‘Welcome Home’: an upcoming ARG welcomes viewers to a home of horror


Clown Illustration

The “Welcome Home” welcome page shows Wally greeting the viewer to the world of Home.

by Izabella Manning, Editor-in-Chief

In January, the Welcome Home Restoration Project (WHRP) launched online with one goal: to compile, restore and archive all remnants of a lost 1970s children’s puppet show called “Welcome Home.”

The WHRP team explained, “Critically praised and financially successful, ‘Welcome Home’ dominated its Saturday-morning time slot with its colorful cast of puppets, entertaining and addictive stories, and lively sets unlike anything seen before! Surely a spectacle for audiences of all ages!”

From what the WHRP team has found, “Welcome Home” first aired on October 11, 1969 and was incredibly popular until it was suddenly taken off air in 1974 for unknown reasons.

Only, this show never actually existed. The Welcome Home website, started by Clown Illustration, is actually just a set up for a psychological horror ARG (alternate reality game), for which the website is just a prologue.

Aside from the creator confirming the dark plans for this story, there are a plethora of hidden secrets in the website that hint at this project’s true nature.

If anybody wishes to explore the website and attempt to discover its hidden features on their own, they should visit Welcome Home. Otherwise, stay and learn about its captivating clues, complex and comprehensive story and what is really behind the world of Welcome Home.

Before learning about the website’s secrets, it is necessary to learn the basics of what has been obviously presented to the viewer: the story.

The characters of “Welcome Home” are Wally Darling, Barnaby B. Beagle, Frank Frankly, Julie Joyful, Sally Starlet, Poppy Partridge, Eddie Dear and Howdy Pillar. And as a ninth neighbor of sorts, there is Home, Wally’s sentient house who speaks in onomatopoeias. 

The neighborhood section of the website depicts the town Home and each character’s house.

With the exception of Home, each of these characters have in-depth profiles which can be viewed in the neighborhood section of the website. But for now Wally, the main character, is the most important for the viewers to focus on.

Each character has assigned segments that would take up sections of the show, such as Eddie Dear who would create and show how to make arts and crafts. Wally is a painter who would go on an adventure with the viewer to learn lessons and create paintings.

As well as being Wally’s house, Home is also the name of the Welcome Home town. Together, in Home, all of the characters live happily and run the show.

As for the website’s hints of horror, when taking a look at the website, there are some obvious issues. One of these issues is the occasionally skewed letters throughout the website that are not in line with the rest of the text. In the news section of the site, the WHRP addresses this.

“There are a few setback[s] in the coding of this website … But not to worry, neighbor, it only seems to be a few graphics and text that are askew! Please ignore them and continue to peruse our happy home until we can get everything patched up!” the WHRP states.

While everything looks normal, occasionally, ominous statements can be found in otherwise normal paragraphs.

An example of this is seen in the news section of the website again in which the WHRP is talking about their excitement for the success of their website and the opportunity to potentially present their findings in a museum.

They write, “Together, we will get it out, we will get everything out. You will see as we do, neighbor.”

But, by far, the biggest and most obvious hint that something is wrong can be found when searching through the FAQ.

In response to the question, “Why did you make this website,” there are two answers overlapping each other: the lines of text must be highlighted in order to read each one individually. 

If the viewer highlights the response to this FAQ, they can clearly view the hidden message.

The normal response claims that the website was made in hopes of finding past viewers of the show, while the other reads, “When I unwrapped the first letter, I felt it. I heard it. Open. Open. Open. I want it out. I’m going to get it out.”

An important piece of information previously written in the FAQ is when the WHRP explains that they found the first evidence of “Welcome Home” sealed in brightly colored envelopes, which is likely the very same “letter” that the ominous response speaks of.

This is the end of the issues in plain sight, but there are others that are easy to find. For example, if one picks up the need to highlight the overlapping text previously mentioned, they can highlight the entirety of the FAQ to find even more hidden responses.

Some of the next most notable clues come in the guestbook.

In this guestbook, many visitors of the website have left notes and comments for the WHRP. However, if one highlights all text on the very last page of the website, one can find two hidden messages left by Wally.

When the viewer highlights these specific empty slots in the guestbook, they can find Wally’s hidden messages.

The first one reads, “You won’t write me back,” and the next states, “You’re looking for me. Silly. Silly.”

But this is not the end of Wally’s messages in the guestbook.

While those are the only ones that can be found through highlighting, one may notice that throughout the guestbook there are various doodles scribbled throughout the messages. At first glance, these doodles seem like nothing more than cute decoration to the page. Inspecting them further reveals that they are all actually PNGs, and their file names contain responses to each message the doodle is near. Between these messages, it can be surmised that Wally is leaving them.

This has led many people to believe that Wally has somehow taken control of the WHRP’s website, but it is too early in this story’s telling to know what is really going on.

There is simply too much in the “Welcome Home” website to cover in one article. These few secrets only scratch the surface of what is just this story’s prologue.

If anyone wishes to delve further into this story’s lore, it is highly encouraged to support the creator and check out the website.