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. Everyone posting negative things,
    If you don’t like the story, don’t read it. Don’t post stupid comments. This story was posted so others can ENJOY it, not have it bashed by stupid assholes. And Kurrus, you made me lol for the first time today. Congratulations ^_^

  2. Rosie probably didn’t enjoy because she’s an EPIC fucktard, those with no sense of humour or appreciation of unconventional events will not understand this, as it is slighty to the left of their protected worldly bubble. But as for the rest of you, Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa, what a totally awesome thing to happen, just something totally random that made some guys life a lot more interesting. I think it’s a really great original piece of work, and I love the fact they kept it all really cheesy, so it reminded you that this wasn’t actually being orchestrated by some rich psychopath with too many resources jerking off with pictures of obi wan kenobi while really freaking out some poor kid who was scared he was gonna be personally violated by a midget in drag or something…

  3. Dylan Reiff and Joe Korsmo just sound like a bunch of homosexual stalkers who are trying to come up with a reason to spy on someone.

  4. Anyone else think this is pretty creepy.
    they full on lurked him and got photos of him.
    thats not funny, its disturbing.

  5. totally awesome! I only wish that I was cool enough (or nerdy enough) for someone to prank me like this! lol Epic

  6. I can’t believe I stumbled upon this. I knew of this story before. I went to highschool with Dylan. I flipped out when I stumbled this.

  7. I loved this post when I first read about it, i don’t care if it’s fake, which I don’t think it is…. all I care about is how awesome it is.

  8. This is legit, however the picture is photoshopped. The kid they pranked is really fat. I think they disguised him for the internet pictures.

  9. Hey thanks to everyone who is still interested in our project! There are about 25 dv tapes with about 6 angles of the rock opera finale in our possession but we haven’t had the time or money to ever create a definitive project DVD. If there is enough interest online we would definitely consider picking this up again! Also any investors looking to patron some groundbreaking ARG performance art we would love to work with you!!

    Dylan Reiff

  10. @Dylan,

    Thanks for stopping by and saying hi! That would be awesome if you guys put out a DVD documenting the project. Best of luck finding help to make it financially possible. The project is so awesome!

  11. Velocity Gnome you are a lucky soul to have experienced this. I am in awe of the people who set this up!

  12. So friggin’ weird….I was using StumbleUpon and stumbled the Future Shock website a couple minutes ago and I had no idea what it was. A couple stumbles later I came across this page.

  13. Wow….. this is amazing! Yeah, even I think it should be made into a movie.

    Although, I have seen a bollywood movie which was made on a similar concept albiet at a different level.

    The protagonist of the movie is a conman who used to dupe everyone. He is later dumped by his girl-friend. Then he finds out he has a fatal disease and is about to die. And there are many characters in the movie who play actors to make believe whats happening.

    In the end he realizes, it was all fake and he himself is duped of millions which he had trashed in a bank.

    Check IMDB:

  14. I am friends with Dylan and saw Robocalypse and it was the most amazing/fun/wacky/exciting/awesome production I’ve ever been too. The elaborateness of the entire story completely overrode the potential nerdiness of it. I watch a lot of Netflix and if this epic story were ever compiled into a documentary I would so Netflix the shit out of it. These guys were way ahead of their time – pun intended.

  15. fucking amazing! for several reasons, first the overall scope, time and money sunk into this prank (i dont even call it a prank after all this time, it was more of a game really). The fact that Kolin played along is fantastic…I spent 40+ minutes going over the webpage…well worth it and an interesting story

  16. This was actually a senior project from the late great Antioch College. The Robocalypse is only one of many unbelievable things that went down there…

  17. It’s all a little bit pathetic …some people definitely have too much time on their hands.

  18. I’d fly alone if I had to save the world. Don’t want to be bringing along any buddies to steal the glory.

  19. I adore finding stories like this. I think someone should be an official internet historian, so bits of net culture aren’t lost. I’ve never encountered this story and I’m glad it was reposted here. Thanks a lot! :3

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