Its origins remain a mystery.
A DVD containing satanic imagery allegedly arrived at a Sweden-based tech blog, and the cryptic warnings hidden within are driving the Internet mad.
The site claims the DVD included a two-minute video of a human figure dressed in a plague-era doctor’s outfit, complete with the iconic bird-like black mask and black shroud.
Warning: Turn your volume down.
The video is grainy and jumpy, but the figure’s motions appear to have some significance, as the person raises their hands several times and reveals a blinking light embedded in the palm of their right hand.
That screeching audio that accompanies the video is more than just white noise. The soundtrack was revealed to contain images hidden using a spectrogram. The images include text phrases such as “You are already dead,” as well as distorted images that appear to show a person, possibly a woman, being tortured or tied up:
The audio that accompanies the DVD main menu also reveals a hidden image that is nothing short of frightening:
There are several hidden messages within the video clip as well, including one-frame flashes of a Morse code string and coded coordinates. Reddit users have been hard at work decoding these clues and have discovered that the Morse code translates to the phrase “RED LIPSLIKE TENTH.” The coordinate puzzle results in “38.897709, -77.036543,” which happens to be the location of the White House.
As creepy and strange as this already is, it gets even weirder. It turns out that this isn’t the first time the video has graced the Internet. It’s been uploaded to YouTube at least twice before, with the oldest version posted on the account of a user named AETBX; that version includes a watermark that the other don’t have.
The video’s title and description is coded in binary and translate into Spanish. The title reads “Muerte,” which means “Death,” and the description reads “Te queda 1 año menos,” which means “You have one year left, or less.”
The Daily Dot reached out to AETBX, who was happy to explain why the video appears on his account. Via translation, he explained that a girl he knows “found it in a park outside Spain” on a disc, and then sent him the file online.
When asked if he was the one that sent the video to the Swedish tech site GadgetZZ, he denied it, while also questioning GadgetZZ’s story of receiving the video in a letter. “I think that is absolutely false because the video is spreading through the internet,” he said, adding, “Anyone can fake a DVD.”
He also denies making the video himself; the fact that the more recent version posted by GadgetZZ does not include his watermark supports his claim that he is not the original creator.
As for who might be the creator, there are a few theories currently floating around the Web.
For starters, it could be a art piece or a creepy puzzle dreamt up by someone who just wanted to have some fun and potentially create something viral.
It could also be the start of a viral marketing campaign for a television show, movie, or video game. Several Reddit users have settled on it being a complex promo stunt for the new big screen version of Dan Brown’s novel Inferno. In the book, a death-obsessed genius sends a video while wearing a similar outfit to the man in the clip and preaches the benefits of creating a new plague to reduce the human population. The movie is slated to arrive next year.
Others agree that it’s a promotional stunt but claim the Syfy series 12 Monkeys is the more likely culprit. As the show’s synopsis explains, the series follows a time traveler who has come back in time to stop a deadly plague from destroying humanity. A mysterious character in the show bares a striking resemblance to the person seen in the video clip:
Whoever is responsible for the puzzle, it’s both disturbing and extremely well-executed. If it is indeed part of a marketing stunt, we’ll most certainly see the creator reveal themselves in time.
Update 10:41am CT, Oct.21: The Daily Dot has determined that the video was shot in Otwock, Poland. The identity of those responsible for it remains unknown. We have published a new report with additional information.
Update 11:03am CT, Oct. 22: Twitter user @Exen visited the Polish hospital where the video is believed to have been shot and sent the Daily Dot photos from the expedition.
Photo via AETBX/YouTube