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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Dec 19 2:01pm)

ARGs Aren’t Dead, Weekly News is out! paper.li/wikibruce/1358… Stories via @andreq @MovieViral @louandsons

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Dec 15 6:28pm)

Find The Starlight: A fascinating summary of Chapter 1 is now posted for viewing: youtube.com/watch?v=v91Jzb…
Ch.2 begins
findthestarlight.com/post/104877476…

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Dec 12 2:05pm)

ARGs Aren’t Dead, Weekly News is out! paper.li/wikibruce/1358… Stories via @4DFiction @DegusLocke @randomshard

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Dec 11 4:34pm)

Could there be hidden meaning in the numbers on each of Star Wars’ characters Topps-style cards? superherohype.com/news/324619-na… /via @THEseanhughes

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Dec 5 2:05pm)

ARGs Aren’t Dead, Weekly News is out! paper.li/wikibruce/1358… Stories via @stitchmedia @exterplas @StoryForward

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Nov 28 2:05pm)

ARGs Aren’t Dead, Weekly News is out! paper.li/wikibruce/1358… Stories via @stitchmedia @catfoodparty @MovieViral

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Nov 21 2:05pm)

ARGs Aren’t Dead, Weekly News is out! paper.li/wikibruce/1358… Stories via @mylittlepwnies3 @5Dcore @hospdesign

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Nov 14 2:05pm)

ARGs Aren’t Dead, Weekly News is out! paper.li/wikibruce/1358… Stories via @IntelIndia @StagenStudio @AmericanBanking

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Nov 7 2:05pm)

ARGs Aren’t Dead, Weekly News is out! paper.li/wikibruce/1358… Stories via @argn @Plot49 @5Dcore

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@Wikibruce tweeted: (Oct 31 3:05pm)

ARGs Aren’t Dead, Weekly News is out! paper.li/wikibruce/1358… Stories via @mark_riedl @dnk900 @SJgood

opt199488SMALL

im-ag-i-neer’ing, n. Imaginative concept in Design, Architecture, Engineering and Entertainment – Sym. See Disneyland

ameliaLast week, a girl named Amelia set out on a mission to uncover a mystery she happened upon while sifting through old belongings of her grandfather’s – Carlos Moreau. With the hope of creating a documentary about his life, about the stories he’d tell her as a child, she discovered a series of photos and writings of his, from back in the day; from the 50′s and 60′s to be more precise.

One of her big discoveries was information about a short story he named “Orbit’s Story” (which he later sold to Walt Disney, and to which he never returned). With this in mind, Amelia set up a blog site at storyorbit.com where she continues to share her discoveries, and also began the @storyorbit twitter account for a little more personal touch with her followers.

Invitation-JShe then discovered a letter sent to Carlos dated April 24 1964, from WED Enterprises Inc, inviting him to visit the World’s Fair in New York, and regarding a “special project”. The logo used by WED Imagineering is an illustration of the Tower of the Four Winds.

wf-picsFurther discoveries include photos taken in and around the “It’s a small world” [IASW] ride at the World’s Fair. The picture Amelia shared of the stack of photos included a couple of hand-written notes, also implying a secret “special project”.

One of the notes also included the phone number (607) 218-5820, that of a company named Lott Family Construction. Calling the number prompts an automated voicemail message from a rather non-technical individual, directing callers to the company’s website: LottFamilyConstruction.com.

lott-logo

This appears to be the company under which construction of the IASW exhibit was commissioned. Further research reveals that the name of its founder, Michael T Lott, does actually appear on a window on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom!  Walt Disney and his crew had created fictional companies to purchase land in Florida, and Lott Family Construction may well be one of those companies (in case you haven’t got it yet – read, “M T Lott”)

However, it also seems that not only is it Michael who records the voicemail message, but you are able to contact the company – and Michael – through email. Is Michael Lott real and alive?

Something is fishy about this “special project”, and its connection to It’s a small world, and the Four Winds sculpture which greets people at the exhibit’s entrance.

The Lott Construction website’s client list includes a number of interesting projects, such Mystery Manor and Deluca Fields listed under Special Projects, which follows Cultural Landmarks including Progressland and “it’s a small world”.

Email responses from Michael Lott include a small disclaimer in the footer about privacy and security, but also instructions for clients about about how to access information about their ongoing projects – found on their website by simply appending the project code to the web address. Does this mean there are ‘secret’ projects we can explore on Lott’s website?

june23-1952Next, Amelia shared a photo of another letter, this one dated June 23, 1952 – Disney’s first contact with Carlos, interested in his Orbit’s Story – over 10 years prior to Carlos’ invitation to the World’s Fair.

What exactly did Disney do with this mysterious short story of Carlos’?

Amelia continues to research her grandfather’s old possessions, looking for more hidden, secret information, and you can follow her progress at storyorbit.com and @storyorbit.

META

Interestingly, speculation arose from Amelia’s followers regarding suspicious similarities in the discoveries so far… The letter from Walt Disney Productions to Carlos was dated 1952 – which happens to be the working title for Disney’s upcoming 2014 Damon Lindelof film Tomorrowland, taking place in 1964.

Back in January, in an eerily similar set of events, following a tweet by Damon Lindelof teasing a photo of a box only labeled “1952″, director Brad Bird tweeted a picture of the box opened, which revealed a whole mess of really cool old…stuff.

[tweet https://twitter.com/BradBirdA113/status/294241097444634625]

Could this be a new big ARG for Disney’s sci-fi flick Tomorrowland? All signs and theories point to Yes!

The official (meta) website for this campaign called “The Optimist” describes it:

Walter Elias Disney was an optimist who believed in creating a living blueprint for the future. He and his Imagineers – those creative and skilled professional wizards who combine imagination and engineering – made fantasy into reality and built the magic of the Disney Theme Parks. But, what if that was just the beginning?

Amelia, a young filmmaker, has stumbled upon a revolutionary secret…and she needs your help. Collaborate with other curious individuals around the globe to solve a mystery that traverses the web, Disneyland® Park, and beyond before culminating at the D23 Expo.

The D23 Expo takes place in Anaheim, California August 9-11, 2013, which makes this a 6 week experience. The film isn’t slated for release for over a year. So, what will await the community at the end of this journey?

Back in October last year, Vulture.com also intimated:

We hear that the collaborators are planning an elaborate, very J.J. Abrams–like advanced marketing campaign that will start before filming even begins. The idea is to stage a treasure hunt for intrigued moviegoers that will gradually reveal clues about and build intrigue for the film right up until its release, and which may or may not be related to the contents of the box.

It’s wonderful how much curious fans have already researched and discovered about the real history of Disney! There are some fascinating little-known facts being uncovered. Be sure to follow along with the community:

And here a few related reports of interest from other sources:

 

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Events, Movies, Rabbit Hole, Viral General

5
Oct'12

Secret agents and bird calls, a Skyfall adventure

   Posted by: thebruce

Friday, October 5, 2012.
Package delivered.

Today, Wikibruce received a package via UPS. Its avian contents were simple. A photo of a barn swallow with a hand-written message on the back, a Sony IC Recorder.

The message on the reverse reads:

Greetings from Innsbruck, Geoff.

Spied this fellow building his nest unusually high in a tree. I believe that means the snow will be better here this year. Including a recording of his lovely little song for your enjoyment. Do with it what you will.

Cheers, J

On powering up the recorder, the display shows one audio clip. It’s named “50-112-251-215″, with a song title “barn swallow” by author “Jonathon Jongsma”.

My package, which I noticed was numbered as #8, is only one of  few delivered to various sources.  ARGN.com also received a package today, reporting on its contents, and discussion has begun at the Unfiction forums.

Puzzling clues…

The four numbers resolve to an IP address, 50.112.251.215. When visiting the IP address as a website, “a top secret” website is revealed for the Royal Secret Intelligence Service. It contains a prompt to analyze audio from your microphone as an aural password verification step.

Putting two and two together, when playing the sound barn swallow audio clip, the user is verified and…

…the adventure begins!  Try it yourself, then see where it takes you.

Edited to add this tip: Thanks to ARGN, you can play this audio clip via Youtube after enabling the aural capture. If your speakers are loud enough, the sound should be successfully recognized.

Also of note, viewing the website’s source code reveals a few bits of information hidden as meta data. This text also strangely includes multiple instances of the unicode character 9608:

“For ██ ██ eyes only. If you are not ██ ██ please delete immediately. This ████ provides access to the ██ ██ selection exam which identifies recruits for ████ and ██ ██ in the field. Do not share this link.”

And a strange sequence of the 9608 character:

“██ ████ █ ███ █ ██”

With the next Bond flick Skyfall releasing in theatres on November 9th, could this interactive adventure be the lead-in to a larger ARG-like campaign? Or is this is a one-stop entertainment production?

If you’ve run through the experience, successfully or not, share your experience in the comments below!  Or join in the conversation at Unfiction.

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Movies, Rabbit Hole


ByoLogyc Inc.
Corporate Headquarters
Toronto, Canada
1 (866) BYO-6090 | support@byologyc.com
@ByoLogyc | facebook.com/ByoLogyc

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 19, 2012 – Toronto, ON - ByoLogyc, in conjunction with Health Canada, has completed studies which have revealed conditions suggestive of a viral outbreak in the Greater Toronto Area. Initial reports, though still early, have indicated a connection between the root cause of the viral outbreak and ByoRenew. Despite recent complications with the HPFB, Health Canada will continue to work with ByoLogyc to aid and assist customer and civilian alike.

Early analysis of collected samples indicates the discovery a new virus, known as BRX. External and internal reviews of ByoLogyc’s systems indicate BRX to be a variant of the transfer virus distributed in ByoRenew pills. These reviews further indicate that BRX was produced as a result of a network-based attack on ByoLogyc’s production infrastructure in late June by an online terrorist organization, suggesting that this organization may have maliciously generated and sought to spread this virus using ByoRenew as a vector.

At this time, ByoLogyc is pursuing legal action against the online terrorist organization, known as EXE, for online invasion and violation of the intellectual property rights of ByoLogyc. We are currently working with both the Toronto Police force as well as the RCMP in the pursuit of justice.

In case of city wide medical emergency, ByoLogyc is prepared and committed to helping the Toronto City Council in both containment and sanitation. To this end, ByoLogycs SCD (Sanitation and Containment Division) stands ready to protect the population.

As a precaution, ByoLogyc will be running a FREE Public Health and Community Wellness Clinic on September 29, at the Church of the Holy Trinity, in conjunction with Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. By holding the Clinic at this time, we hope to reach a wide section of the population and maximize its impact. Visitors to the Clinic will receive a free ByoRenew 2.0 primer pill, which has been custom designed to act as an early-stage vaccine against BRX.

For more information, please contact Marie Leclerc, PR Director at ByoLogyc, marie.leclerc@byologyc.com.

Due to the high volume of inquiries we receive daily, we would like to provide you with the answers to frequently asked questions:

Should I panic?
Absolutely not. Test results from joint studies by Health Canada and ByoLogyc indicate that BRX has low-grade symptoms and low transmissibility. Though symptoms are wide ranging, victims may only experience personality distortion, blurry vision, a craving for high calorie food items, and fatigue.

What is the SCD?
The Sanitation and Containment Division of ByoLogyc is a newly formed department with the singular mandate of ensuring that the BRX outbreak is contained, and effects on members of the public are minimized. ByoLogyc is diverting substantial resources to this operation. The SCD is headed by Renata Reinger, who has been with ByoLogyc since 1992. As the former Chief Custodian, her expertise with chemical and biological containment, as well as superior knowledge of closed and open environment contaminations are assets that ByoLogyc wishes to utilize to their fullest potential.

What is EXE?
EXE is an online terrorist organization which disrupted production at ByoLogyc and is believed to have caused the manufacture and distribution of the BRX virus, using ByoRenew as a vector. They are also believed to have repeatedly accessed and disseminated to the public sensitive materials and documents. Despite sometimes referring to themselves as ByoLeaks, they have no association with ByoLogyc.

Obligatory Disclaimer:
ByoLogyc Inc. is a fictional pharmaceutical biotechnology firm, and the central component of an interactive theatrical production being executed by ZED.Toronto and TheMission.biz. There is no viral outbreak. Unless you consider a large fanbase and audience enthusiastically enjoying the experience a viral outbreak of excitement!

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is an annual all-night event that takes place in Toronto featuring contemporary art exhibits and productions throughout the streets of downtown Toronto.

ByoLogyc will be there, attempting to stop the spread of the BRX virus.
Will you be there to accept their proposed remedy of ByoRenew 2.0?

Here’s a look back at the VIP launch party from March, earlier this year:

View ByoLogyc’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on Youtube

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Events, Miscellaneous Products, Theatre

31
Jul'12

The Baron’s Archive begs attention (updated)

   Posted by: thebruce

When the ARGFest fires are lit and burning, the ARG wheels keep on turning! Late last week, Wikibruce received a package in the mail containing some time-sensitive content, with a message dated July 13.

Unfortunately, by the time it was received, the deadline for retrieval of July 20 had long passed. @Wikibruce then received word from @FelicityVelius that the deadline had been extended two weeks. From July 20, that means the following task must be completed by August 3rd — 3 days as of the time of this writing.

Here, outlined, are the contents of this package…

The “Package”

Lots of stamps

Envelope reverse…

 

GPS coordinates: 31.526805, -97.170242
These land on a UPS Store in Waco, Texas.

Package contents…

 

Two envelopes – one addressed to Wikibruce, the other to Mr.Eugene McKinstry.
* Post marked Chicago ILL, Dec 20 10am, 1912
* To 1010 James St., Seattle Washington

Letter number 1…

 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dearest Wikibruce:
I have followed your work with interest. Enclosed is a key and directions.

My time is running out, you will not hear from me again.

Open the box by July 20.

Yours, Felicity
(meow)

The deadline, via contact, has been extended to August 10th.

Letter number 2…

 

The card reads:

A Merry Christmas
Tis sweet to be remembered, if only with a thought,
So am sending you kind wishes that never could be bought.
( Grace )

The post-it note reads:

F-
This is all I could get out of the Archive. They’ve been at it for a while, huh?
-D

A message to Grace…

 

Hand-written message reads:

My Dear Colleague,

How blessed we are to reside in a land with a reliably prompt and private post. You will be pleased to hear that our commodity reallocation plan is proceeding according to schedule. Heavy investment in Steel, Rubber, Copper and Crude Oil should serve us well through the close of this Decade. If you have not already done so, our dear friend, Baron R. who I have been told is quite well though advanced in years, suggests a gradual sale of any European consumer based assets before the close of 1913.
To Our Continued Success, E. Harrison

Handling notes:
To be destroyed by or collected upon the death of recipient
A147-1B-1912

Copyright closer look…

 

No. 4 M.
Copyright, 1912.
Canterbury Series
WA-WildeCo-Boston-Chicago

What we can gather from this mailing is that there is an archive of “European consumer based assets” originally from ~1911-13 that were being distributed, which were likely in the possession of “Baron R” and being handled by “Grace” and “E Harrison” (the writer of the message). The letter was sent to “Mr Eugene McKinstry” in Seattle (per the envelope) in 1912, which was only recently sent to “F” (Felicity) from “D” (unknown). Felicity then in turn mailed the retrieval instructions to Wikibruce.

The question is – how will Wikibruce retrieve the box with the key by August 10th?  Any suggestions?

Felicity also has a blog herself at FelicityVelius.com and lives socially at @FelicityVelius and on Facebook.

I wonder what’s in that lock box…

[Update Aug 1]

Felicity has made contact again and relieved the stress on the deadline. Retrieval must now be done ASAP. *phew*  The wheels are turning…

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Rabbit Hole

4
Jul'12

Tensions rise as ByoLogyc celebrates their VIPs

   Posted by: thebruce




In this guest report, “Eggz” describes the dramatic events that occurred during a recent special ByoLogyc VIP event…

June 28th was a very special day for ByoLogyc, Toronto’s technological leader in biotech-pharmaceuticals. They had invited a number of their top VIPs, members of their Versatile Intern Program, to an intimate Meet and Greet at Toronto’s Victory Cafe to personally thank them for all their contributions in helping make the future a better place.

Most of the ByoLogyc top brass were in attendance; aloof and reclusive CEO Chet Getram accompanied by CFO Bernice Hammersmith, VP of Human Resources Henry Chan made a rare public appearance and was surprisingly charming and animated. The shy head or Research and Development, Dr Davian Baxter was accompanied by his right-hand woman Adrian Quinn, who furiously took notes and disinfected her hands at every opportunity. Present as well was the lovely Felicity Chapman, party planner extraordinaire who does numerous events for the company, though this particular gathering had been left in the hands of the CEO’s personal assistant Denis Kirkham. Brad Mitchell was on-hand to represent the Markham facility, Marie Leclerc made sure everyone was having a good time, and IT Director Dahlia Joss arrived just before the speeches started, despite a demanding week dealing with the passing of her father and fighting off hackers from the company website.

Denis started off the evening by Giving his glowing praises of Chet Getram, and how he would not be in the position he is now without Chet’s direct guidance. He then ceded the floor to a very anxious Davian, who briefly discussed the latest advancements they have been undertaking in the lab in the final production stages of ByoRenew, though he quickly got off-track talking about how their tests have affected the local population of rats. After bringing Davian back on track, Chet took things over by giving those present an insight into the projected launch and progression of ByoRenew over the next year. ByoRenew prescriptions will be tailored to each individual, and will be able to combat everything from colds to cancers. The next three months would see a roll-out over North America and Europe, the next six months would see a worldwide decline in infectious diseases of all kinds, and in only one year “lifestyle expectancy” would increase everywhere. Simply stated, ByoLogyc has high expectations for their latest product.

The end of the speeches marked a beginning to the one-on-one interviews with Chet and Davian. VIPs were to trade off with one or the other for a more personal talk with the two top brass to discuss their expectations, dedication and interests. A few minutes into the first set of interviews, however, Denis interrupted. Apparently Davian had yet to sign some sort of release, and it wasn’t something that Denis thought could wait to be addressed at the office. Chet was furious, dropping everything he was doing to call Davian over. He called him irresponsible, and that since Adrian is really the brains in the lab that he should have the time to sign a damn paper. Davian, visibly shaking with anger, whispered something to Chet, and stormed out.

And that was just the beginning of the drama for the evening. After some previous confusion with the venue, and it being double-booked with another party, it was discovered that the bathrooms were in a less-than-sanitary state, leading to Denis being reprimanded as well. It also became clear that there were some inter-departmental tensions: some staff questioned Olive’s methods of achieving her latest promotion, and there was the previously mentioned outburst between the execs and the lab, and also with IT. After a loud fight with Denis just a step away from the main party, Dahlia fainted from stress.

Overall, the Meet and Greet exposed to the public the internal politics of the otherwise outwardly “perfect” ByoLogyc family. As the story progresses, and with this week’s ByoRenew launch at the Toronto Fringe fest, it will be interesting to see how these relationships further progress, and to see where the battle lines will be drawn.

In addition to all the inter-employee drama, ByoLogyc provided for perusal a sensitive document to VIPs which previewed the ByoRenew product and upcoming PR material. They were very protective of the documents, however, with Marie and Denis among others watching carefully as members examined the document, ensuring no photos nor notes were taken.

Clearly, this product, being described as “an immune system software update” will either be a life- and world-changing pharmaceutical product, or it’s still in an experimental, unstable, potentially harmful stage. Do they not want competitors to steal their ideas? Or do they not want any issues, controversies, and failures leaked out to public?

Introducing ByoRenew from ByoLogyc on Vimeo.

ByoLogyc will be presenting their ByoRenew product, at Where You Become New during the Toronto Fringe Festival, between July 4th and 15th in downtown Toronto. Tickets are $13 and can be purchased at fringetix.ca.  This presentation is one of the primary shows being produced by ZED.to, part of a unique crowd-funded interactive drama series taking place in Toronto and online through to October’s finale event.

Be sure to follow @ByoLogyc and @ZEDToronto for more details, and sign up as a VIP at ByoLogyc for exclusive first access to their special life-enhancing (world-ending) cutting edge pharmaceuticals!

More photos from the event can be found care of photographerlisa.com, and ByoLogyc.

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Events, Miscellaneous Products, Theatre

21
Jun'12

ByoLogyc releases first VIP newsletter, ByoSphere

   Posted by: thebruce

ByoLogyc Inc, biotech corporation based out of Toronto, Ontario has released their first VIP newsletter to its members. Inside are write-ups discussing some of their products, staff, a VIP of the month, event news, and results of social surveys conducted by ByoLogyc over the past couple of months.

Also making headlines is news that quality assurance specialist Olive Swift (@) has been promoted to Vice President of Quality Assurance. A significant promotion, indeed!

Back in March, as a VIP member myself, I was invited to ByoLogyc’s 20th anniversary celebration at the Ingram Gallery in Toronto. There, we got a taste of ByoLogyc’s line of life enhancing products, and had an opportunity to chat and mingle with its staff, including ByoLogyc CEO Chet Getram. Aside from a small disturbance, the event was smooth and enjoyable.

ByoLogyc was also a presenter at NXNEi in Toronto on June 15th, 2012. Their presentation was slick and organized for those in attendance, except for an unexpected hiccup which was dealt with swiftly by ByoLogyc’s IT director Dahlia Joss (@). Video from the presentation can be viewed at Ustream.

ByoLogyc will be presenting a special event at the Fringe Festival in Toronto, July 4 through 15:

“Where you become new”

Come be a part of ByoLogyc’s Versatile Intern Program.
Test their range of lifestyle biotech solutions, meet the company’s movers and shakers, and get in on the ground level of the ZED.TO story which runs from the Fringe through Nuit Blanche into the end of 2012… and the world as we know it.
Warnings: Interactivity & tangible futures.

You, too, can join the VIP program by visiting and signing up at vip.byologyc.com.

You can also peruse the first ByoSphere VIP Newsletter here:

Disclaimer, please note:

ByoLogyc is a completely trustworthy, ethical, and forward-thinking biotechnology company, seeking only to improve quality of life – unlike the falsehoods being spread by fringe detractor group “ByoLeaks”.  …Right?

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Events, Miscellaneous Products, Theatre

5
Jun'12

The launch of a new high culture fashion trend?

   Posted by: thebruce

Monday was a slow day… But then it started looking up when a package (beware, this word will be used extensively throughout this report) was found delivered to the doorstep of Wikibruce! This package was bulky, but light and soft. My eyes were drawn to the corner, whereupon a 2×3 collage of… well, perhaps you should take a look at the photos below, and see what you can make of it…

The “Package”

Shipped from Toronto, this, umm, package sports on its cover a colourful array of pantalons in various states of undress.

The note…

 

A note that reads [sic]:

To Who It Concers: I Like The Cut Of Your Jibb. Join My Team Dont Delay!! Apply Today!!!

Yours Jud

The package also contained another single strip (pun not intended) collage of states of undress.

Tighty Whities…

 

Unfolded from within its envelope was a pair of fresh tighty whities. And, smack on the sweet spot, yes indeed – a QR code. Just when you thought they couldn’t be placed anywhere worse.

They put a QR code on it.

The QR code on it…

 

A closeup of the QR code on it – on the package, within the package.

Blinded by its majesty, I threw caution to the wind and scanned the QR code on it. This in turn led me to:

PutAQRCodeOnIt.com/splash.html

On this website, plain and simply, the visitor is greeted by this snippy little video:

View on Youtube

Lo and behold, at the end of the video, they put another QR code on it.  This one, of course, begins a trail of happytime QR codes which reveals a series of web pages:

(the following has been updated since initially postedapparently a mistake in the puzzle was fixed)

Now, firstly, each of these QR codes are comprised of both blue and black dots. Each these (including the home page) have blue dots spanning a central horizontal column.

Out of healthy curiosity, one can choose to combine the blue dots, as depicted in the result below. (only 3 have been combined in the image below, so you get the idea)

It seems pretty clear that a word is forming in the center.  Which, conveniently, may well play into this next puzzle:

The final page of the above trail, putaqrcodeonit.com/hiding, presents a hexagonal dial leading to six private, locked videos, each requiring a password. The webpage title reads “cyche“.

Could the blue dots form the password?

Viral Verdict

There’s something creepy afoot here. Someone has a thing for underwear, and QR codes. This may be a very volatile combination… on the other hand, it could be the start to a highly entertaining promotion for a new high culture fashion trend.

Yet these questions remain:

  1. Who is “Jud”?
  2. Who is on his/her team?
  3. Where is he/she hiding?
  4. What are the video passwords?
  5. Should I wear the tighty whities?
  6. What secrets am I hiding?

I leave these up to you (most of them), oh wondrous ARG community!  Tear this thing apart. Get to the bottom of it all. No time to waist bandying about!

If you have any input or solutions, please post your comments below, or visit the Unfiction forums and join in the discussion.

Don’t forget to wear your tighty whities!

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Miscellaneous Products, Rabbit Hole, Viral General

26
Jan'12

Legends Of Alcatraz: It Begins

   Posted by: thebruce

On January 27, something is happening at Alcatraz…

After JJ Abrams’ new TV series premiered on January 16th, visitors to LegendsOfAlcatraz.com were presented a short puzzle. Solving this puzzle revealed a cryptic announcement for an event that would take place at N37 49.6062 W122 25.3793907 – Alcatraz Island.

The announcement [image] indicated a time of “9:14″, and the dates January 27, 28, 29. On Wednesday, more details were provided:

We now know that the event will take place Friday evening, of January 27th. “It Begins.”

Dr. Soto has arranged exclusive night-time access to the Rock for those interested in helping him solve mysteries for his new book – “Legends of Alcatraz”.

The first 302 volunteers to check in when and where we say on Friday are selected.
Don’t miss this special once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

What to bring:

  • A flashlight
  • Warm clothes
  • A comfortable pair of shoes

Note:

  • This event will last approximately 2-3 hours. Food and drink will not be permitted on the island so please eat before you come.
  • Parking is not provided.
  • If under the age of 18, you must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  • Valid ID required.

302 people – that’s number of guards and prisoners who ‘disappeared’ from Alcatraz in 1963.

Diego himself posted a new update to his comic shop’s tumblr, linking to an organization that re-enacts history. Could this be a hint of something we might see Friday night?

I can’t wait for them to do this again. Fort Point has a “Civil War Living History Day,” organized by the Friends of Civil War Alcatraz.

http://www.friendsofcivilwaralcatraz.org/LHD.htm

Attendees to Friday’s event will likely experience quite a memorable adventure, even if only for the visit to Alcatraz Island itself, at night. If “Diego” is indeed there, then expect more than just a simple tour of Alcatraz.

Can’t be there and want to see what happens during the event? Wikibruce will also be there!

  • Follow @Wikibrucethere for live updates from Alcatraz Island.
  • Follow the hashtag #legendsofalcatraz to see what people are saying.
  • Connect to IRC and join the channel #alcatraz on the server irc.chat-solutions.org to chat with others in the community — or use the Mibbit IRC interface embedded below.

Hopefully we can share the experience as best we can for those who won’t be there.

The fun starts Friday evening…

IRC Chat via Mibbit: #alcatraz on irc.chat-solutions.org
follow @Wikibrucethere for updates!

Campaign links

Other related links

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, TV Series, Viral General

23
Jan'12

Something’s happening at Alcatraz…

   Posted by: thebruce

How well do you know your Alcatraz history?

After the 2 hour premiere episode aired last Monday on Fox, the website hinted at in a puzzle from the mailed rabbit hole packages (and tweeted by @AlcatrazLegends) – LegendsOfAlcatraz.com – was updated with a message and input prompt related to the spaghetti riot of 1950.

Alcatraz Spaghetti Riot, 1950
Inmates had to find ways to communicate under the watchful eye of the prison guards. Scholars still wonder how they managed to coordinate exactly what time to stage their uprising.

Users were prompted to provide the correct answer… but how?

Looking closely at the blackboard message, there are a number of letters missing:

These spell out “CMXIV”, or converted from roman numerals: 914

Entering 914 into the prompt leads to an event announcement.

9:14 01_27.28.29_2012
IT BEGINS.
N37 49.6062 W122 25.3793907
STAY TUNED FOR MORE DETAILS:
@ALCATRAZLEGENDS
#LEGENDSOFALCATRAZ

Clue: Coordinates

The GPS coordinates N37 49.6062 W122 25.3793907 point to Alcatraz Island, and some have even attempted to narrow it down to a specific location within the prison. If the precise coordinates are indeed of any importance, here’s my estimate:


(diagram courtesy alcatrazhistory.com)

Clue: Time

“9:14″ – Is this in the morning? At night? As of this posting, no further details are known, but likely more will be revealed this week through @AlcatrazLegends and the hash tag.

What we do know

Something is happening at Alcatraz at 9:14am or pm, on the 27th, 28th, or 29th.  If you’re in the area, make sure to plan your trip to the island soon – Visit AlcatrazCruises.com, with ferries launching from Pier 33 regularly. Let’s hope we get some more details before Friday!

Tune in tonight on Fox at 9pm EST for the latest new episode of Alcatraz – and don’t forget to bookmark LegendsOfAlcatraz.com!

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Categories: ARGs General, TV Series, Viral General

18
Jan'12

A rabbit hole into the mystery of Alcatraz

   Posted by: thebruce

What do a dying white flower, a Ford Mustang lapel pin, and a comic book store have in common?

They’re three of a hand-full of cryptic items received by a number of media and community outlets, including Wikibruce.com, tied together only by the historic – and mysterious – prison island of Alcatraz, as portrayed in the new TV series from JJ Abrams.

Alcatraz is historically known as the “The Rock” – an island situated in San Francisco Bay converted to a maximum-security prison, touted essentially as an impenetrable, and inescapable fortress. Supposedly.

In 2007, I had the privilege of visiting the prison when the ARGFest alternate reality gaming conference took place in San Francisco. The tour was a chilling, exciting look into history, providing a glimpse at the troubling and unsettling lifestyles of those who were sentenced and trapped within its walls.

It’s not surprising that Alcatraz has greatly interested creator JJ Abrams whose TV series premiered January 16th, which explores a mystery about the island and its inhabitants. And of course, JJ with his metaphorical mystery box has once again begun a viral/transmedia campaign to help extend the show and its story beyond our television set.

On Friday the 13th, Wikibruce received this package, laid out below, containing some mysterious artifacts from Abrams’ world of “Alcatraz”. If this extended experience is planned to be anywhere as expansive as the LOST Experience, it’s a good bet there is certainly much more to come during the life of the TV show.

The Package


This package was shipped from Burbank, CA. It’s unlikely that the source of the shipment is of any significance, being primarily to hide the viral creator identity (999-999-9999 is certainly not a mistake!).

The Box…


 

The metal box inside the packaging had no lock, and is a brushed metal texture.

Its contents:

1. A tour brochure “Discover Alcatraz” from 2011

2. A decrepit white flower

3. Alcatraz branded key

4. A Ford Mustang lapel pin

5. Newspaper clip from SF Intelligencer, March 22 1963

6. A postcard sent by “Susie” to “Nana Feinstein”

7. A souvenir lenticular postcard

8. Torn corner of page 65 from “Inmates of Alcatraz”

9. Torn magazine page with a book review and 2012 Ford Mustang ad

The Flower…

 

Other reported packages have contained a still live-looking flower, but have been reported it as either a white lotus, or a daisy.

There is a yellow chrysanthemum flower connection with the film Escape From Alcatraz:

We are first exposed to this flower in the yard during the prisoner’s sole hour of recreation each week. Doc, a venerable, old felon, paints a self-portrait with a flower in his breast pocket. Upon probing by Morris, we learn that it is a metaphor for his spirit. While the warden can take away all of his rights, the one thing they cannot take away from him is his flower. As long as he has his flower, his will to live, and, to some extent, to escape, will continue. To some, this symbolizes the never-ending struggle to escape from the island. Yet, to all, it provides them with a symbol of hope that they too will not wilt under the severity of the penal system.
~source: Return to Alcatraz

The Key…

 

Replica of an Alcatraz cellhouse key. All packages’ keys appear to be identical.

Ford…

 

A Ford Mustang tri-bar lapel pin.

Ford, clearly a corporate sponsor of the show, will undoubtedly be appearing repeatedly in any Alcatraz-related content, as seen in the Mustang ads below.

The Newspaper Clip…

 

San Francisco Bay Intelligencer, March 22 1963. The article of interest: “The Final Lockdown” by Gretchen Juerera. This article is dated the day after Alcatraz was closed and all inmates reportedly transferred.

Reverse: teaser ad for the announcement of the 1964 Ford Mustang.

(transcripts below)

The Final Countdown

ALCATRAZ. The very name connotes solitude, fear and punishment.

Thousands of America’s worst criminals were sentenced to hard time in this notorious penitentiary; many died there, others served out the full term of their respective stays, but nobody ever escaped. It was a severe locale that offered little to no promise of hope or redemption.

Last night, however, all USP Alcatraz prisoners vacated the premises once and for all.

What was the government’s official reason for closing the facility? In a word: money. Estimates indicate that it was costing over ten dollars per day to house the typical inmate. Compare that to the three-dollar per capita cost at other federal institutions. The financial strain was becoming too exorbitant to bear; shutdown was inevitable.

Prison officials declined our interview requests, citing their prohibitively hectic schedules. Instead, Warden Edwin James issued the following statement to the press:

“This is an immense undertaking. We are completing the transfer paperwork on 256 inmates and working to find comparable positions for all 46 of our federal employees who will be displaced by this transition. But rest assured; our relocation initiative is taking every precaution to preserve the safety of all individuals involved, especially the civilian population at large.”

So, what will become of the ominous rock jutting from our majestic bay? City planners are remaining tight-lipped on the matter, but one thing is for sure: it is indelibly seared into the landscape of our past, our present and our future.

1964 Ford Mustang teaser:

The most exciting thing on TV tonight will be a commercial

Get your first good look at next year’s most exciting new car.
The new 1964 Ford Mustang!
Tonight

Susie’s Postcard…

 

A postcard depicting Alcatraz Island. Other packages received different postcards, however they all had the same message from “Susie” written (individually hand-written, I might add) on the backs.

Alternate versions can be seen at Comingsoon.net and Movieweb.com [img]

The message references the scene near the beginning of episode 1, where a young girl (who we can assume to be Susie) breaks away from her tour group, and spots the episode’s antagonist Jack Sylvane lying in a cell.

Dear Nana,
Alkatraz is fun. It smells old here. I went to a part where I wasn’t supost[sic] to go and a man was sleeping in the jail cell. I screamed and mom and dad found me. The guard told the sleeping man to leave. We all went home on the ferry.

Love, Susie

Souvenir Postcard…

 

This postcard is a heavier stock lenticular postcard, from 2008. The two scenes, seen by pivoting the card vertically, depict Alcatraz cell block C circa 1960, and as it appears ‘today’ (2008).

No further writing is on the clean postcard.

The Inmates…

 

This torn corner of page 85/86 is from the book “Inmates of Alcatraz“. On the front, p65, is the mug shot of Jack Sylvane, the episode 1 antagonist. The page itself appears on-screen (src: WelcomeToAlcatraz), though slightly different in page layout. Jack’s prison ID reads:

U.S. Penitentiary
Alcatraz
2024
04 27 56

On the reverse is another inmate who we know as episode 2‘s antagonist, named Ernest Cobb. His ID:

U.S. Penitentiary
Alcatraz
2047
08 25 60

Nancy’s Book Review…

 

And finally, the artifact most relevant to the online campaign, a book review by Nancy Gleinen. This is page 34, torn from a magazine named “Commerce Quantified”. Nancy reviews the book Inmates of Alcatraz, by Dr. Diego Soto. Letters throughout the article are circled, however, and when put together spell “legendsofalcatraz”

This quickly led people to LegendsOfAlcatraz.com, a landing site boldly branded for the TV series. At the time of the show’s premiere, it contained a countdown to the airing of episode 1.

Inmates of Alcatraz appears in the TV show as the book that led officer Rebecca Madsen to Diego, who she considered a specialist in Alcatraz knowledge, as she sought help to locate the criminal (and ex-Alcatraz inmate) Jack Sylvane.

On the page reverse: Poetic symmetry – an ad for Ford’s upcoming 2013 Mustang. “All legend. Zero compromise.”

Nancy’s Non-Fiction Nook
Literary reviews by Nancy Gleinen

With his enthralling Inmates of Alcatraz, Dr. Diego Soto goes behind the bars and unlocks the twisted lives of a population formerly lost to history.

If you want a healthy dose of murder, regret and intrigue, don’t resort to watching soap operas – head out to your local bookstore and pick up the latest entry in Soto’s already impressive oeuvre that I like to call ‘Alcatraz revisited.’  He goes beyond the usual suspects (your Capones, your Machine Gun Kellys, your Birdmen) and paints an intimate portrait of dozens of forgotten inmates, each story leaping from the page with ferocity and renewed urgency. It’s as if they’re reanimating before your very eyes!

Despite the human-centric title, the book also delves into the foreboding setting of Alcatraz Island. ‘The Rock’ has never been so jagged, menacing and craggy – every vista provides a skewed take on humanity, Soto-style. He finds a way to transform the irregular outcropping into a shiv of brilliance. It is the judge, jury and executioner in this sordid tale of amorality run akok; no matter how notable the real-life characters in this book may be, they will never overshadow the prison itself.

But don’t take my word for it – Soto’s whimsical prose speaks for itself. Here’s an excerpt from the opening chapter of Inmates:

“Everything about USP Alcatraz is larger than life; the people, the history, even the daily operations boggle the mind. For instance, the feds shipped about a million gallons of fresh water from the mainland every week. Imagine: bringing water to an island. Trip out on that.”

Trip out, indeed. Soto bites into his subject matter like a jubilant piranha, shredding all preconceptions and injecting new blood into the burgeoning subgenre of obscure historiography. He revels in every scrap of evidence, reads them like decaying tea leaves and translates the whispers of the past into thunderous declarations of the now. Suffice it to say, Inmates of Alcatraz is my Book of the Week!

Diego “Doc” Soto is also the owner of a comic book shop called “Doc’s Comics and Collectibles”, which appears a few times in the show. He’s a somewhat social author, in that he’s also set up the twitter account @SotoDoc, though hasn’t used it in months. Additionally, he set up a very minimalistic tumbr blog for his store at docscomics.tumblr.com. Inside, we find an embedded commercial for his Inmates book — watch here:

View on Youtube

From the episodes themselves, keen-eyed observers noticed a number of easter eggs and potential leads. For example, one of JJ Abrams’ staple easter eggs is the inclusion of the name “Kelvin” in his projects – his way of dedicating his work to his grandfather who influenced him as a child. Two instances have already been spotted.

Additionally, in episode 2 a QR code was spotted next to Jack’s new cell block’s label “AZ 2024″. As of this writing, no one’s recreated a scannable replica of the code to determine what it reads.

We’ve also been led to an official twitter account and hash tag to follow – @AlcatrazLegends / #LegendsOfAlcatraz

Viral Verdict

Having watched the 2 hour premiere, it’s clear that the package contents were intended to tease at elements of the 2 episodes’ plots – from Jack Sylvane and Ernest Cobb to the very minor role of the young girl on the prison tour. The fact that much of the box content is available today for anyone visiting the island doesn’t lead me to believe that there any additional hints or unresolved threads. I’ve even combed over every artifact with a black light, hoping to find a hidden message, somewhere, but come up blank.

The existence of the (abandoned?) twitter account, and Diego’s tumblr blog implies that transmedia- possibly ARGish- content was, and likely still is on the drawing board. However, where LOST’s campaign provided mysteries and clues from the get-go, it seems that this rabbithole package has been fully resolved, being simply a teaser for the 2 hour premiere episodes.

The show itself has interested me, however, with a healthy dose of crime action, humour, and mystery (though somewhat diluted by preview videos and detailed looks at the series plot), but it left with a decent cliffhanger, beckoning me to return and watch the next episode.  My primary hope though, is that with the apparent structure of the plot dealing with returning inmates – and guards – the extended experience will provide an independent parallel plot with its own characters and real-world mysteries and events tied in to the show, akin to the extended experience provided by the creators of Heroes.

Are authors Nancy Gleinen and Gretchen Juerera just one-offs? Will we see Diego’s book “Inmates of Alcatraz” appear in full for sale on Amazon or in book stores? Will Susie and Nana make a reappearance? Will we have more of Diego’s comic-book store activities entertain us? Will we help solve an inmate mystery and track down a criminal in the real world?

Stay tuned! — Since the show aired, LegendsOfAlcatraz.com has revealed something new…

 

Alcatraz on FOX

Some official Alcatraz lore guide videos:

Other Alcatraz transmedia experience links

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole, TV Series, Viral General