The Haunted Majora's Mask Cartridge Story, commonly referred to as BEN Drowned, is a "creepypasta" story and alternate reality game. It retells pseudo-paranormal events that occurred between the days of September 7 and September 15, 2010 to Jadusable, a sophomore at an undisclosed college. Upon receiving a second-hand Nintendo 64 from a friend and buying a non-descript Majora's Mask cartridge from an eccentric old man, the narrator begins to notice misplaced and missing graphics and strange connections to a boy named Ben, who was said to have died eight years before, from within the game. The story attracted believers from all across the Zelda community; however, "Jadusable" has since revealed the story, on his site, as being simply an experiment in testing the gullibility of readers when presented with a story written and carried out in a believable form.
The story encompasses three parts: Haunted Cartridge Arc, Moon Children Arc, and Hubris Arc.
Haunted Cartridge Arc
Chapter 1: Day Four (9/7/2010)
The narrator started by orienting the reader to his setting: a college dorm. A friend had recently given him an old Nintendo 64, packaged with Super Smash Bros. for his dorm room. Out of boredom, he subsequently drove around the college's neighborhood in search of more games. After purchasing three vintage Nintendo 64 titles from yard sales, he came across a strange house. A "displeasing", seemingly blind, old man greeted him outside the house, and retreated inside after hearing that the narrator was interested in buying old video games. "Peculiar" paintings were displayed on the man's yard table; the narrator notices that one of them resembles Majora's Mask, but does not think much of it. The man returned and handed Jadusable a blank cartridge with the word "MAJORA" written across it, and said that he can have the game for free. Apparently, the game belonged to a child that no longer lived at the house. Fighting with inner skepticisms, the narrator takes the game back to his dorm, but not before thanking the man.
He boots up the game at the college to find one save file, titled "BEN". He is astonished to find the save file so close to completion, and started up his own file. The gameplay was strangely fluid for a nondescript cartridge; only textural problems are evident, and sometimes the NPCs called his character "Link" and at other times "BEN". He decided to delete the BEN save file, but that did not help; the characters now called him "_____". He put the game down for the night. Upon picking the game up again the next day, he attempted to do the famous "4th Day Glitch", but it did not go as planned. His character appeared in the Majora boss room, with Skull Kid levitating above. The narrator moved to press the reset button on the N64 when the game flashed a quote, seemingly communicating with him. A choice option appeared next on screen, and upon selecting a choice, the game faded to black and Link appeared in a "twilight-zone", uninhabited Clock Town.
At this point, the narrator felt as if he himself was in some form of danger. Clock Town had the feeling that "something was there", in place where the normal inhabitants had been. Creepy music began to continuously loop, ascending and descending in volume. The strange atmosphere brought the narrator "on the verge of tears"; an unseen force seemed to be placing him into a void of depression from the screen of the television. He found that he was unable to leave Clock Town no matter what he tried. He then saw a frightening clip of Link clutching his head, the face and scream of the Happy Mask Salesman, and eventually was being followed by the Link Statue that could be summoned using the Elegy of Emptiness. Link was constantly followed by the Statue; the Salesman's head continually flashes on screen; Link appeared back at the top of the Clock Tower where he would towards the end of the normal gameplay of Majora's Mask. Before he could play his Ocarina, Link busted into flames and died. The screen faded to black, and returned to the menu screen; the file that was originally LINK was now "YOURTURN" - he selected it only to see a half-minute of Link dead and the Skull Kid levitating just above. Upon resetting, the menu screen not only revealed the file "YOURTURN", but one below it that read "BEN".
Chapter 2: BEN (9/8/2010)
That night, the narrator dreamed about the Link Statue at great length. In the morning, he decided to go back to the house of the man who sold him the cartridge. No one is home. He asked a few questions to a next-door neighbor cutting grass, and eventually asked about Ben: an "incident" occurred with Ben that forced his parents to move from the neighborhood, eight years ago. The narrator returned to his dorm, and selected the BEN file, after a bit of hesitation. The file is a mangled mess of graphics and sound; a twisted, seemingly dead, Link stood outside the Stone Tower Temple amidst devilish sounds - a Link Statue formed out of nowhere, and then everything faded to the "Dawn of a New Day" screen. The screen opened and he was now controlling Deku Link in Clock Town from a strange camera angle, looking from behind the Clock Tower door. The Salesman appeared, and the screen flashed to Termina Field, switching to Link again. The strange music continued; walking through Termina, the Salesman, Epona, Skull Kid, and the Link Statue were all standing in a line near the entrance to the Southern Swamp. The Salesman's gaze followed Link wherever he moved; the narrator took out his ocarina and played the Song of Healing. After finishing the song, a shrill audible sound rocked the room, the Salesman's theme increased in speed, and Link, again, died through spontaneous combustion.
Immediately, Link was sped to Great Bay, after a small cutscene of a Zora Mask transformation. He found Epona on the shore; it seemed that she was signaling something. Thus, the narrator dived into the water to find a Link Statue at the bottom of the lake. Suddenly, Zora Link began violently choking and died, right next to the Statue. The menu screen flashed on the television, and the narrator realized that the game wasn't playing with him, but recounting the exact way in which Ben died: by drowning. The file "YOURTURN" is replaced by "BEN", and a new file appeared under "BEN", entitled "DROWNED".
Chapter 3: DROWNED (9/10/10)
This short chapter was more of a personal reflection: the narrator tells the reader that BEN seems to have taken over his dreams. He attributed every action he did in the game to the fact that he thought BEN was watching him and simultaneously controlling his ideas. The narrator had skipped all of his classes and closed himself in his dorm, so that BEN could not "watch" him. He noted the game had spoken to him, using Ben's name, but remains confused as to the game's purpose and reason for tormenting him. The game file he created originally has returned, but he has no interest in continuing the game; all he wanted to do was go back home to his parents.
Chapter 4: Jadusable (9/12/10)
This chapter was written from the perspective of Jadusable's college roommate, and is grammatically messy. The roommate was sure that Jadusable was alright, having just moved out - he was returning home. However, he did note that he had been rooming with a friend, as he had been wary of Jadusable's recent paranoid behavior: he rarely ate, slept, or left the room. Before leaving, Jadusable entrusted his roommate with a flashdrive that held all of his recorded footage from the cartridge. The flashdrive not only contained the videos, the password to Jadusable's YouTube account, but also a document entitled "TheTruth.txt", the latter of which explained as "notes" taken during the gameplay. He revealed that he is to reveal TheTruth.txt to the world on September 15, as per Jadusable's request.
The fourth video that accompanied the text followed Link through a regular run-through of the Ancient Castle of Ikana. However, right before Link reached the door beyond the dancing Redeads, a sepia photograph of the Salesman and the Link Statue flashed on screen. The interaction with the head of Igos du Ikana in the next room is all gibberish. The head taught him the Elegy of Emptiness, and immediately a Link Statue materialized. Link was then introduced to Gomess, at a camera angle inside Link's hat, and was soon killed in the newfound, blue fog that surrounds him. Link was then warped to the Graveyard, where he checked the statements on some of the tombstones. Link fell into the one gravestone that stood in front of a Link Statue, and was taken to a windy corridor as the quote "It'll be our little secret, okay?" flashed on screen. Link walked the corridor, but was ambushed by a Link Statue and another quote, "You can't run." The screen returned and showed him, dead still, beneath the Clock Tower with the Salesman and a Link Statue by his side. The screen faded to black, with the quote "Please... help me..." The game returned to the menu screen and the file that was once "BEN" was now named "MATT".
Chapter 5: The Truth (9/15/10)
The Truth was a document that described Jadusable's interactions with the game in a bit more depth than his text or video recounts. He recounted how he originally believed the game to be an "elaborate hoax", but when he was contacted by a CleverBot online by BEN himself, the hoax became real and slowly began to consume his life. It became evident that BEN enjoyed playing with him, messing with him through the game; Jadusable realized that BEN went so far as to alter his video of the game and his summaries of the events as he saw them. Thus, Jadusable not only wanted others to know of BEN and the events, but even went as far as to cleverly name his videos in a way so that BEN would be unaware, and never used the Lens of Truth or Gossip Stones throughout any playthrough. The document ended with Jadusable signing off, glad that he was able to transfer the information to the world, though warning others to be wary of the summaries and videos as they may still contain BEN and remain dangrous. One of his last remarks is that he never had a roommate, confirming that the person who posted the last video and its summary was indeed BEN.
The final video uploaded by Jadusable concerning the event was one that had the quotes, "The counter resets." followed by "I'm glad you did that."
Moon Children Arc
A few days after free.wmv was uploaded, Jadusable's YouTube channel underwent several changes, including the addition of several ciphers that led to a new website: [youshouldnthavedonethat.net]. On the surface, it appeared to be a site belonging to a cult who worship the Moon, but careful observers found that it contained subtle to overt references to Majora's Mask. The site contained several sub-pages, particularly including doomsday theories and one regarding a figure named Kelbris, a forerunner of the cult who had died in 1998. The main page contained posts from the moderators of the site, some referencing "ascension," a form of ritual suicide thought to bring one's spirit closer to their deity, Luna. Nekko's posts and the ones following it confirm that he had went through with it, and is the youngest to do so.
Along with several changes and cryptic references, readers began finding hidden pages that led them to a counter ending at 9pm the next day. When the timer reached the last two hours, the music changed to a song titled Matt's Final Hour and one of the hidden pages gave the users an email address belonging to the cultist Ifrit, whose account gave his name as Matt. He was able to tell them that Ben was a member of the cult, he couldn't see the hidden pages, and that Alex, another member, had been missing since the "blackout." At the last few minutes, any email to him was met with the reply, "Hang on someone keeps knocking at my door." No answers were received afterward. At 9, a response to free.wmv, in which Link plays the Song of Time, was uploaded by TheLinkMissing, whose YouTube account gave his name as Alex. Afterward, the site went down.
The next day, the site came back up as it was three days before, but with the notable exception of any reference to Ifrit. Players realized that once a character has been killed, much like the four bosses of Majora's Mask, they do not return when the Song of Time is played. During this "cycle," they gained the ability to use songs from Majora's Mask. The New Wave Bossa Nova was played, which allowed them to communicate with Rosa, Matt's sister. The Song of Healing was played, which most likely caused her disappearance later that night. The Oath to Order was played in order to try to save Alex from whatever was stalking him, but ended up killing him. Afterward, a video of Link using a fairy was uploaded as a response, reviving him. The Song of Time was played again, resetting the cycle, and it was found that Rosa had been killed, but Alex's revival was confirmed. A user uploaded the Sonata of Awakening as a response, but that video caused Alex to disappear once more, shown in the final video of the story, huntyoudown.wmv.
Soon afterward, the game was put on pause by its runner, "Jadusable," whose name was later revealed as Alex Hall.
In November, short bursts of activity began on the now-out-of-character youshouldnthavedonethat.net, hinting that the game would continue soon. A new video called "2" was uploaded, showing a cipher on black and over the sounds of drowning.
In February 2011, after months of short hints, players were directed to Within Hubris, a forum whose purpose was the centralization of the players for the upcoming climax of the story, in which they would take a much larger role. A new video was uploaded later that month, showing the interior of a house to be featured in the Hubris game, then in development as a supplement to the story, which would cost around $3.00 USD. Unfortunately, the ARG was put on hiatus that June for several reasons, including lack of resources and communication from the team developing the game. Afterward, Hall devoted most of his time to producing a film.
Currently, youshouldnthavedonethat.net has been recovered by fans and is being turned into an archive. In 2020, the ARG officially resumed, and finally concluded on Halloween.