Deciphering Her Story
If you are looking for my spoiler-free take on the game, where I answer questions like “Is it even a game?” and “What does Her Story tell us about the current state of video games?”— it’s here.
This post analyses the whole Her Story game in order to solve its main mystery. Not only is it full of spoilers, but it also requires the reader to already have a decent grasp of the game’s story (meaning at least 50% completion). You have been warned, turn around now, stranger!
No? Then welcome, stranger!
What is that “main mystery” I just mentioned? It’s whether Eve and Hannah are two separate people (identical twins) or not (both are actually the same person).
I did try to solve a few other mysteries too, and that’s why the post is so long, basically making it a novel. It includes the entire Her Story script, and three times as many words of comments.
Did I solve every single little thing, did I answer every question? No, I did not. And solving everything might not ever be possible.
Why? Well, Sam Barlow and many other writers and creators — me included — are fans of Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory. And that’s what we see in Her Story.
It’s not a shocking concept. As Tolkien pointed it out in his “On Fairy Stories” essay, “The human mind is capable of forming mental images of things not actually present”.
The problem is, however, that the iceberg theory works well for fiction, but not quite as well for a spotless reconstruction of a fictional crime. With 7/8th of the data hidden, we cannot precisely reassemble the events of Her Story. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s beautiful that Her Story went all Hemingway on us. But the cost is that there will never be a canonical or community-agreed explanation for every single little thing in the game. Which, in a way, is the point of the game.
The above is not the only reason why the exact story will remain a mystery forever, though. On top of the iceberg, a structure resides that was deliberately built to offer multiple interpretations. No matter how many times Sam Barlow claims in his interviews that it is not what he was trying to achieve, if he wanted us to know that Florence’s death could not have been a murder, he would not have had her fall down the stairs.
All these mysteries give the game longevity, but are also what makes solving all of Her Story’s secrets impossible.
And Sam Barlow is not talking.
If so, how could I have found my answer to the main mystery, then?
Well, first, that answer is: Eve and Hannah are, in my opinion, the same person.
Second, to explain the story under such filter means that every now and then we need to go for some mental gymnastics. Yup. I sometimes joke that the problem with Her Story is not that multiple hypotheses fit the story, it’s that none of them does it perfectly. And so instead of thinking of this analysis as “this is what happened”, feel free to treat it as a mental exercise of “could we make the story work for the MPD hypothesis” sort — and to that my answer is yes. Yes, we could.
I dare anyone to do the same for the twins hypothesis. After you notice all the absurdities and impossibilities, ones that go way beyond a child living secretly in an attic for years, to me there’s just no way to construct a chain of events — even with the Olympic level of mental gymnastics — that works for the twins. And thus, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
What I am saying here is that to accept that the game is about twins is to accept that Sam Barlow has made some Titanic-sized holes in his iceberg of a story. It is to accept that whatever the game is, it does not belong to a crime fiction genre, as its story — even if full of fairy tale layers and symbols of collective consciousness — is not something that could have ever happened, that could have somewhat been executable in the real world. It is to accept that the true crime element of Her Story and the actual game we are playing are nothing but a staffage sloppily manufactured, and ultimately useless.
But if this is what you choose, I have no problem with that. I have to consider the possibility I found the wrong key or at least got some of the story wrong. Sure! Maybe my explanations just mean I should be Eve’s lawyer. But there’s a more important reason for my agreement, too.
Mirrors are one of the key themes in Her Story. It actually starts even before you watch a single clip, with the pirated game you can find on your desktop. It’s a two player game you play alone, and the name of the game is, well, Mirror Game. (The fact you play both sides yourself may be a hint that we’re not dealing with twins. Also, you get an achievement for playing only if it ends in a tie, and nobody wins. Its description — “Not all games have winners and losers” — suggests it’s about the game itself, and not Hannah’s story, though).
And then we also get the palindromes, a person and her real or imaginary doppelganger, actual physical mirror, and maybe the mirror of that mirror, Sarah’s reflection on the computer screen, and so much more.
Is the theme of mirrors just a spice, or is it the key to the game? I believe in the latter. The game itself seems to be a mirror in which you can see yourself.
There is a whole section later in the game in which Hannah/Eve has to solve a few Thematic Apperception Test cards. Wikipedia reports that “proponents of this technique assert that a person’s responses reveal underlying motives, concerns, and the way they see the social world through the stories they make up about ambiguous pictures of people.”
With all the hypotheses out there, it sounds like a perfect description of Her Story, doesn’t it?
The real question we should be asking ourselves, then, is not “What happened?”, but “Why did I choose this particular version? Was it just cold analysis, or did I project something onto the game? If so, why? What does the game tell me about me?”
And so if you choose twins, that’s fine with me. We’re not in court, no one’s life hangs in the balance, and the point of the game is not necessarily to find the truest of truths.
Also, you can always assume that the absurdities and impossibilities of the story are genuine mistakes and the author’s lack of scrutiny and due diligence, or that they are simply meaningless in the larger context. For example, Emily Short made a spectacular case for the twins because she believed the game was a gothic tale. Personally, I disagree, as I believe that apart from the themes we need a certain form too, and the stylization of Her Story goes exactly in the opposite, mundane direction, one that works against the necessary suspension of disbelief. But that’s just an opinion. If Emily’s interpretation satisfies her, great. It’s Her Story, too.
And Emily is actually not that far off anyway. While not exactly a gothic tale — due to the lack of horror — Her Story is, as Eve calls it at one point, “a real life fairy tale”. Being, among other things, a game about evaluating our need for stories, Her Story reaches for the stories passed on from generation to generation: fairy tales.
The execution of this idea does not rely on filling the game with superficial references, but on making the crime of Her Story a modern re-telling of Grimms’ Rapunzel, with multiple other fairy tales fueling the side stories.
To be absolutely clear, Rapunzel is not merely referenced in Her Story.
Her Story is Rapunzel.
The knowledge of this particular fairy tale — a mercifully short one — is necessary to fully understand and appreciate the core of Her Story. Here it is, then. For the clarity of its relevance to Her Story, I have merged a couple of versions into one: mainly the first edition from 1812, and the final edition from 1857. I have also replaced “fairy” and “sorceress” with one “witch”, as some translators prefer. Obviously, I have changed nothing in the story myself, it’s all still exclusively The Brothers Grimm (if you want to see how various editions differ, see this or this).
If I had to highlight every bit relevant to Her Story, I would need to highlight almost the whole tale. So for this introduction to the subject I just highlighted a few fragments I discuss right after the tale ends.
Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had long wished for a child but had never received one. Finally, however, the woman came to be with child.
Through the small rear window of these people’s house they could see into a witch’s garden that was filled with flowers and herbs of all kinds. No one dared enter this garden.
One day the woman was standing at this window, and she saw the most beautiful rapunzel in a bed. She longed for some, but not knowing how to get any, she became miserably ill. Her husband was frightened, and asked her why she was doing so poorly.
“Oh, if I do not get some rapunzel from the garden behind our house, I shall surely die,” she said.
The man, who loved her dearly, decided to get her some, whatever the cost. One evening he climbed over the high wall, hastily dug up a handful of rapunzel, and took it to his wife. She immediately made a salad from it, which she devoured greedily. It tasted so very good to her that by the next day her desire for more had grown threefold.
The man saw that there would be no peace, so once again he climbed into the garden. To his horror, the witch was standing there. She scolded him fiercely for daring to enter and steal from her garden. He excused himself as best he could with his wife’s pregnancy, and how it would be dangerous to deny her anything.
Finally the witch spoke, “I will accept your excuse and even allow you to take as much rapunzel as you want, if you will give me the child that your wife is now carrying.”
In his fear the man agreed to everything. When the woman gave birth, the witch appeared, named the little girl Rapunzel, and took her away.
This Rapunzel became the most beautiful child under the sun, but when she was twelve years old, the witch locked her in a high tower that had neither a door nor a stairway, but only a tiny little window at the very top.
When the witch wanted to enter, she stood below and called out: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair to me.”
Rapunzel had splendid hair, as fine as spun gold. When the witch called out, she untied it, wound it around a window hook, let it fall twenty yards to the ground, and the witch climbed up it.
One day a young prince came through the forest where the tower stood. He saw the beautiful Rapunzel standing at her window, heard her sing with her sweet voice, and fell in love with her.
Because there was no door in the tower and no ladder was tall enough to reach her, he fell into despair. He came to the forest every day, until once he saw the witch, who said: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair.” Then he knew which ladder would get him into the tower.
He remembered the words that he would have to speak, and the next day, as soon as it was dark, he went to the tower and called upward: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair!”
She let her hair fall. He tied himself to it and was pulled up.
At first Rapunzel was frightened, but soon she came to like the young king so well that she arranged for him to come every day and be pulled up. Thus they lived in joy and pleasure for a long time.
The witch did not discover what was happening until one day Rapunzel said to her, “Mother Gothel, why is my dress getting tighter around my middle?” “You godless child,” cried the witch. “What am I hearing from you? I thought I had removed you from the whole world, but you have deceived me nonetheless.”
She was terribly angry. She took Rapunzel’s beautiful hair, wrapped it a few times around her left hand, grasped a pair of scissors with her right hand, and snip snip, cut it off. And she was so unmerciful that she took Rapunzel into a wilderness where she suffered greatly.
On the evening of the same day that she sent Rapunzel away, the witch tied the cut-off hair to the hook at the top of the tower, and when the prince called out: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair!”. She let down the hair. The prince climbed up, but above, instead of his beloved Rapunzel, he found the witch, who peered at him with poisonous and evil looks.
“Aha!” she cried scornfully. “You have come for your Mistress Darling, but that beautiful bird is no longer sitting in her nest, nor is she singing any more. The cat got her, and will scratch your eyes out as well. You have lost Rapunzel. You will never see her again.”
The prince was overcome with grief, and in his despair he threw himself from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell poked out his eyes.
Sorrowfully he wandered about in the forest weeping and, eating nothing but grass and roots.
Thus he wandered about miserably for some years, finally happening into the wilderness where Rapunzel lived miserably with the twins that she had given birth to. He heard a voice and thought it was familiar. He advanced toward it, and as he approached, Rapunzel recognized him, and crying, threw her arms around his neck. Two of her tears fell into his eyes, and they became clear once again, and he could see as well as before.
I’m sure you can see it now.
Hannah is Mother Gothel. The singing princess and her golden hair is Eve the bar singer in her blonde wig. The blinded prince who fell out of the tower is Simon, dead and missing his glasses. The tower is the attic. The pregnant princess betraying Mother Gothel is the pregnant Eve betraying Hannah. The prince meeting Mother Gothel who pretends to be the princess is Simon meeting Hannah who pretends to be Eve.
To give you a concrete example of how Her Story mirrors Rapunzel…In her final interview, this is how Eve reports her fight with Hannah: “[…] She was furious. And so angry. […] I had my [blonde] wig on from performing. She tore it off.[…]” (EVE D763).
And this is how the fight between the witch and Rapunzel is described: “She was terribly angry. She took Rapunzel’s beautiful hair, wrapped it a few times around her left hand, […], and […] cut it off.”
The witch cutting off Rapunzel’s beautiful golden hair is paralleled in Her Story as Hannah tearing off Eve’s blonde wig.
There’s more, much more, and the fairy tale even explains the puzzling inclusion of fennel, a discovery I am particularly and inexplicably proud of. I will reveal it all when I discuss the appropriate clips. For now, just remember this simple set up: Hannah is the witch, Eve is Rapunzel, Simon is the prince.
Does placing Rapunzel as the skeleton of Her Story serve a purpose?
Yes, but I don’t think it’s as effective as in the original. Recorded by The Brothers Grimm, the fairy tale is a story of a sexual awakening, a story of a young girl imprisoned by the old and the repressive inside the phallic structure, making it the most accurate cock block ever. When the girl reaches maturity, symbolized by her hair growing long enough for the prince to be able to reach her, ultimately she enjoys the circle of life pleasures despite the temporary setbacks.
Similar themes can be seen in Her Story: at the end of the game, a sex-happy personality takes over her Puritan doppelganger, and with her daughter Sarah the circle of life continues. On top of that, the Rapunzel skeleton is nicely supported by the muscles of Jungian archetypical events: birth, death, separation from parents, initiation, marriage, the union of opposites. However, the whole theme is ultimately pushed back to play second fiddle to the mysteries of identity and how well we know ourselves, and that inner conflict and the focus trouble are not necessarily working in the game’s favor.
Rapunzel 2015 Remix is presented in what I earlier called a mundane form. The metaphors are sold to us as an ascetic police interrogation, and through computer keyboard clicks and video files transcoded from VHS tapes.
Obviously, the mundane does not mean the game is a documentary. It exists within certain slightly Hollywood-like reality, just like most crime fiction. And its world is not exactly our world, it’s only 99% compatible, as Sam messed with the dates and places a bit to protect himself from any confusion this was about real people (you can find this information in this podcast, around 1:05).
How many hypotheses could explain the main secret of Her Story?
Quoting Wikipedia, Lewis’s trilemma is “[…] sometimes described as the “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord” […] argument. It takes the form of a trilemma — a choice between three options, each of which is in some way difficult to accept.”
It happens that main hypotheses behind Hannah and Eve are exactly this, Lewis’ trilemma.
- The twins in this case are the “Lord”, and things happened as Eve described them in her final interview. Ultimately, after all the lies she is finally telling the truth, and that is the final literal layer of the story.
- The “Lunatic” is the hypothesis that Hannah suffers from a slightly Hollywooded version of the MPD, multiple personality disorder, nowadays known as DID, dissociative identity disorder. I keep using the MPD acronym in this post, it’s just more visually clear to me.
- And the “Liar” is about Eve as a genius psychopath, fucking with the police. This one also includes a slightly milder version, that Eve is just an obsessively jealous, pathological story-teller, a princess betrayed — and she just tries to avoid a penalty for the murder of her husband. I keep both under the single “genius psychopath” umbrella.
If Eve is not the Lord, is she the Lunatic or the Liar?
I honestly wanted it to be the Liar. I was invested in this hypothesis for days. Genius psychopaths I love, be in Hannibal Lecter or Keyser Söze. And Sam Barlow cites Basic Instinct as one of his influences.
But after carefully analyzing the evidence, I just don’t see it. The story flows much better with the MPD, and becomes, as writers call it, “dirty” with Hannah the Genius Psychopath. This subgenre of genius criminals is about outsmarting the police and bragging about it, not about ultimately failing to confuse them. The logic of it just does not work: Hannah/Eve wouldn’t masterfully lead the detectives on for so long only to spin such a delusional tale in her final interview. Also, later I found out the creator was not interested in such an aspect anyway:
Then I kind of wanted it to be about the twins. I am fascinated with bias and rationalization, so it felt compelling to me to have a story in which everything is revealed and in front of you, and that’s exactly why you refuse to accept it, and you look for a deeper meaning, constructing wild hypotheses just because “it couldn’t be that simple”. But, as I mentioned it earlier, elements of the story made so little sense if that story was about the twins, that I had to give up on the idea.
Also, if it is the twins, there is no mystery. Seventy-one clips of the final interview almost all talk about the twins — plus fragments of the sixth interview — and that is over one-fourth of the entire game. With the way the game is structured, it is almost impossible not to stumble upon twins relatively soon into the investigation. And if things happened as they are presented, then after a short while basically the whole game is nothing but figuring out words to just hear more details on what you already know. Is that all that Sam Barlow has created?
My hesitation towards the MPD was mostly due to the fact that such solution felt a little tired to me. It was unfair, as twins or a genius psychopath would change absolutely nothing here. These ideas have also been often used, if not more. Mankind produced millions of stories already, and so nihil sub sole novum.
But I quickly realized that most MPD movies or books are about personalities represented as visually unique people — take Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Fight Club for example — but not as identical twins. Suddenly, Her Story felt fresh.
To be absolutely clear, my conclusion that we are dealing with the MPD is not based on my wishes. On the contrary, as I said, initially I did not want the story to be about the MPD. It’s also not based on second guessing the designer, although that always plays a part and I did go for it every now and then. Sill, my findings are mostly based on the evidence and logic.
It’s worth noting that multiple (most?) clips in the game work nicely with both MPD and the twins hypotheses. The game is full of moments like this. If it weren’t, this post would not have any need to exist.
A couple of important notes before we finally begin.
One, Sam worked on the script itself for six months. The total number of video clips is 271, and some of them are as short as “Yes” and “No”. With such amount of time dedicated to what is basically a novelette (and on a shorter side) it is safe to assume, then, that nothing is accidental, and everything matters.
However, because of the construction of the game, some clips might feature odd remarks or be injected with extra fat just to feature a word or a phrase that Sam wanted to bring to our attention, so we could then use them to move the investigation forward. For example, did Eve really need to talk about mirrors in EVE D102, or was just Sam having us notice the “mirror” word? For the purpose of this analysis, I have decided to ignore the suspicions of artificial injection of words, and treat everything as if it truly mattered and had a non-gameplay meaning. It’s just more fun this way.
Two, you will see WHY NOT TWINS? tag every now and then. I explain what’s the issue with the clip if Hannah and Eve were twins. I use this tag only when there is such issue. If there’s no problem with the twins hypothesis, and the clip could totally work for the twins too, I do not use the tag.
So, if this tag is missing in the comment under a clip, it means there’s a fairly easy interpretation under the twins angle — easy enough not to require elaboration (and this analysis is long enough as it is). The only exception from this rule is the seventh interview.
Sometimes, despite the tag, with some mental gymnastics you maybe could explain what happened. But not in all cases. You will see.
Three, the clips are tagged as: the character plus the clip’s filename in the PC version, e.g. EVE D720 means that it’s Eve talking, and her video file is D720.avi. You can find all video files inside ..\Steam\steamapps\common\HER STORY\HerStory_Data\StreamingAssets folder, but these are the subtitle-less versions.
If you want subtitles, you can see all seven interviews in order here (big thanks to AppUnwrapper for their hard work).
Four, the analysis looks at the game under two angles: the crime fiction one and the subtext one.
Five, please excuse any language errors — English is not my first language.
In a way, I played two Her Story games: one that was the actual game, and then, typing the words into a search bar again, another one that involved countless articles and books on related subjects. Sam Barlow’s game data XLS crashed his computer multiple times, and so did my web browser, refusing to cope with hundreds of open tabs.
Early on, some of these tabs were the findings of other fellow detectives. This analysis would have taken me even longer than it had, or it would have been just plain impossible without the help of hundreds of others obsessed with the game. And so I tip my fedora to AppUnwrapper and their community, to the game’s Steam forums, and quite a few other places I got a significant portion of my knowledge and inspiration from.
Enjoy the ride.
Note the cold white light used when the police interview Hannah, and warmer yellow light for Eve.
Interview 1: Eve— June 18th (Sunday)
EVE D101: A black coffee, thanks. No sugar. I’m sweet enough as it is.
WHY NOT TWINS? That the game is called Her Story and not Their Story might be the first hint we’re dealing with just one woman. But since the title can be explained away as being the story of Sarah’s mother, let’s move on and talk about the first clip of the game instead.
We have to ask ourselves this one crucial question: what exactly was the plan of the twins when they went to the police?
The obvious answer is: for Hannah to use her twin sister Eve as her alibi. If people saw Eve, thinking she’s Hannah, somewhere else at the time of the murder, then that is an airtight alibi for Hannah, right? If people saw her in Glasgow, she could not have been at her home at the same time, killing Simon. Jackpot, good plan, Hannah goes free.
Okay, fine, but …why do you need both twins to keep pulling the switcheroo during these seven police interviews? One twin is enough and much safer for a consistent testimony, right? Why send a pregnant woman and risk the reveal of the baby?
Here is my attempt to explain the switcheroo:
- The twins send Eve to the first interview. Hannah had a fresh bruise, and that would immediately make her a suspect and result in pre-mature search of the house. She is also vulnerable and possibly still in shock after murdering Simon, so it makes sense to send Eve instead of her.
- Once Eve simply reported Simon missing during the first interview, a week later it’s time for a more serious Q&A with the police. Obviously, Hannah has the advantage here. She knows her own life better. The twins send Hannah.
- Simon’s body was finally found. Might be tough for Hannah to handle the interview. Eve is stronger. And she didn’t kill Simon, so won’t be as emotional. Let’s send Eve.
- Hannah is fine now. It’s always safer to have her interrogated by the police in case they have tricky family and relationship questions. Time for Hannah to shine.
- Uh oh, the police asked about the guitar at the end of the last interview. They will surely want Hannah to play it, but it’s Eve who is the bar singer. The twins need to send Eve again.
- The police might be catching on that Hannah and Eve are twins. Just in case, let’s send Hannah, the actual wife of Simon, maybe that will make the police reconsider the idea.
- That did not help. The police are closing in. Time to flee. There’s only Eve now.
This is the best I can do. But, for example, the switch from four to five is due to the guitar, collected by the police from the crime scene (i.e. Hannah’s house, confirmed by Sam himself in this interview), and that brings us the question: what was Eve’s guitar doing in Hannah’s house? That is easily answered when Hannah and Eve are the same person living under the same roof, but if they are twins living separately, co-operating to protect one of them from jail… Not so much.
Or, another issue is that while Hannah can get a bit angry every now and then, she shows no fear whatsoever, and is well composed most of the time. For example, she shows no expected reaction when talking about or even examining the alleged murder weapon, the mirror. That puts the third and the fourth switch into question.
But this is not the biggest weaknesses of the switcheroo. So let’s finally talk about the coffee.
We know that the twins worked very hard to copy each other with everything they did and everything that happened to one of them (EVE D734-EVE D735), even more than they needed to (“We lived a second life through those rules. Rules for things that could only ever happen inside our imaginations.”)
We also know from the other interviews that, with one exception, Hannah drinks tea with sugar, while Eve drinks black coffee with no sugar. Hannah has her hair up, Eve has her hair down. For the first four interviews, Eve wears a necklace, and Hannah does not.
So… They were mirroring each other for many years, knew everything about their lives, but Eve has not learned whether Hannah preferred tea or coffee or what kind of hairdo she prefers?
Since the sisters did not have to mirror each other for the last ten years, let’s assume for a second that Eve has simply forgotten all of these things. And hey, she is the sloppy one. She is a bad driver, she cannot use the knock code properly, she spills the coffee.
But we’re talking about a desperate fight for one’s life here. Wouldn’t you go above and beyond to make sure that the police never realized they were dealing with twins? Both twins are able to memorize the events of the day (HANNAH D416 and EVE D502), but no “by the way, I asked for coffee with no sugar, so make sure you do the same” or “what kind of hairdo and clothes we should go for”? Nothing of the sort for the next four interviews, no effort to look and behave consistently as one person? Despite having plenty of time to do so, as Hannah stopped going to work (HANNAH D202) and Eve does not exactly have a day job?
The sisters make sure that whoever goes to the police wears the wedding ring, so apparently they do pay attention and care about the details. And yet somehow at the same time they totally do not. It just makes no sense.
One could argue that the switcheroo and inconsistencies in drinks and looks are for our benefit. All of that exists just so we, the players, can notice these things. Fine, but that weakens the game, removing its pseudo-realism and turning the thrill of investigating a flesh and blood human being into an odd task of investigating the creator’s mind.
Whatever is the case, much stronger evidence against the twins hypothesis will come to light later in this analysis. This was just a warm up. /END
So what is really happening here, then, under the MPD angle?
Hannah is the core personality (host) and Eve is the alternative one (alter).
Hannah is aware of Eve and has a “love/hate relationship” with her (HANNAH D434). She thinks of Eve as her friend, but not her sister: at one point of her final testimony (EVE D762), Eve recalls: “[…] She called me sister on the phone. She never calls me that.” It is also likely that deep down Hannah knows that Eve does not exist physically.
To understand Her Story is to understand that we see the following three narrators in the game:
- Hannah. Hannah is Hannah, a woman who killed her husband and is trying to get away with it by using her alternate personality’s trip to Glasgow as her alibi. This is who we see in the second, fourth, and sixth interview.
- Eve, Hannah’s second personality, convinced she is Hannah’s secret twin sister, but pretending to be Hannah. This is who we see in the first, third, and fifth interview.
- Eve being Eve, Hannah’s second personality believing to be Hannah’s secret twin sister, now out in the open. Eve is this narrator only in the final interview. Not everything she says in the final interview is true, but she is personally convinced it is all true. In her eyes, she is not lying anymore.
The reason it’s crucial to remember this is that each time we see an interview, the character’s motivation and perspective changes. Understanding this helps us explain the things they say and do.
As I said, Eve one hundred percent believes to be Hannah’s twin sister. In reality, she is not. The “twins mirroring each other” is how Eve personality deals with the change and rationalizes the accidental or purposeful changes in appearance or health.
When Eve takes over, there is indeed a need for her to know about and understand Hannah’s life — and vice versa. There would be no years of perfectly copying each other, but there would be — there was, still is — a diary that helped both personalities go through life (we will talk more about the diary when Eve mentions it soon).
The personalities are as much synchronized as they report to each another through the diary and other means of imperfect communication. Nothing is of the same level of synchronization as one that could be achieved if they were two separate physical beings plotting and scheming to save one of them from jail. Eve and Hannah try their best — even memorize the events of the day — but it’s not enough.
As much as we can consider the screw ups with the drinks or hairdos explained, what about the switcheroo itself? It’s unclear to me from the story whether Eve has any means of bringing Hannah out, or if this happens spontaneously only. It’s possible that the reasons for this or that personality appearing at the police station are as described before for the twins hypothesis, and it’s just the question of whether this was an internal struggle that brought the appropriate personality out, or a deliberate activity.
For a moment, I considered one more possibility here. Eve knows that Hannah is out of control. That Hannah solves her problems with murder, just as in the grim and brutal fairy tales she read as a child and still has her head filled with. Hannah tried to kill Eve as a child, possibly killed Florence, killed her parents, killed Simon. This behavior is a danger to the baby, one that Eve herself carries, and one that is a child of Simon, the beloved of both personalities. Not to mention that Hannah faces a serious jail time, and that’s not the best place imaginable to raise the baby.
Eve, then, wants both to avoid jail and take over the body of Hannah to protect the baby. To achieve her goals, she sabotages the interviews in order for the detectives to buy into the twins hypothesis, scare Hannah into eternal exile, and live happily ever after as a mother of Sarah.
It would explain so many things so nicely! After all, the reveals all look a bit like they are done on purpose to make the detectives discover on their own that they were dealing with twins. Such a discovery would make the detectives feel clever and perceptive, and thus got them invested in their findings. Exactly as it happened to many players, righteously excited they noticed the coffee and the hair and the necklace.
And if nothing helps, hey, we can always “accidentally” spill some coffee and reveal the tattoo, right?
However, the serious weakness of such hypothesis is that it requires for Eve to be aware that she is not a person, but a persona — otherwise the sabotage does not make much sense. While that awareness is technically possible, I do not see any supporting evidence in the story of it being the case. If anything, it’s rather Hannah who knows that Eve might not be real. Eve stays delusional until the end.
Shades between the base MPD hypothesis and the murderous Hannah one are possible, though. For example, Eve might not have been sabotaging the interviews, but both personalities might have agreed at the end of the evaluation of their lives that Hannah endangered the baby and needed to go. Who knows? As I said, some things we might never be able to fully figure out.
On the symbolic level, the sexy Eve has her hair untied, down — just like Rapunzel. Hannah, on the other hand, has her hair up, it’s practical and without any sexual vibe. She is Mother Gothel, representing the repressed and the puritan.
EVE D102: My name is Hannah. H-A-N-N-A-H. It’s a palindrome. It reads the same backwards as forwards. It doesn’t work if you mirror it, though, it’s not quite symmetrical. But, well, you get the idea. Sorry! Hannah Smith. I live at thirty one Gladstone Street.
WHY NOT TWINS? Eve plays with the wedding ring. She has no reason to have this habit, she is not the married one and she just has the ring on her hand — borrowed from Hannah — for a couple of hours maybe. She is not playing with the ring as if she had an allergic reaction to it, she is subconsciously playing with it as it’s an old habit of that body.
You could try to argue it’s for show — but why? What would be the purpose of that? — but then Eve also plays with ring during the final interview, except she is not wearing the ring at the time. Habit. /END
Out of all palindrome names — Ana, Elle, Ada, etc. — Sam Barlow has chosen Hannah and Eve. It might just be a question of aesthetics, and the options are not in abundance anyway. However, the later reveal of the tattoo — an apple and a snake — offers us an intriguing biblical key.
In the Bible, Hannah was an infertile woman, jealous of her husband’s other wife, one that, unlike her, was actually able to conceive. Eve, on the other hand, is often depicted as a temptress, a man’s second love (after Lilith), and someone sentenced for her part in the transgression to travail in childbirth. Finally, in Hebrew, Sarah means “princess”, and “princes and princesses” are the running theme in the game.
The mundane question for this particular clip, though, is: why would Eve feel the need to talk so much about Hannah’s name? Well, we know that Eve lies about being Hannah. And “unnecessary elaboration” is just something liars do.
Interestingly enough, both Eve and Hannah have a tell, the one I mentioned just a couple of paragraphs earlier. They play with the wedding ring as if their life depended on it whenever they are nervous about something.
Does that mean they do it whenever they lie? Not necessarily. For example, later Eve plays with the ring when answering “No” to the question if Simon committed suicide. I think we can safely assume that Simon did not take his own life by slashing his throat, and so Eve was telling the truth. I think that the ring is more like a polygraph, then: unable to tell if a person lies, but betraying the person’s emotions about a subject. And it’s put in the game so we pick up on it and then have our faces melt when Eve plays with the non-existent ring in the final interview.
(For the record, my list of the clips in which Hannah and Eve play with the ring is: EVE D102, EVE D115, HANNAH D224, EVE D307–308, EVE D330, EVE D340, EVE D342, EVE D350, HANNAH D431, HANNAH D433, EVE D522, EVE D763–764.)
“It doesn’t work if you mirror it, though, it’s not quite symmetrical”. True. Hannah’s mirror image, Eve, might be her identical twin — real or imaginary — but she’s not her carbon copy. Some of her traits and quirks are actually the exact opposite of Hannah’s. Exactly like HANNAH in the mirror is almost the same, but not quite, with some elements flipped 180 degrees.
EVE D103: Simon. Simon Smith. He works at Ernst Brothers Glass. They do windows, all kinds of glass. Simon does the more special work. Mirror making, feature windows. Artistic things. Really beautiful things.
We see Eve expressing her love for Simon’s work. He impresses her. But that affection goes well beyond this, Eve ends this interview with “I love him so much”. Rapunzel did love her prince.
EVE D104: A mobile phone? Yeah. Well, they have one for the glaziers but it’s only for work. I can’t remember the number. It’s in the kitchen. I saw it plugged in to its charging cradle.
Mobile phones were doing just fine in 1994, so that’s not an anachronism.
So, Eve knows that Simon’s mobile phone is in the house. Actually, most likely both Hannah and Eve do, as the eerily xeroxed, “rehearsed” statements from both Hannah (HANNAH D416) and Eve (EVE D502) mention scanning the kitchen in search of the husband: “I walked straight into the kitchen because he usually sits in there to have a cup of tea and read his paper. But he wasn’t there. I touched the kettle. It was cold. […]”.
We can ask ourselves, then, why in the next interview Hanna wonders “why hasn’t [Simon] phoned?” — she knows very well he does not have his phone with him. Is it because she did not know that Eve mentioned his mobile phone being in the house?
Of course, I am just having fun here, as the inconsistency can be easily explained away (Simon could have called from a pay phone). More importantly, we know exactly that Hannah and Eve know why the phone was in the house, “plugged in to its charging cradle”, and why Simon “hasn’t phoned”. He’s dead.
Then there’s also EVE D332, in which Eve says “[…] I woke up because a rubbish truck went past. I got some petrol, bought a coffee and a pastry. Tried calling Simon from a pay phone and then headed back.” She does not remember Simon’s phone as it’s “only for work” — and apparently does not have it written down, as she is unable to give it to the police — plus she knew that Simon’s phone was in the house, and yet she tried calling him?
But, as previously, it can easily be explained away, e.g. that by “tried calling Simon” she merely meant “I called home”. Which she actually did, it’s just that she was trying to call Hannah, not Simon (EVE D764).
EVE D105: Um, Simon is six foot. Darkish blonde hair. Average build. He’s clean shaven. If his beard grows it goes ginger so he shaves it, I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with ginger hair! Uh, I brought a photo. They said I should bring a photo. This was taken last year on holiday in Rome. It’s the best one I have.
We keep seeing Eve being unable not to tell a story, an anecdote about whatever she is asked about. The “unnecessary elaboration”.
It is easy to see that the “holiday in Rome” is an Easter Egg, pointing to Sam’s earlier indie game called Aisle. A must play for anyone interested in story-telling in games, by the way. It’s free, it’s clever, it’s as long as you want it to be, it’s here.
Also, funny, Sam! Ginger beard, gingerbread… (Hansel and Gretel).
EVE D106: No, he doesn’t have any tattoos. He has a scar down here near his stomach. Past his hip. Cut himself with some glass. That was before… A long time ago. He looks just like the photo. He’s not got his glasses on here, though. He takes them off for the camera. But he needs them to see properly. You know, when he has to read. A newspaper or a menu in a restaurant. Not books so much. Or watching TV. He likes TV.
It’s weird that Simon needs his glasses for a newspaper but not for a book. Not sure how that works.
Anyway, let’s notice that Eve avoids mentioning something specific here, with “That was before… A long time ago.” There can be so many reasons for this, so we should not even attempt a speculation (but my bet is on “…before he met me, Eve”). What’s important is that this is an example of Eve thinking of Simon one way, but then correcting herself to pretend Hannah’s perspective on things.
Simon’s scar, one due to an old accident involving glass, is a foreshadowing of Simon’s death.
EVE D107: He was wearing, um, a shirt. A blue turtle neck shirt and jeans. He has a watch. It’s a really nice one. That was a gift from his boss Eric. He had his coat. A long grey duffel coat like Paddington Bear. But he would have taken that with him. It’s not in the house.
Note how Eve closes her eyes when she recalls the clothes that Simon was wearing. It’s because she saw how he looked like when or after he was murdered, and she is now digging into this memory. Then she makes sure the detectives remember the watch. When she talks about the coat, she knows it is gone — she probably got rid of it herself.
When Eve talks about the watch and the coat, she is no longer trying to recall a memory. It is obvious for the coat, but for the watch it might mean that Simon was not wearing it as well when Hannah confronted him. So it’s possible Eve not only set the time better suited for the alibi, but also put the watch on Simon’s wrist.
Most of the clothes that Hannah-Eve wears are blue, and here we have a mention of “blue turtle neck shirt and jeans”. It’s probably accidental, though. The symbolism of blue is so all over the place — from sadness and depression to strength and endurance — that applying any deeper meaning seems pointless.
It might be easier to explain the dominant colors of the game’s key art: white, black, red and blue.
The inspiration behind such choice might come from Homicide: Life on the Streets, a TV series that Sam Barlow often mentions in his interviews as being a major inspiration behind Her Story.
In that series, the detectives use a white board and red markers for open cases, black markers for closed cases, and blue markers for re-opened cases. Translating that to Her Story, its key art could symbolize the player’s journey and judgment: the constant shift of opinion depending on the recent information (opening — red — and reopening — blue — the case) and the final judgment: Hannah guilty (black) or innocent (white, as Eve’s clothes in her final interview).
I think I read someone believing there were some inconsistencies in Eve’s description of the watch on this and one other occasion. I do not see it. EVE D334: “Yeah, that’s Simon’s watch. It was a gift from Eric. He got it this year. It was a wedding anniversary gift. Steel. […]” seems not to contradict anything that Eve talked about here, and vice versa.
I mean, we could also try to establish whether the wedding date is later in the year than Hannah’s birthday, and if so, Eric could have gotten the watch “this year”, but a) I don’t think we have enough data to attempt that, b) it is unlikely that Eve would ever lie about where the watch came from, as that is easily verifiable by the police (and they would do so, considering the importance of the watch).
As for the “steel” remark, I don’t see it being about the anniversary itself. A steel one is eleven years of marriage, but it’s an obscure reference no one would really use in a conversation, at least not without elaborating on it. It’s about the watch. The remark is here to make sure we understand the watch was not silver.
Finally, Simon’s “long grey duffel coat like Paddington Bear” is an allusion to Grimms’ Bearskin fairy tale about a man wearing the skin of a bear. “Then [the devil] pulled the skin off the bear and said, “This shall be your cloak, and your bed as well, for you are to sleep on it, and you are not allowed to lie in any other bed. Because of your clothing you shall you be called Bearskin.”” The tale includes other elements of Her Story — the romance, the ring, the kiss, and even the glass.
EVE D108: So it was Friday evening. We had an argument. He left on Saturday, he didn’t come back. I waited all day. He was supposed to go help Eric out with something on the Saturday afternoon, they had a job. He didn’t show. So Eric was ringing on the phone. I checked at The Rock — that’s our local. They said they’d seen him on the Friday night but not since. He still wasn’t back this morning which just isn’t like him at all. Still not back by dinner time, it’s getting dark again, so I decided to come see you. His parents haven’t heard anything either.
We know how Eve lies here about what happened on Friday and Saturday. It’s not clear which phone Eric was ringing: their home one, or Simon’s mobile one (but both were in the house).
In the next interview, Hanna will say (HANNAH D228): “Oh God. I don’t know. I mean, I guess The Rock? You’ve spoken to everyone there? Someone must have seen where he went. […]”. Why does she suggest The Rock if she has already checked it herself? But this is easy to explain away — she never says she talked to everybody when she went to The Rock — and does not matter much anyway.
Note how Eve refers to Simon’s parents as “Simon’s parents”. This happens a few more times. Meanwhile, Hannah calls them — as we see later — by name, “Doug and Eleanor”. It’s because Hannah knows Simon’s parents very well, personally, and Eve does not.
EVE D109: It’s the Rockington Arms. The Rock. It’s run by a nice couple Peter and Susan. There’s some other regulars there that Simon likes to drink with. And the barmaid they have in sometimes, Helen. Peter said Simon had been in and had a few drinks.
I’m pretty sure that’s accidental but I like how it’s one pub of two names, and how all new people mentioned here have all two same letters in their names: P(e)t(e)r, (S)u(s)an, H(e)l(e)n. Hah!
EVE D110: No. I think he spoke to Helen. She said he was upset about our argument but I’m not sure what else he said. He likes Helen. He likes blondes.
This helps us with the timeline. There was an argument between Hannah and Simon, and then Simon went to the pub (no room for a lie here, the pub is easily verifiable by the police). Then, after a few drinks, Simon got back home and got murdered.
Of course, the other important bit of info is that Simon had a thing for blondes. Note how Eve is gently smiling when she says it.
EVE D111: It was married couple stuff. A stupid argument, nothing specific. No one knows how to push your buttons better than those you’re close to.
That last sentence is true for both Hannah and Simon, and Hannah and Eve. Pushing the buttons even resulted in Hannah’s attempt to kill Eve (HANNAH D434, accident at the beach).
EVE D112: No. I mean yes. We have arguments. But he never runs off. He always comes back, we make up. It’s always that way.
Eve initially replies with “No.” to the assumed “Do you argue with your husband?” kind of question because she and Simon never had the time to develop the relationship and settle into its later, more mundane phase. Their romance was fresh and exciting. Hannah, on the other hand, got married ten years ago, so she surely must have argued with Simon every now and then — and thus Eve corrects herself.
EVE D113: A long time. We got married when I was seventeen.
Later Hannah allows us to understand that “a long time” means ten years: “When you’ve been married for ten years stuff accumulates. […]” (HANNAH D213). Two plus two means Hannah is 27 years old.
EVE D114: Childhood sweethearts? Something like that. Are you married, detective?
Not sure why Eve would ask that question in the first place, but maybe it’s just her playfulness at work — she is the sexy extrovert, after all. The important thing is that later, Hannah asks the same detective the very same question (HANNAH D426), apparently unaware that Eve had already done so.
EVE D115: Suicide? No. He would never do anything like that. He’s not the kind of person to do anything like that. To hurt himself? No.
Simon never had any suicidal tendencies, but we cannot be so sure about Hannah. We know she tried to kill Eve, i.e. squeeze the life out of her own body, at least once (HANNAH D434). I speculate about the second attempt later at EVE D526, and this speculation may explain why Eve plays with the wedding ring when she talks about the suicide.
As for Simon himself, in most versions of Rapunzel the price is not pushed out of the tower by the witch, but jumps out himself — which does suggest a suicide. But Simon had no reason for the suicide, and slashing his own throat does not sound like a method most people would choose.
EVE D116: No. Not drugs. I mean he drinks. But never very much. He goes to the pub and has one or two. Sometimes we go together. He has wine with food. But no, he doesn’t have any kind of drinking problem.
“Sometimes we go together” might be an allusion to Eve and Simon’s romance. They met at a bar. More importantly, this cements the earlier mentioned The Rock as Simon’s usual spot, where he has “one or two”. This is one of the hints that when Simon met Eve for the first time at the bar where she had her singer gig, he wasn’t randomly bar-hopping around town. It’s just not his lifestyle. He simply followed his wife one day after learning about her second life.
EVE D117: Yes. There’s a car that we share. A Cavalier. And a van he uses for work. It’s owned by Eric but we look after it. Both of them are there now, parked on the street. I’m not sure about the keys for the van. I can look for you when I get back.
We learn that Simon has his own work car, and both Simon and Hannah share the Cavalier. Unbeknownst to Simon for a long time, Hannah and Eve also share the Cavalier. Eve has “a spare set” (she doesn’t, it’s Hannah’s keys, but that’s what she believes).
Later, Hannah and Eve mention that the Cavalier is “parked down the road” because “the street was busy” after she got back from Glasgow, but technically there’s no inconsistency here. Eve does not say here that the cars are parked directly in front of the house.
It’s possible that Sam Barlow chose the Cavalier as the family car to keep with the theme of fairy tale princes and princesses.
EVE D118: No. I’m not sure what strange would be but he hasn’t been acting odd. He’s been busy at his work but nothing too stressful.
And yet later Eve will say “There was Simon with me and the Simon with her. It was almost like it was a different Simon.” But to Hannah, Simon was not acting odd indeed. She realized something was going on only shortly before his death.
EVE D119: Sure. Yes. Of course. If that would help. Will you phone the house to let me know when you want to come around? Then I can make sure I’m there.
Another innocent statement that might not be innocent at all, if it’s about Hannah or Even not wanting to be compromised in some way by an unannounced police visit. But if throughout all interviews we can see both Hannah and Eve talking to the police, what’s the difference which personality meets the detectives at Hannah’s house?
I can see at least five specific possibilities (e.g. maybe wanting to move the body or hide it better if the police were really about to visit Hannah, or maybe making sure the makeup on the bruise is applied, etc.), but to be honest none of them is any better than simply assuming that Eve is courteous here or generally wants to be prepared when the police come — whether she is Hannah or Eve at a time.
EVE D120: He has a wallet. A huge silly thing. Leather. Real leather, I think. He packs it full of stuff, business cards, receipts, lottery tickets. He always carries it in his back pocket. I think that’s why he’s got a bad back. Offsets the discs. I haven’t seen it so he must have it on him. He always takes it out of his back pocket before… When he comes in, if he’s in the house.
Another time when Eve almost slips and finishes the “before…” as Eve, not Hannah (my bet is on “…before he takes off his pants”, considering her cheeky smile when she says it).
EVE D121: Yes, that would be in his wallet. It’s a Visa. A silver one. He doesn’t like to spend money he doesn’t have so he usually pays with cash, but Eric convinced him to get one.
Silver Visa is not really silver, so it’s not like Hannah slashed Simon’s throat with the credit card.
The history of his Visa’s transactions is probably how the police found out that Simon has been to Oxford.
EVE D122: Sure. I think. I do all the bills and paperwork and handle all the money stuff so… Should be easy for me to find. Do you want them dropped off to you?
Eve mentions it here that Hannah handles the boring stuff, and so does Hannah herself in the next interview (HANNAH D216): “[…] I worked part time in the front shop. […]. I took care of paperwork, filing things, typing out invoices, that kind of thing. […]”
That does not look too interesting to me, though. The “that kind of thing” mannerism is slightly more exciting — Eve and Hannah both often use that phrase (or its variant, “that sort of thing”). Although I am probably reading too much into it, and it’s the phrase that feels natural and does not raise any alarms to a native speaker. It just sounded odd to me personally, especially considering the frequency of its use.
We can safely assume that the financial documents were delivered to the police, then analyzed. That is how the police found out about the speeding ticket or the Oxford trip.
EVE D123: Yes! There’s an Amstrad one. No one uses it for much. There’s a printer so you can write letters on it. Simon sometimes plays games. You know, climb the tower, save the princess. That kind of thing.
There we go. That kind of thing.
The prince climbing the tower is also another Rapunzel reference. The symbolic layer of “Simons sometimes plays games” is that Simon felt the need to save the beloved one (“save the princess”) despite serious obstacles (“climb the tower”). This translates to not only him marrying and living with Hannah despite her MPD (although he might not have been fully aware of its consequences for a long time), but actually trying to embrace both of her personalities.
EVE D124: No, he doesn’t keep a diary. That’s my thing. I’ve kept one well as long as I can remember. Since I was a girl. Helps make sense of my day. When you’re forced to put something into words… Just gives you perspective. Everyone’s on the same page.
Reinforced and mirrored by Eve in the final interview (EVE D734): “[…] And we were very careful. Whoever had been out that day would come back and write a detailed diary, so that we were on the same page.”
WHY NOT TWINS? Why does Hannah (or Eve pretending to be Hannah, but speaking for herself this time) keep writing the diary (“Helps make sense of my day”)? The twins split ten years ago, there’s no need for the diary anymore.
It could be explained as the force of habit, and that’s not a bad assumption — but no clip communicates this to us in any way, direct or indirect. And there would be no need to add the “everyone’s on the same page” remark, as wanting not to be on the same page anymore was exactly the reason why the sisters split and finally lead their own, separate lives. /END
Hannah and Eve use the diary for the personas to “make sense” out of what happens while they are hidden, and get “perspective” on it to make sure that “everyone’s on the same page.” Hannah started writing that diary when she was a girl, and never stopped (“Helps make sense of my day”).
EVE D125: Simon isn’t the type to run off or do anything crazy. Someone must have done something to him or there must have been some kind of accident. So what do we do next?
Eve nicely mentions two things separated by “or”, while in reality it should be “and”. Someone did something to Simon, and it was an accident. Well …probably an accident.
EVE D126: Yeah, thanks. Please find Simon. I love him so much.
“I love him so much”, a bit of an awkward phrase to end a police interview with. Eve adds it, believing the police should believe in Hannah the loving wife, incapable of hurting her husband. But it is also Eve herself, expressing her feelings for Simon.
Interview 2: Hannah—June 25th (Sunday)
The important thing to remember is not to analyze only what happens during the interviews, but also what happens between them. What were the detectives doing? What did they possibly learn, and how they acted upon that knowledge?
After the previous interview, the police got the financial documents from Hannah, “the bills and paperwork”. For this interview, the body is not found yet, but it must be clear to the police that they might have a case here: a week has passed, but Simon is nowhere to be found. Was he murdered, was he in an accident, did he just leave his old life and run away?
For now there’s no need for the police to go nuclear on Hannah. From their perspective, nothing truly suspicious happened during the first interview. But it’s time to learn more about her and Simon’s lives. A spouse is always the default suspect in the case of a missing husband or wife.
HANNAH D201: Could I have a cup of tea?
HANNAH D202: I haven’t been in to work. I’ve been… I mean… I guess I’ve just been waiting. Waiting to hear from you. Hear from my husband.
Slip of the tongue. She first mentions “waiting to hear from you”, the police. She’s not really waiting to hear from her dead husband. When she realizes she needs to add that last sentence, we can see she is lying.
HANNAH D203: Bruise? Oh yeah. No, it’s nothing. I was going through the top cupboard in my kitchen and the chair slipped and I kind of hit the door with my face. I mean it hurt like hell.
Let’s talk about the bruise.
Things could have happened exactly as Hannah described them, if not for Eve mentioning the bruise in the final interview. I don’t see a reason why Eve would lie about it. So let’s try to discuss the bruise as if really existed since the day of Simon’s murder.
WHY NOT TWINS? The bruise is one of the top reasons why some people believe that Hannah and Eve are two separate persons. When I researched why, the answer is one of the two, or both: a) because the bruise disappears on the next visit in mere two days, and then Eve touches the wrong cheek, b) because that explains why it was Eve who went to the police first. Sending Hannah, with a fresh bruise on her face (in this version: from the fight with Simon), would immediately make her a suspect number one.
Cool, but as for that last thing… Why not hide Hannah’s fading bruise under some makeup during this interview? Why bring attention to it? Hannah’s husband was missing, and the twins had to know she would be a suspect.
How did that conversation go between the twins? “Eve, I know I am fighting for my life here, and I know you showed at the police with no bruise, but let’s not do anything about it. Covering the bruise with some makeup would be so much work, five minutes at least. And then on the next meeting, when you appear bruise-free again, just tell the police you have a fast metabolism. That will not be suspicious. Also, let’s not synchronize on the hairdo, clothes, drinks, and jewelry. Well, except for the wedding ring. Let’s do that.”
So, to me, the bruise is actually another clue that the twins do not exist. It’s just way too sloppy for someone fighting for their life not to care about something so obviously suspicious. I realize people do stupid things all the time, but, as many authors observed, the difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense.
(At the end, Eve says “We wanted to have suspicion on us so we could then disprove it rather than have it linger” ( EVE D768), but apart from generally being odd, it’s about the alibi, and not the bruise.) /END
Admittedly, the bruise under the MPD angle makes only a bit more sense, but it’s still pretty silly.
Hannah/Eve seems to have had the bruise from the start. We do hear this from Eve: “[…] She was furious. And so angry. The kind of anger you can only have toward yourself. […] We fought. I hit her back, left a bruise.” (EVE D763). Many people believe that she just covered it with makeup during the previous, very first visit to the police. The bruise was not hers, she wanted it to disappear. And Eve is pretty good at disguises.
It’s a nice hypothesis, makes sense. “The kind of anger you can only have toward yourself” is a pretty telling sentence. Nothing decisive, of course, but still powerful.
Initially, I thought there was a slight problem with this hypothesis, though. If you watch all the clips from the first visit, you will notice that Eve touches her left cheek a few times, and shouldn’t that ruin the layer of makeup covering the bruise?
But I asked my wife and her friend if a) makeup could cover a bruise and b) hold despite those few touches of the bruise area — and they both answered yes to both questions.
If Hannah-Eve got the bruise on June 18th, then the bruise was a week old on June 25th and already fading away (the bruise that we see in this interview is yellow-brownish, which is the final color stage of bruises), then was finally gone two days later on June 27th. That gives us nine days of healing. And if we want more time, we can assume that Eve covered the bruise for the third interview as well.
However, if Eve did cover the bruise with makeup, and thus knew perfectly well where it was, why would she touch the wrong side of her face when asked about it in the beginning of the third interview?
Not touching the proper cheek could have been because Eve has always seen the bruise in the mirror only (just as Hannah, for that matter), and now, without the mirror, reached for the wrong side.
The more Machiavellian explanation is that Eve is sabotaging Hannah. Pretending she goes along with the alibi plan, but cleverly and slowly revealing the truth — the truth she believes in, that the twins exist — to the detectives for her own purpose. But, as I said it earlier, the saboteur hypothesis has a serious weakness that, unfortunately, forces me not treat it too seriously.
Finally, even assuming that Eve covered the bruise with makeup for this and possibly her next interview, we’re still left with the question why didn’t Hannah do the same thing? What woman would not cover such supposed result of an accident with makeup? Hannah has a lot to lose by exposing the bruise to the police, why is she doing this?
I mean, sure, I can attempt a hypothesis — what if Hannah wanted the bruise to heal fast, so she left it au naturel, and then simply forgot about it? — but even I cringe when I type this.
The even more Machiavellian explanation that I see here and there is that Hannah has painted the bruise on her cheek herself. But …why? I mean, we know the bruise is fake, because the actress surely didn’t let Sam Barlow hit her “for authenticity”, but why would Hannah use a fake bruise? There’s nothing here for her to win, but there’s a lot to lose. Remember, it’s in her best interest that the police never finds out she has a “twin”.
As I said, the bruise affair seems to be pretty silly no matter what’s your angle. The MPD hypothesis can at least explain it by Eve removing the bruise that’s not hers with makeup, and by Hannah simply not being in perfect synch with Eve. But the bruise itself is pretty thin for my tastes. So either Sam slipped here a little, or I have simply failed to find the right key to this particular event.
HANNAH D204: I’ve been round to Doug and Eleanor’s and they’re very worried. I feel sorry for them.
As I mentioned before, Hannah calls Simon’s parents by name, unlike Eve.
HANNAH D205: Well Eric was like an uncle to him. They were pretty close, they spend a lot of time with each other. Especially when they have to go to conferences. Have you met his wife Diane?
When a conference takes place, Eric and Simon go together. Mental note for later.
Interesting that Hannah uses past tense initially, “was” and “were” — as if Simon was dead or something.
HANNAH D206: Diane is really nice. She helps out at the glaziers, organizes the Christmas Party, that sort of thing. They have two kids, really sweet kids. She looked out for me when I worked there.
Whenever Hannah or Eve talk about Diane, they always praise her. She is nice, protective, helpful, has a great taste and is a great cook. I wonder if this is Hannah’s way of idealizing marriage, as she also says nice things only about Diane’s husband, Eric, or if Eric and Diane are really so spotless, or if something else is going on here.
Not that the first letters of the names of Simon’s parents — (D)oug and (E)leanor — are the gender-switched mirror of the first letters of Smiths’ friends, (E)ric and (D)iane.
HANNAH D207: OK. I’ll try my best to remember.
HANNAH D208: Yes. He left after the argument. It was about eight o’clock.
HANNAH D209: Yes, that’s my birthday. Not one of the big ones but I guess you can see that.
Hanna’s birthdays are quite important: this is when she runs away to see Bob Dylan, this is the day that Eve materializes (before she even has a name), and of course it is also the day she killes Simon. It’s quite likely — if you play the timeline game — that a few other events from the game also took place on Hannah’s birthday, like Hannah’s parents death in the summer.
HANNAH D210: Yeah. I guess. I’m quite a private person and I didn’t want to really get into the detail of the argument.
Hannah is indeed a private person. This is reinforced later a few times (e.g. “I was quite shy”, “He was as shy as me”, “She is the shy one”, etc.) but we can see this is in the way she behaves during the interviews. Of course, being shy is not exactly the reason why she “didn’t want to really get into the detail of the argument”.
HANNAH D211: It was my birthday like you said. We were going to have a meal at home. We had our meal. He gave me his present. I guess I didn’t like the present.
The detectives keep pushing and Hannah gets agitated and a bit angry. This happens later too, and we can see the glimpses of her true nature.
Later, Eve messes up the birthday food. Here Hannah just mentions “a meal”, then Eve claims the meal was “a takeaway” (EVE D331), and then Eve reports that Hanna said there was no meal, only “a birthday tea” (EVE D761). She wasn’t there at the time, so she got the details wrong.
I wonder if the meals are yet another thing unique to a persona. The takeaway fits Eve, the bar singer, and the tea fits, well, the tea-loving Hannah (even if reported by Eve).
Side note: many statements in the game have their contradictory doppelganger. It is possible that these are leftovers from the previous version of the game/design that, as Sam Barlow told in a few interviews, was about the more traditional gameplay. Possibly — and I speculate here — that design was about pointing out the contradictions, and moving the story forward this way. Not sure if that’s true, but it would explain the abundance of statement-contradiction pairs of sentences.
HANNAH D212: It wasn’t the present so much. It was one of those arguments that has been simmering for a while. The present was a mirror. A nice mirror. He’d engraved the glass. The kind of mirror a princess would have in a story. He made it specially for me.
With that last sentence, Hannah emphasizes that Eve should never have gotten the mirror.
What’s odd about this clip is that Hannah calms down and becomes quite composed for someone who is talking about what in the future will be revealed as the alleged murder weapon, one that she supposedly used to kill her husband just a little over a week ago. It’s like she is completely oblivious to the mirror’s baggage.
How to explain Hannah’s composure? One possibility is, of course, that she is a great actress, or a psychopath — or both.
The theme of Hannah seeing herself as a princess starts here, after the vague video game metaphor we heard in the first interview. It’s the evil’s illusion of shallow prestige. In reality, someone else is the real princess, and Hannah is the witch…
…or a wicked stepmother or an evil queen, but I stick to just the witch in this analysis for clarity. The important thing is the general idea behind such a character. As Heidi Anne Heiner, the researcher of fairy tales and an owner of SurLaLune website writes it in her analysis:
The image of the evil stepmother occurs frequently in fairy tales. She is associated with jealousy and cruelty (Olderr 1986). “In masculine psychology, the stepmother is a symbol of the unconscious in a destructive role” (von Franz 1970). The stepmother figure is actually two sided, in that while she has destructive intentions, her actions often lead the protagonist into situations that identify and strengthen his or her best qualities.
The symbolic layer of the clip is taken from another Grimms’ fairy tale, Little Snow-White. And Hannah is the witch again here, murderously jealous of anyone else daring to reflect their pretty face in the mirror. Another element taken from the tale is the treacherously poisoned apple (mushroom), one that the witch (Hannah) used for the murder of an innocent (Hannah’s parents).
HANNAH D213: When you’ve been married for ten years stuff accumulates. We could argue about anything. And he’s so nice that doesn’t help. He tries to smooth things over and that just makes it worse. We’re both passive aggressive so we never normally argue directly about anything.
Simon knew Hannah was different — even before he fully realized what was going on — and that’s why he was always the one to “smooth things over”. It is how he understood his role as a supportive, caring husband.
There can be an extra interpretation of the last sentence, because why not? Note how slightly disconnected it is from the rest. By “we”, Hannah might mean her and Eve, and yeah, they are unable to argue about anything directly.
HANNAH D214: What about us?
I have no idea what the detective’s question was here, especially in the context of the next reply from Hannah.
HANNAH D215: I did? Well, we met when we were seventeen, both working at the glaziers.
Again, no idea what was the question. But I believe this exchange is to gently bring our attention to the fact that Hannah does not remember a detail from the previous interview. Note her surprise and slight confusion when she asks “I did?”.
HANNAH D216: Yeah, when I was at school. I worked part time in the front shop. It was sort of an extended family thing. My dad used to work there, my mum used to work there before I was born. I took care of paperwork, filing things, typing out invoices, that kind of thing. It was a good job for a girl back then. I didn’t work a till or anything, I was quite shy so I wouldn’t have liked to work a till.
HANNAH D217: No. He was as shy as me. I asked… Well, I asked a friend to ask him out for me. We had our first date at the Odeon in North End. We went to see Risky Business. I had on my one best dress. Simon paid and bought me a Wispa and I was worried about getting chocolate on my teeth.
Shyness is what Simon and Hannah shared. This is why Hannah is so possessive of Simon, so jealous, so “he is my prince and I am his princess”. For years, it’s Eve who got all the boys, but Simon was that one guy who fell for Hannah, not Eve.
“I asked a friend” does not necessarily suggest that Hannah had a way to bring Eve out consciously. It could have been a diary entry as well.
Risky Business debuted in August 1983, so I think it works with the top level timeline.
HANNAH D218: I got pregnant. Both our parents had a big pow wow. We weren’t even in the room and they decided we should get married.
Like in fairy tales, where sometimes the prince and the princess were in an arranged marriage. Of course, it still happens in the real world, too.
HANNAH D219: I guess you could call it that but we were both, both happy to get married. It was a beautiful wedding. We had our first dance to Come Back and Stay. I’m not sure if that’s a good wedding song but I loved it. I chose it. It was genuinely our first dance — we’d never danced together before. It was probably awful to watch but I enjoyed it. It felt like it was just me and Simon for that moment, just the two of us.
Note how different that recollection of the wedding is from Eve’s recollection (EVE D510). Hannah talks intimate details, feelings, personal memories — while Eve reports what she saw on the wedding photos.
Note the double “both”, said as if she is trying to convince the detectives. Might be interpreted as both Hannah and Eve being happy about the marriage, or a wish that it was the case.
There’s one other interesting dualism in this recollection. Hannah says something we can interpret as her being happy alone with Simon, without Eve’s shadow over her. But the lyrics to Come Back and Stay — note the title itself, too — are saying something exactly opposite:
Since you’ve been gone
I shut my eyes
And I fantasize
That you’re here with me
Will you ever return?
I won’t be satisfied
‘Till you’re by my side
Don’t wait any longer
Why don’t you come back?
Come back and stay for good this time
You said goodbye
I was trying to hide
What I felt inside
Until you passed me by
You said you’d return
You said that you’d be mine
‘Till the end of time
Don’t wait any longer
Since you’ve been gone
Opened my eyes
And I realize
What we had together
Will you ever return?
I’ll have you change your mind
If you won’t stay mine just love me forever
Love me forever
Hannah and Eve grew apart in the weeks before the wedding. As one commenter put it nicely, “With Simon’s love for her as herself, [Hannah’s] need for Eve diminishes. Without having to kill her, she was able to simply leave her behind in the attic and pursue a normal life with Simon.”
Now that Simon is formally hers, Hannah gains confidence, no longer treats Eve as competition, and simply misses her.
HANNAH D220: We spent the wedding night in a hotel in Brighton. It would have been too much to do more, we were saving for the baby. It was wonderful to be in a hotel away from home, just alone together. Since then we’ve always tried to get away for our holiday.
If so, was the trip to Oxford, that romantic weekend, also on the anniversary of Hannah and Simon’s wedding? It’s possible. Hannah lost the baby at the end of spring, when she was eight months pregnant, and got married after she got pregnant. It means the wedding took place sometime between October and May. As it took at least a month for Hannah to realize she was pregnant and then the families had to organize the wedding, February being the anniversary is possible. Hannah would have been around five months pregnant at the time.
HANNAH D221: We couldn’t afford our own place. Simon dropped out of school, went full time at the glaziers. That was Eric’s generosity. We moved in with his mum and dad. They had a spare room for us and the baby if it came. It was a nice change, time to myself, living there for those months, full of hope.
Eve was not there with Hannah during those months. “I was living in the attic.”, says Eve (EVE D748). The attic being the memory in Hannah’s mind.
HANNAH D222: No. I lost the baby. Had a miscarriage at eight months. We carried on living at Simon’s parents until… Well, it was only a few months after.
Even though 80% of miscarriages happen in the first trimester, it’s still possible that Hannah miscarried so close to the delivery. However, technically that is not a miscarriage, but “stillbirth”, or “preterm delivery”.
The question is, then — did Sam Barlow just misuse the “miscarriage” word (it happens quite often), or is there more to this story? Some go as far as to speculate that Hannah did not miscarry, but gave up her child — Sarah — for adoption. Personally I don’t think that’s the case. I mean, it’s possible — but I fail to see even a tiniest single element in Her Story’s story that would support this hypothesis.
It’s possible that Eve’s STD (EVE D746) contributed to or was the cause of the miscarriage. Gonorrhea, “a very common STD”, means “an increased risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery” — and it’s not the only STD than can be fatal to a baby.
Eve had sex with random strangers only early into the pregnancy, not when she was eight months pregnant or anything: “[…] I had to stop when one of the guys gave me an STD. When we met up it was disturbing. For the first time my reflection, she didn’t look like me. She was fatter. […]“ (EVE D746). It’s just that the STD, depending on what it was exactly, might have contributed to Hannah losing the baby months later.
But Eve is the princess in Her Story, and Hannah is the evil witch. Causing the stillbirth does not exactly gel with this assertion. I can offer a few explanations. Maybe it’s an allusion to a fairy tale I fail to recognize. Maybe Eve cannot be blamed for acts she has done without understanding she was Hannah as well. Maybe Eve only thought she caused the tragedy, but it was Hannah’s fault. Maybe the stillbirth was nothing but a cruel fate.
HANNAH D223: Then my parents died. It was the worst year of my life. The miscarriage and then my parents.
There is an interesting difference between what’s the worst to Hannah and Eve. Hannah mentions this awful year twice (here and at HANNAH D441), while Eve says this about Simon’s murder: “Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. […] It’s probably the worst thing that has happened to me.” (EVE D303).
HANNAH D224: At the time they said it was poison. Food poisoning. I felt so guilty. If I had still been at home maybe I could have done something. I don’t know.
Let’s talk more about this when we gather more data on the death of Hannah’s parents. But note how Hannah nervously plays with her wedding ring. “I felt so guilty.”
HANNAH D225: Yes. I inherited it from my parents so it made sense to move back. Me and Simon. Felt like going back to old ways before the pregnancy. Reminded me of being a girl. The dollhouse in the attic, old things. We didn’t sleep in my parent’s bedroom for a long time. We decorated it as soon as we moved in but it was another year before we started sleeping there.
Hannah and Eve got back together.
The love, the marriage, the pregnancy — all of that happiness buried Eve deep inside Hannah’s psyche. But the tragedies of that year — the miscarriage and the death of Hannah’s parents — brought Eve back.
HANNAH D226: I got a job. To contribute, you know. Doug knew someone and I got a job as a dinner lady at the primary school. They said it didn’t matter if I could cook or not, just don’t poison the kids! So you see, it’s always been complicated between me and Simon. It’s never just been the two of us. There’s always been pressure.
“Just don’t poison the kids”. Ha, ha. Hilarious, considering your parents died of food poisoning. Was the school was unaware of how Hannah’s parents died? Or is Hannah projecting here?
And indeed, Hannah, it’s never been just the two of you. We can all safely agree that did complicate things.
HANNAH D227: I mean I don’t know. Something must have happened to him on his way home. He could be hurt. I mean why hasn’t he phoned? It doesn’t… I don’t know.
Discussed the phone call earlier.
HANNAH D228: Oh God. I don’t know. I mean, I guess The Rock? You’ve spoken to everyone there? Someone must have seen where he went. I don’t know. So many things could have gone wrong.
Discussed The Rock earlier.
HANNAH D229: No. I mean, he was… Everyone loves Simon. He was so nice. To everyone. He loves me.
Odd disconnected remark, “he loves me”. Are these gentle notes of jealousy, of convincing one’s self of the beloved’s exclusive feelings?
HANNAH D230: Fine. I’ve never had my fingerprints taken before. I once burned my hand on the oven.
The fingerprints of identical twins are actually not identical, not even the fingerprints of the so-called mirror image twins. Burning the hand — and we can clearly see it’s fully healed, so it’s not a recent thing — would not destroy the fingerprints, although it might have altered them slightly.
But the oven is not a red herring. It shows yet another face of Hannah the Witch, again from Grimms’ Hansel and Gretel, where “the godless witch burned up miserably” in an oven.
It’s unclear if Hannah’s fingerprints were taken by the police during her Bob Dylan adventure. It does not matter much either way, I believe.
HANNAH D231: OK. I’ve given blood before. Do you need to take that for your records?
Interview 3: Eve — June 27th (Tuesday)
Sometime between today and Sunday the body of Simon was “discovered” by Hannah in her house and reported to the police. Obviously that makes her suspect number one, and the real fun starts now. The police will try to find a hole in Hannah’s testimony, and evaluate her psyche.
EVE D301: No, it’s OK, the other detective has just gone to get me one.
EVE D302: Oh, it tastes fine to me. As long as it’s black and strong I’m good.
EVE D303: Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. The blood… It’s probably the worst thing that has happened to me.
I discussed “the worst thing” earlier.
EVE D304: The bruise? I have a really fast metabolism, so stuff like that just comes and goes. I don’t know if there’s much more that I can tell you that I haven’t already told the other policeman. I found the body. I…
I discussed the bruise earlier.
EVE D305: You think it’s murder? Clearly it’s murder. Well, what can I do to help?
Ah, the cognitive dissonance. Eve’s initial reaction might be to the fact she does not consider this accidental killing a murder (and technically that’s manslaughter, not murder).
EVE D306: It was after dinner. I’d spoken to Simon’s parents on the phone. I locked up for an early night and I suddenly had this thought I think it was something his mum had said. She‘d been speaking about old stuff. Sad stuff. About when we lived there. About the baby. There’s some boxes in the cellar. Nursery stuff. Stuff we never needed and I never had the heart to throw out. I suddenly remembered that when I’d looked down there the week before, those boxes, that pile was in the wrong place. I went cold all over. I went down there with a torch and went straight to the back, and that’s when I saw the bin bags. Pulled them open. Saw the body. I screamed and that’s when I called the police.
Note how Eve nervously plays with her wedding ring again here and in the next two clips.
We cannot easily determine which part of Hannah’s or Eve’s testimony made the police realize she was lying to them. It might have been this statement above, if the detectives connected the dots during the interview or right after. This way or another, after this interview, they know.
Here is a revealing piece of information, from this very interview: “We never go into the cellar. It’s just a place we put things we don’t need.” (EVE D308)
First, it’s odd that “Hannah” noticed that the boxes were moved but decided to ignore it. Her husband was missing, there was something odd about the cellar… Oh, well, time to …do nothing.
Second, why did “Hannah” go into the cellar in the first place? After all, “we never go into the cellar”.
Obviously, we know the answers to these puzzling elements of Eve’s testimony, but for the detectives this might have been the first time they realized things did not add up.
Also, “went down with a torch”? No light in the cellar (it was the place where daddy grew mushrooms, after all)? If so, how did “Hannah” notice “the week before” that the boxes were moved?
Finally, I got to wonder about the smell. The corpse being in the cellar plus the bin bags might have neutralized the smell to a certain degree, but it is the end of June, the corpse was rotting for nine days (and the cellar was flooded with Simon’s blood), and we know that “It’s stifling in summer [in the house]” (EVE D346).
Eve mentions bin bags, not a bin bag, but Simon’s corpse was not chopped into pieces. A single bin bag would not be able to contain a body, so presumably a few of them were cut and then pieced together — with the help of parcel tape — to form a bin bag wrapping.
Even though there was no chopping — we can safely assume that if there were, it’d be mentioned more times than zero — the story alludes to Grimms’ Fitcher’s Bird, in which a girl finds bloodied corpses in a place she is not supposed to visit. “[She] examined the house, entering finally the forbidden chamber. Oh, what she saw! He two dear sisters were lying there in the basin, miserably murdered and chopped to pieces.”
This is also yet another side of Hannah the Witch. In the tale, the forbidden room full of dead people belongs to an evil sorcerer, just like the cellar in Hannah’s house belongs to Hannah.
EVE D307: His body it didn’t look real. His throat, it looked like his throat had been cut. And I didn’t see his glasses. He has these thick glasses. Doesn’t always wear them.
The subject of glasses comes up only here, and earlier at EVE D106 (“[…] He has a scar down here near his stomach. […] Cut himself with some glass. […] He’s not got his glasses on [the photo] here, though. He takes them off for the camera. But he needs them to see properly. You know, when he has to read. A newspaper or a menu in a restaurant. Not books so much. Or watching TV. He likes TV.”)
There does not seem to be any discrepancy between those two statements. However, let’s look at the mention that there were no glasses on Simon’s corpse.
Did Eve mean on his head or just generally with him? If the former, then why is it surprising to her? After all, he was not wearing his glasses all the time — she said it herself twice, and it’s not something that lying about makes any sense. If the latter, then how would she know that? Did she search the corpse? Well, we know she did. She got rid of the evidence and put his body in the cellar. So mentioning the lack of glasses can be considered a slip of the tongue.
But nothing is accidental, remember, so what’s the point of glasses here? More so, what’s the point of including the glasses in the story at all?
The real function of the missing glasses is to provide a firmer connection to Rapunzel. When the prince learned that he was deceived by the witch, he threw himself off the tower, and “the thorns into which he fell poked out his eyes”. Unlike in Her Story, the prince survived, but in both cases he was “blinded”.
The slashed throat is not without its fairy tale roots either. Simon was trying to “get the princess”, but such a desire often ends badly for the princes. Usually, when they fail to prove themselves to a princess, their heads are severed from their bodies. Good old decapitation. We see this, for example, in The Little Hamster from the Water aka The Rabbit aka The Sea-Hare, or in The Six Servants.
Obviously, Sam Barlow couldn’t have had Hannah decapitate Simon with a piece of a mirror in his pseudo-true crime game, but the slashed throat is a proper equivalent.
EVE D308: No. The whole thing was wrong. The bags. I think they were from our kitchen, you can probably check that. We never go into the cellar. It’s just a place we put things we don’t need. Dad used to grow mushrooms there. The bags were taped up. I think it was parcel tape. I think it was ours.
I discussed the cellar, the bags and the tape earlier.
EVE D309: I wasn’t in the house.
EVE D310: I wasn’t in the house all of Friday night. After the argument after Simon left I left too. I was upset and I wanted to get away. So I took the car.
And so the Glasgow “alibi” begins here.
EVE D311: I got in the car and I drove. I just kept driving north. Just kept going, just wanted to get away as far as I could. When I finally stopped, I was all the way up in Glasgow. I was so tired, just had to sleep.
Just so we’re clear what we’re dealing with here: it’s 600 kilometers (444 miles) between Portsmouth and Glasgow, almost all of it highways. Considering Eve’s inclination for fast driving (she got the speeding ticket), it’s could easily be, say, a five-hour drive (especially at night, with highly reduced traffic).
Why did Eve go to Glasgow? It was not to manufacture an alibi or get rid of the evidence far, far away from home. It has happened exactly as Eve tells it in her final interview, but there is a Rapunzel subtext. I discuss this when analyzing that final interview.
EVE D312: I left the next day, Saturday. I slept for a few hours in the car and when I woke up I came straight back. Simon wasn’t returning my calls and I wanted to try and make up. I got back to the house and Simon wasn’t there and I… I… Excuse me! Is there a bin?
Later, Eve says that when she woke up, she “[…] got some petrol, bought a coffee and a pastry.” (EVE D332). Here it’s simply “I came straight back”. I don’t think it qualifies as a lie, though. It’s obvious she needed some gas after such a long drive, and I would not count a gas station as something that would render the “straight back” a lie.
EVE D313: Yes I’m fine. I won’t be sick again. This happens some days. I’m pregnant. It’s morning sickness.
“Morning sickness: nausea in pregnancy, typically occurring in the first few months. Despite its name, the nausea can affect pregnant women at any time of day.”
EVE D314: No. Well, yes. He found out on my birthday. I told him I was pregnant.
Remember, birthdays are special to Hannah, they are often her triggers. This helps us understand the murder. It was not just a good old marriage trouble that pushed Hannah to play with death.
We have another mirror of Rapunzel here. “Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had long wished for a child but had never received one. Finally, however, the woman came to be with child.”
EVE D315: Yes. It was a shock to him, I mean, we never thought it was possible. I don’t know what he… I mean I hadn’t decided whether to keep the baby. I wasn’t really ready to talk to him about it.
Now, why would Hannah or Eve consider an abortion?
I guess this shows the internal conflict. For a second, Hannah might not have wanted the baby because it was Eve’s. And Eve might not have wanted the baby because it was Simon’s, her sister’s husband.
This way or another, the doubt never re-appears in the interviews. On the contrary, later Eve will say: “[…] I was in Glasgow worrying about whether my baby was still growing inside me.” (EVE D520).
EVE D316: It was late. Early Saturday morning.
I guess we’re back to talking about Glasgow.
EVE D317: Yeah. I pulled over and slept in the car. This was just by the side of the road. I was exhausted.
EVE D318: I think when I drove back it was about eight or something. I got back to the house about three. Three.
To get back home from Glasgow during the day: a seven-hour drive. Plausible.
EVE D319: When you suspect someone of murdering their husband?
That’s how these interviews go. She knows they might be suspecting her. They know she knows they might be suspecting her. As I said it earlier, it’s a psychological battle.
EVE D320: OK. So you want to eliminate me as a suspect?
As I mentioned it earlier, we hear Her Story, but the detectives are the silent heroes of the game as well. It does not make the game a Hero Story, but they are important. Figuring out what the detectives knew and when, and what was their plan — fun!
Here we have an example of the detectives lying to Eve, as the purpose of the test is to confirm a suspicion or identify a suspect rather than to eliminate one. As we can see, our sneaky detectives are not useless Lestrades, on the contrary.
EVE D321: OK. Sounds weird. I’m not great at making up stories.
Eve just made up a story about not being great at making up stories.
Anyway, let’s talk about what’s happening here. Earlier I mentioned that Eve is subjected to the Thematic Apperception Test. To be precise, what the game uses is a derivative of such test called Morgan Interview Theme Technique (MITT).
We know this because the official description of one of Her Story’s Steam backgrounds says this: “For use in suspect interview. Included: Apprehension Sketch, Irrelevant Sketch, Relevant Sketch, Guilt or Remorse Sketch” — and such sketches are the feature of the MITT.
The other source is more mundane:
What is the MITT?
Taken from here:
The creator of the Morgan Interview Theme Technique, or MITT, was Raymond Morgan, a law enforcement investigative and training professional. The MITT uses a series of 42 sketches with interviewees, showing them a sketch, asking them to tell a story about each sketch, and observing their physical and verbal reactions.
Sketches depict random scenes, nonviolent crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, apprehension scenes and scenes of people expressing guilt and remorse. Interviewees commonly project indicators of truthfulness or deception when shown MITT sketches, allowing the interviewer to better focus the interview on areas where it seems the interviewee is lying or has anxiety. MITT is commonly used in criminal investigations.
Also this source:
The MITT is based on the principle of “Projection”. Any time we communicate, either verbally or non-verbally, we are projecting ourselves to others. We often very unconsciously project our feelings, thoughts and attitudes in the communicative process. The MITT is designed to capsulize and capture, often very unconsciously, feelings, thoughts and attitudes of the person being interviewed.
And from one more source, with some key details:
Morgan Interview Theme Technique (MITT) helps a forensic investigator in finding the truth in a case. MITT is a projective test where the suspect is asked to make up stories concerning five presented pictures. The stories should include what happened prior to the scene in the sketch, what is happening now in the sketch, and an ending. Research indicates that when people make up stories from their imaginations, they must draw on their own life experiences. Therefore, approximately 30% of what a person tells in the form of a story is actually related to his or her own past history.
[…]. MITT only takes a few minutes to administer and tends to reduce the anxiety of the innocent and increase the anxiety of the deceptive. MITT allows for the identification of the deceptive by their reluctance to talk about the relevant issue, their downbeat stories, their inability to make up endings, and their illogical presentations. MITT also gives the interviewer information that can be used during an interrogation to facilitate admissions and confessions.
Finally, a quote from “Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques” book:
In Her Story, the detectives hand over only four cards to Eve, not five, but it’s more than enough for what the game is trying to tell us.
EVE D322: OK. There’s a girl, and she’s staring out the window. She’s sad? She’s trapped. She’s here. She’s looking out the window because her mother won’t let her out.
This is the card.
It is the Irrelevant Sketch, and it’s the first card that the MITT says should be given to a suspect. The name comes from the fact that the sketch is not directly connected to the crime being investigated. It does tell us things about the suspect, though.
EVE D323: It’s Rapunzel. The story starts when she’s born. Mother Gothel, a witch, takes Rapunzel from her parents and keeps her locked up in this tower. Rapunzel gets pregnant by the Prince. Mother Gothel is furious, so she cuts off her hair and throws her — Actually her hair is already short here so that’s already happened. She throws her into the wilderness and Rapunzel is reunited with the prince who’s blind. But she cures him with her tears, and so it’s a happy ending. Is that too much?
Rapunzel works on two levels, as if we did not have enough duality in the game already.
One layer is the construction of the story, the way the creator merged various fairy tales with the real life, maintaining Rapunzel as the core story.
The other layer is the story and its characters as such. Eve does see herself as Rapunzel on a subconscious level, affected by the stories of her youth. “We were obsessed with fairy tales. Not just the pretty ones but the traditional ones. They were dark and real. Bizarre and violent. Felt like life.” (EVE D739).
Eve properly makes up the beginning, the middle, and the end. The end does not reflect the real life, though. Simon cannot be cured, the lovers cannot be re-united. But… “[…] Simon’s dead. But the baby… That’s how he will live on. Our baby.” (HANNAH D444).
EVE D324: Sorry. Sorry. The picture the way it’s drawn it just reminded me of the books we used to read as children. I read those fairy tales over and over, they were so real to me. Rapunzel was my favourite. My brain is just full of it. Are any of these in colour?
The detectives reminded Eve that she was supposed to tell her own stories, not recite classic fairy tales. If only they knew…
Notice one of many such slips: “We used to read” instead of “I used to read”.
Eve mentions “colour”, as the test cards remind her of the colored plates from the book of fairy tales she read as a child (EVE D739).
“Rapunzel was my favourite”. Thanks, Sam!
EVE D325: Yes. Like a story. A beginning, a middle, and an end.
Yes, that is what is expected from the suspect during the MITT — to make up a story that describes the past, the present and the future of the test card’s characters. It’s also what we will not find in Her Story, unless we make up our own ending. To be fair, The Brothers Grimm were occasional teases as well. Here’s the slightly abridged version of The Golden Key fairy tale:
Once […] a poor boy […] found a small golden key. Now he believed that where there was a key, there must also be a lock, so he dug in the ground and found a little iron chest. “If only the key fits!” he thought. “Certainly there are valuable things in the chest.” He looked, but there was no keyhole. Finally he found one, but so small that it could scarcely be seen. He tried the key, and fortunately it fitted. Then he turned it once, and now we must wait until he has finished unlocking it and has opened the lid. Then we shall find out what kind of wonderful things there were in the little chest.
The end. That’s it. That is how this fairy tale ends.
EVE D326: OK. Well… She has a knife. She’s been cooking? I guess she’s been cooking him his favourite meal? She’s his wife. He’s asleep and she doesn’t want to wake him. Because he’s ill. That’s why she’s sad. Because he’s ill and he might die? It’s kind of a sad story so I’m not sure how it ends.
This is the card. It’s called the Relevant Sketch, and that’s because it relates to the crime committed.
Eve describes the last moments of Simon: Hannah with the sharp object she cut his throat with, Simon lying, “asleep”, “ill”, and “he might die”.
This is when the detectives learned that Eve was guilty, or, to be precise, that she was dishonest with them about the murder. It is easy to miss this moment, especially if one never learned how the MITT works. But Eve’s reactions are textbook MITT guilt, a clear identification of “the deceptive”: a) increased anxiety, b) reluctance to talk about the relevant issue, c) the downbeat story, d) the inability to make up an ending, and e) the illogical presentation. All checkboxes ticked off, and the detectives know that. That was the whole point of the test in the first place.
In the light of this revelation, we need to think differently of everything that the detectives do from this point on. For example, a lot of people expect them to immediately point out every contradiction and scream “Gotcha!”. But that’s not the most effective way of making sure the guilty pay. The detectives are much smarter about this: they try to gather as much evidence against Hannah/Eve as possible. They lead her on, they let her talk, and make her reveal her secrets and dig her own grave. All that while trying not to scare her off and shut down or lawyer up.
The battle between two deceptive parties intensifies.
EVE D327: She’s crying I guess. She’s sad because she thought she saw her husband with another woman. But it’s OK because she finds out it wasn’t her husband — it was his brother. And so it’s fine.
This card is the Guilt or Remorse Sketch, its purpose is to make the suspect project their guilt or remorse onto the story told.
As we can see, Eve feels neither remorse nor guilt. It’s because she was not the killer. This either confused the detectives, considering the previous card, or they just accepted the fact she did not feel any guilt. The important thing, though, is the direction that Eve just set for the further investigation: infidelity.
EVE D328: OK. She’s being chased. They’re trying to catch her because she did something bad. I guess she broke the rules. Or maybe they think she did something bad. Maybe it wasn’t her fault. She looks scared, not guilty. Maybe it was mistaken identity. Do they catch her though? I don’t know.
The final card is the Apprehension Sketch. The proper MITT requires this card to be shown after the Relevant Sketch and before the Guilt or Remorse sketch, but oh well, licentia poetica.
The point of this card is to see if the suspect will project their fear and anxiety onto the story. And this is exactly what happens: once again Eve is incoherent, and unable to finish the story.
The police got a lot of useful clues here: Eve told them, indirectly, that she was somehow involved in the murder of Simon but “maybe it wasn’t her fault”, and she raised the intriguing subject of “mistaken identity”.
EVE D329: Did I pass? Sorry I messed it up with all that Rapunzel stuff. Do you need me to do that card again?
The answer was no. The detectives might have realized at this point that Eve reciting the story of Rapunzel was not a misunderstanding.
EVE D330: Yes. I read a lot as a child and watched lots of TV. Then the dollhouse we had… Still have in the attic. It’s kind of a fairy castle. We used to play up there and make up our own stories.
Note how Eve slips again and says “we used to play up there”, instead of “I used to play up there”.
The attic is both a physical place and Hannah’s mind. We can safely assume the house indeed features the attic, but it is also the witch’s kingdom, one with a “fairy castle”. Hannah did play with her “imaginary friend Eve” in the physical space, but Eve also lives in Hannah’s memory of the place. Eve herself, just like Rapunzel, does not understand she is imprisoned in that “fairy castle”. It’s a natural state to her.
“Toys in the attic” — note the dollhouse — is a euphemism for insanity. Attic itself is “the head, thought of as the location of one’s intellect.”
EVE D331: From when I woke up? OK. I woke up. Simon was already up and he made me a birthday breakfast of Eggs Benedict. Uh. We both had to go to work so we saved presents till later. I got to work. Had some birthday cake. The children sang me Happy Birthday. Then I came home. The birthday meal was a takeaway. And Simon gave me his present which I didn’t mind. And after that we talked about the baby. It turned into a big argument. Simon left. I was furious. I wanted to get as far away as I could get some space to think. So I left.
We discussed the meal earlier. Note how that Eve details the food (Eggs Benedict, cake, takeaway) but is quite vague when it comes to what’s really important. Also, “we saved presents till later” — what was Hannah’s present?
EVE D332: Yes. Um, I got to Glasgow. I was exhausted. So I pulled over and slept in the car. I woke up because a rubbish truck went past. I got some petrol, bought a coffee and a pastry. Tried calling Simon from a pay phone and then headed back.
A “rubbish truck” on Saturday? Possible, I guess.
Eve was still in control — she bought “a coffee”. She claims she tried calling Simon, but later we learn she tried calling Hannah. No one answered.
I guess now it’s as good a time as any to discuss the mystery of unanswered phone calls.
We have six reports on possibly the same unanswered phone call:
- EVE D108: “[…] He was supposed to go help Eric out with something on the Saturday afternoon, they had a job. He didn’t show. So Eric was ringing on the phone. […]”
- EVE D312: “I left the next day Saturday. I slept for a few hours in the car and when I woke up I came straight back. Simon wasn’t returning my calls […]”
- EVE D332: “[…] I got to Glasgow. […] slept in the car. I woke up […]. Tried calling Simon from a pay phone and then headed back.
- HANNAH D416: “[…]I had a shower. The phone rang whilst I was in the shower. I didn’t answer it. I think it was Eric. […]”
- EVE D502: “Then I had a shower. Whilst I was in the shower the phone rang. I think it was Eric his boss. I didn’t answer it.[…]”
- EVE D764: “[…] When I woke I tried to call Hannah from a pay phone. She wasn’t answering. […]”
But there’s actually no mystery here.
The phone call described in #1, #4 and #5 happened after Hannah/Eve returned from Glasgow, on Saturday, late afternoon. It was most likely indeed Eric who called to see why Simon did not show up for work. Hannah/Eve was not ready to communicate with the outside world yet, she was still in the murder clean up mode, taking a shower.
Phone calls #2, #3 and #6 are Eve calling the house right before she started driving back from Glasgow, on Saturday morning. No one answered, as no one (alive) was home.
EVE D333: Let me see. Yes. I drove in here because I remember well I went over the river. And then there was a church. There. Yep. And I probably parked well I remember seeing a street sign called Princes Street. Look there it is. Yep, so I’m pretty sure it must be this one. There.
I assume we’re talking about the gas station where Eve “got some petrol”. Not that it matters much, but for what it’s worth there is the Princes Street in Glasgow, and there are churches nearby.
There is no gas station, however, but that is as of today, who knows what was there in 1994? The river is to the north, so it’s odd Eve “went over” it — but maybe when she got to Glasgow, she went deep into the city, and passed the river again on her way back. Anyway, details like that — ones easily verifiable by the police — do not matter much. As I said it in the introduction, Her Story exists in a slightly different reality to ours.
Eve uses her left hand to tag the spot on the map. But in basically every other case she uses her right hand as if it was the dominant one. Maybe Eve is ambidextrous (or the actress herself is).
EVE D334: Yeah, that’s Simon’s watch. It was a gift from Eric. He got it this year. It was a wedding anniversary gift. Steel. It would have been Diane who chose it she has really nice taste. That time. That must eliminate me? I was in Glasgow then?
We discussed the watch earlier a bit, but let’s talk about the time it shows. That time is what Eve uses as Hannah’s alibi. But before we even hear it from her (EVE D768) that “[…] The watch, that was my touch. To make sure the alibi stuck.”, we know the watch might have been tampered with. It’s one of the silliest crime story clichés anyway — apparently the watches are so delicate they break every time someone dies — and here it’s just Eve being too much in love with stories and fairy tales.
But what hour does the watch show, exactly? We have no idea. I’ll return to the subject soon.
The idea of cheating through bilocation is not new to the fairy tales. In Grimms’ The Hare and the Hedgehog, the hare thinks it lost the race against the hedgehog when the hedgehog’s wife pops up at the finishing line, pretending to be the hedgehog himself.
EVE D335: I didn’t. I slept in the car, I left about nine that night. I wasn’t there.
EVE D336: No. I don’t think so. Glasgow was deserted that early in the morning.
She woke up around 8.00am and a city with a population of 600.000 was “deserted”? I guess that’s possible, it was Saturday, although “deserted” sounds a bit too strong.
“Deserted” is another element of the fairy tale, though. “Then [the witch] sent Rapunzel into a wilderness […]” — Rapunzel.
EVE D337: Ask the hospital.
The alibi, part two.
EVE D338: When I arrived in Glasgow I was exhausted. The streets were empty. I was driving badly and I hit a taxi. Not a big crash. Just paintwork. The guy was so pissed off because I didn’t have a driving license on me. But when I told him I was pregnant he made sure I got to the hospital so they could check me out. It was fine. The hospital must have details when I was looked at. There’s a scratch on the car.
Peculiar she did not mention the taxi accident or the hospital earlier. Anyway, there’s no telling whether there ever was the taxi driver or not, Eve could have easily faked the accident and scratch the car. We have no idea at what time she was checked out at the hospital — if at all — as the subject is never resolved. We only get the later “[…] We’ve established that I was in Glasgow when he was killed. You’ve spoken with the hospital?” (HANNAH D603).
If the crash happened, Eve had a bruise and possibly some of Simon’s blood on her at the time. That would explain why — if he existed — the taxi driver insisted on taking Eve to the hospital. Did the hospital record the bruise? Not necessarily. Remember that Eve did not have any identity documents on her.
EVE D339: That should eliminate me as a suspect? If I was in Glasgow? I can’t be in two places at once.
Let’s try to establish the possible timeline here. Just some rough timestamps here.
- Friday 8.00pm — Hannah talks to Simon, realizes the betrayal, Simon leaves (HANNAH D208)
- Friday 8.50pm — Hannah and Eve personalities have a fight (EVE D763)
- Friday 9.00pm — Simon gets back from the pub, gets killed by Hannah (EVE D767)
- Friday 9.05pm — Hannah switches to Eve. Eve leaves for Glasgow (EVE D764)
- Saturday 2–4am — Eve arrives in Glasgow, has an accident, is checked out at the hospital (EVE D764)
- Saturday 8am — Eve sleeps for a few hours, wakes up, drives back, gets home around 3pm (EVE D318)
- Saturday 3pm — Multiple switches. “Sisters” hide the body, get rid of evidence. (EVE D768)
- Saturday 4pm — Eve sets the watch to, say, Saturday 4am (EVE D768)
But honestly, all of that is based on Hannah’s and Eve’s own words, so it’s possible that the true timeline looks different. There are also other possibilities, but I’ll discuss them during the final interview (but it’s about Hannah’s fight with Eve possibly happening when Simon was present).
The police of 1994 might have been unable to establish the exact hour of Simon’s death. They found the corpse after nine days in a house where it’s “stifling in the summer”. So we have some flexibility here, limited only by the hospital records really (if they existed at all, but I assume they did).
EVE D340: I thought it made me sound suspicious. It’s not a normal thing to do to drive to the other end of the country. I just I wanted to keep it simple. I know it was stupid to not tell you everything. Saying I spent the night in Glasgow when my husband went missing… I thought it would you know distract you from what was important. It’s different now. Now he’s…
EVE D341: No. Everyone loved Simon. He’s a glazier, he doesn’t have much money. I don’t know. I don’t know.
If we assume — and I think it’s a fair assumption — that Sam Barlow went beyond The Brothers Grimm, and reached for a few “prince and princesses”-themed classic fairy tales from other authors too, then the origin of “a poor glazier” might be a fairy tale called The Three Sisters and Their Glass Hearts (or The Three Sisters with Glass Hearts, etc.).
In that tale, three princesses have glass hearts. One dies quickly in the story when her heart breaks, and only two sisters are left: one with a cracked heart, and one — she is the youngest — who falls in love with a commoner who becomes a glazier so he can fix her glass heart if anything happens to it.
EVE D342: God. I don’t know. It could be anyone. Maybe someone followed him back from the pub? But why would he let them in? It doesn’t make sense.
I know, right?
EVE D343: Yeah. I had to let myself in. The door locks if it swings to.
All sub-stories in the game lead somewhere, and there are very few red herrings, if at all. So I am not sure what to make of the whole door lock thing. It looks like nothing suspicious to me, but Sam Barlow devotes quite a few lines to the subject. Either I am missing something, or this is the biggest non-issue in the game.
Let’s see… If I got this right, and I am not sure I did, the door features a lock that automatically latches when the door is closed. I assume the door can be opened from the inside without a key, but the entry from the outside requires the key.
Here the detectives just check if anyone could enter the house without the key.
EVE D344: Yes. I always pull it shut and then lock the bigger lock with the key.
The door also features a second, bigger lock. I assume the smaller lock is by the handle, and this one is an extra security measure.
EVE D345: Um. No. No, I don’t think it was. I turned the key, but it was already unlocked.
We have Eve and Hannah telling the police — in those “rehearsed” statements — that “I took my keys out of my bag and unlocked the door. The main lock was unlocked. You can tell because the key doesn’t turn when you try to turn it to the left.” (HANNAH D416) and “I took my keys out of my bag, unlocked the door. The main lock was unlocked. I could tell because the key wouldn’t turn when I tried to turn it to the left.” (EVE D502).
I guess the subtle difference here is that Hannah describes the behavior of the lock as she knew it very well, and Eve describes the unlocking as if she did not have that much experience with the lock. But I do not see any Earth-shattering revelations here.
I assume that Eve and Hannah are both trying to convince the detectives that after Hannah left the house to drive to Glasgow, presumably locking the house tight (“I always pull it shut and then lock the bigger lock with the key.”), Simon returned, maybe not alone, and that supposedly explains why one of the locks was unlocked when Hannah got back.
EVE D346: No. They were shut. Most of the windows are really hard to open anyway. It’s stifling in summer. They were painted over by my dad. He could have left the door open accidentally? There’s a cat flap in the back door.
Desperately trying to explain how a stranger could get into the house.
So much talking about the locks of the front door, and now it turns out there’s also the back door?
EVE D347: No. No cat. My parents had a cat before they died. Called Domino. It was this little black thing with white dots. We never did anything about the cat flap but if you were thin you could maybe squeeze through it?
Maybe. More importantly …what happened to Domino after the parents died?!
On a symbolic layer, Domino piece is a single tile with two different numbers on each end. The same “duality of one” is with the cat, “black thing with white dots”.
EVE D348: I think so. I mean, to get into our garden you’d have to climb through other gardens. All the gardens back onto each other so you’d have to climb over one …two …three gardens to get to ours. I mean did anyone see anything? Did anyone see anyone come and go? An intruder?
The mention of the gardens is another Rapunzel building block. The evil witch lived in a house surrounded by a garden in which rapunzel plants grew. “No one dared enter this garden. […] One evening [the husband of an ill woman] climbed over the high wall, hastily dug up a handful of rapunzel, and took it to his wife. She […] devoured greedily [and] her desire for more had grown threefold. The man saw that there would be no peace, so once again he climbed into the garden.”
EVE D349: When will the police let me back in the house? They let me take a bag of clothes with me but…
EVE D350: The mirror? I can’t remember. I put it somewhere safe. Upstairs, I think. I haven’t looked at it since.
…since I hid it when cleaning up Hannah’s mess. She did not get rid of the mirror. It was a gift from Simon, after all. Note the nervous play with the wedding ring.
EVE D351: Simon’s parents offered to put me up but I didn’t think it would be a good idea. It would be too sad. Not right now. I’m staying at a friend’s.
Just one more example of “Simon’s parents”, instead of using their names.
Maybe Hannah-Eve does stay at a friend, or maybe she went to the motel or something. I believe in the latter, as her contact with Eve — around such critical time — would not be as easy around other people.
Whatever is the case, we do not see Eve giving the friend’s phone number to the police. And Eve does not have a cell phone, plus she stopped going to work. One has to wonder how the police managed to invite her to the next interview. I guess she could have gone back to work after the body of Simon was found?
Interview 4: Hannah — June 30th (Friday)
HANNAH D401: A cup of tea would be good thanks. Just the one sugar.
We don’t exactly know how Hannah liked her tea earlier, but “just one sugar” — if it’s about reducing the usual amount of sugar in the tea — might be a subtle hint of Eve’s personality taking over Hannah. Or not, and she always liked “just the one sugar”.
HANNAH D402: Well, fine. Considering. I got back into the house today and that was weird. Knowing your people have been there been through my things… It’s like I’ve been burgled. Worse. Obviously worse. I don’t know. I haven’t looked in the cellar yet. They sent a cleaner in. As good as new he said. But they had to throw some stuff out. Couldn’t get the blood out. And I’m still waiting to hear from the coroner so we can get a date set for the funeral. It’s going to be a cremation. So?
When she says jokingly “It’s like I’ve been burgled”, it’s another example — after the mirror — of Hannah not really grasping the gravity of the situation. She quickly corrects herself but that does not really undo the damage. And then she smiles randomly during her speech, as if she did not just lose her husband and found his bloodied corpse.
It seems like when Hannah says “couldn’t get the blood out”, she means the cellar. It makes sense. If she meant the living room — where the murder allegedly happened (EVE D765) — surely the police would have arrested her on the spot. No way an innocent woman lived for a week in a house with the bloodied living room and somehow forgot to mention it to the police.
Did the blood leak through the bin bags? If so, I guess it’s possible that the cleaner could not get it all out — it corroded the cellar for quite a few days — but it must have also gotten the police wonder of Hannah living in the house with the smelly corpse rotting in a pool of blood for nine days.
Initially, any amount of blood in the cellar was highly suspicious to me, and made me question the murder scene.
You see, later Eve will say: “[…] I walked in. Saw Simon. He was on the floor of the living room. His throat had been cut. There was a lot of blood. He was dead.” (EVE D765).
She will also say: “She was sat behind him. She had my wig on. And she had been there all day. And she had blood on her. And she was in shock.” (EVE D766)
When Hannah and Eve finally moved the corpse to the cellar, Simon was long dead, then. He was obviously not bleeding anymore. And he was wrapped in bin bags. How did the blood get on the cellar’s floor, then, and in a way that made it impossible to “get it out” and forced the cleaners to “throw some stuff out”?
And what about the blood in the living room? Didn’t Hannah have any carpets in the house? “[…] We cleaned up. We bagged up the broken mirror, her clothes. They’re gone.”, says Eve (EVE D768), but no mention of any carpets or any other decorative elements of the house.
If the murder happened in the living room, it’d be destroyed: a man with a slashed throat would not die instantly, the blood would be everywhere if he fought for his life, and Eve does mention that “there was a lot of blood”. Also, why would there be any blood in the cellar? Sure, the blood could have gotten on the bin bags when Hannah and Eve were wrapping them around Simon, but it was dried up at this point and I can hardly imagine it would be able to do such damage to the cellar as Hannah reports it.
If the murder happened in the cellar… Why? What would it change in the story, how would it change our perception of it? And why would Hannah and Eve put Simon in the bags? Just so he smells less? But then why not clean up some blood in the cellar in the first place?
Ultimately, though, after some very unhealthy research, I think I can explain it all.
A person with a slashed throat dies both from the blood loss and suffocation when the blood fills the respiratory track. I can imagine Simon going into shock, sitting on the floor, holding his throat, dying more from the suffocation than leaking gallons of blood. The blood would have stopped flowing when his heart stopped, leaving the living room damaged, but not beyond repair.
That would make it possible for Hannah and Eve to clean up the presumably carpet-less floor, bag Simon up and move him to the cellar. After livor mortis fully kicked in and the gravity made all the blood settle in the lower part of the corpse, the later tissue decomposition let the blood out, flooding the cellar through the leaky bin bags.
Of course, there is a fairy tale background here as well. It comes from Grimms’ Fitcher’s Bird I mentioned earlier when discussing the finding in the cellar. “Couldn’t get the blood out” is described in the tale this way: “She […] washed the blood off, but in vain, it appeared again in a moment. She washed and scrubbed, but she could not get it out.”
HANNAH D403: Fingerprints?
Here we go.
HANNAH D404: No. No one has been in the last few weeks. We had a plumber come in. Three, four weeks ago. Someone Simon knew from the Rock.
HANNAH D405: In the bedroom?
HANNAH D406: I hoover, I dust. Every week. Maybe less. I once asked Eleanor how often I should dust and she said: “If people ask tell them you do it once a week. But every few weeks is OK.” I think she was just trying to make me feel better. When I was there, she was hoovering every day. You know, ran an ordered house. You know how that generation is. Putting on a brave front. She has secret stashes of cigarettes. Doug doesn’t even know she smokes. When I was there, I saw her. She has these sort of porcelain vases. Ornamental. Next to the Reader’s Digest books. Cigarettes inside. And she still has them. I mean last time I was there I looked in a vase. There was a fresh pack. I mean all those years of marriage and she still has a secret like that.
Two things to learn here. First, that Hannah was not exactly a devout cleaner. Second, people can have pretty big secrets even when they are living together for years. Like she in her marriage with Simon.
We will get to the fingerprints and the wig analysis soon enough, but let’s role-play the detectives for a moment.
When was the last time you cleaned the house?
HANNAH D407: A week or so ago. It would have been the Saturday before my birthday? You know I get like that on the weekends. Have a lie in and then want to get up and blitz the house.
Would you have cleaned the beds?
HANNAH D408: Yes. Yeah. I would have cleaned them. I changed the sheets too. Were there fingerprints in all those places?
HANNAH D409: Could they be my parents’ fingerprints? I’m not sure how long they last for but… Is that possible?
Well, we also found these fingerprints in your bedroom.
HANNAH D410: That can’t be right. In the bedroom?
Yes. Which side of the bed is yours?
HANNAH D411: I sleep on the right side of the bed as you come in from the door. You can tell because I have two pillows and he just has one.
We ask because we found some unknown hairs there as well.
HANNAH D412: What kind of hairs?
From a wig.
HANNAH D413: A wig? You mean… Well, what type of wig?
Do you wear a wig?
HANNAH D414: No. I’ve never worn a wig. What kind of wig?
A blonde wig.
HANNAH D415: Could the hairs have come from somewhere else? I mean… Could they… We have a lot of dolls in the attic. There’s a Rapunzel doll with long blonde hair. Could they have come from there?
All right, so enough role-playing, and let’s talk about the fingerprints and the wig.
Without going into obsessive detail — like Hannah’s hostile reaction to the mention of the hairs or the Rapunzel doll — unknown fingerprints were found in Hannah’s house. Particularly the bedroom is of interest to us: it’s not just the fingerprints anymore, we need to add hairs from a blonde wig into the mystery mix.
The last time Hannah cleaned the house was a week before Simon’s death. Then the police CSI-ed the house over a week later. That gives us a window of over two weeks for the fingerprints and the wig hairs.
Since Hannah and Eve are the same person, the unknown fingerprints must belong to someone else. We do not know how many different fingerprints were found: just one, or more than one? It’s possible it was the latter. Hannah asks “Could they be my parents’ fingerprints?”, and not “Could they be the fingerprints of one of my parents?” — although of course that’s nothing decisive.
Who could these fingerprints and hairs belong to?
The blonde wig hairs are easy, they’re from Simon and Eve having a good time.
As for the fingerprints… Note that Hannah only gets agitated about the wig, the fingerprints do not move her that much. Still, we need to explain them. I can offer three hypotheses, including two reasonable ones and one bordering on insanity, but really fun to spin.
What the heck, let’s start with the crazy one. Hannah in Eve mode, with the blonde wig on — slept with some random men in Hannah’s house.
What is this hypothesis based on?
As I mentioned it earlier a few times, we need to think of the detectives too, not just about Hannah and Eve. The policemen realized during the last interview that Hannah was telling them lies. For this interview, they had already checked her financial records, possibly analyzed the fingerprints, asked around about Hannah, and gathered some evidence, like the mirror and …the guitar. They have nothing concrete, though, and for now their only hope is to keep Hannah talking and revealing herself.
Here is one of the things that the detectives found out: later in this very interview, Hannah replies to their question in this way: “No! You’re talking to the wrong person if you think I’m some kind of slut. If you think I’m the kind of person that would have had sex with all those guys.” (HANNAH D430).
Now, what “all those guys” did the detective mention? It is possible they talked about some specific people (not necessarily by name, but still, an identifiable group). Doesn’t the fact they mentioned them at all suggests they learned something about Hannah’s secret, her second life (which would also explain the guitar taken as evidence)? Of course, Hannah could also have just slipped here and say “all those guys” thinking of Eve’s boyfriend she was aware of (even if through the diary).
We know that Eve slept around in the past — that’s how she got the STD ten years ago — but we also know she never stopped. In her final interview, Eve says, “[…]. I told her it was one of my boyfriends, someone I had met in a bar.” (EVE D759). That is just a lie she claims to have said to Hannah, but for such a lie to work it needed to be plausible. Since Hannah easily believed her, we can assume that Eve possibly never changed her lifestyle.
So, sometime in the last two weeks, Eve slept with one (or more) of her “boyfriends” in Hannah’s bed. Does not really matter if this was before or after the murder — she was not the killer, remember — although the psychological evaluation of the act would be different depending on the case. Personally, I think it was before the murder, and right before she found out she was pregnant. After realizing she’s bearing Simon’s child, she probably wouldn’t risk sex with strangers anymore.
There is even a Grimms’ fairy tale support for this hypothesis. It is the only — I think — fairy tale that features a bedroom in an important role, and it is called The Frog King or Iron Heinrich. Here is the relevant fragment:
Finally [the frog] said, “I have eaten all I want and am tired. Now carry me to your room and make your bed so that we can go to sleep.” […]
She picked him up with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and set him in a corner. As she was lying in bed, he came creeping up to her and said, “I am tired, and I want to sleep as well as you do. Pick me up or I’ll tell your father.”
With that she became bitterly angry and threw him against the wall with all her might. “Now you will have your peace, you disgusting frog!”
But when he fell down, he was not a frog, but a prince with beautiful friendly eyes. […]. Then they fell asleep.
Both a frog and a prince in one bedroom can be read as Eve sleeping in Hannah’s bedroom both with a prince (Simon) and a “frog” (random man or men).
And now let’s return to planet Earth, and take a look at two more reasonable hypotheses.
When discussing the mystery of colors, I mentioned that Homicide: Life on the Streets TV Series was a major inspiration for Sam Barlow. Created by the author of the book that the TV series was based on, The Homicide Lexicon, a set of informal rules that apply in the majority of homicide cases, is something that Sam has undoubtedly studied well, e.g. Hannah’s behavior when she is left alone at HANNAH D437 is taken straight from the fourth rule of the lexicon.
Here are these rules:
- Everyone lies. Murderers lie because they have to; witnesses and other participants lie because they think they have to; everyone else lies for the sheer joy of it, and to uphold a general principle that under no circumstances do you provide accurate information to a cop.
- The victim is killed once, but a crime scene can be murdered a thousand times.
- The initial 10 or 12 hours after a murder are the most critical to the success of an investigation.
- An innocent man left alone in an interrogation room will remain fully awake, rubbing his eyes, staring at the cubicle walls and scratching himself in dark, forbidden places. A guilty man left alone in an interrogation room goes to sleep.
- It’s good to be good; it’s better to be lucky.
- When a suspect is immediately identified in an assault case, the victim is sure to live. When no suspect has been identified, the victim will surely die.
- First, they’re red. Then they’re green. Then they’re black. (Referring to the color of an open case on the board, the money that must be spent to investigate the case, and the color of the solved murder as it is listed on the board)
- In any case where there is no apparent suspect, the crime lab will produce no valuable evidence. In those cases where a suspect has already confessed and been identified by at least two eyewitnesses, the lab will give you print hits, fiber evidence, blood typings and a ballistic match.
- To a jury, any doubt is reasonable; the better the case, the worse the jury; a good man is hard to find, but 12 of them, gathered together in one place, is a miracle.
- There is too such a thing as a perfect murder. Always has been, and anyone who tries to prove otherwise merely proves himself naive and romantic, a fool who is ignorant of Rules 1 through 9.
And so we can have two hypotheses based on the first two points.
Based on the second rule, the hypothesis is that the fingerprints were basically from one of the cops or whoever else was there when the police raided Hannah’s house. As simple as that.
Based on the first rule, and on general knowledge of police investigative techniques, the hypothesis is that the cops simply lied to Hannah. They know she is lying, they learned a lot about her life already, they started suspecting infidelity. They found suspicious wig hairs, and now they simply want to overwhelm Hannah with “evidence” of “this other person” existing (EVE D521), push her in order to get Hannah crack and spill the beans.
This hypothesis is strengthened by Sam Barlow’s eternal praise for “Three Men and Adena” episode of Homicide. It’s a “one room” episode, in which two detectives try to get a confession out of a man accused of a horrible crime. At one point, the detectives lie to the man, in order for him to crack and admit his guilt.
HANNAH D416: OK. I parked up on the street. It was busy so I had to park down the end of the road. Walked up. Knocked on the door. No answer. I took my keys out of my bag and unlocked the door. The main lock was unlocked. You can tell because the key doesn’t turn when you try to turn it to the left. I walked in. Simon’s coat wasn’t on the peg. I couldn’t see his shoes in the shoe rack. I shouted out. I walked straight into the kitchen because he usually sits in there to have a cup of tea and read his paper. But he wasn’t there. I touched the kettle. It was cold. I looked quickly in the living room. Nothing. I walked upstairs to the bedroom. He wasn’t there. I didn’t search for him because it was pretty clear he wasn’t there. I had a shower. The phone rang whilst I was in the shower. I didn’t answer it. I think it was Eric. Then I was just exhausted so I lay down on the bed and I fell asleep though I didn’t mean to. I woke up a couple of hours later and I was surprised to see no one in the bed next to me. And then I remembered where I was and what had happened. That’s was when Eric called again. This time I spoke to him. Then I called Doug and Eleanor. And then I decided to come and see you. That enough?
The infamous rehearsed statement that Eve will later repeat almost word for word (EVE D502). The major differences are the way the lock is described and the way Hannah and Eve address Hannah’s parents (both discussed before).
One possible extra here is Hannah falling asleep even though she “didn’t mean to” and that odd addition of “then I remembered where I was”. Earlier, she fell asleep during her Glasgow trip. Such sudden sleep attacks may be when the Eve persona kicks in. But we are probably dealing with a good old sleep here. After all, Hannah/Eve was exhausted after the all night drive to Glasgow, and then after the seven-hour drive back home.
HANNAH D417: Yes, this is it. He made it himself. It’s a special one off. He made it. He decorated it. That’s his thing. Where did you find it?
The mirror was most likely put away by Eve, when cleaning up the crime scene. Eve lied about it earlier (EVE D350: “The mirror? I can’t remember. I put it somewhere safe. Upstairs, I think. I haven’t looked at it since”) but her final interview suggests she was the one who hid it. That is why Hannah is surprised when the police present the mirror.
HANNAH D418: Silver leaf? No. He normally silvers them properly. This mirror, it’s supposed to look antique. The reflection isn’t as good. It’s the perfect mirror for someone who doesn’t like to look at their own reflection.
Compare Hannah’s “The kind of mirror a princess would have in a story.” (HANNAH D212) with the above “[…] It’s the perfect mirror for someone who doesn’t like to look at their own reflection.” I don’t know of many princesses who — unless turned into a frog — would enjoy a useless mirror. Most likely the princess mirror is the description of the mirror before the glass was shattered, and the above reflection is Hannah’s dislike either of Eve, or her illness.
Here is the mirror in question (as the MITT cards, taken from the game’s backgrounds pack):
Note how the mirror lacks any silver-like surface that would make it, you know, a mirror as we know them. Hannah claims that it’s on purpose, that the mirror did not feature the silver leaf because “it’s supposed to look antique” and as such is unable to offer a reflection of modern quality.
I mentioned earlier that Hannah seems to be oblivious to the mirror’s baggage, plus she claims not to remember when she put it away. Her odd behavior is visible in other clips too. In this one, she goes from informative to sad to happy with the speed of light. All pretty creepy, considering the context, and suggesting a severely damaged empathy. For a moment, we see Hannah as the witch from Little Snow-White, admiring herself in the mirror.
We have a couple of mirror hypotheses to discuss here. Was the mirror really a present, and then the murder weapon, or is it all a story that Hannah and Eve made up? Possibly. Was there ever a second mirror? Unlikely.
For the sake of space, I’m just going to roll with Ockham’s razor here, and assume that the mirror is indeed the murder weapon. It’s a fairly clean hypothesis. What happened, then?
It’s actually quite simple. Originally, the mirror did have the silver leaf. To create a faux-antique mirror, sometimes a silver leaf is applied to the back of a pane of glass, which is then inserted into the mirror’s frame.
When she was arguing with Simon, Hannah broke the mirror in anger, then grabbed a piece of glass and swung it to scare Simon away, but ended up accidentally — or “accidentally” — slashing his throat. Then she got rid of all pieces of the glass, including the piece she killed Simon with. Hannah/Eve kept the mirror, as it was of great sentimental value. She is now pretending that the mirror never had the silver leaf, and the fact it sucks as a mirror is because “it’s supposed to look antique”.
HANNAH D419: Well, on his clothes? That would make sense. He made it. By hand. I mean he brushes the silver onto the glass. It’s not how they make mirrors these days. I mean, he made the mirror… He gave it to me.
The sentimental, emotional value I just talked about. As it almost always the case with her, Hannah is less focused on Simon, and more on the fact someone made something special just for her.
HANNAH D420: In his throat? How?
Hannah puts away the mirror is if it suddenly started burning her hands. She is finally in synch with reality.
As noted earlier, the silver particles in Simon’s throat were most likely from the mirror’s glass with the silver leaf applied to the back of the pane.
HANNAH D421: An affair? Simon wasn’t having an affair.
True. Simon knew his “affair” was with his wife.
HANNAH D422: No. Simon wasn’t seeing another woman.
True again. Note how cold Hannah becomes when stating the above.
HANNAH D423: Good. Happy. I mean ups and downs like any couple, I guess, but we’ve been married for over ten years.
HANNAH D424: I don’t know if anyone really changes. You just become more yourself. Simon was my prince and that hasn’t changed.
Hannah did become more herself, meaning her MPD became obvious to Simon. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when Simon realized that Hannah suffers from the MPD, though. It could have been years ago, it’s just that the problem became more noticeable last few years or even months, when the marriage stopped working and Hannah brought Eve back.
This is the best Simon gets from Hannah when it comes to her display of affection. On every other occasion she mentions him, Hannah is either talking more about herself, or plain simply states “it’s always been complicated between me and Simon” (HANNAH D226).
But whenever Eve talks about Simon — pretending to be Hannah, or being herself — her affection is much stronger, up to “I loved him!” scream in EVE D520.
It’s possible, then, that Simon was Eve’s true love, but Hannah married Simon mostly to prove something to herself and Eve. That she also can get a boy.
HANNAH D425: Really? You’re going to ask me about my sex life? I mean isn’t that private?
Ah, 1994, the time before Snapchat.
HANNAH D426: Are you married? How is your sex life?
We have noticed it earlier that Hannah should know the answer to the first question, as Eve already asked it before (EVE D114). However, I think the detectives realized they might be dealing with two person(a)s earlier, e.g. when one thing — the MITT — led them to believe that Hannah was lying about the murder, but another thing — the Glasgow trip — suggested that Hannah had an alibi. That, and the investigation between the interviews.
HANNAH D427: Well, there you go. How many kids?
And here we go with another one of these, but this time Hannah asks the question first, and then Eve repeats it later (EVE D507: “You have children?”) unaware she should already know the answer.
HANNAH D428: So our sex life is probably fairly average for a couple after ten years of marriage.
So, like, once a month?
HANNAH D429: No! I have never been unfaithful. I’ve never cheated on Simon.
Infidelity is the motive that the detectives are after. But note how they look at both sides of that coin. Earlier, they asked if Simon ever cheated on Hannah. Reasonable, as such betrayal could have been what pushed Hannah to murder her husband. But now they’re asking if Hannah ever cheated on Simon, as this could also lead to a fight between the spouses.
HANNAH D430: No! You’re talking to the wrong person if you think I’m some kind of slut. If you think I’m the kind of person that would have had sex with all those guys.
Discussed the mystery of “all those guys” earlier. And yes, they are talking to the wrong person indeed.
HANNAH D431: Not really. He would go to the pub. He had his drinking buddies there. But no one ever really came back to the house. Sometimes Eric, his boss, and his wife would come over for dinner. That would be us returning the favour. Diane is a really good cook, into her trendy ingredients. The last time, Simon cooked something off Masterchef. He got the recipe off Ceefax. And I did my Lloyd Grossman bit commenting from the sidelines. I had to find fennel from the supermarket. Have you ever eaten fennel?
Ah, fennel, the reason behind sleepless nights of many armchair detectives. Or just me?
There is some speculation online about fennel being possibly a cause of miscarriage, but I don’t see how it’s relevant here. First, you’d really have to eat a lot of fennel, far beyond a dinner with friends. Second, Hannah emphasizes “the last time”, as if the dinner happened quite recently — so the story is not about the miscarriage she had ten years ago.
The real reason fennel is featured in the story is because it’s an Easter Egg. Rapunzel, the skeleton of Her Story, is known to us from The Brothers Grimm’s books, but there are multiple versions of that fairy tale around the world. One of them features fennel instead of the rapunzel plant, and is called Fenchelchen, i.e. Little Fennel. Ta-dam!
Encyclopaedia Britannica ran an educational series once, called Britannica’s Fairy Tales From Around the World . Its goal was to “bring classic fairy tales to life in a new way, by pairing them with similar stories from all over the world.”, and Rapunzel was paired with Fenchelchen (Malta) and The Princess in the Tower (Israel). But of course you can find Fenchelchen in other places, too.
I think it’s worth adding at this point that the game is filled to the brim with both fairy tale parallels and Easter Eggs. Basically, every time a sentence or a word feel just that tiny little bit off — like fennel, or chips on the beach, or Paddington Bear coat — you can be certain there’s a fairy tale behind it. Of course, the Easter Eggs are just the icing on the cake. Sam Barlow went much deeper than that, and made fairy tales the core of the story.
I spent countless hours figuring out and digging up these references, but I am sure I missed quite a few. So even though I think I found enough to make the fairy tale layers of the game obvious, if you find something I missed, let me know, and I will be happy to update the post.
HANNAH D432: Hurt someone? Yes. But everyone thinks that from time to time, right? You just want to lash out?
HANNAH D433: Well, my friend Eve. I mean she was a friend when I was a kid. She was always more popular with the boys and I used to hate her for it. I mean, really hate her sometimes.
Simon was the only boy that chose Hannah for being Hannah, and the recent Eve’s affair with him — that is how Hannah saw it — was the reason why Hannah went berserk and killed him.
This clip also shows the mixed feelings Hannah has towards Eve. Sometimes it’s love, as when she says LOVEU in the Knock Code. But sometimes it’s pure hatred. It’s confirmed in the next clip, when Hannah directly talks about “love/hate relationship”.
Another example of Hannah/Eve nervously playing with the wedding ring.
HANNAH D434: Yes. We’d fight. We fought on the beach once and I held Eve’s head underwater. There was no one else around, it was at the far end of the beach, and I held her head under and I kept it under. And for a moment I just wanted to kill her and watch her drown. But that was it. It was just a moment. We made up afterwards. It was a love-hate relationship.
A pretty creepy delivery of that recollection…
Hannah tried to drown Eve, but couldn’t. Being the same person, her survival instinct kicked in and Hannah stopped the murder-suicide attempt. But this is another example of Hannah’s murderous tendencies. As in the “bizarre and violent” fairy tales, taking a life is often her solution to a problem.
“We’d fight” is something that happens to people with multiple personalities (more on that during the final interview). It explains the bruise, but here we learn it’s not the first time the personalities fought.
HANNAH D435: A police station? Yeah. When I was young. We ran away on my birthday. Bob Dylan was playing in London and we thought we could break into his tour bus and have him take us with him. The taxi driver we paid to drop us off, I mean, we’d saved money pinched a bit here and there to pay for the fare. He was suspicious because we were so young, so he told the police. So they came and picked us up and took me back to Portsmouth. My mum picked me up from the station. But I blamed everything on my friend Eve so my parents let me off.
WHY NOT TWINS? The police picked up both twins, identical ones at that, but then only drove one back to Portsmouth? Come on. I mean, picture this: the cops have two identical girls at the station — fans of the game calculated that Hannah was twelve years old at the time, hence “so young” — and then deliver only one to her parents? What happened to Eve? There’s just no way this could have ended without Hannah’s parents learning about her twin.
And, by the way, if your twelve years old daughter carelessly ran away from home to see a rock concert in another city, and then blamed it all on “Eve”, wouldn’t you, if you were the parent, like to have a little talk with Eve and her parents? /END
What really happened, then, is that Hannah — as Eve — ran away to see Bob Dylan. The taxi driver got suspicious, called the police, the police picked up Hannah, returned her to her parents. Hannah explained “…but it was Eve!”. Hannah’s parents might have suspected their little girl has some mental health issues, but they also could have just blamed it all on her vivid imagination. After all, Hannah did love reading, watching, and making up fantastical stories, and the parents knew about her imaginary friends already (EVE D738–741).
HANNAH D436: Maybe a fresh cup of tea?
Hannah being Hannah.
HANNAH D437: Hannah, Hannah, Hannah. What are you doing talking about Eve? Poor Simon.
When left alone for a second, Hannah uses the knock code…
…to send a message: LOVEU. It’s more likely that the message is addressed to Eve than to Simon.
Note that Hannah (and then later Eve) uses both hands for the code. This can either be interpreted as a symbolic act in favor of the MPD hypothesis, or can be something more trivial: in real life, the actress playing Hannah/Eve is also a drummer in a band.
The fact she taps out the code to herself is not necessarily a proof of the MPD. She might just be reminiscing her past (same for Eve in her final interview), going back to a safe place.
Hannah seems genuinely unaware of the camera. If the police informed her — except it was Eve — at the first interview that all interrogations are recorded, Eve did not pass that info on to Hannah.
“Poor Simon” suggests that Simon’s death was really an accident or that Hannah may be regretting the murder. One other option, and that is my take, is that after the Knock Code message, Eve started to emerge, and “Poor Simon” is actually from her. The abrupt return of the detectives made Eve slide back into Hannah’s mind. The next time the Knock Code is used, Eve seems to be content that Hannah is not reacting to the message (she’s gone).
Going back to Homicide and its Homicide Lexicon, let’s look again at the fourth rule:
4. An innocent man left alone in an interrogation room will remain fully awake, rubbing his eyes, staring at the cubicle walls and scratching himself in dark, forbidden places. A guilty man left alone in an interrogation room goes to sleep.
While Barlow could not have Hannah go to sleep (the detectives just left her for a minute or two to get her a cup of tea), we still see the guilty man’s behavior at work. At the end of the clip, only the loud sound of the door opening pulls Hannah out of her “sleep”.
HANNAH D438: Just the one sugar. Thanks. Is that camera recording?
Hannah realizes that the police might be now even more interested in Eve.
HANNAH D439: Nineteen eighty four. It was an awful year in the end. We were living at Doug and Eleanor’s. I lost the baby at the end of spring, and my parents died in the summer. It was a hot summer, a heat wave. So when they discovered the bodies, it was just awful. Because of the circumstances, them dying together like that, they brought in a lot of police. A forensic entomologist. I had to look that up. It was because of the heat. It was just awful.
In case you wonder, an entomologist is a scientist who studies insects.
HANNAH D440: They said it was food poisoning. There was something in the food they ate. My dad liked to pick mushrooms, grow them too. They said it was the mushrooms. It was hard to believe. Death Caps. They have a skirt around the cap. My dad taught me that. But, I mean the police had no reason to think it was suspicious. They lived alone. And no one had any reason to hurt them.
Notice how Hannah smiles when she says: “It was hard to believe”.
HANNAH D441: Yeah. They’d gone to bed feeling ill, thinking it was flu or something. The neighbour called me and I had to use my key to let them in. We found them dead in their bed. They’d been there for days. No one had noticed. Just awful. It was so soon after my miscarriage. The worst year of my life. I’d been so happy to get married and after that it was just like: fuck.
I guess now, the fan of Her Story that you are, you expect me to analyze whether Hannah killed her parents or not. Very well, then.
No one knows for sure. Except Sam Barlow. We just don’t have enough information. So there. We should stop now and move on.
Nah, just kidding. Circumstantial evidence, and certain story logic and themes suggest that Hannah did poison her parents.
It’s not the fact that Hannah’s father knew everything about the mushrooms and thus would never poison himself and his wife. What, oddly enough, Hannah and Eve both emphasize during their interviews, suggesting foul play for some reason. Anyway, the world is full of knowledgeable and then dead mushroom pickers. It happens. It’s actually the whole reason why the police did not push for the murder angle.
I also wondered what Hannah meant by “They’d gone to bed feeling ill, thinking it was flu or something“. How would Hannah know that? But then I guess either she might have read about the effects of food poisoning in a book, or such information was passed on to her the police.
The other odd thing was: why did the neighbor called Hannah? She says just a bit later that “no one had noticed”. But I guess it could be that the neighbor was just generally concerned, and the “noticed” remark was about the parents being dead and rotting in their bed.
And what about the “just don’t poison the kids” (HANNAH D226) joke?
What can actually point us to the potential murder is when we compare Hannah’s statement of “We found them dead in their bed. They’d been there for days.” with the later one from Eve: “I was living in the attic. […]. Then I came down one morning and they were dead. […] And I’d slept through it. […]” (EVE D748).
WHY NOT TWINS? Hannah says “they brought in a lot of police”, and then Eve claims that the police “never even looked in the attic” (EVE D748). That just does not compute. Even if the police ultimately did not go for the murder angle, they would have surely looked around the house. Before they knew it was food poisoning, what they found were just two rotting corpses, and it’s an obvious routine to see if a third party was involved.
The other thing that does not compute is Eve living in the house for a few days — in the summer “heat wave”, no less — with two corpses. Why didn’t she notify Hannah immediately? How did that conversation go when she finally did? “So, Eve, I get it. Obviously I know you live in the attic, so you must have seen our parents dead days ago. I think the fact you did not let me know is not weird at all.” — something like this? /END
I mentioned the possibility that the sleep is when sometimes the switch happens, and here we have another example — when Eve says “I’d slept through it”. It’s possible, then, that it was Hannah who, after the trauma of stillbirth, poisoned her parents to free the house and move back to the comfort and fantasy of her old life. “[…] I inherited it from my parents so it made sense to move back. Me and Simon. Felt like going back to old ways before the pregnancy. Reminded me of being a girl. The dollhouse in the attic, old things. […]” (HANNAH D225)
Also, note how Hannah played nervously with her wedding ring when she, and not Eve, talked about her parent’s death (HANNAH D224).
As for the thing that does not work for the twin hypothesis — the “a lot of police”, but somehow they “never even looked in the attic” — that’s just stating the fact they never suspected Hannah. Alternatively, Eve, in her delusion, was surprised they did not find her.
The poison flows in The Brothers Grimm’s tales. The infamous apple is not the only example of evil witches trying to eliminate people with food. Here’s a fragment of The Riddle that involves sleep, poison and broken glass resulting in death:
The old woman was sitting in an armchair by the fire. She looked at the stranger with her red eyes. “Good evening,” she croaked, pretending to be quite friendly. “Sit down and rest.”
She blew into the coals on which she was cooking something in a small pot. The daughter warned the two to be cautious, to eat nothing, and to drink nothing, for the old woman brewed evil drinks. They slept soundly until early morning.
While they were getting ready to leave, and the prince had already mounted his horse, the old woman said, “Wait a moment. Let me give you a farewell drink.”
[…] But that instant the glass broke and the poison spilled onto the horse. It was so strong that the animal immediately fell down dead.
HANNAH D442: Yeah. I was infertile. Thought I was. They told me I was infertile after the miscarriage because of complications.
HANNAH D443: I would have been a good mother. I was young, but I would have been a good mother. She was a girl, by the way. The baby. We were going to call her Sarah. Simon wanted to call her Ava after his nana, but I didn’t want her to have a symmetrical name.
Sarah is Eve’s daughter, even if Eve is Hannah. The reason why Hannah did not want her daughter to have “a symmetrical name” was the fear of the MPD curse. It stands in contrast to Hannah being proud of her palindrome name in the first interview, but we know it was actually Eve who said it.
“I would have been a good mother” is not true, despite Hannah insisting on it twice, as if she was trying to convince herself, not the police. It’s the reason why Eve decided to protect the baby by taking over the Hannah personality (or why Hannah decided to disappear).
HANNAH D444: It’s all that matters, really, the baby. Simon’s dead. But the baby… That’s how he will live on. Our baby.
The baby is the priority for both Hannah and Eve. The way Hannah speaks at the end suggests that when she says “our”, she does not just mean Simon and Hannah, but also — or maybe exclusively — Hannah and Eve.
As I mentioned it in the comment to the previous clip, Hannah considering the baby as her priority might explain her will to disappear later.
HANNAH D445: No. No, Simon didn’t play guitar. He wasn’t very musical. He liked to listen but he was tone deaf.
Here the detectives play it smart: first they just ask about Simon, and only after the confirmation he was “tone deaf”, their next question is a direct one about the guitar belonging to Hannah.
The police must be suspecting something at this point. Otherwise they wouldn’t just randomly ask about one of the hundreds of objects from Hannah’s house. It’s possible they heard something about Hannah’s blonde wig gig in a bar, and, with all other discoveries made during the interviews, started considering the existence of twins.
HANNAH D446: Yes. Yeah, it’s my guitar.
WHY NOT TWINS? The police found the guitar in Hannah’s house, it’s one of the items from the crime scene. What was Eve’s guitar doing in Hannah’s house? Did Eve bring it with herself for the confrontation with Hannah on the day of the murder? But why would Hannah keep such a revealing item, why wouldn’t Eve take it back to her bedsit? They get rid of the blonde wig, but not the guitar? /END
When I first played the game, the guitar — and then the ballad — felt random. And why don’t they ask Hannah to play the instrument right away?
Even though it’s all still a bit silly, I realized the answer is dead simple: we do not see the guitar in this clip because the police just do not have it with them yet. It may have been collected from the house, but is just not brought in from the storeroom to the interrogation room yet. It’s a bit of a lousy police work — why ask about potentially important evidence without being able to push further? — but at least it explains the chain of events. Even if it does not explain why Hannah is not surprised about the question or why Eve later agrees to play the ballad like it’s something totally not weird, considering the context.
Interview 5: Eve— July 1st (Saturday)
EVE D501: Black, no sugar. Thanks.
Welcome back, Eve.
EVE D502: OK. I parked up on the street. It was busy so I parked down the end of the road. I walked up to the house. I knocked on the door. No answer. I took my keys out of my bag, unlocked the door. The main lock was unlocked. I could tell because the key wouldn’t turn when I tried to turn it to the left. I walked in. Simon’s coat wasn’t on the peg. I couldn’t see his shoes in the shoe rack. I shouted out for him. I walked straight into the kitchen. He often sits in there to have a cup of tea and read his paper. He wasn’t there. I touched the kettle. It was cold. I looked quickly into the living room. Nothing. I walked upstairs to the bedroom. He wasn’t there. I didn’t search for him because it was pretty clear he wasn’t there. Then I had a shower. Whilst I was in the shower the phone rang. I think it was Eric, his boss. I didn’t answer it. Then I came out and I was just exhausted, so I lay down on the bed and I fell asleep but I didn’t mean to. I woke up a couple of hours later and I was surprised to see no-one in the bed next to me. And then I remembered where I was and what had happened. That’s when Eric called again. I spoke to him. Then I called Simon’s parents. And then I decided to come and see you. That enough?
We discussed this statement in a couple of places before.
EVE D503: Yes. I speak with Eleanor at least once a day. Not that there’s anything much to say. It’s more just as… Fuck!
Was the coffee spill accidental or not? Depends on whether Eve was sabotaging Hannah or not.
EVE D504: No, I’m OK. Fuck.
EVE D505: Oh. My tattoo? I got it to express my individuality. It’s an apple and a snake.
And now it’s time for the tattoo.
Here is what we know: up until this interview, Eve wore long sleeve jackets, we couldn’t see if she had the tattoo or not. However, we could see that certainly Hannah did not have it during her interviews. Long sleeve short, I mean, long story short, the tattoo appears now for the first time.
It also appears for the last time. We never see it again. I would argue that it’s more literal than you think: for her final interview, Eve wears a semi-transparent blouse, and we can easily see her dark blue bra — but not the black tattoo (see EVE D701–702). However, the low quality of the VHS and the lighting makes it impossible to tell it for certain that the tattoo is gone. So I will operate under the “we do not know” assumption.
So, is the tattoo real?
Well, we know for sure that in the real world it is not, because the actress certainly did not ink her arm — and in an odd place, too, too low for an arm tattoo — just for the game. So she is using some sort of a fake, temporary tattoo.
But does the game want us to believe the tattoo is real?
There’s just no way of telling. For example, even with the low-quality video, you can see the tattoo is a fake. One, an eight-year-old tattoo would be lighter: darkish but faded and muted green, and not relatively fresh black. A tattoo never keeps the intensity of the color of the first few months. Eve might have had it recolored, but the game just does not seem to be moving in that direction. Two, you can see the tattoo glistens in the light, and that’s not what real tattoos do. A sweaty skin can glisten, of course, but that wouldn’t be limited to just the tattoo area.
However, it could just be that Sam Barlow, with his limited budget and resources, made a simple mistake and could not (or forgot to) choose a lighter shade of color and apply some anti-glare powder on the temporary tattoo.
Could Eve have gotten the tattoo just before the interview? Normally, no, there’s swelling and some blood and usually your arm is wrapped in plastic for a couple of days. But could that also be a mistake? Sure. When I got my tattoo, I also thought I’d be able to show it to people right after it was done. The fact that the tattoo looks good on you only two or three weeks later is something that many people are unaware of.
I could talk about all possible options and second guess the creator for hours. Instead, let me wave the Ockham’s razor again and assume that Sam did a proper research, did not make any mistakes, and what we see is what we get.
In that case, we have two options.
One option, the tattoo is real, but during her interviews, Hannah hides it under some makeup, as it’s not something she identifies with. I am not a big fan of this option, as the effort to keep the tattoo covered all these years is just not worth it, even if you don’t like the tattoo. One could argue that Hannah only covers the tattoo recently, for the interviews, in order to avoid questions about it. But that’s weak too. She would have been able to explain it easily (“a mistake I made once”) and not go through with the whole makeup hassle. It’s not something as temporary and obvious to cover up as a bruise.
Still, to be clear, it’s a valid option. Hannah may have hated the tattoo (she actually really would, as it brands her as “Eve”), and that would explain the makeup and the effort of covering it up.
The second option is that the tattoo is temporary.
Why didn’t the detectives scream “Gotcha!”? Well, we cannot be sure they noticed they were dealing with a temporary tattoo. The tattoo itself is pretty solid: we see Eve stroking it with her hand and nothing bad happens to it. So maybe the detectives simply did not notice that the tattoo was not real. It’s not like interrogation rooms are flooded with people with fake and real tattoos for comparison.
But if they did notice the tattoo was fake, well, wearing a temporary tattoo is not exactly a crime they could or should arrest Eve for. They do not want Eve to stop talking, and they don’t want to scare her away. They took a mental note “She wears a temporary tattoo” and that’s it.
Depending on their observation skills, the detectives either know the tattoo is fake, and then they start believing Hannah and Eve are the same person, or they think the tattoo is true and they keep going after the twins angle.
Why did Eve do the tattoo in the first place?
“He guessed my name from my tattoo“ (EVE D753) suggests the tattoo is not a recent thing. Temporary tattoos are just something Eve does for her bar singer persona. She can bother with a blonde wig, she can bother with a temporary tattoo. So she did get the tattoo eight years ago, in a way. A whole bunch of them, actually.
EVE D506: About eight years back. It was a present to myself. I shouldn’t even be drinking coffee with the baby. It’s been hard trying to give it up. I think they say you can have one cup.
EVE D507: You have children?
EVE D508: Cute. You must love them very much. What ages are they?
EVE D509: They must think it’s very cool that their dad is a police detective.
EVE D510: Yeah we were seventeen. It was a nice wedding people said. Simon looked very handsome in the photos. His parents paid for everything. He’s an only child so it was important to them. It was what they called a shotgun wedding but if you looked at the photos you couldn’t tell. The dress was beautiful. It looked like Princess Diana’s. The train wasn’t quite as long, though! There’s a great photo of the bridesmaid helping to carry it out of the car.
Note that Eve’s recollection of the wedding is entirely based on various photos and what “people said”. She talks about the wedding as if she wasn’t there. Well, she wasn’t. Remember that, for a moment, Hannah felt as if “It felt like it was just me and Simon for that moment, just the two of us.” (HANNAH D219).
EVE D511: Was he my first? No need to be so coy. No, he wasn’t my first. That would have been Carl. He was a local boy. In a band. He was a bit of a shit but he was sexy. We were fifteen.
Slip of tongue. When she says “we were fifteen”, she means her and Hannah, as we can see it in this answer:
EVE D512: No. I was fifteen. Carl was older, seventeen, I think. I was really into him. Regardless of how he actually behaved. Lots of drunken teenage sex. We did it in a church once. Stupid. So, he got tired of us and we split up after about six months. It was sad but… Those early experiences they help you realise who’s really important to you. You know… Family.
Another slip, assuming this is not sabotage: “So, he got tired of us”.
The story is one of the things that explain why Eve is so loyal and attached to Hannah. Family.
EVE D513: Family. So, Carl fucked off and there were other boys here and there. And then Simon.
The tattoo, the playfulness, the memories of drunken teenage sex, the coarse language. Eve is not working very hard to be Hannah anymore.
EVE D514: At the glaziers. I worked there some weekends and Simon had a part time job there too. That was Eric’s generosity. He was always good at helping out other people’s children. Simon was quiet, more thoughtful than the other boys. Even then he had a sense of craftsmanship. Wasn’t always rushing stuff. Boys that age are just running around like headless chickens most of the time. Plus he had that look. He looked like a fairy tale prince from one of my books.
This is another time when Eve expresses how impressed she was with Simon, e.g. compare to “Simon does the more special work. Mirror making feature windows. Artistic things. Really beautiful things.” (EVE D103).
EVE D515: I wouldn’t say that. It could be passionate. It’s just there was more than that. It wasn’t just sex like it had been with the other boys.
Interesting to speculate what was the detective’s question here. It’s possible he alluded to a statement from an earlier interview. Suspecting twins, they are comparing the interviews, as seen in the next question.
EVE D516: Have I ever cheated on Simon? You asked that question yesterday.
It seems like Eve finally found a good use of Hannah’s diary.
EVE D517: Simon was very moral about that sort of thing. He wouldn’t just walk out there and sleep with anyone. He wasn’t that kind of guy. He took his marriage very seriously.
EVE D518: Simon never cheated on me. He was devoted to me and I was devoted to him. Nothing in life is easy. We were good to each other. Life isn’t a fairy tale. You do what you can.
Well, I happen to believe that sometimes life, or at least a part of it, is a fairy tale indeed. But not in this case, no. It’s a statement much closer to the truth than the later “[…] Do you want to hear the story? It’s a real life fairy tale.” (EVE D721).
EVE D519: You’re reaching here and I don’t know why. No, I’ve never cheated on anyone. I’ve never taken anything from anyone. Simon is dead. But I have my baby to care for. Why are you trying to make me sad? Why are you so obsessed with sex and affairs? You cheated on your wife? Is this your thing?
Uh oh, Eve is in the attack mode, catching on, better say “Yes”.
EVE D520: And what did your wife do? She didn’t kill you. You think I killed Simon because he was having an affair? Well, I didn’t kill him. I wasn’t even there. I was in Glasgow worrying about whether my baby was still growing inside me. I mean, why would I kill Simon? I loved him!
“I didn’t kill him. I wasn’t even there” is accurate. And Eve was indeed worried about the baby, considering Hannah’s tragic past, and her recent fight with Hannah.
EVE D521: This other person doesn’t exist. I don’t know what the blonde wig is but it could be anything. Have you looked at the cat flap?
The detectives were trying to calm Eve down, they said they’re not accusing her of killing Simon, it must have been “this other person”, the one who wore the wig. If only they knew they’re talking to this person… Or maybe they did.
EVE D522: I mean what if they were crazy? You hear about these crazy people all the time. I mean why would anyone who knew Simon want to kill him?
Knowing Simon and having mental health issues are not two mutually exclusive things, Eve.
EVE D523: No. I’ve had enough coffee for today, thanks. A glass of water?
Eve calmed down.
EVE D524: Is that camera recording?
So Hannah passed on the info that the police were asking about Simon cheating on her (EVE D516: “Have I ever cheated on Simon? You asked that question yesterday.”), but nothing on the camera recording the whole thing? Or is Eve asking that question on purpose?
EVE D525: If you put me on You’ve Been Framed, I want the money.
EVE D526: Yeah. That’s me. But February? I mean that was months ago. What’s that got to do with Simon’s murder?
Here we begin another telling segment, one that involves a speeding ticket and a mysterious trip to Oxford. To be clear, we do not know for sure if those two elements are connected. And that is not the only mystery of this section. Actually, there are so many of them here, that it’s probably the most puzzling section in the entire game.
When I started to explain all possible mysteries and interpretations of this part of the interview, I ended up with four pages of text, and I wasn’t even half done. So instead of trying to analyze all possible paths, I decided to choose and present just one possible path, assuming — the flow of the interview seems to suggest so — that the ticket and the Oxford trip are connected.
For a moment I thought the timeline doesn’t work with such assumption, but then after some actual simple math it does. In her final testimony, Eve says she missed three periods (EVE D758) since she first slept with Simon. Depending on whether Eve was right after her third missed period, right before her fourth missed period, or anything in-between when the killing of Simon happened, we could establish that the first time she slept with Simon was sometime between mid-February to mid-March. So the sexy weekend could have happened at the end of February, for example.
Let’s do the detectives again.
Take a look at this speeding ticket. Do you remember where were you going and why you were in such a hurry? And why doesn’t your workplace have a note of your absence at that hour?
EVE D527: Well, I don’t know. I probably had to pop out and get something. That’s why I was speeding. And that wouldn’t have been noted on my time sheet. But I really can’t remember back to February.
But you remember getting the ticket?
EVE D528: Well, I remember the ticket. Of course. I paid it without telling Simon. Didn’t want to get told off. And they put points on the license.
But you don’t remember why you were speeding and where to?
EVE D529: Like I said, I think I was popping out to get something. Ran out of something. Had to go grab something. I sometimes drive too fast. If you want, you can arrest me for that.
Of course not. But we hoped you would remember more details about this ticket.
EVE D530: You must be desperate for leads if you’re getting hung up over six month old speeding tickets.
Well, it’s not just the ticket. Maybe this will help: wasn’t Simon at a conference in Oxford that day in February?
EVE D531: There was a conference. Something to do with double glazing. In Oxford?
Well, that’s what the invoice from the hotel says. But the truth is, we checked, and there wasn’t any conference in Oxford at that time.
EVE D532: Are you sure? What would he be doing in Oxford if there was no conference? I remember calling him. He said it was boring and spent most of the time in the bar.
The hotel claims he never even left the place. Seems like there weren’t any conference bars happening.
EVE D533: And the hotel said he was there?
Yes, we went there to confirm this in person. Quite a romantic place, by the way.
Yes. And they saw someone looking just like you there. They said Simon and that person behaved like lovers on a romantic holiday.
EVE D534: OK. You got me. I’ll confess. We were there. It was a dirty weekend. Simon was going to expense it, pretend it was a business trip. I used a made up name. We stayed at the hotel. Had room service. Didn’t leave the room. It had a great view of the river and you could hear the church bells. Like you said it was very romantic.
We didn’t you tell us all that right away?
EVE D535: It was supposed to be a secret. Just because Simon is dead it doesn’t mean I have to give up all his secrets? It doesn’t have anything to do with what happened to Simon. No-one murdered my husband because he cheated his expenses for a romantic weekend in Oxford.
Detective mode off.
Just so you understand how I got buried under the permutations… The ticket may or may not be connected to the trip to Oxford. It could have been Eve who got the ticket (she is a bad driver, after all), or it could have been Hannah (she was in rush to check on Simon when she realized that there was no conference in Oxford). The detectives may or may not have heard from the hotel that someone looking like Hannah was there — there’s no way to determine that from Eve’s answer when she caves. And who knows, maybe Eve or Hannah weren’t even in the hotel at all. After all, there’s always a river, and there’s always a church (note EVE D333), and Eve claims she used a fake name.
Also, there’s the issue of faking the Oxford trip itself. The way Eve answers “There was a conference.” sound like a confirmation (“Indeed, there was a conference.”) and not the reveal of something previously unknown. That means the detectives had to use the “conference” word in their question.
It does not matter at the moment how the detectives learned about the conference (they could have just checked Simon’s expenses from his company credit card, or they asked about Simon at the company, etc.). The point is, they knew about Simon going to a conference. But how do you actually fake a conference trip? Ernst Brothers Glass company doesn’t even check if conferences actually take place? You just say “there was a conference, now give me money” and that’s it?
And let’s not forget HANNAH D205: “Well, Eric was like an uncle to him. They were pretty close, they spend a lot of time with each other. Especially when they have to go to conferences.” So Simon and Eric go to conferences together, but this time Simon went alone — and not because Eric was ill or anything?
Finally, are we to believe that Simon cheated on Eric — the guy he “spends a lot of time” with, never argues with, who got him a job when Simon dropped out of school, and gave Simon an expensive watch as a wedding gift? The same Eric who is basically Simon’s best friend and mentor?
The ticket and the Oxford trip is where Sam Barlow took Hemingway’s iceberg theory to extremes. There’s just so much data missing here that we could be wandering different paths for hours. So, as I said it earlier, let me just present one example path.
WHY NOT TWINS? This applies only if the ticket and Oxford are connected. So, if Eve was in the car, Hannah was not suspicious she needed it — remember, Eve does not have her own car — for the whole weekend? The same weekend her husband went to a conference? And if it was Hannah in the car …why? Why not just go with Simon in his van (or both in the Cavalier)? Of course, with some mental gymnastics both can be somewhat explained, but I thought I’d leave these questions here anyway. /END
Simon and Hannah’s marriage was having some trouble. It was not doing great these last months. Simon spent some time at the pub with his “drinking buddies”, sought refuge in Oxford, “when you’ve been married for ten years stuff accumulates. We could argue about anything.” (HANNAH D213). We can assume not a lot of sex happening, note how defensive Hannah gets when asked about it (HANNAH D425-HANNAH D428).
Contrary to what Eve said in her first interview, that “Simon isn’t the type to run off […]” (EVE D125) and contrary to other similar assurances of Simon being the happiest married man ever, Simon did run off. He asked his friend Eric to lie he was going to conference in Oxford in order to be alone and away from Hannah for a while.
Hannah learned that there was no conference, or just suspected so after learning that Eric did not go to Oxford with Simon. The princess betrayed by her price left her work in a hurry to rush to Oxford. When she got there, Simon had no choice but to spend a weekend with her, possibly trying to get the marriage back on track.
Variants are, of course, entirely possible. For example, the whole thing could have happened soon after Simon slept with Eve. Simon went to Oxford to think things through, alone. When Hannah was driving to the hotel, Eve persona took over in the time of crisis, and that explained the speeding ticket from a different angle, and the sexy weekend.
All right, just because I know there will be questions… If the ticket and Oxford are two separate issues, then, in short, things could have looked like this:
TICKET: Hannah got into Eve mode, and left work to drive somewhere. She said she would be back soon, she just needed to take care of something real quick — and thus her absence was not noted on her time sheet. In general, the idea that a person leaves work earlier than they should and that does not show up in their time sheet is not something unheard of, to put it mildly.
OXFORD: Either as described earlier, just without the car shenanigans. Or she was seen by the hotel, but it was a weekend with Hannah and the news took Eve by surprise, and she was making stuff up as she went and invented the secret sexy weekend giving vague “details” like the church and the river.
As I said it earlier, many more interpretations are possible, including Oxford being the traditional anniversary weekend for Hannah and Simon (see HANNAH D220 for details). Hemingway’s iceberg melted into a giant pool of bitter tears in the ocean of despair.
Luckily for us, the whole section is probably not crucial for the big picture, and the top level story wouldn’t change even if we removed it entirely.
The trip to Oxford is the final task for anyone attempting to solve the mystery of physical evidence under the MPD angle. We talked about the bruise, the fingerprints, the tattoo, and the ticket and Oxford. These wrenches thrown into the clean MPD narrative remind me of all the obstacles that the heroes of fairy tales — and multiple myths — must struggle with in order to reach their happy ending.
Many fairy tales directly deal with the subject, but I would like to single out the one titled The Shepherd Boy. To be rewarded, a boy needs to answer three very difficult questions from a king. The tale features what in my opinion is the most beautiful paragraph in any fairy tale that The Brothers Grimm have collected:
The King said, “The third question is, how many seconds of time are there in eternity.” Then said the shepherd boy, “In Lower Pomerania is the Diamond Mountain, which is two miles and a half high, two miles and a half wide, and two miles and a half in depth; every hundred years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on it, and when the whole mountain is worn away by this, then the first second of eternity will be over.”
EVE D536: You want me to play something? I’m not the world’s greatest guitar player. OK. Probably needs tuning. Nope. It’s OK. How about a traditional ballad? Should be right up your street.
There were two sisters came walking by the sea
Oh the wind and the rain
The eldest one pushed the other one in
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
See they both had a love for the captain’s son
Oh the wind and the rain
But he only cared for the youngest one
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
Oh the eldest envied her sister fair
Oh the wind and the rain
With her pretty little face and her long blonde hair
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
So she pushed her in and held her down
Oh the wind and the rain
And watched her as she slowly drowned
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
Oh she floated up and she floated down
Oh the wind and the rain
Floated till a ship came by
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
Out comes the captain’s son
Oh the wind and the rain
Father dear here swims a swan
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
And then it gets really weird so I think that’s a good place to stop.
Nice excuse to split a long clip in half, Sam.
Anyway, so the detectives are testing the bar singer skills of the woman sitting in front of them. I wonder if they were trying to catch Hannah or Eve being unable to play a guitar, or if they already knew they were dealing with Eve, and that little concert was just a confirmation. As I said it earlier, it’s odd they asked Hannah about the guitar, but only asked Eve to perform.
The song is a real XVII century murder ballad called The Twa Sisters. As it’s always the case with such songs, many variants exist — just google “dreadful wind and rain” or “twa sisters”.
For Her Story version, Sam Barlow took the variant that was about a girl murdering her sister, and changed a couple of lines to be even more in tune with the game’s themes, like the blonde hair.
Here are the relevant fragments stripped of the wind and rain echo:
There were two sisters came walking by the sea
The eldest one pushed the other one in
See they both had a love for the captain’s son
But he only cared for the youngest one
Oh the eldest envied her sister fair
With her pretty little face and her long blonde hair
So she pushed her in and held her down
And watched her as she slowly drowned
Eve’s joke after the second part of the song — “Anything you sing may be used as evidence against you.” — may suggest that the ballad is important to the events of Her Story. Let’s see…
Hannah tried to drown Eve years ago, and Eve was the one she was jealous of. That makes Hannah the older sister in the song. If we “translated” the above fragment to Her Story, we’d get something like this:
Hannah and Eve were walking by the sea
Hannah pushed Eve in
Hannah and Eve both loved Simon
But Simon only cared for Eve
Hannah envied Eve
Hannah envied the sexy, blonde wig wearer Eve
So she pushed her in and held her down
And watched her as she slowly drowned
So this is …weird. Yes, Hannah did try to drown Eve, we know that already. But Simon was not even in the picture yet. And when he finally was, he was into Hannah, not Eve.
Simon was under Eve’s spell lately (or at least that’s what Hannah believed), though, so maybe the song mixes two things. If that is the case, it’s just a song featuring certain themes from the story, but not exactly a Treasure Chest of Revelations…
…unless Simon tried to stop Hannah’s second attempt to kill Eve — this time as a grown up woman — and thus kill herself, and was tragically, accidentally killed in the result of the struggle. In that version, Hannah was devastated when she discovered the affair, when she realized that Simon was into Eve, that he slept with her and gave her that special princess mirror. She did not know that Simon was well aware that Eve is Hannah’s other personality. So, enraged, Hannah decided to finally kill Eve for good. She broke the mirror and tried to take Eve’s, I mean, her own life with a piece of glass. Simon tried to stop it, but got his own throat slashed accidentally.
This would explain why the song mixes the past with the present, and possibly why Eve nervously plays with her ring when asked about suicide (although that requires her to have at least a vague feeling that she and Hannah are the same person).
EVE D537: Really? OK. Here’s the rest.
Oh they laid her body on the dock to dry
Oh the wind and the rain
‘Til a fiddler with a fiddle came walking by
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
And he made a fiddle bow of her long hair
Oh the wind and the rain
Yes he made a fiddle bow of her long blonde hair
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
And he made fiddle pegs of her finger bones
Oh the wind and the rain
Yes he made fiddle pegs from her finger bones
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
And he made a fiddle out of her breastbone
Oh the wind and rain
The sound could pierce a heart of stone
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
But the only tune that the fiddle could play
Was oh the wind and rain
Yes the only tune that the fiddle could play
Oh the dreadful wind and rain.
Anything you sing may be used as evidence against you.
True, in a way that the first part of the song told us interesting things about Hannah and Eve. However, the second part of the song does not seem to feature any more potential revelations. It’s just a poetic ending to a great ballad.
This folk song stands in contrast to a similar folk tale. In Grimms’ The Singing Bone, a part of a musical instrument is made out of a bone found, and it makes the instrument automatically “sing its little song”. But instead of offering nothing but “dreadful wind and rain”, the song actually reveals that the bone belongs to a man killed by his jealous brother.
“The wicked brother could not deny the deed. He was sewn into a sack and drowned alive. The murdered man’s bones were laid to rest in a beautiful grave in the churchyard.”
EVE D538: Simon and Eric arguing? No. I can’t imagine they’d be arguing. They get on so well. Unless it was something to do with work. Maybe Simon was being too much of a perfectionist. But I don’t know. You should ask Diane.
What could Simon and Eric argue about? Oxford seems too trivial for this question to be asked now, and the detectives would have asked about Eric earlier anyway. And why would Diane know the details of the argument? Why doesn’t Eve tell the police to simply ask Eric?
Interview 6: Hannah — July 2nd (Sunday)
HANNAH D601: Coffee, I guess. Milk and sugar.
Two possible explanations.
One, Eve is taking over Hannah. Hair down, revealing neckline, the necklace, the coffee. The only things left from Hannah are the wedding ring and the sugar. She even swears as often as Eve. Honestly, the only proofs we have that this is Hannah is that she is not worried about her fingerprints (HANNAH D230 versus HANNAH D607) and that she calls Simon’s parents by name.
Okay, that, and the fact that all subtitles for this section are tagged “Hannah” in the game files.
Two, Hannah realized the police were on to her. To neutralize the suspicions of twins, she decided to look and behave more like Eve. She gets a lot of things right, but cannot stand her coffee black, so asks for sugar. The other detail she gets wrong is calling Simon’s parents by name.
It’s even possible that these are not mistakes, but Hannah’s attempt to throw off the detectives. The act she is presenting is as if she wanted the police see previously separate persons now being just one person.
HANNAH D602: This is the third day running you’ve called me in. I speak to Doug and Eleanor every day. They say you’ve been asking a lot of questions. About me. Should I be worried? Am I a suspect?
The police are closing in on Hannah, and she knows it.
HANNAH D603: I don’t see how it’s hard. We’ve established that I was in Glasgow when he was killed. You’ve spoken with the hospital?
They probably did, and they probably confirmed that Eve was in Glasgow. As I showed it previously, it was possible for one person to kill Simon and be in Glasgow.
HANNAH D604: Rehearsed? You ask me the same question, you’ll get the same answer. Is that your evidence? Of course I thought about what happened then. It’s all I’ve thought about. My husband is dead.
The detectives are ready to fire the cannon now…
HANNAH D605: Twins? Really? Are you really asking me that question?
It’s a funny moment in the game, when we start thinking of “twins”, type that in the search bar, and get an answer that sounds as if Sam Barlow himself was speaking.
HANNAH D606: Are you out of your mind? Twins?
Twins. Or “Are you out of your mind twins?”. Yes.
HANNAH D607: Really? Go on then. Take the cup. Run your fingerprints. They’ll match. Fucking idiot.
Poor detectives. The fingerprints will match indeed. I mean, they would always match, but they did not get it — I think — there were talking to the same person they already took the fingerprints from.
However, it’s not certain that Hannah’s reaction is due to the request for re-taking the fingerprints. She might have provocatively proposed to “take the cup” and “run your fingerprints” herself, knowing very well the fingerprints would match.
HANNAH D608: For fuck’s sake. Can I leave? Are you going to arrest me? No. They’d laugh you out of the building. A lawyer would make mincemeat of you.
Interesting that for the next interview there’s still no lawyer until the very last line of the game.
HANNAH D609: Are you arresting me? No. Fuck off. Open this door!
Okay, so Hannah had a meltdown.
Hannah cannot handle it all anymore, or she knows it’s just a question of time before she is caught. Goodbye, Hannah.
Interview 7: Eve — July 3rd (Monday)
EVE D701: This is a nicer room. This is where you take people when it’s time to arrest them?
And Hannah is gone. Hair down, revealing neckline, the necklace, no wedding ring.
EVE D702: Yes. I understand my rights. No, I don’t need a lawyer.
That, as we know, changes at the end of this interview.
EVE D703: Yes. No lawyer. What are you going to arrest me for?
It’s eerie how happy Eve is the body that is now exclusively her.
EVE D704: I didn’t murder Simon. You’ve got it wrong. You’ve got the wrong person.
If the killing of Simon was an accident, then it is devoid of malice and premeditation, and technically not murder. Also, yes, they got the wrong person.
EVE D705: Yes. I’ll take a lie detector test.
Did you know that lie detectors, i.e. polygraphs, are so unreliable they can make the most innocent person look guilty — just because that person is worried about not being believed? Did you know that typically all questions are read to the participant in advance? This is to get them anxious about the real test. Innocent people who had nothing to do with the crime will actually turn out to be more nervous about the control questions that the crime-related questions.
EVE D706: I’ve never taken a lie detector test before. Does it really work?
Not quite, but it has some uses, yes.
EVE D707: Yes. My name is Hannah Smith. Oh Shit. Sorry.
Eve was asked to answer simply yes or no. She screws up and goes beyond the simple yes. It’s not what gave Eve away, to be clear. We just hear it for our benefit. A short “Yes” would have failed the test as well.
EVE D708: Sorry. Yep, I get it. Yep. Yes.
EVE D709: Yes.
EVE D710: Yes.
EVE D711: No.
EVE D712: Yes.
EVE D713: Yes.
EVE D714: No.
EVE D715: No.
EVE D717: No.
The nightmare of those who tried to 100% the game in a legit way.
Since it’s Eve talking, she came out innocent on almost all of the crime-relevant questions we assume they asked her: like if she killed Simon (“No”), or if she was in Glasgow (“Yes”), et cetera.
EVE D718: I can take this stuff off now? Did I prove I’m innocent?
As we know, Eve failed that one question…
EVE D719: My name? That was the only question I failed? Your lie detector works!
This is what the detectives have been working towards all this time. Eve seems relieved she no longer has to pretend. She is finally ready to tell her story. She is ready to confess.
It’s the seventh interview. In Grimms’ The Twelve Brothers, a princess must stay silent until the seventh year. Only then she can speak the truth about what happened. In another Grimms’ tale, Maid Maleen, a princess escapes from a tower she was locked in on the seventh year of her imprisonment.
Eve is wearing white, the color associated with innocence and starting anew. In her confession, she will tell the truth. It’s not what actually happened, but in her mind Eve is not lying — she believes everything she says is true.
Instead of doing WHY NOT TWINS? under every remaining clip, let me sum up most of it here in one place. I hope you remember the rest of this interview — and if you don’t, read it again to refresh your memory, then come back here. The summary does not include every anti-twins argument, but I think there’s enough here to see the general problem with the hypothesis.
WHY NOT TWINS? Let’s see how the story looks like if it’s about twins.
So, a midwife named Florence lied to a woman that one of her two babies was dead, then secretly raised that baby in a house right across the street. She didn’t move to another city or even to a different street, she just lived, for eight years, with the stolen baby, literally opposite of the house of the woman she stole the baby from. The babies were identical twins.
Also, Florence decided that the best way to raise a child is to keep the child locked in a house until she was dead. But at least sometimes the TV was on.
Luckily, the baby was not exactly imprisoned in a cellar. For example, she had full access to a window, one she “grew up looking out”. And yet Hannah’s parents never spotted her. Apparently, no one did, except for one five-year-old, the baby’s twin sister. But other than this, no, no one had ever any reason to wonder about Hannah’s bilocation abilities.
When she was five, the girl spotted someone looking exactly like her, but she did not run out to meet her. She just kept waving for three years. And that other kid never told her parents that a girl looking like her lives just across the street.
The girl never decided to talk to her real parents, not even when she read Florence’s diary and learned the truth. When Florence died, the eight year old girl burned the diary because why would she ever want anyone to know the truth, and then she finally went to the other house to tell mom and dad she was alive and well. No, wait, that did not happen. She went to the other house to live in the attic in secret. For nine years.
Yes, two eight-year-old girls — Hannah and Eve — successfully managed to keep one of them in the attic of Hannah’s house for over nine years. The parents never realized there was an extra person in the house, and the little Eve, and then the teenage Eve, put Arsène Lupin and Solid Snake to shame with her mad stealth skills. Hannah kept pulling the switcheroo with Eve for the extra hardcore difficulty. And Eve never decided to have a real talk with mom and dad because reasons.
One day, both girls ran away to see Bob Dylan, but the taxi driver got suspicious — the girls were so young — and called the police. The police picked up both girls, identical twins, but then asked no questions whatsoever and delivered only one of them to her parents, apparently letting the other one go on her own because why not.
When she was seventeen, Hannah moved out to live with Simon, while Eve stayed at the house. Her parents kept being blind, deaf and stupid, and Eve and her miraculous bladder kept being toilet-free. Then the parents died of mushroom poisoning, and at their funeral no one ever wondered what was up with two women of an identical figure wearing veils.
When Hannah came back to live in her parents’ house, Eve moved out, and decided not to do anything about her legal status, because why would she want to make life any easier for herself, and why would she want to make her dead and cremated parents uncomfortable.
A few years later, Hannah’s husband accidentally met Eve in a bar, and never thought to ask if she maybe had a twin sister or something. Instead, he banged her in his wife’s house. That got Eve pregnant and she told her sister, and her sister told Simon, and they had an argument. Simon went for a pint, but when he came back home, his wife was gone and his lover Eve — that’s what he thought — was waiting for him. He did not consider that weird, and professed his love to Eve. So his wife killed him.
The twins decided to use the twins to cover up the killing, but they also wanted an adventure, so Hannah took almost half of the interviews and Eve took the rest. During the interviews, the women kept messing with their testimonies, clothes, looks and drinks because hilarity makes life more bearable.
That about sums it up? /END
Now, how does Eve’s final testimony look like under the MPD filter?
But… Have you ever heard of Eve …White?
Because before we go any further, we really need to talk about Eve White.
Eve White is the initial pseudonym of a woman who was diagnosed with the MPD in the 1950s. Initially, one extra personality was discovered and named as Eve Black (as she was the opposite of the Eve White personality). Later, one more revealed herself: Jane (a mix of both Eves in a way). There was a book, and there was a movie, both called The Three Faces of Eve. In the coming years, more than twenty personalities manifested themselves, usually in groups of three. You can learn more about Eve White here.
For our purposes, i.e. for the purposes of the game, it doesn’t matter if the MPD is real or not, if Eve White was faking it or not — yes, most of the world agrees that the MPD exists and that Eve suffered from it, but not the whole world. But, as I said, it doesn’t matter. Her Story is not a documentary. Although after my extensive research, I do believe it’s not that far off in its portrayal of the MPD as some people claim.
In my quest, I stumbled upon May 19th 1958 issue of Life magazine. It featured the story of Eve White titled “The Fourth Face of Eve”, the sequel to Life’s article from April 15th 1957 called “Three-Way War in One Body”. To fully appreciate select fragments from the article, you need to have finished the game first — but you wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t, would you?
In the article, the woman — earlier known as Eve White — has asked to be called Evelyn Lancaster, although that was not her real name. To sum it up again for clarity, Evelyn Lancaster had three personalities: Eve White, Eve Black, and Jane. Let’s see what treasures await…
…just like our playful, sexy, “lots of drunken teenage sex” Eve, the mirror of Hannah, “the shy one”.
…just like Eve was upset with the body changes when Hannah got pregnant.
…just like Hannah, who seems to be aware of Eve as her other persona, in contrast to Eve, who sees herself as a separate being.
…just like Simon, “You know, climb the tower, save the princess. That kind of thing.”
…just as what I speculated about around EVE D536, that the result of the misunderstanding between Hannah and Simon led to. She broke the mirror and tried to take Eve’s, I mean, her own life with a piece of glass.
…just as Hannah and Eve were communicating using the diary and the notes.
…just as the child named Hannah unleashed Eve when she learned about her dead twin.
…just as Eve, who ultimately took over Hannah.
I will save one other quote for later.
Interestingly enough, along with The Three Faces of Eve movie, that was based on actual events and even features an intro by British journalist and television host Alistair Cooke, one other MPD movie was also released that year: Lizzie. Both movies featured the obligatory mirror metaphor:
Lizzie also had this as a part of the main plot, resembling Eve and Simon’s “secret” romance:
EVE D720: My mother called me Eve.
Eve is an alter of Hannah. But Eve does believe that her imaginary mother called her Eve.
This can also be interpreted on a different level, as “When Hannah created me, she named me Eve”. Remember, Hannah is Mother Gothel in the game.
EVE D721: Well she wasn’t my real mother but she raised me. Do you want to hear the story? It’s a real life fairy tale.
It’s just a fairy tale. Although based on reality, yes. So I guess real life fairy tale is quite accurate.
EVE D722: Across the road when my parents first lived, there was a midwife called Florence. When Hannah was born, I was born at the same time. The midwife was there to help. I’d been throttled by the cord probably wrapped around my neck by Hannah. The midwife told my mother I was dead. But I wasn’t. She wrote all this stuff in a diary. Amazing what people will admit to on paper.
Hannah’s mother gave birth to twins, but one of the twins was dead, probably due to the cord wrapped around her neck. Florence has written about it in her diary, and mentioned Hannah’s “fault”, which later made Hannah develop Eve out of the traumatic guilt.
Florence is not the witch in our story, and her name might be a tribute to Florence Nightingale, “a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing”.
EVE D723: Florence took me home with her. Mother hadn’t been expecting twins and had a healthy baby. I guess she was just happy for Florence to clean up. Take away the evidence that this was anything but a happy occasion.
This was 1967, and apparently a home birth. It didn’t go very well — as we already know, one of the twins died. Florence helped Hannah’s mother to “clean up” and “take away the evidence”.
EVE D724: Florence raised me in her home. I never left it. She kept me out of sight. It wasn’t odd for people to see a midwife with a baby. Carrying in supplies, washing nappies. That sort of thing. I never knew any different. I grew up looking out of my window and seeing her across the road. I thought it was like a reflection in a mirror. She was me.
Florence did raise Hannah in a way. She was a midwife, and a childless widow, yearning for the company of children. She had a big, empty house. Hannah was very welcome there. It is possible Florence was also Hannah’s nanny and teacher.
EVE D725: Yes. The first time we saw each other, it was strange. We both realised at the same moment. I think. We must have seen each other before but there was this instant… When we first realised it wasn’t a reflection. The reflection was staring back. I think I was five. It was my birthday. My reflection was wearing a party hat and waving. I knew what party hats were from books. And it suddenly occurred to me… Today must be my birthday. I waved back and… We just spent ages waving at each other and copying each other’s movements.
Hannah suffered from the MPD since her youngest days, just as “Evelyn Lancaster” did, even before her traumas and the public manifestation of her personalities as Eve White, Eve Black, and Jane.
Hannah seeing her reflection, in a mirror or a window in Florence’s house, fueled the Eve personality. Mirrors are fascinating to children, who don’t exactly understand how these work. Hannah played with her reflection as if she was playing with someone who was not her. In her case, with the second personality in the incubation period, this went beyond the harmless joy of a child’s discovery of a mirror.
EVE D726: Mother wanted me to grow my hair long but I kept cutting it myself. I wanted to look like my reflection. She always had short hair when she was little. Mother would hide the scissors but I would find a way. Cut it with a bread knife something like that. My reflection would always leave her house and go on adventures. But I never could. Mother taught me at home. And I had books and TV. TV was magical. But it was only on when it wanted to be so I spent a lot of time reading books.
Hannah always had her hair short, but Eve, imagining herself as Rapunzel, believed her hair is long — and kept cutting them even more.
The mentions of home and Hannah leaving the house to “go on adventures” might suggest that in this period Eve only came out when in Florence’s house. When Hannah turned around and left the house, the reflection in the mirror disappeared.
The TV “was only on when it wanted to be” because of the semi-randomness of the personality switch. Books were always “on”. “Mother taught me at home” suggests, as I mentioned before, that Hannah’s parents possibly hired Florence as a nanny and a teacher.
EVE D727: Fairy tales. Stories about lost princesses. Evil witches. Magical mirrors and lost children. So you see, even before I knew the truth I’d found it in those stories.
Just like the reflections in mirrors and windows, fairy tales were the fuel to the growth of Eve. At this point, Eve didn’t have a name yet. Hannah just felt she was not alone, that there was someone else with her.
We did find the truth in “those stories”. Rapunzel, Little Snow-White, and Hansel and Gretel, all referenced here, give us the key to Her Story’s layers.
EVE D728: Florence was a warm kind person. But she was broken, I guess. When I found her diary I also found a biscuit tin with other stuff in it. Older papers. Letters. That kind of thing. Her story was in there. I never spoke to her about it, I was far too young to really understand. I guess I just put it together later. Once I was older. She had loved children, planned to have a large family. But her husband died in the war. That was back when you married for life. She never felt like she could marry again. Isn’t that strange? She was a widow from her twenties. But I mean I guess it was different then. You know you married for life, and she felt she could never marry again. I guess it was harder, a war widow. Honour the dead? I don’t know. Maybe there was more to it than that. I don’t really know.
When playing in Florence’s house, Hannah found and read the diary. She learned about her dead sister, and how she was responsible. We know that she was not, but Hannah was just a child — she did not understand the concept of premeditation. Reading Florence’s diary was the moment that Eve was finally born, and thus began her story.
We don’t know at what age Hannah read the diary. We just know she was somewhere between five and eight years old, but we don’t know the exact year.
Hannah did not get it all, but she understood enough. Hannah blamed herself for the death of Eve, and compensated by opening the door to her alternate personality. She brought Eve back to life.
EVE D729: No. It was just me and her. Eve was the name they were going to call their first child. They’d talked about it and were going to try when he came back. Florence’s family had a history of firstborn girls, so they were convinced it was going to be a girl. It’s hard to know if this is all true. These are stories I remember. That I read when I was a child. Maybe I misread, maybe I misunderstood or… Sometimes it’s hard to remember what happened last week.
Eve is the name from Florence’s diary. This is how Hannah named her sister reborn. It’s possible that initially, Hannah and Eve considered themselves sisters, but when Hannah grew up and understood her MPD, she distanced herself from the fantasy and started calling Eve a “friend”. Or maybe Eve was just a friend from the start. After all, we’re listening to Eve here, and not Hannah.
It is, indeed, “hard to remember what happened last week” when you are not in the uninterrupted control of the body and mind you inhabit.
EVE D730: When I was eight, mother died. She slipped down the stairs. It was an accident. I had read her diary at that point and I knew she wasn’t my real mother. So I burned the diary that day, and I left. Walked out and across the street.
Did anyone help the old widow leave this mortal coil behind? We will never know. Sam is torturing us here. If he wanted no doubt, he would have had Florence die of cancer. But no, he had to have a suspicious accident.
If we go with fairy tale subtext, then no one ever slips down the stairs accidentally due to their clumsiness or old age. But stairs-related accidents do happen. In Grimms’ The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear, a scared boy pushes a man down the stairs just because he did not recognize him.
Why would Hannah want to kill Florence? Possibly for the same reason she killed her parents. Florence was an obstacle to be with Eve all the time, without the need to go to Florence’s house.
Or, again, maybe it was indeed an accident. Florence slipped, or, like in the fairy tale, Hannah pushed her because she got scared, and that was her first accidental manslaughter.
Why did Eve burn the diary? Probably imagined that grown-ups would find her through it. Why wouldn’t she want to be found? The answer is here:
EVE D731: I wanted to see my reflection. I thought that if I touched her something would happen. We would become one. One girl. The fairy tale was over. The witch was dead. And I’d be restored to my rightful place.
Interesting that we hear from Eve that she longed to become one with Hannah. Did she subconsciously feel she’s just one-half of a broken soul, and imagined that breaking the spell would restore here to her “rightful place”?
Alas, Florence was not the witch that Eve was looking for.
EVE D732: She recognised me from the window. She told me to come inside and she hid me. They had made the attic into a place where Hannah could play. There was a dollhouse. She hid me up there. No one else ever went into the attic. It was her place.
Hannah finally had Eve close. Hannah’s parents made the attic her playground. Of course, they did put their foot there every now and then, but they respected their own idea of Hannah owning a space. The attic was the place where Eve could materialize without raising suspicion. It’s unclear whether the appearance was spontaneous — “it was only on when it wanted to be” — or if Hannah figured out a trigger, or if personalities were able to interact somehow.
The attic is the witch’s kingdom. “No one else went into the attic”.
“Through the small rear window of these people’s house they could see into a witch’s garden that was filled with flowers and herbs of all kinds. No one dared enter this garden.” — Rapunzel
EVE D733: Yeah. I’m not sure where the dollhouse came from. Don’t know if it was given to them or they inherited it. I mean they wouldn’t have had the money to buy it. It was so huge. It must have been taken up into the attic in parts and then reassembled up there. It’s a beautiful thing. Wallpaper to scale. Little furniture. The lights work. Mirrors, beds. Little duvets and pillows. We spent hours and hours playing in it. Invented all these characters and families who lived there. We wrote paperwork for them all, passports, diaries. Gave them all really elaborate stories. Once a moth got trapped in there. We’d left a light on. It was making the most horrendous noise. We tried to kill it but it was tough. We ended up crushing it under a copy of The Arabian Nights.
The works of Hannah’s imagination are self-explanatory, I believe. It’s an allusion to Sam Barlow’s own work, he also gave his creation “mirrors, beds”, and his characters “really elaborate stories”.
A moth trapped might be a metaphor for Eve, trapped in Hannah’s body. The Arabian Nights mention is obviously not accidental. Not only it’s a tale of woman telling a story to avoid death, but it also features probably the first crime fiction story ever, The Three Apples, and a quite multi-layered one at that.
EVE D734: It just became our way of life. We would swap places and take it in turns to do things. And we were very careful. Whoever had been out that day would come back and write a detailed diary, so that we were on the same page. We had a list of rules that said what we could and couldn’t do in any given situation. It was exhaustive. We lived a second life through those rules. Rules for things that could only ever happen inside our imaginations. We would consider all the permutations of future events and agree rules to walk our way through them.
Hannah and Eve invented methods to keep their lives bearable under one body. Things to keep in mind for “whoever had been out that day”.
WHY NOT TWINS? Let’s talk about the logistics of it all for a second. Living in someone’s house for a long time without being noticed is possible, although the longest recorded example is an adult man living for a year in another adult man’s big house. Usually, these things last, like, two weeks.
But here we are dealing with two girls for nine years. As one online detective asked: “Did they shower at the same time to avoid the suspicion of taking two showers a day? Did Hannah sneak entire meals up to the attic three times a day? Did Hannah’s parents, described as not being rich, buy twice as much shampoo, conditioner, tampons, and underwear as they would for one girl?”
But that’s just the logistics. There’s also a question of noise, for example. Are we to believe that throughout her whole development, from eight to seventeen years old, a girl spent days motionless? And do you know how many times a day an eight years old girl needs to go to the toilet?
And what about the “all our childhood diseases” that Eve mentions later? How did Eve deal with stomach bugs? Where did the vomit and diarrhea go? How was Eve healed of these diseases? Her eight years old sister kept stealing the medicine and was able to apply proper doses?
Finally, the switch. It’s one thing to be twins, function in a certain environment, and have your brother or sister take a math test instead of you, and it’s another thing to enter that environment sporadically. But, more importantly, if what Hannah had was a “friend” (remember, only Eve sees Hannah as sister) why would it make sense that the swapping actually happened? Why would Hannah send her friend to the math test unafraid people would recognize it’s not her? /END
EVE D735: If one of us got hurt , the other one would have to be hurt too. A grazed knee. A bruise. When I lost my tooth first we had to pull out Hannah’s to match. Once I slept with a boy who was seeing another girl. The girlfriend came up to Hannah the next day and punched her in the face, gave her a huge black eye. That night she had to do the same to me. She almost went too far. I couldn’t see out of that eye for days. She snuck frozen peas up for me from the kitchen. So much of our bodies were synchronised anyway. We started our period on the same day. All our childhood diseases. Stomach bugs. Nits.
Eve slept with the boy, but it’s Hannah who was punished. There is a possible extra to the story. It seems that when Eve took over, she saw her Hannah reflection in the mirror and decided she needed a black eye too. What the virtual Hannah’s punch had done, though, was merely getting the already existing black eye even worse.
“We started our period on the same day”. But the science says that couldn’t be. Menstrual synchrony, also called the McClintock effect, seems to be a myth. But since it does not seem the science is 100% done with the subject, I’ll let it fly. Especially considering that the bodies were synchronized indeed. Full 100% synchronization.
EVE D736: Mum and dad never had any reason to notice. They were always busy. If Hannah was eating a lot they didn’t mind. She didn’t put on any weight. That girl has a healthy appetite. If they heard us talking in the attic they just thought it was Hannah playing one of her games. And that Eve was our imaginary friend. Once she was already up and dressed and ready to go to school and I snuck down for a piss. Mum saw me in my underwear and she went mad. Get dressed this instant! So I ducked into our bedroom and seconds later out came Hannah dressed and ready! Mum was amazed.
WHY NOT TWINS? Hannah would have to eat twice as much as a girl of her age in order to feed Eve. Admittedly, girls of that age do not exactly ruin the fridge. But little girls usually do not eat alone, so how was Hannah doing the smuggling? Did she keep asking mom to pack her the repeats so she can eat them alone in the attic? And “If they heard us talking in the attic they just thought it was Hannah playing one of her games” — are we to believe that two little girls were never talking or giggling at the same time? If you have ever seen two eight-year-olds playing together, you know what I am talking about — even if one of them is shy and quiet.
As for the dressing incident, if it really happened the way as described, “Mum” would not just be amazed, but also in need of an exorcist. /END
The “healthy appetite” might be explained easily by a “really fast metabolism” (EVE D304) — Eve might be lying about the bruise, but not necessarily the metabolism itself.
EVE D737: When we weren’t together we would send secret messages by tapping out a code that we’d learned from a book. The Knock Code. Something prisoners of war would use. We’d tap them out the radiator pipes or the attic floor. Dad thought we had mice. But they couldn’t find any. Bought a cat anyway.
I’m not sure how anyone can confuse the mathematical knocks of the Knock Code with mice, but okay. More importantly, the message that Eve sends out is: BYD HANNAN.
Funny story. When I first read the decoded message, I thought it was BYD HANNAH. The one letter mistake was confusing to me, and — as I was in a game designer mode — I thought to myself that if Sam Barlow wanted us to know that Eve did not really have the right skills, he would rather make two mistakes, and one of them would be in the name (to reduce the possibility of BYD being an acronym). Then I realized it was HANNAN, not HANNAH, and all pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
There can be many reasons why Eve cannot spell out BYE HANNAH properly, though. For example, she may never have used the code as often as Hannah, or maybe she was on the receiving end only. Or, the last time she used the code was over ten years ago, and she was simply out of practice.
Whatever is the reason… Hannah is not coming back.
Random bonus: BYD mirrored (e.g. instead of 1–2 choosing 2–1) is FUQ.
EVE D738: We loved our cat. Domino. He had this little bell around his neck to stop him from killing birds in the garden. We used to write each other notes and put them in the bell. And we could send him to each other. Mum found some of the notes once and she thought I was just writing to myself because our handwriting was identical. And we had our own words for things, so she didn’t quite understand them anyway.
Cats are well known for being reliable, obedient couriers. Anyway, yes, Hannah was, in a way, writing these notes to herself.
WHY NOT TWINS? Twins, even identical ones, do not have the same handwriting — let alone twins raised separately and taught calligraphy by different people. /END
EVE D739: We were obsessed with fairy tales. Not just the pretty ones but the traditional ones. They were dark and real. Bizarre and violent. Felt like life. We had this huge old book that I think mum must have bought from a library sale. The illustrations had thin tracing paper over them to protect them. They were in colour. Shiny plates. At the front of the book was an index of illustrations. We read that more than the actual stories. We’d read aloud the captions and flick between the pictures. There was something intimate about peeling back the tracing paper undressing the pictures. Rapunzel’s hair is cut. The eagle plucks out his heart. The princess pricks her finger.
“Bizarre and violent”. In the unlikely case you only know Grimms’ Fairy Tales in their Disneyed up versions… The originals are quite …different. But I’ll spare you the details, and let’s leave the stories of incest, mutilation and cannibalism for another time.
“Rapunzel’s hair is cut” is, of course, Rapunzel. “The princess pricks her finger” is Little Briar Rose, aka The Sleeping Beauty. Oddly enough, I couldn’t locate a fairy tale involving eagles plucking anyone’s — or their own — heart out. Prometheus is a myth and not a fairy tale, and involves a liver, not a heart.
EVE D740: There were always princes and princesses. They were the special people, more important than the other characters in their stories. We knew we were like that. Twins. Magical. We were the princesses. We had a poster of Princess Diana from the newspaper up in our attic. It had pride of place. And underneath we used to put all our special things. When her engagement was announced, we were obsessed with everything she did. And later when her life went so bad, we felt for her. Her divorce last year just kind of drew a line under things.
The divorce happened in 1996, not 1993, so either we’re dealing with an alternate reality (we are, though) or Eve meant separation.
Yes, “magical twins”, in a way.
EVE D741: When beautiful people died we always felt like it was a sign. You remember Princess Grace? Grace Kelly? She died in a car crash the year before we met Simon. We used a Ouija board to speak to her and that gave us the power to find him. That’s what we thought then. That people who die tragically leave some kind of magic behind. We used to share dreams. We used to wake up and write them down in our diaries immediately and compare them.
As I mentioned earlier, Hannah felt Eve’s presence even before her dead sister had a name. “[…] people who die tragically leave some kind of magic behind.”
As for the diary, either there was always only one, or — it’s quite possible — both personalities ran their own separate diaries.
EVE D742: Mum and dad never knew what was going on. We got so good at it. We were so in sync that we’d use each other to cheat. If one of us had a hangover, the other one would go to school. Whoever was best at a subject would sit the exam. There were lots of differences between us. Some things one is better than the other at.
“Hangover”. I’d love to see drunken Eve sneaking back into the attic without alerting anyone…
This and the consecutive clips suggest that Hannah could actually switch to Eve in some way. Evelyn Lancaster could — after some training and experience — switch to another personality in an instant. I don’t think Hannah possessed quite the same skill, but maybe in addition to stressors, there were certain triggers she could use to bring out Eve.
The triggers might have not existed, though. Remember that this interview is Eve’s side of the story only, and all we can hear are her rationalizations of the life she leads. Eve believes to be Hannah’s sister twin, and that is why we keep hearing examples of conscious cooperation.
EVE D743: Differences? She’s a better driver than me. She passed the test for us. I tried to take it and nearly crashed the car. Learned you can’t rely on confidence to get you through everything. She is the shy one. She was especially shy around boys. If Hannah liked a boy, I would have to pursue him. It was that way with Carl. Hannah met him first. She had such a crush. I let him take my virginity after a night that his band had played at. It got difficult. When I was with Carl we would have sex, but Hannah couldn’t. Couldn’t let him see she was a virgin. She had lots of excuses. After a while we decided that I should take Hannah’s virginity. It’s not that different to a bruise, pulling a tooth, a graze. We used a hairbrush. After that we took it in turns though I was always the one who seduced the boys. Until Simon.
A nice summary of the differences between the personalities. I mentioned earlier that Eve is the sloppy one, as is a bad driver (“nearly crashed the car”), spills the coffee, cannot pull the Knock Code properly. It’s because she was out less, and did not have the same life experience as Hannah.
As for the brush, it was probably Hannah, in front of the mirror and after learning about Eve’s loss of virginity, imagining that Eve is now taking hers. Then writing about it in her diary.
EVE D744: Hannah was so smitten with Simon. She started getting jealous didn’t want to share. Even the first date… We went to see Tom Cruise at the old Odeon. We both went and kept changing places in the toilet. We only had the one best dress, so we had to keep swapping clothes. He must have thought we had terrible bladder problems. The next date it was my turn. At the end I let him kiss me but that was it. We didn’t want another Carl on our hands and the Ouija board had said to hold back. After that it was Hannah’s turn and… She slept with him. Broke the rules. Deliberately broke the rules. She wanted to be the first to sleep with him. I mean that’s when she got pregnant. From that one time.
It’s possible that the super-nervous Hannah suffered from multiple personality switches during her first date with Simon. It’s even possible these did happen in the toilet, in front of the mirror.
EVE D745: Can you imagine? I tried. I tried to get pregnant too, but it didn’t happen. I slept with so many boys. Men. My body refused. I think my period stopped because hers had. I was pretty ill. I mean how could we stay the same now? It felt like Hannah had really fucked things up. Set us down separate paths. We had become different.
Eve was not pregnant, Hannah was. Eve was mentally and emotionally unable to accept the pregnancy. MPD alters can be of different ethnicity and gender, let alone see themselves as not pregnant despite the obvious evidence in front of the mirror.
Eve mentioned earlier that “There were lots of differences between us”, but now she says “We had become different”. The difference between the two is that now she is talking about the “separate paths”, both physical (pregnancy) and emotional (Hannah’s focus on Simon).
Eve’s periods stopped, sure. When she says “I was pretty ill” she does not mean the STD — that comes later — but her body’s morning sickness.
EVE D746: No. The parents decided there would be a wedding. And after the wedding Hannah moved in with his parents. There was no way I could follow. So we were separated again. I stayed in the attic. It was hard. It was like I suddenly didn’t exist. I would sneak out but in case anyone recognised me I started wearing a wig. Hannah and I would meet up in the park. I was trying to get pregnant. But I couldn’t. I mean I couldn’t do it with anyone we knew, so it was sex with strangers, drunk guys I’d met in clubs. In parks and alleyways. I was seventeen. It felt like I was being punished. But it was Hannah who had betrayed us. I had to stop when one of the guys gave me an STD. When we met up it was disturbing. For the first time my reflection, she didn’t look like me. She was fatter. Flushed. If anything I was getting skinnier. I found it hard to look sometimes. We talked about what to do. Was it time to become our own people? I mean that seemed like the right thing to do, but neither of us wanted it. We agreed that her and Simon would get their own place as soon as possible, and then I could move in. That was the plan.
WHY NOT TWINS? “And then I could move in”. Do we really imagine Simon accepting to spend his life with his wife and her secret sister, just because neither of them wanted to “become our own people”?
One could argue that the sisters wanted to live together just a few more years, and I guess Simon would not refuse that. But then, if both were so ready for this move, why was not Eve’s existence ever revealed to Simon? Neither at the time discussed nor for the next ten years. Not even when Eve finally left the house and became her own person.
I hear you say that the sister wanted to live together, but without revealing Eve to Simon. But… Why?
But hey, that is exactly what happens next: when Hannah’s parents died and she got the house, Eve lived there with Simon and Hannah for half a year. In the attic. Simon never knew any better, apparently was as blind and deaf as Hannah’s parents. Does that really make any sense to you?
Also, “in case anyone recognised me I started wearing a wig”. Why not just dye your hair? Wouldn’t that be more convenient? Not having to sweat in those bars under a wig? /END
When Hannah temporarily both moved out and moved on, Eve stayed behind in the “attic”, the memory of the real one. And that Eve did not know what was going on, she was deeply confused. She was like a wounded animal. I discussed the STD and the miscarriage earlier.
Hannah and Eve wanted to be back together as soon as possible. That would be so much easier with more intimacy and fewer curious eyes on them. But, as we see it in the next clip, the stillbirth and then the daily life were delaying the change that both “sisters” so desired.
“She was fatter. Flushed. If anything I was getting skinnier.” That’s how Eve perceived the changes, but this was as true as the fattened child handing a bony finger to the witch in order to deceive her.
“Every morning the old woman crept out to the stall and shouted, “Hansel, stick out your finger, so I can feel if you are fat yet.” But Hansel stuck out a little bone, and the old woman, who had bad eyes and could not see the bone, thought it was Hansel’s finger, and she wondered why he didn’t get fat.” (Hansel and Gretel).
You see, one person was both fat and bony.
EVE D747: Hannah had a miscarriage. This was late in the pregnancy and it left her infertile. It felt like the universe had corrected its course. We were aligned again. But Hannah and Simon were still living with his parents. They were married. Simon had a job at the glaziers now. Eric had given him a full time position after he’d left school. And then…
Step one to the full re-alignment happened, but step two was not happening. Inert, life went on.
EVE D748: I was living in the attic. It was a very hard time. I was depressed. I was still pretty sick off the STD. Then I came down one morning and they were dead. They were in bed and both had been sick. They’d thrown up a lot. And I’d slept through it. The police said it was the mushrooms they ate. Dad was a mushroom expert. I mean he used to take us picking with him and he taught us how to recognise them. There’s no way he would have picked death caps. But the police believed that’s what happened. They never even looked in the attic.
And then, fate — or was it “fate”? — made the dreams come true. I discussed the parents earlier.
One interesting thing is that we never hear the names of Hannah/Eve’s parents. We have Eleanor and Doug and Eric and Diane and even a cat named Domino, but the parents stay nameless.
The mundane explanation is that Sam Barlow did not want to overload the game with names. Keeping a tight focus is important. Also, people usually refer to their own parents by “my parents”, “mom”, and “dad”, and not by name.
The subtext explanation is that in fairy tales, the parents — from poor peasants to kings and queens — never have a name. And, as Eve just said it herself, princes and princesses are “special people, more important than the other characters in their stories”. In Rapunzel, the girl’s parents are known only as a man and a woman, a husband and a wife — but we never learn their names.
EVE D749: Yes. It was a cremation. For the best. We both wore black and had veils so it was easy. After the funeral everyone came back to the house. Hannah served up sandwiches and I stayed out of sight.
As we have seen it before, highly emotional situations are Hannah’s stressors that can bring out Eve — be it Hannah’s birthday, the first date with Simon or her parent’s funeral. After the ceremony, Hannah “served up sandwiches”, and Eve was gone.
EVE D750: The legal stuff was completed very quickly. Hannah moved back in with Simon. Eric gave Simon a week off to help with the move. He decorated. Modernised. Wallpaper. Curtains. Hannah insisted the attic be left as it was dollhouse and all. Simon never went up there.
Hannah again had the sanctuary to herself.
EVE D751: It lasted about six months. I tried to carry on but everything was different. Hannah insisted I not pretend to be her around Simon. Let alone sleep with him. We didn’t share him like the others. The rules had changed. Me living in the attic had become weird in a way it hadn’t been before.
The re-alignment did not work. Hannah and Simon’s love changed the relations between the “sisters”. As the philosopher Heraclitus has noted two and a half thousand years ago, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
EVE D752: So I moved out. Got a small bedsit. Got my tattoo to mark the occasion. I was singing in a bar in the evenings. So I had some money, enough money to cover my rent. I’ve been doing something similar ever since. I haven’t put down any roots. I don’t exist.
Eve does and does not exist at the same time. We discussed the tattoo earlier: it’s probably a part of Eve’s bar singer guise, as temporary as her wig.
Because this is the last interview we see, we can never validate Eve’s story. We know there was a wig, we know there is a guitar, and Simon probably did meet Eve in a bar. But was she really singing there? Did Eve really rent a bedsit? It’s possible that all of these things happened, but it’s also possible none of them did, and it’s all just what Eve projects when switched to.
EVE D753: He saw me singing. One of my shows. Pure chance. I’m not sure I remember what he was even doing there. Afterwards I had a drink at the bar and he came over and we got talking. I knew who he was. Obviously I knew who he was. But… He didn’t know who I was. He was fascinated by the likeness. He guessed my name from my tattoo. Told me it was a palindrome like that would impress me. I enjoyed talking to him. It was amazing to be able to sit and interact and talk to him after all this time. He didn’t tell me he was married. I’m not sure what he was thinking. He later told me it was like he was dreaming. A waking dream.
There’s a fairy tale overload in this clip.
The Rapunzel layer elements are: a) a singing princess meeting the prince for the first time, b) the prince finding the princess. We already know the Grimms’ version, but here is how Anne Sexton described it in her Rapunzel poem:
Years later a prince came by
and heard Rapunzel singing her loneliness.
That song pierced his heart like a valentine
but he could find no way to get to her.
Like a chameleon he hid himself among the trees
and watched the witch ascend the swinging hair.
The next day he himself called out:
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,
and thus they met and he declared his love.
There was nearly nothing “pure chance” about Simon meeting Eve. Simon either knew or suspected Hannah’s mental health issues, and one day he followed her to the bar. He never told Eve about his marriage not because he was trying to have an affair with his wife’s mirror reflection, but because he knew he was talking to his wife — just under the control of a different persona.
As I said, I’m not even sure if Eve really ever publicly played the guitar, or if she just visited bars in a wig. There are known MPD cases in which alters had their own MPD, so Eve pretending and believing to be a bar signer without ever actually giving a concert is nothing.
The other fairy tale is Cinderella. Cinderella goes through the same transformation as the shy, puritan Hannah when she wears the blonde wig and becomes the sexy Eve:
Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her, and slippers embroidered with silk and silver. She quickly put on the dress and went to the festival.
Her stepsisters and her stepmother did not recognize her. They thought she must be a foreign princess, for she looked so beautiful in the golden dress. They never once thought it was Cinderella, for they thought that she was sitting at home in the dirt, looking for lentils in the ashes.
Also, just as Simon was tracking Eve until he finally met her, so did the prince in Cinderella (there dance lasted not just one evening, but three, and each time the prince followed Cinderella, but only managed to find her the third time).
Guessing a name is the core feature of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale. But let’s be fair, the protagonist of Rumpelstiltskin played on a harder difficulty level. Guessing the name of a woman with a snake and an apple tattoo — while knowing from your wife what a palindrome name is — does not sound like a win worth boasting about.
Finally, “a waking dream” refers to Simon finally understanding her wife’s erratic behavior he experienced every now and then. Eve also mentions “like he was dreaming” and later she will say “he kissed me”, and if we put two and two together, we get Little Brier-Rose in a gender bender remix (in the fairy tale the kiss has awakened the princess, not the prince). Still, the awakening is obviously a powerful metaphor for Simon’s illumination and knowledge gained.
But we know the kiss did not happen when Simon and Eve met. Eve confirms it later when she says say “Nothing else happened that night. We talked.” This is an allusion to Sleeping Beauty, which is the better-known version of Little Brier-Rose. In that version, when the prince and the princess meet, there’s no kissing, just talking: “[…] they talked four hours together, and yet they said not half what they had to say.”
EVE D754: No. No, he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring.
Either Simon took it off on purpose, suspecting it might be an issue when he follows Eve, or he was right after work with the glass and the silver, or — this is the one I personally go for — as I mentioned it earlier, he and Hannah had a marriage crisis. Finding Eve was the last desperate attempt to save it, and a “waking dream”.
EVE D755: Nothing else happened that night. We talked. Then I said goodbye. Then next week I was singing in the bar again and there he was. And again the next week. He offered to buy me a meal. I told him I had already eaten. And so we got chips and ate them on the beach instead. When we said goodbye he asked me to kiss him. Romantic.
Chips on a beach in February, interesting choice. On a more serious tone, Simon was re-discovering Hannah, possibly even falling in love with Eve.
The beach and the allusion to fish (“chips” are one half of a traditional British meal, fish and chips — possibly the “meal” that Simon “offered to buy”) may be a reference to Hans Christian Andersen and his The Little Mermaid, a story of love between a princess (and a singer at that) and a prince. Two of their encounters, one of them particularly “romantic”, took place on a beach. Other allusions from the tale may include the kiss and the slaying of the prince.
Andersen’s tale, just like Her Story, features a tragic ending to the relationship, but a happy ending for the princess herself. She does not get the prince she loved, but she ascends to a better life than before.
EVE D756: Yes. I thought about telling Hannah. I felt guilty after the kiss. But then it began to feel like this was the way it should be. Sharing like we had before. He never mentioned her to me. There was Simon with me and the Simon with her. It was almost like it was a different Simon. But…
“Simon with her” was “different”? How would she know the emotional truth of Simon and Hannah’s intimacy if Hannah and Eve weren’t the same person?
Anyway, Eve was enjoying Simon’s company more and more. She also enjoyed the fact that Simon was no longer exclusive to Hannah. Sharing felt familiar, and familiar meant safe and cozy to her.
EVE D757: After the kiss. The next time… He took me back to the house. To our parents’ house. To their house. So it was definitely him. I sometimes think he wanted to get caught to prove to himself that we were different people. He told me about his marriage, told me how his wife was completely different to me… I almost burst out laughing.
Simon took Eve back home, and — gently, cautiously — tried to have a talk. It did not work. He wasn’t trying to “get caught”, there was no one to catch him. He just brought his wife home.
EVE D758: I think it was that time, the first time at the house in his bed that I got pregnant. Amazing right? His fucking magic sperm. And they say lightning doesn’t strike twice. I didn’t tell him. I missed three periods. I have pretty irregular periods anyway but three… I had always thought we were infertile, both of us. I didn’t tell him. Just waited. Hannah and I were meeting for our birthday and I told her because I thought she would be happy for us both. I think she was.
Some people say that “And they say lightning doesn’t strike twice” is in favor of the MPD (Simon impregnated the same woman twice), but to be fair, that is not necessarily the case. Eve might have meant — and that is actually a more sound interpretation — Simon impregnating a woman during their first intercourse.
As I speculated before, it’s possible that Hannah could not get pregnant because of the stillbirth trauma. As you should know, psychology can play a great role in getting pregnant (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). It’s possible that the unprotected sex between Simon and Eve — Eve, who didn’t suffer from the stillbirth trauma — led to the conception.
How did Eve tell Hannah the news? As discussed previously, there could be a few ways, be it a diary, note or direct communication (see the Evelyn Lancaster segment at the beginning of this interview). Although that last one is questionable, as Eve seems unsure if Hannah was happy to hear the news.
EVE D759: No. I told her it was one of my boyfriends, someone I had met in a bar. I think she was happy. But I could tell that she was thinking why couldn’t it happen to her and Simon? They were the ones with the real life. Why not them?
“They were the ones with the real life” — as many other things in the game, can be interpreted in more than one way. It can be totally innocent, or allude to Eve not being “real”.
If Hannah was aware of Eve living in her head, then while she enjoyed the idea of being pregnant again, she would prefer for Simon to be the father. Not just some random guy, as Eve told her.
EVE D760: Then she told me she wanted to help more. She said I should move in with her. She would come clean with Simon about me. I was family. I couldn’t have a baby in a bedsit. I told her I didn’t want to tell Simon. Told her to wait for the time being.
After learning of her pregnancy, Hannah wanted to “come clean with Simon” about Eve, tell her husband the whole story. She had to, in order to explain the pregnancy. Eve wasn’t convinced it was the right time, she knew it meant the end of her secret romance.
In the name of fighting one’s own bias, I need to ask myself this hard question: how is it possible that Eve realized that she was pregnant by missing three periods, and Hannah did not? Surely, she must have missed three periods as well, right?
Three hypotheses spring to mind.
One, Eve herself said she had “pretty irregular periods”. Hannah, due to the crisis in her marriage (which included the lack of sex) and her conviction of being infertile, simply ignored the missing periods. She just could not have been pregnant.
Two, interestingly enough, some MPD alters “may even present physical differences, such as allergies, right-or-left handedness or the need for eyeglass prescriptions.” Is it possible that Hannah had (some sort of) period, and Eve didn’t? I highly doubt it, but I am leaving it here as something to consider.
Three, and that is what I am leaning towards, maybe Hannah did notice the missing periods. We simply never hear anything from her on the subject, and that’s understandable considering the way the story flows. So she might have been wondering what was going on — recall Eve’s “I think my period stopped because hers had” — or even suspecting the pregnancy.
EVE D761: When she went home, Simon had a birthday tea waiting. Afterwards, she told Simon about me. Told him I was pregnant. She wanted me to move in with them, this sister he didn’t know she had. She knew that instant. The look on his face. She knew.
To Hannah, just like to Mother Gothel, that was a pure betrayal. She had this complex of Eve when it came to “boys”, and Simon was that one guy who was just hers, who preferred her to Eve. Alas…
Note Eve’s behavior when she says “The look on his face”. She pauses and closes her eyes as if she is recalling that look from the memory. She wouldn’t be able to do that if she weren’t there.
EVE D762: She sent him out of the house. Kicked him out. Called me up crying and I went round. I guess I had a feeling. I could hear something was wrong in her voice. But I wasn’t sure what it was. She called me sister on the phone. She never calls me that.
We have two mysteries here.
Why would Hannah call Eve her sister? Possibly she was aware how Eve saw herself, and was looking for a trigger to bring her out.
What about the phone? Possibly Hannah leaving messages on her own answering machine, Hannah with a phone looking for a trigger to bring Eve out, or just Eve’s rationalization.
EVE D763: This was nine, about nine? I went round and she was waiting for me. She was furious. And so angry. The kind of anger you can only have toward yourself. We screamed at each other. Argued. Cried. We fought. I hit her back, left a bruise. I had my wig on from performing. She tore it off. Eventually we grew tired of fighting and I left.
“She was furious. And so angry. […] I had my wig on […]. She tore it off.”
The witch did not discover what was happening until one day Rapunzel said to her, “Mother Gothel, why is my dress getting tighter around my middle?” “You godless child,” cried the witch. “What am I hearing from you? I thought I had removed you from the whole world, but you have deceived me nonetheless.” She was terribly angry. She took Rapunzel’s beautiful hair, wrapped it a few times around her left hand, grasped a pair of scissors with her right hand, and snip snip, cut it off.” — Rapunzel
The fight is legit. We know from Evelyn Lancaster’s case — and many other — that personalities might be destructive towards each other (in the case of Evelyn, one even tried a suicide). After the “sisters” had it out, Eve “left”. Note that Eve claims to have left a bruise on Hannah’s face.
Simon left around eight, Eve appeared around nine. This gives us enough time for Eve to believe she had her wig on “from performing”. When Eve “left”, Simon came back and got killed by Hannah. Then Eve kicked in again and drove to Glasgow. The next time Hannah was in control was some time after the return from Glasgow.
But something much more important happens in this clip.
WHY NOT TWINS? In the clip, we witness probably the strongest non-verbal clue — or dare I say a proof? — we’re dealing with one person only. Notice how Eve rubs and plays with her ring finger, as if the wedding ring was still there. When she notices what she is doing, she stops immediately and places her hands on the desk, as if to avoid any further temptation. If Eve was Hannah’s twin sister, she would have never worn the ring, as she was never married. And thus she wouldn’t have had a chance to catch this habit. I talked more about it at the beginning of this analysis (EVE D102).
Understand that this had to be planned, designed, and executed. Sam Barlow had to ask the actress to act appropriately. There is nothing accidental about this behavior. And it makes no sense if we were dealing with two separate human beings. /END
The finger with the ring tells us the truth, huh? Yep, you guessed it, there is a fairy tale for it.
It’s another one from The Brothers Grimm and it is called The Robber Bridegroom. In the tale, the truth is revealed when the bride exposes her future husband as a murderer by showing the proof of his crimes: a finger with the ring that belonged to one of the maidens he murdered.
The moment when the truth is exposed is quite amusing to the modern reader.
“And here is the finger with the ring.” With these words she pulled out the finger and showed it to everyone who was there.
EVE D764: It’s like I told you before. I drove. I took the car and drove. I don’t have my own car but I have a spare set of keys. I just drove north. I wanted to think put some space between me and them. Everything I told you before is true. I stopped at Glasgow. I was tired, exhausted. I pulled out and I hit a car. My car was OK but I was worried about the baby, so I went to A and E to get the OK. Everything was fine. Slept in the car. When I woke I tried to call Hannah from a pay phone. She wasn’t answering. And then I decided to drive back. I had decided that she was more important to me than Simon.
We keep hearing about Simon who never knew about the sister Hannah had (EVE D763) or Hannah wanting to come clean about Eve (EVE D760), but …Eve has a spare set of keys to the car? How would Hannah ever explain the missing car to Simon? I understand that people give others a spare set of house keys for safety, but car keys?
But sure, maybe. However, in our case, the spare set was just Hannah’s keys.
When Eve called Hannah, no one answered because no one was home. No one alive, that is. Then Eve returned to Hannah’s house to save Hannah.
“I drove. […]I just drove north.” Eve was banished from Hannah’s house, the witch’s kingdom.
“Then [the witch] sent Rapunzel into a wilderness […]” — Rapunzel.
EVE D765: Like I said before it was three. Something like that. I walked in. Saw Simon. He was on the floor of the living room. His throat had been cut. There was a lot of blood. He was dead.
It’s hard to say whether Eve cleaned up after Hannah after returning from Glasgow, or if it happened before she drove to Glasgow. If we assume that Eve’s confession is all truth, then after Glasgow. But…
EVE D766: She was sat behind him. She had my wig on. And she had been there all day. And she had blood on her. And she was in shock.
…is there a possibility that Eve never really drove to Glasgow, and Hannah/Eve just sat by Simon’s corpse for hours? A tiny one, but sure. After all, we never hear the detectives’ reply to “You’ve spoken with the hospital?” (HANNAH D603). But my take is that Eve did go to Glasgow.
When Eve came back, Hannah kicked in, and for her it’s as if time did not pass — until she looked at the clock. This explains how to Hannah it seemed “she had been there all day”.
The reason she had Eve’s wig on is that either Eve picked it up after returning from Glasgow, or actually Eve took the wig earlier and had it on when she came back from Glasgow. When she saw Simon’s corpse — possibly even touched it, hence the blood — and the switch kicked in, Hannah found herself in the wig, and “in shock”.
EVE D767: Her story was that she’d waited for him to come back. She put on my wig, some of my clothes. Pretended to be me. They talked. She’d enjoyed being me. He said he wanted to be with me. Then he took out a present. Another mirror. Just like the one he’d given her earlier. That unique present. She went crazy. Smashed the mirror. They argued. Screamed. He hit her. So she grabbed a piece of the mirror just swung it round. She cut his throat clean open. She’d only meant to scare him off.
And here we go…
On the evening of the same day that she sent Rapunzel away, the witch tied the cut-off hair to the hook at the top of the tower, and when the prince called out: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair!”. She let down the hair. The prince climbed up, but above, instead of his beloved Rapunzel, he found the witch, who peered at him with poisonous and evil looks.
“Aha!” she cried scornfully. “You have come for your Mistress Darling, but that beautiful bird is no longer sitting in her nest, nor is she singing any more. The cat got her, and will scratch your eyes out as well. You have lost Rapunzel. You will never see her again.” — Rapunzel
WHY NOT TWINS? Let’s talk about the first six sentences first. The prelude was, if you remember, that on her birthday, Hannah argued with Simon. He rage quit, went to The Rock, had a pint, and then came back home a few hours later.
It’s night, and when he opens the door, Eve is there (we know it’s Hannah pretending to be Eve, but Simon doesn’t in this version). And he’s all like, yeah, it’s normal that my secret lover is now in my house this fine evening and my wife is nowhere to be seen. Here, baby, I made this mirror for you, let’s be together forever.
Look, even if Eve was Hannah’s twin, and even if Simon did sleep with her in his and Hannah’s house, there’s just no way he would throw himself at Eve, magically pulling a magical mirror out of his magical ass, while ignoring his wife’s disappearance on his wife’s birthday after he just had a heated argument with his wife and came back to his wife’s house.
Also, notice the second sentence, “she put on my wig, some of my clothes”. The wig is explained, Hannah tore if off Eve earlier (EVE D763). But how exactly did Hannah get a hold of Eve’s clothes? Did she tear them off too? /END
Broken Hannah wore Eve’s wig and some of her clothes (which were in the house, as Eve is Hannah). When Simon came back, he knew exactly with whom he was dealing with: his wife.
Did he know it was Hannah pretending to be her second personality? Probably not, although that’s not impossible, given Hannah’s emotional state at the time. But he probably thought Hannah went Eve again. He talked to her as if he talked to his wife — because he was — in the comfort of their home. It is unclear whether he was addressing her as Hannah or Eve, but we know at one point he showed her the mirror. Whatever the exact details are, Hannah misinterpreted Simon’s words and actions, thinking all he wanted was Eve, and then the tragedy happened. We discussed the mirror before (there was no second mirror).
Was this really an accident, or did Hannah kill Simon in a rage of jealousy? And if this was an accident, was it as described, or was Simon trying to stop Hannah from killing herself (see my comment to EVE D526)? I guess we will never know. Even Rapunzel does not offer us the key here, as even though the witch was furious and angry, the prince jumped out of the tower himself.
But then again, in some versions of the tale it is the witch who pushes him out of the tower’s window.
There is also the mystery of the bruise. Eve said earlier, “We fought. I hit her back, left a bruise.” — that was before Simon’s return from the pub (EVE D763). He surely would have noticed that on Hannah/Eve when he entered the house. And it’s fine, it works, it may even explain the mirror that Simon showed to Hannah.
However, here Eve adds “He hit her.” Is this the real reason for the bruise? Or is that Eve trying to whitewash her sister, invent a justification for her actions?
More importantly, compare both fights. For Hannah and Eve, it’s “We screamed at each other. Argued. […]. I hit her […]”, and for Hannah and Simon it’s “They argued. Screamed. He hit her.”.
Pretty similar, are they not? Is it because this was all just one fight in reality? This would support the suicide hypothesis (again, see EVE D526 for details).
EVE D768: It happened very quickly. We hardly had to talk to each other. We agreed almost silently. The baby was what mattered. We’d help each other. We cleaned up. We bagged up the broken mirror, her clothes. They’re gone. We took him down to the cellar. We knew I… We had an alibi and we wanted the body to be found later. We wanted to have suspicion on us so we could then disprove it, rather than have it linger. Better to keep the body in the house than risk being seen with it. The watch that was my touch. To make sure the alibi stuck.
Because “baby was what mattered”, both personalities worked together as never before. Hence the abundance of “we” in this clip.
Notice the intriguing mistake: “We knew I… We had an alibi”. Of course what Eve wanted to say was “We knew I had an alibi”, but …why would Eve correct “I” to “we”? She is telling the whole story — not the whole truth, of course, but the story of how they tried to mislead the police — and in that story she mentioned her trip to Glasgow already. So she has already communicated it to the police herself that only she had an alibi, and Hannah obviously did not. It’s the end of the interview, Eve just said it all and already incriminated Hannah. And thus there was no need for the correction whatsoever. Puzzling.
Eve tampered with the watch, but it might be true that in her mind she just did it to strengthen the already existing alibi (remember, she is convinced Hannah was home when she was in Glasgow).
EVE D769: My sister is gone. And she’s never coming back.
Eve is done. She said what she had to say.
I said I was keeping one more fragment of the Life magazine’s article about Evelyn Lancaster, and here it is:
EVE D770: Can you arrest someone who doesn’t exist?
A bit earlier, Eve said: “I haven’t put down any roots. I don’t exist.” (EVE D752). In her mind, she is Hannah’s sister, and someone without any proof of existence. She lives off the grid.
This question shows the level of Eve’s delusion. Of course, the police can and will arrest her. At best, she helped to cover a murder, and she was just recorded admitting to it. At worst, she is the murderer (to them). No one will let her go now just because she does not have any documents on her that would prove she’s Hannah’s sister.
However the detectives answered this question, Eve did not like it:
EVE D771: I’d like to speak to a lawyer now. Please. You have no murder weapon. You have nothing. And all these stories we’ve been telling each other? Just that. Stories.
What response from the detectives would make Eve say these things? She did not hear what she wanted to hear, that much is clear. She denied the lawyer twice, but now she ends the conversation by demanding one. She is no longer advertising the fairy tale of a twin hidden from the world. She becomes practical, talks about the lack of hard evidence. And she tries to erase everything she said before as mere stories “we’ve been telling each other”.
What happened to Eve? We know she gave birth to Sarah, who is now investigating the interviews. This is more or less how Sarah looks like, it’s a composite image of the left/right reflections we see during the game, made by a Steam user.
Was Sarah born in prison? In an institution? In Hannah’s house? We will never know. But if it’s any consolation, Rapunzel ends well for the princess, and she raises her children on her own for some time. The witch is dead, and Eve is restored to her rightful place.
But then again, “life isn’t a fairy tale”.
At one point of the game, a mysterious SB asks Sarah if she understands why her mother “did what she did”. We can safely assume that despite the game’s fairy tale layer, SB is Sam Barlow, and not Sleeping Beauty. The inclusion of this question was not originally in the design, but Barlow added it after some feedback from the testers.
There are many hypotheses behind the question, but personally I think it’s just Sam’s way of not ruining the experience for you. The question appears when you still have a lot of clips to discover, and at this point some people may have this idea that Hannah was innocent. Asking “Do you understand why your mother killed your father?” would ruin their own unique take on the game.
Sarah explores the clips on June 16th, 2015. A day before Eve’s birthday. Is she planning a visit, but wants to know the truth first?
The description of the “The Reflection” achievement for finishing the game is “Sarah has logged off and crossed the road”. That’s in response to the SB’s request to meet him “over the road”. The road reminds us of what Eve said in the final interview: “[…] I had read her diary at that point and I knew she wasn’t my real mother. So I burned the diary that day and I left. Walked out and across the street.” (EVE D730).
Paraphrasing Eve’s words, Sarah’s final words could be: “I had seen the video diary and I learned the truth about my mother. I logged off and I left. Walked out and across the street.” And then she started the rest of her life.
We are nearing the end of the analysis. We know what happened, and why. But what is the game really about?
To me it’s a disturbing look at the preconceptions we apply to people based on fragmented data. Hannah the poor victim. Eve the temptress. Florence the witch.
But there’s also a brighter side to the story. It’s an allegory for becoming a parent. Eve enjoyed her crazy, “drunken teenage sex” days but now needs to start a new, responsible life. She was not ready before, and the age of seventeen, but she is ready now. The truly destructive part of her had to go. Her last words give me hope her delusion is disappearing too. She has a reason to try. “It’s all that matters really, the baby”.
“Fairy tales are magic mirrors: they show you what you wish to see. “
…and this is what I wished to see.
Obviously, that is not the only reading possible. My interpretation of Her Story was based on a reasonable assumption it mirrors the events of Rapunzel. But if we dropped this, and treated Rapunzel just as one of many fairy tales interwoven with the fabric of Her Story, some events of the game could be interpreted differently.
The game’s ending credits show the mix of Hannah and Eve’s videos superimposed one over another.