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Originally introduced to the forums on February 14th this puzzle has progressed from an Easter egg to an assumed ARG and back to an Easter Egg. Current summary and FAQ are available at the bottom of the article.

Note of some importance: The Kingsmouth Current, while interesting, informative, and entertaining is fan-made and is not supported or linked to Funcom.

Current view

Introduction to the forum community

Originally discovered by wahoozerman during the Gather the pieces event, this Easter egg turned potential ARG was brought to the attention of the forum community on February 14, 2012.[1][2]

The original instructions:

1) go to www.funcom.com

2) click anywhere on the page that isn't a link.

3) type 33

4) profit?

Anyone who followed the instructions first saw a blue screen and then the text, "no signal" blinked five times before changing to "signal detected" which blinked twice before a flash image of a doorway loaded.

wahoozerman is well known for going to TSW and Funcom related webpages to examine the source code and poking around any flash or other files found on them.

February 14.

The research begins

Primal_Zed noted that the image contains the Elder Futhark alphabet and Cobrikhan pointed out the unusual shape of the Ingwaz symbol.[3]

Nemis_Unbound mentioned the 33 rune variant of Futhark, which is the Anglo-Saxon version.[4]

Image with translations

Feb 15, 2012

Many community members note that the Otael (Ethel) and Daeg runes have their positions reversed (numbers 23 and 24); XPhiler found a reference showing that this position change is not uncommon.[5]

fishi adjusted the various light levels of the image and discovered that not all the runes are the same.

makro provided the following information about the three that are different.

Thurisaz - TH = The seeing of the future.

Opening the door tor gate to see the future, luck reflection for action, protection. You will see the truth. Reversed: not willing to heed information given, having a stubborn mind-set.

Eihwaz - EI = Yew Tree

Stability, doing the right things, patient, perseverance, endurance. Decided what is the right way to get the things accomplished in your life. Cannot be reversed.

Ingwaz - NG = Fertility

Fertility of the joining of human beings, usually for new life - a pregnancy. Finish what you are doing, tie up lose ends and start something new. Cannot be reversed.

Geargoyle found similarities between the meaning of the differently shaded runes and The Fool's Journey, Act 2.

Valiah found a version of the Futhark system that uses the odd Ingwaz (NG) symbol.[6] And later provided some alternate definitions of the differently shaded runes.

Thurisaz - TH = Thorn or Giant. Oak tree. God Thor

Divinatiry meaning is usually a journey (especially across water) or conflict and the overcoming of it.

Eihwaz - EI, I, or Y = Yew Tree. God Odin

Ingwaz - NG = Can also mean home or family. Apple tree. God Ing or possibly Freyr

Sources: The book, "Norse Magic," by D. J. Conway. Rune Meanings [7] Rune Meanings, table 2[8] Additional rune meanings [9]

The possibility that this is early information about a new Funcom product was proposed as was the idea that this is how the gates of Agartha will work. Notes about the number 33 being related to Free Masons and thus the Illuminati or Templars have been made; which faction is dependent on the wikipedia links followed.

A potential wagtail, several community members felt that the sanctuary of secrets webpage has a more distinct disconnect noise, possibly the SoS is attempting to return?

Oddly shaded runes

Feb 16, 2012

Valiah worked through connecting the history of "eight" or "the eights" in relation to previous ARGs, the 33 puzzle, and the Everything is true trailer.

kenzoid, posted that the image changed between 9:30 and 10:00 PM GMT. It went from a dark room with minimal light to a semi-lighted room with 12 glowing red bars around the edge of the gate. Various squares also became a light blue color and some of the brick work became etched in a green-blue color.

The original image file was named bg_moonlight.jpg and the updated file is hlszzkpcxly_powering_up.jpg. Zakhaev decrypted "hlszzkpcxly" using a Caesar cipher with a 15 letter shift; it decrypts to "wahoozerman".

Amelia has been researching 33 in relation to the book the "Lost Symbol"; mentioned on the Kingsmouth city webpage. The 33rd page talks about an ancient portal hidden in WA D.C., the 33rd word on the 33rd page is "portal", and the 33rd chapter discusses the architecture of many of the important buildings in D.C. including the Library of Congress and the Capitol building.

A possible connection to Melissonomoi was also proposed. ThreeWayDart remembered a tweet from April of 2009 that said, "and with that, i sleep at 33."[10]

Updated image

February 17, 2012

Teri, using rune poem definitions, made comparisons between the three factions and the three oddly shaded runes.[11]

RuXx began researching bible verses with various combinations of numbers 24 and 33.

Geargoyle expanded on his theory of squaring the circle, possibly linking the runes to the Freemasons in relation to the use of the square and right angle compass symbols, which look like the use of Ingwuz on the inner circle. Xeromaru expanded on the squaring the circle theory and noticed a resemblance to the Gar rune.

Ned888 posted an explanation of the final rune of the 33 symbol alphabet and what it could have meant to the door at the time. The final rune, Gar, is not part of the aett (the term for how the runes are divided into sets and pronounced eight), instead it means spear and signifies a "not yet" signal from the universe when used in readings.[4]

Square=circle, GAR rune

February 18 - 20, 2012

Similarities between the rarely used form of the NG rune and the Khazarian Rovas script used by Varangians (mentioned in connection to The Polaris) were explained by Sire. Celladine further researched the sign, explaining that it the angled-b, one of four types of 'b' in the script.

Amelia theorized about gates and the Council of Venice. And then Valiah, using Amelia's research, added to her expanded 8's theory from February 16.

FlexXlutor provided a further list of other suspected gate locations.

Alijah further speculated about placement of other gates in relation to 33 and previous ARGs and mapped them.

February 23, 2012

Uhrm noticed that, at 9:45 PM ET (3:45 AM GMT February 24, 2012), the red lights were now pulsing and a tick-tock sound could be heard.[12] Several other posts noted the whole image pulsed; a 33 second loop, the lights going dark, and then returning to "normal".

the9thcircle found a link to Stage 1 embedded in the flash code meant to look like a button handler.[13] Ozkrael provided the link for Stage 2. Screenshots were provided by Genie_Knows_Best.[14]

Webpage access to both Stage 1 and 2 was revoked within 45 minutes.[15]

Stage 1

The man on the left is identified as Charles Darwin and has "INDEX CHARLES DARWIN 81" at the bottom of the photo.
In the center at the top is the ISBN for a book titled Pandora's Risk.
At the bottom center it says "JEWELRY STORE PROVIDENCE" and when clicked leads to a location search for Pandora Jewelry.[16]
At the far right is a boot process

Stage 2

The graph on the left is Amdahl's law.[17]
Toward the lower right it says, "SEVENTEENS UNIFIES TROY"
At the far right is a boot process

Darwin is mentioned on page 81 in Pandora's Risk. He is also index 81 in the History and Mystery Alphabetic index of subjects. Iarr found an RSS Charles Darwin which collected geologic samples at Reykjanes Ridge (57° 45'N), off the Icelandic coast.[18]

Yume pointed out a connection between the "Seventeens Unifies Troy" line with the previously tweeted line from Melissonomoi, "who truly owns Greece?"

the9thcircle noted that much of the "boot process" information came from page 138 of Essential System Administration.[19]

Stage 1
Stage 2

February 24 - March 1, 2012

Doomsinger breaks down the meaning of the "boot process" window and how many of the values are outside of normal bounds, are no longer used, or have never been used.[20] Now with theory correction.

Amelia looked for connections between Providence, R.I., H.P. Lovecraft, and maps. She pointed out that there is an "Envy" Jewelry store on Adelphi Ave which could relate back to Pandora's Box.

Jaydan explained what the Bayesian formulas, from Pandora's Risk page 81, mean (game theory). Then provided more information about the original source of the Darwin picture.

Alijah expanded on the numbers in the created boot process and revealed connections to the double Mersenne prime 2147483646.

To summarizes the value 2147483547

Overflow condition due to a missing value
Most common phone number listed on US web pages Area code = Texas
Maximum score/ money for many video games
Maximum value for Variables declared as Integer in programming languages on most common cpu's
Last date represented this way on 32 bit sytems = 1/19/2038 32 bit sytems subject to Year 2038 Problem similar to the Y2K problems a decade ago
is the eighth Mersenne prime, = 2 to the 31 power − 1
It is one of only four known double Mersenne primes.
Discovered by Marin Mersenne who was "the center of the world of science and mathematics during the first half of the 1600s."

Unsure of why the number is specifically listed. Potential reasons:

Variable (believed most probable given the nature of ARGs}
Phone number (unlikely)

The source of some of the text in the boot process images, originally mentioned by the9thcircle on the 23rd, is from the ethernet address also in the boot process (8:0:20:7:58:jk). ascdren pointed out that the 3-letter acronyms are all related to the Cray Operating System, a preversion of UNIX used to run supercomputers (thus the petabyte system). It was of interest that some areas of the boot process were drastically changed but others were untouched from the original work.

Boot process

the9thcircle posted a tool to help analyze the timing and intensity of the pulsing red bars. Yanek and Alijah both provide data (Yanak's, Alijah's) showing the pulse timing.

Jeffdog worked on the importance of the various numbers with an eye towards ciphers and conspiracies.

Light pulses

March 2

At approximately 3:15 PM GMT, community members attempting to view the gate image instead saw a dark or blank screen. Several posts described it as something being placed over the camera lens or the lights rather than substituting a black screen image for the actual gate image. At roughly 5:35 PM GMT the gate returned with a slightly changed image loading sequence. Viewers now saw the blue screen with the 5:2 signal lost/signal detected flashing text and then a black screen before the gate loaded. The red lights still pulse and flash every 33 seconds.

scarydog pointed out that 'Seventeens Unifies Troy' anagrams to 'University of Tennesse'. The university has a super-computer, Nautilus, which attempts to use Amdahl's Law to make predictions.

Alijih mentioned that the initials S.U.T. could also be a reference to System under test which "is commonly used to refer to software testing and would also correlate with Amdalh's law as a measure of multiple processors being used to process," various testing procedures.

When exploring the Pandora jewelry shop angle, scarydog noticed you can dedicate the charms/stars in the sky. The dedications are likely not related to the ARG as anyone can dedicate one.

March 3

Although there were high expectations no one reported finding any changes to the gate, the runes, the code of the page, or either of the stage websites that have been discovered so far.

Eris has proposed that instead of 3/3 it is actually 3/5 based on the number stairs (5), steps (3), and stripes (12) using the European dating system (5 March, 2012 which is read in the U.S. as March 3, 2012). AngryAngel found merit in the theory and labeled a diagram to explain it. There is a great deal of disagreement over the possible interpretations of reading the number of stones or stairs as dates.

On March 4, BudtheSlug made connections between previous ARGs.

  • There are 16 outer runes, 8 inner; 1/3 of the runes are on the inside, 33%.
  • Question about Urizen Ur-Unix system showing up in the boot log. Urizen "is the embodiment of reason and law in William Blake's writing."
  • Relations to ARGs
  • 33rd song from The Fool's Journey, Act 2 is The Rip by Portishead. The 8th song, from the last list, is Jigsaw Falling Into Place by Radiohead.
  • The 33rd line from the Everything is true trailer is "The Dark Places Are Crawling" (counting the "Now" as a line, otherwise it is "The Filth Will Corrupt Us All.)
  • If you tie that line in with the scarecrow puzzle, it leads to Grue and Anima's letters, both are "S".
  • Starting from S, he found a pattern that lead to the runes that, when pronounced spell "sock"
"Reading" the wheel

Yume removes the curtain

Over the course of two days Yume removed as much of the mystery as he was able.

On March 5, Yume posted the following:

Time to put this megathread of almost 200 pages to rest, even if I break a few ARG hearts. A little birdy (who may or may not be a wagtail) just told me the 33 puzzle isn't connected to any of the previous ARGs. Nothing to do with the Scarecrow puzzle or Tarot story or Nyte at all.
The 33 gate is a forgotten artifact from when the new TSW website was created a couple of years ago. Wahoozerman remembered, dug it up, and now the person who forgot about it is playing around with it. It might lead to something (such as open beta announcement or Ragnar getting sick from the bizarre food combinations he's eating in San Francisco); but then again, it might not lead to anything. Who knows. A little birdy doesn't know, and the big birdies don't know either (considering they've got important stuff to do, like make the best MMO ever, and eat interesting food combinations, that's understandable). The one person at Funcom who knows is experimenting in his evil underground volcano laboratory lair and laughing maniacally, but completely unaware of the confusion and frustration and tears and crying children and all the kittens getting hurt in this thread.
This doesn't mean the 33 gate is a wild wagtail chase; the mad scientist might have something up his sleeve, he just hasn't told anyone else about it. But don't get your hopes up. And please don't smash your Pandora charms, those things are expensive.
If they do want to make an ARG out of it, there are plenty of terrific ideas in this thread.

But then followed that with:

Well, the fact that the ARG went all glowy means the mad scientist is aware he's being watched. So something might come of this. Something from GDC would be nice, wink wink nudge nudge say no more.

And then to clarify with this[21]:

Ok, let's squash a few conspiracy theories. The little birdy is Nyte, who would know about any ARG shenanigans since he's been pulling the strings for them since way back in the olden days before Lyrhea was born. When Nyte says it's not an ARG, just a very naughty boy fooling around with an old website code everyone forgot about, then it's definitely not an ARG. The only one who knows if there are plans for the 33 gate is the very naughty boy fooling around with the old website code -- Lord Orion, aka the Phantom of Funcom (he operates in the shadows, and you can only hear him sing!).

Progression of the gate

The first image change occurred on February 16 between 9:30 and 10:00 PM GMT. The gate went from the original dark image to the image that has twelve red lights. The original image file was named bg_moonlight.jpg and the updated file is hlszzkpcxly_powering_up.jpg. "hlszzkpcxly" decrypts to "wahoozerman" using a Caesar cipher with a 15 letter shift.

The next change was noticed on February 24 at 3:45 AM GMT: the red lights began to increase and decrease in intensity, all of the lights in the room go dark every 33 seconds, and a tick-tock noise can now be heard in the background. A webpage link is found in the flash file code, the web-pages Stage 1 and 2 are discovered.

The most recent change occurred on March, 2 at 3:15 PM GMT when several community members reported attempting to view the image and saw a dark screen instead. At approxiamtely 5:35 PM GMT the image returned with a slightly modified loading sequence, there is now a black screen between the blue signal screen and the gate image.

Stage 1
Stage 2

Forum threads: discussion, summary & FAQ

The active discussion thread is here.

An excellent summary thread and FAQ has been supplied by Streakbreaker. The February 23, 2012 update information post can be found here.


  1. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=661914&postcount=479
  2. http://darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=661922&postcount=485
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elder_Futhark
  4. 4.0 4.1 http://www.arild-hauge.com/eanglor.htm
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elder_Futhark#The_Futhark
  6. http://www.sassafrassmusic.com/?page_id=117
  7. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-q3s1bfXOkXc/TsVo7u2UfpI/AAAAAAAAACc/uJoBIiQs3YA/s1600/RuneMeanings.jpg
  8. http://www.arild-hauge.com/efuthark.htm#2 efuthark#2
  9. http://www.sunnyway.com/runes/meanings.html
  10. https://twitter.com/#!/melissonomoi/status/1459838755
  11. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Rune_poems
  12. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=668053&postcount=2516
  13. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=668104&postcount=2555
  14. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=668134&postcount=2583
  15. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=668117&postcount=2567
  16. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=668121&postcount=2571
  17. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=668144&postcount=2589
  18. http://www.bodc.ac.uk/data/information_and_inventories/cruise_inventory/report/cd81.pdf
  19. http://books.google.com/books?id=uRW8V9QOL7YC&printsec=frontcover&dq=essential+system+administration&hl=en&sa=X&ei=oJFUT53cEqqpiQKr79i0Bg&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=essential%20system%20administration&f=false
  20. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=669776&postcount=2860
  21. http://www.darkdemonscrygaia.com/showpost.php?p=677144&postcount=106