Make it Personal
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Why I’m Obsessed With Lost Media

The story of the common impossible

From The Lost Media Wiki

What was the last thing to truly scare you? I do not mean the last thing to make you jump or the last thing that weirded you out. I mean something that kept you up at night because your mind kept confusing the shadows outside your window for demons, that level of fear.

Mine was a video of a rabbit singing.

Between the distorted VHS rip making it look like a tape straight from that weird guy who edits kids shows into porn, to the singer clearly trying to be happy but instead sounding monotone, when I first heard this, I was honestly freaked out. And judging by the comments, I’m far from the only one:

However, if this were just some video made and uploaded by a weird guy on YouTube who wanted to scare his audience, I imagine most people wouldn’t have felt much about it. What truly makes it scary is that the video was a piece of lost media, meaning at the time of its release we had no idea who made it, where it was found, or anything besides the content of the video and the person who uploaded it.

While much about the oddly named “Pink Morning Cartoon” (actually called Kids’ Fun Festival) has been found out since the publication of this video, that was not the case for many years. The videos showing this cartoon were uploaded back in 2009, and they remained on YouTube doing the online equivalent of collecting dust for years on end. It wasn’t until 2020 when a major YouTuber in the lost media scene, Blameitonjorge, made a video on them.

The segment on Pink Morning Cartoon starts at 1:50

Since then, Jorge has gone on to discuss everything we know now about Pink Morning Cartoon after a massive search started in response to his video.

The fact that this video sat on YouTube for over a decade without anyone noticing is quite disturbing. And the utter lack of information (even now, no other footage besides the video linked above and one other short exist) makes watching it kind of creepy by itself. It’s as if you entered a room nobody had entered for a decade prior, despite the house itself being a popular residence that has been bought and sold many times. Were they all told something we simply weren’t?

Like many people, I first got into lost media on September 8th, 2015. That was the day YouTuber RebelTaxi uploaded a video called “A DAY With SPONGEBOB [Midnight Society] The LEGALLY BANNED Bootleg,” on the mysterious lost film A Day With Spongebob Squarepants.

RebelTaxi’s combination of information, focus on the oddities, and good old fashion humor caught my interest. At the time, the Lost Media Wiki page was basically a collective journal for anyone who found out new information. When I got home from school, the first thing I would always do is check that page.

It seems like I was not alone, as people regularly say it was RebelTaxi’s video that brought it to the attention of people who were not already involved in lost media or who regularly browsed the right 4chan boards.

But why did this take off? Well I think it’s because of something RebelTaxi himself says in the video:

How can something like this vanish? . . . It shouldn’t be so difficult to track down a DVD this recent!

Combine this with a joke at the end where he pretends he was sent the movie and it turns out to be the porn parody Spongeknob Squarenuts (which fooled many people) and everyone wanted to know more.

The most interesting part of lost media, to myself and many, is that the concept is even possible. I remember as early as Kindergarten being told two things about the internet:

  1. What you post on the internet stays on the internet forever.
  2. The internet has every piece of information you will ever need, and everything you won’t need as well.

Combine this with the level of piracy available these days. We’ve all heard of a big movie or two getting leaked online before it was even released in theaters. Piracy was so easy that even my grandma could do it — seriously, my grandmother used to download movies illegally and burn them on DVDs.

The concept sounds like something straight out of a horror story, and that’s where it started. The first stories of lost media were things like a fictional Spongebob episode “Squidward Suicide” or the missing The Simpsons episode “Dead Bart.”

I had heard stories like this before, and simply passed them off as ridiculous due to everything I mentioned above. How could a piece of media be missing in the first place? The idea that, yes, lost media does in fact exist, actually adds a small amount of credibility to these stories.

Once you get over the absurd concept, you find the struggle of man to find media is actually a common one. When Mr. Enter tried to look at the history of animation pre-1910, he found that a large amount of it was completely lost. Even using text to say at one point:

For film in general, it’s speculated that more than half of silent films have been lost to the sands of time, and at least half of sound films from 1927–1950 have been lost. Most of these films were intentionally destroyed.

He also includes a quote from film preservationist Robert Harris, which reads:

Most of the early films did not survive because of wholesale junking by the studios. There was no thought of saving these films. They simply needed vault space and the materials were too expensive to house.

One piece of animation he talks about, the first piece of Japaneses Animation in fact, was titled Katsudo Shashin. It was estimated to be made some time between 1907–1911, a full decade before what’s considered to be the first anime. The film wasn’t even found until 2005, when a family simply found it in a projector.

Or how about The Epic of Gilgamesh, considered to be the oldest surviving work of epic literature. That works was lost for centuries, possibly even millenniums, until it was rediscovered in 1853. This was because, before even writing, stories were told orally. This was how work like Bewolf, considered to be the first work of English literature, survived as it wasn’t written down until five centuries after it was told.

Many of them did not survive. The stories The Iliad and The Odyssey were actually just a quarter of the eight poems Homer made about The Trojan War. Although fragments of these other stories remain (The Trojan Horse does not appear in either of these stories despite being the most famous event), the majority of these poems are lost.

Even The Bible, the most influential work of literature ever created, has not gone without its fair share of lost media. In 1945, a document was found in Egypt now known as The Gospel Of Thomas, which contains over 100 sayings attributed to Jesus Christ. It is commonly believed that this was written with little involvement from the other Gospel authors, and might have even been written by Christ himself.

Since then, speculation has also run rampant about another document, titled the Q Gospel. Said book is supposedly the other source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, with Luke relying much more on it then Matthew did while Matthew relied mostly on Mark.

I find that the most important part here, once the idea of this being possible gets through your head, is that you have a bottomless well of content to speculate about and search for.

In a world of nonstop streaming services and video on demand, it sometimes makes it look like all media is easily accessible. Lost media is the story of the most interesting exceptions.

Thoughtful takes on your favorite shows and movies. No straight-up reviews

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Ephrom Josine

Ephrom Josine

Political Commentator; Follow My Twitter: @EphromJosine1

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