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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Decemystery (2019) 10: Cameraheads

A camera for a head. A Camerahead.
This story was originally set to be covered this past Wednesday, then this past Saturday. However, due to me being a bit on the lazy side, I opted to push it back a fair bit. Luckily, I’ve finally gotten to it!

Let’s go back to the Conspiracy Iceberg and head down to Tier 6. There are quite a few stories in this tier that I would like to one day go over. However, rather than mull over that, let’s get straight to the fun. Today’s pick is Cameraheads.

Big Brothers Are Watching: The Mystery of Cameraheads

This story is very easy to explain. It ties into the allegations and claims of government surveillance, spying, and invasion of privacy. These claims are actually based in reality. If you’ve ever heard of Edward Snowden, then odds are you know what the NSA is and that they've spied on Americans in what’s considered a terrifying overreach of power.

Cameraheads, however, takes things one step further. This theory—which originates from 4chan—posits that there are some people that walk among us who are, for lack of a better way to put it, “cyborgs”. Or, as one person (whose posts I cannot find, only one individual who’s paraphrasing them) put it, an “NPC”.

Whether you call them cyborgs or NPCs, the idea is all the same. These people have had a camera—or transmitter—implanted into their eye that’s attached to the inner nerves of their eyes. As such, they’re unwitting walking surveillance drones for the government. Should we go by the person who claims they’re NPCs, they also lack legitimate consciousness, instead acting as something closer to an empty shell or a husk.

Hence the name: Cameraheads. Their heads are more akin to cameras. As for what purpose this is carried for, the idea isn’t explained—or at least I cannot find a reason one. Posts on where exactly theory stems from isn’t clear and the purpose for an operation such as this isn’t given. One can only guess, though given how government inevitably devolves into authoritarianism, one can guess that this is merely a byproduct of that.

Had that been where things ended, I wouldn’t have bothered with this story. Government surveillance theories and stories are a dime a dozen nowadays. However, there’s a second theory, one with a bit more information, that is tied to Cameraheads. It relates to a piece of Internet culture that I’m sure most of us are familiar with. Let’s take a look.

Progenitor: The Mystery of Camerahead

This story goes by three names. The first you can see in the header, the second is the same as the original story—Cameraheads—while the third is The Camera Head. For the sake of differentiating it from the original theory, I’ll be referring to it as Camerahead.

Anyways, Camerahead was supposedly one of the first creepypastas ever made and was a very obscure ARG that originated from 4chan's /x/ board. There are a fair number more posts that cover this version of the story, so there’s a bit more information on what this story was.

Allegedly, Camerahead was a very old creepypasta that centered on a guy who discovered a backpack that held several documents, books, and photographs. There was also a note that read: “I killed a Camerahead.” Nearby, there were signs of a struggle and a camera that had been destroyed. From here, the story tells of a man who descends into insanity thanks to these “Cameraheads” that begin to seep into his life and stalk him.

The ARG angle to this story comes in the form of the various photographs and documents that were used. This allowed readers to partake in the adventure with the main character as he descends into madness as he researched these Cameraheads in an attempt to discover who—or what—they are.

Described as being similar in nature to the SCP Foundation (with some saying that the story actually served as the inspiration for the creation of the Foundation itself), Camerahead was for the longest time the one and only creepypasta that resided on the /x/ board’s Wiki. It also spawned numerous threads on the /x/ board itself, being something of a phenomenon among the community. However, as time went on, the story was largely forgotten and likewise, so to did the Wiki. Eventually, the story was removed and the Wiki itself would rebrand and rename itself Akashic Records/Prelucid Sanctuary. Although the site itself is still up, a large amount of content—including Camerahead—was lost.

There have been attempts to find the story through various means. There was a photograph that was discovered via the Wayback Machine, I’ve not been able to find this photo, though one user posted this image. I’m doubtful this is it, but enjoy.

With that, the story of Camerahead comes to end. Let’s move onto the theories section and discover what people have theorized about this strange little tale.


1. It’s a government operation

First up: the first version of events is correct and the government is really implanting cameras into unsuspecting Americans (whether or not other countries are doing the same thing is unclear, but it’s likely they are). As for evidence, there isn’t any readily available, but one can plausibly suspect that it’s been covered up. After all, they would want us to think that there’s nothing fishy going on, right?

2. It’s a long lost creepypasta

The second theory is, shock of all shocks, that the story is indeed a story about a long lost creepypasta/ARG. Evidence for this comes in the form of a more or less consistent opening and the fact that so many people remember the story. Beyond that however, nothing has been found and we only have the memories of people who remember the story/threads from years ago. If anyone read the story I posted of the “Quote From Nowhere”, you know that memory is a fickle thing.

3. It’s nothing

Supposed lost Creepypasta from the time creepypastas were just becoming a thing. I tend to doubt it ever existed seeing as no one can even provide a brief synopsis of what the story entailed.

That statement is from one user on 4chan.

This theory states that the Cameraheads story is neither a secret government operation or a creepypasta/ARG. Rather, Cameraheads is a lot like the story of Golf Rumors: something made up in order to mess with people. As such, theories are born through people trying to remember exactly what it was and they take on a life of their own.

Evidence for this particular theory stems primarily from the lack of any threads featuring the supposed creepypasta/ARG and the complete and total lack of anything to back up the government operation theory. The latter is, admittedly, something that would be extraordinarily difficult to provide evidence for. While government surveillance is a real thing and is now more of an open secret than something insidious that only “crackpot conspiracy theorists” spout, proving that the government implant chips into the nerves of your eyes to make you into a walking surveillance drone is something that would be nearly impossible to prove.

Normally, this would be where the theories end. However, there’s one more theory and it's the one where the idea of a Camerahead becomes literal.

4. It’s a reference to the Rockstar game Manhunt

If I’m to be 100% honest, even if the story had ended with the original story, I would’ve still covered this story. The reason being this theory.

In November of 2003 (November 18th to be exact), Rockstar Games—the studio behind the massively successful Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead franchises—released a stealth game called Manhunt. The game, much like the two aforementioned franchises (the former more so than the latter), was highly controversial. Gory and extremely visceral, Manhunt saw you play as James Earl Cash (named after James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr.), a death row inmate who’s freed and thrown into the middle of a city where he must survive against various gangs.

The game was a success in spite of the controversy and spawned a sequel that was released in 2007. Since then however, there hasn’t been anything released in the way of entries and the series is stagnant.

As is the case with any video game, ideas didn’t make it into the final product. One of these ideas was a gang called the “Camheds”.

This was what I initially thought of when I read the name “Cameraheads”. I love to read about what didn’t make into video games and the Camheds were something that struck me as quite cool looking. According to the Manhunt Wiki, members of the Camheds would’ve been dressed in business suits—a stark contrast from the other enemies whose attire consisted of jeans, boots, torn up shirts, and tank tops. Topping things off: the Camheds had actual cameras for heads. Here’s some concept art of them.

Whether they would have been robots or something else isn’t known, but they likely would’ve stalked Cash as he committed the various murders against those hunting him. It’s also possible that the cameras would have simply been masks. Either way, the reason they were likely cut from the game was thanks to them being too outlandish for a game. Manhunt is often said to share the same universe as Grand Theft Auto and given its visceral, gritty, and realistic tone, it’s likely Rockstar saw them as being a jarring shift from the enemies that were clearly human and not something that looked robotic.

To some, the story of the so-called Cameraheads is merely something spawned from this unused idea for a video game. The idea may have been that someone saw the idea, created a troll utilizing it, and then it took a life of its own, just as Golf Rumors did. Nothing more, nothing less.

My Take

Archive sites weren’t as big as they are nowadays. As such, I lean towards Cameraheads having been a creepypasta that was lost to time. The way that 4chan operates, with threads being deleted after a certain number of posts or inactivity, leads me to suspect that the story was “real”, but the threads weren’t archived. As such, they’re now either on someone’s computer unbeknownst to them, or they’re gone forever.

As for the idea of the government operation: I’m highly skeptical that such a thing is even possible. Even then, I doubt that the government would be competent enough to turn unwilling people into soulless cyborgs

On one final note: I’m amazed I didn’t find any theories that tied this all into the Hellraiser franchise. There’s a character named Camerahead that was in the third film. Guess nobody likes Clive Barker stories.


The Conspiracy Iceberg is something I find fascinating. Even though the stories themselves are, more often than not, nonsense, the number of possibilities and theories proposed by people is quite surprising. While I think the answer to the Cameraheads story is more mundane than some may claim it to be, it’s quite fascinating to see people propose ideas related to it. Next time we revisit the Iceberg though, we’ll be looking at a conspiracy related to a cryptid.

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