sightings of a mysterious man

have you seen him?

i want to start by making my intentions clear. for those of you just stumbling upon my corner of the internet, welcome! i made this site to denote my recent experiences with… a phenomenon that’s difficult to describe. you’ll understand once you’ve read more. this site does not exist for the purposes of entertainment. the following reports are plainly factual and accurate to the best of my ability. i’m sure there’s a logical explanation for all of this, but i need more eyes to parse it. please, please reach out if you can help.

so. the first time i saw him was 3 weeks ago.

it all started during a typical 2am gmod session. some online friends and i were running around gm_construct, building contraptions, killing each other over and over- you know, the usual stuff you do in that game. this all came to a halt, though, when we encountered something unusual. we were constructing a house out of garbage when we noticed a bright red player model off in the distance, not really doing anything, but looking directly at us. when he entered my field of view, my entire game froze. judging by the confusion in my friends’ voices, i assume the same happened for them. for a moment, we just sat there…then the noises began. to say that we freaked out would be an understatement; we each shut the game in a screaming frenzy, crystal started Actually sobbing, and our ensuing argument sought to determine which one of us “spawned in a meat ghost” from the workshop.

did we overreact? listen. we all watch mlp together, we collectively share a very low horror tolerance, so i think we took it about as well as one would expect us to. at the end of the day, this was a challenging experience that brought us closer together (i mean, as close as you can get when you can never meet in person). i love my friends! i felt a profound warmth for them as i drifted off to sleep that night.

the next morning, my friend group had pretty much forgotten about the whole thing. i, on the other hand, was still curious. during our chats, i absentmindedly googled stuff like “gmod red playermodel glitch,” “red guy pm workshop,” and eventually just “red man,” hoping to clarify what exactly went wrong. instead, scrolling through image results, i found this. this is the image that sent me down the rabbit hole. if you’re not familiar, this is an image of “the redman,” which initially looks to be a manufactured internet rumor that never really took off. according to tineye, it’s earliest online appearance was in 2001, on a (now defunct) advice forum about long distance relationships. the google images result was a far more recent repost, in which a reddit user claims (probably ironically) that it’s a photo of his good friend. i don’t know, something about the visual quality of this particular image gripped me.

contemporarily, it’s mostly associated with a spooky greentext story about a haunted old computer terminal. admittedly, i liberally skimmed it (my face was hot with fear after only a few sentences), but i mostly got the gist. this guy’s phone calls with his penpal kept getting interrupted, and he realized it was because his computer was dialup-internet-ing all on its own. after getting fed up and unplugging the whole thing, this image was allegedly burned onto his floppy disk. after this, his friend stopped calling. to me, this whole thing seemed like another dead end. i was ready to just leave my gmod incident research at that. but then i saw him again.

about 4 days since the initial sighting, i was hanging out on a call with my friends. once again, we were up to no good. the three of us were doing a youtube scavenger hunt, all trying to land on the same video using only the links in our recommended sidebar. after a few minutes of clicking through continuous cacophonous content noise, we were getting bored. that’s when i spotted him. inharmoniously grafted into an otherwise neopets-themed thumbnail was the bright red silhouette of a man. not thinking much of it, i uttered “oh, redman pog,” only to be met by the excited gasps of my search team. they saw this thumbnail in their feeds, too! after rolling the dice enough times, we got triple sixes. in a moment of simultaneous triumph, we popped off. as a victory lap, we watched the video together, though the redman never showed up in the content itself.

the coincidences have only been piling up since then.

it started slowly. a tweet here, a tenor gif there, the internet’s pervasive smattering of redman depictions seemed to find us wherever we least expected it. we’d always keep each other posted when we found another. it became sort of a running gag among friends, that we were being “haunted” by the redman. i’ve gotta admit, there’s something endearing about him. even crystal warmed up to our little freak after a while. on a more personal note, crystal has really come out of her shell lately, and i’m insanely proud of her. now more than ever, i wanna squash her in a big hug. i hope she’s okay.

by now, the joke has run its course. but my friends don’t seem to think so. they keep sending me their sightings. on top of that, as of this morning, i guess the algorithm that dictates what i see on my socials has decided that i’m a redman fan. he’s in almost every post. i don’t really find his image funny, nor particularly scary at this point. he just feels like an intrinsic part of my life. a medium through which i connect with my friends, and the internet in general. what concerns me now are the comments beneath all of these redman posts.

a lot of other people are recounting similar things to what my friend group is experiencing. as i type this, i’m scrolling through endless discussions about cryptic videos popping up in recommended feeds, aberrations in video games, files, webpages, and the omnipresence of a mysterious red figure. it almost feels validating to see these claims corroborated; we who witness the redman have been brought together online, and now we’ve got each other’s backs. among the stories though, there are sets of names, emergency contacts, locations. and i feel sick.

people are going missing.

when i woke up this morning, i messaged crystal. it’s 8 o’clock now, and haven’t heard back from her. this is her status.

that night, 3 weeks ago, we glued ourselves to our keyboards and played games until sunrise. we were wired, exhausted, and, to be honest, depressed. as deep as our bond has grown, for as long as i’ve known my dear, beloved crystal, i have never even seen her face. we’ve tried countless times to somehow bridge the impossible gap between us but, no matter how hard we tried, something always got in the way. an unforeseen emergency, a lack of money, or the fear of what our parents might do if they found out about us. as i sat alone in my room, softly illuminated by the red light of the rising sun, listening to the morning birds, we tried to forget about another failed attempt at finally connecting.

sorry for rambling. i just really want to see her right now.

depsite our lapse in communication, this whole mess has made me feel closer to her than ever. i know i’m going to meet her soon. the red glow from my monitor must be a sign that she’s reaching out from beyond the void, radiating an incomprehensible, indescribable warmth that i cant help but crave. i can almost hear her sweet hymns caroling through my headphones. and i want to listen.

i̴͍̅ ̴̡̀l̸͇͘o̷͋ͅv̷̥̋ě̶͉ ̴̦̔y̸̬͗o̶̹͝ů̷̗.̸̗̆ ̵͎̋ḯ̵͇t̸̯̀'̴̡̾ŝ̷̡ ̶͕̈ì̴͙n̸̢͆c̵̦͋r̵͇̊ë̴͖́d̶̨͘i̵̪̾b̴̙̍ḹ̶e̵̝̿ ̴̺͆t̴͙͛o̴̺̓ ̸̤̎f̸͔̅i̷̜̽ñ̴̹a̵͕͋l̸̡̈́l̴̝̏ỷ̴̨ ̷̗̆m̵͉̌e̶͔̾e̶̞̊t̶͙̓ ̶̦̕y̸͔̑o̶̮̔u̸̢͗