27th Feb 2020, 11:23 PM
Reveal your ownership of the spooky house

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Reveal your ownership of the spooky house
"I need to get back into it," Marlow says, "I still don't know which poor SOB ended up getting Spooky House this last time it went up for sale."

"So uhhh..."

"Maybe they'll last more than a week this time," Afu chuckles. "You can actually get some questions in."

You clear your throat.

"Full disclosure... slash... spoilers," you begin, "it's me. I bought the spooky house."

There's a brief, stunned silence.

"For real?," Afu asks.

"It was extremely cheap," you confess. "I didn't know."

"No house is that cheap without some kind of fine print," Marlow states.

"I was desperate," you add. "They were desperate to sell it."

"Do you have the deed?," Marlow asks.

You stop.

"Uhhh..."

Washer, dryer, deed to house

"Look," you begin, "I haven't even met the last owner of the house face-to-face. We spoke over the phone and then later I threw the phone away. I agreed to buy the house in the middle of the night, it was that kind of deal."

Afu blinks. "So are you like... a mob boss, or a secret agent or what?"

"I'm just--"

dangerously gay

"--My last town sucked and I kind of had to leave suddenly. Now I'm trying to figure out what's the deal with my goofy fucking house."

Marlow leans in close. "How goofy is it?"

"It's..." You heave a sigh. "The god damn goofiest. I'm doing experiments."

"I've got a full suite of ghost hunting equipment if you need it," Marlow says without hesitating. You suspect he really just wants to see the house himself.

"I'm not even sure it's ghosts," you admit. "Like... I haven't seen a ghost. It hasn't been messing with the lights or... or moving the furniture." There's barely any furniture to move "The house has just been..."

You're not

entirely sure how much you should reveal.

"...Weird," you finally conclude.

Marlow hmms. "Alien weird, or occult weird?"

"Revisiting psychological trauma weird," you reply. "With a side of forbidden memes."

Marlow raises an eyebrow.

You shake your head. "I make internet videos. One of them was de-listed for... I guess approaching the topic of whatever my house is doing. I had a bunch of randos in the comments section making allusions to things I've never heard of."

"Damn," exclaims Marlow. "If you're not blowing smoke up our asses, you might've stumbled onto the real deal."

"I want to believe in Spooky House," Afu states. "What's the forbidden meme?"

"Something about the first lie," you state. "I don't know what it means, I don't know what it's supposed to be, I don't know if it's just some kind of haunted house fandom shibboleth or if it's actually a warning I should heed or if my life just has some arbitrary new arc words for this, the season where it finally jumped the shark."

Marlow and Afu stare.

You take a breath.

"My best guess is that it's a reference to the lie told by the serpent to Eve--the first lie in the Bible, which was "you will not surely die." Which is to say, I am going to die, and the house is threatening me."

"I feel like you'd get along well with my daughter," Marlow finally replies.

You shake your head. "Don't tell me that."

"I can't take my vacation until she's back from hers," Afu huffs.

"I..." Marlow scratches the back of his head. "The first lie does sound like something I should know, but it's not ringing any bells. It does sound like it could be a shibboleth, but I dunno if that's all there is to it."

"Okay," Afu says, holding his hands up, "I see how it is, making me be that guy. What's a shibboleth?"

"It's like a secret handshake," you explain. "A key or a symbol that lets other people in-the-know know that you're in-the-know. I can walk into a club and be like "hey the first lie" and everybody'll shrug, except people who know what the first lie is can go "oh heyyy yeah the first lie, she's one of us." All my weird comments had variations of that, or the initials TFL, snuck into their posts and usernames."

Afu... slowly nods. "I think I get it."

"A shibboleth for who, though?," Marlow asks.

"And thaaat's my big question," you sigh. "One of them. One of... many, huge, looming questions. There are strangers in my comments section, but I don't... know enough to know what they know. ...Or even who the hell they are."

"What's your internet handle?," Afu asks.

"Porcelain Salamander," you reply.

He turns to Marlow. "It's gotta be something occult, right? The government gets real sweaty about cult stuff. Taking down videos doesn't sound too out there."

"Maybe," Marlow says. "Maybe not. I mean, I could get my content taken down from most reputable media aggregates if I uploaded videos from the Thale incident, and that's... not particularly magical."

"That would get you banned for all the gore, though," Afu replies.

"But it would still get banned," Marlow says. "The point is, she might have stumbled across some blood cult's shibboleth... or a passage from a terrorist manifesto, or a top secret government project name, or just a combination of syllables that confuse the algorithm. All her weird comments could be from bots, and any meaning they seem to carry could just be pareidolia. I think Porcelain Salamander's got it right here, we don't have enough intel yet."

"...Okay, I'll be that guy," you say after some hesitance. "Pareidolia?"

Marlow sighs, smiling and shaking his head. "Pareidolia's when you see something that isn't there. Shapes in the clouds, patterns in the wallpaper, that kind of thing. Human pattern recognition is nuts, and part of how we've survived as a species. You never really think about it, but like... music, man. Music's just a bunch of noises in a row, but we hear a rhythm--and now, when someone drums out certain beats on accident, your brain fills in the rest of the song. Sightings of shadow people are often just pareidolia--just a black mass and the brain filling in some blanks on short notice. We wanna see patterns... but sometimes, there just isn't one there no matter how badly we think there oughta be."

"Ohhh," you reply. "It's like apophenia. ...Seeing connections between things that aren't connected. Like the Monte Carlo fallacy."

Afu shakes his head. "You guys are just showing off at this point. Trying to out-dork each other."

Marlow gives a wide shrug. "You go to video game tournaments. What is that, if it's not trying to out-dork people?"

"That's different," Afu retorts, "I out-dork people for money."

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27th Feb 2020, 11:52 PM
Frission
I wonder if all the TFL people from the comments are actually the previous owners?
28th Feb 2020, 12:03 AM
Limrix
Unlikely, they seemed too sane for this. Also the house hasn't had that many owners, it'd be surprising for so many of them to be subscribed to Plaire's channel. We probably have ~90K subscribers, the fact that there's four or five dream guys in there is a lot.
27th Feb 2020, 11:54 PM
Limrix
We should ask if they know anything about Infohazard. If anyone in this town listens to it it's them. Or the other two old guys in town.

Also the comments we found were most certainly not pareidolia. That was real. Lasker was real. The video we put up didn't mention any of that, it was just a poll for people's favorite superpowers in video games. What we got was a reaction beyond what we ever expected.
28th Feb 2020, 8:58 AM
pkrankow
True, possibly. Asking about powerups and how we actually asked about powerups was not spelled out exactly. It does seem like were were solidly on the side of not talking about the dream and it _still_ got flagged and pulled.

We may have discussed more than we should have in the video..
27th Feb 2020, 11:59 PM
Fishbulb
Ask Marlow and Afu how one could acquire an untraceable cell phone (preferably cheaply).
28th Feb 2020, 12:04 AM
28th Feb 2020, 8:21 AM
28th Feb 2020, 8:54 AM
pkrankow
We currently do not need untraceable. We just need cheap with a side of we are known to throw phones out of moving vehicles.
28th Feb 2020, 12:55 PM
+1
Alternatively,ask if they know about any good phone simulation web sites. The kind people use these days for making anonymous calls.can at least contact the seller of the house and get them to email you about the washer/dryer.
28th Feb 2020, 1:47 AM
'Thale Incident' *TBIM fan screaming*
Plaire should ask for elaboration on this (specifically When this happened) and 'what videos?'
28th Feb 2020, 4:08 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
+1
yes, this is a good sidetrack conversation that should be explored.
28th Feb 2020, 8:53 AM
pkrankow
Sidetrack to reduce reading to understand allusion is probably good. Also which Thale incident...

This cements the timeline somewhat. MDA is at the end or after BiM.
28th Feb 2020, 9:55 AM
Xylas_Incarnum
Well, off the top of my head, the only public "Thale Incident" would be the ending of BiM... though I question how the hell that gets demoted to mundane.
...distance traveled is the only real answer I can think of there.
28th Feb 2020, 2:14 PM
or heavy heavy Government Suppression Thale had no presence out side the city as well. just keep the whole magic side of thing out and make it just look like Thale had some huge cloned monsters
28th Feb 2020, 10:15 AM
28th Feb 2020, 7:35 AM
next time Afu has a video game tourney I say we go and watch
28th Feb 2020, 11:54 AM
Hari_Seldon
What if Plaire just watched the stream of Afu playing from her house? That's cheaper and less time.
28th Feb 2020, 2:26 PM
pkrankow
Invite Afu to play sometime? Dunno. Maybe awkward all around.
28th Feb 2020, 1:31 PM
Hari_Seldon
Plaire's username Porcelain Salamander might reference a story by Orson Scott Card? Here is the full text:
https://imti77az.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-porcelain-salamander-by-orson-scott.html?m=1

The interesting thing about that story is that everyone has to be careful what they say because if they curse the curse becomes real.

It would be cool if someone in the story gets this reference or Plaire explains.
28th Feb 2020, 2:13 PM
well at least this says Its AFTER BiM I had been wondering it was a "before, During or after" point in the timeline
28th Feb 2020, 3:16 PM
Hari_Seldon
Plaire should mention she is friends with Cici and was going to ... experiment with the house's spookiness with her tonight and we need advice to avoid any possible sleeper agent stuff with Cici.
28th Feb 2020, 4:40 PM
28th Feb 2020, 6:09 PM
28th Feb 2020, 7:36 PM
We should remind, especially Afu, that this should all be kept hush-hush as far as everybody else in town goes. We don't know just how far the mayor, and especially MondolGroup, will go to get what they want from the house; or to silence anyone who finds out too much.
28th Feb 2020, 9:40 PM
TGWMoC
"... from the Thale incident, and that's... not particularly magical."

Not magical my fat, tunic covered, cell shaded ass!