A story is told through a log, diary, or journal that a character used to document their activities and progress through the backstory before something bad happened to its writer. A staple of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction to explain to the cast how the world ended up the way it is, it can also be used as a handy way to fill in heroes who arrive Late to the Tragedy, and one of the first (or last) things that a "rescue" party answering a Distress Call will find.
You can expect that whoever made this log will have recorded events up until their last breath. If the heroes (and thus the audience) choose to read this log from the beginning, the log will no doubt start and progress the same way, with hopeful characters recording the casual details of their lives and work, until things start going sideways and the entries shift towards concern, disbelief, desperation and/or (ultimately) insanity. The final and usually the most important entry may range from incoherent gibberish as the remaining character tries to warn the world of what happened to them, to a final cogent statement warning the reader not to repeat their mistake (or how to otherwise clean up after them).
This log can be written or recorded in a variety of ways; if it's a video log, the downhill progress of the situation will be punctuated visually, e.g. degradation in the appearance of the character, their surroundings, or even the video itself. Bonus points if a video log's final entry shows the character ultimately succumbing to whatever horror took over. Grand prize if it's a written log that somehow still records the author's final dying moments.
Depending on the timeframe and nature of the apocalyptic event, the log may have gone through Ragnarök Proofing in order to be legibly retrieved by the heroes.
See also Lost in Transmission, Distress Call, Late to the Tragedy, Action Survivor, Almost Dead Guy, Harbinger of Impending Doom, Send in the Search Team, Ignored Expert, Undead Author, Posthumous Character, Posthumous Narration, That Was the Last Entry. See also Video Will, the various times when the Cassette Craze applies to disappearances, and some of the less pleasant cases of Message in a Bottle. Found Footage Films are movies that use this as their framing device. Deadline News is a related trope where the very bad thing happens to the TV news crew reporting live on it; Unintentional Final Message is another related trope where the doomed sender doesn't know they're about to die.
Not to be confused with Post-Apocalyptic Dog, or the apocalyptic Loge from Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung, or with the Captain's Log, or with the result of consuming a Masochist's Meal with a Gargle Blaster. Occasionally overlaps with Blood-Stained Letter.
- Attack on Titan features one in the side-story "Ilse's Notebook" — about the titular Ilse Langner, a woman from the Survey Corps who religiously documented her activities and findings in a journal. Even as she's running for her life, she continues to write and she only stops when she's devoured by a Titan. It ends up being found a year later by Levi and Hange, and contains information that proves vital to the story later on. It reveals Ymir to be a person significantly connected to the Titans, but also provides the first hints that Titans may have very sinister and human origins...
- Two are discovered in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet:
- The first is in an OVA, when the Gargantia fleet stumbles upon a giant derelict fleet that's apparently been abandoned and rusting away for quite some time. Based on the captain's logbook Ridget finds, along with some detective work from Pinion in the engine room, some light bugs crystallized the main engine, rendering it useless, and forcing the survivors to get on smaller ships and sail away. It also gives Ridget some closure as a Flash Back of seven years earlier reveals her friend left Gargantia to go with a guy she met on this particular fleet, and she had been wondering what happened to them since then.
- A second one occurs in episode 9, when Ledo finds an old recording at the bottom of the ocean, which details humanity on Earth a long time back when it was starting to freeze up. The contents are a shocking revelation to him, and contradicts everything he'd been taught by the Galactic Alliance about their losing battle in the Forever War with the Hideauze aliens.It turns out that the Hideauze, which were also present on Earth, were genetically modified humans. The predecessor for the Galactic Alliance, the Continental Union, who believed humans should stay humans, were opposed to the genetic experiments performed by the Evolvers, who wanted to modify humanity so they could survive in space to leave behind an increasingly freezing and hostile Earth, and would later become the Hideauze. In space, both groups went to war with each other over their beliefs, while on Earth humans forgot about the Evolvers, and the Earth Hideauze gradually "evolved" into the "whale-squid" that humans generally stay away from and treat with some respect.
- The horror manga Mail has a story titled "Portrait"; it starts with a woman picking up and arranging her sister's belongings after she had committed suicide via self-immolation and discovering her diary. The diary describes the last few weeks of her sister's life including finding a rare portrait and her growing obsession with it. It starts of with her trying to discover more about the painting, to learning more about the girl in the painting, to writing in her diary that she thinks there is something creepy going on in her apartment, to thinking that the source of the creepiness is that new painting she is so fond of to realizing that sometimes, the eyes of the sleeping girl would open up, to finally writing over and over again how she wants to die. When reading that last page, the woman who finds her sister's diary realizes that the last few pages handwriting slowly changes from her sister's handwriting to someone else's. When she realizes this, she looks at the portrait and realizes that it's looking straight at her. It turns out that the portrait of the girl still has the girl's spirit trapped inside due to the sympathy she got in life, cheering her to live on despite the fact that the only thing she ever wanted was to die and end her suffering and since then, has been committing suicide through the various owners of the portrait!
- The Director's Cut of episode 21 of Neon Genesis Evangelion opens with a security video taken about a month before Second Impact. It starts off in a mundane way, picking up not only chatter from staff but a conversation between Gendo and Keel on the nature of scientists. Then with a crash, the scene cuts to the moment when Adam begins to grow into the Giant of Light, and we hear shouting from scientists trying to get the Angel under control. The picture cuts off just as Adam's giant, glowing hands reach into the frame. Similarly, all we see of the activation of Unit 04 is a mushroom cloud rising up from the test site, followed by static.
- In Ooku: the Inner Chambers, as Blessed Kasuga lay on her deathbed; knowing that a new outbreak of the Red-faced Pox was killing most of the boys in Japan, a severe famine was making inroads into the rest of the population, and the line of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu was extinct save for a single unacknowledged female by-blow and her infant daughter; she ordered a record of the collapse of the country to be written by a young scribe employed within the most hidden areas of Edo Castle and named Chronicle of a Dying Day. Some 70-odd years later, Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune called upon an ancient scribe living in a quiet corner of her harem in the hopes of learning more about some of the oddly illogical customs of her domainnote .
- In Pokémon: The First Movie, Dr. Fuji records logs showing his team's eventual creation of Mewtwo. The final log shows their deaths at the mind of their enraged creation.
Dr. Fuji: We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon... And we succeeded.
- In the manga 7 Seeds, most of humanity died out in an apocalyptic event. The "7 seeds" are people who were put into deep sleep far below the surface, and then woken and released far in the future when the Earth has become habitable again. However, it turns out they were not the only humans to survive past the event. The main characters later find one of many vast underground shelters built before the event, but nobody is alive there anymore. They find a desiccated body and a journal kept by one of the entertainers asked to come work in the shelter to raise morale. Most of the inhabitants of the shelters were deceived as to why they were there, but come to accept their new life; at first the outlook is hopeful, and there are other shelters they can communicate with. However, eventually technical problems cause the food supply to fall short, and many of the residents of the shelter are told they are to be sent off to another shelter - in reality they are going to be killed. Supplies dwindle and, in addition, eventually contact is lost with all other shelters, presumably because everyone is dead. The journal's author writes of how he and the people in charge fabricate new communications from the other shelters so that the residents won't lose morale. Finally a virus breaks out and slowly the entire population of the shelter falls ill and dies. As he dies the journal's author manages to trap the virus in a freezer where it cannot infect anyone else. His last act is to paint a X on the freezer door, and then he dies outside it with his journal.
- Uzumaki features a map discovered in the ruins of an aging row house apparently drawn by someone who lived in the town during the last period when the Eternal Spiral awoke. The text on the map can't be read, but it appears to depict the final stages of the curse.
- Magic: The Gathering: A number were posted on a special Wizards of the Coast website to fit the storyline of Scars of Mirrodin block — Farris of the Anvil, Unctus of the Synod, Kessla of Temple Might, Ria of Bladehold, and (technically) Roxith, Thane of Rot, a full-time bad guy. The final scorecard: Farris fighting a hopeless battle in the Phyrexian Furnace layer, Ria having saved her home city once but without a great deal of hope for next time, Roxith torn to shreds, Kessla killed by her own bomb, and Unctus corrupted by Phyrexian oil.
- A Town Called Dragon: The viking ordered to take the dragon egg to present day Colorado kept a journal and ensured it as a warning to others, and doubles as an instruction manual on how to kill dragons.
- Season 9 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: After dying in Season 8 Giles' diaries are being read by Angel, who Must Make Amends by taking over Giles' responsibilities and who is trying to find a way to resurrect him.
- The Crawling King contains a large number of spooky stories pertaining to people being killed in a number of ways, up to and including the fall of the Kingdom of Gyldenbrae.
- In Countdown, when an unstoppable virus destroys an Alternate Universe (a universe that had ALREADY been destroyed and remade), we see the last days from through the journal of Buddy Blank. We watch through his eyes as the universe becomes a planet where humans and animals are transformed into violent, bloodthirsty Half Human Hybrids.
- Doctor Strange's log in Marvel 1602.
- Dan Turpin's internal monologue in Final Crisis.
- Brilliantly used in Grendel to illustrate the self-doubts and conflicts within Brian Li Sung, as he slowly succumbs to the Grendel identity. The brilliant part is that what at first seemed to be mere doodles in his journal's margins turn out to be the musings of the increasingly self-directing Grendel spirit, itself!
- The entirety of the narration of Innocence Lost is in the form of a letter from Sarah Kinney wrote to her daughter and creation, X-23, in the event she was unable to tell her about her origins herself. Unfortunately, that's exactly what ended up happening. Even worse, because the letter was so badly fouled by Sarah's blood, Laura was never able to read it herself until she was given the copy Sarah had the foresight to also send to Wolverine just in case.
- Twitch's journal in Spawn.
- During Supergirl storyline Bizarrogirl, Jimmy Olsen's camera auto-uploads to the server of Daily Planet pictures of Jimmy being dragged for someone wearing an S-shield and disappearing in a smoke cloud.
- Superman has one in the post-apocalyptic Elseworlds Distant Fires.
- In Last Daughter Of Krypton, Kara is watching a recording of Zor-El's last words (essentially: "Our world and all of us are about to die, but I hope you survive, my dear daughter—"), when her father is suddenly shot in his chest by some off-screen attacker. Zor-El lets out a shout of pain and the recording abruptly ends.
- The Killers Of Krypton: During one of his journeys across the galaxy, Z'ndr Kol finds the ruins of a ravaged Kryptonian outpost. As exploring, he stumbles upon a record where one of the settlers is sending a distress signal which ends up with the woman getting speared to death.
I am Revell-Tor of the Kryptonian outpost on Idieg Prime! We are under attack! Please! They are butchering us! They are— here. AAIIIEEEE!!* Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: First-Aid records a log when the medical station is hit with a disease that causes the recipients to have their internal organs turned to liquid and cry out their eyes. He tries to stay hopeful as everyone dies or comes close to it, lamenting that he, and his remaining coworkers (except Pharma, who "accidentally" locked himself in a containment cell) are all infected, and will succumb to the disease soon.
- Dr. Delia Surridge's journal in V for Vendetta. In the graphic novel (though not the movie), she describes V's art projects in fascinated detail; these turn out to be intricate bombs and poisons that he later uses to destroy Larkhill and escape. The graphic novel also mentions that many pages are missing, leading to much speculation over what info they may have contained. Finch suggests that the missing pages contained information on V's identity and the reason he was imprisoned in Larkhill, also claiming that given where the journal was found in the police search that he deliberately placed it there so the government could collect it.
- Rorschach's journal in Watchmen.
- Phase IV of Zenith features one of these serving as the narration. Essentially Dr Michael Peyne's account of how the Lloigor apparently won the final battle and have free reign to turn the Earth into their own private playground, it's being written under especially trying circumstances: Peyne is virtually alone in a World of Chaos and he's been cursed to grow progressively younger at an increasingly rapid pace. For good measure, the Lloigor mockingly point out that this log is completely pointless, given that no human beings remain alive to read it and the Lloigor themselves will destroy the account along with all human history as soon as he's finished; however, Peyne makes it clear that he's writing this mainly because he has absolutely nothing better to do with what little time he has left. True to form, as he reaches the final stages of regression, Peyne's handwriting deteriorates into barely-coherent scrawls, until at last he gives up on the entire log to take a nap - during which he reverts to infancy and finally ceases to exist. However, it's soon revealed that the Lloigor aren't as victorious as Peyne thought they were...
- The entirety of the illustrated novel Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection is treated this way. The book is framed as a journal that was being kept by a young doctor attempting to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. It cuts off suddenly, mid journal entry, several days after the character reaches a supposedly safe haven. No explanation is given, and it is simply stated that the journal was recovered later, and no-one knows what happens to the journal writer, or the other people from the safe haven.
- A Statement in the Ice, a one-shot Watchmen/Cthulhu Mythos crossover which uses the concept that Adrian called down a real Eldritch Abomination rather than had one customized.
- The Baker Street Record, an epic Sherlock Holmes/House of Leaves crossover, is one giant Apocalyptic Log, much like House of Leaves itself.
- Dr. Brainstorm records something similar to one while his lab is ablaze in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
- Children of an Elder God: The prologue consists in Gendo and Fuyutsuki listening to the "Transcript of the Last Transmissions of the Long-Smith Expedition", recorded by two scientists while they were exploring a network of caverns. The log abruptly ends up when they are found by an Eldritch Abomination.
- Daring DONE!: Parodied. Ponies repeatedly send letters through a magical dragon even when they really should have better things to do, or shouldn't be physically capable of sending letters. It starts with the relatively tame example of Twilight Velvet sending letters to her daughter while the princesses are tearing her house apart, and then escalates to the Royal Guard desperately sending letters to her husband Night Light while she's fighting them.
Night Light: Twilight Velvet is whipping you and you still send me a letter? I don't really understand how that works, but Princess Celestia can be proud of her Royal Guards' dedication.
- In the fanfic-of-a-fanfic, The Dark Past, the boys exploring an ancient alien spaceship discover the final log recording made by the only remaining relatively able-bodied crew member right before he killed himself. The recording gives them enough clues to understand what happened and also provides some plot exposition.
- Fallout: Equestria, like its source material, is full of these. Much of the backstory of before the war is explained through computer logbook entries and memory orbs scattered about.
- The Ghost of the North is mostly a story about a mysterious, incredibly powerful figure (the Ghost) that gives certain tips to the nobles of the North, and later all of Westeros, to prevent certain problems and prepare the Seven Kingdoms for the Long Night, the last chapter is about a centenary Jon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, who married some time after Elia dies in childbirth) reading one such log. Written by canon Jon Snow, it tells of how the Others felled the Wall and marched south while most nobles stupidly continued to play the game of thrones. The Others eventually took over Westeros, which not even Daenerys and her dragons were able to prevent, and the last survivors of the Seven Kingdoms took refuge in Essos. While the Others struck at the slaver Free Cities, Jon crossed back to Westeros and made his way north to find Bran, who told him the war was lost, but that he could yet change things: he would send Jon back in time to change history, but he would have to leave behind his identity... becoming the Ghost of the North.
- The Halloween Unspectacular anthology series has a few examples:
- "Dead Gods" is a final message from AJ, recording how he was part of an expedition to study a Reaper found buried under London. It ended up Indoctrinating most of the expedition members, who then killed the rest. AJ states his intent to shoot himself before it happens to him too, but not before warning whoever finds his message to destroy the Reaper, even if means destroying London as well.
- "Project ReGenesis" is presented as a series of reports and security footage of the titular project, dedicated to creating a Physical God... and how it succeeds, resulting in the deaths of everyone involved.
- "Cairo to the Cape" is a series of journal entries by AJ, Jimmy, and Jazz, who are all part of a recreational expedition from Cairo to Cape Town which gets hopelessly lost after crossing Lake Victoria. Sanity Slippage is on full display as they begin suffering from low supplies and disease. The final entry is by Mr. Krabs, who reveals that he and Eliza deliberately led the group astray as part of a Human Sacrifice.
- "Sea Dogs" opens with an entry in the personal log of a sea galleon's captain, recounting how his ship became lost at sea, and overwhelmed by a mysterious illness, which the main story eventually reveals to be werewolves.
- In the first episode of Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy, Satan Girl assaults a starship. The crew has time to send a message right before being destroyed.
Within seconds, she was in outer space. Her course was set to intercept that of a massive United Planets patrol ship.
A message was shortly received at the headquarters of the United Planets. It was the last one they would get from that particular starship.
The message stated that their craft was being destroyed by an unarmed woman. It was cut off before the end.
- The Hidden Frontier season 1 episode Perihelion, in a manner similar to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Night Terrors, features an excellent cameo by Gabriel Köerner, in logs which show him deteriorating under the constant pressure of hallucinations, system failures and mutiny.
Köerner: I think I may have to kill my Chief Engineer.
- In Jericho, surprisingly given the setting, but also downplayed. The most exact events of what's going on are told from a little girl's diary, and so it's not explicit at all what's going on. While it's not a normal example of an apocalyptic log, since the end hasn't technically happened in them, they do tell a story of things getting worse, but, at the times Jericho arrives, the dark events arent over yet.
- The Hetalia: Axis Powers Dark Fic, Log of the End of the World, is exactly what you'd expect it to be. Although there are a few chapters where it goes out of the log format, the majority of the fic is written as journal entries written by the surviving Nations after a nuclear war kills millions around the world, including Nations like Russia, Poland, Hungary, Finland, Ukraine, Belarus, (South) Korea, Taiwan... The list truly does goes on.
- Lost to Dust: On the day she was killed, Ilia Amitola made a recording on her scroll in case she didn't make it. After explaining that someone was killing everyone in her unit, she declared her love for Blake Belladonna and said she was planning to find her so that they could run away together. Then she was killed. Unfortunately, the recording doesn't show the face of her killer.
- The Dragon Age fic Middle Of Nowhere is written as a diary. The narrator occasionally gets into enough trouble that other characters have to step in and complete his entries.
- The Aviators song "One Last Letter" is set in a Bad Future where the Mane Six failed to stop Discord and centers on Twilight writing a final letter to Celestia before being completely discorded herself.
- Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has a sidestory titled "Shadows of the Jungle". It's written in the form of journal entries from a Pokémon Researcher named Gideon Knowles, following him and his colleagues in an expedition to Guyana in search of a Legendary Pokémon. The team loses members one after another as they go deeper into the jungle, attacked by vicious swarms of Bug-type Pokémon, until the final entry has Knowles writing how he was taken to an underground lair, and the one controlling turned out to be not a Legendary Pokémon, but a human girl, a bloodliner who acts as their Hive Queen. Knowles ends up placed in a pit to be devoured alive, and somehow his journal ends up in a completely different place, where search parties sent by Giovanni (who funded the expedition) retrieve it.
- The Pony POV Series has two examples, both of which somehow ended up in the possession of the Interviewers, who eventually saw them end up in Twilight's possession.
- The first is Razzaroo's book, containing every last detail of the G3 world and the ponies living there as the Alicorns and Draconequi erased it all from existence.
- G2 Bon Bon's diary, containing accounts from herself and the other G2 Mane Cast on the collapse of G2 society and their G3 incarnations' reactions to the above mentioned erasure.
- The second chapter of Power Rangers Clockwork focuses on the heroes finding a series of journals belonging to Asgaut Velothi, chronicling his family's life in Urverk Castle, going from the construction to experiencing tragic events such as a worker dying and then revived in a suit of armor temporarily until a fire mage killed him again. The final journal documents on Aricin's illness from his poisoning, and then Asgaut suffering the same effects and being suited into armor, only it took years for him to finally die, and it was all done for the family to reach immortality, instrumented by Brynja.
- The short (one chapter) fic Shadow Realm; Blasphemy is an Apocalpyptic Log written by Kozaky (well, a Kozaky, there's lots of them) who is commissioned to translate a tablet. The journal starts off like a typical research log, but the writer starts showing signs of exhaustion, then obsession, then questionable sanity. Eventually, the log makes it clear that the tablet itself is cursed, and details a dark ritual that, if performed correctly, will restore Ruin, Queen of Oblivion and Demise, King of Armageddon, and the still-sapient vestiges of both are trying to control him in order to compel him to do so. Eventually, he has a brief moment of lucidity, convinces a courier to bring the tablet to the ocean and bury it on the seafloor, and after writing the final entry on the fireproof journal as a warning to anyone who goes looking for it, activates a bomb that kills him and destroys the translations.
- In "How Things Smurf" from Raven Child's The Smurfette Village series, Brainette finds Tattlerette's last Daily Report in the Smurf Village which recorded that Smurfette's final words about what went on during the time the Synthetic Plague spread through the village.
- Starlight Over Detrot had the diary of High Spirits, a teacher whose efforts to fix his school's leaky boiler worked a little too well:
- As I made to get up, I bumped the book. It fell open, passed the section we'd been reading, and the diagrams, to the last several pages.
In jagged, slashing strokes of the pen, there was a single word written again and again across every inch of the paper and on both sides. It packed the corners and was circled dozens of times.
Late! Late! LATE!''
I hesitated before easing the book shut again with one toe.
"In fact, If nopony has any objections... I'd like to leave this place right now."
- In Subject 014, a Naruto fanfiction, Anko is in an abandoned base and is reading one of these and the last entry sudden trails off the clipboard. Anko then checks the date. the last entry was written seventeen minutes ago.
- In Sweetie's Mansion, Sweetie Belle finds torn pages of a shared journal by Madame Fleur and Spector that explains about how they lived before they were turned into ghosts and clues about the mystery of the mansion itself.
- The Marvel Universe fan film #TRUTHINJOURNALISM is basically Man Bites Dog with the twist that the camera crew realizes that they're becoming accomplices to a scumbag and try to back out. Venom doesn't take it well...
- In an homage to the Serenity example, the Star Trek Online fic A Voice in the Wilderness has an away team from USS Bajor investigate a partially assimilated Preserver installation and discover a recording of a Preserver admitting to having accidentally created the Borg and imprisoning its A.I. after they had taken over the planet, then being assimilated himself.
- Hiro's Journal, one of Disney's Big Hero 6 books, is a journal written by Hiro that continually goes downhill due to Tadashi's death, including aggressively scribbled out pages of solid black. Averted in that it takes an upturn at the end.
- Felidae. The progressively alcoholic veterinary Dr. Preterius holds a pre-mortem camera diary of him and his two lab assistants trying to develop a new "glue" for organic tissue, by experimenting with homeless cats in his practice in his house's basement. The first trials lead to gruesome deaths of several cats, as the prototype glue turns out to be acidic. The next trials on a special homeless cat promptly named "Claudandus" are way more successful. However, they have to cut the agonized cat open again for further experimenting. Then, the experiment's funding is cut, and both of Preterius' lab assistants quit. Preterius, who is slowly succumbing to his alcoholism, keeps on working independently, and seemingly goes mad at the end when he claims Claudandus to be talking to him. It should be noted that Felidae is a crime story told from the viewpoint of a talking cat. Therefore, Preterius' ravings aren't as nutty after all.
- In Frozen II, when Elsa and Anna find the wreck of their parents' ship, Anna immediately starts looking for the sealed waterproof compartment built into all Arendelle ships. Inside the compartment she finds a map of the ship's intended journey and a handwritten note from their mother on the map.
- WALLE: before AUTO goes into "Override Directive A113" mode, he shows up one of those, where the President of Buy n Large, in the same set of an earlier message, only trashed to hell, says that Earth is unsalvageable.
- The Age of Stupid is a 2009 pseudo-documentary that is created as one. The various clips we see are old recordings from our time, viewed by a sole archivist played by the late Pete Postlethwaite, living in an arctic repository in the mid-21st century where damage from climate change has driven humanity to extinction. The man attempts to create a film showing why humanity didn't save itself when it had the chance. It takes a certain view of climate change.
- Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County (a remake of UFO Abduction a.k.a. The McPherson Tape) predates The Blair Witch Project and involves a family celebrating Thanksgiving in a secluded cabin when the power goes out. When searching for the source of the outage, the family stumbles on a UFO and a group of aliens who start terrorizing the family. Besides the typical "shaky cam" effect, suspense is added by the fact that the aliens are never shown in detail, as their very presence somehow causes the camera to pixelize. The aliens also possess some sort of Psychic Powers, allowing them to mind control the family. There are two endings: one involves the family members disappearing one-by-one, with the boy holding the camera finally dropping it when coming face-to-face with one of the aliens; the other has the aliens simply walk into the dining room, the family marches out under mind control, and an alien switches off the camera. The director's original intent was to make it as realistic as possible, ending the video abruptly. However, Executive Meddling has resulted in ending credits being added, dispelling the mystery by showing who played the aliens.
- The titular journal in Antarctic Journal clearly wants to be an Apocalyptic Log, but since the guys who find it don't really read much of it, and the pictures are vague, it fails in its attempt.
- Avengers: Endgame starts with Tony Stark using a helmet of his to record a log, which given the ship's Almost Out of Oxygen and with supplies depleted, he intends for it to be his final message. Luckily, he ends up saved soon after.
- Some of the footage used in The Bay is this, like the videos left by Dr. Abrams, head doctor who must deal with the outbreak at the local hospital, and Jennifer, a young girl who records the progress of her infection via a Skype/YouTube-like web app.
- The Blair Witch Project (1999) brought the found footage genre into the mainstream. It comprises footage shot by an ill-fated documentary film crew researching the Blair Witch urban legend. The film was marketed as real found footage, causing some confusion amongst more gullible viewers.
- Ultimately averted in the 1975 movie Bug. Parmiter makes an audio log of his study of the hybrid bugs, but they deliberately destroy it, so his findings can never be discovered.
- The infamous exploitation film Cannibal Holocaust is split into halves, the first being the recovery of an Apocalyptic Log filmed by a documentary crew observing Amazonian tribes, and the second being the log itself. Because the film was made way back in 1980, this makes the found footage genre Older Than They Think.
- Cloverfield is a "worm's eye view" of a Kaiju film in which a man records himself and a group of survivors struggling through New York City during a monster attack.
- Subverted in The Core: Zimsky records his thoughts on his impending death... until he realizes the tape recorder's going to die with him and bursts out laughing. His final words are "What the fuck am I doing?"
- Creep plays with this. The setup is that the filming starts off as a video log to be passed to the unborn child of the terminally-ill subject, but as the movie goes on we learn there's something terribly off about him, the tables turn, and it becomes a chronicle of the cameraman's final days.
- The DVD extras for Zack Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004) had a video log of Andy's last days right up until he became a zombie. The log also had a short clip of what appears to be his family, which he partially recorded over.
- The pseudo-remake of Day of the Dead (2008) had the survivors come across a scientist's video-log in a underground medical facility (which was very reminiscent of Resident Evil). The log also shows the scientist turning into a zombie.
- In Des hommes et des dieux, the final voiceover consists of Christian's testament, describing his view on the dangerous situation.
- As the rescue team enter the deserted Glasgow in Doomsday we're treated to excerpts of Kane's log, detailing his frantic attempts to survive in a barricaded hospital as civilisation outside crumbles and burns in the aftermath of the Reaper virus outbreak.
- A very abbreviated version can be found in Event Horizon, wherein the salvage crew finds the ship's logs. The first portion shows the ambitious crew getting ready to perform the experimental hyperspace jump, but it cuts out at the moment of entry, to be replaced by horrific images of what happened to the crew after the trip. The last coherent line recorded on the log is "Libera te tutemet ex inferis", or "Save yourself from hell". The last part is actually a plot point, as the original audio recording was garbled and made it seem as if The Captain was asking for help ("Liberate me" — "save me"), when, in fact, he was warning people to stay away.
- The Evil Dead trilogy uses this trope as the catalyst for its plot, as Professor Knowby, the researcher who first unearthed the Necronomicon, kept an audio journal chronicling his battle with his demon-possessed wife Henrietta, and his failed attempt to survive the night. Unfortunately, he'd also recorded the recitation of the demon summoning spell that'd accidentally caused the mess to begin with, meaning that anyone who listens to the whole tape ends up going through the exact same thing.
- Found Footage 3D, an Affectionate Parody of the genre, refers to this as "the first rule of found footage" — the "found" part comes from the fact that nobody was left alive to bring the footage back, and it was only recovered later by the search party. The film revolves around the production of Spectre of Death 3D, "the first 3D found footage film", which plays this trope straight; the fact that Derek is trying to rewrite the script so that his character lives to the end is a sign of his growing diva behavior. The film itself is also a straight example, ending with a possessed Amy referring to "the first rule of found footage" before she kills Mark.
- The original 1954 Gojira featured a reporter giving a blow-by-blow description of Gojira's destruction of Tokyo, ending with his description of the monster's attack on the tower he was broadcasting from.
- Shin Godzilla has an Apocalyptic Log that serves as a major plot point. An abandoned yacht owned by a man named Goro Maki is found and the characters piece together what happened: Maki discovered Godzilla in a larval state and began researching him, keeping journals and jotting down data. Excerpts of the notes are given, explaining how Maki was shunned and mocked by academia, had his work censured by the United States government, and eventually crossed the Despair Event Horizon after his wife died of improperly treated radiation sickness. Pushed past the breaking point, he left behind all his notes (including a method to destroy Godzilla) for others to find, with a final entry saying "do what you will". We never find out what happened to him after that; all the authorities find are some personal belongings left on his boat. The ending heavily implies that he may have been assimilated by Godzilla, judging by the disturbingly humanlike growths seen on Godzilla's tail after he's frozen.
- Grave Encounters is this. It's supposed to be the footage the titular ghost-hunting show takes when they go into an abandoned mental hospital to film an episode. Obviously all of it was supposed to be fake (as shown by the spokesman of the show paying a custodian to say he saw something creepy), but, of course, the ghosts soon turn out to be real, and very, very nasty. It seems to switch between the in-universe cameras and regular ones, though (probably so the whole film wouldn't be in slightly grainy green-light)
- Timothy Treadwell's tapes in Grizzly Man constitute this, even to the point of recording Tim and his girlfriend being eaten by a bear (although with audio only).
- Hell House series
- Hell House LLC starts as a documentary about a haunted house attraction in upstate New York where fifteen people, including most of the crew, die in an unknown accident. The bulk of the film consists of footage shot by the haunted house crew during setup showing how everything went off the rails.
- Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel picks up eight years after the events of the original in the same style.
- Such log in Lucio Fulci's The House by the Cemetery leads to The Reveal regarding the Freudstein House's Creepy Basement.
- I Am Legend is a variation on the typical setup, as its the main character keeping the log of his continuing research into the plague, almost three years after the Vampire Apocalypse.
- Island of Terror had such a log, explaining how anti-cancer research resulted in the creation of the bone-eating Silicates.
- In It Came from Hollywood, Dan Aykroyd narrates the section about alien B Movies as "Colonel Dan Diamond" dictating the events of an Alien Invasion for future generations.
"Yeah, the aliens came in all shapes and sizes. Short, tall, thin, fat...horny."
- In The Killer Shrews (another MST3K episode), there is a Narmful scene where a scientist, having just been bitten by one of the title monsters, sits down at a typewriter and records the process of his body succumbing to the shrew's poisonous saliva. Based upon the real-life incident of herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt (see folder "Real Life", below).
- The Last Broadcast (1998) is a pseudo-documentary featuring found footage from a disastrous cable-access paranormal program. The film pre-dates the vastly more successful Blair Witch Project by a short time, causing many viewers to mistake it for a rip-off.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: When the Fellowship reaches the Mines of Moria, next to Balin's tomb they find Ori's journal which reads: "They have taken the Bridge and the Second Hall. We have barred the gates, but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes... Drums. Drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow moves in the dark... We cannot get out... They are coming." This isn't exactly what Tolkien wrote, but it's chillingly effective, and even shows the journal with the final scrawled entry trailing off down the page.
- The film Lost Signal is based on a story of a Nebraska couple, Janelle Hornickel and Michael Wamsley, who tried crystal meth at a New Year party, crashed their car and decided to walk while making continuous 911 calls. Part of the real-life tragedy is that they assumed they were much closer to home than they really were and kept giving misleading directions to dispatchers.
- From Monty Python and the Holy Grail: This is actually a humorous subversion. "Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh" is actually the name of the castle where the Holy Grail is being kept.
King Arthur: (about the inscription on the rock) What does it say, Brother Maynard?
Brother Maynard: It reads, "Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Arimathea. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail in the Castle of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh..."
King Arthur: What?
Brother Maynard: "The Castle of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh".
Sir Bedevere: What is that?
Brother Maynard: He must have died while carving it.
Sir Lancelot: Oh, come on!
King Arthur: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't have bothered to carve "Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh" into the rock. He'd just say it.
Brother Maynard: Well, that's what's carved on the rock.
Sir Galahad: Perhaps he was dictating it.
King Arthur: Oh shut up!
- The remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) has one from an Asian and Nerdy video blogger. We see several video entries about his dreams of Freddy... and then we see one with him asleep. He then suddenly slams into the camera and the screen blacks out.
- In the cult classic Night of the Creeps, James Carpenter "J.C." Hooper leaves a audio recording for his friend explaining how the alien leeches get into your head and incubate. They then create more "brain slugs" before they kill you and reanimate your corpse. His voice is clearly changing, due to the fact he's slowly turning. It's one of the few things in this Horror/Comedy hybrid film that's played bone chillingly straight.
- In Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (which appeared on Mystery Science Theater 3000), there's one of these for the process the heroine uses to try to save Fingal's mind.
- Paranormal Activity is presented as footage taken by a man whose girlfriend is being terrorized by a demon. It's made pretty obvious that putting up a camera has only made the demon more active — and angry.
- Planet of the Apes (2001) has this, explaining how the crash of Leo Davidson's ship turned the desolated planet into a simian dystopia. A non-canon book expands on this and reveals that the apes were deliberately engineered to be smart in order to help fight off the local Insectoid Aliens. After the apes won, their leader Simos decided that they didn't need to obey humans anymore.
- Pokémon Detective Pikachu: At the PCL ruins, Tim and Pikachu replay holographic diary entries made by Dr. Laurent detailing the experiments done there with Mewtwo including the creation of R and the Neural Link completed, leading up to the Mewtwo's escape and Laurent's death.
- The Possession of Michael King starts as a documentary by Michael to disprove the supernatural, and ends up being a warning left to not meddle with such forces.
- [REC] and its American remake Quarantine are found footage recorded by a female reporter and her camera man while trapped inside an apartment building with zombies. There's also a subversion of the trope when they discover a dictation machine in a Room Full of Crazy. You'd assume that the machine would hold an Apocalyptic Log about the zombie virus's origins, but the batteries are dead, so the message is incomprehensible.
- Part of the plot of Resolution is that Michael starts finding a series of these with the medium ranging from records to projector slides to books to photographs to DVDs. Eventually, they start to be about him...
- Robot World: In a small shed, the astronaut find an old film reel of a family having a party when a huge attack occurs.
- In Serenity, the crew of the eponymous ship head to the planet of Miranda and come across a lot of dead folks who had apparently lain down and died with no explanation. When they come across a video log from a rescue mission, they find out what happened to the planet. They also see what happened to the rescuers. We don't see, but they do.
- The BBC docudrama Supervolcano has a group of people watching the logs of a dying scientist, who documents the conditions of the U.S. after the eruption of Yellowstone. Subverted, in that the scientist actually survives, and is one of the people watching the logs.
- The Thing (1982). Helicopter pilot MacReady leaves an Apocalyptic Log to warn the eventual rescuers about the title monster.
MacReady: I'm going to hide this tape when I'm finished. If none of us make it, at least there'll be some kind of record...
- George Pal's version of The Time Machine in the form of the talking rings that explain how a nuclear conflict created two separate species of humanoids.
- The style of 28 Days Later is meant to evoke found footage, even though the film itself doesn't fit the category. Aside from shooting on relatively inexpensive DV cameras and using odd angles to mimic a "found footage" look, several scenes were deliberately staged to resemble photographs from the genocide and war in Bosnia.
- 2666: Anskys journal depicts how he got caught up in the Great Purge.
- The confessionalist school of poetry frequently deals with themes of mental illness and suicide. Perhaps its most famous member is Sylvia Plath, whose collection of poems Ariel and semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar chronicle her slide into clinical depression and, ultimately, suicide.
- In Andromeda Nebula the starship Tantra, making emergency landing due to lack of fuel, discovers another starship, Sail, which was lost decades ago. There they find a log describing how Sail was forced to land, and how its inhabitants were killed one by one by some unknown creatures which always attack from the dark.
- Blackbirds has Miriam's diary, intended to be one in the making, until Ingersoll intuits her intentions, and Harriet subsequently tries to get her to go through with it. The one thing that stops Miriam from killing herself? Realizing that Harriet was eagerly listening in on the other side of the door, waiting.
- Also by the same author, Chapter One of The Boats of Glen Carrig features a shorter example.
- In the Lord of the Rings parody novel Bored of the Rings, Tim Benzedrine leaves a note for the boggies the morning after they stay with him in which he enters a drug flashback while writing.
- The heroes of Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds find one of these carved into the wall of an ancient ruined city, describing the monster that ruined it.
- The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is written in first person and framed as Richard writing his memoirs. The final Cliffhanger is written as a recovered journal recording, without revealing to the reader whether Richard survives or not.
- In The City of Ember, a journal from one of the first residents of Ember is found as Lina and Doon find their way out of the city. In the prequel, The Prophet of Yonwood, this log is shown to be the work of an elderly Nickie, the protagonist of Yonwood.
- Classic Singapore Horror Stories: One of the stories in this anthology, Message In A Bottle, is about a message recovered in a bottle, which comes from a World War II-era submarine which mysteriously dissappeared during the war. As it turns out, the crew had a run-in with a vengeful sea hag after stealing a cursed locket, which results in all their deaths.
- The second half of The Collector starts out as the secret diary of the captive and ends up a chronicle of her slow death from pneumonia as she becomes delirious with fever and begs God not to let her die. The narrative resumes from the POV of her captor, who reports that at that point she had fallen into a coma, then succumbed.
- The Diary of a Young Girl is that of Anne Frank, whose family stayed in hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdan, who unusually for this trope never lost hope even in the horrific shadow of death. It becomes a Downer Ending once the Franks were caught in 1944 and sent to various concentration camps; Anne died at Bergen-Belsen in early 1945.
- A Hat Full of Sky quotes a few passages from a book recording a wizard's attempts to contain and control a Hiver, a mind-controlling monster that gradually turns whatever creature it possesses into a pathological id. To drive the point home, the last few pages degenerate into "Those fools! I'll show them! I'll show them all!!!!!" ranting, and finally completely incoherent random letters.
- Thud! has the numerous, disjointed, seemingly-random-numbered notes left by the painter of The Battle of Koom Valley, who slowly went mad (including thinking alternately that he was being chased by a giant chicken and that he was a giant chicken). The last one — only known to be so because it was found under his dead body — read "It comes! It comes!!!" He was found with his throat full of chicken feathers.
- In Guards! Guards! the last few intact pages of the Library's copy of The Summoning of Dragons detail, in nervous handwriting, the author's intent to put his dragon-summoning spell into practice. The rest of the pages have been badly scorched, demonstrating that this didn't end well.
- A Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel features a Cyberman-obsessed researcher recording her experiences for future references as she is gradually converted into a Cyberman. Unusual, in that no one gets to discover it — once she's converted, her original personality is wiped away and she no longer recognises the logic in recording it, and so destroys the recording.
- The novel of Double Indemnity consists of entries from the main character's diary leading up to his Suicide Pact with the star-crossed love interest. In the film, the story is told from the mortally wounded protagonist's recording on his Dictaphone.
- Bram Stoker's Dracula is assembled from several of these logs, with a few newspaper articles thrown in.
- The introduction to the novel of Dr. Strangelove says that the manuscript was found under a rock in the Great Northern Desert by aliens.
- The titular character in Eden Green, an amateur biologist studying the alien needle symbiote that has infected her best friend, creates an in-universe document of 'important information', of which snippets are shown.
- The fictional memoir that makes up the backbone of Julian ends as the titular character invades Persia. The rest is told in diary entries and field dispatches, which become increasingly harried as the campaign goes south.
- In the last Empire from the Ashes book, Sean and friends find an ancient digital diary documenting the fall of society on that planet, as the general populous went mad from listening to the dwindling hyperspace transmissions of the Fourth Imperium as a loose bio-weapon killed everything on every other world, turning against technology as the source of the disaster.
- John Collier's "Evening Primrose" is an account of how poet Charles Snell decided to move into Bracey's and discovered entire colonies of people living there and at other major department stores before he, Ella and the night watchman were Killed to Uphold the Masquerade.
- An in-story example for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Oskar comes home from school early on the morning of September 11, 2001 and finds to the voicemails his father, who works in the WTC, has left on the answering machine. When he calls again, Oskar freezes and listens as his father's last words go to voicemail. He hides the tape out of shame and panic and never tells anyone, but listens to it by himself at times.
- Played with in the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in the entry on Lethifolds. Because Lethifolds attack the sleeping and leave nothing behind, it's near impossible to get an accurate tally of people who have been killed by them. It is significantly easier to get a tally of people who have tried to fake their death by Lethifold, as in the case of one man who supposedly left a note as he was being devoured "Oh no, a Lethifold's got me, I'm suffocating!", but was later found to be living with a mistress a few miles away.
- One edition of Flowers for Algernon was specially written to look as if the Progress Reports were actually handwritten by Charlie. The chicken scratch from the start of the book slowly improved as the story progressed, and Charlie's spelling also improved as well. But take a look at the end and the last sentence.
"p.p.s. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bakyard..."
- At the end of the sentence, a long, messy line trails off of the "D" and moves off of the page, indicating that Charlie died while he was writing his last request. However, on other copies of the book, extra pages after this request are deliberately left blank, leaving open the possibility that Charlie may have regressed to the point of extreme illiteracy instead of death.
- W.J. Stuart's novelization of Forbidden Planet has an excellent example of the Apocalyptic Log, in which "Doc" Ostrow, having had a taste of the mental powers provided by the Upgrade Artifact, suggests the answer to the question of how the incredibly advanced Krell Precursors could have been wiped out in an instant: by unleashing invincible monsters from their subconscious minds. As he feared, the effects of the Upgrade Artifact killed him before he could explain any further.
- Frankenstein may or may not be one of these, depending on whether or not you think the sea captain who narrates the Framing Story will rescue his ship from the Arctic ice.
- The Arthur Conan Doyle short story "The Horror of the Heights" details the adventures of an intrepid aviator who flies above 40,000 feet and encounters an "air jungle" — an entire ecosystem of atmospheric beasts. He barely escapes from a predatory creature on his first flight, and records his intentions to go back up later and explore more thoroughly. The framing story reveals that the aviator's plane was found crashed and the aviator himself missing. All that was found in the plane was a torn, blood-stained journal. The last words are hastily scrawled: "Forty-three thousand feet. I shall never see earth again. They are beneath me, three of them. God help me; it is a dreadful death to die!"
- Another example from the Cthulhu Mythos: In Frank Belknap Long's story "The Hounds of Tindalos", a police officer investigating a writer's sudden death finds a few scraps of paper he had written on, the last of which was apparently scribbled as he was attacked and killed by the titular monsters. "The Hounds of Tindalos" deserves extra credit for the doomed writer literally transcribing his dying scream:
Chalmers' notes: Their tongues—ahhhhh—
- House of Leaves is three apocalyptic logs, embedded within each other; reading the story keeps driving people over the edge.
- The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson consists of a brief Framing Story and this.
- How NOT to Write a Novel features one example, "'And One Ring to Bind Them!' Said the Old Cowpoke," wherein a young woman's bubbly normal diary morphs suddenly into an Apocalyptic Log about lizard-men taking over the world.
- Dan Simmons seems to really enjoy these. In Hyperion the Apocalyptic Log is subverted as we get to read the journals from the character as he goes insane from sickness and then as he gets better. In The Terror it's much nastier as the journal appears through out the book slowly becoming more and more hopeless until in the final entry he tells us how he finally managed to kill the people who captured him as he dies of starvation, scurvy and freezing cold.
- Mentioned in Jag Lever Pappa ("I live, daddy") by Siri Marie Seim Sønstelie whhich describes the Utøya massacre, where on July 22, 2011 a gunman Andreas Breivik killed 69 people on the Norwegian island Utøya, most of them teenagers, and wounded many others. Siri Sønstelie, a survivor, remembers that while most people caught in the shooting switched their phones off to avoid discovery, others continued to talk and / or send texts, even as they were shot at.
- Jason X: Planet of the Beast. The space station crew managed to acquire a few of the logs of the Blackstar 13 (a shuttle Jason had gone on a rampage in) before it crashed into a nearby planet. The last log was made by the ship's hiding and rambling cook, and ends with Jason bashing through the door, and horribly murdering him.
- In David Brin's Kiln People, several of the disposable clones of private detective Albert Morris get to describe their own demise in first person. As a lampshade/justification, Albert is used to them being unable to return to him for inloading, so he deliberately orders blanks fitted with voice recorders and a compulsion to recite.
- Stephen King
- "The End of the Whole Mess", found in the collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Like Cloverfield, this one is a variation in that the entire story is the Apocalyptic Log and the reader is the one discovering it.
- "Survivor Type", included in the collection Skeleton Crew, follows a similar tack, with the survivor of a shipwreck recording his time on a tiny rockpile of an island where there's pretty much no local wildlife or edible plants. The spelling and grammar steadily deteriorate as he descends into madness. He eventually resorts to cannibalizing his own body. "Lady fingers they taste like lady fingers."
- One of King's recent stories "1922" turns out to be this. In somewhat Lovecraftian fashion, the writer apparently continues to write even as the supernatural rats that have stalked him since he murdered his wife finally get around to devouring him. Of course, it's possible that he's just insane... The epilogue indicates that the manuscript was devoured along with the man, subverting the trope.
- King seems to like this trope. It's also in The Stand, in the form of Fran's and Harold's diaries—though Fran doesn't die at the end of hers.
- All three books of the Life as We Knew It trilogy are like this though minus the death ending.
- Lords Of Night by Thom Brannan has the framing device of The Chosen One telling a story about how the Locust People escaped from the Atlantis exhibit at the Smithsonian and ended the world. Later, After the End, he writes about he and his associates tried to put it right.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings:
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Fellowship go into the Mines of Moria, but find out that all the dwarves of Moria had died. They discover a chronicle of Balin's doomed attempt to recover the mines of Moria in the Chamber of Mazarbul. Gandalf finds the log, of the last siege by the orcs; some sections are illegible, but it's enough to convey the gravity of what they were facing.
Log: We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the Bridge and second hall. Frbr and Luni and Nbli fell there [...] went 5 days ago [...] The pool is up to the wall at Westgate. The Watcher in the Water took Oin. We cannot get out. The end comes, and then drums, drums in the deep. They are coming.
- Gandalf notes that the last three words are written "in a trailing scrawl of elf-letters". The fairly obvious implication is that the author (most likely Ori) wrote these final words just as the last line of defense was breached.
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Fellowship go into the Mines of Moria, but find out that all the dwarves of Moria had died. They discover a chronicle of Balin's doomed attempt to recover the mines of Moria in the Chamber of Mazarbul. Gandalf finds the log, of the last siege by the orcs; some sections are illegible, but it's enough to convey the gravity of what they were facing.
- H. P. Lovecraft loved these. Many of his stories consist almost entirely of Apocalyptic Logs, usually ending with the narrator in an asylum or clearly about to be eaten by something.
- Including, but not limited to, the seminal "The Call of Cthulhu".
- His non-mythos story, "The Temple", is supposed to be the log of a German submarine commander found in a bottle washed up on the Yucatan peninsula.
- "Dagon" and "The Thing on the Doorstep" are even better examples. As referenced in the page quote, "Dagon" (and a number of other tales) end with the author writing something as the horror is entering the room. Why he actually writes his final despairing scream is a question only Monty Python can answer.
- "The Hound", a short story about two grave robbers coming under a strange curse, ends with the final lines revealing the entire story was a suicide note — the narrator could no longer cope with the unfathomable terror.
- At the Mountains of Madness could be considered a variation of sorts. It's written as an account by one of the surviving members of the expedition regarding just what the heck happened, but it still serves a similar function. Lake's report on his discovery would be closer to a straight example, though it doesn't record the actual horror that he experiences. Also in a weird, twisted sense, the artwork which tells the story of the rise of the ancient empire of the Elder-Things, and their fall at the hands of the Shoggoths.
- "In the Walls of Eryx" is the recordings of the final days of a space explorer and prospector trapped in an invisible maze on the planet Venus, running low in oxygen and water.
- Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge. The diary of the person marooned in real time, while the rest of the survivors of the Singularity used stasis fields to leap forward in time. Decades long record of attempting to change the appearance of the surface of the planet enough to trigger the observation satellites. The hero has to be sedated after reading it.
- Played with in The Martian. There are several moments in the story when Mark Watney believes he's writing one of these, but they always end up followed by a second log entry explaining the feat of desperate improvisation and sheer bloody-minded will to live he used to get himself out of whatever predicament he'd been in beforehand.
- George R. R. Martin's "The Plague Star", the (chronologically) first Haviland Tuf story. The beginning of the story is a diary left by the last survivor of diseases sent by the title object, a biowar seedship of the Terran Ecological Engineering Corps. It describes how the plagues killed the alien inhabitants of the planet, his wife, and finally himself.
- In A Storm of Swords, Sam's messages to Castle Black during an attack by wights take this form, as they start out informative but become terrified and hasty as the battle turns against them.
- The World of Ice & Fire records the events of the "Tragedy at Summerhall" but a "ink mishap" led to much of the account unintelligible except for a few sentences.
the blood of the dragon gathered in one ...
... seven eggs, to honor the seven gods, though the king's own septon had warned ...
... pyromancers ...
... wild fire ...
... flames grew out of control ... towering ... burned so hot that ...
... died, but for the valor of the Lord Comman ...
- In the novel based on true events Mila 18, one person decides to keep a log of his starving to death as a Jew in Nazi occupied Warsaw. He figures since he is starving, he might as well contribute to science with full logs of all the effects. That is not the only instance of Apocalyptic Log, as other Jews also record the atrocities and their resistance for posterity. This is not a happy book.
- The Lord Rulers personal log from Brandon Sandersons Mistborn: The Original Trilogy is a strange aversion. It wasn't apocalyptic for the writer, so much as it was for everyone else. It's more than a thousand years old by the time the heroes find it.
- The Moth Diaries. Or, you know, it might not be that at all.
- "M.S. Found in a Bottle" by Edgar Allan Poe, also a Message in a Bottle. The protagonist states that he's writing the account for posterity, and that if he is about to die or suffer some other fate that would render him incapable of finishing the story, he will put it in the titular bottle and throw it in the sea. He apparently does so when he goes down a whirlpool on a ship full of old men with a nonsensical language...
- Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere: not a scientific log, but a video recording left by Door's father, as he is increasingly fearing for his life, that ends with his almost on-screen death.
- Near the end of Feed, the first book in the Newsflesh series has Georgia's last blog-post, which begins very coherently, but slowly degrades as zombie-fication nears completion. The writing stops mid-word when the author is shot.
- Nina Tanleven: In The Ghost Wore Gray, Captain Gray kept a diary of his journey to New York, which Nine and Chris find in a secret compartment of the chest hed used to carry the treasure hed been entrusted with. The last entry is his requesting writing supplies so he can make a map and a will; Nine and Chris later find, via a book about Samson Carter, that Captain Gray had to be hidden from his enemies on the same day of that last entry, and died in his hiding place.
- Robert Bloch also wrote a story titled "Notebook Found in a Deserted House", which is basically a 12- year-old boy writing down everything that happened to him in a notebook while he's hiding from the horror that's literally just outside his house. It suddenly ends mid-sentence just as he's found.
- The Ology Series features several among its installments, usually featuring the alleged author of the book and the tragic end of their research expedition. (Egyptology, Pirateology, etc). One exception that formula is Mythology, where the log is of a man who borrowed the book and wrote notes in the margins.
- Oryx and Crake has a very short, but no less creepy, variation, found by the protagonist after a devastating global pandemic:
Beside a vase of withered flowers and a framed father-and-son snapshot—the child was a boy then, seven or eight—there's a telephone scratch pad. Scrawled across the top page are the words GET LAWN MOWED. Then, in smaller, fainter letters, Call clinic... The ballpoint pen is still on the paper, as if dropped from a slackening hand: it must have come suddenly, right then, the sickness and the realization of it both.
- In Orphans in the Sky, a hidden log found by the original crew's remote descendants details the mutiny that led to their spaceship being lost in space and its inhabitants forgetting that there ever was anything Outside the Ship.
- Otherland uses this trope in a rather interesting way by having the narrative point of view occasionally shift to Martine Desroubin's subvocalized journal entries. The segments are thus effectively an apocalyptic log in the progress of being written. They're doubly intriguing because she is blind and is therefore writing solely from her own experiences and perspective. Later, her journals are recovered from Otherland and she spends time reading them to analyze her own Character Development.
- Don Tumasonis' horror story "The Prospect Cards" is a sales catalog of very odd postcards. The back of each card has a fragment of the log from an expedition intended to milk an isolated tribe of all their wealth, while the front has a picture that hints at each expedition member's fate. The pictures aren't reassuring.
- The end of Rant by Chuck Palahniuk subtly implies a strange subversion of this. The interviews that make up the story are from a world that doesn't exist, but only because the events of the story caused it to cease existing. What's worse is that the story not only fails to tell the reader how to avert this "apocalypse" from happening again, it states that it can't be stopped, that it will happen again, and that nobody will ever notice except for the twisted degenerates that figured out how to pull this trick. Except for the few people who have become gods through murder and rape, reality is one big Lotus-Eater Machine.
- In Ratman's Notebooks (since renamed to Willard), the titular character's diary has become this by the end of the story.
- "The Raw Shark Texts" begins with the main character having no recollection of himself, slowly reconstructing his history from an Apocalyptic Log he left for himself before the incident that resulted in his amnesia. Or at least, that might be what is happening- a little like House of Leaves the boundaries of reality and the text are somewhat thin.
- Crisis Report, found in Red Planet & Other Stories by Kevin Griffis, is an apocalyptic report clinically detailing the collapse of civilization. Corpse piles, indeed.
- The Red Tree by Caitlin Kiernan is the diary of a woman who committed suicide and details the supernatural (maybe) events that destroyed her sanity and led to her death.
- In Garth Nix's Sabriel, the heroine discovers a magical recording of the last moments of a soldier's life.
- Septimus Heap: Syrah Syara's diary ends with her reminding herself who she is while succumbing to the Syren's possession.
- In The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin, several documents detail an ill-fated experiment to open a black hole for an Eldritch Abomination, so that it can enter the world and ascend humanity. Any subsequent logs describe the world-ending results of that decision.
- John Barnes' The Sky so Big and Black is set in a solar system where they're terraforming Mars for living room. They can't use Earth any more, because it's inhabited by a hivemind united by a behavioural meme, Resuna, which is aggressively trying to spread itself to the rest of humanity (it just wants to help!). The novel is the log of a psychiatrist going over and adding to his notes of his latest patient, plucky Action Girl Teri, and is one part her adventures terraforming, one part a discussion of exactly how memes work to take over a person, and one part, well, where these two things intersect. The psychiatrist catches the meme off Teri, and the entries in his log show his mind going.
- The Sound and the Fury has a depiction of one character's breakdown that works in many of the modern conventions, including using worsening punctuation and capitalization to show the character breaking down, a blackout that starts abruptly mid-sentence, and said blackout is filled with a just barely comprehensible, completely unpunctuated or attributed flashback about the source of the character's trauma, followed by a sudden, temporary jerk back to the present, in which we get to find out what happened while he blacked out.
- The Southern Reach Trilogy:
- The lighthouse in Area X contains whole piles of apocalyptic logs: all expedition members keep a notebook of their experiences, and the notebooks of expeditions which never return always find their way to the lighthouse. By the time the biologist finds it, the pile has become alarmingly large.
- In Acceptance, the lighthouse keeper's journal details odd jobs and animal sightings around the lighthouse but gradually degenerates into apocalyptic babbling and unintelligible scribbles.
- In Space Marine Battles novel Malodrax, Lysander manages to obtain Being A Description Of Malodrax And Its Foulness, written by a heretic Inquisitor as he was dying on the planet. It's useful both as a source of information and as a weapon.
- Arthur C. Clarke's 2010:
- Approaching Jupiter space, the Leonov picks up a transmission directed at it from the surface of Europa. It's a taikonaut describing the fate of a Chinese mission to the moon — in the spirit of "let the next guy know what killed you" and claim credit for discovering life on Europa. The ship destroyed, no rescue in reach, and without the equipment to record a log or know if he was being received, he just kept repeating his message over and over until his suit's life support gave out.
- "The Spider" features a hotel room which guests always end up hanging themselves, and it mostly consists of the journal of Richard Bracquemont, a medical student who offers to investigate.
- Star Wars Legends
- The Illustrated Star Wars Universe does this with a research team on Dagobah.
- Maybe it's the same team, maybe it's not, but in Galaxy of Fear the protagonists, heading to Dagobah, find the malnourished and uneducated grown children of a survey team which had been stranded, and all of them were dead of one thing or another. The last adult left a datapad behind, with longer and longer gaps between entries as the item's power ran out. Fever, wild animals, and starvation were the threats. The last entry has the woman on her deathbed, weeping as she confessed that they had started to feed dead parents to their starving children.
- The Stormlight Archive has an Apocalyptic Log in the form of Dalinar's visions. Since the Apocalyptic Log is from God, they're actually a sort of interactive simulation, intended to give the recipient information about the Desolations. In the later books when Dalinar bonds with the Stormfater, he can enter the visions at will, as well as bring other people along.
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has Dr Jekyll give the narrator his Apocalyptic Log in the final chapter.
- At least half of Strange Objects by Gary Crew is taken up by the serialized journal of Wouter Loos, one of two convicted killers marooned on the western coast of Australia in 1629. At first a straightforward record of Loos and his "friend," Jan Pelgrom, attempting to seek shelter with a local tribe, the journal slowly becomes more and more supernatural- especially with the introduction of a mysterious ruby ring that Pelgrom wears. However, the truth of this particular matter is never quite resolved, as the most overt record of anyone displaying magical power is in the final chapter — by which time, Loos is delirious and barely coherent in his last pages.
- Being a Scrapbook Story, Strange Objects also includes diary entries written in 1986 by the scrapbook's "compiler," Steven Messenger. The diary begins with Messenger's accidental discovery of a small cache of artefacts that once belonged to Loos and Pelgrom: though most of them are quickly handed over to the authorities, Messenger succeeds in taking one — a small jewelled ring, which he keeps on a necklace. As the months pass, he begins to experience a feeling of Being Watched, and frequently mentions encountering a silent "double" of himself. Eventually, Steven begins wearing the ring on his finger; according to the epilogue, he vanished from his home soon after and was never seen again.
- "The Taking" by Dean Koontz features an audio recording from the International Space Station, wherein the astronauts discuss how a strange craft seems to have docked with them, and whether or not the inhabitants might be peaceable, right up until an entity boards the station. The audio ends with the painful death of each astronaut and a message from said entity.
- The Third World War: August 1985 includes excerpts from the emergency logs of three communities during the war and pulls this twice. The first log ends when the building it is in is destroyed by a bombing raid (with a statement that the book was found in the ruins), but resumes with the backup copy describing the situation. The second, from an area in central Birmingham, ends with the warning of Birmingham's imminent nuclear destruction being received, stopping mid-word. A statement follows that its charred remains were found in the destroyed building.
- C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces has Orual break off in mid-sentence, followed by a section (in italics) saying that she had been found dead with her head on the book. Unusually, she was not writing about her impending death; once she commented at the beginning of Part II that she wished she had time to do it over, but since time is short she will just go on, she never again alludes to knowing that she hasn't got much time.
- Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden includes a letter to one of the main characters from her father, early in the text. The sentiment is something like, "I'm going home to destroy this letter as soon as possible, so if you find this letter, I'm right and something is very, very wrong. Go bush."
- There's an article in a 1982 issue of Twilight Zone magazine, Thoughts on Silly Mythos Endings, that delineates the best of these and offers a contest to see who can come up with more.
- Australian novel Underground is essentially a set of memoirs written by Leo James — washed-up property developer and brother to the tyrannical Australian Prime Minister — during his imprisonment in the near-abandoned Parliament House. In these memoirs, he records the events that led to the permanent state of emergency, his unwanted travels up and down Australia's east coast, his capture and the weeks of torture and imprisonment that followed. The memoirs and the novel end with the moments before Leo's execution:
Leo: I hear marching footsteps in the hall outside. Orders yelled. I think the fuckers are actually going to shoot me in here. And God help them, they sound Australian.
- In Wander, the titular character and Dagger find a diary written by a woman named Doreen. In it, she mentions befriending a man named Temple, someone Wander has prior experience with, so she immediately puts two and two together and realizes she was murdered. Doubles as That Was the Last Entry, especially from Dagger's point of view.
- Played with in World War Z, which is an oral history of a narrowly-averted Zombie Apocalypse.
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper is meant to be the journal of a woman losing her sanity.
- The Zombie Autopsies Secret Notebooks From The Apocalypse plays this straight,with the protagonist writing until he falls victim to the zombie virus.
- The short story "Twitterings from the Circus of the Dead" by Joe Hill takes the form of a teenager's Twitter account, which she updates while on a road trip with her family. When they stop by at the titular circus which turns out to have real zombies that the staff sic on the unsuspecting audience, it quickly turns into this as she tweets about most of her family being killed and how horrific it is. However, the ending leaves it ambiguous if it was an ARG promoting the circus or if that's just a cover-up so the circus staff can continue killing people unmolested.
- On The 100, the nuclear apocalypse was initially believed to have been a political conflict, but Murphy stumbles across a series of videos by the people who built A.L.I.E., an artificial intelligence that hacked the world's nuclear arsenal and started the war. The videos end with one of the people involved killing himself.
- Played for Laughs in Big Wolf on Campus when Merton has been turned to stone, and Tommy and Lori find a series of post-mortem tapes left by Merton detailing how to cure pretty much any ailment he could have come down with from fighting the supernatural... except for petrification. The tapes end with a rather somber "In case you can't cure me" message where Merton tells Tommy that he was the first, best, and only friend he ever had and how much he meant to him, and then goes on to chastize Lori for picking Tommy over him as he is "ten times the man Tommy will ever be". Tommy is mortified, while Lori finds it funny as hell.
- Played for laughs (sort of) in the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth. Darling is preparing to go over the top to his death.
Darling: Made a note in my diary on the way here. It simply says... "Bugger."
- Blake's 7. In "Power", a literal Battle of the Sexes is taking place between the primitive male Hommiks and the technologically advanced Seska. Tarrant finds a video log by a Seska detailing how they're losing the war. It ends when a large axe slams down on the table in front of her.
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, episode "Space Vampire". The title creature (called a "Vorvon") is being tracked by a man named Helson (possibly from "Dr. Van Helsing", as a Shout-Out to Dracula). Helson's drone makes a recording of him confronting the Vorvon: it ends with him being killed. Buck discovers the monster exists by watching the tape.
- Doctor Who:
- "The Curse of Fenric" features the runic inscriptions of a Viking who made the mistake of stealing a flask containing Fenric, Evil Incarnate.
Viking: I am the only one left now. I raise these stones to my wife, Astrid. May she forgive my sin. The day grows dark, and I sense the evil curse rising from the sea. I know now what the curse of Fenric seeks: the treasures from the Silk Lands in the east. I have heard the treasures whisper in my dreams. I have heard the magic words that will release great powers. I shall bury the treasure for ever. Tonight, I shall die, and the words die with me.
- "Silence in the Library": The Doctor and Donna listen to a recorded message (censored "for tone and content") on a data-terminal in an abandoned library. "Message follows: Run. For God's sake, run. Nowhere is safe... We can't Oh, they're here. Argh. Slargh. Snick. Message ends."
- "The God Complex": The episode opens with a young policewoman writing an account of her final moments as she succumbs to brainwashing that seems to befall everyone who arrives in the "hotel". The Doctor and the others later discover this.
- "The Curse of Fenric" features the runic inscriptions of a Viking who made the mistake of stealing a flask containing Fenric, Evil Incarnate.
- In the Season 7 episode "Karma" of How I Met Your Mother, Robin temporarily moves into Marshall and Lily's house in the suburbs and spends most of her time writing and narrating on a diary as if she is an anthropologist being captured by natives and fearing she is becoming one of them.
- Jericho does this in the first episode with an answering machine. Doubles as one heck of an Oh, Crap! moment, as we quickly find out that the message originated in a totally different city than the one that the characters and viewers knew had just been nuked, meaning that the disaster was not just local.
- The original Land of the Lost had the Marshall's tracking down installments of a diary by a predecessor to the land. Eventually, they enter a cave full of dormant Sleetaks and find his long-decayed corpse and his final entry in a small section. They read that he never found a way home and was doomed because of being trapped in the cave with the Sleetaks awake. Suddenly, the Marshall's heard the sound of the Sleetaks waking up, take the hint and barely manage to escape themselves.
- This happens in an episode of the Logan's Run series. The protagonists discover an ancient bunker from before the end holding a few Human Popsicle survivors (the best and brightest) from the ancient civilization devastated by a plague. There is also an Apocalyptic Log from a man dying from the disease, but holding out long enough to reveal he discovered that one of the hibernated people is an impostor (and potentially a murderer).
- Lost Tapes does this at times: the episode Devil Dragon starts with a man documenting his attempt to survive in the Australian rainforests for a television show, but turns into an Apocalyptic Log when he is bitten and stalked by a megalania. It even ends with him sending a message to his wife and daughter before making one last desperate break for safety, only to be caught by the megalania and dragged off, never to be seen again. Others are much shorter examples where a person tries to get out of danger until the very end of the episode when they realize they will never escape from the monster chasing them and make a last minute attempt to warn people that it's out there before they are attacked and killed.
- One episode of M*A*S*H has something of one when one of the 4077's new nurses accidentally wanders into the camp's minefield during a late night walk. Hawkeye volunteers to deliver her eulogy since she was his latest girlfriend, but no one in camp, Hawkeye included, knows much about her since she was quite aloof and anti-social. Then Father Mulcahy finds her diary in her personal effects and gives it to Hawkeye for inspiration. While we only get a summary from Hawkeye (mostly how she was so anti-social because she looked up to each and everyone there and was too shy to approach them), we do get to hear her last entry, which weighs pretty heavy on Hawkeye: "I can't sleep tonight. My head's just so full of Hawkeye right now. I think I'll take a walk."
- The TV adaptation of Nightmares & Dreamscapes: "The End of the Whole Mess" is basically this trope. Being more specific it is filmmaker Howard Fornoy's video diary explaining his scientist brother Bobby's project that brought unmitigated world peace and its unintended side-effect because "Did Not Think This Through" has been Bobby's accidental life-long motto: the possible extinction of mankind (or certainly unmitigated ruin) because the chemical has the side-effect of causing accelerated Alzheimer's on anybody who is exposed to it. Howard, who already gave his brother a Mercy Kill, is using his last moments before he himself succumbs to ask forgiveness for his brother to anybody who eventually finds it, if ever.
- The Outer Limits (1995): In "Manifest Destiny", the UFS Mercury medical officer Dr. Will Olsten's record of the Boarding Party from his ship exploring the UFS Rhesos is one.
- Planet of the Apes: In "The Legacy", in the ruins of Oakland, Virdon and Burke discover a holographic message recorded by a scientist centuries after their time. In this ancient message, the scientist states that various repositories of scientific knowledge were hidden in different locations around the world in anticipation of the apocalypse. It was hoped that humanity would eventually be able to use this knowledge to rebuild its civilization.
- The Clip Show episode of Power Rangers RPM featured an Apocalyptic Log that the Teen Genius left in case they lost the Robot War. It provided a brief character summary and log of the fight, but most of it focused on the
merchandise toysweapons and equipment they'd been using all season that the prospective finder of the log would find nearby, the general impression being "if you've found this, we lost our war of attrition. You are now one of the last humans alive. Here's what you have to work with- now take up our fight". An odd case of seeing the Apocalyptic Log as a caution of what might happen if they lose, rather than a means of figuring out how they lost.
- Red Dwarf:
- Parodied in "Psirens". While investigating a derelict ship, the crew find a flight recorder showing a fear-crazed astronaut munching a burger as he documents the horrible fate of his crew. A hideous insectoid monster approaches as the astronaut backs away in terror. A spray of red splatters across the screen...
Astronaut: You've squeezed all the ketchup out of my burger!
- There's also this, from Holly: "Three million years from Earth, the mining ship Red Dwarf. Its crew: Dave Lister, the last human being alive; Arnold Rimmer, a hologram of his dead bunkmate; and a creature who evolved from the ship's cat. Message ends. Additional: As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?"
- Parodied in "Psirens". While investigating a derelict ship, the crew find a flight recorder showing a fear-crazed astronaut munching a burger as he documents the horrible fate of his crew. A hideous insectoid monster approaches as the astronaut backs away in terror. A spray of red splatters across the screen...
- One of the challenges in season 1 of Scream Queens (2008) has the contestants filming these, Blair Witch-style, in order to test how well they can act on their own without co-stars to prop up their performances.
- Stargate Atlantis:
- The Atlantis expedition finds an Apocalyptic Log in the pilot episode:
Melia: In time, a thousand worlds bore the fruit of life in this form. Then one day our people stepped foot on a dark world where a terrible enemy slept. Never before had we encountered beings with powers that rivaled our own. In our overconfidence, we were unprepared and outnumbered. The enemy fed upon defenseless human worlds like a great scourge, until finally only Atlantis remained. This city's great shield was powerful enough to withstand their terrible weapons, but here we were besieged for many years. In an offer to save the last of our kind, we submerged our great city into the ocean. The Atlantis Stargate was the one and only link back to Earth from this galaxy, and those who remained used it to return to that world that was once home. There the last survivors of Atlantis lived out the remainder of their lives. This city was left to slumber, in the hope that our kind would one day return.
- Also happens in "The Daedalus Variations". Sheppard and Co., aboard an empty Daedalus, find a video log left by the captain before the ship was abandoned.
- The Atlantis expedition finds an Apocalyptic Log in the pilot episode:
- Stargate Universe uses a variation of this concept in the episode "Time" the difference is the log is created by Eli in an alternate timeline then sent into the past through a wormhole. This wound up being recursive: at the end of the episode, Matt records a second Apocalyptic Log explaining what had been discovered the first time 'round, so that when the crew found it the next time, they'd have a leg up. At least two loops and logs were required to ensure the crew's survival, but for all the viewer knows, there were three, or three hundred.
- Stargate Atlantis:
- Star Trek. Several episodes in several series feature the crew discovering the logs of the last folks to encounter the disease/Negative Space Wedgie/villain of the week.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- In the second pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the crew discovered the log of the last people to encounter the A God Am I effect of passing through the barrier at the edge of the galaxy. It ends with the ship's captain giving a self-destruct order.
- "That Which Survives". The last survivor of a colony leaves a computer message for any of her people who might find it.
Losira: My fellow Kalandans, welcome. A disease has destroyed us. Beware of it. After your long journey, I'm sorry to give you only a recorded welcome, but we who have guarded the outpost for you will be dead by the time you take possession of this planet. I am the last of our advance force left alive. Too late the physicians discovered the cause that kills us. In creating this planet, we have accidentally produced a deadly organism. I have awaited the regular supply ship from home for medical assistance, but I doubt now whether it will arrive in time. I will set the outpost controls on automatic. The computer will selectively defend against all life-forms but our own. My fellow Kalandans, I, Losira, wish you well.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- One especially notable case: in "Contagion", the Enterprise downloads one of these from the USS Yamato. Unfortunately, the log had hidden in it the computer virus that caused the Yamato to blow up.
- "Night Terrors" has a chilling log from the Captain of the Brittain, who is going steadily insane.
Captain: First officer Brink and his men were behind it. They got to the engines, they don't work anymore. Had to eliminate Brink!
- In at least two episodes ("Time Squared", "Cause and Effect"), the Enterprise crew receive an Apocalyptic Log out of a Negative Space Wedgie
Picard: All hands, abandon ship! Repeat, all hands, abandon—
- Also nicely subverted in one episode where it turns out the person who made the log is still alive, and quite upset that the crew was watching her video diary.
- At least one appears in Star Trek: Enterprise, specifically in "The Expanse". Perhaps the most disturbing example of this trope in all of Trek, this one had to have been inspired by Event Horizon: a collection of grainy imagery featuring the crew of the subject (Vulcan) starship slaughtering each other in an overwhelming display of uncontrolled emotion (remember they're Vulcans) and insanity, all from passing through a specific region of space.
- Star Trek: Voyager has "Course: Oblivion", in which one of these is recorded by Voyager crew which turns out be bio-mimetic duplicates, which, as the title implies, are doomed to oblivion.
Janeway / Harry Kim: We've lost 63 crewmen, and our systems are continuing to fail. Though we're still five weeks away from the Demon planet, we haven't given up hope. ... ... Our situation's getting worse every day. More than eighty percent of the ship is uninhabitable. Most of the crew are gone. It seems less and less likely that the few of us left will reach our destination.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- Dr. Jenner of the CDC is making an ongoing video log in The Walking Dead when the group of survivors comes across the CDC. Several of his entries are shown in the episode "Wildfire".
- An episode of Wayward Pines is a flashback montage of Mitchum waking up every 20 years from 2014 to 4014 to spend a day monitoring the outside world and making sure the Ark was running smoothly. The first several times, he monitors the global situation deteriorate through TV and radio broadcasts, with more and more stations shutting down, until all he gets is static, proving that Pilcher's predictions were true in this respect - humanity did indeed destroy itself. Also, in season 1, Theresa finds a bunker with video recordings of expeditions sent out by Pilcher to determine the status of various American cities. In particular, she finds the last video log made by Adam Hassler, her husband's Secret Service boss. Hassler shows the remains of San Francisco and mentions that no other humans have been found. He then hurriedly says that he's the last survivor of his party and cuts out to the sound of approaching Abbies. He actually manages to make it back to the town, learning much about the Abbies.
- The X-Files:
- "Ice" shows the first and last videos of the sequence. At first, the tidy, cheerful and well-lit scientists of an arctic research base report digging ice cores from record levels; the second is gloomy and shaky, with one disheveled man saying "We're not... who we are... we're not... who we are..." before being attacked.
- "Død Kalm" also includes the Apocalyptic Log. This episode is about an ill-fated ship which had the supernatural effect of rapidly aging its passengers. Scully keeps a journal of their misery, stating "Agent Fox Mulder lost consciousness at approximately 4:30 this morning, the 12th of March. There is nothing more I can do for him, or for myself. Supplies are exhausted, no food or liquid consumed for over 24 hours."
- The seventh season episode "X-Cops" starts with a homage to COPS (where a cameraman follows a sheriff's deputy check up on some disturbance), when they are suddenly attacked by something that stays just out of the camera's view all the time.
- "Death Story" by Lecrae is the last-minute prayer of a gangster on his deathbed.
I wronged You, I see that, I want to give in,
But I ain't really sure if you'll forgive me my sins...
Well, this is it. No more discussion to do.
I don't know much, but I know I should be trusting in... BEEEEEEEEEEEEP...
- "The Chariot" by The Cat Empire.
This is a song that came upon me one night
When the news it had been telling me
About one more war and one more fight
And "aeh" I sighed but then
I thought about my friends
Then I wrote this declaration
Just in case the world ends.
- "Chiron Beta Prime" by Jonathan Coulton.
That's all the family news that we're allowed to talk about
We really hope you'll come and visit us soon
I mean we're literally begging you to visit us
And make it quick before they [message redacted]
- "Experiment IV" by Kate Bush.
Then they told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It's a mistake in the making.
We won't be there to be blamed.
We won't be there to snitch.
I just pray that someone there
Can hit the switch.
- "Space Oddity" by David Bowie.
Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Earth below us, drifting, falling
- Even more appropriate is Peter Schilling's answer to "Space Oddity", "Major Tom (Coming Home)"
floating weightless, calling, calling
Across the stratosphere a final message,
give my wife my love, then nothing more.
- The acoustic version on the Sound+ Vision album even ends with a choked sob, and the Morse Code for S.O.S. repeating into the fade.
- Bowie's final studio album, ★, was recorded while he was terminally ill with cancer. The album is loaded with themes about a man who knows he's not long for this world.
- On a similar note, Innuendo was the final album that Queen released before Freddie Mercury succumbed to AIDS. Like Bowie's album Blackstar, many of the songs can be read as Mercury's final messages to the world, ranging in tone from frightened ("I'm Going Slightly Mad") to affectionate ("These Are The Days Of Our Lives") to courageous ("The Show Must Go On").
- Dr. Jekyll sings an Apocalyptic Log in the musical version of Jekyll & Hyde.
- "Two Suns in the Sunset" by Pink Floyd describes the last few moments of a man's life before he is killed by a nuclear bomb.
the rusty wire that holds the cork
that keeps the anger in
and suddenly it's day again
the sun is in the east
even though the day is done
two suns in the sunset
could be the human race is run
and as the windshield melts
my tears evaporate
leaving only charcoal to defend
finally i understand
the feelings of the few
ashes and diamonds
foe and friend
we were all equal in the end
- Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon" - the first two lines let you know that it doesn't end well.
- Loudness's song S.D.I., which is about a world going into nuclear war:
All the nations will be glowing
On their way to hell
Angels of death are marching closer
The last supper's held
Here in the land you'll see no more
I'll see you in hell They call it war
- Similarly, EZO's Fire Fire, with the entire song describing nuclear war and the world after, with a plea at the end to stop the war before it happens. Lyrics here as the entire song is this.
- Iron Maiden's "Satellite 15...The Final Frontier" is about a pilot in a damaged ship giving his last report.
- The title track of The Number of the Beast, which describes a man recalling a Satanic Ritual he witnessed, only for him to be consumed by it at the end.
- "Pioneers over C." by Van der Graaf Generator, which, like "Space Oddity" deals with space exploration gone wrong:
We left the earth in 1983
Fingers groping for the galaxies
Reddened eyes staring up into the void
A thousand stars to be exploited
Somebody help me, I'm falling
Somebody help me, I'm falling down...
Into sky, into earth, into sky, into earth
- Rush's "Cygnus X-1" is about a space pilot flying his ship directly into the heart of a black hole. Subverted in the second part, "Hemispheres", where he comes out the other end.
- mind.in.a.box's "Stalkers". By the sound of things, the singer is either suffering from a mental breakdown from paranoid schizophrenia, or being forcibly assimilated by a Hive Mind.
I can feel my thoughts dying out
so my last thought is just your name
and it is all that will remain...
It is not too late...
- Subverted in the later song "Overwrite", wherein the singer is implied to be an Artificial Intelligence in the process of being overtaken by what is revealed to be free will and self-awareness.
To open my eyes.
To cure the blind.
It is not too late...
It is my decision.
It is my mind.
- "30k ft" by Assemblage 23 is about a doomed airline passenger making a final phone call to his wife/lover. The song cuts off in mid-sentence at the end.
- Eminem's "Stan" has the final tape recorded by Stan, just before he drives his car off a bridge with his girlfriend locked in the trunk because he thinks his hero Eminem is deliberately ignoring him. It's only at the last minute that he realises he has no way to send the tape.
- The radio edit/commercial edit remix version of Violet UK's Blind Dance. It is an ambient sound / Spoken Word in Music / Electronic Music Apocalyptic Log of the end of the world. The line about the nuclear facilities became even Harsher in Hindsight after the Fukushima meltdown disaster. (The original song is Gothic Metal Intercourse with You and Obligatory Bondage Song.)
- cosMo's Adventurous Girl and Miniature Garden Game starts out as a song about a cute little girl exploring a Sugar Bowl. At around two minutes in, the music video zooms out, superimposing the image of a heartbeat monitor onto the girl. She then discovers a pile of what appears to be stick figures with Xs drawn over their faces. The rest is a parade of really confusing imagery, which gets more and more distorted as the song goes on, while the beeping of the heartbeat monitor goes on behind the music. Eventually, the video starts glitching to the point when it's very difficult to see anything. The song ends with the girl saying she'll see everyone in the aforementioned Sugar Bowl again, and then fades out to the monitor flatlining. In a later song, it's revealed that the world that she's in is an artificial reality, and she has no idea what's going on.
- Comedy Musician Stephen Lynch's Dear Diary series is diary entries by either celebrities or famous figures in history before something really bad happens to them. One example is: Christopher Reeve writing an entry about a horse he hopes to tame...
- "Powderfinger", from Neil Young's ''Rust Never Sleeps', is written from the point of view of a young man defending his family farm from hostile invaders. He's shot and killed, and the final chorus acts as a kind of epitaph.
- "Olkinainen" by the Finnish band Miljoonasade is about longing, but the lyrics are about writing a "should you find this letter" letter at night. In his longing the singer built a woman out of straw, and by now dancing and laughing on the roof of the barn with its head under its arm. As he finishes he leaves for the hoe and the gas canister.
- This is effectively what Finnish Folk Metal band Moonsorrow's albums Viides luku: Hävitetty and Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa boil down to: the former depicts The End of the World as We Know It and the latter depicts life, such as it can be called, After the End.
- "Nosferatu" by Blue Öyster Cult mentions an example in the form of a Captain's Log:
The ship pulled in without a sound
The faithful captain long since cold
He kept his log 'til the bloody end
Last entry read: "Rats in the hold
My crew is dead, I fear the plague"
- Shel Silverstein combines this with Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion in some of his poems:
- Boa Constrictor:
Oh no, he swallowed my toe
Oh gee, he's gotten my knee
Oh fiddle, he's up to my middle
Oh heck, he's up to my neck
Oh dread, he's mmmmmfffff...''
- The Slithery Dee:
...He came out of the sea;
He ate all the others,
But he didn't eat—SL-U-R-P...
- Boa Constrictor:
- The Message: "If it kills us, they'll find us at our desks."
- Halfway through the first season of TANIS, a recurring segment of a woman reading from the journal of an expedition to the titular Tanis begins. The journal chronicles the strange events and occurrences throughout the trip, never referring to anyone in the expedition by names, only titles: The Runner, the Novelist, the Zealot, and the Witness, who's writing the journal. The season finale reveals that the Witness is the show's host, Nic Silver.
- The White Vault is told through the recovered audio logs of expeditions that went horribly wrong after the discover of bizarre, alien ruins. Seasons 1 and 2 are about an expedition to Svalbard, and Seasons 3 and 4 are about an expedition to the Pantagonian mountains.
- Orson Welles' infamous radio version of The War of the Worlds:
- Commentator Carl Phillips describes the effects of the Martian heat ray right up to the bitter end:
Phillips: A humped shape is rising out of the pit. I can make out a small beam of light against a mirror. What's that? There's a jet of flame springing from the mirror, and it leaps right at the advancing men. It strikes them head on! Good Lord, they're turning into flame! (screams and unearthly shrieks) Phillips: Now the whole field's caught fire. (explosion) The woods... the barns... the gas tanks of automobiles... it's spreading everywhere. It's coming this way. About twenty yards to my right... (crash of microphone, then dead silence)
- An even better example is the announcer broadcasting from atop the CBS building in New York, watching the Martian's poisonous smoke drift across the city.
Announcer: Smoke comes out, black smoke, drifting over the city. People in the streets see it now. They're running towards the East River, thousands of them, dropping in like rats. Now the smoke's spreading faster. It's reached Times Square. People are trying to run away from it, but it's no use. They're — They're falling like flies. Now the smoke's crossing Sixth Avenue... Fifth Avenue... a hundred yards away... it's — it's fifty feet.... (a thud, as he collapses)
- Made even creepier with the other half of the Apocalyptic Log from the radio immediately following: "2X2L calling CQ... 2X2L calling CQ... 2X2L calling CQ... New York. Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone... 2x2L—" *silence* Now remember that this was being portrayed as a news broadcast...
- And while the fake newscast portion of this show is what people remember, the last third of it abandoned the news format, instead taking the form of a reading from Pierson's Apocalyptic Log diary as he travels on foot from Grover's Mill to New York City.
- Commentator Carl Phillips describes the effects of the Martian heat ray right up to the bitter end:
- The Big Finish Dark Shadows audio play The House By The Sea is told through a collection of tapes a man is leaving for his psychiatrist. The recordings tell of how the man, Gerald Conway, gradually tries to unravel the mysteries surrounding the house he has rented (rented because he kept seeing it in his dreams). Things start heating up when he keeps reporting finding human teeth throughout the house, he sees a ghost, records a conversation with Barnabas Collins (whose voice fails to appear on the tape) and holds a seance in which we hear him being briefly possessed by the assorted spirits who occupy the building. Of course, it all culminates when he breaks into the cellar, finds a human skeleton and a living shadow which starts making pump pump noises causing Conway to have a heart attack and the final moments reveal that he has been taken over by the freed remains of the warlock, Nicholas Blair.
- In Season 2 of Earthsearch, the protagonists encounter Solaria, one of the orbiting artificial suns used when Earth was being moved to another solar system, now adrift in space. They search through the hologram recordings left by its crew to find out where Earth went, but only find routine technical reports. Until they play an unlabelled disk that shows the commander of Solaria calling on Earth to cut the tractor beams holding Solaria in orbit because its artificial intelligence has gone insane and is about to burn up a city unless its demands are met. The commander is then killed by a welding android controlled by Solaris.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, Nymgrock finds the elven sages' forgotten diaries which chronicle the first spread of the Blood Fever which occurred hundreds of years earlier. The first entries show some curious, out of the ordinary events in the sages' lives. However, as the entries progress, the effects of the Blood Fever start showing up in more gruesome ways and the writings become increasingly desperate and terrified, eventually culminating in the respective final entries where the writers perform a Heroic Sacrifice to end the plague. It doesn't work because the plague shows up deadlier than ever in the present day, which has been the very reason Nymgrock sought out the diaries in the first place to find information about what could be causing the plague.
- Several notes in Ruby Quest, particularly Filbert's journal, detailing his... tests... of the limits of the treatment. It's a Cosmic Horror Story where everyone has recurring amnesia, so what else would you expect?
- The prologue to the Zombie Apocalypse game All Flesh Must Be Eaten has a scientist, just bitten by a zombie, discuss the transformation from human to infected cadaver in a truly disturbing series of logs. The last few are after his death, as the brain is the last thing to go... and the final one has him reduced to groaning that the hunger is all he has left.
- The recent "Jihad" series of BattleTech sourcebooks feature a number of these, usually from victims of the Words frequent use of WMDs. Probably the most distressing are the cries for help from Alarion; the population are dying from a bioweapon attack, but claim there are uninfected children.
- Call of Cthulhu
- Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, adventure "The Warren". When the Player Characters enter a room sealed by rubble, they find a skeleton and a piece of paper with the last words of the victim. It describes how he heard cult members chanting, a bolt of lighting striking the house and finding the door blocked. His last words were "I am sitting now waiting for rescue. It has been eight hours."
- Also, in the adventure "Horror on the Orient Express," the player characters keep Apocalyptic Logs to allow replacement investigators to join a very long, detailed investigation fully up to speed.
- Supplement Cthulhu Companion, adventure "The Mystery of Loch Feinn". Professor Gibbson's journal details his investigation of the Water Horse and his run-ins with the MacAllans — the Cthulhu cultists who eventually killed him.
- Fearful Passages, adventure "Armored Angels". Professor Powell's notes give information on his plan to open a gate to the planet Yuggoth. The last page of his diary give a horrifying account of the invasion of Mi-Go and a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath through the gate.
- Chivalry & Sorcery 3rd Edition adventure Stormwatch. The PCs can find the log of an old expedition that was destroyed by a disease. Because the members did not die on holy ground, they were not properly laid to rest are were condemned to become undead.
- Not a tabletop RPG, but a letter-writing RPG, the out of print Lovecraftian game De Profundis was presented wholly as a collection of letters from someone gradually going insane after having a dream about a book that laid out the game's rules. Part of the supernatural insanity gripping the "author" involved writing down and sharing the game to try to spread the insanity.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- A Planescape supplement contained, as Flavor Text, the diary of an explorer describing his journey around the Concordant Plane of the Outlands. The diary takes on a distinct tone of encroaching madness after he set foot into the Caves of Thoughts, the domain of the mindflayer deity Ilsensine the Great Brain. It doesn't end well.
- Module S4, The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, had a diary left by a previous expedition into the title dungeon. It had vague hints of what was to come, with several sections with vital information being smeared and smudged. It ended with the party meeting the Final Boss of the dungeon.
- The Ravenloft adventure Tome of Strahd is something of a half-journal/half-manifesto written by Count Strahd von Zarovich, which details in his own words the night he made his pact with Death and sacrificed his younger brother in exchange for immortality and the love of his brother's fiancée. Said fiancée, consumed with grief, flung herself from the castle walls rather than live without her love. The Tome's final words reflect Strahd's anguish at seeing her being constantly reincarnated by the Dark Powers only to be lost to him time and time again.
- Plenty of other Ravenloft supplements use excerpts from victims' diaries, journals, and literal ships' logs as flavor-text.
- Dragonlance module DL12 Dragons of Faith. A page from a ship's log tells of the destruction of the ship and the fate of its crew.
- Module DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor. In the Comeback Inn the PCs find a parchment scroll written by Hepath Nun. It tells the story of how his adventuring party searched for, found and entered the Inn. It further tells of how they were trapped inside, couldn't find any way out and eventually went through the Gate in the cellar. Only Hepath Nun decided not to go, because he was too scared. The PCs find his body hanging from a chandelier near the scroll.
- Mage: The Awakening has one of these as a magic item detailed in the Grimoire of Grimoires supplement — the Hildebrand Recording, an attempt at capturing a seance with a ghost on tape. The poor researcher got an Eldritch Abomination instead, which proceeded to toy with his psyche before ripping him to shreds. It's just as bad as you think it is.
- Normality can pretty much be described as Apocalyptic Log from start to finish, insofar as it makes any sense at all. Extra points for having the ''authors'' die in-game halfway through though.
- The Morrow Project adventure R-002 Project Damocles. In the Back Story, a group of scientists create an artificial intelligence but a nuclear holocaust begins while they're testing it. They try to escape the underground area where they're working but the AI (named Damocles) malfunctions and won't let them out. One of the project members, William Lezrow, records the events that led up to the disaster and the fate of each of the team members. The PCs can find it and read it as they explore the area.
- Rolemaster campaign setting Shadow World, supplement Norek: Intrigue in a City-State of Jaiman. A powerful crystal inside a mine causes radiation poisoning in the miners. They think it's a plague and seal off the mine to protect the outside world. After the effects get worse, the miners seal themselves in their rooms to await death. One of the miners leaves a diary of the events that the PCs can find.
- The free solo RPG Swords of the Skull Takers on 1km1kt.com is about the player creating an apocalyptic log, unless they win. Even then, Diabolic Victories can get even more disturbing.
- Many of the cards one can draw on the Forbidden Island in the Touch of Evil expansion "Something Wicked" detail an exploration party gradually succumbing to a lycanthrophy curse. Several other cards can inflict lycanthopy on the exploring player.
- Traveller: The Traveller News Service during the later part of the MegaTraveller line and in the New Era supplement Survival Margin is basically a chronicle of the destruction of the Third Imperium. The last few entries are frantic warnings to disconnect all computers from the network, with the entries getting increasingly garbled and finally deteriorating to gibberish computer characters as the TNS servers are taken over by Virus.
- Warhammer 40,000
- The background book Xenology turns out to be one drawn-out example of this, written by an Inquisitor examining another's work at gathering and studying various alien beings in a hidden facility. It turns out the "Inquisitor" who set up the facility is actually a Necron Lord who established it to study other organic races, and once he was finished, he lured the other Inquisitor to the facility to study him.
- We never get to read it, but the galaxy-sized locust swarm that is the Tyranid race was named because of the Apocalyptic Log that was left behind, buried 1000 feet underground, on the planet Tyran. Most of the Tyranid Codexes — combinations of backstory and rulebook — contain detached descriptions of Tyranid attacks that read like an encyclopedia entry based off an Apocalyptic Log as well.
- Similarly, the Warhammer background book Liber Chaotica is written as an in-character study of the Chaos Gods. As the book goes on, the author starts having more and more ominous visions and making less and less sense as he descends into madness. At least half of the quotes in the Necron, Tyranid, and Dark Eldar codexes fit this trope.
- There's at least three examples along these lines from the Warhammer magazine White Dwarf, although two are merely dealing with attacks by vampires and Necrons respectively.
- Conversed in Mary Mary, where Mary, blaming Bob for being too analytical, compares him to "those people who take an overdose of sleeping pills, and sit there making notes while they're dying: '4 A.M. Vision beginning to blur.'" (Later in the play, Bob does in fact take an excessive but non-fatal dose of sleeping pills.)
- At Disney Theme Parks, one of these can be heard while waiting in line for the Jungle Cruise ride.
- At Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Curse of DarKastle is an Apocalyptic Log... set into an Endless Loop.
- The plot of Curse of Pompeii and many other Howl-O-Scream attractions is often one of these, too.
- Universal's Halloween Horror Nights occasionally uses this on their websites to build up the storyline for the houses and scarezones. A notable example was the 2004 house, Disorientorium, supposedly a Wonderworks-style tourist attraction based around disorientation and illusions. Most of the story is told through the Blackberry of a man who became more and more obsessed with the attraction, to the point of breaking in and gradually losing his faculties, until the final entry is a blood-splattered phone with a bullet hole in the screen and a garbled message frozen below it.
- Analogue: A Hate Story and its sequel Hate Plus revolve around reading through the archives of the Mugunghwa, a Korean Generation Ship that had been drifting derelict and lifeless for some six hundred years before being found again. The Player Character is a Private Investigator hired by a historical society to figure out what the hell happened. Unusually, the log entries are presented in Anachronic Order.
- The CLANNAD visual novel, Kotomi's route, her parents left her a testimony and a teddy bear in a briefcase despite many important scientific files being contained in it, and they wrote the testimony during a horrible airplane crash.
- In the visual novels of Higurashi: When They Cry, The TIPS show that Shion kept a journal as she was going mad due to Hinamizawa Syndrome. Although you actually do get to see many of the events that the journal refers to, it gives a closer look into her mind as the events unfold and ends with the "Notebook of Happiness" entry, which ends, as you might guess from the ironic title, "I'm sorry for having been born". Naturally, it was cut from the anime.
- Parodied in Sunrider Mask of Arcadius. The second half of the game begins with Ava composing a log about how the Sunriders crew has been marooned for months on a desolate planet, how the chain of command is breaking down and how it falls to her to restore order and prevent a mutiny only for Asaga to interrupt the dictation, revealing that theyre just on shore leave at a beach resort. Ava, being an uptight workaholic, is simply going stir-crazy.
- In Umineko: When They Cry, the first arc ends with a note written by Maria Ushiromiya that relates to the murders that took place on the island of Rokkenjima in 1986. Later on, it's revealed that the note was actually written by Yasu, who is also revealed to have written the first and second arcs; they washed up on the mainland in message bottles.
- In Virtue's Last Reward, you'll find a diary in one of the safes. Phi translates it to reveal it's what has happened in the wake of Radical 6: bodies are just piled up to the point flies are blocking out the sun while cats are getting fat off the rats that come to nibble on those iles.
- Professor Imagawa in YU-NO left one of these to chronicle her last days after becoming trapped underground. While she eventually discovered the way out, she grew too weak to actually take that method of escape and instead wrote down how to do it. Unfortunately, the solution is no longer at her body because Takuya wasn't the first one to find her, so he has to figure it out himself.
- The Gamebook-style video series The Journal of Morning Mist, based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, features Morning Mist going to a seemingly-deserted island and finding evidence of a Religion of Evil that worships an Eldritch Abomination known as "Mother", and writing about what he finds. Whichever path the viewer chooses, the expedition all goes to hell quickly, and none of the paths end well for Morning Mist. Some entries feature him getting brainwashed by the cult, some feature him dying from Mother making him tear his own eyes out, and a few have him begging for help after the cult captures and tortures him. Even the entries where Morning Mist isn't dead, tortured or indoctrinated are ambiguous, but the implications are clearly unpleasant.
- Gleefully parodied along with several other horror game cliches in the "Oh the Horror" segment of this Flash game released for April Fools' Day.
"I have never kept a journal before, but I figured that the occasion of moving into that house where that occult-inspired mass suicide happened 30 years ago was an excellent time to start."
- If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: One of the letters sent to the Emperor in the second Q&A session takes this form, written by a man left behind on a world affected by the Tyrant Star. Notable for containing almost no humor in it at all, with the exception of a mention of a "hyper-realistic Furby" (which cried 666 liters of blood as the Star's influence reached its peak). It's mentioned that the letter was discovered sealed in a box on a ruined planet devoid of life, explaining how it got delivered.
"The scratching at the walls has stopped. They come."
- 8-Bit Theater
- In issue 522: The descent into sanity, the Light Warriors end up trapped in an ice cavern: Black Mage keeps a journal over the next five days, documenting the group's growing insanity as they explore the caves and their infestation by horrors from beneath the earth. Subverted when it's realised that Black Mage has gone temporarily insane, and the experiences he records in the journal never happened.
- Later, when they travel to the sunken Sea Shrine in a submarine which is really their aptly-named airship "The Deathtrap", Black Mage falls into a spoken version. After he tells you of his team's decent into madness, Red Mage tries to tell him it's only been a few hours since they started the journey. Black Mage keeps narrating with something to the effect of "I ignored the gibberish which sprouted from my former teammates misshapen lips." Apparently he really likes doing this. Or he just wants to see them all dead. As usual.
- American Barbarian: One of the survivors of "The Great Clusterfuck" claims that it really did live up to its name; everything that could have caused the apocalypse happened all at once. It was so confusing that they built a time machine just to record exactly what went wrong, even though they knew they didn't have a chance in hell of preventing all those things going off at the same time.
- If the Junior Biovessel Explorers in Awful Hospital had valued self-preservation over writing journal entries, they'd have been able to write more journal entries.
- Rose notes Sburb walkthroughts always "vaguely suggest an impending threat before they end. The already poorly constructed sentences become even more curt and ambiguous. As if written hastily and with a sense of alarm. Actually, their dedication to updating the walkthrough under such circumstances is admirable." Moments after this, she learns that the game somehow summons a real life meteor that aims for the players' houses.
- In this time travelling memo, Sollux records his reaction to a lethal telepathic wave that would be his end. Temporarily.
- Nuzlocke Comics, in Season 2, had Ruby and his Pokemon finding the records of Mewtwo's creation. Ruby falls asleep in the middle of the video.
- Lampshaded and parodied in the first KITTEN arc of Sluggy Freelance.
- In Warren Ellis's Superidol, a pop culture writer describes a computer-generated Idol Singer's viral takeover of the world.
- The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) explains why apocalyptic logs are more and more detailed these days.
- Happens in a strip from VG Cats, even though the writer actually comes out okay.
- There's a web-only story which isn't an apocalypse log, but a diary found in a life raft out at sea. The sole survivor of a shipwreck saw dolphins around her all the time and believed that she was turning into one; the last entry is more or less a heavily misspelled variant of "Flippers are useless. Fuck it, I'm going into the water."
- The Journal of Kith chronicles one dwarf's ill-fated quest to re-discover the ruins of an (in)famous dwarven fortress — Boatmurdered.
- A web programmer who has seen too much reports back from the abyss.
- The "Active Area" entry in the "That Insidious Beast" series from Something Awful. It's written by an everyman rather than a scientist, but it does describe unspeakable horrors and it also ends with his suicide.
- The forum game is especially creepy due to the fact that it's never implied what's really going on. Justified in that an unexplained setting would practically make it easier for people to write logs as creepy as they can imagine them since the mystery would remove most limits to their logs, allowing them to establish any horrific event as probable since there are no specific details to abide by.
- The Alternate Reality Game viral campaign for the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero is a wide collection of barely decypherable websites That describe a Crapsack World. These websites are sent from the future by a team of computer programmers and quantum physicists as a warning to those of us living in the time of the events triggered their circumstances. Bonus points for one entry written by a White House aide describing the monster sent to allow the Earth to... shall we say, start over.
- The blog The Darth Side records the thoughts of Darth Vader from Episodes 4-6, ending with Vader preparing to take Luke to their final meeting with the Emperor.
- Stars, a story in The Wanderer's Library, describes the stars descending to earth and destroying The Land of Elrich as punishment for returning to ways of violence and warfare.
- The Sick Land, the blog of a researcher posted at a remote station on the fringes of an Eldritch Location.
- Two of Robert Brockway's Cracked columns focus on him taking a series of drugs, driving him steadily more insane until concluding with a note from Dan O'Brien describing his behavior at the point where he can write no further - the first, nootropics (which according to Dan, were all actually cocaine in false packaging), the second, various methylphenidate formulations and a natural ADD "remedy" that turned out to have a dangerous interaction with the methylphenidate.
- Numerous SCP Foundation records.
- Notably the personnal journal of Dr. Bishop. Attempted rape on machine goddesses is bad, especially if you're a cyborg, m'kay?
- Perhaps more notable is the rather chilling, not to mention, literal, example revealed by SCP-093.
- SCP-1025 is a subversion. There was no threat. All the SCP does is make people think that other people are infected with horrible diseases. After the research staff go completely out of control with hypochondria-by-proxy, somebody from O5 comes along and just sticks the SCP in a box somewhere.
- Document Recovered From The Marianas Trench
- SCP-370 has Incident-370-A, a personal log written by the Foundation doctor in charge of the expedition that found SCP-370. It details the progressive infection and death of expedition personnel caused by SCP-370's influence. Although he had been infected himself, he managed to use a ritual (which required 80% of his blood supply) to contain it. It ends with a That Was the Last Entry that breaks off in mid-sentence.
- SCP-772 ("Giant Parasitoid Wasps"). The scientist who discovered the wasps kept a journal. It details how he found a body filled with wasp larvae, let them hatch and contained them, and how they escaped, attacked and implanted eggs in him. It ends with a That Was the Last Entry of him cutting himself open so the larvae could escape.
- SCP-827 ("The Soup"). Dr. George Farrow was suffering from cancer and had less than six months to live. He tried to cure himself with stem cell therapy and ended up changing himself into a mass of protoplasm.
- SCP-930 ("Seagull Island"). One of the survivors of the wreck of the U.S.S. Kete kept a journal of his experiences. One by one the other 18 survivors vanished in the night, apparently just walking away. The remaining survivors sometimes found the bodies hanging in the trees, but none of the others ever came back. The last survivor saw glimpses of something in the bushes that was worse than anything he'd ever seen.
- SCP-1811 ("Shelf Life"). SCP-1811's previous owner, Adrian Balswell, kept a diary explaining how he discovered and experimented with it. It ends with a That Was the Last Entry about how he was going to burn one of the books in SCP-1811. Only the burnt cover of the book was found - Adrian Balswell had disappeared.
- SCP-1983 ("Doorway to Nowhere") is an extensive one, left by one of the many agents sent inside, the last one left alive when he wrote it. It details what he saw, how the creatures he saw inside work and reproduce, and what he thinks may work to take them down, punctuated with several statements of hopelessness. He finishes saying he'd leave the report where it could be found, and then make sure the creatures wouldn't be able to use his heart for their nest. When they finally found the note, the SCP had been neutralized, but it's certain the one who did the deed had found the note.
Good luck. Morituri te salutant
- SCP-2249 ("The Failed Dreamland"). A medical doctor is taught how to create a small idyllic universe so the children in a hospital have a place to play. Things go terribly wrong and the new universe ends up filled with gamma radiation, with the doctor dying after being trapped inside of it.
- SCP-2661 ("The Hoof Diary"). A man who took an anomalous drug was compelled to build an enormous maze. After he did so a cow-like humanoid appeared out of the maze, killed him and ate him. The man left a diary describing his increasing compulsion to build the maze and worship the being who would appear from it.
- Bees, which documents the author's Sanity Slippage as everything around him becomes bees.
- The entry for SCP-3001 is accompanied by the logs of a researcher trapped in a pocket dimension with dangerously low levels of reality, going mad from loneliness as his body slowly disintegrates.
- SCP-ES-19, a pair of headphones that tune to transmissions of several human extinction scenarios. Not all of them are described, but these include implied extraterrestrial invasions, nuclear wars, genocide, and the use of humans as cattle for food. This is bad already, but on an certain percent of times, the listeners begin to suffer of aftereffects of said event, from becoming convinced of what actions should have been taken to prevent it, to presenting PSTD and physical effects related to what they listened.
- The Death of Basketball details Jon Bois's attempt to kill the NBA in NBA 2K by feeding it only the worst possible players.
- Twilight's Journal, a My Little Pony: Equestria Girls audio log by Wubcake. In the journal, Twilight details a Crapsack World where the Dazzlings have taken over Canterlot, and she's using magical research to figure out how to stop it. While Twilight does make progress, it's only by kidnapping and killing people as unwitting test subjects. As Twilight gets more affected by guilt, her Superpowered Evil Side Midnight Sparkle arrives as a split personality, who has far looser morals than Twilight does. Twilight even turns to alcohol to block out Midnight. Eventually, Midnight kills Twilight's dog Spike to provide them with an Equestrian magic source, which makes Twilight hit the Despair Event Horizon. Even though the ending implies that Twilight's device worked and that the Dazzlings are gone, Twilight is Driven to Suicide because of her guilt.
- It is very common in The Slender Man Mythos for the stories to be told in an Apocalyptic Log format. But then, if you're writing about seeing Slendy, that means you've seen him, and if you've seen him, it means he let you...
- Everyman HYBRID:
- Doctor Corenthal's reports, which are left in bags for viewers to find. The weirdest part is that the three patients he mentions have the same names as the main characters, despite the reports supposedly being written in the 1970s.
- "The Princeton Tapes" featured audio and writings from multiple Vinnies existing in different iterations, where he detailed his situation; the tapes end after one of the Vinnies met up with a doctor at Corenthal's old hospital, and suddenly collapsed, dying.
- HABIT's updates on "Can You See The Words?" included blogs written by people HABIT was torturing, speaking about their situation and what HABIT was doing to them, shortly before they ended up dying.
- The journal that set My Name Is Zytherys in motion seems to be one... though it's filling itself out independently with the title character's own handwriting.
- In Tribe Twelve, Noah read and transcripted his cousin, Milo's, journal, which documented Milo's story from childhood to his late teens, involving Slender-Man hauntings, parental abuse, and the presence of a cult.
- Everyman HYBRID:
- The Alternate Reality Game Ben Drowned is an account of what happened to one person who picked up a haunted Majora's Mask cartridge, and what happened to the people who interacted with it.
- Right-wing YouTuber Nightvisionphantom made an "If Obama Wins" video during the 2008 election (needless to say, it was quietly removed afterwards), in which he claims to be the last surviving member of a resistance who fought a losing battle against the Islamofascist hordes that Obama unleashed upon the world.
- Let's Play Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 chronicles the slow descent of the Posse from naive optimism to crushing despair.
- ProtonJon was one of many who dared to try Kaizo Mario World. His breakdown over the ridiculous, soul-crushing difficulty of the game became the stuff off legend (and Stupid Statement Dance Mix).
Proton Jon: (audibly on the verge of tears) MOVE FASTER POKEY!
- The entirety of End Times is one of these. Lampshaded by Harry when Trace first starts recording the videos, and a few times afterward.
- A live-action short video titled "Voltron: The End" has Sgt. Lance Rainier (Timothy Omundson) wake up after some kind of accident and discover that he is likely the only survivor of the entire Voltron Force. His Red Lion is critically damaged with only 10 minutes of oxygen left and only enough power to send a single message. He starts a recording, explaining that the unthinkable has happened and that the Galaxy Alliance must now prepare for King Zarkon's attack. As he sends it out, the eyes of the Red Lion wink out, the computer is able to tell him goodbye before shutting down.
Sgt. Lance Rainier: Someday, somehow, Voltron will rise again to become the defender that this great universe deserves. Until that day, Godspeed. Good Luck. Red Lion, out.
- Gerald's journal in My Dad's Tapes was written shortly before his death in hospice, detailing his thoughts about the murders he committed and his belief that he'd end up in Heaven for repenting.
- NOC+ 10: Two videos contain audio of someone besides the machine talking, one of which involves them desperately calling for help as the station floods.
- Adventure Time has one in the episode "Holly Jolly Secrets". Finn has found an old set of VHS tapes that contains a video diary of the Ice King. The last tape is the diary of a human, Simon Petrikov, as he slowly loses his mind and humanity, until finally becoming the Ice King. Bonus points for the apocalypse taking place in the background over the course of said log.
- In Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice," Batman does some sleuthing around GothCorp's facility and finds a videotape inside Viktor Fries' case file. The videotape has him documenting on a revolutionary process that he developed of cryogenesis that he is placing his terminally ill wife, Nora Fries, in until he can develop a cure for her. Suddenly, Ferris Boyle bursts in and demands that he shut down the experiment due to his stealing money from him to commit the experiment. Viktor attempts to reason with and eventually is forced to point a gun at Boyle to stop him from halting his experiment. Boyle then tries to reason with him, before promptly kicking him into some vials containing chemicals relating to the cryogenic process, causing a biohazard, with Fries also visibly deteriorating from the accident while calling Nora's name in a lamenting manner as the tape ends.
- Code Lyoko features a rather unique and disturbing take on this trope, as Franz Hopper (a.k.a. Waldo Schaeffer), the creator of Lyoko, uses the supercomputer's "Return to the Past" function to create a "Groundhog Day" Loop, while preserving a video file of his attempts to avert his and Aelita's impending abduction by government agents during that looped day. By the time the entry for "day 1000" rolls around, his sanity seems to be hanging by a thread (and there are still a thousand more entries to go). Meanwhile, as far as his daughter and the outside world are concerned, no time has actually passed at all.
- Parodied on an episode of Family Guy. Peter gets a birthday card from Cleveland of the "record your voice" sort. The recording starts out as Cleveland just saying happy birthday, than comically spirals into a violent run in with a racist cop.
Peter: ...Ah, I'm sure he's fine.
- Memetic Mutation has turned Candle Jack from Freakazoid! into a perpetual generator of exam
- In an episode of Futurama, the Planet Express team, on their way to the hive of giant space bees, a.k.a. "deadly, deadly bees," on a quest to gather space honey, discover the wrecked ship of their predecessors, who were killed whilst undertaking the same mission. They discover the black box recording, which recorded a conversation between a nervous underling suggesting they turn back because it's too dangerous, and the over-confident captain insisting they press on to glory. And then recorded the sounds of their horrible, horrible deaths moments later. Leela, who has been taking the role of "over-confident captain" in the current team's efforts, is particularly keen to pretend they never found it.
- Gravity Falls, Dipper reads in Journal #3 that the author needed to hide the book away from someone before it trails off.
- In the Season 2 episode "Society of the Blind Eye", the main cast and Old Man McGucket find that the Society of the Blind Eye uses a device to remove memories of paranormal activity. They recover Old Man McGucket's memories of inventing the device, and his descent into insanity by repeatedly wiping his own memories.
- Jonny Quest Classic
- In "The Invisible Monster" the Quests find Isaiah Norman's notebook, which tells Doctor Quest how Norman accidentally created the title monster.
- In "The Sea Haunt", the ship captain's log tells of how the title monster was captured, escaped and attacked the crew, causing panic and disaster.
- The Legend of Korra has the sports announcer discussing everything going on in the Pro-Bender arena. Then the Equalists invade and he continues narrating the events. "One of the masked men has currently broken into this booth and is about to electrocute me. I am currently wetting my pants" in the same announcer's voice without emotion.
- Toward the end of Season 7 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Star Swirl the Bearded's journal is discovered fortuitously among a "blind buy barrel" at an antique shop. It chronicles the story of Star Swirl and his companions, the Pillars of Equestria, up to the day of their disparition — a mystery that had stayed unsolved for a thousand years, even Celestia having no idea what happened to them. The journal proves to be a vital clue in solving said mystery, subverting the trope somewhat with the fact that the Pillars are still alive.
- In the My Little Pony Tales episode "Birds of a Feather", several characters get lost in the woods. Bon Bon thinks they are doomed and starts recording everything in her diary in the hopes that one day, it will be found and future generations will know who they were. Everyone else thinks she's being melodramatic. Indeed, they are only lost for a few hours.
- Seen in the multipart episode "Notes From The Underground" in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and actually called in advance by Michaelangelo, who is a sci-fi aficionado. Later on used again in the episode "The Trouble With Augie", recording the destruction of an interdimensional culture by their seemingly-benign visitors.
- The Simpsons
- In the episode "King of the Hill", Grandpa tries to talk Homer out of climbing the Murderhorn, telling him how, in 1928, he was nearly killed when he and his partner C.W. McAllister tried to climb it, only for McAllister to betray him, steal all the supplies, and shove him off the mountain, then continue on his own. Later, when Homer is making his own attempt and is too tired to go further, he finds McAllister's frozen body and Apocalyptic Log, detailing a very different story: Abe had been the betrayer, and had even tried to eat McAllister's arm after stealing the supplies. Presumably, McAllister shoving Abe off the mountain had been self-defense, but he could only crawl into a nearby cave where he likely died of altitude sickness after writing the last entry of the log. The last sentence was, "Tell my beloved wife that my last thoughts were of her... blinding and torturing Abe Simpson. Cheerio."
- Another episode has Lisa read a letter from her pen pal who lives in a country about to be taken over by a dictator. The letter goes from a desperate plea narrated by a child to self-glorifying propaganda narrated by a grown man.
- Parodied in the South Park episode 'Pandemic', as Randy's incessant camcordering of the disaster gets on Sharon's nerves. And it turns out he didn't have a tape in it.
- A classic Space Ghost episode, "The Energy Monster", features a posthumous recording by the scientist who created it.
- Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Beyond the Farthest Star". 300 million years ago a member of the crew of the dead ship left a warning message telling what happened to them and why they decided to destroy their own ship.
- Superfriends: Superman kept records that served to memorialize the encroaching threat later in "The History Of Doom".
- In Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, the Alchemist had one telling of how he created the Monkey team, with a final entry showing him becoming Skeleton King.
- Done in Disney's Tarzan series by a character who actually lived, but thought he was going to die and didn't get to finish his entry. Didn't help when he said that the item that he (falsely) believed would solve the problem plaguing the jungle was "hidden inside the p-", leaving Tarzan and Jane to run around the hut exploring every item they could find beginning with "P" (it was the phonograph machine, for the record.)
- In one episode of The Venture Bros., Doc uses a submersible bodysuit in an attempt to salvage a 40-year old spacecraft wreck in the Sargasso Sea, and records his progress with a handheld tape recorder. However, he quickly steps into a giant clam that eats the suit's legs. Until he actually finds the wreck he's pretty much resigned to his fate. "I've taken refuge in the forward compartment and am now running on reserve power. Mobility hindered... morale low... no radio contact. Oh, yeah, I lost my locator. And yes, I realize the irony of that."
- Older Than Print: Here's a 1349 report of the Black Death:
I, Brother Clyn of the Friars Minor of Kilkenny have written in this book the notable events which befell in my time ... so that notable deeds shall not be lost from the memory of future generations I, seeing many ills, waiting for death till it come, have committed to writing what I have truly heard; and lest the writing perish with the writer, I leave parchment for continuing the work, if haply any man of the race of Adam escape this pestilence and continue the work which I have begun.
[in another hand] Here it seems the author died.
- The message that William Coulthard scratched on his empty canteen as he lay dying of thirst in the Australian desert in 1858.
- "June 3rd 1864, Cold Harbor Virginia, I was killed." The final entry of a Massachusetts volunteer in the Army of The Potomac in the The American Civil War.
- Charles Gordon kept a detailed diary of the Siege of Khartoum, ending prophetically: "If the expeditionary force... does not come within ten days, the town may fall; and I have done my best of the honor of our country."
- Ulysses S. Grant completed his autobiography five days before succumbing to throat cancer in 1885. His notes concerning the progress of his cancer were reportedly required reading in medical schools for many years.
- For 33 years, the fate of S. A. Andrée's Swedish Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 to the north pole remained a mystery. In 1930, the remains of the three expedition members, their camp and a large number of photos and diary entries were found at Kvitøya island. In these, the men had recorded in extraordinary detail how their balloon crashed after just three days on July 14, their increasingly desperate attempts to get back to Svalbard the following three months and their ultimately doomed battle against cold, hunger, disease and exhaustion. Andrée ended the last coherent diary entry, from early october, with the words: "With such comrades as these, one ought to be able to manage under practically any circumstances whatsoever." All the members of the expedition are believed to have perished just a few days later.
- Scott's diary from the 1912 Terra Nova Expedition. Quite depressing reading.
We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far.
It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more.
Last entry. For God's sake look after our people
- The RMS Titanic's radio operators kept putting out emergency messages in Morse code as long as they could. One of the last intelligible radio messages: "We are sinking fast passengers being put into boats"
- Vince Coleman, train dispatcher who died in the 1917 Halifax Explosion (the largest man-made explosion ever prior to the atomic bomb): "Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbour making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye boys."
- The "scientist records his last thoughts, scientifically" variant was purportedly done in the early 1920's by Allan Blair, the scientist credited with proving black widow spider bites are dangerous to humans, took a rather direct route, as recounted in Gordon Grice's "The Red Hourglass." The guy continued writing notes until the pain proved too much; then he had an assistant continue taking notes. Fortunately, though he proved spiders can be dangerous, he did manage to survive the bite.
- On the night of the 25th of November 1936, a Nebraska proctologist named Edwin Katskee injected himself with a large dose of then-legal cocaine. He was found dead in his office the following morning, having written out his symptoms as he experienced them. As the night went on, the handwriting of his entries became increasingly erratic, with the final entry simply detailing "paralysis", then a swirling scrawl that ends heading to the floor where his corpse was discovered. Nobody is quite sure what the purpose of this was, as his family stated it was an experiment gone wrong, citing an antidote nearby that Katskee had either decided not to use or was unable to do so. Others contend that it was a suicide, and that he decided to detail his symptoms as a means of leaving behind something for his fellow physicians to utilize. If the later theory proved true, it was sadly for naught. The physicians who later examined his "death diary" found the entries too erratic and illegible to be of any scientific use.
- The entirety of The Hindenburg disaster was caught on film and narrated by radio presenter Herbert Morrison, who was audibly overcome with grief and horror until he could no longer bear to continue. On seeing the gigantic airship burning, and people falling from the passenger decks, he coined the famous aghast phrase: "Oh, the Humanity!" Despite the shocking power of the explosion, amazingly, about two-thirds of the passengers escaped alive. The other one-third died mainly because they panicked and jumped out of the cabin before they hit the ground.
- H. P. Lovecraft kept a record as he was dying of intestinal cancer. The last entry was written four days before his death in 1937. The New York Times ran an article about it, "Writer Charts Fatal Malady" a couple of days later.
- A number of soldiers of the Soviet garrison of Brest Fortress held out in the basements of the old fortress for over a month after it was overrun in the early days of Operation Barbarossa, where the Nazis had some success, though things quickly turned sour when the winter came rolling in. One carved into a wall: "I'm dying but I won't surrender. Farewell, Motherland. 20.VII.41"
- The heartbreaking nine-page diary of twelve-year-old Tanya Savicheva, in which she systematically recorded the deaths of her entire family, one death per page, during the Siege of Leningrad. The final entry reads, in a childish scrawl: "The Savichevs are dead. Everyone is dead. Only Tanya is left." Tanya was eventually rescued, only to die age fourteen in an orphanage.
- The 1942 siege of Corregidor, Philippines, and the final radio message sent by Sergeant Irving Strobing. "They are piling dead and wounded in our tunnel. Arm's weak from pounding key, long hours, no rest, short rations, tired. I know how a mouse feels. Caught in a trap waiting for guys to come along and finish it up."
- Herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt did one of these in 1957, after being bitten by a small boomslang (a venomous snake); he believed it wasn't large enough to be dangerous, so he did not take antivenin, but did type a running log of his symptoms through the night and into the next morning; he was found dead later that day.note
- The Zapruder Film of John F. Kennedy getting fatally shot in Dallas in November 1963.
- The transcript of the recording from Apollo 1, the crew of which died when a fire started in the cockpit during a test in 1967.
Ed White: Fire!Gus Grissom: I've got a fire in the cockpit!Roger Chaffee: I'm burning up![screams][silence]
- Donald Campbell's final transmissions from his Bluebird boat as he tried to break his world water speed record and died when his craft somersaulted over and crashed in 1967.
"A hell of a bloody row in here. I cant see anything... Ive got the bows up. I've gone. Oh..."
- The increasingly irrational log entries of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst, whose mental state gradually deteriorated to the point of suicide during a solo round the world sailing race in 1969.
- The Balibo Five, a group of TV reporters from Australia and New Zealand who travelled to East Timor in 1975, shortly before the Indonesian military seized control of the territory. Three days before he was killed—suspected to be the work of Indonesian militants—one of the reporters, Greg Shackleton, recorded a film newsreel about the local villagers and their impending plight in the face of military aggression.
- The disappearance of Frederick Valentich in 1978. While flying his light aircraft from Melbourne to King Island he reported to ATC that he was being harassed by an unidentified "aircraft" that he presumed was an Air Force jet of some kind, but none were operating in his area, nor were any civil planes in the vicinity. In his final transmission he comes to a frightening realisation:
"That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again." (open microphone for two seconds) "It is hovering and..." (open microphone for one second) "...it's not an aircraft." *
- The Jonestown massacre in 1978 had so many victims testimony and evidence from several sources remained:
- The last speech that Jim Jones gave to the residents of Jonestown was recorded for posterity. In it, you can hear him direct the older members of the community to help the younger children, and for them to "not worry about the children's crying; [the punch] is just a little bitter. It's not painful." Makes for some chilling night time listening.
- The Edith Roller journals. A former college professor, she kept a detailed log of her daily life in Jonestown. She never came home.
- The footage of Congressman Leo Ryan's visit to Jonestown collected by NBC News cameraman Bob Brown, which abruptly ends just as gunmen from Jonestown open fire on Ryan's delegation on a Guyanese airstrip; both Ryan and Brown were killed.
- Tammy Mathre did this in 1978, keeping a diary in her checkbook. She was a nursing student who'd become depressed and increasingly focused on God and what the Bible says about death and dying. She went camping alone in the Big Horn Mountains. A year later a few fragments of her bones were found. The diary proved she hadn't killed herself; she'd been injured and couldn't leave.
- The eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state in 1980 was something that was both seen coming due to the increase in volcanic activity, drawing scientists and journalists, and happened suddenly and explosively, which caught several victims with essentially no chance to escape:
- David A. Johnston's last message: "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!"
- An amateur radio operator named Gerry Martin also radioed to Vancouver to report the eruption. His last recorded words were "Gentlemen, the uh, camper and the car sitting over to the south of me is covered. It's gonna get me, too. I can't get out of here..."
- A subversion occurred with photographer Reid Blackburn, another victim— his camera was recovered after the eruption, but the heat had ruined the film inside.
- The final transmission from RNLB Solomon Browne, the lifeboat involved in the Penlee lifeboat disaster, as it attempted to rescue the crew of the MV Union Star in hurricane force winds. Both vessels were lost with all hands.
- In 1988, Ivan Lester McGuire went skydiving and recorded his dive. Partway through the video, he appears to be looking for his ripcord, which he can't find, since he'd forgotten his parachute. At this point the camera goes spinning until the video glitches out, as footage of the final stage of his descent was destroyed on impact.
- Any detailed, candid diary writing by a person in the grips of depression or similar can read like one of these. Things are going great, then one starts going downhill. For example, the last words Kenneth Williams wrote in his diary before his apparent suicide in 1988 were, "What's the bloody point?"
- Christopher McCandless kept a diary of his time in the Alaskan wilderness, which documented his eventual death by starvation in Alaska on the 112th day of his excursion, August 1992. Notably, this also appears in literature and film as Into the Wild.
- Björk once had a stalker by the name of Ricardo Lopez. He had planned to kill her with a letter bomb which would launch a discharge of corrosive acid upon opening, and he kept a video diary detailing the process of his plans. During the course of the diary we can clearly see Lopez' mental health erode, culminating in the final entry in September 1996 with him shaving his head, painting his face, and blowing his brains out with a revolver, on camera.
- In the days before committing mass suicide in 1997 several members of the Heaven's Gate cult recorded final exit statements. The morning after the suicide the tapes with the recorded statements were delivered to a surviving member.
- The Columbine High School shooting produced two of these.
- The killers themselves recorded a large number of home movies in which they planned and discussed their future killing spree. Many of the "basement tapes", as these videos are sometimes known to True Crime followers, are still held under lock and key by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, who claims to have had them destroyed in 2011 (though this has been disputed), and have only been shown to a select few people, including the families of some of the victims and survivors. That said, partial transcripts have been released. The final tape, recorded thirty minutes before the shooting began, had the both of them apologizing to their parents for what they were about to do and saying that their friends Chris Morris and Nathan Vanderau could have their stuff if they survived.
- During the shooting itself, a library phone line was left open by a teacher who called 911 before the shooters' entrance forced her to leave the phone to go hide. The open line caught and recorded the sounds of students being killed and injured, the dialogue of the shooters to their victims and each other, and after the shooters leave, the surviving students being told to quickly flee out a nearby door, then dead air. The first five minutes of the call were released, in which by listening carefully under the conversation of the teacher and 911 operator, several things can be heard. Including a bomb going off, the shooters cheering and after entering the library shouting at the students to get up, and three shots being fired (two of the shots were fatal).
- There are a number of appropriately awful accounts from the submarine world, notably the brief log kept by the survivors of "Kursk "after her sinking. And, even worse, the audio recording from "USS Thresher's" underwater telephone. The captain kept up a narrative as the submarine sank, totally out of control, and passed crush depth. Utterly horrifying.
- The September 11th attacks provide several examples:
- Kevin Cosgrove's last phone call from an upper floor in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. As he describes the situation, he suddenly shouts, "Oh, God!" and screams as the building collapses around him.
- Aboard United Flight 93 was Todd Beamer, who used an on-plane telephone to recount what had happened on board and a plan to take back control of the plane: "Are you guys ready? Let's roll." The "rolling" was for a snack cart that was used as a battering ram on the door to the cockpit; UA 93 was eventually crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania, well away from any major US landmarks.
- And on AA Flight 11, attendant Betty Ong desperately tried to inform ground operations. Between difficulty breathing (the hijackers had sprayed mace) and repeated requests for her name and seat number, and then operations specialist Nydia Gonzales getting the same requests when she tried to relay the information, precious seconds were wasted, but it was Ms. Ong's call that led to the grounding of every plane flying through American airspace.
- The onboard video camera was recovered from the wreckage of Space Shuttle Columbia after its 2003 disaster and the last few minutes were played, although it stopped before the actual disintegration.
- Amateur documentary filmmaker and bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell accidentally left a camera recording (audio only) on the 2003 night he and his girlfriend were fatally attacked by a starving Grizzly bear. While the tape has never been released for obvious reasons, according to those who have heard it it's completely terrifying. The documentary Grizzly Man showed Werner Herzog listening to it and becoming increasingly freaked out in lieu of playing it.
- After the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, a tourist victim's camera was recovered with the memory card still readable. Photos of the wave were published, one of them shot just a few seconds before the guy was pulled under.
- On a lighter note: Xan Brooks of the Guardian liveblogs the Isner-Mahut match at Wimbledon. The blog reached full-on Zombie Apocalypse proportions in a couple of places.
7.30pm: Let it end, let it end, it's 46-all. It was funny when it was 16-all and it was creepy when it was 26-all. But this is pure purgatory and there is still no end in sight. John Isner has just struck his 90th ace. Nicolas Mahut, poor, enfeebled Nicolas Mahut, has only hit 72. Maybe we should just decide it on the number of aces struck? Give the game to Isner and then we can all crawl into our graves.note
- Jessica Gawhi posted a twitter post on her wall regarding a visit with her mom. It was taken just a few minutes prior to Jessica's death during the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.
@pikachudiamonds: i hope you're okay :(
- #TheDarkKnightRises oh man one hour till the movie and its going to be the best BIRTHDAY ever - Last tweet of theater shooting victim Alex Sullivan.
- And the Tear Jerker reply from a friend of his:
- #TheDarkKnightRises oh man one hour till the movie and its going to be the best BIRTHDAY ever - Last tweet of theater shooting victim Alex Sullivan.
- A man driving with his daughter during the April 17, 2013 explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas pulled out his camera phone to record the plant on fire, when the whole thing suddenly exploded (about 30 seconds into the video). The last thing you hear in the footage is the man's daughter repeating: "Daddy, please get out of here... Dad, I can't hear, I can't hear." Both father and daughter were fine and relatively unscathed.
- While the streamer in question survived, getting caught by the 2014 Iquique earthquake in the middle of a stream has to count for something (link in Spanish, with English subs).
"...and the floor is shaking quite a bit... we are live with a quake here, must be magnitude 6... 7... now it's up at 8...earthquake, earthquake, guys! It's moving quite- *sounds of rattling furniture* I'M GONNA DIE, I'M GONNA DIE!"
- The black box of the SS El Faro documents the activities of the bridge crew as she sails into Hurricane Joaquin. It starts out mundane enough, with idle conversations and shooting the bull, before it begins into more sober comments about the deteriorating weather and the ship's attempts to weather the storm. Soon enough, it becomes clear that the ship is foundering and the captain gives the order to abandon ship. The last words on the recording are that of the captain trying to assist a panicked crew member out of the bridge as the ship capsizes. Sadly, no one from the El Faro survived.
- During the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, Canada, one resident witnessed the destruction of his home via the living room security camera feed streamed to his iPhone.
- The diary of Linda Bishop, a mentally ill (bipolar) homeless woman who sequestered herself in an abandoned farmhouse and recorded her experience in a notebook. For over three months, she lived on nothing but apples scavenged from a nearby orchard and melted snow. When her apples ran out, she documented the process of her slow starvation—"35th day w/out food"—until her death. All the while she was directly across the street from an occupied home, but she never crossed the street to seek help. She may have worried that she'd be removed from her place, as she had broken in and it wasn't actually her house. God Knows Where I Am is a documentary of her story, which was released in 2017.
- The mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Nov. 5, 2017 was captured on video almost in its entirety, as the church recorded its sermons every week in order to post them on YouTube. The cameramen were among the first to be shot when the gunman broke in, and no one was able to turn it off, so the camera kept rolling as the congregation was massacred. Thankfully, this footage is not available to the public.
- This video of the abandoned headquarters of the defunct Ames department store chain, accompanied by ghostly PA system voice-overs, concludes with the company's final voicemail to employees.
- Purportedly, the last communication of the Ghost Ship Ourang Medan in either 1940, 1947, or 1948 (sources conflict) was a Morse Code message of grim portent. It is an Apocalyptic Log rather than a Distress Call on account of everyone, including the message sender, being dead by the time the message was received. The only ship able to attempt a rescue reportedly found the crew uninjured but all dead, staring and gaping at the sky. The Ourang Medan soon caught fire, exploded, and sank, sending the vessel, its crew, and its mystery to the bottom of the sea.
SOS from Ourang Medan *** We float. All officers including the Captain, dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole of crew dead ***. I die.
- If real, the running theory is either carbon monoxide or a chemical weapon leak. As the ship's mission was classified and the ship itself having been renamed, but not having been recorded as having done so in several records, the chemical weapon theory is viable. The explosion could then be caused by the gas being flammable and the victim's faces looking up in horror meaning it was at least in part somehow hallucinogenic (or deprived the brain of oxygen, causing hallucinogenic like symptoms) or incredibly painful or both. Some bodies were also reported to still be standing where they died, meaning whatever it was caused muscle stiffening, paralysis, and/or rigor mortis almost immediately.
- During the early jet age, ejection seats would not operate until the cockpit canopy was jettisoned (today they can punch through the glass). A British pilot test-flying a hawker-Siddeley Sea Hawk had his controls jam while in a moderate descent over open ocean. His canopy would not jettison, so he could not egress the doomed plane. He calmly narrated the last moments of his flight and his efforts to recover control so that later pilots might learn from what happened. The transmission was cut off at impact.
- A hilarious example from Tumblr:
mamayuuma: my parents bought me this rly shady bottle of Coke from mexico should i drink it
mamayuuma: i'm gonna drink it
mamayuuma: update: apparently it's supposed to be the original recipe it tastes kind of weird
mamayuuma: EVERYTHIG NIS VER Y FUNN Y AND I AM V ERY AW AYKE ALRIGHT LA LRHAIGTH LARIGHTAL RIGHT LALTH IRHTALTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
spoopyhahanonoseeren: didnt the original recipe have cocaine
- While it doesn't work 100%, it's still an interesting type of this. In Aokigahara, a forest in Japan famous for the amount of suicides that have taken place there, photos have been taken of trash and items strewn around where the bodies were found. There are things like shoes, hair brushes, papers, glasses, and much, much more. If you were to look through it, it would probably give you a great deal of information about the person and what was going on in their lives before they ultimately ended themselves.
- This is sort of the whole reason they have black boxes on airplanes. The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) records everything said in the cockpit and over the radio on an aircraft, and the device is made of highly durable material that's unlikely to be destroyed in a crash. (And as for the old Stock Shtick about "why don't they just make the whole plane out of that material?"...well, such a plane would be too heavy to fly, and it wouldn't protect passengers from the impact anyway.)
ALA 261 First Officer - I think if it's controllable, we oughta just try to land it —
ALA 261 Captain - you think so? ok let's head for LA.
ALA 261 - [thump]
ALA 261 First Officer - you feel that?
ALA 261 Captain - yeah.
ALA 261 Captain - ok gimme sl— see, this is a bitch.
ALA 261 First Officer - is it?
ALA 261 Captain - yeah.
ALA 261 - [2 clicks, then an extremely loud bang]
ALA 261 Captain -Mayday!
- The most common last word on black box recordings is "Shit!" (or its equivalent in the pilot's native language). This is rendered as "Unintelligible" when said recordings are broadcast on the news. Probably the second most common is "OH MY G*... [static noise]"note
- Occasionally, a pilot who knows he or she is going down and likely about to die will intentionally call out a message to a loved one, intending for it to be picked up by the CVR in hopes that the person it's directed to will eventually hear it. For instance, the pilot of a PSA plane that crashed in San Diego yelled "Ma, I love you!" just before his plane hit the ground.
- The other black box serves as one for the aircraft itself. The flight data recorder logs pretty much everything that happens to an airplane, including instrument readings, mechanical data, and control inputs. Flight data recorders are often vital to the task of determining the cause of a crash.
- There are plans by the U.S Department of Energy to leave one of these in nuclear waste storage facilities for future civilizations to uncover. The way they outline what message they want to convey sounds more like they're warning whoever comes near not to unleash the Shambler locked inside the facility, or something. One of the lines in the message was used for the Epigraph of one issue of Immortal Hulk:
"This place is not a place of honor... no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here... nothing valued is here. What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger."
- Ted Turner, upon the launching of CNN, vowed that the channel would never sign off, even to the point of becoming one of these. Luckily, it hasn't happened yet.
"We won't be signing off until the world ends. We'll be on, and we will cover the end of the world, live, and that will be our last event... and when the end of the world comes, we'll play 'Nearer, My God, to Thee' before we sign off."
- In 2004 cave diver Dave Shaw recorded his final moments when he became entangled and drowned during an attempt to recover the remains of fellow diver Deon Dreyer from Bushman Hole, where he had perished a decade earlier.
- Another unfortunate diver, Yuri Lipski, was diving at a blue hole in Red Sea when something went horribly wrong and he uncontrollably sank to his death, his camera recording the entirety of his fatal descent.
Well, that about wraps it up for... Good God! Whats that coming out of the garbage disposal eeeeyahh! glub, glub. . . .