Photo: Sad Satan / Obscure Horror Corner

Is The Deep-Web Puzzle 'Sad Satan' A Creepy Art Project, Or Something Far More Sinister?

The Sad Satan game is one of the most terrifying internet mysteries this side of Mariana's web. But what is Sad Satan? The fact of the matter is that no one really knows for sure; it's not even clear whether the game actually exists outside of YouTube videos. The first person to post a playthrough video was Obscure Horror Corner, who claimed to have received the game from an anonymous subscriber who discovered it on a deep web forum.

The mysterious origin story only adds to the allure of the deep web horror experience; no one knows who made it or what its about. Maybe it's a Satanic cyber curse. Maybe it's the confession of a deranged serial killer. Or maybe, just maybe, it's some poor software design student's failed final project.

One thing's for sure though, the game is loaded with encrypted messages. While this might be enough to scare most people away, a few special individuals are attracted to macabre enigmas, and love the uncertainty of the deep web. Thanks to these brave souls, the public has been able to unravel a little more about the horrifying mystery that is Sad Satan.

Photo: Sad Satan / Obscure Horror Corner

  • 'Sad Satan' Is Filled With Real-Life Horror

    'Sad Satan' Is Filled With Real-Life Horror
    Photo: Sad Satan / Obscure Horror Corner

    Our world has no shortage of atrocities, and Sad Satan makes a point of highlighting that fact. The game includes images of JFK moments before his assassination, as well as audio clips of Charles Manson and Hitler, often distorted and reversed to sound more terrifying. Perhaps most unsettling aspect of the the game is its frequent use of images of Jimmy Savile, who has been called "one of the most prolific sex offenders" of all time by the NSPCC (The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). Sad Satan uses photos to illustrate the irony in this, as during his life, Savile was very well regarded by the NSPCC, and may have used his charitable reputation with the organization to gain access to some of his victims.

  • 'Sad Satan' Is A Reference To A Secret In A Led Zeppelin Song

    'Sad Satan' Is A Reference To A Secret In A Led Zeppelin Song
    Photo: Sad Satan / Obscure Horror Corner

    Playing Led Zeppelin albums in reverse to seek out Satanic messages is arguably the precursor to modern-day creepy pasta. Allegedly, when you play a specific line from "Stairway to Heaven" in reverse, it sounds as if it says, “Oh here’s to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He’ll give those with him 666, there was a little tool shed where he made us suffer, sad Satan.”

    Does that last line sound familiar? It turns out Sad Satan has been around for much longer than most people might think, longer even than the deep web. While it's likely that the game was named in reference to the song's supposed Satanic undertones, it's terrifying to think the two may somehow be related.

  • 'Sad Satan' Is Filled With Encrypted Messages

    'Sad Satan' Is Filled With Encrypted Messages
    Photo: Sad Satan / Obscure Horror Corner

    Sad Satan is equal parts mystery and horror. People have spent hours poring over every picture, sound file, and garbled character that appears in the game, searching for possible meanings. While much of the game's contents remain a mystery, the encrypted messages that begin appearing around part three of the video series that first popularized the game were revealed to be written using a substitution cipher. One Reddit user figured out that, when decrypted, they spell out threatening promises like "I can track you," and "Kill kill and kill again." Considering the game originates on the deep web and comes with lord knows what kinds of malware bundled in, that threat may not be as empty as one would hope.

  • There Are At Least Three Versions Of The Game

    There Are At Least Three Versions Of The Game
    Photo: Sad Satan / Obscure Horror Corner

    While the version that appeared on Obscure Horror Corner's channel may be the beginning of Sad Satan's public life, the footage shared may not have come from the original game. Not long after OHC posted a deep web TOR link to the game that many believed to be fake, an anonymous poster on 4chan's /x/ board came forward claiming to be the discoverer of the game. The user claimed that OHC had not posted the real Sad Satan, but rather an edited copy lacking many of the darker aspects of the original.

    Allegedly, the original Sad Satan included sexually explicit images of children and gore, as well as damaging malware that would destroy the player's computer. This prompted those in the Sad Satan subreddit to create a malware-free version of the game wherein the gruesome pictures were replaced with more innocuous imagery; this user-friendly version is dubbed clean.exe. While it's certainly a more censored experience than any of the alleged original copies of the game, it remains the only version that can be played safely, legally, and ethically.

  • It's Impossible To Find The Original Game Online

    It's Impossible To Find The Original Game Online
    Photo: Sad Satan / Obscure Horror Corner

    As is the case with many deep web legends, the original Sad Satan is almost impossible to track down. The version of the game posted to Obscure Horror Corner has never been played by anyone else, and the owner of the spooky YouTube channel claims that this is because the original game came packaged with illicit materials — like gore and sexually explicit images of children — that they didn't want to share with the world. This has led to people releasing fake versions that may be dangerous to their players, and has spawned all sorts of rumors about where the game came from to begin with, or if it ever existed at all.

  • Playing 'Sad Satan' Can Be Dangerous

    Playing 'Sad Satan' Can Be Dangerous
    Photo: Sad Satan / Obscure Horror Corner

    Allegedly, the original file containing Sad Satan (that was posted to a deep web forum) came bundled with dangerous, illicit material like malware and sexually explicit images of children. When Obscure Horror Corner was asked why their link to the game didn't work, they stated that it was originally bundled with pictures of gore and child abuse, which they didn't want to help distribute. OHC also claimed that their computer began behaving oddly after they played the game. Their story matches up with various Redditors claims, as many of the game's first players noticed their computers shut off, became sluggish, or sometime even refused to boot up after playing the game. The clear existence of in-game malware — combined with garbled threats to track players — really increases the sense of risk associated with the game.