Tuesday, July 31, 2007

'Look For Our Symbol'

In their most recent communique, the Mezin said to look for their symbol. Over in the Unfiction forums I suggested that the curious 5-square symbol on Triton Enterprises' website might be the one.

I'm now thinking that while that symbol is important, it's not the Mezin's. Rather, I think we're supposed to notice when that symbol changes to something else.

In-Game Email

Added (although who knows for how long they will remain valid) to the sidebar a list of known in-game email addresses.

Kellie Graham

It turns out that kellie.graham@tritonenterprises.net is an active address and tells a different story.

Help Us!

Don't believe what Triton is telling you. I didn't write that security protocol notice.

Something has gone terribly wrong at the facility!! If you are receiving this message please send help! There are several of us trapped on the lower D-ring testing platform. I had no idea what they were doing here, if I don't make it to the surface may God forgive me for any part I have played in this.

I should have listened to him but I thought what he was talking about was nonsense, now I'm afraid he may be right....

Affecting The Game?

In an Unfiction thread about email to and from Triton Enterprises, one poster indicated over the weekend that they had sent the following.

Dear Sirs,

I know what you're up to, and because of that I've planted numerous explosives in your Stevenson, Washington facility.

I demand ten million dollars in exchange for safe retrieval of said devices.

You will be contacted on August 1st with the drop point.

P.S.: Resume available upon request.


Today, a different Unfiction poster reports on a change to Triton's auto-response to emails sent to them.

[Security Protocol T1987E] Temporary Security Measures

Due to a recent breach in security at our facility in Washington State Triton Enterprises has been required to engage a DoD level 4 security lock down.

This security protocol is a requirement for all Department of Defense contractors when a minor security violation has been detected.

Unfortunately due to the requirements of the lock down we must postpone all scheduled tours of our facility.

Please be patient as we clear up this minor problem. We apologize if this lock down impacts any orders you may have with us.

Once we are back online we will continue towards our goal of building the future one vision at a time.

If you need more information please contact me at anytime.

Kellie Graham

What Role Will You Play?

Now it's the Mezin talking about role-playing. And here is the transliteration.

they will soon be here
the time for games is nearly over
soon you will face a choice, what role will you play?
look for our symbol, it will guide you to your destiny

Monday, July 30, 2007

Another New Image From The Mezin

Showed up today, in a post with no accompanying text whatsoever. It has a filename of D------- which is one blank more than required for it to be "Divinus".

Back

I was at Comic-Con over the weekend and so haven't been keeping up. It's almost August 1, so I'll try to get back in the game now.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Interacting With Triton Enterprises

Back on July 11, I sent an inquiry to the information@ email address for Triton Enterprises.

While you're still launching your website, could I get some more information about your product line? Also, I'm down here in Portland, just a short jump from Stevenson. Is there any opportunity to tour the new facility?


Minutes ago, I finally received the following response.

Thank you for your interest in Triton.

We can certainly send you more information about our company, please send us your details.

We cannot open our facility to the general public due to the nature of our work however if you are seeking employment please send us your resume as we are currently reviewing all potential candidates.

If you match what we are looking for we'll most certainly be in touch.

fj4738r?

There's a new communication from the Mezin, which you can transliterate here. But there's a twist.

This time, they've included an image, that's only 66x56 in dimension.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Key To The Key

Over in the sidebar, I now have a Key to various abbreviations I'm likely to start using here. But it might be useful as well to offer a key to that key -- in order words, to briefly describe each entity listed there.

AO = Alpha Omega

The forthcoming table-top RPG from Mind Storm Labs, officially announced in a press release at the end of May, and to be unveiled at Gen Con Indy in mid-August. Artwork for this game on the Mind Storm Labs website parallels atwork on the Ethan Haas Was Right website.

BK = Brian Kessman

Employed at Red Interactive Agency, he spent three days at the end of June posting links to the original Ethan Haas Was Right website to various gaming forums, and later helped try to promote it on Digg.

DC = David Carter

Part of Mind Storm Labs, described as both the company's "World Designer" or "Mechanics Wizard". He may or may not be the same David Carter employed by Relentless Publishing and its Prophecy RPG. Likely the person who posted online back in January seeking artists for Mind Storm Labs' RPG.

EF = Earl Fischl

The so-called "Lore Spinner" of Mind Storm Labs, and one-time self-publisher of a book on slacker world domination. Helped try to promote Ethan Haas Was Right on Digg.

JJ = Jeremy Jones

The name on emails responding to emails sent to the original contact person in the domain record for the sites showing the first three pages of Ethan Haas' journals.

JS = John Schneckel

Listed as the contact person in the domain record for the original EHWR website, after Van Mantra was removed from that record. Works for Triton Enterprises.

KG = Kellie Graham

Contact person listed in the Triton Enterprises press release of July 17.

MS = Mezin Source

Authors of "The truth of Ethan Haas" site on Blogspot. Presumed to be equivalent to simply "The Mezin". Opposed to Ethan Haas and Van Mantra, they were the first use of the term "Mezin", prior to Van Mantra's voicemail being hacked by "the Mezin".

MSL = Mind Storm Labs

Ottawa-based company producing the forthcoming Alpha Omega RPG, and presumed puppetmasters of the Ethan Haas Was Right promotion. Tom McLaughlin, David Carter, and Earl Fischl work here. Also now reegistered to do business in Florida, where McLaughlin is located.

RD = Royama Design

Designed the logo, business cards, and website for Mind Storm Labs (and helped try to promote Ethan Haas Was Right on Digg). Apparently based in New Brunswick.

RIA = Red Interactive Agency

Designers of the Ethan Haas Was Right website. Brian Kessman works here.

TE = Triton Enterprises

Apparent registrant of the Ethan Haas Was Right website after Van Mantra no longer appeared in the domain record. Kellie Graham and John Schneckel work here. Codes hidden in their press release by Van Mantra led us to pages of Haas' journal.

TM = Tom McLaughlin

Described as "The Suit" of Mind Storm Labs. Also works for a Florida-based real estate and development group. An address on an old wedding blog of his was used as Van Mantra's original address in the Ethan Haas Was Right domain record, which was how we tied Ethan Haas Was Right to Mind Storm Labs in the first place. May or may not be the same Tom McLaughlin who once worked for RPG pioneer TSR.

VM = Van Mantra

Follower of the prophecies of Ethan Haas. Originally owned the Ethan Haas Was Right domain (and appeared in the videos within that site). Has been using Triton Enterprises to lead us to pages of Haas' journals.

One Week Later...

It's been a week since we got the first three Haas journal pages. Since then, either absolutely nothing has been happening, or we've missed something.

So far, the only thing anyone can think of that we might have missed is determining once and for all what in the world the block letters clearly present in Schedar and Caph actually spell out.

A Note From Someone Who Has Met TM

Unfortunately I can’t get into any more detail than what is on their site. We had a meeting with their head of business. He was more interested in getting some feedback and a way in to local gamers. I believe they have forecast the release for Gen Con. The game is a post apocalyptic future setting. I did see the artwork and they have some great things going on in that area as well. As far as the system, we didn’t talk much in that area (most game designers don’t talk system too much due to potential legal problems) and the setting. I’m hoping to be able to get out to a near future [withheld] meeting, at which point he will probably make the trip with me. So until then, I can’t say too much more. Sorry for the vagueness of this reply. I just don’t think it is really my place to discuss too much about someone else’s work until after they launch.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The New Brunswick Connection? (Part Three)

Here's where we were a bit dim.

Last week it was pointed out that the designer of the Mind Storm Labs logo, website, and business cards once worked for a different company located in New Brunswick. And so there was a potential chain of acquaintance which would have enabled the puppetmasters to deliver a physical letter to a player in that province.

It turns out we overlooked the far more obvious connection, which now cements in my mind the authenticity of that letter.

The designer themselves, at least based on the area code in their phone number, is located in New Brunswick.

And given that said designer was part of the group which tried to push the EHWR site on Digg, the puppetmasters clearly have made use of them to promote and further the campaign.

I was convinced before, with some lingering doubts. Now, the doubts are gone.

I'm certain that the New Brunswick letter indeed was created by the puppetmasters and hand-delivered to a gameplayer in Fredericton.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Still No Hindi In Firefox On MacBook

So, on my personal MacBook, I can read the Hindi script in Safari, OmniWeb and Opera, but not in Firefox. Also, I can see it in Mail. But I can't see it in Firefox or Camino, although I can see it in Firefox on the XP laptop at work. Any ideas? It's driving me crazy to see all these question marks instead of the Hindi script.

अन एक्सपेरिमेंट

ई'वे नोतिसद आ सेटिंग ई हद नॉट सीन बेफोरे। इत औदतोमतिकाल्ल्य चंगेस वहत यू टाईप अस आ पोस्ट इन्तो हिंदी, ऎंड ई सुस्पेच्त थिस इस हाउ थे मेज़ं अरे अबले तो पोस्ट थे वय ठाट थेय दो.

RIA And MSL, Sitting In A Tree

So, I followed the link provided in the comments to the previous post, and then from there followed a link to a Digg post about the original Ethan Haas Was Right site.

It turns out Tom Mclaughlin didn't just use tom3mc, he also used tom147mc. In this case, he's in the Digg comments claiming to be stuck on the one of the puzzles.

And, look. A couple of posts later, there's Brian Kessman of Red Interactive Agency, makers of the EHWR site, asking how another commenter had managed to solve said puzzle.

Yes, there they are. Mind Storm Labs and Red Interactive Agency, working in tandem to try to generate discussion of Ethan Haas Was Right.

Is 'the1shroud' A Puppetmaster?

Some interesting things to note about 'the1shroud', mentioned in my previous post.

Over on the Unfiction boards, the1shroud has only one post, a response to a post in which I wrote:

From a translation of the Mezin Source's latest blog post:

"You point (paint?) to a date in the future that means nothing to our cause or your future..."

and

"Only 8-1-07 matters to our cause..."

Is that the Ethan Haas puppetmasters telling us, once and for all, that this indeed has nothing whatsoever to do with Cloverfield/1-18-08?


What was the1shroud's reply? One word:

Yes.


So far I've found only one other place (outside of Digg, on which I've not yet checked their comments) where the1shroud speaks. In a comment to the EHWW.blogspot site:

Ethan Haas has been dead for more than 100 years. Ignore those that claim to be him.


So what?

Well, that comment was posted on July 8 -- a full ten days before Van Mantra posted the pages of Ethan Haas' journals, which proved (as in, "first revealed") that Haas was from the mid-1800s.

Tom Spammed EHWR To Gaming Boards, Too

Remember how Brian Kessman of Red Interactive Agency was spamming gaming boards to get the EHWR website noticed? As it turns out, Tom McLaughlin did this, too.

During another random Google sweep, I discovered that the Mind Storm Labs press release for Alpha Omega had been posted to Digg 55 days ago, by one "tom3mc", although that Digg account has since been deleted.

(Disgression: That item was then "dugg" by six people: Mind Storm Labs itself, the designer of the MSL website (Royama), tom3mc himself, an unrelated spammer (pablowisdom), and one "plummonkey" (a username I'd previously noticed as belonging to an Earl Fischl, and which therefore now establishes the EF of MSL indeed as the author of a self-published book on slacker world domination), and "the1shroud", whose identity I haven't yet sussed, but who only joined Digg right when the MSL press release was issued, and who also posts to the Unfiction forums and various other EHWR sites.)

At any rate, Google for "tom3mc" and you find that he was spamming gaming sites with the EHWR website in early July. He even got accused of being a bot on one such site.

It's somewhat interesting to see what sites come into play on his Trailfire trail as well.

Correction: Divinus Auto-Response Active

It seems I spoke too soon. The auto-response on the Divinus reservations@ address now is active, although the website itself is not yet launched.

Your interest in Divinus is greatly appreciated!

When completed Divinus will be the ultimate vacation
destination, offering state of the art entertainment.

Stay tuned to book your holiday.

Divinus, everything your heart will desire.....


We must be getting close to their website officially being introduced into the game.

No Reservations

For what it's worth, email to info@ the Divinus domain (which hasn't yet been brought into the game) bounces back as undeliverable -- but email to reservations@ does not, although nothing yet responds from it, automatically or otherwise.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tom McLaughlin Signed The New Brunswick Letter?

Late last week, a report surfaced out of New Brunswick. Someone claimed to have been hand-delivered a letter from Van Mantra. Given the connections involved, it was (at the very least) feasible.

In my opinion, I am now more convinced than ever that this letter is real, in the sense that the puppetmasters really did have a letter delivered to this person.

Why?

Because of this comparison between the signature of Van Mantra from the letter and that of Tom McLaughlin from the Florida business filing for Mind Storm Labs.

The key, for me, is that the swoosh of Tom's capital "T" in his own signature is almost exactly the same as the swoosh of Van's lower-case "t" in his signature.

Obviously, there are distinctions between the two signatures. For instance, the "M" in McLaughlin does not match the "M" in Mantra. But that's consistent with someone trying to generate a signature for a fake person and trying to make it different from their own.

But, at the same time, when someone tries to fake a signature for a fake person, sometimes elements of their own handwriting show through. In poker terms, they have a "tell".

Right now, I believe the swoosh is the tell, and that Tom McLaughlin signed the letter from Van Mantra, and used the previously-reported chain of acquaintances to have it delivered to a gameplayer in New Brunswick.

See The Page For Yourself

Here's a compromise: See this URL for a copy of the jpg image currently displayed by both of the two remaining Ethan Haas journal sites.

For The Record

In no way do I blame anyone for being skeptical of my statements about having found the URLs for the two remaining Haas journal pages and for the Divinus resort. Given the gamejacking that's been going on, skepticism is healthy.

I've explained my reasons for not simply giving them out: Some gameplayers cry foul if you don't get information only by overt clues and codes given within the game. I disagree, philosophically. But I've held back the addresses out of respect for that disagreement.

People have found the Divinus site through the small hints I've offered. I offered them at all, because (and those who have found it can verify this) as it turns out it's a domain that could be considered well within the bounds of guesswork and deduction anyway, regardless of what the puppetmasters have and have not yet done to point us there.

But when it comes to the journal URLs, as far as I know there has been no in-game communication offering up the codes necessary to find the URLs. That's why I haven't revealed them.

So, be skeptical. Please. It's important. But I will admit that I find it deeply ironic that those most loudly opining about being skeptical of my claims are the exact same people who believe the Haas mythos is connected to Cloverfield, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

That's not skepticism. It's simply belief.

At any rate, when the final Haas pages come out through an in-game clue, my critics will find that I was correct on the URLs I found and the single page that they contain (although presumably each URL will carry its own journal page when the time comes).

I'm not concerned about who believes me right now and who doesn't. But given the amount of work I've done over the last few weeks to dig up actual facts to support the EHWR connection to Mind Storm Games -- and given that there is precisely zero factual evidence to support the belief that its connected to Cloverfield, forgive me if I take anything my critics say on this matter with an entire shaker of salt.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Little Diversion

While doing one of my routine Google sweeps, I ran across a story being told by one Richard Peck, inspired by the mistaken combination of Ethan Haas Was Right and Cloverfield. Obviously, this is neither in-game nor relevant in any way other than as a diversion, but I found it amusing. So here's the complete list of posts.



For what it's worth, I'm obsessed with Peck's decision to make Ethan Haas' nationality Lithuanian.

Jeremy Jones Comes Out To Play?

According to a comment on my post about jeremy673, the email address in question suddenly has went and gotten itself an auto-responder.

Sure enough, email the address and you get a reply back almost immediately, with (as the commenter, ppaladin, indicated) "Divinus" in the Subject line and a body reading only, "Book your holiday now!"

It should be noted that the email comes from "Jeremy Jones". In the original domain record from which we got this email address, their name was "Necro" and the record also indicated "Jones, Scott" as if the first name were Scott.

Someone Is Going To Go To Gen Con, Yes?

Let's assume for the moment that when the magic date of August 1 rolls around, we don't return to the main EHWR website only to be given a coupon or voucher good for X% off pre-orders of Alpha Omega. Instead, let's assume for the moment that August 1 brings a new round of gameplay within the Ethan Haas mythos.

If that's the case, I trust that someone will make their way to Gen Con Indy, where Mind Storm Labs will be launching Alpha Omega at booth 208.

In the event we're still in the midst of EHWR gameplay come mid-August, there'd be a fair to middling chance that something important will happen at Gen Con, much in the same way that part of The Lost Experience last Summer happened live and in person at Comic-Con.

So, is anyone who has been following along with EHWR planning to attend Gen Con Indy from August 16 to August 19?

Who Is 'jeremy673'?

When it first was determined that the codes hidden inside the Triton press release and Van's email were meant to be used as URLs, the three domains we found did not utilize private registration. Instead they showed us this:

Administrative Contact:
Necro jeremy673@gmail.com
Jones, Scott
147 James Street
Ocala, CA 90210
US
4077798103


To my knowledge, no one ever received a reply when emailing the alleged "Scott Jones" alias Necro. I know that I didn't. While the domains now show private registration, it turns out that this jeremy673 has been working on the EHWR promotion for awhile now. We know this thanks to Google.

Back on July 2, he posted to CHUD forums promoting the EHWR website, which he at least had the forethought to put in the Shameless Links & Self Promotion forum.

Unlike when Brian Kessman of Red Interactive Agency spammed gamer boards for that URL back on June 27-29, jeremy673 was smart enough to post a couple of other times to the CHUD forums to make it seem as if he was a real user.

The Remaining Haas Journal Pages

For those wondering whether or not they are missing clues to the locations of the other two pages of Ethan Haas' journals, since I posted the text of his first journal entry: I'm fairly certain that the answer is no.

At the moment, I know the next two URLs for his journal pages. And, at the moment, they present the exact same page, rather than (as would be expected) two different pages.

Presumably, when they pull the trigger on whatever clues will lead us to them, the two sites in question will contain two different pages, rather than the same one.

Finding The Divinus Resort

Yesterday, I mentioned knowing the URL for the "proposed resort" (in the words of the Triton Enterprises press release) of Divinus.

The mention in the press release, of course, had sent us all scrambling to try and see if we could find a website.

As indicated elsewhere about the remaining Haas journal pages, I've found some sites in theory before we were meant to do so, and I've not done into detail how.

However:

The URL for the eventual Divinus resort site is, ultimately, deducible. Most of us were, when the notion of it being a resort first surfaced, kept trying things like divinusresort.com or resortdivinus.com, to no avail.

They're going to spring this site at some point, obviously. And I wanted to bring it up again now because, setting aside how I found its URL, it is possible to find it through deduction, and so I think it's valid if people find it in advance of it being given to us overtly.

So, what we did originally is a good way to think about (trying various domain ideas), but add this: Think about what resorts are for.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sanskrit And My MacBook

Anyone care to help my understand why on my MacBook, Firefox and Camino refuse to render the Sanskrit on the EHWW.blogspot site, but Opera and OmniWeb render it just fine? While at work, on the other hand, Firefox on the XP box also renders it just fine.

Seraph Ophanum

Four days before this post remarking upon the presence of the words "seraph" and "ophanum" in the keywords of Mind Storm Labs' website, the domain seraphophanum.com was registered, and hosted on the same site as the MSL site.

It's anyone's guess whether it will just point to some other site (perhaps the eventual Alpha Omega website) or will be something unto itself. For all we know, it's an already-decided title for an already-planned follow-up to Alpha Omega.

Ethan Haas' First Journal Entry

RUCHBAH

June 1, 1849

I have decided that I must keep a journal that I may recall(?) and that I may once again return to these pages to know that I am a sane man, a man of reason and willful thought.

The visions have become unbearable. My joints ache with the weight of my dreams. I pray that what I see is not the future, that it is some nightmare, the tortuous(?) visions of a man whose mind has failed him.

I may never know the truth of what I see. A world in flames. The wars of men. The return of the gods to a world I cannot know.

And so, I will record my visions.


Right now, I'm curious to see if anyone else can find it. Keep in mind (and this is a clue) that I'm playing two concurrent and parallel games: Ethan Haas Was Right itself, and "who the Hell is behind Ethan Haas Was Right?" at the same time.

Divinus

Remember how the press release from Triton Enterprises suggested that Divinus was a "proposed resort"?

Well, I now know the URL. It just hasn't yet come up in-game.

DNS D'oh!

Why has no one -- as near as I can find, anyway -- mentioned that the three sites containing pages from the Ethan Haas journals are hosted on the same machine as the Mind Storm Labs website?

About That March Concept Art

So, that artist who back in March posted concept art for Alpha Omega?

He now reports that he never actually got hired for the job. That would make the concept art in question not images from the game.

Of course, he also says that he didn't know it was called Alpha Omega, and that it was, at the time, more of an "untitled Mind Storm Labs project" sort of thing.

But, oddly, in his posts from March, he says, "I created this image for Mind Storm Lab's [sic] table-top RPG called 'Alpha Omega'" and "Here's some recent concept art that I created for Mind Storm Lab's [sic] 'Alpha Omega' table-top RPG."

Go figure.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The New Brunswick Connection? (Part Two)

At this point I really do rather suspect that Adam Spencer, out in Fredericton, really did receive a paper letter from Van Mantra.

As pointed out by LazyRegistered (nee LazyGuest) in the Unfiction thread, there is a loose chain of connections between Tom McLaughlin and New Brunswick.

The quick version goes something like this.

The owner of Royama Design -- which did design work for Mind Storm Labs (as well as for another company connected to McLaughlin) -- once worked for LearnStream, "an industry-leading e-Learning firm".

LearnStream operates out of Fredericton, New Brunswick.

So, theoretically, there's a chain (at the very least of acquaintance) through which the EHWR puppetmasters could arrange to have a physical letter delivered to someone in New Brunswick who has been following the EHWR promotion.

The New Brunswick Connection?

In over the transom at Unfiction today came a pointer to this blog post purporting to tell of a man in New Brunswick who had delivered to him at his office -- personally, by someone claiming to have been paid $5 by a man in the baseball cap -- a letter from Van Mantra.

You can read more in a later blog post at the same site, or view the letter (jpg) for yourself.

Now, I'm naturally skeptical, but it's important to note one curious thing. The people in question reportedly work in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Fredericton is about 84 km southeast of Pole Hill, New Brunswick. What's the big deal about Pole Hill?

Pole Hill, for a very brief time, was the city given in the domain record for the main EHWR website, after the original Orlando address of Van Mantra and before the eventual Stevenson address of Triton Enterprises.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Who Is Earl Fischl?

Back to the presumptive puppetmasters, the men behind Mind Storm Labs.

Anyone been able to determine if "Earl Fischl" (once listed in the now-scrubbed staff page of MSL as "Lore Spinner") is the same Earl Fischl who once self-published a book called "Get Sh_t Done - A Slacker's Guide to World Domination"?

Curiously, according to the Internet Archive, the last known reference to the book on Lulu (where it had been published) is January 25, 2007 -- two days before what is presumed to have been David Carter ("World Designer" of MSL) posted looking for artists for Alpha Omega.

Mind Storms Labs' Florida Business Registration

Over in the Unfiction thread, almijisti tipped us all to a recent business filing with the state of Florida: Mind Storm Labs, LLC.

The current consensus appears to be that even if MSL is an Ottawa-based company, if they're doing any substantial business in Florida, they'd need to register with the state.

You'll note that the names of the company's officers match the names of the MSL staff which were scrubbed from the MSL website at some point in the last couple of weeks.

Don't look too hard for their listed address. It's a UPS Store in Winter Park, Florida.

FYI, it's Tom McL who is local to Winter Park.

What's Hidden In Schedar?

That's what we in the Unfiction thread want to know.

The Journal Pages

All of these are from my own reading and those of zornog, LazyGuest, Sirannon, and Lurker Underground (from the Unfiction thread).

GAMMA CASS
http://www.6ld9102.com/

June 2, 1849

I can no longer sleep. My dreams burn my eyes and flicker at all times like a candle wick left too long.

I was asked to leave the church this morning. I am no longer welcome there either. I sat for hours in the park, unable to close my eyes for fear the visions would return.

It is the only place I have left, the only place I can be near others and feel the warmth of the wanted.

I write again so I may calm my mind and find a place in which I can allow my mind to clear that I might find dreamless sleep.


SCHEDAR
http://www.279fh7691.com/

June 2, 1849

I awake -- the dream was of a flaming ring falling to its center, turning as water. All around it were bodies of fire and energy as the heat of a flame twists the world around it.

I felt no fear. The ring turned round me and I saw [X] beneath [X] the surface were many rings, balls of fire and of light, turning to no end and I know how that creation and oblivion were its purpose.

The cycle.

The Beginning and the End.


CAPH
http://www.417stjneh.com/

June 9, 1849

Elim -- I hear the word in my dream, was whispered to me as I sit in the park. They are coming. The word is spoken.

I can no longer close my eyes. The visions come to me in flashes with even the slightest blink of the eye. I know I cannot hope to hide. I write now but my mind turns, spinning and fluttering like a stone cast into the abyss.

They will come upon the earth in fire and light, bringing with them only war.

Van Posts Pages Of Ethan Haas' Journals

The first important bit? Ethan Haas lived in the 1800s. So, sorry to all of you who insisted that "Erik Haas" and his blog were in-game. Ethan lived 200 years ago. He doesn't have a brother blogging today.

At any rate, the three new sites suspected of being in-game in fact are in game, as Van has posted three pages of Ethan Haas' journals.



The URLs for these sites were uncovered by an Unfiction poster using the codes hidden in the Triton press release and the most recent Van Mantra email.

Dear SCI FI Wire

To be clear, AICN did not to report this link (between Ethan Haas Was Right and Mind Storm Labs), let alone confirm it. All they did was state it, offering no source or evidence to back up the assertion.

The reason for this is simple: They didn't do the work.

Rather, I and a number of other people (on our own blogs, and on the Unfiction forums thread for the Ethan Haas stuff) have done an extraordinary amount of research to establish this connection. AICN, on the other hand, simply saw the results of this work somewhere and opted to make a flat statement and make it look like they thought of it, or that they did the work on it.

They didn't. You and many other sites are giving them credit for establishing something that they did absolutely nothing to establish.

So when you write that AICN "reported" this connection, it's simply and demonstraibly false. All they did was state it. It was I and others (probably no more than a dozen people, if even that many) who actually did the actual reporting to nail this down.

AICN is simply trying to claim credit for the discovery, when they aren't the ones who made it.

Giving them credit for this is woefully disingenuous, and insulting to those of us who have actually done the work on it since at least July 7.

Tom McL And TSR

Mind Storm Labs makes some ado about its team having something like twenty years of experience in the role-playing game business. Now, thanks to another Unfiction poster, we've got some more sense of that.

It turns out that Tom McL used to be the marketing director for TSR.

Yes, that TSR.

Tom McL: VC And PM?

So, back for a moment to where I started into all of this, back on July 7: Tom McLaughlin. Tom is the Director of Sales & Marketing at a Florida-based development group.

McLaughlin received his BA and graduate degrees in information technology from the University of New Brunswick, and his MBA from Brisbane Graduate School of Business. During his studies at Brisbane, he specialized in International Business and Entrepreneurship. Mr. McLaughlin has almost five years of experience in land development, sales and marketing.


Until the staff page was scrubbed from their website, Mind Storm Labs listed Tom as "The Suit".

At this point, I strongly suspect that Tom is the venture capital partner to which MSL referred in their Alpha Omega press release. Further, looking at the above, I strongly suspect that Tom, in fact, is the puppetmaster here.

(In fact, I believe that explains how we ever found out about Tom at all: Early on, he got sloppy and used for Van Mantra's mailing address one which used to belong to Tom, not realizing that a reference to that address in connection to Tom still existed online for us to find.)

Relatedly (in terms of the puppetmasters), but unrelated to Tom: I now believe that the person from MSL who posted in January seeking artists for Alpha Omega in fact was the previously-mentioned David Carter, who has been referred to as MSL's "World Designer" -- the same phrase the "Mind Storm Labs" user in that January post utilized for their personal description/title.

What Lays Inside The Stars?

A pair of Unfiction posters has found something interesting.

Amongst the stars of the constellation of Cassiopeia? Alpha and Omega.

Mezin Repeat Cassiopeia

It's odd that the Mezin seem to want to make sure we know what Van has told us. But in their latest post they do just that. The translation:

He calls to the stars?

Has his insanity gone this far?

Van now calls out to the stars? What lays inside the stars of Cassiopeia?


For what it's worth, we've seen stars before: On the original EHWR website. As of a few minutes ago, there had been no changes in their position, nor addition of new stars, into the constellation of Cassiopeia.

New Sites?

In the sidebar there are three new sites listed as potentially in-game. Where did they come from? They are domains using codes hidden within yesterday's Triton press release and the most recent email from Van Mantra. Current indications suggest that they were registered the day before the Triton press release was issued and available, which would suggest that they are in-game. But that's not yet confirmed.

If in-game, we currently have three potential new sources of information, but Van's latest email suggests that we're only going to want one of the three:

know the stars of Cassiopeia and you will know when you've reached your destination.


Presumably as some point we will find the W-shape star pattern of Cassiopeia. I suspect it either will be on one of those three sites, thereby designating it as the proper one, or it will appear somewhere else and point us to one of these three sites, thereby designating it as the proper one.

It should also, possibly, be noted that the names of the three sites, according to their domain records, have specific and deliberate spacing and/or capitalization.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mezin Taunts

Yesterday, the Mezin posted a new message, taunting us. It's translation:

Where has your leader gone?

Has Van abandoned you? Van claims to have more writings of Haas; if so, where are they?

Is he afraid to show himself, or perhaps he knows the writings of Haas are meaningless.

We call out to Van, wherever he is hiding, to reveal himself for what he really is. If he does not, we will expose to the world what Van really is.


One day later, Van snuck a message into the Mezin/Triton press release.

The Latvian Connection

Long ago it was noted that the authors of The truth of Ethan Haas (who refer to themselves as the Mezin) indicate on their profile that they are based in Latvia.

So what does today's press release from Triton Enterprises state? That they were founded in 1807 in what today is Latvia.

Secret Message From Van Mantra

The hidden text from the Triton press release:

I’ve discovered several pages from Haas’ journal. I have to be careful how I distribute these pages, there are forces here on earth and beyond that would destroy them if they could. I will reach out to all of you with clues on how to find them; we will all have a role to play…


Note that, as before, Van refers here to role playing. I remain convinced that such references are in-game hints pointing to EHWR being a promotion for Alpha Omega.

Triton Back In The Game

Triton Enterprises has issued a press release (pdf). It appears to contain hidden text at the bottom, but the document is password protected and so that hidden text cannot be copied and pasted to reveal it.

The release gives us a new name -- Kellie Graham of Triton Enterprises -- and indicates that Divinus -- from the EHWR website -- is some sort of resort.

No Clues In Triton Mailing Address

In the domain registration record for the EHWR website, an address is given for Triton Enterprises, which mysteriously took over ownership of the domain from Van Mantra.

Triton Enterprises . NET
PO Box 1300
Stevenson, WA 98648


While USPS indicated that this wasn't a valid address, in the interest of not trusting software as much as real-world tests, I sent mail last week to that address.

(For what it's worth, it contained a single sheet of paper, upon which "Where Is Van Mantra?" had been written with a black magic marker.)

Today, as mostly suspected, it was returned to me stamped No Such Number.

So, it's definitely a fake address, unlike the one first used as Van Mantra's address when "he" owned the domain (and which served as the first link between EHWR and Mind Storm Labs).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hey Forbes: AICN Didn't "Report" Anything

I've already posted a comment over there, but just in case it vanishes, what follows is my response to this Forbes blog on the theory that EHWR is a promotion for Mind Storm Labs and Alpha Omega, in which the blogger in question blows it.

Ok, let's be clear about this. AICN didn't "report" this, it simply stated it. Many others of us (Google "OMG WTF EHWR" to find my own stuff) have actually been REPORTING it, digging into the chains of evidence supporting the notion.

(FYI, Alpha Omega isn't a videogame. It's a table-top RPG.)

It's deeply ironic -- and more than a little annoying -- that in a post where Moriarity gets angry at other people stealing and/or failing to cite AICN's reporting on Cloverfield, Moriarity himself steals and/or fails to cite other people's work, and simply makes a flat statement in a way that makes it seem like it sprung virgin and godlike from his own head.

It didn't. He got the idea from those of us out here who have been chasing down that angle for more than a week straight now.


Basically, if this Mind Storm Labs thing turns out to be correct, press people will likely follow this Forbes blogger's lead and report that AICN figured it out, even though they didn't. It was, of course, various other people online actually hunting down the linkages and building the case.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Hypocrisy Of Ain't It Cool News

So here is Moriarity bitching about reporters stealing his work on breaking news about Cloverfield. And then he goes on to flatly state that the EHWR material is "marketing for an upcoming game called ALPHA OMEGA by Mindstorm [sic] Labs" without crediting any of the many people who are responsible for actually doing the legwork to track that down, making it seem as if Moriarity simply had the thought spring virgin and godlike from his own head.

And then he does it again in the comments. "I'd like it if people didn't just boost our work and take the credit for it," he opines.

If you want people to care about people stealing and/or not citing your work, Moriarity, have the decency to sit down and cite other people's.

Glass houses. Stones. You know the drill.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Finding David Carter

Depending on whether you go by the now-deleted information on the MSL website, or the business card made for him, David Carter is either the Mechanics Wizard or the World Designer for Mind Storm Labs.

Perhaps it is this David Carter, listed as also being the Senior Content Manager for Relentless Publishing, makers of Prophecy (whose marketing copy reads a whole lot like the breathless marketing copy for how unique Alpha Omega is supposed to be, for whatever that's worth).

If you'd like, you can read David Carter's posts to the Relentless Publishing forums, perhaps starting with his introductory post, in which he describes Prophecy in roughly the same terms as Alpha Omega is being described, but with magic instead of science.

The Disappearing MSL Team

Once upon a time, this page listed the team members of Mind Storm Labs. At some point since the start of EHWR, it's been removed. What it used to tell us was:

David Carter
Mechanics Wizard

Earl Fischl
Lore Spinner

Tom McLaughlin
The Suit


Google tells us that, and I remember seeing it originally. Google's cache doesn't appear to have the complete listing of names.

More On MSL's Existence

One of the most aggravating things about the Mind Storm Labs issue has been their lack of a street address. Their press release didn't have one, their website doesn't have one, and their domain registration is private.

But lo and behold, thanks to an Unfiction poster, we have what I believe is the April issue of Polyglot (pdf), a gaming zine.

On page four, the zine reproduces material from the MSL website and includes a street address.

Mind Storm Labs
1376 Bank Street, Suite 302
Ottawa ON K1H 7Y3
Canada


According to Google, once upon a time this was the location of a renewable energy company, although that's not relevant.

Anyone in Ottawa feel like making a little visit?

An edit to add that this address makes another appearance.

Welcome to my Mind finds a designer responsible for Mind Storm Labs' logo, website, and business cards. The address appears on the latter -- as does a new email address for someone at Mind Storm Labs, beyond the simple "info@" address they feature on their website.

More Evidence That MSL Existed Pre-EHWR

Over at Unfiction, a guest poster argues, "Mindstorm Labs has NO previous records of existance before June 07."

This is wrong in several ways. Originally, the earliest known appearance was in May, when they issued their press release. Later, it was discovered that they were posting to a forum or two in January seeking artists.

I just found another early, pre-ARG reference to them. One of their artists posting an image they had created for Alpha Omega.

In the middle of March.

And here's some more. Also from mid-March.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mind Storm Labs Confirms Importance Of August

From the beginning, the elements of the Ethan Haas Was Right campaign have pointed to August 1, 2007 as the important date. It's the date upon which we are supposed to return to the EHWR website and input a code. In one of his videos, Van Mantra says that once we hit August 1, we will have thirty days to... do something.

I've said before that the August timeframe fits with Mind Storm Labs' appearance at GenCon to showcase Alpha Omega. Well, now we know something else about August.

According to a Mind Storm Labs' news item from June 25:

In the next three months we will continue to unveil the Alpha Omega world to gamers through the newsletter and with the launch of the official Alpha Omega website in August.


And according to another item from as recently as July 4:

We will also be launching the official Alpha Omega website in early August. We will have more information about the website in the coming weeks, including site features and special promotions.


I've joked about it elsewhere, but what are the odds that when we return to the EHWR site on August 1, what we'll be given is some sort of coupon or voucher good towards Alpha Omega, but we have only thirty days to redeem it?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Paramount Purge

All of which still leaves one thread: Why did the Van Mantra videos from the EHWR site get removed from YouTube, reportedly at the behest of Paramount?

I see two possibilities.

Either the Alpha Omega tabletop RPG is something Paramount already has licensed, and so they were protecting their vested interest in the property.

Or whoever uploaded the Van Mantra videos tagged them "Cloverfield" and/or also uploaded the bootlegged Cloverfield trailer. And so when Paramount instructed YouTube to remove the Cloverfield videos, the unrelated EHWR material got caught up in the sweep.

Given that the Van Mantra videos have been allowed back on YouTube since that original purge, I would think it's safe to say that the latter possbility is the more likely of the two.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Of Course...

There's really only one way left for EHWR to somehow be related to Cloverfield despite J. J. Abrams saying they aren't connected.

Mind Storm Labs and Alpha Omega themselves would have to be a front.

But, Mind Storm Labs was posting online back in January looking for artists. So, either MSL and its RPG are real, and are in fact the man behind the curtain of the EHWR game, or this has been a seriously long con, with pieces being put in place online six months ago.

Generally speaking, the first option is the more realistic of the two.

Pretty Much Clinched: EHWR Is PR For An RPG

I think this is the final nail in the coffin, putting to rest any notion that the Ethan Haas mythos is anything other than promotion for the forthcoming tabletop RPG from Mind Storm Labs called Alpha Omega.

At the end of this Cloverfield Clues post, they link to this image comparison between the ruined city at the end of the Ethan Haas Was Right puzzles and a graphic with the filename ruins.jpg on the Mind Storm Labs site for Alpha Omega.

It seems to be different versions of the exact same ruins. So unless this is some stock image and somehow Mind Storm Games and Red Interactive Agency just mysteriously happened to both use the same stock image, I think this issue is settled.

Where Did EHWR Come From?

It's already been established that Red Interactive Agency made the EHWR website. They claim it as their own right there on their own site. But there's been some discussion (as people try to figure out just how it got bound together with Cloverfield by mistake) about just where the first mention of EHWR might be.

Over at the Unfiction forums, it was noted that the first appearance might be in a post to some Xbox forums.

As it turns out, that user -- bjkman22 -- posted all over the place at the very end of June, mainly focusing on gaming sites. And to del.icio.us, to StumbleUpon, and to Trailfire as well.

Who is bjkman22, otherwise known as Brian Kessman? He's the Interactive Producer of one Red Interactive Agency. In other words, he was spamming a bunch of online gaming forums promoting the site his agency had been hired to create and deploy.

None of that gets us the answer to the question, "What is EHWR promoting, anyway?" And it doesn't answer how it got mixed up with Cloverfield.

But it's another piece of the out-of-game puzzle about just what in the world they're ultimately selling with this.

The RPG Posts

Because I keep directing people here to learn about the chain of evidence (circumsantial and out-of-game as some of it is) about the possibility that the Ethan Haas ARG is promotion for a tabletop RPG, here are the links to those posts, in chronological order.


  1. 2205 Holly Pine Circle?

  2. Van Mantra's Address Erased From The Past

  3. Alpha/Omega

  4. Van Mantra Has Moved

  5. ARG To RPG

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

'Building The Future One Vision At A Time'

The website of Triton Enterprises has launched. Sort of.

Recently, Van Mantra suggested that he needed to find a new way to get his message oout about Ethan Haas now that the Mezin were on his trail.

I suspect that the "vision(s)" of the "future" to which Triton Enterprises refers in fact are Ethan Haas' writings. And that "Triton Enterprises" is a front for Van Mantra.

Monday, July 9, 2007

ARG To RPG

Now that the Cloverfield issue has been dispensed with, I'm more convinced than ever that Ethan Haas is a promotion for Mind Storm Labs' forthcoming tabletop RPG.

In his video messages, Van Mantra says, "Only then will it really be the beginning of the end." On his website, the final puzzle requires the phrase The Beginning Is The End.

The name of Mind Storm Labs' forthcoming game is... Alpha Omega. Beginning, and end.

Also in his video messages, Van Mantra delivers a line which I suspect is an in-joke about what the site is promoting: "But what role you play, and how you live or die is completely up to you."

What role you play? Like in, say, a tabletop role-playing game? One that's scheduled to be introduced later in August?

John Schneckel On Van Mantra

In over the email transom. Earlier today, I emailed John Schneckel, asking where Van Mantra was, and how Triton Enterprises got his domain.

Thank you for your interest in Triton Enterprises.

Return here soon to see our new website

Users will be able to view all of our products and services.

Situated in beautiful Washington state, our new offices will allow us to conduct advanced research in many interesting fields.

Though I'm not familiar with that name we do currently employ over 800 engineers and scientists working on advanced research and design.

-- John

Abrams Speaks

All of these Ethan Haas sites? They're unrelated to Cloverfield.

Van Speaks On MySpace Profile

Some people are convinced that this MySpace profile is legitimate. So I emailed Van Mantra and asked. After the usual pair of auto-responders, he replied directly, as happens sometimes.

I would not trust that source, there is only one site for the truth.....

as there is also only one site for deception.........


He has not, however, responded to my email asking about John Schneckel, Triton Enterprises, and why he himself no longer owns the domain of that "one site for the truth".

John Schneckel Responds

But an auto-reply, not answering my question about what happened to Van Mantra:

Thank you for your interest in Triton Enterprises.

Please excuse the mess as we are just moving into our new operating space. Our new website should be online in a few days, www.tritonenterprises.net

We here at Triton Enterprises take pride in our R&D and manufacturing abilities in aerospace and defense work. Our industry leading design in radiator retractor hoses and cold plate circuity design is second to none.

Triton Enterprises is also working on advanced R&D, stay tuned for more information as we make humanity better.


His listed phone number simply says, in a mechanical voice, "Triton Enterprises" and asks you to leave a message.

Who Is John Schneckel?

Whoever he is he now owns the ethanhaaswasright.com domain, previously registered to Van Mantra, who only just recently changed his address in that domain record, and now it's not him at all anymore.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Puppetmasters Speak?

The translation of a new post from the Mezin Source says something perhaps relevant to those trying to determine if the Ethan Haas mythos is, or is not, relevant to Cloverfield:

You point to a date in the future that means nothing to our cause or your future...

...

Only 8-1-07 matters to our cause...


Sounds a lot to me like the Ethan Haas puppetmasters telling us that Ethan Haas is unrelated to Cloverfield and its date of 1-18-08.

Van Responds

Earlier today, I sent Van Mantra email. "What happened to the Florida address?" I asked. "Are you now in New Brunswick?" I just received a reply.

I have to keep on the move, there are forces out there who want to keep Ethan Haas's message from being heard.......

Van Mantra Has Moved

He's now in Canada:

Registrant:
Van Mantra
147 Skiff Pond Drive
Pole Hill, NB E7P 2E9
ca


For what it's worth, that's more consistent with the RPG company, which is based in Canada.

According to a postal code lookup at Canada Post, this is not a real address.

Alpha/Omega

So here's the problem.

References to the tabletop RPG game from Mind Storm Labs can be found as early as January of this year, when someone from the company appeared on a website looking for submissions from artists.

For the gaming company to simply be part of promotion for Cloverfield, planning for said promotion would need to reach at least all the way back into January.

The simplest explanations are these:

Either the Ethan Haas mythos is promotion for the tabletop RPG coming out from Mind Storm Labs, which would explain why Van Mantra's address is the same as that once used by a man who works for/with Mind Storm Labs.

Or the guy who once had Van Mantra's address, in addition to working for Mind Storm Labs, is somehow also involved in viral promotion for Cloverfield and simply forgot that he once used the address that ended up being used for Van Mantra.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Van Mantra's Address Erased From The Past

That wedding blog I mentioned before? The one which in 2006 used the address currently used by Van Mantra in his domain registration record?

It's been deleted.

So in the wake of my emails to Tom McLaughlin, one of two things has happened.

Either he is not involved and doesn't want any further questions from people as to why Van Mantra currently lists an address McLaughlin used less than a year ago.

Or he is involved and is trying to cover his tracks.

2205 Holly Pine Circle?

In the domain record for ethanhaaswasright.com, Van Mantra lists his address as 2205 Holly Pine Circle in Orlando, Florida. This address appears to be a real address, of some sort.

Near the end of 2006, it was listed as the contact address for the wedding of one Thomas McLaughlin and Jessica Mock.

The same Tom McLaughlin is listed as the contact person for media inquiries into a forthcoming table-top RPG game, and in fact you can see him listed on the website for the company behind that game.

The game in question?

Our planet is about to become the battleground for otherworldly creatures of incredible power as they wage an ancient war. The End of Times seems to have arrived. Are angels and demons walking among us, or is there a larger chain of events unfolding?


So the address is real. The only questions are: What's there? And what connection does Tom McLaughlin have to all of this?

For what it's worth: "Mind Storm Labs", the company behind the game? Does not appear to exist, at least according to Google, prior to May of this year.

Mezin 'Tracked Down' Van Mantra?


Earlier today, the normal outgoing voicemail message from Van Mantra was replaced by this. A short time later, Van's original message was restored. Did the Mezin really get to Van? Or was this just a ploy to make us think they had?


2007-07-07-mezin-on-vans-voicemail.mp3