You may not have seen this face before… but, according to one of the oldest and most enduring internet rumors, reportedly thousands of people have seen this disturbing visage in their dreams. Now it seems “THIS MAN” has crossed over into the 11th season of THE X-FILES, in the form of a bizarre cameo appearance.
Early into the season’s second episode “This,” there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of a picture frame depicting the “late” (maybe) Richard Langley and his fellow “Lone Gunmen”… but if you look closer, there’s another weird little face in the picture, in the upper right corner behind the others.
If you’re asking yourself “Who the hell is that?” you’re not alone… and the answer lies with one of the web’s strangest viral phenomena.
We first introduced you to “THIS MAN” in our summary of the web’s most notorious creepypasta legends, and followed up a bit later with even more alleged sightings of the odd-looking face, claimed by the founders of thisman.org to have appeared in countless people’s dreams – as “documented” by hundreds of annual submissions to the site’s Facebook page.
AV Club writer Erik Adams suggests the inclusion of this creepypasta character is not just a subtle in-joke… he theorizes THIS MAN might be a clue to the puzzle as to whether the events of the first two episodes are happening to Scully and Mulder in reality, or if some (perhaps all) of what we’ve seen is merely a dream.
“If season 11 is playing out in a sort of dream state,” Adams writes, “it aligns the characters with Langley’s predicament… Our protagonists are in a dream, Langley’s in a digital simulation… both facsimiles of the existences the characters once knew, but with slight alterations.”
It’s an intriguing theory which Adams considers “thrilling,” and very likely plays into the show’s attempt to align itself with today’s conspiracy theories – which not only dominate so-called “Fake News” debates, but frequently cross over into internet lore… and that includes creepypasta icons, just like THIS MAN (whose aforementioned website also shared the above screenshot).
“Pin that idea to your conspiracy board,” Adams adds, “and you can start stringing it to other elements of the new season.” Time will tell if it’s merely a quick wink to the audience, or if it’s truly one small piece of a larger puzzle… so keep watching!