The Haunted Cartridge Arc is the first arc of the Haunted Cartridge ARG. It details the acquisition of a haunted video game by a college student known only as Jadusable. Over the next week, Jadusable would be plagued by the presence of an omniscient being called BEN.
It is directly followed by the Moon Children Arc.
The following is a summary of the Haunted Cartridge Arc, also listing the chronological order of the events described in TheTruth.rtf. It his highly recommended that you read the original account before continuing, which you can find in its entirety here. In-game entries are listed in italics.
Chapter 1: day four
September 5, 2010
- Jadusable acquires an odd copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask from a shady old man. It has no label and the word "Majora" written on it in permanent marker.
- Upon starting the game, Jadusable finds that a file called "BEN" already exists. Assuming that this was the name of the previous owner, he respectfully leaves it and creates his own file, "Link."
- While playing his own file, the NPCs switch between calling him Link and BEN.
- Fed up and unnerved, Jadusable deletes the BEN file in hopes that the NPCs would stop calling him BEN. Instead, they call him nothing; there's just a blank spot where his name should be. He gives up and puts the game down.
September 6, 2010
- Jadusable begins playing the game, getting as far as Snowhead.
- He attempts the famous "4th Day Glitch." It succeeds, but as he exits the telescope he finds himself in the final boss room. However, Majora was replaced by Skull Kid, who would follow him wherever he moved. This was odd, as the Skull Kid does not normally appear there.
- After a minute, Jadusable moves to reset the console when a text box saying, "You're not sure why, but you apparently had a reservation..." appears. This is usually seen in the game when you get the Room Key at the Stock Pot Inn.
- Jadusable tries to find some sort of trigger in the room before another text box appears, asking, "Go to the lair of the boss? Yes/No." Hesitant, but unable to select no, he selects "Yes" and the screen fades to white. "Dawn Of A New Day" with the subtitle "IIIIIII" appears.
- He is transported to Clock Town, now completely abandoned, with a reversed version of the Song of Healing playing in the background instead of the normal Clock Town theme. Also audible to him was the laugh of the Happy Mask Salesman, loud enough that he could hear, but quiet enough that he questions whether it was actually there.
- The bare version Clock Town begins taking a toll on Jadusable's sanity. He states that the missing textures and complete emptiness of the area made him feel alone and broken. By the time he finds his way to South Clock Town, he is on the verge of tears.
- As he tries to leave, he ends up in just another part of Clock Town. When he attempts to play the Song of Time and the Song of Soaring, all he would get is the message, "Your notes echo far, but nothing happens."
- With no other options, he decides to drown himself at the Laundry Pool. When he arrives, an image of the Happy Mask Salesman appears, accompanied by the laughter of the Skull Kid.
- When the image disappears, a statue of Link - the one that would normally appear only when you play the Elegy Of Emptiness - appears in front of Jadusable.
- At this point, Jadusable tries to run out of the Laundry Pool in terror. To his surprise, the statue follows him. With every few steps he takes, the statue simply spawns behind him. As he tries to run away from the statue, the Happy Mask Salesman's image would pop onto the screen for one tenth of a second. Other times, Link spasms in odd ways.
- Back in South Clock Town, Jadusable begins to record his experience.
- He runs to the Swordsman Dojo, hoping to find someone, but to no avail. Here, the statue corners him in the back room, where he attempts to attack it. After several seconds of slashing the statue, the Happy Mask Salesman appears once again, this time with the scream of the Skull Kid, leaving both Link and the statue facing the camera, giving Jadusable the impression that they are staring directly at him.
- Jadusable flees the dojo in fear, but instead of being taken back to East Clock Town, he is warped to the tunnel used by the Bombers below the town. Only a few moments pass before the statue shows itself again, this time spawning every four or five steps.
- Jadusable exits the tunnel into the ghost town, looking for an escape from the Elegy statue. Suddenly, the controls cut off to the sound of a ReDead scream. "Dawn Of A New Day" with the subtitle "IIIIIII" appears once again.
- As the screen fades in, Jadusable finds himself on top of the Clock Tower with the Skull Kid and the moon looming overhead. The Ikana Canyon theme, reversed, plays in the background.
- Running out of ideas, Jadusable equips his bow and fires three shots at the Skull Kid, causing him to say, "That won't do you any good, hee hee!" Link is then lifted off the ground and set on fire. Among the flames are surges of electricity, an animation not normally seen in the game.
- The screen fades out, then back in on the exact same spot on the Clock Tower. Feeling desperate, he charges the Skull Kid but, once again, is lifted off the ground and set on fire. This time the death screen is accompanied by the reversed Song Of Healing.
- After spawning on the Clock Tower for the third time, Jadusable remembers the in-game event that takes place at this location and attempts play the Song Of Time, but is incinerated before he can complete the song. The screen begins to "chug," as if the cartridge is attempting to process an excessive amount of data.
- As the screen fades back in, Link is now on the ground with his head tilted toward the camera. Jadusable tries to move, but is unable to. After 30 seconds, the screen fades and displays the Happy Mask Salesman's introductory phrase, "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?," and sends him to the title screen.
- Back at the file select screen, Jadusable finds that his file was replaced with a file named "YOURTURN." He selects this file.
- Jadusable is returned to the Clock Tower, with Link still lying on the ground and the Skull Kid's laugh looping in the background. He quickly hits the reset button and returns to the title screen.
- Upon reaching the file select screen, he finds that the BEN file has returned, just as it had been before he deleted it. He stops recording and puts the game down for the night.
- He begins taking notes, beginning the document we later would know as TheTruth.rtf.
September 7, 2010
- Early in the morning, Jadusable begins writing down the events of the past few days, and attempts to sleep. He is plagued by sights of the statue, and is unable to fall asleep.
- After getting up later that morning, he decides not to go to his classes and brings his friend Tyler to the old man's house, only to find it empty and with a For Sale sign on the lawn.
- Jadusable returns to his room after grabbing lunch, swearing he could see the statue as he returned.
- He begins uploading the captured footage from the previous night to his computer. This triggers an incident in which he believes he saw the Elegy statue's face on his desktop for a split second.
- The video is uploaded to YouTube, titled day four.wmv. Jadusable notices that he has at least one video already uploaded that he doesn't remember.
- Jadusable finishes and posts the summary he started earlier that morning to several places; most notably, 4chan's paranormal board, /x/. He stays to answer questions before crashing due to his lack of sleep.
Chapter 2: BEN
September 8, 2010
- Jadusable wakes up after having a dream about the statue; it followed him wherever he went, and he even called it Ben.
- Needing an excuse to not play the game, he drives out to the old man's neighborhood again, hoping that he had returned, but arrives to the same For Sale sign as yesterday.
- As he walks back to his car, the next-door neighbor approaches him and asks him if he was looking for someone. Jadusable learns the old man never had any kids or grandchildren. However, there was a boy who used to live around there named Ben. He, apparently, had an accident eight years ago on April 23. The man would not divulge anything further.
- Jadusable begins getting headaches at random, most likely due to his recent lack of sleep.
- Something happens at 3:00pm as noted in TheTruth.rtf, but the entry is blank. For the next hour, Jadusable would converse with BEN via a bot-chatting website called Cleverbot. During this discussion, he reveals that Jadusable had given him control of his computer during the upload of day four.wmv from his capture device.
- Jadusable summons the courage to play the game once more. This time, he selects the BEN file. It had changed a bit since he last saw it: this time, BEN had already completed the Stone Tower Temple.
- Upon starting the game, Jadusable finds himself just outside the Stone Tower Temple. However, Link's avatar was cocked to the side and unnatural sounds played in the background over the otherwise-normal music. Only two minutes pass before the Elegy statue appears again. Shortly afterward, the "Dawn of a New Day" message appears on-screen, this time without the subtitle.
- The screen fades in, and Jadusable finds himself in front of the Clock Tower as Deku Link. With the camera fixed behind the Clock Tower door, there was nowhere else to go but inside.
- While inside the Clock Tower, he meets the Happy Mask Salesman again. He utters the same familiar line, "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?," before the screen fades to white.
- Jadusable is teleported to Termina Field. As he examines the surrounding area, he notices four figures in the distance. As he approaches them with caution, he sees that the four are Epona, Skull Kid, the Elegy statue, and the Happy Mask Salesman. The Salesman's head would follow Link wherever he stepped.
- Gathering his courage, Jadusable equips the ocarina and plays the Song of Healing, as it had been a recurring theme on the prior night. Immediately, Link is killed by fire as a sped-up version of the Happy Mask Salesman's theme plays and the screen strobes from black to normal. He is again met with the line, "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"
- Jadusable is shown a the Zora transormation cut-scene, in reverse before segueing to normal. He finds himself at Great Bay with the normal music playing in reverse.
- Seeing Epona on the shore, he approaches her. After contemplating her significance, he eventually concludes that she is pointing to something out in the distant sea.
- Taking a chance, Jadusable swims out to find something. While in the depths of Great Bay, he spots a small dark figure at the sea bottom. As he approaches, he discovers that it is yet another Elegy statue.
- After a moment of close inspection, Zora Link began choking and died quickly; this is odd, because Zoras can breathe underwater.
- He is taken back to the start screen and, upon pressing start, was greeted by two save files that reveal Ben's fate: BEN and DROWNED. The Game Over music plays instead of the usual music.
- Jadusable quickly realizes that the files have given him the answer to his question, though he does not understand why. Too freaked out to play anymore, Jadusable shuts off the system and writes the next summary, uploads his next video, titled BEN.wmv, and submits both to /x/ as he did with the previous entry.
- BEN calls Jadusable back to Cleverbot again and describes a process by which Jadusable can free him from his restraints. Realizing that BEN has total control, he weighs his options. BEN claims to have only been having fun, but also notes that if he wished to harm Jadusable, we would very well be able to.
- Jadusable ignores BEN's messages for the next two hours. He begins to feel different, as if the atmosphere in his room is now altered due to his interaction with BEN.
- He begins seeing the Elegy statue in places he shouldn't.
Chapter 3: DROWNED
September 9, 2010
- Just after midnight, Jadusable realizes that BEN is censoring his summaries. In the BEN.wmv summary, he had mentioned the Moon Children, who appear inside the Moon in-game.
- He attempts to contact BEN and ask why he censors the entries, but is unable. He falls asleep soon afterward.
- Jadusable wakes up around 11, having dreamed about the Moon Children, horribly disfigured and crawling with maggots, sewing his arms to his body and attaching a mask, the face resembling that of a younger person, to his face. As he writhed in pain, the Happy Mask Salesman would simply face him and utter the phrase, "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?" He was unable to wake up until the children had turned him into an Elegy statue.
- He immediately attempted to contact BEN, this time successfully. He asks why BEN is doing what he does, to which he replied that it was for his own amusement. He refuses to answer any of Jadusable's further questions.
- Jadusable's sanity is wearing; he senses more changes around him and begins to question every aspect of his interactions with anyone or anything. Responses from others to his summaries begin to look like they were constructed by BEN in order to keep him from reaching out to others.
- He contacts BEN through Cleverbot again and asks what the point of playing is when all he does is die. BEN tells him that he dies because he can't figure out the secret, and that there is beauty in his suffering, before disconnecting.
- Jadusable begins playing the game again; he selects the DROWNED file.
- He starts out at the very beginning of the game, where Link is in the forest after the opening cutscene.
- It is silent as he runs through the Lost Woods, with only a few quiet sounds present.
- He drops through the hole and has the normal conversation with the Skull Kid. Most of the text here is jumbled and unreadable. The only thing that wasn't jumbled was, "Aww, boo-hoo, why the sad face? I just thought I'd have a little fun with you."
- The scene cuts to Skull Kid using Majora's Mask to transform Link into a Deku Scrub; the scene strobes and is punctuated by a reversed ReDead scream. However, Link stays in Hylian form through the rest of the scene, until it is cut short by an out-of-place song prompt.
- Jadusable plays the Elegy of Emptiness, but quickly realizes his mistake when the screen cuts to black and gives him the haunting message, "You shouldn't have done that..."
- For the next minute, he is sent to various locations from Ocarina of Time. Signs, Gossip Stones, people, and text boxes all give the same message: "You shouldn't have done that..." The final message, fittingly found in the Happy Mask Shop, are immediately interrupted by the game freezing. Navi shouts, "Watch out," as the screen cuts to black with a chilling beep.
- The first in-game reference, aside from the save file, to Ben is made. "BEN is getting lonely..."
- Jadusable is taken to the tree inside the Moon, though the Moon Children are absent. As he focuses the camera, the Elegy statue creeps closer with each time his head eclipses the camera's view.
- He looks directly at the statue, but is given a short clip of an angry Happy Mask Salesman with a high-pitched scream, then black.
- The next three phrases appear: "You will be given one last chance..." "Back to where it all began..." "Come play with us." The last one is accompanied by the Happy Mask Salesman's laugh.
- He is shown the "Dawn of the Final Day: 24 Hours Remain" screen, then taken to the title screen, where he finds that his original file is restored, as well as the BEN file.
- Jadusable quits playing, then types up the summary of this playthrough. He names it DROWNED.wmv.
- Three hours later, Jadusable types a summary for a playthrough we are not shown, which he titles CHILDREN.wmv
September 10, 2010
- Jadusable posts the summary and video for DROWNED.wmv at a very early hour in the morning.
- Later, he wakes up with no recollection of posting the latest summary; however, he notices that it has been censored, once again, as it makes no mention of the old man or his in-game experience.
- He finds the summary for CHILDREN.wmv, which he does not remember typing. He attempts to post it, but we never see it, or the video it describes. He tells us that the shadow of his chair moved.
- Jadusable discovers that BEN will not allow him to access YouTube, but will not stop him from doing anything else.
- After hours of hearing the reversed Song of Healing and feeling constricted by the air of his room, he notices, at exactly 4:23pm, that the old man is standing outside and staring up at his window from the middle of campus, students not acknowledging his presence.
Chapter 4: jadusable
On or prior to September 11, 2010
- Jadusable records the final playthrough of the game, which he names Matt.wmv
- He leaves his room with the cartridge.
September 12, 2010
- Shortly after midnight, Jadusable uses a library computer to type out the final paragraphs of his notes. He emphasizes that the document is safe, and that he is taking no chances regarding BEN's escape.
- At 12:08am, Jadusable disappears with the intention of burning the cartridge and destroying his laptop, and is never seen again.
- For the final video, Jadusable's roommate posts in his place, explaining that he had left behind a flash drive and specific upload instructions for its contents. He says that Jadusable had moved out and gone back home with his parents, and that they were in and out so fast he didn't even see them.
- The roommate posts jadusable.wmv, the second half of Matt.wmv, according to Jadusable's instructions. He claims he cut out the save screen because he didn't think it was important at the time, and apologizes for cutting it. He also notes that the document Jadusable had just finished typing, TheTruth.txt, will be uploaded on September 15.
- The video shows Jadusable in Ikana Canyon by the Owl Statue. He puts on the Mask of Truth a few times before making his way to Castle Ikana.
- Inside the castle, Jadusable makes his way to the throne room, where he is greeted by Igos du Ikana. He speaks jumbled dialogue much like Skull Kid did in DROWNED.wmv. A song prompt appears, and Ikana teaches Jadusable the Elegy of Emptiness. The scene plays out, the dialogue still jumbled.
- Jadusable finds himself trapped in the corner of the room as it turns a dark shade of purple. The mini-boss, Gomess, appears and kills Link with one hit.
- A black screen appears, showing the message, "Why is he smiling? The father." The screen fades in and Jadusable is taken to Ikana Graveyard.
- In the graveyard, Jadusable reads three grave stones. One reads, "The melody that summons the tears of angels rests here." The second reads, "A brave soldier from the Kingdom of Ikana rests here." The last reads, "The vessel that can hold spirits rests here."
- After reading the last grave stone, which an Elegy statue was just on the other side of, Jadusable falls in. The message that appears reads, "It'll be our little secret, okay?"
- He enters the twisted corridor before the Clock Tower. At the end of the hallway sits another Elegy statue. The screen freezes, cuts out, and another message is displayed: "You can't run."
- Jadusable is then taken to where the Happy Mask Salesman sits beside an elegy statue. After a few moments, being unable to move, another statue begins to appear on Link before the screen cuts to black. The final message of the video appears: "Please... help me..."
- The title screen appears, and upon entering the file select screen, two files are shown: Link and MATT.
Chapter 5: The Truth
September 15, 2010
- On schedule, Jadusable's roommate posts the promised link, accompanied by the message, "Honesty is the best policy."
- The download link contains a document entitled TheTruth.rtf, the contents of which have mostly been described in this summary. It explains that BEN has hijacked Jadusable's computer and censored his posts and videos. It also notes details that BEN censored, such as the Moon Children and two other videos, entitled Matt.wmv and CHILDREN.wmv. Neither video was ever released in their entirety. It is in this document that we learn that Jadusable never had a roommate, and that the summary for jadusable.wmv had been entirely fabricated by BEN.
- 102 minutes later, a video called free.wmv was posted to Jadusable's YouTube channel. The video was of a black screen, showing the following message: "The counter resets. I'm glad you did that." It then briefly shows Link's bedroom from Ocarina of Time.
- TheTruth.rtf implies in several ways that the document was, despite Jadusable's attempts, tampered with by BEN:
- The following phrase, the closing paragraph, is uncharacteristic of Jadusable's writing: "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."
- The document was specifically referred to by Jadusable as TheTruth.txt, but it was released as a Rich Text File (.rtf).
- The document contains three instances where the word "believe" (or a variation) is used. In these instances, a different letter is capitalized: "beLieve," "belIeve," and "beliEving." The capitalized letters spell out "LIE."
- Before Jadusable's salutation of, "Thanks Again, Jadusable," the letter "a" is present, though corrupted.
- In his notes for September 8, 2010, the 3:00pm entry is missing. Whether or not this is significant is unknown.
- Jadusable states that he was living in a single dorm room while these events unfolded, meaning there was no roommate in the first place.
- As readers suddenly realized that they had helped release BEN onto the Internet, some believed that it was present on their own computers due to their downloading the document. Jadusable has been presumed missing. It is unknown whether he escaped successfully or was killed.
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