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Due to the nature of The Mandela Catalogue and Analog Horror in general, all spoilers are unmarked, as it would otherwise make discussion impossible. Please watch the Webseries HERE before continuing.

i am bound to chains on my ankles
that grow heavier with each step
the infinite amount of sand will be my tomb
and my foolishness will be my legacy
if there is a god
please help me

The Mandela Catalogue is an Analog Horror Web Video series created by Alex Kister in 2021.

The series takes place in a world where a mysterious being (implied to be Satan) has taken the form of the Archangel Gabriel and then unleashed Alternates, shape-shifting creatures with an insatiable drive to drive humans to suicide and take their forms on the world. Using technology for their nefarious goals focus of their invasion is the Mandela County in Wisconsin, where it had become a Crapsack World thanks to the existence of these entities, living in fear of the Alternates coming for them, with only the local police lieutenant and a paranormal-hunting club standing against these creatures.

The series consist of four main "volumes" with several essential smaller videos showcasing the struggle against them.

  • Volume 1 follows two victims of the Alternates, Mark Heathcliff and Cesar Torres, and through recordings shows their last moments, as well as events in their past related to the Alternates.
  • Volume 2 follows Adam Murray and Jonah Marshall, a pair of delinquents who serve as the Bythorne Paranormal Society, investigating paranormal phenomenon. They take a job from a woman who has been hearing meows from her deceased cat to stay in her house for three days and lay the cat's soul to rest. Of course, there is far more to it than that, and the two wind up encountering an Alternate.
  • Volume 333 follows Thatcher Davis and Ruth Weaver, two newly-promoted officers from the Mandela County Police Department. Thatcher spearheads the investigation and analysis of evidence gathered from the room of Mark Heathcliff back in Volume 1. Soon after, Davis and Weaver respond to an ominous distress call made by one Jude Murray, a fresh divorcee hiding from an invader in his house; an Alternate.
  • Volume 4 follows Sarah Heathcliff and Adam Murray dealing with the aftermath of Volume 2. Evelin Miller, Adam's estranged ex-girlfriend, discovers distressing information about him. Meanwhile, Thatcher Davis battles with his grief and Dave Lee struggles with his failing business.

The channel GENESIS APOCRYPHON was linked hidden within the video "mandela catalyst" and also contains further scraps of lore.

Another series by the creator, Mystifying Oracle, has been stated to take place in this universe.

Tropes featured in the Mandela Catalogue include:

  • Alternate History:
    • By 1981, the Alternates have become so much of a menace that an entire department dedicated to deter them was founded, who by 2009 have outlawed most types of technology with a screen and mirrors.
    • In Exhibition, it is revealed that the Alternates have been present ever since the events of Noah's Ark. From a biblical perspective this follows a history where Satan managed to trick Mary and the shepherds into worshiping him, imprison Jesus, and then take over Earth. Volume 4 reveals that his influence goes back to the Third Day of Creation, with him deceiving and turning Adam into an Alternate early into the seventh day.
    • While it could simply be a continuity error, Volume 4 indicates that Left 4 Dead 2 was released as early as December 2008, while in real life the game released in November 2009. This could imply the possibility of gaming history also being altered by the Alternate Crisis.
  • Alternate Reality Game:
    • The series has elements of this, stemming from the old Mandela County Police Department website, itself revealed through "old mandela police site link", a Logging onto the Fourth Wall episode from Sarah Heathcliff's perspective. The "DATABASE LOGIN" page accepts input — logging in with the username "ThatcherDavis92" and password "everydaygetsdarker" reveals Lt. Thatcher Davis's case files on Mark Heathcliff and the Bythorne Paranormal Society, as well as a short video entitled "thoughts" recorded by Davis himself, regarding his promotion to lieutenant at the beginning of Vol. 333 and the mental stress that came with the job.
    • Presto introduced, a website for the fictional company with its own secrets. Notably, it hides an advertising page for the Bythorne Paranormal Society, which lead to supposed diary entries written by Adam.
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Features a distorted, Choiral version of Amazing Grace that sounds like it's sung by lost souls.
  • Anachronic Order: The story jumps between biblical times (represented in the form of old Christian cartoons), the 90s during most events of Vol. 1 and Vol. 333, and to the late 2000's in Volume 2 and 4. There's also some scenes taking place in different years entirely, such as the 70's briefly in Volume 1.
  • Analog Horror: Naturally, and really one of the Trope Codifiers, though funnily enough, later volumes actually begin to play with this. Starting in volume 2, a number of video elements in-universe are meant to actually be sourced from digital devices, albeit these are specifically of the Web 1.0 pre-smartphone era, with the "modern day" being 2009. As a result, the format moves from purely analog to something more like the awkward transitional period reflected by that time, with some analog systems still being used, while other media are from earlier periods of digital recording prior to the ubiquity of smart devices and Web 2.0 media services.
  • And I Must Scream: The quote listed above from Overthrone suggests someone, strongly implied to be the real Jesus Christ has been subjected to this, bound by chains and sealed in a tomb of sand for all eternity to the point that all they can do is cry out for God to save them.
  • Angelic Abomination: A being that presents itself as Archangel Gabriel appears throughout the videos. While he looks like what we would imagine him to be, there's just about him. He speaks in a synthetic voice, does horrible slasher smiles, and is later revealed to, in fact, be Satan himself.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 3a. While Gabriel's motives are largely unknown, at least part of his modus operandi involves him sending his shapeshifting underlings, known as "Alternates", to Earth and kill all of mankind one by one until human civilization as we know it ceases to exist.
  • Apocalyptic Log: After leaving Cesar's house, Mark is followed to his home by whatever entity was pretending to be Cesar. He is stuck inside a room with a very distorted voice that taunts him and decides to record it all. After being stuck inside the room for days, with no police coming to help, Mark attempts to fight it off but ultimately fails, after which the alternate turns the camera and shows his lifeless body, visibly showing a gun beside him, with his face censored by a black square.
  • Arc Number: The number 3 is used several times throughout the series, like Alternate attacks, according to recordings, taking place around 3 am, Mark being trapped in his room for three days, and the "woman" asking the BPS if they can stay for three nights. More overt examples like the 333 corruption that splices footage from unrelated videos. 3 in the Bible is typically associated with "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" adding further to the Religious Horror the Alternates bring.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Apparently, N was named after a meme, which became so popular it became the actual name.
    • Mervin Marshall, an Expy of Saul Goodman who started out as an inside-joke between Patreon Server members eventually became canonical to the series through the mandelapolice ARG.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The origin for the plot as a whole is that Satan himself actually managed to overthrow Jesus and eternally trapped him in a sand tomb and now has humanity worshiping him while he unleashes the horrific and destructive alternates onto the world. The series doesn't really have any designated "heroes" who have any hope of putting a stop to things (the police especially emphasize in their own training tapes how powerless and unashamedly afraid they are of the alternates), it's more just a showcase of the dystopia humanity is trapped in under Satan's rule.
  • Big Bad: The Alternate Archangel Gabriel, really Satan himself, is the leader and creator of the Alternates, shapeshifting demons who desire to Kill and Replace all humanity. The entire plot was set up as a result of him replacing Gabriel and causing himself to be worshiped by humanity and then unleashing Alternates in order to ravage mankind.
  • Berserk Button: In "Volume 2", Jonah pushes Adam's during their argument; he brings up a loved one that was taken by the Alternates, which causes an already irritable Adam to snap at him. It isn't until "Volume 333" that we learn it was Adam's mother.
    Jonah: These things have taken so much away from us, yet you still run to them every chance you get!
    Adam: I do not!
    Jonah: FUCKING LISTEN TO ME! You're not invincible, okay? I know you thought that when we started doing these fucking death marches, and nothing happened, and I get it, but this. Right here. Is REAL. And you should know that more than anybody!
    Adam: What's that even supposed to mean?
    Jonah: I wish we never looked for your [static], because she is dead and gone, and we were never gonna get her back!
    Adam: What did you just fucking say to me?
  • Body Horror: The "Flawed Impersonators" type of alternates described in the police training video are also the most grotesque: one is shown to have a blank face, while several others are depicted with oversized limbs. And then there's "Gabriel" with the Slasher Smile.
  • Call-Back: The Mandela Catalogue Vol. 4 ends the same way Overthrone does; With red text in the sky, implied to be "Gabriel"/Satan, saying "I DECEIVED THEM/HIM".
  • Card-Carrying Villain: As the entries progress, there are more and more hints in the tone and language of the videos that the force behind the alternates is issuing the warnings about them itself as part of its bid to cause terror and despair.
  • Continuity Nod: Volume 2 is full of these to the previous season, almost entering in Continuity Porn territory.
    • The main location of the video is heavily implied to be Cesar Torres' house.
    • A shot is shown with writing on the wall that reads "NOTHING IS WORTH THE RISK".
    • The Intruder tells Adam to stop "following the shepherd" and to "wake up".
    • The cat picture The Intruder uses when he reveals himself to be the "ghost cat" to Adam is the same cat picture seen in Volume 1, the first appearance of The Intruder.
    • The head that appears at the minute 18:36 also showed up in The Scrimblo Catalogue II.
    • Probably the biggest one is when the Intruder appears on the television and flashes every major event from the previous season, like Mark and Cesar, the US Department of Temporal Phenomena, the picture of young Mark and his sister next to a church and many others.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Earth is infested with murderous and sadistic shapeshifting horrors that will stop at nothing to torment and drive their victims to suicide and things have become so bad that leaders consider intervention to be not worth the risk. To top it all off, these things have been interfering with mankind since Biblical times... and possibly even way before that.
  • Crapsack World: The series takes place in a timeline where Satan managed to overthrow God and now rules the planet Earth with an iron fist in the modern day. Humanity lives under the threat of his demonic Alternates, who constantly subject them to extreme psychological torture. Suicide is a regular occurence, law enforcement worldwide is forced to not do anything about it and there seems to be no way of stopping them. To top it off, as revealed in Volume 2, people don't even think that Alternates are real, and shrug it off as mass hysteria, making it easier for Alternates to ambush unsuspecting victims.
  • Dark Is Evil:
    • The Type 3 alternates, the "Flawed Impersonators", retain the body of the original, but with "biologically impossible characteristics," ranging from the removal of any facial features to have a pitch black face with no facial features but eyes.
    • In his physical form, The Intruder has an entirely pitch black body with a white face.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: Once the images of Mark and especially Cesar have corrupted, both disappear and all that's left are invokedtwo piercing eyes on a black background in place of Cesar's photo.
  • Death Seeker: Implied with Thatcher Davis. Following his encounter with an Alternate, apparently seeing his own and miraculously surviving the ordeal, in every day gets brighter, Thatcher comments that he'll hunt down his Alternate "even if it's the last thing I fucking do", also adding that he's "alive, but a part of me doesn't want to be".
  • Despair Event Horizon: Exploited by the Alternates. After their victims lose all hope of being saved, they usually commit suicide.
    • The best example of this is Mark. A religious man, he gets trapped in his own house with his best friend's Alternate for days without anyone coming to help. Vol. 333 implies that he's been infected with M.A.D. due to writing "Who have I been praying to all this time?", seemingly having been clued about what God's fate really is. He ends up taking his own life in the process.
    • Thatcher Davis firmly crosses it after his encounter with an Alternate. Barely holding himself together, he has to appear like the situation's under control when it clearly isn't for the sake of his men and hope. In "every day gets brighter", he laments that he's lost everything and that "I am alive, but a part of me doesn't want to be".
  • Doppelgänger: The first type of alternates that are described in the police video are nicknamed this. True to the name, they are semi-perfect copies of the original.
  • Downer Ending: Since the Alternates themselves are Invincible Villains, it's unsurprising that most of the videos end on a nightmarish or depressing note.
    • The very first video "Overthrone" has Satan fooling Mary and the shepherds into worshiping him, with the ending having a person mourning being fooled by the Alternates, before they call out to God to save them.
    • "Intruder Alert" has the police concluding that whatever the hell kidnapped the baby is unidentifiable, and that the footage will be sent to the higher ups.
    • "Volume 2" ends with a Bolivian Army Ending. Adam is stuck in Cesar's house with The Intruder tormenting him, while Jonah stops in the middle of the road while driving to let out a Cathartic Scream.
    • "Volume 333" ends with the Mandela Police Department ignoring Thatcher's request for back-up. He's then cornered and attacked by the Alternate that was plaguing the Murrays.
  • Driven to Suicide:
  • Dying Town: In Mandela's case, a dying county. In only 20 years, a population chart shows that 13,000 residents have fled (or died), leaving about 1,075 in 2009. If this continues, it will be unpopulated in a few years.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Sarah Heathcliff, Mark's little sister, is first seen in a picture in Exhibition through an old picture of her and Mark in front of their church. She would later become an overarching protagonist in Act 1 and a major protagonist in Act 2.
    • In Intruder Alert, in the list of counties affected by The Intruder's one-man Invasion of the Baby Snatchers you can read the names of Bythorne County and Werksha County, which were explored in the latter half of Act 1 and Act 2 via the Bythorne Paranormal Society.
    • While subtle, the 333 Corruption made it's first indirect appearance in "Exhibition", although it wasn't properly introduced until Season 2.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Earlier videos had a notable focus on time, specifically with the organization that is dealing with the Alternates, the Department of Temporal Phenomena, implying that the antagonists are somehow involved with time. There's also the title, which could be interperted as a reference to the invokedMandela Effect, which is often linked to time travel. This aspect was dropped in later videos (likely because doing real justice to the DTP on a Patreon budget was unreasonable), which increased the existential and religious horror that the Alternates possess.
    • Relatedly, the very early videos (particularly the ones now labeled "ORIGINAL_COPIES" on the Youtube channel) leaned rather hard on the Alternates having a good degree of innate Reality Warper horror to them - the now-famous "N" Alternate wouldn't just be in shadow, for example, but would literally warp light around it to not act correctly, and it and other Type Threes were implied to be so corrosive to reality that even recorded video of still pictures could not depict them without some difficulty (hence the static buzzing during that section of "Know Your Enemy"). The Alternates having not just "weird" biology but biology in seeming full defiance of physics and making people question "their place in reality" was a big theme, too (that one example in the early THINK Principle versions was meant to be literal, seemingly, with an alternate somehow moving around using what was supposed to be its head). This lasted surprisingly long (up to the original Metaphysical Awareness Disorder video), but starting in Vol.2, this aspect was somewhat more downplayed, with the Alternates still able to move in uncanny ways but full defiance of physics faded, once again likely due to the realities of the series' budget and the shift toward more true live-action filming, with the video corrosion more being a specific thing Intruder himself would do.
    • Also relatedly, in the ORIGINAL_COPIES, the religious elements were completely absent. They don't come up during Mark's Soliloquy, the Toddler Assessment has none, and most notably of all, "Gabriel"/Satan shows up as the example of a Type Two Alternate, but here was clearly intended to simply represent a "detectable" Alternate, e.g. one that has features that are human-ish but somewhat uncanny (and go much more noticeably squiffy when it goes on the mental offensive, and this is also where the reality-warping-indicating audio distortion begins in this take on the Alternate lineup). This was one of the first elements to be revised as Mandela Catalogue became a going concern, because right after the ORIGINAL_COPIES, "Overthrone" came out, turning the previously-anonymous Type Two example into the False Gabriel we all know and hate-love today, and with the Type Two example removed from the revised, compiled videos in "Mandela Catalogue Volume 1".
  • Eldritch Abomination: Whatever is causing the creation of the "alternates" isn't yet shown. In "Intruder Alert," the video explicitly states that whatever's moving the victim's corpse is "an invisible force.". Though, in Volume 2, we see Satan tell Noah to bring something onto the Ark prior to the Great Flood, with this something being heavily implied to be the first Alternate.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first minutes of Volume 2 serve as an introduction to the two members of Bythrone Paranormal Society. Adam, the assumed leader, is depicted as actually taking his job as a Paranormal Investigator seriously; Jonah, The Prankster of the two, constantly dismisses strange events and assumes the woman who asked for their services is delusional.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: The alternate that threatens Mark from outside his door speaks in an eerie, unnaturally stuttered voice. Later in the series, it's revealed that the alternates can mimic speech, averting this trope.
  • Facial Horror: See Nightmare Face below, but special mention goes to the alternate Gabriel (later revealed to be Satan impersonating him) in "Overthrone," who has unnaturally tall, almost cartoonish eyes and a massive, unnatural grin.
  • False Prophet: The Alternate version of Gabriel appears to be this, proclaiming himself to be mankind's true savior, both to the shepherds and to Mary herself.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Before we are shown the interactions between Mark and Cesar, they are listed as "victim one" and "victim two" respectively, meaning that something will be happening to them. The same is done with Adam and Jonah, who are listed as "victim three" and "victim four" respectively. As it turns out however, Adam isn't actually dead, but is revealed to have been an alternate the whole time.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the conversation between Mark and Cesar, the video distorts for a few seconds, and Cesars portrait is replaced by an eerie face with a giant demented grin, which Alternates are known to sport. Combined with a later distortion that replaces Cesars portrait with glowing eyes and a dark, elongated body, and it’s fair to assume that Cesar was replaced by an Alternate, and that 'Cesar' has just lured Mark to his doom.
    • A more subtle one in Volume 2: Adam offers his client to come over to her house for their paranormal investigation tonight. She seemingly misconstrues this as "two night" and asks Adam and Jonah if they "can do three nights" instead. If one consider's Alternate Cesar's Electronic Speech Impediment to mean that type 3/flawed impostor Alternates don't have the best grasp of English, this seemingly mundane misinterpretation of Adam's words is the first sign that all isn't what it seems with his client. Indeed, by the end of the video, the client's cat "Jonny" is revealed to be a lure created by the Intruder, and the "client" (now with a telltale Electronic Speech Impediment of her own) can be heard talking to Adam alongside the Intruder.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The disorder that is caused by "exposure to verbal information that is not desired to be known" is called Metaphysical Awareness Disorder, aka MAD.
  • Ghostly Gape: The Alternate shown in Vol 2 has a rather elongated mouth and eyes when he enters the room with Adam.
  • Glamour Failure: While there are some alternates that are semi-perfect copies of the original, there are others who only retain the basic silhouette of a person and have grotesque inhuman features. And then there are those don't even retain that.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The United States Department of Temporal Phenomena. Aside from issuing official designations of the various types of alternates, as well as ways (real or not) on how to deal with them, nothing is really known about it.
  • Haunted Technology:
    • The Intruder's main way of attacking his victims is to enter any potential device that could possibly show frightening imagery.
    • In the comment section for "soccer game 2009" it is revealed that there's a computer virus of sorts named the "333 corruption", which is implied to have a relation with the Intruder and the Alternates.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • The alternate that torments Mark in "The Mandela Catalogue Vol. 1" quite clearly has a fake voice that is very clearly glitching out like a robot.
    • As soon as Gabriel's face horrifically contorts, a very distorted version of "Jesus Loves Me" is played.
    • "Gabriel" is accompanied by the sound of heavily discordant loud church bells as it approaches Noah.
  • Hijacked by Jesus: Inverted. It is the LORD Himself — or at least one of his servants — who was hijacked by the alternates.
  • Hufflepuff House: The other counties surrounding Mandela. In Intruder Alert four fictional counties are mentioned to be subject to the Intruder's mass children-kidnapping; Bythorne County, Werksha County, Mandela County, and Yonder County. The Mandela Catalogue, as expected, takes place primarily in Mandela County. The neighboring county north of Mandela, Bythorne, gets focus in season 2 with the Bythorne Paranormal Society, though their only two on-screen jobs have been investigating areas within Mandela. In Vol. 333, Thatcher Davis tries to call for available backup from nearby counties, including Bythorne and Werksha, though only Bythorne returns the call. Werksha occasionally gets mentioned only in passing. Yonder County has never been alluded to outside of Intruder Alert.
  • Immune to Bullets: In Volume 333, Thatcher's Follower is shot in the head point-blank and barely even registers it.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: In Intruder Alert, The titular villain, Intruder, pulls this all by himself thanks to his ability to jump between electronics and mirrors. Midway through the video, it's revealed that he has kidnapped 3,426 children from across 4 separate counties. At the same time.
  • Jump Scare: Usually combined with Nightmare Face, such as the sudden glitch and utterly frightening visage of the alternate Gabriel.
  • Kill and Replace:
    • What the alternates seem to be doing to get to some preys, such as Cesar and Mark.
    • This is also heavily implied to be the fate the real Archangel Gabriel suffered after being replaced by Satan.
  • Lightswitch Surprise: In the end of the T.H.I.N.K Principle, a dark bedroom is lit up by the light switch, revealing that the Alternate whose body is a humanoid shadow save for its eyes is standing in the corner, starring at the viewer.
  • Light Is Not Good: Not even angels, it would seem, are safe from being copied.
  • Marionette Motion: The Alternate seen on film in Volume 333 moves about in this manner.
  • Meaningful Rename: As of 2005, the type two Alternates have been renamed from "Detectable" to "Unspeakable." The reasons behind this change have already been alluded to.
  • Mirror Monster: "Exhibition" reveals that mirrors are just as dangerous as televisions.
  • Mood Whiplash: In Overthrone, after the bizarre turn of events with alternates deceiving the shepherds and who could be Christ himself lamenting in despair of the tragedy unfolding from his sandy tomb, the video just flat out ends with a snippet of the triumphant and jolly Looney Tunes closing theme.
  • Morton's Fork: Seemingly, this is the situation authorities are left with when victims of Alternate encounters are involved. Either they dispatch help to a victims location and risk losing officers to an Alternate who has their original target dead to rights anyways, and even risk compromising dispatchers if they attract an Alternates attention with their fear, or they leave the caller to their fate without sending any kind of help save for calming words. For what it’s worth, remaining calm and keeping courageous does give a decent fighting chance against creatures who rely on fear and despair to claim victims, more than any amount of physical help could ever do.
  • Nightmare Face: Plenty, largely due to the alternates' exploiting their shapeshifting abilities to look like abominations.
  • No-Sell: The only method demonstrated to work against Metaphysical Awareness Dissorder (M.A.D.) is to want more of the undesired information that caused it. Both Adam Murray and Thatcher Davis seem to have survived their encounters because of this. Though in the case of Adam, it's because he IS an alternate.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • At the end of "Intruder Alert," the corpse of the mother that committed suicide is filmed being carried downstairs by what the tape calls an "invisible force." The corpse, however, is covered by a Censor Box.
    • Another community photo was posted onto the Youtube channel, this time with a picture of a young Mark Heathcliff (from the Catalogue No. 1 video) and his sister Sarah. However, the specific location of the photograph is [UNDISCLOSED LOCATION]. They are, however, in front of a church.
    • A third community photo reveals that by 2005, there are two more types of alternates and nearly nothing is known about them, as most of their information is censored.
    • Both "My movie.mp4" and "soccer game 2009" are mostly devoid of sound and focus on dark spots, seemingly building up to a jumpscare...that never occurs.
  • Our Demons Are Different: With the implication that the Alternate Gabriel is Satan himself, it also implies that the Alternates, which are also heavily implied to be Gabriel's creations, are demons themselves.
  • Police Are Useless: Played With in the second video in "The Mandela Catalogue Vol. 1." 911 phone operators are urged to calm people down who are freaking out after spotting an alternate, assuring them that help is on the way until they calm down, at which point they will hang up. It also states for them to not speak too much, lest the fear in their voice shows.
    • Subverted in Volume 333. Davis and Weaver actually show up to the afflicted house but are entirely overpowered by the anomalous invader. Weaver's whereabouts are unknown but Davis is directly attacked by the Alternate right at the end of the video. He survives and despite the odds, has vowed Revenge on his Alternate.
  • Posthumous Character:
    • Part of the narrative features Mark Heathcliff and his experiences around the alternates that are implied to have been around ever since he was a child. The first video of him features him hiding from an alternate and killing himself.
    • While Cesar Torres, Mark's best friend, isn't even present during his first appearance in 1992, his house becomes the main location for the events of Volume 2 in 2009.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Exaggerated. ALL significant human characters are named after biblical figures in one way or another.
    • Although Word of God states that he was named with Markiplier in mind, Mark Heathcliff, the first protagonist of the series, fits into this category by sharing names with John Mark, who wrote the first books of the New Testament.
    • Cesar Torres, coincidentally, has the same name as Julius Caesar, who is mentioned in the Book of Mark.
    • Adam Murray and Jonah Marshall from Volume 2 are the most notable examples yet. Adam Murray follows the steps of his biblical counterpart by accepting a superficially innocent request from a woman, that inadvertedly leads to his doom. Jonah Marshall also follows his biblical counterpart's footsteps by running away from God (or someone pretending to be Him, in Marshall's case).
    • In Volume 333, the identity of the Distraught Mother and her husband are revealed, their names being Lynn Murray and Jude Murray respectively. Jude likely refers to Jude the Apostle. Although unconfirmed, it's theorized that "Lynn" is likely short for "Marilynn".
    • Also in Volume 333, Thatcher Davis is named after David from the Books of Samuel, in where he fights and beats a giant by the name of Goliath. By the end of Volume 333, Davis fights a gigantic Alternate and doesn't seem to have the same luck as his biblical counterpart.
    • Evelin Miller, who happens to be Adam's ex-girlfriend.
    • Characters such as Sarah Heathcliff, Dave Lee and Ruth Weaver are named after various biblical figures.
    • The only named character not named after a biblical figure is Mervin Marshall, and he's a Joke Character. Ironically, the character he's a parody of does have a biblically themed name.
    • Even the in-universe early 2000s messaging app is named "Dove Messanger". Doves are iconic symbolism within the Bible.
  • Religious Horror: Fits into this genre, especially with "Overthrone" and the Metaphysical Awareness Disorder which advises the viewer to avoid religion altogether. Probably the biggest example, however, is the revelation that Satan has disguised himself as the Archangel Gabriel and has proclaimed himself as the true saviour.
  • Ret-Canon: The events of Mark's Soliloquy, an unlisted video that served as an early draft for Volume 1, were recanonized in the ARG website.
  • Satan: The Alternate Gabriel is heavily implied to be this, given how the hidden captions that show up after it appears in "Overthrone" and "Exhibition" are both quotes made in reference to Satan. The one in "Overthrone" being from The Divine Comedy when Dante looks upon Satan, and the one from "Exhibition" being from the Second Book of Corinthians as a passage that specifically talks about how Satan will disguise himself as an angel of light.
  • Self-Parody: Straight from the creator of the series, Alex Kister, comes The Scrimblo Catalogue, a goofy and condensed version of Vol. I that basks in the clichés of analog horror and takes the piss out of the comparison between itself and certain memes. With currently there being two videos, it now has its own page.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Some alternates, such as Cesar's, seem to prefer to turn into their next victim's loved ones in order to get to them faster.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Religious Edutainment cartoon used to represent the Biblical events in the timeline is Jim Jinkins' Animated Adaptation of The Beginners' Bible.
    • A few of the frightening faces used are taken straight from other sources. The intruder in "Volume 1" is taken from a faulty police sketch used for the "Despair Code" meme/conspiracy which Alex has directly stated he got from watching YouTuber Wendigoon's video on a conspiracy iceberg chart.
      • Also from "Volume 1," the face that runs up to the camera after Mark's demise is taken from a police sketch of Derrick Todd Lee, AKA the Baton Rouge Killer, which was famously covered (and which the face also showed up on) in an episode of Forensic Files.
      • Alex admitted that the Jump Scare face that appears in "Volume 2" was based on an image of Eyeless Jack during one of his streams.
    • The teaser for Volume 333 uses multiple samples from old black and white movies.
      • A colored shot from Nosferatu is used to represent an Alternate.
      • In the ending, a scene from Casablanca is used to represent Adam and Jonah's situation.
    • "Volume 333" itself introduces a character named Stanley, an animated face made of rubber bands who's the main character of in-universe TV show The Night of the Subconscious. He's a reference to Limbo: The Organized Mind by Jim Henson. The edutainment nature of Stanley's show might also bring to mind Sesame Street's "Count to Ten with Nobody", which also features a face made of puppeted rubber bands.
    • Also in Volume 333, a poster can briefly be seen advertising a soccer game between the Mandela Meerkats and the Brighton Bunnies.
    • The smiley face from the website shows up at the end of "mandela catalyst".
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Near the end of the conversation between Mark and Cesar in "The Mandela Catalogue Vol. 1," as soon as Cesar asks Mark to check the end of the hallway, the call and the photos of the two cut out, leaving only a horrific grin from presumably the alternate Cesar.
    • The Intruder in "Intruder Alert," having originally started the video with a normal frown, sports an absolutely devilish grin to the mom through the TV after having presumably kidnapped her child.
    • The "Gabriel" at the end of "Overthrone," especially.
    • The Alternate that attacks Thatcher in the ending footage of Volume 333 forcibly arranges its own mouth into one before letting out a haunting laugh.
    • The last shot of "mandela catalyst" is a white screen with a pixelated smiley face staring at the viewer, with the sound of Adam's muffled screamings on the background.
  • Spoiler Cover: Originally averted. The thumbnail for Vol 333 was originally going to feature the alternate that goes after Thatcher, but since its scenes were the moment of the volume, it was scrapped and the thumbnail instead featured a close up of an eye. A few days after the premiere of the volume, the original thumbnail was restored.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • Footage that documents what occurred during biblical times is represented by bible cartoons with low production value, and are edited in a style that resemble a horror-themed YouTube Poop more than conventional horror projects. (Hilariously, the footage is largely sourced from the old Beginner's Bible cartoons, famous for their low quality and now freely available on Youtube.) Understandable, given that whoever is producing them to tell the story of the Alternates would have no other means of documentation to work with.
    • "My movie.mp4" and "soccer game 2009" are presented like early Youtube videos. They have white text on black/blue backgrounds and seem to have been made using Windows Movie Maker.
    • Downplayed in "old mandela police site leak (REAL)". It opens in a similar fashion to the aforementioned two videos and an "Unregistered HyperCam 2" watermark appears on the top left of the screen for most of the video, but nothing else is deliberately bad about it.
  • Trapped-with-Monster Plot: Mark gets trapped in his bedroom for several days during Vol. 1, with an Alternate taunting him just behind the door as he waits for somebody to come save him. The police, however, are adamant on not helping soon-to-be alternate victims. He doesn’t make it, choosing to kill himself before the alternate can get to him. A few seconds later, loud footsteps and a face approach the camera, and tamper with both Mark's corpse and the footage to rub salt in the wound with a message for viewers.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: "Overthrone" starts off by playing an unedited clip from The Beginner's Bible of Gabriel heralding Jesus' birth. Then, as the angels fly off into the distance, the Ominous Visual Glitches start kicking in...
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Noah, who refused to follow Gabriel's orders, is forced to bring another creature on the boat. Said creature is heavily implied to be the first Alternate, which means that Noah has indirectly caused humanity's current torment under them.
  • Villain World: Satan has essentially already won. The Alternates' various rampages are merely a side-effect of his victory.
  • Wham Episode: Volume 4 has several major reveals for the story. The seeds of Gabriel's victory were planted as far back as Adam and Eve, with Adam encountering Gabriel underneath the tree of knowledge and his Alternate intimidating Eve. The Alternates get their hands on a facial data replication, alteration, and storage system, opening up the possibility that they'll become even harder to detect before it's too late. Gabriel returns in the modern era with full voice acting, revealing that the discovery and repair of the tapes were all part of his plan before killing Dave and presumably going after Thatcher, given his mention of Dave's "little cop friend". Finally, the ending has the Intruder imply that Adam may have been a sleeper Alternate the entire time, with a side wham that the previously-just-random-creepy Toddler Stress Assessment Video is, in likelihood, a stealth anti-Alternate test since Alternates, especially these sleeper Alternates who get inserted as young children, won't have any kind of emotional reaction to the test at all - and guess who got tested this way before his "parents" died and scored big fat zeroes, giving the previous wham plenty of teeth?
  • Wham Line:
    • The very last line of The T.H.I.N.K. Principle, which up until that point was sound advice for dealing with Alternates, instructs the viewer to kill themself. It then suddenly changes to state "Know your place in existence" and "Know your enemy", which still have ominous undertones.
    • The section of the police training video in "The Mandela Catalogue Vol. 1" concerning calls about Alternate encounters reveals why nobody came to save Mark from the Alternate in his house.
      "Do not help a caller during an alternate encounter...Do not speak too much. You might accidentally reveal your fear" followed by "Nothing is worth the risk" being repeated several times, before being cut off.
    • This line from the investigation report during the "Intruder Alert" video.
      "The entire department has ruled out the possibility of it being an alternate".
    • "Exhibition" has a hidden one which heavily implies what is behind the true force behind the Alternates and their creation, as well as the true identity of "Gabriel".
      "2 Corinthians 11:14 "And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."
    • In Vol. 4, a Wham Episode in it of itself, the Intruder ends up dropping an absolutely massive bombshell towards Adam.
      "Do you remember that night, Murray? When you stare into the mirror, you see the same monsters from your bedroom, don't you? But your skin is not your own. You're not the real you."
    • There's a written Wham Line in Vol. 4, too, which adds teeth to the previous wham:
      "Dear Lynn and Jude, your son Adam did not respond to any audio or visual stimuli during the assessment. This may be the result of (A) lack of basic intellectual capabilities compared to other children his age, or (B) the result of the recent phenomenon occurring with children his age."
  • Wham Shot:
    • At the end of "The THINK Principle," when the lights turn on to reveal an impossibly tall shadowy figure standing in the corner of the room.
    • A big one in "Vol 2", when Adam enters the house basement, where a television with a cat picture is shown, which is soon replaced by a picture of the Intruder. Adam asks what he is, after which the television flashes almost every major event from the previous videos.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The series never mentions where exactly Mandela County is located, nor the neighboring Bythorne, Werksha, and Yonder Counties. The closest the series has gotten to averting this is the Bythorne Paranormal Society's camera footage during their road trip in Vol. 2, where they pass by both dense woods typical of the northeastern United States and farmland that looks like it's part of Flyover Country.
    • As of "old mandela police site leak," the confirmed location of Mandela County is apparently Wisconsin.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Mandela Catalogue


"O'Brien" descends

Dave's friend "O'Brien" reveals himself to be the false archangel Gabriel, mocking him in his uselessness against the Alternate invasion and attempt to remain fearless before revealing his face to Dave, killing him instantly.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroKiller

Media sources: