I’m leaving this because it is officially over.
Zalgo was originally created in 1998 as a Super Hoax/get rich quick scheme titled “Bawaji” by now defunct short-film studio Zeke and Ralph Productions (ZNR) in Portland, OR. The proprietors of ZNR, Robb and Nolan (last names witheld- Im sure you’ll understand why) had originally decided on a UFO hoax but, later deciding UFO’s were real, thought a more plausible hoax would be something leading to the end of the world hysteria surrounding 2000 and the Y2K. We were going to create and sell a product that “offered nothing, did nothing, promised everything and cost a fortune”. Thus Bawaji was born. Unfortunately no one could spell it right so we had to change the name.
What we needed was a product that sold exclusively from word of mouth and had nothing to do with elegant code, shiny finishes, solid workmanship or quality merchandise- we needed mass praise for having done nothing and we needed referrals. We used to define the referral process as “That hive-minded zombie algorithm that sensible people have deep embedded in their psyche which allows them to abandon research and logic for the ease of simply taking someone else’s word for it”.
Then we got jobs and raises and promotions at our real places of business and Bawaji/ZAlgo got put on the back burner.
Until late 2003, 2004.
As the internet became an entity more closely resembling what it is today we started working on Bawaji/ZAlgo as a hoax simply to mess with people more than anything else. There was no longer the Get Rich Quick angle because we couldn’t imagine how to actually do that without going to jail. We decided that religious cults are always fun and had set out to play at starting one based around the internet as an living entity and some darker overtones.
Our original idea was to found a cult based on Christian principles but later deduced that most Christianity-based cults go horribly wrong and usually end up with the leaders dead or in jail so we figured why not start with a doomsday cult and expect that it will go horribly right?
What we really needed, however, was more time and a clear deadline. Our original plans for Bawaji only gave us less than two years between the day we had the idea and 01.01.2000, not nearly enough time. What we figured- using Jim Jones, David Koresh and Heavens Gate as templates- was about a decade and the then-obscure Mayan Baktun calendar year 2012 was close enough as anything was going to get.
We decided on the date 4.04.2012 for three reasons- 12.21.2012 was taken, 2012 was as good a year as any and 404 was a popular number on the internet and the numerologist conspiracy theory nutjobs would have a field day with it.
Now all we needed was a deity. Originally going back to the intended marks as being “hive-minded zombie alorythm” types we decided a good deity name would be ZAlgo. (The “hive-minded zombie algorithm” was shortened to ZAlgo, as you may have seen it on the ’net.) We used a lot of typical “He Who Waits Behind the Wall” (referring to the mythical locked gate in Jerusalem that, when breached, will begin the End Of Days juxtaposed against Stephen Kings He who Walks Between The Rows from Children of the Corn) and “will sing the last song at the dying of the earth” which was inevitably shortened to “sings the last song of earth” which was plucked from Norse mythology. Those guys sang of EVERYTHING. Believe it or not some of the other stuff surrounding Zalgo we had nothing to do with at all. It did pick up a certain amount of its own steam for a while.
But to sell it all we had to do was say H.P. Lovecraft had written of ZAlgo.
Of course he hadnt. Ever. In none of his works has Lovecraft ever referenced anything named ZAlgo. We expected to get called out on that first and had even considered spreading internet rumors about a lost Lovecraft short story or letter or something but then “it must be true- I read it on the internet” took over so we just didnt pursue that.
Thus ZAlgo was born (admittedly without the capitalized “A”) and he was to be the Bringer Of Chaos- neither good nor bad. He just WAS. Or was NOT as it evolved.
The first logical dropping off point for Zalgo was the internet bulletin boards because those kids will buy into anything. We expanded on ideas by Marilyn Manson of bringing hopeless disillusioned nobodies into the mix because they have an infinite amount of collective income and no common sense to spend it on but more so because they are an un-leadable group starving for a leader. Add to it the Anonymous freedom provided by the web and the kids like you find on 4chan’s /b/tards rosters and you get an army of pliable minds wiling to disrupt and spam and create repetitive chaos simply because they have little else to do with their time.
ZAlgo was a forced meme before we even knew what a forced meme was.
Its important to point out that ZAlgo never originally was intended to be a “he” at all. ZAlgo just was, or was not, hence the black tendrils. I originally defined ZAlgo as “simply encroaching darkness” and had mentioned that if it could be seen then it would look kinda like Spiderman’s nemesis Venom and had drawn a quick representation on the funnies page during a rather dull sales meeting with a black Pilot G-2 gel-roller pen. Basically it was Venom kiling Ziggy… damn I hate Ziggy. I still have that cutout from a paper in 2003.
The rest is history, I suppose. The cult never even got close to getting started, the meme as it would be called today is dying out and the /b/tards are tired of the reference. Even Wikipedia wont carry the page anymore and google searches are all but nonexistent.
And we never made a dime from it.
Now, I don't know if this story is bullshit, and I don't care. However, I do think that this is prime territory for us to MAKE more bullshit, and spread the air of confusion. Anyone who googles Zalgo gets little more than 'it's a weird thing that appeared on the internet' and a few dozen of the signature Zalgo-shoops of popular comics. As far as I know, "Zalgo" appeared out of practically nowhere.
So I suggest that we create a handful of alternative origin stories for the Zalgo phenomenon. They should clearly differ from the story quoted above, and from each other. The stories will then be spread around, with the intent of generating confusion and disagreement.
Discuss, and start writing!