Symbol enhanced

Color enhanced closeup of the Squiggle symbols

The Squiggles are found onscreen for 8 frames in The First Video[1] as released by Richard. The fact that they are only on screen for just under one third of a second makes them quite easy to miss. Interestingly, it is not the same glyph superimposed 8 times onto the video, rather it is actually drawn in by hand 8 times, resulting in slight fluctuations in placement and size between frames.

Three main theories have been brought forward to explain the nature of the squiggles:

  1. The symbols are a type of writing called Gregg Shorthand[2] and they spell out a message.
  2. They represent schematic sketches of protein folding sequences.
  3. They are actually meant to illustrate or highlight something in the video frame itself.


Gregg Shorthand

Originally posited by Optomitol[3], the theory that the squiggles represent words in shorthand is sound at the very least insofar as they do appear to be valid transcriptions in the Gregg writing system.


  • Optimitol translates the symbols as "Save Me."[4] This would be exactly the sort of message one might expect to see hidden in a mysterious video from someone who has disappeared and might be in danger.
  • Earthian translates the symbols as "Shave mih." Most notably, the initial consonant of the vertical glyph doesn't seem to be curved enough to be S, which suggests that instead is is SH. And the vowel at the end of the horizontal glyph lacks a dash-strike which would make it the long EE sound. This translation doesn't seem to make much sense, suggesting that (if it is accurate) either this isn't shorthand at all, or the person who wrote it wasn't very familiar with the writing system, and made mistakes.

Other Associations

The choice of the Gregg system of shorthand writing seems very specific, and in fact too specific to be random. It may be the case that the choice to utilize the system was in and of itself a clue. There may be some association with the words "short" and "hand," or maybe the name Gregg. Thus far, no connection has been uncovered with anyone named Gregg.

On the other hand, the shorthand writing system may have been chosen simply because it's obscure enough to go unnoticed to the casual observer, but common enough that someone paying attention might be able to recognize it, making it a good candidate for a code that's not too obvious but can be solved.

Protein Folding


Protein folding sequence

HugoZ was the first to suggest that the squiggles may in fact be sketched diagrams of different stages of a protein folding sequence[5]. The inferred significance is that they resemble a protein sequence which is associated with brain disorders, which may be related with the strange behavior of both Louis and Connie.

The squiggles don't have enough detail as such to accurately represent a full protein molecule, but he has noted that sometimes very simplified schematics are used for illustrative purposes, especially in manual note-taking.

Image Highlighting


The 8 frame sequence

Earthian Suggests that rather than being simply an embedded code or message in the video, the markings might actually be referencing something about the video. Perhaps they are outlining something, trying to point something out to the careful observer.

Earthian observes: the vertical loop seems to outline the side of [Connie's] face, while the horizontal mark is basically aligned with her nose in each frame. The doodles overlap just whatever in the background, but scrupulously avoid overlapping her face. [It] might just be that they show up better against the dark background, but I'm not prepared to rule anything out at this point.[6] It can also be observed that the looped end of the horizontal symbol seems to line up with Hope's eyes.

Obvious drawbacks to this theory are that the glyphs don't seem to align to anything in particular except for the two women who are onscreen, and if it is one or both of them that's being diagrammed, it is not altogether clear what the exact meaning of the markup is, and what the significance of that meaning could possibly be.



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