A Creator's Dive Into Turmoil
(tense ominous music) (prompt beeps) (gentle start-up music) (mouse clicking) (tense foreboding music) (static hissing) - Mortis, keeper of the sacred key. - To find the Grail, you must look to the stars. (gentle upbeat music) (tense foreboding music) (steam hissing) - [Narrator] "Drowned God". (suspenseful music) A 1996 point-and-click video game created by a man named Richard Horne, also known as Harry Horse. Stemming from the idea that the scientific origins of humanity are a lie, the game plays like an eerie looking glass into a disturbed mind. The game is, for all intents and purposes, a product of its time, and it was received mostly well.
Containing an esoteric mishmash of historical beliefs, the game effectively bombards you with questions about your origins, connecting them to prominent conspiracy theories and secret societies, like the Illuminati. In turn, the end result is nothing short of perplexing, but something tells me that this was done on purpose. At the outset of "Drowned God," you're greeted with a mysterious chamber and a strange voice explaining your place in its world.
Allegedly, the reality that you're experiencing is a gift, and who it's from is presently one of the game's many mysteries. The voice explains that you've returned here from a previous life, and your current task, while obscure, is to unearth a secret that will enlighten you with answers about life itself. "Trust too deeply", the voice warns, "and you'll know the wickedness in men's hearts.
As above, so below. As above, so below. This is the secret of the "Drowned God." (tense suspenseful music) Something about 1990's PC games have this charm about them. And it's eerily pleasant.
(gentle suspenseful music) The atmosphere of "Drowned God" sucks you in, enveloping you within it's bemusing lore from the outset. The gameplay is rudimentary, at least compared to modern standards, but back then that was mostly expected. The point-and-click game was nothing new, and "Drowned God" was, of course, one of many like it. "Sanitarium," "Garage," "Myst," "Putt-Putt," they were everywhere. What made it special, though, was the fact that it was so outlandish. It had layers, genuine lore, and a wild mishmash of conspiracies all baked into an eerie little two-hour package.
To enjoy "Drowned God" meant that you had to believe in it, engross yourself in it, and suspend whatever counter-belief that was baked within your conscience. (gentle ominous music) (machinery whirring) (gentle music) After the introductory monologue, you're left in a chamber called the Bequest Globe. Before you is a terminal, and after entering your name, it assigns you a number, a code name, and then presents you with a synopsis of your past lives. After observing this, a door opens up leading to two otherworldly beings named Kether and Malachut, that explain that you need to collect four ancient relics for the secret of the Drowned God.
Obtaining these involves utilizing a time-machine mechanic known as the Cryptowheel, that teleports you to the regions in which they're kept. The first world is one named Binah, containing aspects of Arthurian legend, and including references to Stonehenge. It takes you through a deserted wasteland before eventually dropping you off at a museum that I can only describe as uncanny. Like the Museum of Anything Goes, (man sighs) but that's a story for another time. (gentle upbeat music) The second, Chesed, showcases a submarine interior and Aztec ruins all wrapped up within an eerily liminal desert.
Something I particularly enjoyed here were the numerous references to the Philadelphia Experiment, a time-traveling invisible military ship conspiracy theory that's admittedly pretty damn creepy. An obvious hoax, but still pretty creepy. I'm sure you can see why it fit perfectly into "Drowned God" though.
The third, named Din, brings you to a carnival, a maze, and an underground subway system. The characters you encounter during this section don Plague Doctor masks and walk in the most unnatural manner possible. The carnival section, however, was a welcome change because it was throwing me "Silent Hill 3" vibes, and that sure as hell ain't a bad thing.
And the final world, Chokmah, takes you to a structure outside of Area 51. Everything's super quiet. Super abandoned. Super ominous.
(gentle upbeat music continues) Once the game finally draws to a close, and you collect three of the four artifacts needed to unearth the big secret, you'll find that you're unable to, and are left to choose three separate paths leading to three different endings. Choosing the first path banishes you to a technological police state with men in black suits surveilling you. The second is much of the same, however you're forced into genetic manipulation against your will. And the final path? Well, that's my favorite one, because it welcomes you with a scene of aliens, that cheerfully claim- - [Alien] "We are coming, for we are legion."
- [Narrator] A bit forward, I'll admit, but that's "Drowned God" for you. Aliens helped create humanity. Because of course they did. (gentle upbeat music) Now, "Drowned God" within itself is undoubtedly creepy, and absolutely warrants an entire review video of it's own. It's got all the cornerstones of a dissectable piece of media, with hidden secrets, a convoluted story, disturbing characters, and a creepy atmosphere.
While that alone personally piques my interest, what you'd be surprised to know is that discussion about the game itself isn't actually why we're here today. The game's creator, Harry Horse, is a peculiar person, and the backstory of his life behind the veil of "Drowned God" is nothing short of unsettling. But why? (tense ominous music) (computer pings) (keyboard clacking) (gentle mysterious music) Reports had come out nearly a decade after the game's release that Harry Horse had passed away in a Romeo and Juliet-esque suicide pact with his wife, Amanda Williamson. The couple allegedly overdosed on painkillers and died in each other's arms, with some outlets describing the scene as "deeply moving," and "the final expression of the great love story that was their life together."
While this may initially seem grievous, subsequent discoveries would later reveal that the reality of the situation wasn't quite so simple. Like I said, Harry Horse was an enigma, an outlier. A mind full of complexity, like a mad scientist.
For the last decade of his life, everything around him was spiraling further and further into complication and misfortune. His wife was stricken by an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis and as a result, Harry would regularly express his growing discontent for how his life was falling into place. The division and method of discovery between this alleged love story suicide pact and the media accounts surrounding it are another curious find as well, as the real details of what happened that night weren't released until months later. The story everyone was made to believe, this romantic tragedy, actually was a complete lie. In reality, things were much, much darker.
Let me take you to the beginning. (gentle start-up music) (gentle ominous music) It's the 9th of May, 1960. A boy is born to a Jo and Derek Horne of Warwickshire, England. They name him Richard, and he would be the first of four children.
For most of his childhood, things are pretty good. The family reportedly lived in an upscale farmhouse without much conflict, and from an early age, Richard was known to have a fondness for art, frequently drawing the animals that he'd see on his daily walks with his family. All around, by those that knew him, he was regarded as a considerably friendly, and stand-up child, with a winning smile. By his teenage years, Richard would become increasingly aware that his life aspirations were at odds with those of his family. For instance, his parents were delighted when he eventually landed a job as a solicitors clerk at a law firm, however this occupation opened his eyes to where his passion truly was.
Not in law, but in art. After quitting a short while later, and around the time he turned 18, he'd leave his home for Edinburgh, Scotland, in hopes of sneaking into college art classes. He changed his name from Richard Horne to Harry Horse around this time as well, which his family believes was his method of burying his past life entirely, a rift that we'll soon find noteworthy. "If you look like a student, and you act like a student, then you basically are one," Harry claimed was his philosophy at Edinburgh University, and it seemed to have ultimately paid off, as just five years later, he'd release his debut children's book to remarkable success. His method of pulling this off, however, involved a significant amount of lying and persuasion. Allegedly, he had contacted the would-be publisher, Canongate, posing as an agent, and claiming that they should check Harry's work out.
Needless to say, he ultimately landed that interview, and the rest is history. (lively upbeat music) By utilizing this new found knack for role-playing, Harry would launch a band called "Swamptrash" in 1987. It was during this phase of his life that he would meet the woman he'd marry, named Amanda Williamson. (gentle ominous music) She was a self-proclaimed number one fan, and from the beginning, they reportedly hit it off.
According to a friend, "Harry was besotted with Amanda," and, "She was a center of sublime stillness." Something Harry reputedly needed since according to those close to him, he was prone to sudden outbursts of rage. From coworkers to bandmates, what most were unaware of was the fact that Harry would lash out for seemingly no reason, leaving them frequently taken aback by his polarity.
"I hate fucking dealers, they're the parasites of the art world, profit-margin-obsessed, greedy individuals with no true understanding of art," he once unloaded onto a Scotland art dealer. It was because of this notion that his peers would see him as a nice guy, no doubt, however he had his demons, and was undoubtedly unpredictable. (gentle start-up music) (machinery whirring) (gentle upbeat music) - The game is about an alternative interpretation of the history of mankind. The whole mystery of "Drowned God" is based on Atlantis and the position of these star constellations that form the same constellation as the Giza Pyramids, the ground layout. It's a puzzle game, basically, the whole thing is unlocking a gigantic secret.
And the game is thought about as a long crescendo from near ignorance into initiation and a new knowledge, which is genuine. You leave the game significantly with more between your ears and in you heart maybe, than you had when you started. It's about- (tense foreboding music) - [Narrator] Having taken up an interest in conspiracy theories, Harry utilized his forgery and role-playing skills to craft a false manuscript, dated 1846, that outlined an alternative history of the dawn of mankind. He impersonated an 18th century poet named Richard Henry Horne to pull this off. Not to be confused with Harry Horse's birth name.
According to Harry, "Henry Horne took great interest in the legend of the Sons of God, and it was exactly the subject of my forgery." A wild coincidence according to him, but it was one that largely duped everyone, ultimately serving as the basis for the "Drowned God" storyline. By Halloween night of 1996, the game was released and was generally well received, selling over 34,000 copies in just two weeks. Described by some as "the strangest, creepiest, most psychedelic adventure game I've yet to come across," it was safe to say that Harry had crafted something special. So special that he had planned a sequel named "CULT" to eventually tie the "Drowned God" story together, however due to events that would soon transpire, that sequel would never see the light of day. (metal clacking) (gentle foreboding music) Contrary to his success in his professional life, Harry's personal life was crumbling.
Amanda was officially diagnosed with an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis, leaving her health to rapidly deteriorate, and by the early 2000s, she was confined to a wheelchair. This downward spiral would carry on for the better part of the next decade, and those close to them could observe Harry's mental state mirroring this. After a myriad of smaller moves and life changes during the next few years, the pair would adopt a cat and a dog named Roo, and in 2004, they'd set up camp one final time near Amanda's immediate family in Shetland, Scotland. It was there where Harry was out of his element.
As time would pass, his workload for caring for Amanda would increase, yet at the same time, his mind had a nagging desire to work back in Edinburgh. To Harry, the months began to feel longer, he was becoming increasingly uninspired, and by May of 2006, it was observed by his peers that his demeanor had reached somewhat of a breaking point. (gentle foreboding music continues) Catalyzed by the sudden passing of their dog, Roo, he became indifferent, incalculable, and it resulted in a multitude of incidents. According to "The Sunday Times," "He berated a Shetland art gallery for it's pretentious paintings. He punched a hole in a wall at home during a bout with a social worker who was disputing Amanda's disability benefits.
His family's relations were reaching a terminal phase, and he eventually cut contact with each of them." "I'm in a living hell," Harry once claimed. And this island that was supposed to be their home of tranquility, was beginning to feel more and more like a prison cell.
(gentle start-up music) (gentle ominous music) On the 9th of January, 2007, two friends visiting from New Zealand would make a quick stop to check in on the couple. During their stay, Harry purportedly wasn't himself, and was firing off claims such as, "It's a wonderful night for a killing." According to them, Amanda didn't want them to leave after their visit either. However, against her wishes, they left anyway. (tense ominous music) 9:40 am, January 10th.
On their way to the airport, the two friends return to the house to retrieve a jacket that they left behind. The front door's open, and they head inside. Instead of being greeted by the couple, however, they encounter something a bit more grotesque. Their new dog and their cat are stabbed to death.
Amanda is seen with over 30 stab wounds and a broken blade stuck within her. Harry's discovered with over 47 wounds on his arms and torso, and mutilated genitals. The pair are lying close together on her bed.
There's blood on the floor, the windows, the walls, and the scene is unlike anything they've ever witnessed. (tense ominous music continues) According to the media, it's believed that that evening Harry snapped after consuming an alleged cocktail of drugs, stabbing his wife over and over until the first knife broke off inside her. He grabbed another, and continued stabbing her before shifting his attention to their two pets, and after killing them, he would turn the knife on himself, stabbing his own torso and genitals until both Amanda and he bled to death.
"The doctor who attended hasn't returned to work," an officer claimed, "it's the worst thing he's ever seen." (gentle suspenseful music) To police, the scene was dark. They went on record to claim that a murder like this hadn't happened in the Shetland Islands in over 15 years prior to the incident. The area was closed off and the investigation began privately, though, on the outside, word of mouth began to spread. Because Scotland's investigators operate close to the chest, withholding details and official accounts even today, everyone had caught wind that the pair were dead, however nobody knew exactly why or how. It was because of this notion that the rumors would sprout about the pair potentially overdosing on Amanda's painkillers, since Harry couldn't have murdered his own wife, pets, and then himself.
Could he? And so, during the weeks immediately following the incident, media outlets ran with it, dressing up the murder-suicide as an act of love. There were even plans to bury the two together since the families believed that it's what they would've wanted, however, they were oblivious to the full story. It wasn't until days later that the families would catch wind of the actual details from the crime scene, and it's a bitter feeling that they still hold to this day. With that being said, because the case was closed so suddenly and the investigation reports are still confidential, the quote, unquote, official ruling, the murder by the hand of Richard Horne, has also been the subject of scrutiny.
Evidence of this can be found on Wikipedia, through numerous articles, and even various blogs that the Horne family had set up. The root of the issue stems from the fact that in Scotland, a so-called Fatal Accident Inquiry was never released. Having determined that it would be in the public's best interest to not know what officially happened that night, since the deaths didn't happen at the workplace or in police custody, it's left the public largely in the dark. I've been in contact with the nephew of Harry Horse, and while they're well aware of the initial flowery misinterpretation in the media, they're left with the belief that vital details are missing. According to them, throughout this investigation they've been "excluded, misled, drip-fed information, and to date, everything that's been released has led to closed doors." Allegedly, Amanda's family were the only ones that acquired the full disclosure from that night's events, leaving the sole public source of information to come from them.
One of the few official answers that the Hornes were able to obtain was Richard's autopsy report, and the results are highly intriguing. As it turns out, the widely-reported cocktail of drugs that he ingested the night of the killing actually wasn't so, since the presence of amphetamines, barbiturates, benzos, cannabinoids, cocaine, methadone, opiates, and paracetamol had all come back negative. And the same goes for his blood alcohol and urine alcohol levels which were also at zero. Aside from elevated levels of the antidepressant amitriptyline, he was otherwise entirely sober during this, leading the family to further question how he'd be able to pull off 47 self-inflicted stab wounds on top of self-mutilation. "Were they murdered?", a document they curated claims. "To date, a high court judge and forensic psychologist, amongst others believe so.
Someone got away with murder, but can we prove it? Only time will tell." (gentle ominous music) (VHS machine whirring) All right, Nexpo from the future here. The video's done and I'm jumping back in here real fast with a quick addendum. (gentle upbeat music) If I'm being completely honest with you, this video has been difficult to write. The amount of information, personal takes, details, and running theories are so abundant that formulating a definitive opinion on what happened that night has been laborious.
Harry was unpredictable. His peers and family don't deny that. And the painfully frustrating reality is that Amanda did not deserve to die, and especially not the way she did. I think, now in hindsight, the reason why this has been such a difficult topic is due to a myriad of things. The media, the claims by the Williamsons, the counterclaims by the Hornes, and the lack of an official police report.
I'll admit, there's so much that's been left out of this video because if I went through everything, the runtime would be two hours long. With that being said, after you finish this video, I highly encourage you to read further into this bizarre story. It's got peculiarity after peculiarity. For instance, did you know that Amanda's father did not officially declare that Harry murdered his wife until over a year later? For that entire length of time, everything, every claim, theory, retelling, was based on hearsay. Now, while this notion's suspect, and just firing off the top here, let's say that Harry did not commit this murder, a counterpoint to this would be that claim by the authorities, that a murder like this hadn't happened in the Shetland Islands in over 15 years.
But the media got Harry's sobriety wrong, and he reportedly downed a cocktail of drugs to numb himself before committing this crime, right? Well, no. The toxicology report countered that. So once again, if we're assuming that Harry did not do this, then who would? The island that the couple passed away on has a population of, as of 2016, 907 people. 907, so it's safe to assume that someone on the island would've known or heard or seen something had an external party committed this. Sensationalism, frustration, confliction. That is the Achilles' heel of everything about this tragedy.
(gentle music) The story of Amanda Williamson and Harry Horse is a metaphorical amalgamation of tension, devolvement, and madness. After leading a life of lies, Harry Horse had found great success in his professional life, however the reflection of himself in his personal, ultimately created a character that he grew further and further from recognizing. The events that played out that night are the summit, the breaking point, of a relationship that could've been, should've been so much better, yet the circumstances that surrounded them ultimately crumbled into calamity. It's been regarded by many as the perfect catastrophe rooted in lunacy. Killing the ones you love before turning the knife upon yourself is a testament to the burning resentment that was buried within him all along.
Well, at least, that's how it was portrayed in the media. And that's the main issue with this entire predicament, it's one that's wrapped up in he-said, she-said, media sensationalism, and journalistic misinformation. (gentle ominous music) Ultimately, cruel distortion or not, this entire affair has taught us to never take anything at face value. Whether the events that played out on January 10th were a gruesome murder-suicide by an unpredictable husband that lost his mind, or were the work of an external group of individuals that got away with homicide, what's undeniable is the notion that the legal system in Scotland is frustrating, ultimately leaving us with limited information on not only Harry Horse himself, but Amanda Williamson, their families, and everyone else that surrounded them.
Thanks so much for watching. I'll see you soon. I love you all, and good night. (gentle pensive music) (gentle pensive music continues)