What Happened To Lonelygirl15? (Screenshot: YouTube)

Ten years ago, back when YouTube was still in diapers and no one knew what the hell a “webseries” even was, Lonelygirl15 captured the imagination of the internet like nothing before. Presented as the spontaneous, unrehearsed video journal of a young woman stuck in a “boring” town, the series eventually proved to be a scripted production created by a trio of California-based filmmakers. The winsome American protagonist, Bree Avery, was played by a New Zealand-born actress named Jessica Lee Rose. The whole thing was as fake as any sitcom, except the intimacy of the vlogs and the element of audience participation made it seem genuine. At the time, it was the most popular thing on YouTube, garnering a then-astronomical 1.5 million views a week. When the truth came out about Lonelygirl15, many viewers felt outraged and cheated. Others kept watching, just to see what would happen next. The makers of the series kept ratcheting up the weirdness, adding supernatural elements and insinuating that the title character was part of a sinister cult. Bree Avery was seemingly killed off in the series finale in August 2008. Or was she? Nope, it turns out. She’s fine, depending on one’s definition of that word. At any rate, she’s alive and seemingly intact (from the shoulders up) in a new episode posted to YouTube on June 16.

The two-minute video is vague and sinister. After a password login screen that hints of “brute force” being applied in case of errors, Bree appears in a mysterious training video, entitled “VIDEO 4: What To Do If You Are Selected (Ver. 2),” that carries an ominous “FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY” warning. Bree herself is preternaturally calm and composed as she talks about “being selected” for “the ceremony.” What’s this all about? She doesn’t specify, but it sounds bad. It’s natural to be afraid of being selected, she says, but the experience is “amazing.” At least it was for her. What about those rumors of her death? “Nothing happened to me,” she insists. But the video is plagued with weird glitches that make it clear something is askew. This is seemingly the first new clue in an ongoing Lonelygirl15 mystery. If viewers want to follow along, knowing it’s all fictional and that the stakes couldn’t be lower, that is their choice. Proceed with caution.

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[via Laughing Squid]