A very creepy viral video that sent a group of Internet sleuths into a frenzy of code breaking remains a mystery after days of searching for answers.
In case you missed it, a frenetically edited video featuring a cloaked figure in a plague mask and a whole bunch of coded messages became the subject of a massive Reddit hunt for answers over the weekend after a Swedish tech blogger posted a copy of the film to his site, Gadgetzz, looking for help figuring out what it was all about.
Watch below, if you’d like. We’ll repeat our disclaimers that the video may contain graphic imagery, and also could turn out to be a viral marketing scheme:
As we noted previously, the video went from mildly creepy to downright disturbing after one Redditor ran a spectrogram of the audio, visualizing its frequencies. It’s not unheard of for a spectrogram to contain discernible images “hidden” in the audio, and this video was no exception: In spectrograms posted to Reddit — and re-created by the Intersect using the software Sound Visualizer — images appearing to depict tortured women were clearly visible, along with the phrase “YOU ARE ALREADY DEAD.”
Some headway has been made on the sourcing of those disturbing images, and it’s tentatively good news for those who feared that they had stumbled upon the work of a serial killer: At least two of the images come from low-budget horror movies.
An image of a woman screaming appears to be from the poster of a 2010 film called “The Bunny Game.” Another clearly appears to be a still from a German film, “Slasher” (these images are extremely graphic, but the Redditor who made the connection in the latter case has posted information about the film here). Another image appears to be identical to that of a real crime scene photo of one of the Boston Strangler’s victims.
As the Reddit hunt expanded into an IRC room and a series of evidence folders available online, the location of the video itself also started to become clear. Since Gadgetzz was mailed a copy of it from Poland, some started searching for locations in the country that might match the background visible in the videos.
And they’ve made an extremely convincing case for one specific location: an abandoned sanatorium in Zofiówka, Otwock. One photograph from inside the sanatorium from a photoblogger’s April 2015 visit there even contains identical graffiti in the background.
There’s been some progress on a few other clues in the video as well. Soon after someone decoded one hidden message to discover coordinates to the White House, it became pretty clear that another message had been decoded slightly incorrectly. A code that Redditors initially believed read RED LIPSLIFE TENTH was actually supposed to read RED LIPSLIKE TENTH, the latter of which is an anagram of KILL THE PRESIDENT.
The main mysteries remain: Who made this video, and why? Some are hoping that the answer will be found in the ciphers yet to be cracked in the video, while others are casting their eyes on the three people who have posted it online before.
Gadgetzz’s Johny Krahbichler told the Intersect that the video was mailed to him from Poland some months ago, and he has no idea why he got a copy. In late September, the video appeared on a YouTube account for Parker Wright, who didn’t respond to our message requesting comment, and hasn’t been identified by the horde of sleuths.
In May, a YouTube user named aetbx uploaded a copy of the same video. In the comments and in e-mail exchanges with the Intersect, aetbx — who gave his name as Daniel — swears he was given a copy of the video digitally by a girl he didn’t know, who told him she found the video on a park bench. He said that he uploaded it to YouTube to see what others thought about its origins, where it sat largely ignored for months. Around the same time that Daniel posted the video the YouTube, an anonymous 4Chan user posted a link to a downloadable copy of the video in the site’s paranormal message boards. The user also said they found it on a park bench.
We’ll have to wait to see if the film turns out to be a marketing stunt, a student film, a big joke or something else. If you’d like to help figure it out, the Reddit thread is here.
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