The 13th Floor

CREEPYPASTA: The Chilling Story of a Haunted Game Cartridge

One of the most infamous creepypastas first surfaced in September of 2010, and has since evolved into an entire subcategory of “haunted game” discussions, memes and fan fiction.

It’s known by many titles — the most familiar of these is “BEN Drowned,” but it’s also known as “The Majora’s Mask Haunting” or some variation thereof, due to the popular Nintendo 64 game at the center of the mystery: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

It began with a post to 4chan’s paranormal-themed /x/ board by user “Jadusable,” later identified as college sophomore Alex Hall. Alex claimed to have acquired a used Majora’s Mask cartridge, on which he discovered a save file entitled BEN — presumably created by the game’s previous owner — who had apparently progressed through the majority of the game, only to quit very close to the end.

Hall then created his own save file, naming it “Link” to align with the main character’s name. But when he began to play the game, he found that most of the non-playable game characters were referring to him as “BEN.”

To correct this annoyance, Hall deleted the BEN save file… but when he returned to play, he found that the characters were no longer referring to him by either BEN or Link. He was frustrated, but dismissed it as a glitch and continued the game.

Being a seasoned player, Hall performed a secret hack entitled the “4th Day Glitch,” which adds an additional day of game-time for the player to complete the game, instead of the usual three. The result was not what he expected.

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First, he found his character transported to the game’s final boss battle, in which the player confronts Majora on the moon. Second, the look and sound of the game was changing in creepy ways: the music was playing in reverse, the screen text was becoming garbled, and Link’s main antagonist “Skull Kid” hovered over him, watching his every move. Then, without warning, the game switched to an alternate version of the “Clock Town” level, where none of the game’s characteristics seemed familiar; Hall described the area as “hopelessly broken.”

He decided to switch tactics and try to escape this alternate dimension by drowning Link in the Laundry Pool, which he hoped would cause him to resurrect in a different location. That turned out to be a very big mistake.

BEN_01

Characters screamed and laughed maniacally, and a Link statue, created by the song “Elegy of Emptiness,” suddenly began to chase him. No matter what he tried, things turned increasingly chaotic, and inevitably ended with Link bursting into flames. As the character lay dead, the scene froze, with Skull Kid still hovering over the corpse, and finally these words appeared over a black screen:

“You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?”

He was returned to the home screen, and found that his save file “Link” was gone, and “BEN” was back… along with a new file: “YOUR TURN.”

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Overtaken by a sense of dread, Hall stopped playing for the night. He tried again the next day, but encountered even more bizarre glitches… and through it all, the statue and the laughing faces followed him, and the mysterious save files kept changing.

One of those save files revealed what had happened to BEN: he had indeed drowned in the Laundry Pool, just as Hall had attempted before. But that death seemed to have created a fateful loop… and Hall soon began to feel that the game wanted him to keep playing and complete the cycle.

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Terrified by what he had encountered, and curious if other users had experienced these frightening glitches, Hall decided to create a series of three game-play videos and posted them to YouTube.

That’s when the story takes an even darker turn.

The fourth YouTube video came with a cryptic description, allegedly written by Hall’s dormitory roommate, who claimed that Hall had moved out, that he said he needed to get away, and that “something was hunting him.” He had also left behind a flash drive and a set of instructions.

The drive contained only two files: a video titled “free.wmv” and the text file “TheTruth.txt.” The instructions told him to upload the files on September 15, 2010, at precisely 11:04 pm.

The text file contained a detailed account of Hall’s bizarre and frightening experiences with the game, which he believed to be haunted by the player known only as BEN.

BEN had slowly infiltrated every part of Alex’s life — even his dreams, in which he was attacked by game characters, as well as some new visitors calling themselves “The Moon Children.” BEN was also talking to him independently, via the web app Cleverbot, and the taunts became increasingly menacing.

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BEN was also taking over Hall’s computer, and according to the text file, he warns that any videos posted after September 12, 2010 and credited to Jadusable should not be believed or trusted.

Strangely enough, shortly after that the Jadusable YouTube channel began to change: his profile image transformed into a depiction of the Link “Elegy of Emptiness” statue, and his user location was listed as “NOW I AM EVERYWHERE.”

Also, a comment posted to the channel linked to a site named youshouldnthavedonethat.net. Allegedly the site, which no longer exists, was hosted and maintained by a religious cult calling themselves “The Moon Children.”

Okay, it’s spoiler time, so don’t read any further if you want to preserve the myth…

Alex Hall finally admitted to orchestrating the entire elaborate scheme, including the creation of the alternate Majora’s Mask scenarios, which he accomplished through a complex series of game hacks. But that hasn’t stopped fans from building on the mythos over the past five and a half years. Just search “BEN Drowned” or “Majora’s Mask Creepypasta” for tons of spooky spin-offs.

Interested in haunted video games? We’ve rounded up five infamously scary ones… read about them here!

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