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The Hist Sap Hallucination

Estimated reading time — 5 minutes

I was a temporary project director for Bethesda’s game development department for a short period of time during the launch of their fourth installment to The Elder Scrolls saga, Oblivion.

From early 2004 until its release in the spring of 2006, my team and I were responsible for quest story-boarding and design, mapping out and detailing each quest objective, any necessary story component and of course, the reward. One quest in particular has had me regret I’ve ever been apart of that team. Even the executive producer Mr. Todd Howard admits that this wasn’t something he could ever imagine happening to a game like this. This quest — rather — this “Achievement awarded’ quest (hindering it much more unsettling) was actually a very real, very important part of the game.

Entitled “Infiltration”, it was the second last and most unusual quest for the Fighter’s Guild, and a quest result we didn’t originally plan to produce, in fact, we didn’t expect to produce. In case you’ve never played the game, the faction’s quests follow a league of fighters who are hired to perform jobs, involving a great deal of fighting as the name suggests. After you’ve furthered yourself through the Guild, you learn about a group called the Blackwood Company, who are stealing members from the guild and performing jobs created almost out of thin air.


Here’s where things start to get bizarre. For the quest, you are told to pose undercover as an interested recruit for the Blackwood company to learn their secrets. We as a team had already agreed that this is how we wanted the quest to begin, but it’s been a reoccurring nightmare for us from what follows.

Once you become a member, you’re tasked with your first assignment of eliminating a few goblins from a town just north of the city of Leyawiin. We sat in the board room for an hour, rallying ideas until one of us suggested that we add a hallucinogenic substance for the sole purpose of the quest, loosely named “Hist Sap”. For the quest, you are given it as a gift to drink for your first mission, unknowingly ingesting the rare hallucinogen. Before you know it, you’re in the village, and tasked with killing the goblins. Now, I don’t know why exactly we decided to go this direction; why we wanted to create such an abnormal, unsettling mission, but that was the way we all strangely wanted, almost as an overwhelming temptation.

But here’s the thing: The end of this mission is where things started to fall apart during the testing sessions. To end the mission, you go back to the village after awakening from the hallucinogen, only to discover to your horror, that the “goblins” you imagined yourself slaying, were not goblins at all, but animals, and people. But what was meant to only be a row of dead bodies to the player, turned into something nightmarish.

We first heard about the discovery one evening, when an emergency meeting was called into the studio to review what the game developers found, myself included. We were greeted by a disturbed group of pale-skinned developers and animators, who briefed us quickly on the subject matter. Trembling, one of the animators, the one specifically testing the quest, tried to explain what he saw, and what’s worse, what he heard. I will tell you what happened, but try to understand that this was no rendering error, no glitch or flaw in the games coding, or any other factor we tried to establish. Everything checked out. What I witnessed there in the studio that day, I will never forget.

The animator sat at his station, claiming to have recorded the incident to recall his work in case of accidental deletion. He maneuvered the video to the exact point in the recording, and once he hit play, the entire room fell silent. At first, it was nothing out of the ordinary. It was exactly how the mission progressed into when you visit the village a second time. Only this time, the quality seemed to be grainy and unsaturated, like an old movie. As the character walks a bit further towards the settlements, you saw a man standing in between two homes facing the opposite direction. As the character moved closer, the man began to distort, After 20 seconds of footage, the game appears to lag to the point of a still frame of the man with his face still facing forward.

The animator assured us that this is exactly what happened to him and his video did not stall. After about 7 seconds, the frame rate began to pick up again, only this time, the man began to turn around. This face looked as though it was pieced together from several different face models, but grotesquely dis proportioned as a mess of random, horrifying placements. At this point, there was no sound in the game, just a faint buzz and a crackle of the grain. The character moved around but the face followed, and only the face. The rest of his body, still distorted, and now bloody as if to suggest he was a victim, remained grounded and still.


Suddenly after a minute or so, the character’s view shifts hard to the left, and on cue the animator points out something enormously disturbing. Children, who were among the dead, were suspended in the air staring blankly in the face of the character, slowly being glitched backward as they remained perfectly still. The character moves closer and the children keep watching, their legs dangling lifelessly. The bodies, one by one, glitched through the landscape as if they were being swallowed. As each child disappeared through the rocky terrain, the noise began to enhance and transform. Distinctive moans could be heard periodically, but then something happened. The screen, flashed white and then black, then back to white, but this time the screen stats were there; the health bar, the compass. It was as if the character was transported to some sort of void room, while it began to render random chunks or raw data and designs littering the void from every direction.

The animator couldn’t explain why the game had taken him to this place of limbo. 5 or 6 minutes passed in the recording, by this time many other designers had left, too shaken from the experience. But I stayed.

Suddenly, a line of dialogue appeared at the bottom of the screen, but it’s unreadable from the likes of strange symbols and omitted letters from words completely jammed together. A noise is heard, a mans voice, as slurred gibberish. His tone is angry, but sorrowed, but gets louder after every passing second until it’s almost a scream. Then the game starts to lose control. The character starts to spawn all over the map, but everybody is lifeless. The character at this point cannot move, it is forced into a point of view, locked in place as the horror flashes over and over.

Howard, at this point, urges the animator to turn it off but the video remained on.


A point came where the sound stopped, the game ceased to randomly spawn the character. It stopped exactly where it started, a grainy unsaturated view of the village, only this time the man was not there; the man with the face stitched and pieced together like a rag doll. Abruptly, the man rose from the ground inches away from the character, eyes as black as night and his mouth wide open. He started to speak “You did this,” over and over, his speech turning to shouts, and his shouts to screams. Repeating, without the movement of his mouth, “You did this, you did this!”

The video stopped, the room was quiet, the air was thick. The animators did all they could to fix the problem but the children still float, lifeless, as if the game was broken beyond repair to what was experienced that evening. No one ever spoke of it again, and the evidence and its contents destroyed. A month later I left Bethesda. I’ve not shared this experience until now, and myself and the rest of the team swore to secrecy, but I felt this needed to be shared.

I’ve never looked or touched the game again.

Credit To: blackh3ll

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73 thoughts on “The Hist Sap Hallucination”

  1. > This face looked as though it was pieced together from several different face models, but grotesquely dis proportioned as a mess of random, horrifying placements

    So….a normal Oblivion npc model?

  2. Ahh… I remember that quest. When you get high on Hist Sap and kill all those innocent people… Makes no difference to me though, hell when I got out of prison in the first part my first mission was to kill a guard and take his kool armor. So.. Yeah.

  3. I got pretty scared, thanks dude.
    I love the oblivion reference due to nostalgia and i honestly was shaken up just thinking about this, from the hours of my life i have spent playing the whole elder scrolls series.

  4. Why do people criticize this because there are no children in the game? Maybe they deleted children altogether because of this! Even though, the story isn’t real, of course.

  5. I did that quest, I noticed the goblins never fought back, that made me nervous. When I returned to see what I’ve done, I felt rage. How could Blackwood do this?!

    I was glad I killed every single on of them.

  6. For one thing, he had to have done at least a tiny bit of research to know about the whole Hist Sap quest. The story is obviously fake, otherwise that shit would’ve happened when I was doing the quest like 5 years ago! I still enjoyed it though. 9/10 just for it being about Oblivion

  7. Yeah! This glitch sorta thing!
    I did do that mission. After I killed the “goblins”, I went back to the town, and the dead bodies were upright facing forward.

    I think it is a glitch, since I could loot their bodies (there was a Search Body option, but of course the body wasn’t there) They had tons-of-gold. 1000 Gold pcs each, I believe.

    The bodies started to move back and back. I remember seeing them still moving at another City, I don’t know where, but this did happen to me.

    Of course, not the black-and-white coloring that occurred later, but…

  8. The blackwater fighters guild does exist in oblivion, you can even become a real member if you download the expansion (i think its the knights one), but i mastered the fighters gold and NEVER got access to it without the download… So potentially, something wrong could’ve happened, although there is no children

    1. The Knights of the Nine DLC is not part of the Fighter’s Guild or Blackwood Company. The Blackwood Company is done once you destroy their headquarters in one of the last Fighter’s Guild missions. The Knight’s DLC has to do with the chapel attacks and finding the Relics of the Crusader.

  9. I totally remember going through this quest. Soon as I got there, I remember looking at all the goblins and thinking, “Oh, I’m actually killing the villagers aren’t I?” Yep. After killing everyone, when I had to come back, things got creepy. All of the dead sheep (when I was reading this story I couldn’t help but think the children were just adapted from the sheep) were frozen in the positions that they were at when I killed them, and then behind the houses, I (thought I) saw all the villagers in one weird clump floating backwards into a rock(Why I actually liked the man with all the faces; something similar in my game actually reminds me of it). Then I turned around and behold, one last villager, still covered in blood is RIGHT BEHIND ME LOOKING AT ME!! (and when I say covered in blood, I mean like what happens when you hit something, just didn’t come off) It didn’t do anything, and eventually kept floating into the rock too, but that was definitely the glitchiest and creepy quest I think I’ve ever played so far.

  10. True, there is NO children in oblivion as far as ive seen, but doesnt that just make the story THAT much creepier? The fact that the only children that appear in the game is in this phenominon?

  11. I have oblivion and I have completed fighters guild and the villigers that you kill actually flies trught the landscape.

  12. That pasta is scary in all, but I don’t think it’s true. I’m not saying your lying but seriously, you need the recording to prove it.

  13. I have to agree with Dpar, don’t nitpick, just enjoy it. With some fine tuning this could be on par with BEN. The descriptions of the glitches were just good enough to put the right image in my mind’s eye, and for most readers of these, that’s all you need to do, especially if they’ve played the game like I have. 9/10

  14. I’ve played Oblivion to 100%. I know many of the details, intimately. I bought into this story because I wanted too. If you want to debunk a work of fiction why are you even reading a site devoted to fictitious works.
    I liked it because I allowed myself to be taken on the ride. Creative and creepy. 8/10

  15. You know what would have made a better story? The quest where it rains blood and dogs start attacking the town. You could do so much with that!

    1. I don’t believe there is a quest where it rains blood. It sounds like you’re referring to the Sheogorath Shrine quest where it rains dogs on the town.

  16. For the people complaining about the children being in the story. Maybe this is the reason there are no children in Oblivion in the first place.

  17. I’m sorry, how can you say its not a glitch and how Oblivion’s people and graphics could look scary at all? So what, the Studio just happened to have an incident that defies all logic happen? What are you trying to say, that ghosts are there fucking with a game or a group of programmers hacked the computer and replaced the segment of the game with their own bullshit? Also, your image sucked.

  18. I read the pasta and completed said mission, i was kind of creeped out, turned slighty off by the children entry, but when i started to see the slither of a picture scrolling down i crapped my pants thinking it would be the corrupted face man, but it was a MSpaint edited screenshot of the village, annoyed that it didnt hav that jeff the killer effect but then agen all i need to do is access console commands and i could hav the exact picture, 4/10

  19. I’m a hardcore Elder Scrolls fan. I’ve played and replayed both Oblivion and Skyrim literally dozens of times, completed every mission, and went through every bug. Safe to say, Cyrodill and Skyrim are my bitch. This guy clearly has at least a basic knowledge of the game, so get off his back people he’s definitely played it and definitely knows it.

    Now it’s obvious this story is a complete fabrication, but kudos to the author for selling it well. And also for avoiding the mistakes so many authors have made that ended up in the lost episodes file of Crappypasta.

    I’ve played this mission, and I do have a creepy story about it myself. Yes you infiltrate the Blackwoods, yes you drink the sap, and yes you do slaughter the townspeople thinking they were goblins. But in my game, when I came back into the town to see the carnage, the corpses weren’t dead. They were standing, and the entire town was blanketed in eerie twilight mist (as per common in Oblivion weather cycles). The "dead" townspeople then seemed to drift, or even float, towards the Leyawiin swamps. Their feet weren’t moving, they stood stiff as they floated away, through the buildings and rocks and out of sight.

    Though obviously a glitch, it was very eerie and somewhat similar to this. And I swear I’m not lying either, it just seemed fitting. Maybe this author saw the same glitch, but saw it differently, or used it to write this story. Just a thought.

    1. xXDalavue_WhiteShadowXx

      I agree this was a truly great story because of the fact that it was like a lost episode but it wasn’t the only thing that got me was the creepy guy and the dead lifeless children just hanging in despair. That put a really scary image in my head and even though he barely knows oblivion, he still got to the point of scaring me so i give him a 10/10 because his point was reached and i probably won’t sleep for another week because i love oblivion, besides guys he was making a game out of the company that OBLIVION was made not the actual OBLIVION game was changed in any way so go take your guy’s hatred somewhere else this was a great story i loved it!

      Good Job

    2. The EXACT same thing happened to me when I went back to the town! I was so excited by it that I just watched them floating there for 10 minutes until they finally floated off. I filmed it on my old phone, wish I saved the video onto my computer =(

    3. Having this story been written by my brother, i can tell you that, although exaggerated, this story is almost accurate…No, there wasn’t any children, and no glitches occurred, but it IS based on a true story.

      He had just completed the part of the mission where you kill the “goblins” when I walked in to watch him play in his room. He continued the quest, and to his previous knowledge, since he’d already of beaten the game before, he already knew what happened. But when he went back to the village, the people were floating around…I shit you not, this is true. They were flying through the landscape/buildings. It was so fucked up he immediately shut off the xbox…lol

      So yeah, in my opinion you have to know the back story before you say this is crappy, because he’s a very talented writer…he just wrote this for fun on his spare time, he wasn’t expecting people to actually read it :/

    1. The people developing the game usually test it as well. Anytime someone writes new code for the game, they have to test it to make sure it works. The guy probably wrote an animation for this part of the game and wanted to make sure it works.

  20. Crappypasta is crappy. Poorly written, confusing wording an formatting, and as has been stated, author horribly misrepresents much about the game this is based on.

    1/10. I’d day try harder, but at this rate, I doubt you’re even trying.

  21. Crappypasta is crappy. Poorly written, confusing format, and as has been stated, author knows nothing about the game he’s basing this on.

    1/10. I’d say try harder, but I don’t even think you’re trying.

  22. Crappypasta is crappy. Poorly written, confusing format, and as has already been stated, no knowledge of the game in which the author is basing this on. 1/10

    1. This game is real. .-. If you don’t understand, try looking it up before calling everybody out from a (Very popular, I’ll have you know) popular game.

  23. THEN WHO WAS....nevermind...

    I dont know a thing about this Oblivion game u guys speak of…..but the story was ok. And I do have a question….THEN WHO WAS MAN WITH DISTORTED CREEPY FOLLOWING FACE???

  24. @ RealElderScrollsFan
    i completely agree with you but give the guy a break. it was still a nice story but you are right he shouldve researched it better…

  25. I have Oblivion, as well as Skyrim…And he’s right, no children that I remember. But the scary part for me, personally, is I NEVER completed the fighter’s guild. I got kicked out and just never rejoined. So…as far as I know…this could happen.

    1. trust me, this never happens, I’ve finished it like 10 times on several different versions of the game. Not only are there no children models in the game, the game is also incapable of producing grainy textures like the ones described in the story. Pretty cool story though, like maybe the characters got a bit too three dimensional

  26. RealElderScrollsFan

    How crappy. There’s NO children in the game at all. If you’re going to make a creepypasta about the game, then at least play it first.

    And I don’t think their engine was even advanced enough to do that at the time, hence why people made OBSE (Oblivion Script Extender)

    And he didn’t have to record it, he can just save .esp or editted file somewhere. Since the Oblivion engine is quite buggy, I’m surprised the game hasn’t even crashed yet due to all of that. It’s quite obvious the author has no knowledge of Oblivion whatsoever.

    1. Yeah..I noticed that about the children too. I remember always wishing there were children in Oblivion, and I was excited that they’re in Skyrim..although I’m not a fan of them anymore lol

      1. True that. I know they reuse voice actors throughout the game, but only two for children COME-ON! (BUT WHO WAS GAME CONSOLE!?)

    2. He would’ve done that TO make it more unreal, that’s whole point. The haunted part wasn’t supposed to be like the rest of the game. Keep in mind that the haunted part was completely different from what they had programmed to happen, so it could’ve done that, or anything else it wanted to happen, whatever was causing it to do that. AND it says that they deleted the whole quest and everything before it was released.

    1. Guys. I’m starting to feel some serious nostalgia for Oblivion here. Oblivion did lots of things that Skyrim failed at. It seems like with Skyrim Bethesda decided to focus on the fighting mechanics rather than the in-depth and gripping storyline like Oblivion had. Many times whilst playing Obliv I found myself with my mouth hanging open at the beauty of not only the world., but also the music and the story. Not only that, but did anyone else find many things in obliv creepy or unsettling? I mean those wraiths were fucking scary. The sounds of them wheezing made my heart drop. And the zombies were disgusting. I hope Bethesda can bring more of that back in The Elder Scrolls 6 because, honestly Skyrim wasn’t that great at all. Dont get me wrong it’s an amazing game and it sets the bar for RPGs in the future but it didn’t quite have the same pull as Oblivion. Ive probably spent 900 hours of my life on that game.

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