Three Year Epic Prank On One Stranger


This prank is almost six years old, but we just heard about it and had to share it:

In 2002, Dylan Reiff and Joe Korsmo began tracking the internet activities of Kolin, aka V. Gnome, an 18-year old computer gamer. They monitored and recorded Kolin’s AOL instant messages and gathered information about his friends and family from other sources on the net. Blending this data with scenarios from videogames and sci-fi films, they developed a mythology in which Kolin is “singled out as the savior of the human race.” The story is told in Gem Missile: A Tribute to V. Gnome, a 40-page book that incorporates photographs of Kolin and excerpts from his personal correspondence. In August 2003, Reiff and Korsmo showed up on Kolin’s parent’s doorstep in Chicago. Reiff introduced himself as “Z. Figiam,” Kolin’s “mentor from the future,” presented him with the book, and left without further explanation.

The plot thickened several days later with Kolin posted a detailed description of the encounter to an on-line gaming forum, along with digital photos of every page in the book. Members of the forum quickly added their own theories and responses, which ranged from close readings of the text and speculations about the gender of its authors, to admissions of jealousy and accusations that Kolin had invented the story in order to get a high rating for his thread (which in a few weeks had received over 40,000 hits).

A year passed after this initial contact. In August 2004, Reiff and Korsmo mailed Kolin a package containing a photograph of their meeting a year earlier, along with a note, a certificate, and a plane ticket to Minneapolis. Kolin was met at the airport by a man in a beat up Lincoln Town Car who identified himself as “The Gatekeeper.” For two days, Kolin was lead around the city in search of robots, buried treasure and information needed to save the future. Reiff and Korsmo involved numerous actors and another on-line gamer who, equally baffled, was driven with Kolin to a forest and abandoned there. At some point, Kolin noticed that his new friend had mysteriously disappeared. “I stood there alone in the woods, in Minnesota, with a shovel and a large black locked box, more confused then I have ever been in my life.” Kolin survived the trip and posted a detailed account of his adventure, concluding, “it was a great experience, and I would not hesitate to save the future again, if the chance ever arose.”

It’s an epic tale and one best read from the perspective of Kolin, the “victim” of this awesome prank. It’s a long read, but it’s worth it: Future Shock: A Three Year Cross Country Adventure to Save the World (link is down – see archived version here.)

via Chris Gethard

72 thoughts on “Three Year Epic Prank On One Stranger”

  1. I’m having doubts about this one. It starts out cool; I like the scrapbook idea.

    But buying him a plane ticket to Minneapolis… And the boy flying over there alone…?

  2. Lorenzo, you need to read the whole thing…

    I just got through the entire store. FUCKING EPIC! This is the coolest thing I’ve read in a while. It starts out a little corny but it all comes together in the end to an extremely well thought out story. Simply amazing.

  3. It’s a nice story but I just don’t buy it.

    I think the real prank is on whoever believes this to be true.

  4. Well it could be true regarding the fact that the pranked one is american.. considering this it seems pretty plausible that the dude flight to minneapolis

  5. IT IS TRUE! It happened at Antioch College in yellow springs ohio (recently closed). It was all for his senior project called the Robocalypse. I knew people who performed in this brilliant rock opera. Everything that happened before is true as well.

    One of the most epic things I’ve never experienced but heard SO much about.

  6. This is stupid on so many levels…to even re-post this was stupid on your part. Some things should be left un-shared.

  7. i saw Robocalypse! most entertaining play ever. that Kolin kid took it really well.

  8. Lee [], do you really have nothing better to do than troll the internet? Even if you think it’s stupid, and even if it’s fake, why is it worth your time to read through all of it just to leave a negative, unnecessary comment.

    For you to respond the way you did was stupid on so many levels.. your opinions would be best left “un-shared”.

  9. It’s definitely true. He used to post about it all the time on the forums. A bunch of goons even went out to see the final show.

  10. LOL @ Lee (yes @, not with), and don’t feed the trolls ;-). (especially the ones who probably comment just to spam their site).

    As for this prank, it is indeed epic (and not in the modern colloquial sense, either) – it is both “impressively great” and “of unusually great size or extent.”


  11. This prank doesn’t sound too cool when you simply read the happenings. But I’m sure Dylan Reiff and Joe Korsmo and Kolin must have had the fun of it all.

    You have to live such pranks as a victim or as the perpetrator, to know what the fun is like.

    I once played a 15 days prank with my girlfriend, Keeping her under the impression that I was going to move out of town for good. For 15 days she shed tears for me. When I finally told her I was joking, she smothered me first with kisses and then with punches.

    Life can be like a prank.


  12. @Billy – get a new name, I’m Billy.
    @Lorenzo – get a new name, my dad is Lorenzo

    anywho that was a nice read

  13. Bob is a fucktard, primarily because this story *is* actually epic in both the colloquial as well as the literal sense.
    I had a dog named Bob once….he was an idiot.

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