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Monday, July 6, 2020

Mystery: Is Five Nights At Freddy's Based on a True Story?


I promised a few friends of mine last month that I would cover this story this month. Given how miserable I’ve been as of late, I figured I’d try to cheer myself up by writing about it today. In hindsight, this was a terrible idea because I want to use glass shards to brush my teeth simply looking at the title. So without further ado, let’s ask a very simple (and silly) question: is Five Nights At Freddy’s based on a true story? 



The Story


Our story begins somewhere in the timeframe I’m too lazy to look up. Look, there’s no real established date when this theory surfaced; I stumbled across it back when I was writing the entry for Slender Man (an entity whose name I’ve never been consistent with when I spell it, so feel free to kick me in the face and call me Rocky and Bullwinkle). They were in the form of videos about a guy who explored what was supposedly the real Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, but more on that later. To really start things off, let’s explain what exactly Five Nights At Freddy’s is. It’s a video game made by a man named Scott Cawthon. In the game, you play as a night guard who must survive seven nights from the animatronics that want to maul your face, chest, and no-no area because if they didn’t, the game would be a waiting simulator where you watch cameras and reenact what I do my entire waking existence because I have no friends where I live.


It’s an enthralling video game that really tests the limits some will go to to create purposeful entertainment, though I must give Scott a fair bit of credit for capturing nightmare logic in a sense that very few manage to capture it. While a lot of people blast Five Nights At Freddy’s for not having an engagement or life to it, I actually think a game where the inevitable jumpscare is always lurking and you cannot run from it without closing the game is a rather brilliant idea. It’s just a shame that the game’s existence is based around monotony rather than actual gameplay. Though I guess that would defeat the purpose of the nightmare logic.


Whatever your view on the game is, Scott’s idea catapulted him into the limelight and it spawned several sequels, landed him a movie deal at Warner Bros. (which later got handed off to Blumhouse; rumor has it that the script Warner had was later repurposed into the Banana Splits film), and a plethora of other things that make me question why I write on a blog rather than designing $2.00 games for the Google App store.


This game’s legacy has been insurmountable and birthed a great deal of YouTube content where grown men had cameras capture their reaction while jumpscares occurred so pre-teens and teens could laugh as they screamed like Steven Tyler when he’s constipated. Meanwhile, I lay on my bed writing these words wondering where I went wrong in life.


Because I’m incapable of ever figuring out where I went wrong in life (though I bet it has to do with me being incapable of functioning when there’s more than one person in a room with me), I’ll instead try to decide on how to describe this theory in a manner that isn’t up to my other write-ups and instead will be me freeballing it like I always do. Only now, I’m about one thousand times more sardonic and cynical because of how miserable I’ve been.


Anyways, our story today posits that the events described in the Five Nights series (though I’m not sure if every game counts) were real events that Scott either stumbled across, remembered, or had insider information on. Whatever the case may be, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria is (or was) a real place and the legendary Bite of ‘83 (or ‘87, I’ve never played the games personally and I can’t for the life of me figure out which is real and which isn’t real) happened. Even animatronics need to eat too—especially those possessed by the spirits of murdered children. This sounds like a concept for an anime that I’d never watch, but would definitely look up questionable images of in order to sate the demons inside of me. Someone call Dan Reynolds, I’ve stolen his greatest song ever. Imagine that.


Imagine what?


Be quiet and let’s continue.


The first thing I’d like to do is go over to a YouTube channel by the name of Jaymz Butler. It’s a moderately successful channel from the looks of it having amassed a total of 56.9k subscribers (though they had a 3-year-long hiatus that ended only a month ago). I digress, what I want to focus on are the two videos I mentioned at the start of this write-up. Here they are below.




Allow me to summarize the videos above for those who don’t care to watch them. Jaymz and another individual went into an abandoned pizzeria and did things I wish I had the courage to do because if I step outside of my home, I’ll be arrested for first degree social invasion. He then posted it to YouTube and said it was really Freddy’s Pizzeria of Face Devouring and people believed it. Money was made from ad revenue and I’m sitting here wondering why I don’t draw a smile on my face and say that I’m Jeff the Killer’s ugly twin.


Luckily, I have more self respect than to do something like that (though I’m not opposed to living in the woods, going feral, and then scaring people because I’m about as thin and hideous as the Rake), so let’s instead continue.


To be 100% serious: the content of the videos isn’t anything exactly groundbreaking, though commenters seem to either believe it to be legitimate or are playing along for fun in believing it to be the real Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. Whether or not Jaymz believes it to be real is something I’m unable to determine, though I’d put money on him having simply gone to an abandoned building, placed some props in there, then filmed it for entertainment purposes. His videos appear to largely be centered around creepypastas and while Five Nights At Freddy’s is a horror franchise, it’s bled into the creepypasta community the same way that Slender Man has (originally, Slender Man was a creation for a Something Awful contest, but he quickly bled into the community and became a staple of it). Of course, I could be wrong and Jaymz may believe it to be legitimate because a prankster placed the props there or the building was a pizzeria that happened to have similar mascots to that of Freddy Fazbear and his friends.


Jaymz isn’t the only one to have allegedly found the real Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. There are a few other channels that have made videos about finding the infamous pizzeria. A YouTube channel named “billschannel”, which has 2.5 million subscribers, made the video below. It was uploaded on May 23, 2020..



While far from the most convincing piece of evidence (if I’m to be kind about it), the video attracted enough attention that its like-to-dislike ratio is ridiculously high; 23,709 likes to a mere 1,300 dislikes at the time of this writing. As for the content of the video, it merely shows a very obvious person in a Springtrap costume. For those who don’t know: Springtrap is a character that appears in the third Five Nights At Freddy’s game.



Moving on, another YouTuber—this one with the channel name of Jensen Grinnell—claims that he found the pizzeria. His video is below and is more or less just him going to the supposed pizzeria. It’s far from the most exciting thing on the planet, but his video attracted a decent bit of attention. The comments are also disabled, which leads me to suspect either he didn’t want to potentially be called out for faking it or he was being harassed by YouTube’s lovely commenters.



In yet another YouTube video—or rather, two YouTube videos—a channel by the name of D Sea allegedly found the pizzeria. Both videos are short and there’s a remarkably large amount of views for the second video (which amassed 3.5 million videos as opposed to the 350k the first one did). You can view both below.




Much like the videos made by Jaymz, I’m inclined to suspect the “discoveries” were simply props made by D Sea, but I don’t want to debunk what I cannot prove. Though given the first video states that D Sea will remake the animatronic if the video reached 100 views (a promise which he seems to have upheld), I’m inclined to suspect it wasn’t real. Oh well, you make up your own mind.


Continuing onward, and to round things out, we have a rather silly video from the channel ViralTop7TH. It’s simply a top five list of the times that Freddy Fazbear has been caught on camera. It’s by and large just a bunch of silly and really obviously fake videos of the titular character being seen out in the world. If I’m to be honest, I love videos like this because it shows a more endearing side to fandoms and YouTube as a whole. Seeing people buy into videos like that makes me smile, though I think when people get hyper defensive when someone says it’s fake, I realize that my love for videos like that is probably misplaced. Oh well, I digress. There are some other videos like that, but those are seven I picked based on their content and length. Beyond that, there’s very little to go off of in the way of proving this theory as real, let alone finding an origin to where it began (though if I had to hazard a guess, it was probably a random post on 4chan or a website like it, such as Reddit).



Given that the videos were more or less a deadend for me in the way of information into this theory, I was forced to do the oh-so difficult task of Googling about if Five Nights At Freddy’s was at all real. Naturally, I was given the resounding answer of “No” by nearly everything I saw. It was actually rather interesting how many people had asked if it was real, though I guess the obvious similarities between Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria and the soon-to-be defunct Chuck-E-Cheese pizzeria chain would lead some to believe that Scott Cawthon had a bit of inspiration from a horrific tragedy that occurred at the latter at some point in time.


Where things got interesting, and ultimately where my search ended due to a crippling lack of information on this theory as a whole, was a 4chan thread. It surrounded the idea that the games were based on real events and that there was a cover up to prevent the truth about the games from coming to light. Exactly who was behind this cover up is a bit vague; some say Scott was the one who hid it while others say it was a combination of Scott and an unknown party that worked with him to muddy the waters. With that said though, let’s go over what the thread says—not that it’s a whole lot.


The OP states they want to go onto the Dark Web to find out the truth behind Five Nights At Freddy’s and some other users play along (though I have a strange feeling that at least one person likely believed them solely based on my experiences with being on /x/). The OP posts some rather flimsy evidence pointing to the idea that the pizzeria is—or at least was—real. One example is this supposed pizzeria sign that’s allegedly located in Warsaw, Poland. Here are the two images posted in the thread.




I’m not sure if it’s common for countries in Europe—let alone anywhere else in the world—to have English signs (though here in the states, or at least New York, some have Spanish), but it’s extremely likely that this sign was edited. With that said, reverse image searching doesn’t give me anything, save for one result on Pinterest (a website I absolutely loathe).


Another photograph in the thread is this one. In it, we can see what looks like Freddy Fazbear outside with a child near him. Take a gander.



Personally, I think it looks more like a costume than an animatronic. While one can argue that Scott wanted to add a bit of creepiness to the games by having the mascots be mechanical rather than costumes, I find it to be a really peculiar change if he wanted to base the games off of a covered up event. Though perhaps that’s just me. Moving on though, there’s a very weird comparison that the OP made to another pizzeria. Here was the post they made.


The deep wed has archives... archives I need.


There was another video on youtube dated 2012, with Freddy Fazbear in the title... it is also gone.


This is a side by side comparison to Freddy Fazbear & OD McGee which is a verifiable pizza place/arcade that was around in 1977 in St.George Utah....


Also ... there's was a place in in St.George with pirate animatronics called Pirate's Cove.


I cannot verify if this is real, but here are the two pictures the OP provided. They also claim that OD McGee resembles Freddy. See below.



Personally, I don’t really see it (though the ears are somewhat similar, but there are a plethora of similar cartoonishly silly characters one can compare them to, such as the MAD Magazine mascot).


As for Pirate Cove, here’s an image of the sign outside the pizzeria. It is—or perhaps was—real, so that much I can at least confirm.



Arguably the most interesting piece of evidence in the thread is this newspaper clipping. Take a gander.




I cannot verify if this is at all real, but it’s surprisingly interesting and very compelling to a degree. However, it does raise some serious questions about the veracity to how the animatronics would’ve functioned. Unless someone operating them had, say, a seizure, or was a psychopath, I question how anything bad could’ve happened. Presumably, stopping them would’ve been as simple as taking whatever was being used to transmit brainwaves to the animatronic for them to function. At the same time though, I can’t find anything related to the man described in the paper, let alone his proposal. Oh well, whatever the case, here’s what the OP said about this.

Ya know I know he's desperate to bury this and act like this is something he dreamed up on his own... Ya know... LIE


and memory hole the truth...


But I think it's real damn funny ya know...


that right around 1977 when Freddy Fazbear's Pizza was supposedly founded...


There was a Hurricane Utah youth who won the local science fair for his work on "Control of artificial limbs by brain waves"


I’m unsure of the connection to Hurricane, Utah, but it would seem a novel mentions it. Given how hit-and-miss certain tie-in books can be with franchises, I can’t verify if the book[s] are canon (and while some may call it lazy on my part, I have zero desire to spend money on a book related to a franchise I don’t play, let alone follow). I apologize to the three people who care enough about my work that find that to be unprofessional.


The rest of the thread is by and large standard /x/ banter about various things that can be filed under “schizophrenics in serious need of lithium” (though I’m not one to talk given I think the Akashic Records are real). So given that that’s out of the way, what other proof—let alone material—is there related to this theory? Well, aside from the pizzeria that bears the name “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria”, which doesn’t have the Freddy Fazbear that we’d expect to see, there’s nothing. That leads us to ponder the exact motivation to this theory; is it just a fan theory that MatPat would make a 45-minute-long video about where he meanders more than I do when I write or is there something more sinister to this all? Well, I can’t prove either (though I do believe MatPat has made enough videos on Five Nights At Freddy’s to warrant its own DVD compilation), but what I can say is that this is where the story to this theory ends.


Yeah, rather anticlimactic, but had it not been for me callously saying that I would cover this story this month, I would’ve relegated it to an April Fool’s Joke in the future so I could have something really silly to post (well, assuming I ever bothered to post consistently). Though given my friends hold me to standards the likes of which would make David Fincher call an exterminator to remove me from the general premises of this plane of existence, I’m instead forced to write about living video game characters. So with that: the concept of Five Nights At Freddy’s being real comes to an end—not unlike Chuck-E-Cheese. So now move onto the theories.


Theories


1. It’s real


Like a flash screamer at the end of a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas myths and legends video from 2009, our first theory comes out as expected and shows itself to be the norm: Five Nights At Freddy’s is, in fact, real. What evidence is there to support such a fantastical theory? Well, that’s something that requires us to look at this theory from the lens of an impressionable teen.


First, we must enter the mind of someone between the ages of 10 and 15. We must then explain to Chris Hansen why we’ve done this and appear on Dateline NBC. Once we’ve explained to the judge that it was purely psychological in nature and have escaped the public humiliation taskforce that is Twitter, we can resume our experiment. Now that we’ve regressed mentally to thinking that Twilight is decently written (man, that’s an old joke), we can now imagine a world where animatronics can come to life and rip our faces off and use them as bathing cloths. Edgy.


In this world, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria is as real as my hangnail and self-loathing personality. Indeed, the notorious Bite of ‘83 (or the Bite of ‘87, I still don’t know which it is and I refuse to research this before I end up jumpscaring myself into the netherrealm) is real and we’re all doomed to be bitten by an animatronic bear, chicken, and whatever the heck Bonnie is. Okay, enough sardonic wording: given that we’re playing the role of a teen, we’re impressionable. This means that the words of those older than us—or at least those we perceive as being wiser—have more of an impact on us. This is one reason a lot of teens tend to idolize celebrities. They’re in positions where their word means more than that of someone who’s their own age. While this doesn’t apply to every teenager out there, most—while rebellious—still seek out the admiration (or respect) of those older than them. They’ll toe the line for those they respect or admire in the hopes that senpai will notice them (a terribly drawn uwu meme should go here).


With this in mind, we can now look at those videos we saw earlier and see a semblance of logic to them. While it may seem really insipid to even contemplate making videos that showcase a supposedly real Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, a teen is likely to believe the concept if you present it in a manner that’s realistic enough. A lack of polish, a shaky camera, and a generally messy appearance is usually enough to fool someone who’s impressionable enough. Heck, I’ve done it to friends of my own who’re still decently young-ish (Chris Hansen, go away, they’re friends of friends). Tell them that you’ve been bitten by a pitbull with two heads and odds are, they’ll believe you. Crazy, no? Maybe to those that are older, but if you tell a young person, they’ll likely be taken aback for a moment before the statement settles in.


Now as for the supposed evidence I found on 4chan, I’d like to remind everyone that it’s 4chan. While I do often go there for material, that doesn’t immediately mean that I will take everything said there as fact. At the end of the day, a lot of what’s posted on there has to be taken with a grain of salt or two; that grain of salt being the size of the Milky Way. Any Joe Schmo can photo manipulate any sort of image. If you have two brain cells you can rub together, you can digitally edit anything. That could be changing President Obama to look like Frankenstein’s monster or to make me look like El Chupacabra. Likewise, you can change a pizzeria’s sign to look like it belongs to Freddy Fazbear’s Funhouse of Federal Funness.


My point is: this theory isn’t exactly what’s advertised on box (or on the screen rather). The statement that the games are in fact real isn’t meant to be taken at face value. Rather, the only way the theory works is if you’re either fairly young or extraordinarily gullible. Because of this, the only way this’ll ever work is if you use my two-headed pitbull example. If you believe such a concept to be real, then this theory is likely right up your alley. If you laugh and think that it’s idiotic that such a thing can be real, I would say that you’re perfectly within the realms of reality to go outside and get arrested for not social distancing.

Then you can be thrown to the three-headed pitbulls.


2. It’s just a game


The second and final theory is that the Five Nights At Freddy’s games are just that: games. A creation of a man who was down on his luck, took criticism of his old games being unintentionally creepy, and made a phenomenon that proved to be as successful as it is polarizing.


This theory posits that this theory is merely one from the minds of young fans of the game that wish to place what they love into the real world; that the obsessive love for Five Nights At Freddy’s has led them to suspect that the games are, in fact, based on (or at least inspired by) a true story. This love for the series has led some content creators on platforms such as YouTube to explore abandoned locations that they claim to be Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. We saw a few examples above and I’m sure there are more of them out there that I was unable to find.


Now, don’t get me wrong: pre-teens and teens are known for saying that a lot of things are real and will claim that the things they find online are proof that whatever it is they found is real. It’s nothing exactly revolutionary; it’s just a part of growing up. Given how popular the Five Nights At Freddy’s games are, claims of it being real are bound to happen. The content that’s created by various YouTubers merely feeds that belief that it’s real. Heck, if I had the courage to so much as step outside of my house for more than 5 minutes a day, I would probably go into the forest and see if I could find Bigfoot. Of course, all I’ve ever found was a mound of dirt with stones over it. I think it was a grave, but y’know. I did what any sensible person would do and stepped on it; dancing like a dipstick for my so-called childhood friends.

In hindsight, maybe that’s why I have such bad luck.


Ah well, I digress. My ultimate point is that the world we live in, and with the easy accessibility of the Internet, allows for rumors like the one we’ve discussed in this write-up to flourish. That’s what fuels this theory through and through—at least if you subscribe to it. With that said, the theories section is done, so let’s move onto my own personal take.


My Take


Listen, I get that some folks enjoy a good hypothetical scenario in which a work of escapist entertainment is in fact real, but the notion that something such as Five Nights At Freddy’s could be real is as absurd as me being a Fleshgait with a crack pipe for a nose. Or, in simpler terms: I believe it to be complete and total nonsense and that such a theory is absolutely ludicrous.


Let’s start off with the most basic flaw with this theory. Killer animatronics that come to life at night. While I’m a firm believer in the paranormal (whether it be ghosts, demons, or me having self-esteem), I’ll forever have a very strict boundary that a story cannot cross. Possession is something I’ve become increasingly skeptical of, though I’m sure there are some stories out there that can and inevitably will make me raise an eyebrow to the possibility of it being real. With that said, the idea of animatronics being haunted by children that come to life at night and go ballistic on anything that dares to have flesh instead of pizza stains is astronomically goofy to perceive as being realistic. Though this raises a peculiar question that I’ve never seen addressed anywhere. If the animatronics attack living creatures, does that mean rodents and other pests are mutilated by them? If so, that’s the greatest extermination service I could imagine.

On the downside, it’d be a nightmare to explain about the mutilated corpse of a burglar to the Channel 7 Action News crew.


Oh well, no big deal. The second grievance I have is simply that these animatronics vanished after some unknown period in time. I’ve heard claims that if you destroy the anchor a spirit has to this world, it will be forced to go away (though in some cases, it’s said that it will merely anger them more or they’ll be free to go elsewhere). So in that regard, I can understand why the pizzeria wouldn’t be haunted. This does raise a question though: if the animatronics were destroyed, why weren’t they destroyed sooner and why weren’t new ones commissioned? Perhaps that’s a lore-based question for those who’ve studied Five Nights At Freddy’s like I study rumors surrounding Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut, though it seems like it’d be a glaring hole in the theory as a whole. If it was discovered that animatronics were coming to life at night and wreaking havoc on the two 18-year-old security guards trying to pay for their college tuitions, forcing them to quit after 10 minutes (at the most), and thus causing Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria to have a turnover rate 900,000% higher than Team Bondi’s L.A. Noire development team, I think the owner[s] of the pizzeria would take one look at the animatronics and turn them into Gene Ray’s Time Cube.


That mouthful now done, the third grievance I have is that there’s no records of such a location having existed. Some can argue that it was expunged from any and all records like a CIA blacksite. Though if that’s the case, why doesn’t this happen more often with other locations where awful things happen? I mean, exactly who would want such a thing covered up? I don’t think the CIA or United States Government would be too keen on wasting resources to cover up that an animatronic malfunctioned, bit off most of the frontal lobe of a child’s head, and then came to life at night and tried to murder a nightguard. Then again, it’s not the biggest waste of money or time the government could be blamed for, let alone the CIA (I’m looking at you, Bay of Pigs Invasion).


Ahem, anyways, the fourth and final grievance that I think is worth mentioning is an addendum of sorts to the previous one. If the event was real, but expunged, why didn’t they tear the building down? Exactly why would they keep it up if they don’t want it to ever be known or remembered? And above all else: why on Earth would they let some no-name game developer create a game based off of it? This reminds me a lot of how people say the CIA kills anyone who looks into their shady doings, yet they let Oliver Stone live. However, at the same time, they totally had Jeffrey Epstein murdered.


I didn’t realize the CIA was bipolar in how efficient it is as an agency. I sure hope they never end up malfunctioning when we need them to help us against aliens who install Trojan Horse viruses into our lolicon folders!


Oh well, I digress (though I honestly don’t want to because it’s quite fun being snarky). To round things off, I would like to take a moment to make a top ten list of things I believe are more likely than Five Nights At Freddy’s being real.


#10: Jason Vorehees


#9: Robert F. Kennedy being a lizard


#8: James Dean being alive


#7: Nibiru


#6: Zebra-kangaroo hybrids


#5: J. Edgar Hoover’s soul


#4: Steve Hoffman’s leadership skills


#3: My writing talent


#2: David Cage’s writing talent


#1: The CIA not being corrupt


Conclusion


I get that this story is likely fueled by nothing more than teenage fans being teenage fans; gullible, developing minds being influenced by scary videos recorded at 3:00 A.M. that they perceive as being real. Though the idea that a man who was down on his luck somehow stumbled across a grandiose story of haunted animatronics that killed people at night is insane at best and worthy of extreme ridicule at worst.


Despite that, I must concede there is a certain charm within that nonsense. The innocence of young fans thinking of creative (if rather confounding) theories makes me smile. Though at the same time, I wish they would use that creativity for original fiction as opposed to saying that Foxy is a good mechanical lad who doesn’t want to rip my face off and turn me into a crucified wall decoration. Oh well, that is but my humble view on this story. What’s yours? Let me know in the comments below and all of that other stuff YouTubers say when their videos end. Until next time: stay happy, stay safe, and social distance from haunted animatronics.

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