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AlmondWaterConnoisseur #86852815

I have very strong memories of a horror-thriller webseries from way back in YouTube's life cycle, sometime around early 2006. Predating Marble Hornets, Cameraheads, The Human Pet, and even Lonelygirl15.

The only problem is, I'm starting to have doubts that it even existed.

But I'll get back to that later. First, let me tell you about what I remember about JensenAleph.

It was made back in the days where editing software was prohibitively expensive, and you needed to be made Partner by Youtube to upload stuff longer than 10 minutes. So the amateur nature showed badly. The video quality was abysmal even by 2006 standards. Most of the time background noise drowned out anything the protagonist-the titular Jensen-said. Videos would start and end abruptly in the middle of sentences. And Jensen couldn't act, stammering and muttering half his words, with the other half being delivered so woodenly that a dull pencil would have more charisma.

But YouTube was still a novelty back in those days, not the neoliberal corporate mess it is now, so I kept watching in spite of everything, not knowing any better.

The actual plot of JensenAleph didn't actually start right away. There were several dozen videos that were as mundane as can be; Jensen filming while walking his dog, recording him and his wife dancing along to a Pet Shop Boys song, or vlogging about whatever annoyed him that day. All of it didn't really serve any purpose except to drip feed information about Jensen and his life. He was 29; he and his wife had been married for 5 years; he worked at a warehouse for a company he couldn't name for legal reasons…boring stuff like that.

Things took a turn around, I believe, his 30th video. Seated at his kitchen table, Jensen described, shakily, of how his neighbor-whom he'd known for more than a decade-had had a psychotic break or something. Not recognizing him when he'd went by to return a DVD player he'd borrowed from them, screaming at him and calling him a "thief" and "trespasser" no matter how many times he tried to calm them down. It escalated to the point where they almost broke Jensen's nose, and the police had to be called.

The video ended abruptly, when Jensen heard knocking on his front door.

He followed up a month later with four videos, panicked and filming in a hotel room. He explained that after the incident with his neighbor, more strange shit started happening in his life.

The neighbor's house had somehow been quietly demolished in the middle of the night, and there was nothing but a patch of gravel and weeds where it was. Their phone number, email, and MySpace either did not work or were erased. The rest of his neighbors, the sanitation plant they worked at, and even his own wife denied that they knew the guy. The final straw for Jensen was when he rifled through his photo albums, and literally every single picture that had the neighbor in it was gone, only an empty sleeve remaining.

Shit had gone badly for Jensen in the intervening time. He'd been fired from his job, his wife had kicked him out of the house until he "sorted himself out", and the rest of the neighborhood was shunning him. And he was afraid to even leave the motel, as sedans with tinted windows drove around the place constantly and unfamiliar people wearing clothes that were "too smooth" were walking around the complex.

Another knock on the door at the fourth video's end.

Another cut to black.

His next video came two weeks after. His hands are jittering, filming a distant building from what looks to be a forest. Jensen's voice is manic; he claims he figured it out. That the sanitation plant had something to do with what happened to his neighbor. Saying he didn't remember when it was established, like it had just appeared one day. That the place got frequent noise complaints, and no one but the employees were allowed inside. No press, no authorities; nobody. And, as he was filming the video, there were helicopters-"look government", he claimed, "and don't make a sound"-that frequently took off and landed from somewhere in the facility at night.

"Why would a sewage treatment plant need helicopters?" he finished the video with.

His uploads after that were much more frequent, although the video quality continued to degrade, being a blur of lights and sounds on top of the already low video resolution. They were also very short, the longest one only clocking in at about 2 minutes. Not much actually happened within them. He'd record security guards patrolling around the place, narrowly missing being seen, or filming bubbles forming in a waste stabilization pond. The most notable one I remember, the aforementioned 2-minute mark, was him looking at a sewage pipe that ran from the back of the plant, zooming in through the bars into its innards.

Just before the video ended, there was a screeching sound that echoed through the pipe, and something dashed through a junction further in. It cut to black just as a klaxon began going off.

It was also the last video where Jensen was seen alive.

The final video I remember seeing on JensenAleph, uploaded almost a year later, was a complete departure from all of the others. It was filmed on a tripod, and Jensen's wife stood in front of it, her eyes puffy and skin pale.

Jensen had apparently broken into the sewage treatment plant, shortly after uploading the last video, taking the supervisor hostage at gunpoint and making "incoherent demands" towards both him and the police that responded to the scene. By the time a SWAT team was able to make it into the facility, the supervisor had been killed-a bullet clean through his forehead-and Jensen was nowhere to be seen.

The security cameras had caught him going in, but there was absolutely no sign of him coming out.

She said the reason why it'd taken so long for her to put the video up was because the feds relentlessly questioned her, her neighbors and their families about Jensen. Trying to find his motives, and looking into the videos he uploaded before. She'd only just gotten the account's password reset, and wasn't even sure if she was allowed to upload the video at all.

It ended with text flashing on the screen, of an email and phone number, with her breaking down into sobs, begging anyone who watched the channel to help find her husband.

A distant knocking sound, and the video ended.

I remember losing interest in JensenAleph sometime after that, not out of boredom but because 2007 was a really bad year for me, medically, and I had to deal with so many prescriptions and injections that an amateur web series was very low on my priority list. It was only after 2018 rolled around that it came back to my memory, as I was reading through the Lost Media Wiki, and got me thinking.

Putting JensenAleph won't turn up any results on YouTube these days, and no social medias with that name exist elsewhere online. Even looking through all the sites on Wayback produce zilch, nada. I've asked around on Reddit, Lost Media Wiki, and on any internet sleuthing Discord I could find, and no one could find anything. After a point, people just stopped replying to my efforts, and if I tried to revive things I would get banned.

And what's even stranger is…I couldn't, for the life of me, tell you what Jensen and his wife looked like, or where the series was located. I can recall very vague details, like-again-her eyes being puffy and Jensen having some kind of mole on his chin, but the rest of their faces, their real names, the name of the neighborhood or sanitation plant, even what state they were in…it's like it's completely gone from even the depths of my memories.

But here's the most fucked thing. One of the details that I remember, and can't seem to shake.

It was the crying of Jensen's wife in the last video. It was extremely visceral; the sobs were so harsh that it sounded like she was choking at times. Much more raw than any of the other performances I'd seen in the series.

What if she wasn't acting?

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