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WMG / Night in the Woods

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     Jossed Theories 
This is for the theories that made their way to the fridge page that were proven to not be accurate after later DLC, so they aren't really "fridge" anything anymore.
  • At first, the kidnapping of a teenager after Harfest seems to be random, like they just picked a kid who was alone and not paying attention, looking at their phone. Which could be true, but on a second playthrough, this troper went into the trolley tunnel the day after the party, and saw that town council squad talking with Aunt Molly about the graffitied Possum Springs mural on the wall. They were super upset about it since it was a historical mural, claimed that they were treating it as a 'terrorist act', and asked Molly to check out any 'dirtbag teens' as suspects. Considering that Harfest happened only a few days later, and that the council is definitely part of the cult, it's very likely that the teenager Mae saw kidnapped was the actual person who tagged the mural. Even more damning, the council actually got upset when Molly told them the most the tagger might get was a fine and some jail time...almost as if they had a worse fate planned...
    • Talking to Lori Meyers in the epilogue reveals that she was the one who tagged the mural, so thankfully that theory is disproved, but it's still extremely likely that her tagging the mural is what drove them to kidnap someone only a few days later. She says she didn't even have a specific reason for doing the graffiti- and of course she had no idea that her petty vandalism would indirectly lead to someone being killed...
  • It's possible that Mae's aunt is a member of the cult. They recognize her voice immediately, and her aunt shows up just as Mae finishes pursuing the kidnapper. There's also the fact that you never see her in the Epilogue, which only adds to the horror. Mae may have condemned her own aunt to starve to death in the darkness.
    • Combined that she shows up just moments after the severed arm at the diner is found...
    • Also during that night, after Aunt Molly orders Mae to get in the car, we Fade to Black, and then to Mae's nightmare. Mae wakes up in bed, not recalling her aunt being at the scene of the kidnapping. Did her aunt knock her out the way the kidnappper knocked out the victim Mae saw?
    • After Harfest Mae's aunt emphasizes the fact the kidnapper Mae was chasing would not have been able to escape unless they could walk through a solid fence. She does this until Mae expresses doubt in what she saw. Walking through walls is the one explicit unusual power of the cultists.
    • Not to mention the gang avidly hides from the police in Gregg and Angus's apartment after the run-in at the mines. Considering that they recognized some of the voices, there's an eerie possibility she was the one they were hiding from...
    • Let's suppose the above theory is true, how will Mae react if she realizes that she condemned her aunt to starvation, and that her aunt helped murder her friend Casey and cover up the crime?
    • And then there's the other side of this theory: if she isn't part of the cult, she has to at least have some idea of what's happening. It's clear from the speech she gives Mae outside her house about the things that happen around town that she knows things aren't normal. She has to know about the disappearances, even if they are people that wouldn't be missed too much, and although she is doing her best to protect the townspeople, she either doesn't know about the cult or can't stop them. So the two possible interpretations of Aunt Molly are that she's A) slowly killing off the people she's sworn to protect, or B) aware that something is picking them off, even if she doesn't know what, and is powerless to do anything about it.
    • Well whaddaya know In the epilogue of Weird Autumn Edition she's alive and well and was (probably) never involved in the cult to begin with.

The Janitor is God.
He follows Mae around through the game, giving odd, cryptic banter while supplying her with divine protection for what she's about to go through. It's also why he suddenly appeared in the hospital moments before Mae woke up; he dragged her out of her coma. "Fixing a door" meant fixing Mae's gateway back to consciousness.
  • Potentially supporting this theory is the fact that he's a bird. Every single clergy member, pope, and saint we've seen so far is a bird.
    • Also there's a statue of him in the graveyard.
  • And the cat-thing not-god that Mae meets in her dream doesn't think God exists either because they haven't noticed him because he acts subtly, they've just never interacted with him for some reason, or he's different from the descriptions the other "little creatures" gave them of god so they don't think they were taking about him.
  • When Mae is falling in and out of consciousness at the church, the Janitor enters the room from a direction where there is no door. He tells the confused family and neighbors that he is there to "fix a door", and that Mae will be fine. Considering that he seemed to know the situation without having been told, isn't known by any of the locals, and is there to "fix a door" when the Hole at the Center of Everything told by the Space-Cat-Thing involves creatures from outside tearing their way the universe (creating shoddy doors, if you will) it certainly points to the Janitor having some kind of connection or knowledge that he isn't letting on.
    • It's possible he's some kind Lovecraftian investigator there to put a stop to the town's paranormal activity.

The characters are actually people, not animals as they appear.
They seem to think of themselves as people, distinguish between themselves and the animals of the same species as them, and never refer to each other as cats or crocodiles or what-have-you. They are all humans but they appear as animals for some reason. Maybe because there's some sort of perception filter between us and the game's world. or because Mae sees them all that way (metaphorically, not literally).
  • One or two subtle notes suggest that they actually are animals, but don't think of themselves in terms of race/species. For instance, the yarn ball left on the town bulletin board: Mae thinks it's patronizing, but gets into playing with it if you let her. Also the scene where Mae vandalises the Donut Wolf restroom mirror wouldn't make any sense if she had fingernails instead of claws. Also also, Gregg couldn't fit cups on normal human ears like he puts them on early in the game.
    • Mae's father calls her "kitten", while this is a common pet name in real life it's obviously done for the sake of the pun as well as subtly acknowledging their species.
  • I don't think the animal jokes are supposed to 'canonize' the idea that they're animals, and from the way they speak there's more reason to believe they're simply people. Lori even mentions "the human spirit". My personal theory is that Mae (metaphorically) sees people as the animal people from DEMONTOWER, which is why the bird-people are people she doesn't know so well at first, or are somewhat antagonistic to her.
    • Unlikely, since everyone is that way even before she remembers the game exists. Also, she explicitly points out that the mascot for Fiascola is a fox, and also several features, such as beaks, get mentioned explicitly. The Furry Denial is strong with this one!
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  • An interesting theory that doesn't contradict anything explicitly said within the game, but the game was originally going to have a lot more references to the species the characters are, but it was decided to tone it down.
  • Jossed.

Possible cult members
  • The Town Council members, since they seem more concerned with keeping the town alive by trying to get new people and businesses to move in instead of taking care of the people already living there, much like how the cultists are more concerned with keeping the town prosperous by keeping the monster sated then the fact that are killing people to do so; they are both putting the fate of a dying town and a few run-down buildings over the fate of actual people.
    • They are also featured prominently on the major promotional splash image. On the other hand, they don't show an unusual interest in or alarm with Bruce being out behind the woods, nor an excessive haste to vote down the homeless shelter initiative (though they do), which would presumably put a big dent in their plans. The Pastor may also mention the vote taking place at the very end of the game, which wouldn't make sense if they died in the cave-in. It's possible that they're just supposed to be the mundane counterpart to the cultists, to avoid making it a complete Space Whale Aesop. Likewise, the cult dismisses them as missing the true point. This could mean that some of them are discontented with the way things are being run by the others, but there are only four, they all seem to be on the same page as to approach despite their bickering, and it's just far less likely.
  • Mae's aunt, since she always seems to be nearby when something weird happens and basic Rule of Drama.
    • She says a lot of very cryptic things to Mae whenever they run into each other, telling her to be careful, bad things could happen to 'people like you', and other things that sound vaguely threatening. While it could just be that Molly knows something suspicious is going on and wants her niece to be safe, it's very easy to read her warnings as Molly being a member of the cult and trying to get Mae to shape up so she won't be targeted by the others. On top of that, when Mae is chasing the ghost/cult member, Molly shows up when Mae is having her staredown with it. Once you know it's not a ghost, odds are unless it suddenly ran away the moment Molly got within range, Moly would have been able to see it too. Molly's dialogue isn't that of an annoyed cop who's tired of her niece running around at night, it's one of a cop who is aware that something is dangerous and is ordering Mae to back down. Did Molly see a fellow cult member and pretend not to notice them, banking on Mae thinking it was a ghost in order to get her to think she really didn't see anything?
    • She also doesn't appear anywhere during the epilogue, at least until the Weird Autumn update came out.
    • Adding onto that, it might not just be Aunt Molly, but Mae's grandfather too. Consider: the cultists say they don't hurt people who contribute to the town or are connected by relation. They killed Casey even though he was born and raised in the town, and had two worried parents. It can be reasonably assumed that the relation-rule only really applies to people related to themselves. In the mine, they say they won't hurt the kids because they all fall into that category of being upstanding town workers. This makes sense for Bea, Angus, and even Gregg, but not for college-dropout, mentally-unstable, history-of-violence, woman-child Mae. If anything, Mae seems like she'd be next in line on the chopping block after she started poking around. The only thing that could be protecting her is the fact that she has family in the cult. In the prologue, Granddad knew that the town was dying, that something nefarious was going on, quotes that "they were looking for gods," and then claims with a horrified, possibly guilt-stricken look that the house is haunted. After all, if Molly was in on it, then someone would have had to introduce her. . .
  • The guy that followed Germ home.
    • Germ, a loner with odd sensibilities who hangs out with bums, would be an ideal target for the cult's human sacrifice. Its entirely possible that, once it became clear that Germ would be too difficult to capture, they gave up on him.

The Black Goat doesn't exist.
For all that the cultists talk about their actions protecting the town, it's still dying and it's still suffered multiple natural disasters. Much like the actual demagogues the "god" is a clear reference to, it's all based on rhetoric and desperation — they want to buy into a narrative of something "saving them" whether or not it actually makes a difference.
  • Keep in mind that we never see incontrovertible evidence of the Black Goat's existence; our only direct glimpses of the supernatural come through Mae, most of them during dreams, and her one "awake" confrontation comes at the tail end of an extremely harrowing couple of days — plus, everything she says can be viewed as directed not towards any vengeful god, but towards the societal and mental ills which have hurt her and her friends, and she seems to be doing this deliberately, given that she starts her comments with "I know what you are."
  • When Mae and Bea are using the microfiche in the library, one of the news articles mentions a hallucinatory gas. Maybe the Black Goat is some kind of shared delusion.
  • It was also foreshadowed by Mr. Chazokov when stargazing with him where he mentions that gods from old legends were probably just stand-ins for people to explain the world around them. So it is possible that whatever good or bad the cult believes is the Black Goat's doing might have just been a series of coincidences that, combined with a desire to see their home prosper again and/or a shared delusion, ultimately convinced them that there is some eldritch being living in a hole in an old mine.

In the future, Mae will become a janitor.
As hinted in her journal at the end of the game.

Mae's grandfather use to be a cult member.
There are subtle clues that could allude to this.
  • When Mae's grandfather dies he starts screaming about how they are haunted and shortly after his death a disaster of some sort hits the town.
  • His complete obsession with ghosts and the supernatural.
  • He would go off hunting in the woods for long periods of time but would never let Mae come with him because he said "It was just a guy thing" plus all of the cult members are armed with hunting rifles.
  • The cult says they won't kill the gang because they all work and contribute to the town. Mae however is unemployed and is considered trouble by the entire town. However, they also say that they won't kill anyone if they have a family relation to the cult.
  • There is an article at the library that describes a group of people that each kept a tooth as a sign of membership. It is never stated to directly be the cult, but if you check the safe in the crawlspace, you can find a mysterious tooth in there.
    • Alternatively, it's possible that the miner society evolved into the cult, or experienced a split with one faction becoming the cult. Mae's grandfather withdrew because he didn't agree with their new goals and methods.

Angus' parents abused him out of homophobia.
Angus' parents were religious fundamentalists. When their young son showed signs of being gay, their bigotry drove them to abuse and neglect him.

Mae's disorder wasn't influenced by outside forces, but protecting her.
Mae has been shown to have both disassociation and to have possibly spoken directly to the Black Goat, possibly twice. Though its hinted that her disorder was a result of past influence, what if she kept sane because she had already seen nothing but meaningless shapes out of existence twice before, slightly numbing the effect, even if it wasn't completely effective.
  • And on that note, what if her grandfather had the same disorder, but went unchecked due to lack of modern medicine, possibly leading to him potentially joining the cult?

The Black Goat isn't even a powerful entity.
Mae has seen other god-like creatures in her dreams, some of which (like the sky-cat) are apparently very powerful and knowledgeable, and consider living beings like may to be little creatures of little interest/worth. If the Black Goat is really a deity, then it must be very weak to not only need human sacrifices at all, but also need to beguile and bribe humans to give them to him. It's also been noted that even with the cultists performing their sacrifices, the town is still dying, implying that either It is trying to conserve its energy, or It is incapable of actually doing anything.

Aunt Molly isn't a cult member officially but she is aware that they exist and tolerates their murders out of necessity
Being the only police officer we see, it's possible Aunt Molly has to oversee all of Possum Springs. The cult members have mentioned that they wouldn't hurt Mae and are horrified by the thought. Pragmatically, it could be I Have Your Wife: if they kill Mae, Aunt Molly would bring the entire police force down upon them. As long as Mae is in town and alive, however, it reminds Aunt Molly of what she could lose and thus she keeps Mae from investigating or wandering into the woods alone. When Mae was in college, she had a Hope Spot that Mae made it out, and thus she could open up an official investigation to atone for her complicity in Casey's murder. Then Mae returned, derailing those plans.
  • Another way of seeing it: Molly tolerates the cult and their murders because it making her job much easier to do. Take Casey for instance, who's cooking meth and probably dealing other drugs on the side. Now imagine him either (a) dealing drugs to the local residents of Possum Springs and making things even worse for them or (b) if Casey pissed off the wrong bad people outside of Possum Springs and those same people decided to follow him back to Possum Spring. Picture the chaos that could happen. Since the cult members only killed the nobodies and bad influences of the town, offing people like Casey is a "huge" help for her. The only thing she has to do is fill out the missing person report and case close.
  • Another interpretation could that Molly may have simply lacked any evidence linking anyone as a member of the cult, the cult members (barring possibly Eide) seemed very good at keeping their identities and operations a secret and if any of them have connections to the police department, they could have known enough about Molly's patrol movements and habits to stay several steps ahead of her whenever she tries to investigate them. Plus some may argue the cult's very nature (worshiping an Eldritch Abomination hidden in abandoned mines that demands living sacrifices and causes natural disasters) may fall under Refuge in Audacity, and therefore anyone Molly tries to explain the cult's existence to may not take her seriously, and there's a chance if Molly tried to tell Mae about the cult at her first day back in Possum Springs, Mae might assume Molly is just telling a story to scare her into going on the straight and narrow.

Germ knows what birds and bird-people represent, and he doesn't like it.
His remark that birds are the worst may be hinting at something bigger. Birds and bird people in the game tend to represent the unknown and the mysterious, ranging from the random guy whose property Mae feels the need to trespass on to a plethora of religious and religion-related figures (possibly all the way up the janitor). And, of course, in a piece of Dummied Out content we learn that Germ's grandmother is literally psychic. Germ was born into this kind of role, and he doesn't like it at all. He tries to stand out as little as possible and be as low-key and generic as he can lest his identity have unintended consequences when he inevitably becomes spiritually significant to someone. When people assign traits to him, he's resigned to it; hence, Germ Warfare.

The Janitor wanted Mae to find the cult and take it down.
  • It seems very odd that if the world is uncaring and bleak, as the Cat-God thing tells Mae in her dreams, and if the Janitor is a god, that the Janitor would care about a random stranger. But he gives her a few hints about the nature of things in the woods, apparently heals her when she suffers a serious head injury, and comforts her at the end of the game. It could be that given the cultists operated on Black and White Insanity that the Janitor, who is a slightly more loving and caring God than the Black Goat, wouldn't be able to reason with them. But Mae, who is stubborn and a survivor, would investigate and put the clues together. She also motivates her friends to go into the woods and find the "ghost" that was actually a cult member. It could even be Laser-Guided Karma; delinquent dropout Mae is given a second chance at life when she investigates missing children and refuses to accept the cultists' beliefs.

The Black Goat is actually Mr. Popo/Demon God Dumplin.
And the Hole in the Mines is actually a portal to The Fuck Box.
  • So this means that Casey is technically still alive and is enjoying himself playing Golden Axe with Fuck Box Geoff.

Casey was supposed to be Mae's true love/soul mate
Much like how everyone's family members are all the same species despite the wide variety available, Mae and Casey are both cats because they were supposed to get together around the time Mae was in college (according to the 'powers that be' of the universe they're in)(Angus and Gregg make a good couple because they're gay and won't have kids).

If Mae had gotten with Casey, he would've encouraged her to get help with her disassociation disorder in the town the university was in (which would have something better than Possum Spring's Doctor), and she would've matured and be able to finish college. When that didn't happen and Casey died instead, Mae was missing what she needed and became 'broken' or 'glitched'.

Perhaps if anything other than the Black Goat (or some other deity) had tried to kill Casey, they would've failed because he was destined to be with Mae (this may have made him seem invincible or incredibly lucky and contributed to his implied reckless behavior). But being a god or whatever he is, the Black Goat was able to forcefully steal Casey's future from him.

The Hole is actually the Woolie Hole.
Woolie The Liar is currently busy under it eating he's stolen pies and spreading lies.
  • Casey and other victims who fell in the hole are actually alive, stuck and going through a Bites The Dust-level loops of Saturday Morning Scrublords and the amount of salt being created in the Hole is more than enough to turn the Mine into a Salt Mine.

The Ibon constellation does not actually exist.
The events of Longest Night turn out to be a dream, and during Angus's investigation sequence, is it acknowledged that this means that the information about the constellations within may not actually be true. The Ibon constellation, representing the goat who was the first singer, may not be an actual constellation, but rather, Mae's true initial discovery of the Black Goat via supernatural means.

Obligatory Homestuck-related theories.
  • Mae is a Derse dreamer:
    • The Black Goat and the creatures in Mae's dreams are actually Horrorterrors trying to communicate with her.
  • Bea is a Prospit dreamer:
    • She mentions at some point that she dreamed the world was ending, which is likely a vision she saw in Skaia's clouds as Prospit's moon passed through them.

The cult members sacrificed themselves to the Black Goat after the cave in.
They were all in the same chamber when Mae and the gang left (minus Eide). They'll run out of air, if nothing else. Once they realize they're never getting out, they'll throw themselves in the pit since there's nothing else to do, and they're never getting any other sacrifices down there anyway.

Suppose the Black Goat is real. After such a large meal (remember, he only asked for one person occasionally) he may get full and hibernate or otherwise stop harassing the town for a while. Apathy probably won't save a rust belt town. but at least disaster is less likely to strike for a while.

The song Weird Autumn is about missing people
The song implies it's about someone who moved away suddenly. But it could be inspired by people in the town that have gone missing (because of the cult). The line "Out on Arbor street, I saw Autumn leave/Her family drove away" mentions nothing about Autumn herself getting into the car with her family, and could instead be symbolic, meaning that since her family has moved out of town after her disappearance, the last trace of her if gone.

The lines "Hey man, have you seen her around? Have you seen her today?" also seem odd. Why would you ask someone if they've seen her if they knew she moved out of town? Perhaps they think she ran away and might still near nearby.

It's also mentioned that the house can't be sold and stays empty. Sounds like a stigmatized property. Perhaps related to a chain of disappearances?


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