to email myself the notes – went right under his fucking nose. He has no idea what he just let me do. Had no problems opening the txt document from my “infected” computer in my email, either. I can’t describe to you how it feels to finally be able to get the word out in this post. The nightmare ends here.
Do not download ANY of my videos or anything ABOUT my videos – through a Youtube video/audio ripper, a screengrab, whatever. I don’t know how he can spread, but I know that just watching them on youtube/reading my text won’t be able to allow him to spread, otherwise he wouldn’t have needed my help in the first place, but I STRONGLY recommend you do not take anything you see streaming online onto your own personal computer.
This will be my last posting, I’m putting up on this forum here for the world. If you see any further posts from me, after today’s current date – September 12 – and after the current time – 12:08am – DISCREDIT them. It already has proven to me that Ben can access my account/password and manipulate my computer, and like I said I have no idea to what extent it can do this, but know that it will do anything to break free. He is desperate. To ensure your safety, just forget about me. Please.
And obviously this goes without saying, but from here on out do not download ANY images I may have put up, any files, any ANYTHING.
This fifth day will be my last day, I’m going to burn the cartridge and then come back to destroy my laptop.
Again, even though I don’t even know you this is sort of bittersweet for me. This semester I really didn’t have any friends, or rather, I stopped paying attention to them.
But I suppose that’s partially to blame because I am the genius who picked to live in a single, I suppose someone to get ahold of me and save me before I got too immersed into this game would have literally saved my life. However, it proved too much for me, I’m just glad it happened to me and I could get the warning out so that Ben dies here.
Lastly, thank you for taking the time to open this and open yourselves up to me by hearing my story, despite maybe not believing me. You didn’t have to do that – really, you shouldn’t have. Your support this entire time has kept me going and now I am finally free of this.
Madness in The Method
Part of the effectiveness of the BEN drowned story comes from the manner in which the story was unfolded to the audience. Both in the pacing, the use of several storytelling modes and initially, the presentation of the narrative as a ‘true story’. Basically, the story works so well not just because of what is told but because of ‘how’ it was told.
Employing some of the tropes common to the ‘found footage’ subgenre of horror movies, a user known as Jadusable posted his story as a plea for assistance, whilst also sharing the creepy circumstances in which he found himself. By presenting the story as a real dilemma to begin with ( the story’s author admitted that it was a fabrication after a few weeks) he allowed the tale’s first readers and those willing to suspend disbelief to experience something known as ‘the fantastic’.
Without going too deep and getting all nerdy and boffin-like about it, ‘The fantastic’ is the name given to the state where the reader of a story doesn’t quite know whether the tale is true or false. Originally described by a critic named Tsvertan Todorov, it basically means the sweet spot between thinking that something is weird and a bit odd but still just about explainable logically (the uncanny) and being a completely supernatural experience that is beyond explanation (the marvelous).
When the reader is teetering between these two points and unable to decide conclusively whether a story is one or the other, they experience ‘The fantastic’.
It’s a method employed by everyone from classic weavers of terror tales like Edgar Allan Poe all the way up to the makers of The Blair Witch Project, who managed to fool their initial audiences into thinking that the footage discover in the Baltimore forests was genuine, thereby scaring the bejesus out of them in the same way that Alex Hall clearly intended for his readership.. In Jadusable’s case, ‘the fantastic’ is used to maximum effect by varying up the way the story is delivered, with the different modes lending authenticity and plausibility to the story.
Initially constructed just on a whim by college student Alex Hall (under the name Jadusable) BEN drowned went through a number of progressively more expansive and interactive stages in its development. In short, the story began as a traditional ‘creepy story’ posted on message boards, the story then used demonstrative video ‘evidence’ to support the author’s claims before moving to a self funded website that then advanced the narrative, evolving the story from a traditional text narrative into an interactive experience and ARG. This second stage which also encompassed a hiatus was followed by a third stage which was apparently going to end with a video game. The story is commonly divided into three arcs, The Haunted Cartridge, Moon Children and Awakening.
Jadusable’s initial post, asking for help and outlining his experiences (all disingenuously presented as truth) with a haunted N64 cartridge bought from a creepy old man at a garage sale like a mogwai from a downstairs store in Chinatown, first appeared on 4chans /x/ board on seventh September 2010.
It was then added to and carefully enlarged over subsequent days so that the whole story emerged in a ‘drip drip’ fashion between the 7th and the 15th of September. This first series of episodic installments is considered to be the ‘first arc’ of the Ben drowned story, commonly referred to as the The Haunted Cartridge.
This method of adding to and unfolding the story gradually in several chapters and subsequent arcs that built on the original, lent the events an air of authenticity that would not have been present if the story had come out in one big chunk and helped Jadusable construct something that is more accurately described as a ‘mythology’ than a single story.
After the initial post, told in first person, Jdusable continued to post videos and updates that incorporated interactions with other users, their comments and suggestions, allowing him to respond and reveal parts of the legend in real time.
The story’s second arc ‘Moon Children’ which was again drip fed to the audience in updates and chapters over the course of over 10 months from the 17th September 2010 to July 15th of the following year, expanded upon the story of BEN, the child who was supposedly the previous owner of the haunted cartridge and added a story of a cult built around worship of the moon and child sacrifice.
What truly elevated the BEN drowned mythology however was its use of what is known as transmedia storytelling. If you’re wondering what the hell we mean by ‘transmedia storytelling’ it’s really very simple.
Jadusable allowed his story to be almost ‘discovered’ and moulded by users and readers, encouraging them to construct a vision of the whole story by following threads and breadcrumbs on several channels and platforms and in a different modalities (meaning he used words, images, video and narration amongst other things to tell different bits of the story).
Basically, instead of simply posting a complete story in a one off shot, Jadusable chose to construct a central narrative by using a number of different platforms and modes, building his story gradually like a patchwork woven from several interconnected sources. Over the course of numerous videos, chapter updates and interactions with other users that racked up to a mind blowing 3,591,600 words and 382 minutes of footage, he built an entire mythology that the audience could interact with.
A great example of this ‘multimodal transmedia storytelling’ and the way that it adds an extra layer of believability to the piece is in Jadusable’s use of Youtube. Having roped in the readers with his first ‘true’ story of a haunted cartridge, he then provided so-called ‘evidence’ to support his claims by showing footage of the gameplay and the strange occurrences that were going on ‘in game’ and freaking him out. This was a gamer’s equivalent of found footage and was presented as if it was ‘hard evidence’ to back up his outlandish claims.
Having already selected a videogame that was a somewhat leftfield and obscure cousin of a more popular and well loved game not to mention one that had a somewhat melancholy and ‘haunting’ atmosphere to begin with, Jadusable used a project 64 an emulator to manipulate the appearance of the game and the on screen elements.
By then filming the gameplay in this warped vision of something that would be recognisable to fans, he was able to create the impression that he was genuinely experiencing something out of the ordinary within the world of the game, suggesting that the technology driving the games functionality was operating in an entirely unexpected and unprecedented way.
Hall has explained the rationale behind this, underlining how unnerving it can be when technology we expect to do one thing because it has been programmed that way, begins to go off script. Whilst the strange occurrences and seemingly unique scenarios could be explained away as simply a series of glitches in a yard sale knock off of the game, the story of the mystery user ‘BEN’ and the supposed haunting of the cartridge offers a less tangible explanation and leads the audience to experience ‘the fantastic’ as they juggle the possibilities that this could just be a malfunction but could also be a supernatural haunting.
This unsettling mixing of modes and platforms was taken even further when the narrative which had been told as a conventional first person account in the first post and developed into a series of interactions in further arcs, went one better by breaking fourth wall conventions, inviting the viewer to participate and intimating that the characters have somehow broken out of the narrative.
The description of the fourth video featured a message from someone purporting to be Jadusable’s former roommate, who made claims about the original author having been moved out of the dorm but having left behind documents and flash drives containing further clues that should only be uploaded after a specific date. When the text was finally released on September 12th 2010 on Mediafire it allegedly contained notes written by Jadusable that called the validity of other posts into question.
These notes alleged that the character BEN had communicated with Jadusable after having taken control of his computer and spoke via a cleverbot. It was then suggested that the story as told was untrue and in fact constructed by the character BEN himself.
The text warned readers not to trust any of the output on Jadusable after a specific date. As if to reinforce this version of events the avatar on Jadusable’s Youtube changed to show the Link statue with the location altered to the ominous message “Now I am Everywhere”. Clues in the description led readers to a website that then continued the narrative into its second and far more interactive arc.
Now I am Everywhere
In the years since the original BEN drowned post, the character has lived up to its own prophecy and has become ‘everywhere’. As well as the BEN Drowned character branching out from a straight textual narrative into other formats, giving it a wider presence on the internet as users on different platforms encounter the character, the vast number of tribute stories featuring the character, fan fiction and fan art with subtle variations, has cemented the character as one of the most popular creepypasta characters ever and even allowed the character to develop an image independent of its creators, which is in itself a rather creepy development.
Less explored influences
Whilst Ben drowned has been praised for the originality and influence of its storytelling methodology, the narrative itself is dependent upon some long established tropes.
The most obvious modern parallel is with the ‘Ringu’ or ‘The Ring’ series in which a cursed videotape is passed along to prospective victims and a spirit inhabiting the tape brings a nasty end to anyone who watches it.
Further back, the fundamental mechanics of the story have a very long history, with the notion of a ‘haunted’ or inhabited object being a very common trope. One unexpected place to find similarities to BEN drowned is in the ghost stories of M.R. James. In these stories we find not only the common theme of a discovered object summoning some dark or evil force (Oh Whistle and I’ll come to you My Lad, A Warning to the Curious) but the more explicitly linked concept of an object changing or altering because of a spirit or entity that lives inside it (The Mezzotint, The Haunted Doll’s House). Beyond this, we also find the element of a malevolent force slowly stalking the protagonist (Casting the Runes, Count Magnus, Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook).
CREDIT : Alex Hall
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