I found a digital camera in the woods…
With those words, one of my all time internet memes/pranks was created. I’m not familiar with the entire history of this particular meme, and – frankly – I think if I were to learn the whole truth it might rob it of some charm. So, I’m not going to bother finding out.
Instead, I’m going to post what I remember of it, including the full set of “found in the woods” pictures.
The year was 2004, and the internet was in full bloom. What we now consider the Great Meme Factories had yet to fully usurp Something Awful and Fark from their places of meme propagation. It was, indeed, a dark and lonely time.
These pictures are believed to have been created by SA Goons (Something Awful forum users), and were used numerous times in prank postings across the internet. A typical thread would read:
Last week I drove to a nearby town. The town is surrounded by tall hills and mountains, and you can have a very pleasant hike down any of the numerous trails there. Anyway, I was climbing one trail and enjoying the good weather when I saw what looked like a silver box. When I approached, I saw it was a digital camera!
It would then contain the pictures, and not much else. But, that’s all that was really needed. The photographs themselves, artfully edited, flow in such a way as to tell a story. Things start out nice, if a bit foggy, a walk down a road some where. Trees, grass, and fog. Nothing much to worry about – nothing extraordinary.
Then, things start to get a bit darker – lighting wise. The “hidden” things in the images begin to be seen easier (such as the humanoid shape, or the cat spiders), and you know things aren’t going to go well.
The photographer keeping trudging ever onward, seemingly oblivious to the ominous warnings around him. He sees some abandoned building, explores it a bit… then presses on. Finally coming to the fog enshrouded tower – and the what it contains.
In fact, it’s not until this point in the “narrative” that we’re even made aware of the photographer. By this time, the wordless, descriptionless pictures have managed to build a sense of dread, when we finally see the former camera owners hand. This hand injects a sense of humanity into the proceedings, and sets the viewers up for the final revelation and denouement.
If one were to apply any sort of logic to the final pictures in this narrative, one would realize that there is none – that the whole thing must be fabricated. And yet, this didn’t deter me from greatly enjoying the pictures, and reading the various theories as to their origins. To this day, it remains one of my favorite internet “finds”.
Below are the “original” photos, posted in much the same way as they were all those years ago. Please, enjoy them…