Black Matter Foundation

WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO OF MY EXPERIENCE HERE
BLACK MATTER FOUNDATION 

What is the Black Matter Foundation? Is it real? Is it some sort of alternate reality game? Is it a promo for Half Life 3? Is it connected to Stranger Things?

These are just some of the questions I’ve been asked over the past few days. Honestly…I don’t know.

I won’t get into the information posted on their website, I’d rather you go there for that information. In this post I will share my personal experience so far.

7 pm Tuesday. I receive a Facebook message from my friend Matt asking if I saw the posts on the escape room Facebook group for Black Matter Foundation. I had not. Matt explained that a seemingly fake Facebook user named Edward Talbert had posted the link to the website in the group. However when I searched for “Edward Talbert” I was unable to find him. I did however find the Black Matter Foundation website, so I sent an email. I also started reaching out to my extreme haunt/ARG friends to see if anyone had heard about it. Nobody had.

Now I would like to pretend that I was clever and creative and sent a unique proposal or something fun, but in reality it was late, I was tired and just sent a wordy email blatantly asking “is this an ARG?”

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a quick and professional reply:

Dear Christine, 

Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us, we appreciate your interest in our organization. Unfortunately due to the confidentiality of our work and the covert nature of our clients we are unable to disclose much information regarding our foundation. 

However, we have found that individuals who retain the inquisitive nature you seem to possess often excel within our foundation. If you find the time we would love to have you come in to our testing campus, for a free no cost evaluation. Our foundation projects are well funded and will never ask for monetary compensation. 

While we recognize that withholding information may not provide you with the answers you seek in entirety, we hope that you can see the bigger picture at play here. Please accept our apologies. 

Black Matter Foundation

Needless to say I got a bit excited. I responded to them immediately and started blasting my Interactive theatre friends online with the website asking if anyone had heard about this. Nobody had. However, many of them also got interested and started crafting proposals to send to Black Matter Foundation via email.

A day passes.

Late Thursday night. Last email check before letting my phone slip out of my hand and crash on my face as I drift to sleep…or so I think. Nope. I see an email from Black Matter Foundation:

Thank you for your interest in Black Matter Foundation. We take pride in capturing the best and brightest minds alive. Testing will begin shortly, applications can now be submitted for those with an access code. We hope to be seeing you soon.

 Black Matter Foundation

There is an audio attachment included in this email. Adrenaline kicks in and I’m wide awake “solving” the file. I aquire my password and use it to access an online questionnaire which I won’t go into depth about here because I don’t want to give away Spoilers for others wanting to participate. But I will say it was made up of fun, thought provoking questions. I submitted my answers.

I will admit it was a bit of a challenge to solve the audio file and complete the questions on my cell phone, especially since so many of my friends were pinging my phone through Facebook, Slack and Texts about, you guessed it, Black Matter Foundation.

When I checked on Tuesday I couldn’t really find anything online about it, however tonight I know many were discussing it on Reddit and Facebook.

I will be sure to post again when I find out more…hopefully after visiting the Testing Campus.

2:15am Friday. Posting Black Matter Foundation blog post.

Oh and check out this Craigslist ad:

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Immersive Theatre – Los Angeles

Recently I’ve gotten involved in the immersive theatre and alternate reality game (ARG) communities here in Los Angeles and I couldn’t find a good reference list anywhere, so I’m creating one. Please note some of these experiences are more intense than others.

This list of immersive theatre is in no particular order and should link you directly to each company’s website.

The Lust Experience 

Have You Seen Jake   ***read my blog post here***

Heretic

Speakeasy Society

Screenshot productions

Sanction

The ABC Project

Unbound

Hamlet Mobile

Shine On Collective 

Alone

Creep

Blackout

Vescorp

Delusion

Modern Masters

 

 

 

Have You Seen Jake?


Jake is missing! 

Will you help us find him? 

Join the search party HERE.

The website describes this experience as follows, “Have You Seen Jake is an immersive, experiential theatrical project that is highly curated and specifically customized for each participant. The experience evolves based on your level of engagement and the interactions of the rest of the search party. Search party members will be engaged through telephone calls, emails, text messaging, social media, small group in-person interactions, fully realized experiences – and perhaps other means.” 

So far I’ve found it to be a fascinating journey. I jumped into the search party near the beginning in early October. I have regular text communications with my friend Jake, however I’m still fuzzy on how we know each other. The forgetting sickness has really affected me. I am pretty sure I’m also friends with Heather and Jesse, but again forgetting sickness has made our history a bit foggy for me. I enjoy chatting with Blue and the community on the Slack chat group where we share personal stories and theories, as well as solve puzzles together. Many photos and videos appear regularly on the Instagram.

I’ve already attended two in person events.

The first was a search party event at a park where a small group of us found a few things and then met a young man that left us to fend for ourselves when THEY showed up blaring Clementine and staring at us through creepy animal masks. 

The second was an event in which small groups of participants from the search party met Jake’s friend at a bar. His sister showed up and we were given instructions to individually explore his last residence that same evening. While searching through the motel room I came across a Dream diary, books, and more. However I did not find what I was looking for (a certain book) before three of THEM in animal masks came at me forcing me to my knees and telling me to beg before I wound up facedown on the bed being told that I had indeed failed Jake and branding me with the words “Dead Dummy” across my back in marker. (For those of you that don’t know, I’m a ventriloquist.) 

Tonight Jesse called asking about my upcoming planned trip to the Magic Castle. This was my first time speaking to him throughout the experience so far. I have to say the amount of customization has been impressive. You can see the drawing SHE posted of me from their Instagram account below.


I already have my tickets for the ticketed event Therapy & Dreams next month. (Did I mention all of the interactions and events have been at no cost so far?) I’m very excited to continue interacting with all of my old friends that I am remembering and the not so friendly characters too. 

Dates also announced for the next two ticketed events: Water & Fire in February and Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow in March.

The Tension Experience – Indoctrination 

The Tension Experience


Above: Hooded participants listen to Addison. Taken from Periscope 

It is with mixed feelings that I write this. Indoctrination has come to a close in order for Ascension to begin this weekend. 

How can I feel so sad and excited about something simultaneously? Well that’s Tension. The Tension Experience is masterful at flooding it’s participants with emotion and tension.

The Tension Experience in an incredibly interactive ARG created by Darren Lynn Bousman and Clint Sears that began early this year.  Over the past several months it has not only told a story, but created a strong community of participants. The participants communicate online and in real life at events organized by The Tension Experience as well as participant run meet ups. We have been encouraged to choose sides between the OOA (a group that believes in Anoch and ascending) and BOS (OOA detractors). 

The story is quite complex but I will do my best to summarize it and explain how the live event on September 7th wrapped up Indoctrination. 

A young actress named Addison came to Los Angeles and got drawn into the OOA which has been called a cult by some. Her family came looking for her and showed up at a previous event. She stayed in the OOA and even took a position called Gatekeeper. Recently she started referring to herself by her name again instead of her title and seemed to want out of the OOA. The BOS have been trying to save her throughout the journey. They met a member called Sentinal prior to the last event. 

On Tuesday many of the participants that have been active in the community (myself included) were invited by Addison to a “meeting” in downtown Los Angeles. We arrived, signed in and had a hood placed over our heads to be lead into another room and stood in a circle listening to Addison speak. Several participants were recognized for their contributions to the community. All were thanked and then the big reveal…The One. We’d all been anxiously awaiting the reveal of The One for some time. The One is…all of us, the community. 

Above: I was able to meet Addison and shake her hand. Taken from Periscope

Then it was party time! Three servers came out carrying trays of finger foods and the music played. Addison walked around shaking hands with participants with a smile on her face and a sadness in her eyes.


Above: Russell giving Addison the stuffed cat. Taken from Periscope 

After a few minutes Russell (a participant) approached her and returned her stuffed cat that he had been carrying with him since an earlier event. This caused Addison to have a dramatic breakdown. She began screaming,”This isn’t real!” The servers dropped their trays, threw Addison over one of their shoulders and ran out. Then we were told to leave. 


Above: Parricipants leave after Addison is carried away. Servers made a mess dropping trays to grab her.

If you’d like to see videos of the September 7th event you can watch them at The Tension Experience’s Periscope.

Photo credit: Susie Juntarakawe

Many of the participants, including myself, went out afterward to socialize and discuss Tension. It was a sad time and felt like the end of something wonderful, but also exciting as Ascension begins.

So what is Ascension? 

To be honest I’m not 100% sure yet. It is a live event that will be some combination of ARG, Haunt, Escape Room, Interactive theatre and Choose your own adventure maze. They have been clear that you do not have to have any prior knowledge of the Indoctrination story to enjoy Ascension. Honestly I’m not sure what to expect because I’ve avoided reading press about it for fear of spoilers. I do know that I attend tomorrow and I had better use the bathroom before I get there because it’s a long experience. 

Hopefully I survive and will post about it soon.

You can get your tickets at The Tension Experience website to join in the excitement. 

The Tension Experience

The Tension Experience

THE TENSION EXPERIENCE

I first heard about The Tension Experience in late February from friends that described it as an interactive haunt. The thing that drew me in and got me obsessed with checking their website and social media was the puzzles hidden throughout. I didn’t label The Tension Experience in the title of this blog as I normally would because honestly I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not a haunt or a puzzle game, it’s an…experience. So far I’m not clear of the purpose of it all, nor am I concerned, I’m just enjoying the ride. 

The Tension Experience website allows participants to complete a fairly lengthy, personal questionnaire. After that everyone’s experience is unique. So far my journey has allowed me to have a few email and phone interactions with the OOA Institute that resulted in a live meeting in downtown Los Angeles.

I will do my best to describe my experience exactly as I remember it. 

My meeting took place on April 30th at 8:05pm. I was given very specific instructions to arrive at a designated location alone and wait for my cell phone to ring. I waited on the corner near the bus stop watching people arrive and depart for several minutes when I heard that glorious Dr. Who theme song (my ringtone) begin. 

I answered and the voice on the other end instructed me to raise my right hand. I stood on the corner with my hand raised high above my head as a young, nicely dressed woman approached. She embraced me in the kind of hug your grandmother gives when she hasn’t seen you since last Christmas and started telling me how excited she was for me. She gripped my arm tightly and we walked arm in arm like schoolgirls down the dark Los Angeles sidewalk. After a short walk she paused, had me sign a waiver and then asked if I trusted her. I assured her I did and she handed me a hood to place over my head. She then gently guided me through a doorway, down a hall and into an elevator. While in the elevator that felt as though it was traveling to a basement she continued to compliment me until I asked her name. This seemed to fluster her a bit and she explained to me very thoroughly that her name, Talia, was not important and she was the lowest of the low. Then she left me alone outside of the elevator still blinded by the hood to contemplate why I deserved Enlightment and wait for someone higher up to fetch me.

While I stood alone in the darkness with my thoughts someone approached and whispered the question, “What makes you so special?” Then after some pause stated, “I don’t think you are special.” Then they vanished.

After what seemed like an eternity, someone approached me and grabbed my shoulders to push me quickly down more hallways to a room where I was placed in front of a mirror still wearing the hood. I was asked why I had come. Then over the next several minutes I was allowed to remove the hood but only gaze directly at my reflection in the mirror while handing off my cell phone and answering questions being rapidly fired my way. “What’s your name?” “What have you done to improve yourself today?” “What have you done to improve humanity today?” “Are you a good person?” “Who is your best friend?” “Who knows you better…your best friend or your cell phone?” “Are you a good person?” “What’s the worst things you’ve every done to another person?” “What’s your biggest regret?” “Are you a good person?”  Then I was told by a male voice that it only takes 2 minutes to completely download the information from a cell phone and they had done that. I was instructed to replace the hood on my head and shoved back down the hallway that smelled of burning candles to have my phone placed in my hand as a woman’s voice told me that they were not who they seemed and gave me instructions to look my attendant in the eyes and say something specific once my hood was removed. I was then passed off to Talia and escorted in the elevator and back to the entrance. We had a quick exchange and then I was heading back with instructions not to interact with anyone between there and my car. The entire experience took about 40 minutes.

I was not allowed to mention anything of my experience until after all applicants had completed their experiences that evening. Lucky for me I only had to wait about 15 minutes. 

It was all quite exciting and fun. Well, that first moment when my phone was removed from my hand was a bit stressful. It’s not everyday unlock my phone and give it to a total stranger. 

I was surprised to find the above photo of myself hooded in front of the mirror in my photo gallery. 

I have since been checking The Tension Experience forums and sharing stories with other participants about their experiences with the OOA. You can visit the forum and even participate once you create an account on the site. Participants also discuss theories about the experience as well as plan meet ups and discuss puzzles on the site. It’s quite a community. 

If this blog post has peaked your interest be sure to check out the site. Anyone can be part of the online action, however live events appear to only be happening in the Los Angeles area. Not only is it a unique and thrilling experience, so far it’s been free. 

You will only get out of The Tension Experience what you put into it. So join the community and get active. 

Update 1: I received this tweet tonight which has me excited for what’s to come. 

Update 2: The OOA is always watching!!!  Within minutes of posting this blog and sharing it on Twitter (around 2 am) I received a surprising call on my cell phone from a blocked number. The mysterious voice on the other end called me by name and then proceeded to tell me something to the effect of my account of the event had been noticed and I had done some good in light.

UPDATE – END OF INDOCTRINATION 

NEW BLOG POST

ASCENSION