By Jessie Greene and Nicko Demeter
What is the Indian Lake Project? Short answer: we’re not entirely sure. At the moment it looks more like an interesting fictional blog than anything else, but there are a few sly hints that it may be a prelude to something more ARGish (including contact from “America’s Research Gate”).
A box found in the woods near Indian Lake is given to a dying man’s nephew, known only as JohnS. Over several posts, the author slowly catalogues the contents, revealing a plot worthy of an X-Files episode. His public discussion of an apparent government conspiracy attracts the attention of several mysterious individuals.
Some of the documentation and photographic evidence point heavily towards a secret experiment that the US Government conducted in the early 1950’s. The posts also hint that other projects may be related to highly classified operations such as the CIA’s MKULTRA.
An internet search on the blog reveals that as early as 2005, a rather baffled community has currently stumbled onto the site as well as other forums and blogs discussing The Indian Lake Project (join the Unforums discussion here). There are also uncorroborated reports of JohnS communicating with followers outside of the weblog medium.
If the Indian Lake Project develops into an ARG, it has the beginnings of a great story. But regardless of whether the ultimate form of the narrative ends up being an ARG, it lends itself to a great read and helps promote the ARG genre by the generating interest in the form and encouraging others to try their hand at cross-media storytelling.
So is it an ARG? Not yet. A blog-like episodic novel? Maybe. The work of a delusional madman? We should be so lucky. At this time nobody knows exactly what it is, ironically adding to the mystery surrounding the site. ARG or not, we will keep an eye on it to see if it evolves further.