Apocalyptic Log

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
*Sigh* Dear Diary...

... even now I can hear the footsteps of that shambling monstrosity, and hear its eerie piping upon the wind. Poor Blakely, he never dreamed -- but now the door is being smashed to flinders, and at last I behold what my meddling has awakened! And now it is dragging me across the floor toward its hideous suckered mouths! Ia! Ia! The Goat With a Thousand Young! No!

A story is told through a log, diary, or journal that a character uses to document their activities and progress through the plot. Suddenly, something happens, the effects of which are slowly made known to the reader through by its effects on the medium.

Expect that one dedicated character will keep recording events up until their last breath and that log will be discovered by the Hero or the audience. These logs generally start the same way with hopeful characters recording the details of their lives and work. But when things start going sideways the entries will start conveying concern, disbelief, desperation and ultimately insanity. They might ominously report about how mysteriously hungry they now feel, among other symptoms. The final entry can either be incoherent gibberish as the remaining character tries to warn the world of what happened, or a final cogent statement warning the reader not to repeat their mistake, or how to end it.

This log can be written or recorded. If it's a video log, the downhill progress of the situation will be punctuated by a degradation in the appearance of the character, their surroundings, or even the video itself. Bonus points if the log's final entry has the character ultimately succumbing to whatever horror was released. Double bonus if the log is written and still records the author's last seconds. (See the page quote.)

Depending on the nature of the apocalyptic event, the recording may have gone through Ragnarok Proofing.

A handy way to fill in heroes who are Late to the Party, and one of the last things "rescuers" answering a Distress Call will find.

Not to be confused with the apocalyptic Loge from Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung, or for that matter, The Log from Naruto the Abridged Series. Or with Apocalyptic Lag. See also Video Will, the various times when the Cassette Craze applies to disappearances, and some of the less pleasant cases of Message in a Bottle.

This Trope is almost always a part of Found Footage Films. See also Lost in Transmission, Distress Call, Late to the Party, Action Survivor, Almost-Dead Guy, Harbinger of Impending Doom, Send in the Search Team, Ignored Expert, Undead Author, Posthumous Character, Posthumous Narration, That Was the Last Entry.

Examples of Apocalyptic Log include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Director's Cut of episode 21 of Neon Genesis Evangelion opens with a security video taken about a month before Second Impact. It starts off in a mundane way, picking up not only chatter from staff but a conversation between Gendo and Keel on the nature of scientists. Then with a crash, the scene cuts to the moment when Adam begins to grow into the Giant of Light, and we hear shouting from scientists trying to get the Angel under control. The picture cuts off just as Adam's giant, glowing hands reach into the frame.
    • Similarly, all we see of the activation of Unit 04 is a mushroom cloud rising up from the test site, followed by static.
  • In Pokémon: The First Movie, Dr. Fuji records logs showing his team's eventual creation of Mewtwo. The final log shows their deaths at the mind of their enraged creation.

We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon...And we succeeded.

  • In the visual and sound novels of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, The TIPS show that Shion kept a journal as she was going mad due to Hinamizawa Syndrome. Although you actually do get to see many of the events that the journal refers to, it gives a closer look into her mind as the events unfold and ends with the "Notebook of Happiness" entry, which ends, as you might guess from the ironic title, "I'm sorry for having been born". Naturally, it was cut from the anime.
  • The horror manga, Mail, has a story titled "Portrait"; it starts with a woman picking up and arranging her sister's belongings after she had committed suicide via self-immolation and discovering her diary. The diary describes the last few weeks of her sister's life including finding a rare portrait and her growing obsession with it. It starts of with her trying to discover more about the painting, to learning more about the girl in the painting, to writing in her diary that she thinks there is something creepy going on in her apartment, to thinking that the source of the creepiness is that new painting she is so fond of to realizing that sometimes, the eyes of the sleeping girl would open up, to finally writing over and over again how she wants to die. When reading that last page, the woman who finds her sister's diary realizes that the last few pages handwriting slowly changes from her sister's handwriting to someone else's. When she realizes this, she looks at the portrait and realizes that it's looking straight at her. It turns out that the portrait of the girl still has the girl's spirit trapped inside due to the sympathy she got in life, cheering her to live on despite the fact that the only thing she ever wanted was to die and end her suffering and since then, has been committing suicide through the various owners of the portrait!

Comic Books

  • Doctor Strange's log in Marvel 1602.
  • In Countdown, when an unstoppable virus destroys an Alternate Universe (a universe that had ALREADY been destroyed and remade), we see the last days from through the journal of Buddy Blank. We watch through his eyes as the universe becomes a planet where humans and animals are transformed into violent, bloodthirsty Half Human Hybrids.
  • Brilliantly used in Grendel to illustrate the self-doubts and conflicts within Brian Li Sung, as he slowly succumbs to the Grendel identity. The brilliant part is that what at first seemed to be mere doodles in his journal's margins turn out to be the musings of the increasingly self-directing Grendel spirit, itself!
  • Twitch's journal in Spawn.
  • Dr. Delia Surridge's journal in V for Vendetta. In the graphic novel (though not the movie), she describes V's art projects in fascinated detail; these turn out to be intricate bombs and poisons that he later uses to destroy Larkhill and escape.
    • The graphic novel also mentions that many pages are missing, leading to much speculation over what info they may have contained.
  • Rorschach's journal in Watchmen.
  • The entirety of the illustrated novel Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection is treated this way. The book is framed as a journal that was being kept by a young doctor attempting to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. It cuts off suddenly, mid journal entry, several days after the character reaches a supposedly safe haven. No explanation is given, and it is simply stated that the journal was recovered later, and no one knows what happens to the journal writer, or the other people from the safe haven.
    • There is a possible explanation. The zombie plague was started by a totally-not-high-fructose-corn-syrup-honest food additive, with sufficient concentrations causing those who ate it to become the living dead. While the narrator is fairly strict about his diet, he has only one food he indulges in--baked beans, which he always eats with aplomb. The moral of this story is to always check the ingredients list of the food you eat. ...seriously, the book was rather Anvilicious in that regard.
  • Superman has one in the Elseworlds Distant Fires.
  • Dan Turpin's internal monologue in Final Crisis.

Fan Works

Anko: "Fuck!"


  • WALL-E: Override Directive A113.
  • Felidae. The progressively alcoholic veterinary Dr. Preterius holds a pre-mortem camera diary of him and his two lab assistants trying to develop a new "glue" for organic tissue, by experimenting with homeless cats in his practice in his house's basement. The first trials lead to gruesome deaths of several cats, as the prototype glue turns out to be acidic. The next trials on a special homeless cat promptly named "Claudandus" are way more successful. However, they have to cut the agonized cat open again for further experimenting. Then, the experiment's funding is cut, and both of Preterius' lab assistants quit. Preterius, who is slowly succumbing to his alcoholism, keeps on working independently, and seemingly goes mad at the end when he claims Claudandus to be talking to him. It should be noted that Felidae is a crime story told from the viewpoint of a talking cat. Therefore, Preterius' ravings aren't as nutty after all.
  • In the "found footage" genre of horror movies, a good portion of the film is supposed to be footage recorded by someone experiencing a horrific scenario.
    • Infamous exploitation film Cannibal Holocaust is split into halves, the first being the recovery of an Apocalypse Log, and the second being the log itself. Because the film was made way back in 1980, this makes the found footage genre Older Than They Think.
    • The Blair Witch Project brought the found footage genre into the mainstream. It is comprised of footage shot by an ill-fated documentary film crew researching the Blair Witch urban legend. The film was marketed as real found footage, causing some confusion amongst more gullible viewers.
    • The Last Broadcast is a pseudodocumentary featuring found footage from a disastrous cable-access paranormal program. The film pre-dates the vastly more successful Blair Witch Project by a short time, causing many viewers to mistake it for a rip-off.
    • Cloverfield is a "worm's eye view" of a Kaiju film in which a man records himself and a group of survivors struggling through New York City during a monster attack.
    • REC and its American remake Quarantine are found footage recorded by a female reporter and her camera man while trapped inside an apartment building with zombies. There's also a subversion of the trope when they discover a dictation machine in a Room Full of Crazy. You'd assume that the machine would hold an Apocalyptic Log about the zombie virus's origins, but the batteries are dead, so the message is incomprehensible.
    • Paranormal Activity is presented as footage taken by a man whose girlfriend is being terrorized by a demon. It's made pretty obvious that putting up a camera has only made the demon more active - and angry.
    • Man Bites Dog is also an example that predates the Blair Witch Project.
    • There is also the 70's b-movie, The Legend of Boggy Creek about bigfoot.
  • I Am Legend is a variation on the typical setup, as its the main character keeping the log of his continuing research into the plague, almost three years after the Vampire Apocalypse.
  • Island of Terror had such a log, explaining how anti-cancer research resulted in the creation of the bone-eating Silicates.
  • In Serenity, the crew of the eponymous ship head to the planet of Miranda and come across a lot of dead folks who had apparently lain down and died with no explanation. When they come across a video log from a rescue mission, they find out what happened to the planet. They also see what happened to the rescuers. We don't see, but they do.
  • George Pal's version of The Time Machine in the form of the talking rings.
  • In Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (which appeared on Mystery Science Theater 3000), there's one of these for the process the heroine uses to try to save Fingal's mind.
  • In The Killer Shrews (another MST3K episode), there is a Narmful scene where a scientist, having just been bitten by one of the title monsters, sits down at a typewriter and records the process of his body succumbing to the shrew's poisonous saliva.
    • Based upon the real-life incident of herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt (see folder "Real Life", below).
  • From Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

King Arthur: (about the inscription on the rock) What does it say, Brother Maynard?
Brother Maynard: It reads, "Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Aramathia. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail in the Castle of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh..."
King Arthur: What?
Brother Maynard: "The Castle of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh".
Sir Bedevere: What is that?
Brother Maynard: He must have died while carving it.
Sir Lancelot: Oh come on!
Brother Maynard: Well, that's what it says.
King Arthur: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't have bothered to carve "Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh" into the rock. He'd just say it.
Sir Galahad: Maybe he was dictating it.
King Arthur: Oh shut up!

  • A very abbreviated version can be found in Event Horizon, wherein the salvage crew finds the ship's logs. The first portion shows the ambitious crew getting ready to perform the experimental hyperspace jump, but it cuts out at the moment of entry, to be replaced by horrific images of what happened to the crew after the trip. The last coherent line recorded on the log is "Liberate tutume ex inferis", or "Save yourself from hell".
  • The remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street has one from an Asian and Nerdy video blogger. We see several video entries about his dreams of Freddy... and then we see one with him asleep. He then suddenly slams into the camera and the screen blacks out.
  • Both the Zombie Diaries, and Diary of the Dead have this for the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • The pseudo-remake of Day of the Dead had the survivors come across a scientist's video-log in a underground medical facility (which was very reminiscent of Resident Evil). The log also shows the scientist turning into a zombie.
  • In the cult classic Night of the Creeps, James Carpenter "J.C." Hooper leaves a audio recording for his friend explaining how the alien leeches get into your head and incubate. They then create more "brain slugs" before they kill you and reanimate your corpse. His voice is clearly changing, due to the fact he's slowly turning. It's one of the few things in this Horror/Comedy hybrid film that's played bone chillingly straight.
  • The DVD extras for Zack Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead had a video log of Andy's last days right up until he became a zombie. The log also had a short clip of what appears to be his family, which he partially recorded over.
  • Subverted in The Core: Zimsky records his thoughts on his impending death... until he realizes the tape recorder's going to die with him and bursts out laughing. His final words are "What the fuck am I doing?"
  • The 2001 Planet of the Apes has this, explaining how the crash of Leo Davidson's ship turned the desolated planet into a simian dystopia.
  • The original 1954 Gojira featured a reporter giving a blow-by-blow description of Gojira's destruction of Tokyo, ending with his description of the monster's attack on the tower he was broadcasting from.
  • The Thing (1982). Helicopter pilot MacReady leaves an Apocalyptic Log to warn the eventual rescuers about the title monster.
    • Incidentally, you end up being able to listen to this log in the unofficial 2002 video game sequel of the same name.
  • The Lord of the Rings: In The Fellowship of the Ring, the titular Fellowship go into the Mines of Moria, but find out that all the dwarves of Moria had died. Gandalf finds the log of the last siege by the orcs:

"They have taken the bridge and the second hall. We have barred the gates, but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes. Drums...drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow lurks in the dark. We cannot get out... They are coming."

    • The last three words are written in a jagged scrawl with the final letter terminating in swift descending line. It's fairly obvious the author wrote this just before the last line of defense was breached.
  • The Evil Dead trilogy uses this trope as the catalyst for its plot, as Professor Knowby, the researcher who first unearthed the Necronomicon, kept an audio journal chronicling his battle with his demon-possessed wife Henrietta, and his failed attempt to survive the night. Unfortunately, he'd also recorded the recitation of the demon summoning spell that'd accidentally caused the mess to begin with, meaning that anyone who listens to the whole tape ends up going through the exact same thing.
  • As the rescue team enter the deserted Glasgow in Doomsday we're treated to excerpts of Kane's log, detailing his frantic attempts to survive in a barricaded hospital as civilisation outside crumbles and burns in the aftermath of the Reaper virus outbreak.
  • Timothy Treadwell's tapes in Grizzly Man constitute this, even to the point of recording Tim and his girlfriend being eaten by a bear (although with audio only).
  • Such log in Lucio Fulci's The House by the Cemetery leads to The Reveal regarding the Freudstein House's Creepy Basement.
  • In Dagon the Only Sane Man tells Paul all about the rise of Dagon.
  • The BBC docudrama Supervolcano has a group of people watching the logs of a dying scientist, who documents the conditions of the U.S. after the eruption of Yellowstone. Subverted, in that the scientist actually survives, and is one of the people watching the logs.


  • The Last Survivors series is done this way.
  • John Barnes' The Sky So Big And Black is set in a solar system where they're Terraforming Mars for living room. They can't use Earth any more, because it's inhabited by a Hive Mind united by a behavioural meme, Resuna, which is aggressively trying to spread itself to the rest of humanity (it just wants to help!). The novel is the log of a psychiatrist going over and adding to his notes of his latest patient, plucky Action Girl Teri, and is one part her adventures Terraforming, one part a discussion of exactly how memes work to take over a person, and one part, well, where these two things intersect. The psychiatrist catches the meme off Teri, and the entries in his log show his mind going.
  • Played with in World War Z, which is an oral history of a narrowly-averted Zombie Apocalypse.
  • And the Ass Saw the Angel, by Nick Cave, is the protagonist's stream of thought as he sinks into quicksand.
  • Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves: "Ftaires! We have found ftaires!"
  • Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere: not a scientific log, but a video recording left by Door's father, as he is increasingly fearing for his life, that ends with his almost on-screen death.
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper is meant to be the journal of a woman losing her sanity.
  • The Moth Diaries. Or, you know, it might not be that at all.
  • The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson consists of a brief Framing Story and this.
    • Also by the same author, Chapter One of The Boats of Glen Carrig features a shorter example.
  • The heroes of Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds find one of these carved into the wall of an ancient ruined city, describing the monster that ruined it.
  • Stephen King's The End of the Whole Mess, found in the collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Like Cloverfield, this one is a variation in that the entire story is the Apocalyptic Log and the reader is the one discovering it.
    • Survivor Type follows a similar tack, with the survivor of a shipwreck recording his time on a desert island where there's pretty much no local wild life or edible plants. He eventually resorts to cannibalizing his own body. "Lady fingers they taste like lady fingers."
    • One of King's recent stories 1922 turns out to be this. In somewhat Lovecraftian fashion, the writer apparently continues to write even as the supernatural rats that have stalked him since he murdered his wife finally get around to devouring him. Of course, it's possible that he's just insane...
    • King seems to like this trope. It's also in The Stand, in the form of Stu and Harold's diaries.
  • HP Lovecraft loved these. Many of his stories (including, but not limited to, the seminal The Call Of Cthulhu) consist almost entirely of Apocalyptic Logs, usually ending with the narrator in an asylum or clearly about to be eaten by something.
    • Dagon and The Thing on the Doorstep are even better examples.
      • As referenced in the page quote, Dagon (and a number of other tales) end with the author writing something as the horror is entering the room. Why he actually writes his final despairing scream is a question only Monty Python can answer.
  • Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden includes a letter to one of the main characters from her father, early in the text. The sentiment is something like, "I'm going home to destroy this letter as soon as possible, so if you find this letter, I'm right and something is very, very wrong. Go bush."
  • In Garth Nix's Sabriel, the titular heroine discovers a magical recording of the last moments of a soldier's life.
  • Older Than Radio example: M.S. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe, also a Message in a Bottle. The protagonist states that he's writing the account for posterity, and that if he is about to die or suffer some other fate that would render him incapable of finishing the story, he will put it in the titular bottle and throw it in the sea. He apparently does so when he goes down a whirlpool on a ship full of The Voiceless...
  • The Discworld novel A Hat Full of Sky quotes a few passages from a book recording a wizard's attempts to contain and control a Hiver, a mind-controlling monster that gradually turns whatever creature it possesses into a pathological id. To drive the point home, the last few pages degenerate into "Those fools! I'll show them! I'll show them all!!!!!" ranting, and finally completely incoherent random letters.
    • Thud! has the numerous, disjointed, seemingly-random-numbered notes left by the painter of The Battle of Koom Valley, who slowly went mad (including thinking alternately that he was being chased by a giant chicken and that he was a giant chicken). The last one—only known to be so because it was found under his dead body—read "It comes! It comes!!!" He was found with his throat full of chicken feathers.
    • In Guards! Guards! the Library's copy of The Summoning Of Dragons has been scorched...
  • Frankenstein may or may not be one of these, depending on whether or not you think the sea captain who narrates the Framing Story will rescue his ship from the Arctic ice.
  • Shel Silverstein combines this with Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion in the poem Boa Constrictor.

I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor
And I don't like it one bit!
Oh no, he swallowed my toe
Oh gee, he's gotten my knee
Oh fiddle, he's up to my middle
Oh heck, he's up to my neck
Oh dread, he's mmmmmfffff...

  • Dan Simmons seems to really enjoy these. In Hyperion the Apocalyptic Log is subverted as we get to read the journals from the character as he goes insane from sickness and then as he gets better. In The Terror it's much nastier as the journal appears through out the book slowly becoming more and more hopeless until in the final entry he tells us how he finally managed to kill the people who captured him as he dies of starvation, scurvy and freezing cold.
  • The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has Dr Jekyll give the narrator his Apocalyptic Log in the final chapter.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula is assembled from several of these logs, with a few newspaper articles thrown in.
  • W.J. Stuart's Novelization of Forbidden Planet has an excellent example of the Apocalyptic Log, in which "Doc" Ostrow, having had a taste of the mental powers provided by the Upgrade Artifact, suggests the answer to the question of how the incredibly advanced Krell Precursors could have been wiped out in an instant: by unleashing invincible monsters from their subconscious minds. As he feared, the effects of the Upgrade Artifact killed him before he could explain any further.
  • The heroes in J. R. R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring are rather distressed when they discover a chronicle of Balin's doomed attempt to recover the mines of Moria in the Chamber of Mazarbul. The final recorded words are a hastily-scrawled "They are coming."
  • In the novel based on true events Mila 18, one person decides to keep a log of his starving to death as a Jew in Nazi occupied Warsaw. He figures since he is starving, he might as well contribute to science with full logs of all the effects. That is not the only instance of Apocalyptic Log, as other Jews also record the atrocities and their resistance for posterity. This is not a happy book.
  • The Third World War: August 1985 includes excerpts from the emergency logs of three communities during the war and pulls this twice. The first log ends when the building it is in is destroyed by a bombing raid (with a statement that the book was found in the ruins), but resumes with the backup copy describing the situation. The second, from an area in central Birmingham, ends with the warning of Birmingham's imminent nuclear destruction being received, stopping mid-word. A statement follows that its charred remains were found in the destroyed building.
  • A Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel features a Cyberman-obsessed researcher recording her experiences for future references as she is gradually converted into a Cyberman. Unusual, in that no one gets to discover it—once she's converted, her original personality is wiped away and she no longer recognises the logic in recording it, and so destroys the recording.
  • Australian novel Underground is essentially a set of memoirs written by Leo James—washed-up property developer and brother to the tyrannical Australian Prime Minister—during his imprisonment in the near-abandoned Parliament House. In these memoirs, he records the events that led to the permanent state of emergency, his unwanted travels up and down Australia's east coast, his capture and the weeks of torture and imprisonment that followed. The memoirs and the novel end with the moments before Leo's execution:

I hear marching footsteps in the hall outside. Orders yelled. I think the fuckers are actually going to shoot me in here. And God help them, they sound Australian.

  • In the LOTR parody novel Bored of the Rings, Tim Benzedrine leaves a note for the boggies the morning after they stay with him in which he enters a drug flashback while writing.
  • The poem The Slithery Dee: "...He came out of the sea;/He ate all the others,/But he didn't eat---SL-U-R-P..."
  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe does this with a research team on Dagobah.
  • The introduction to the novel of Dr. Strangelove says that the manuscript was found under a rock in the Great Northern Desert by aliens.
  • In Orphans in the Sky, a hidden log found by the original crew's remote descendants details the mutiny that led to their spaceship being lost in space and its inhabitants forgetting that there ever was anything Outside the Ship.
  • Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge. The diary of the person marooned in real time, while the rest of the survivors of the Singularity used stasis fields to leap forward in time. Decades long record of attempting to change the appearance of the surface of the planet enough to trigger the observation satellites. The hero has to be sedated after reading it.
  • At least half of Strange Objects by Gary Crew is taken up by the serialized journal of Wouter Loos, one of two convicted killers marooned on the western coast of Australia in 1629. At first a straightforward record of Loos and his "friend," Jan Pelgrom, attempting to seek shelter with a local tribe, the journal slowly becomes more and more supernatural- especially with the introduction of a mysterious ruby ring that Pelgrom wears. However, the truth of this particular matter is never quite resolved, as the most overt record of anyone displaying magical power is in the final chapter- by which time, Loos is delirious and barely coherent in his last pages.
    • Being a Scrapbook Story, Strange Objects also includes diary entries written in 1986 by the scrapbook's "compiler," Steven Messenger. The diary begins with Messenger's accidental discovery of a small cache of artefacts that once belonged to Loos and Pelgrom: though most of them are quickly handed over to the authorities, Messenger succeeds in taking one- a small jewelled ring, which he keeps on a necklace. As the months pass, he begins to experience a feeling of Being Watched, and frequently mentions encountering a silent "double" of himself. Eventually, Steven begins wearing the ring on his finger; according to the epilogue, he vanished from his home soon after and was never seen again.
  • C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces has Orual break off in mid-sentence, followed by a section (in italics) saying that she had been found dead with her head on the book. Unusually, she was not writing about her impending death; once she commented at the beginning of Part II that she wished she had time to do it over, but since time is short she will just go on, she never again alludes to knowing that she hasn't got much time.
  • In the last Empire From the Ashes book, Sean and friends find an ancient digital diary documenting the fall of society on that planet. The general populace went mad from listening to the dwindling hyperspace transmissions of the Fourth Imperium when a loose bio-weapon killed everything on every other Imperial world. They turned against technology as the source of the disaster.
  • Jason X: Planet of the Beast. The space station crew managed to acquire a few of the logs of the Blackstar 13 (a shuttle Jason had gone on a rampage in) before it crashed into a nearby planet. The last log was made by the ship's hiding and rambling cook, and ends with Jason bashing through the door, and horribly murdering him.
  • The Stormlight Archive has an Apocalyptic Log in the form of Dalinar's visions. Yes, an Apocalyptic Log from God.
  • In Ratmans Notebooks (renamed to Willard), the titular character's diary has become this by the end of the story.
  • Otherland uses this trope in a rather interesting way by having the narrative point of view occasionally shift to Martine Desroubin's subvocalized journal entries. The segments are thus effectively an apocalyptic log in the progress of being written. They're doubly intriguing because she is blind and is therefore writing solely from her own experiences and perspective. Later, her journals are recovered from Otherland and she spends time reading them to analyze her own Character Development.
  • The Arthur Conan Doyle short story "The Horror of the Heights" details the adventures of an intrepid aviator who flies above 40,000 feet and encounters an "air jungle" - an entire ecosystem of atmospheric beasts. He barely escapes from a predatory creature on his first flight, and records his intentions to go back up later and explore more thoroughly. The framing story reveals that the aviator's plane was found crashed and the aviator himself missing. All that was found in the plane was a torn, blood-stained journal. The last words are hastily scrawled: "Forty-three thousand feet. I shall never see earth again. They are beneath me, three of them. God help me; it is a dreadful death to die!"
  • George R. R. Martin's "The Plague Star", the (chronologically) first Haviland Tuf story. The beginning of the story is a diary left by the last survivor of diseases sent by the title object, a biowar seedship of the Terran Ecological Engineering Corps. It describes how the plagues killed the alien inhabitants of the planet, his wife, and finally himself.
  • In David Brin's Kiln People, several of the disposable clones of Albert Morris get to describe their own demise in first person. As a Lampshade/justification, Albert is used to them being unable to return to him for inloading, so he deliberately orders blanks fitted with voice recorders and a compulsion to recite.
  • The style of 28 Days Later is meant to evoke this, even though the film itself doesn't fit the category. Aside from shooting on relatively inexpensive DV cameras and using odd angles to mimic a "found footage" look, several scenes were deliberately staged to resemble photographs from the genocide and war in Bosnia.
  • An in-story example for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Oskar comes home from school early on the morning of September 11th and finds to the voice mails his father, who works in the WTC, has left on the answering machine. When he calls again, Oskar freezes and listens as his father's last words go to voice mail. He hides the tape out of shame and panic and never tells anyone, but listens to it by himself at times.
  • The Sound and the Fury has a depiction of one character's breakdown that works in many of the modern conventions, including using worsening punctuation and capitalization to show the character breaking down, a blackout that starts abruptly mid-sentence, and said blackout is filled with a just barely comprehensible, completely unpunctuated or attributed flashback about the source of the character's trauma, followed by a sudden, temporary jerk back to the present, in which we get to find out what happened while he blacked out.
  • In The City of Ember, a journal from one of the first residents of Ember is found as Lina and Doon find their way out of the city. In the prequel to Ember, The Diamond of Darkhold, this log is shown to be the work of the protagonist of Darkhold.
  • Hans Heinz Ewers's short story The Spider is about a hotel room whose guests always end up hanging themselves, and it mostly consists of the journal of Richard Bracquemont, a medical student who offers to investigate.
  • The novel of Double Indemnity consists of entries from the main character's diary leading up to his Suicide Pact with the star-crossed love interest. In the film, the story is told from the mortally wounded protagonist's recording on his Dictaphone.
  • The end of Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk subtly implies a strange subversion of this. The interviews that make up the story are from a world that doesn't exist, but only because the events of the story caused it to cease existing. What's worse is that the story not only fails to tell the reader how to avert this "apocalypse" from happening again, it pretty much states that it can't be stopped, that it will happen again, and that nobody will ever notice except for the twisted degenerates that figured out how to pull this trick. Basically, except for the few people who have become gods through murder and rape, the entirety of reality is one big Lotus Eater Machine.
  • Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss conveys the story of the disaster that made the setting post-apocalyptic through a diary found by one character.

Live-Action TV

  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, episode "Space Vampire". The title creature (called a "Vorvon") is being tracked by a man named Helson (possibly from "Dr. Van Helsing", as a Shout-Out to Dracula). Helson's drone makes a recording of him confronting the Vorvon: it ends with him being killed. Buck discovers the monster exists by watching the tape.
  • Doctor Who: in the episode "Silence in the Library", the Doctor and his companion listen to a recorded message (censored "for tone and content") on a data-terminal in an abandoned library. "Message follows: Run. For God's sake, run. Nowhere is safe... We can't--Oh, they're here. Argh. Slargh. Snick. Message ends."

"I am the only one left now. I raise these stones to my wife, Astrid. May she forgive my sin. The day grows dark, and I sense the evil curse rising from the sea. I know now what the curse of Fenric seeks: the treasures from the Silk Lands in the east. I have heard the treasures whisper in my dreams. I have heard the magic words that will release great powers. I shall bury the treasure for ever. Tonight, I shall die, and the words die with me."

    • "The God Complex": The episode opens with a young policewoman writing an account of her final moments as she succumbs to brainwashing that seems to befall everyone who arrives in the 'hotel'. The Doctor and the others later discover this.
  • Parodied by Red Dwarf in the episode Psirens. While investigating a derelict ship, the crew find a flight recorder showing a fear-crazed astronaut munching a burger as he documents the horrible fate of his crew. A hideous insectoid monster approaches as the astronaut backs away in terror. A spray of red splatters across the screen...

Astronaut: You've squeezed all the ketchup out of my burger!

Darling: Made a note in my diary on the way here. It simply says..."Bugger."

  • Star Trek. Several episodes in several series feature the crew discovering the logs of the last folks to encounter the disease/NegativeSpaceWedgie/villain of the week.
    • One especially notable case from Star Trek: The Next Generation: in the episode "Contagion", the Enterprise downloads one of these from the USS Yamato. Unfortunately, the log had hidden in it the computer virus that caused the Yamato to blow up.
    • In at least two TNG episodes ("Time Squared", "Cause and Effect"), the Enterprise crew receive an Apocalyptic Log out of a Negative Space Wedgie...from themselves.
    • Also nicely subverted in one episode where it turns out the person who made the log is still alive, and quite upset that the crew was watching her video diary.
    • In the second pilot of the original series, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the crew discovered the log of the last people to encounter the A God Am I ray. It ends with the ship's captain giving a self-destruct order.
  • The Atlantis expedition finds an Apocalyptic Log in the Pilot episode of Stargate Atlantis:

Melia: In time, a thousand worlds bore the fruit of life in this form. Then one day our people stepped foot on a dark world where a terrible enemy slept. Never before had we encountered beings with powers that rivalled our own. In our overconfidence, we were unprepared and outnumbered. The enemy fed upon defenseless human worlds like a great scourge, until finally only Atlantis remained. This city's great shield was powerful enough to withstand their terrible weapons, but here we were besieged for many years. In an offer to save the last of our kind, we submerged our great city into the ocean. The Atlantis Stargate was the one and only link back to Earth from this galaxy, and those who remained used it to return to that world that was once home. There the last survivors of Atlantis lived out the remainder of their lives. This city was left to slumber, in the hope that our kind would one day return.

    • Also happens in "The Daedalus Variations". Sheppard & Co., aboard an empty Daedalus, find a video log left by the captain before the ship was abandoned.
  • Stargate Universe uses a variation of this concept in the episode "Time" - the difference is the log is created by Eli in an alternate timeline then sent into the past through a wormhole.
    • This wound up being recursive: at the end of the episode, Matt records a second Apocalyptic Log explaining what had been discovered the first time 'round, so that when the crew found it the next time, they'd have a leg up. At least two loops and logs were required to ensure the crew's survival, but for all the viewer knows, there were three, or three hundred.
  • The X-Files episode "Ice" shows the first and last videos of the sequence. At first the tidy, cheerful and well-lit scientists of an arctic research base report digging ice cores from record levels; the second is gloomy and shaky, with one dishevelled man saying "We're not... who we are... we're not... who we are..." before being attacked.
    • The seventh season episode "X-Cops" starts with a homage to COPS (where a cameraman follows a sheriff's deputy check up on some disturbance), when they are suddenly attacked by something that stays just out of the camera's view all the time.
  • This happens in an episode of the Logan's Run series. The protagonists discover an ancient bunker from before the end holding a few Human Popsicle survivors (the best and brightest) from the ancient civilisation devasted by a plague. There is also an Apocalyptic Log from a man dying from the disease, but holding long enough to reveal he discovered that one of the hibernated people is an imposter (and potentially a murderer).
  • The Clip Show episode of Power Rangers RPM featured an Apocalyptic Log that the Teen Genius left in case they lost the Robot War. It provided a brief character summary and log of the fight, but most of it focused on the merchandise toys weapons and equipment they'd been using all season that the prospective finder of the log would find nearby, the general impression being "if you've found this, we lost our war of attrition. You are now one of the last humans alive. Here's what you have to work with- now take up our fight". An odd case of seeing the Apocalyptic Log as a caution of what might happen if they lose, rather than a means of figuring out how they lost.
  • Jericho did this in the first episode with an answering machine. It's still a bit of a Tear Jerker.
    • Doubles as one heck of an Oh Crap moment, as we quickly find out that the message originated in a totally different city than the one that the characters and viewers knew had just been nuked, meaning that the disaster was not just local.
  • The original Land of the Lost had the Marshall's tracking down installments of a diary by a predecessor to the land. Eventually, they enter a cave full of dormant Sleetaks and find his long decayed corpse and his final entry in a small section. They read that he never found a way home and was doomed because of being trapped in the cave with the Sleetaks awake. Suddenly, the Marshall's heard the sound of the Sleetaks waking up, take the hint and barely manage to escape themselves.


  • "Death Story" by Lecrae is the last-minute prayer of a gangster on his deathbed.

I wronged You, I see that, I want to give in,
But I ain't really sure if you'll forgive me my sins...
Well, this is it. No more discussion to do.
I don't know much, but I know I should be trusting in... BEEEEEEEEEEEEP...

  • "The Chariot" by The Cat Empire.

This is a song that came upon me one night
When the news it had been telling me
About one more war and one more fight
And 'aeh' I sighed but then
I thought about my friends
Then I wrote this declaration
Just in case the world ends.

That's all the family news that we're allowed to talk about
We really hope you'll come and visit us soon
I mean we're literally begging you to visit us
And make it quick before they [message redacted]

Then they told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It's a mistake in the making.
We won't be there to be blamed.
We won't be there to snitch.
I just pray that someone there
Can hit the switch.

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you....

the rusty wire that holds the cork
that keeps the anger in
gives way
and suddenly it's day again
the sun is in the east
even though the day is done
two suns in the sunset
could be the human race is run
and as the windshield melts
my tears evaporate
leaving only charcoal to defend
finally i understand
the feelings of the few
ashes and diamonds
foe and friend
we were all equal in the end

  • Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon" - the first two lines let you know that it doesn't end well.
  • Iron Maiden's "Satellite 15...The Final Frontier" is about a pilot in a damaged ship giving his last report.
  • "Pioneers over C." by Van der Graaf Generator, which, like "Space Oddity" deals with space exploration gone wrong:

We left the earth in 1983
Fingers groping for the galaxies
Reddened eyes staring up into the void
A thousand stars to be exploited
Somebody help me, I'm falling
Somebody help me, I'm falling down...
Into sky, into earth, into sky, into earth

  • Rush's "Cygnus X-1" is about a space pilot flying his ship directly into the heart of a black hole. Subverted in the second part, "Hemispheres", where he comes out the other end.
  • Mind.In.A.Box's "Stalkers". By the sound of things, the singer is either suffering from a mental breakdown from paranoid schizophrenia, or being forcibly assimilated by a Hive Mind.

I can feel my thoughts dying out
so my last thought is just your name
and it is all that will remain...

  • "30k ft" by Assemblage 23 is about a doomed airline passenger making a final phone call to his wife/lover. The song cuts off in mid-sentence at the end.


Phillips: A humped shape is rising out of the pit. I can make out a small beam of light against a mirror. What's that? There's a jet of flame springing from the mirror, and it leaps right at the advancing men. It strikes them head on! Good Lord, they're turning into flame!
(screams and unearthly shrieks)
Phillips: Now the whole field's caught fire. (explosion) The woods... the barns... the gas tanks of automobiles... it's spreading everywhere. It's coming this way. About twenty yards to my right... (crash of microphone, then dead silence)

    • An even better example is the announcer broadcasting from atop the CBS building in New York, watching the Martian's poisonous smoke drift across the city.

Announcer: Smoke comes out, black smoke, drifting over the city. People in the streets see it now. They're running towards the East River, thousands of them, dropping in like rats. Now the smoke's spreading faster. It's reached Times Square. People are trying to run away from it, but it's no use. They're -- They're falling like flies. Now the smoke's crossing Sixth Avenue... Fifth Avenue... a hundred yards away... it's -- it's fifty feet.... (a thud, as he collapses)

Tabletop Games

  • The prologue to the Zombie Apocalypse game All Flesh Must Be Eaten has a scientist, just bitten by a zombie, discuss the transformation from human to infected cadaver in a truly disturbing series of logs. The last few are after his death, as the brain is the last thing to go... and the final one has him reduced to groaning that the hunger is all he has left.
  • There's at least three examples along these lines from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle magazine White Dwarf, although two are merely dealing with attacks by vampires and Necrons respectively.
  • Not a tabletop RPG, but a letter-writing RPG, the out of print Lovecraftian game De Profundis was presented wholly as a collection of letters from someone gradually going insane after having a dream about a book that laid out the game's rules. Part of the supernatural insanity gripping the "author" involved writing down and sharing the game to try to spread the insanity.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 background book Xenology turns out to be one drawn-out example of this, written by an Inquisitor examining another's work at gathering and studying various alien beings in a hidden facility. It turns out the "Inquisitor" who set up the facility is actually a Necron Lord who established it to study other organic races, and once he was finished, he lured the other Inquisitor to the facility to study him.
    • We never get to read it, but the galaxy-sized locust swarm that is the Tyranid race was named because of the Apocalyptic Log that was left behind, buried 1000 feet underground, on the planet Tyran. Most of the Tyranid Codexes—combinations of backstory and rulebook—contain detached descriptions of Tyranid attacks that read like an encyclopedia entry based off an Apocalyptic Log as well.
    • Similarly, the Warhammer Fantasy Battle background book Liber Chaotica is written as an in-character study of the Chaos Gods. As the book goes on, the author starts having more and more ominous visions and making less and less sense as he descends into madness. At least half of the quotes in the Necron, Tyranid, and Dark Eldar codexes fit this trope.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • A Planescape supplement contained, as Flavor Text, the diary of an explorer describing his journey around the Concordant Plane of the Outlands. The diary takes on a distinct tone of encroaching madness after he set foot into the Caves of Thoughts, the domain of the mindflayer deity Ilsensine the Great Brain. It doesn't end well.
    • Module S4, The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, had a diary left by a previous expedition into the title dungeon. It had vague hints of what was to come, with several sections with vital information being smeared and smudged. It ended with the party meeting the Final Boss of the dungeon.
    • The Tome of Strahd is something of a half-journal/half-manifesto written by Count Strahd von Zarovich, which details in his own words the night he made his pact with Death and sacrificed his younger brother in exchange for immortality and the love of his brother's fiancee. Said fiancee, consumed with grief, flung herself from the castle walls rather than live without her love. The Tome's final words reflect Strahd's anguish at seeing her being constantly reincarnated by the Dark Powers only to be lost to him time and time again.
    • Dragonlance module DL12 Dragons of Faith. A page from a ship's log tells of the destruction of the ship and the fate of its crew.
    • Module DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor. In the Comeback Inn the PCs find a parchment scroll written by Hepath Nun. It tells the story of how his adventuring party searched for, found and entered the Inn. It further tells of how they were trapped inside, couldn't find any way out and eventually went through the Gate in the cellar. Only Hepath Nun decided not to go, because he was too scared. The PCs find his body hanging from a chandelier near the scroll.
    • In the 2nd Edition Ravenloft setting, most of what is known of the realm of Demise and Althea, its Darklord, comes from a journal that was written by a Lamordian native named Johan Wehner. The sole survivor of a group of sailors who found themselves in the cruel medusa's maze-like domain, Johan escaped at the cost of his eyesight. He sealed the journal in a waterproof container and threw it into the sea, hoping to dissuade anyone from exploring Demise and meeting the grim fate of his crew. Unbeknownst to anyone, however, he survived, and to this day lives a hermit, and might be a valuable ally to anyone who finds himself on Demise.
  • Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game)
    • Adventure "The Warren". When the Player Characters enter a room sealed by rubble, they find a skeleton and a piece of paper with the last words of the victim. It describes how he heard cult members chanting, a bolt of lighting striking the house and finding the door blocked. His last words were that he'd been waiting for rescue for several hours.
    • Also, in the adventure "Horror on the Orient Express," the player characters keep Apocalyptic Logs to allow replacement investigators to join a very long, detailed investigation fully up to speed.
    • Supplement Cthulhu Companion, adventure "The Mystery of Loch Feinn". Professor Gibbson's journal details his investigation of the Water Horse and his run-ins with the MacAllans - the Cthulhu cultists who eventually killed him.
    • Fearful Passages, adventure "Armored Angels". Professor Powell's notes give information on his plan to open a gate to the planet Yuggoth. The last page of his diary give a horrifying account of the invasion of Mi-Go and a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath through the gate.
  • Mage: The Awakening has one of these as a magic item detailed in the Grimoire of Grimoires supplement—the Hildebrand Recording, an attempt at capturing a séance with a ghost on tape. The poor researcher got an Eldritch Abomination instead, which proceeded to toy with his psyche before ripping him to shreds. It's just as bad as you think it is.
  • Many of the cards one can draw on the Forbidden Island in the Touch of Evil expansion "Something Wicked" detail an exploration party gradually succumbing to a lycanthrophy curse. Several other cards can inflict lycanthopy on the exploring player.
  • The recent "Jihad" series of BattleTech sourcebooks feature a number of these, usually from victims of the Words frequent use of WMDs. Probably the most distressing are the cries for help from Alarion; the population are dying from a bioweapon attack, but claim there are un-infected children.
  • Normality can pretty much be described as Apocalyptic Log from start to finish, insofar as it makes any sense at all. Extra points for having the authors die in-game halfway through though.
  • Role Master campaign setting Shadow World, supplement 'Norek: Intrigue in a City-State of Jaiman. A powerful crystal inside a mine causes radiation poisoning in the miners. They think it's a plague and seal off the mine to protect the outside world. After the effects get worse, the miners seal themselves in their rooms to await death. One of the miners leaves a diary of the events that the PCs can find.
  • Magic: The Gathering: a number were posted on a special Wizards of the Coast website to fit the storyline of Scars of Mirrodin block - Farris of the Anvil, Unctus of the Synod, Kessla of Temple Might, Ria of Bladehold, and - technically - Roxith, Thane of Rot, a full-time bad guy. The final scorecard: Farris fighting a hopeless battle in the Phyrexian Furnace layer, Ria having saved her home city once but without a great deal of hope for next time, Roxith torn to shreds, Kessla killed by her own bomb, and Unctus corrupted by Phyrexian oil.
  • The free solo RPG Swords of the Skull Takers on 1km1kt.com is about the player creating an apocalyptic log, unless they win. Even then, Diabolic Victories can get even more disturbing.
  • The Morrow Project adventure R-002 Project Damocles. In the Backstory, a group of scientists create an artificial intelligence but a nuclear holocaust begins while they're testing it. They try to escape the underground area where they're working but the AI (named Damocles) malfunctions and won't let them out. One of the project members, William Lezrow, records the events that led up to the disaster and the fate of each of the team members. The PCs can find it and read it as they explore the area.

Theme Parks

  • At Disney Theme Parks, one of these can be heard while waiting in line for the Jungle Cruise ride.
  • At Busch Gardens Europe, the former attraction Curse of Darkastle was an Apocalyptic Log... set into an Endless Loop.
    • The plot of Curse of Pompeii and many other Howl O Scream rides is often one of these, too.

Video Games

  • A staple in the System Shock series; logs from personnel can be found scattered everywhere and frequently out of order. System Shock 2 in particular, contains an audio log which follows this trope word-for-word, where a scientist tries to focus on conveying useful information about The Many, even as he is being devoured.
    • In System Shock 2, the logs each come with a little icon of the speaker's head and face, not moving, probably just there to show players what they looked like. One, Anatoli Korenchkin, is infected by the Many early on, as the logs show. At one point he leaves a log full of him speaking in a warped voice about the glory of the Many; the icon, rather than his face, shows a mass of unfacelike tissue, vaguely like a jellyfish. At a later date he sends the player character an e-mail which contains the same icon; it can be seen a few minutes into this Let's Play.
  • You find quite a few of these through the course of System Shock's Spiritual Successor BioShock (series). For example, Dr. Steinman's logs detail how, thanks to ADAM abuse, he went from an ambitious plastic surgeon to a deranged, self-proclaimed "Surgery's Picasso" whose motto was "Aesthetics are a moral imperative."
    • And it gets the bonus points too. In one log, Dr. Suchong is reporting that the plasmid he designed intended to force the Big Daddies to bond with Little Sisters and protect them, violently for preference, is more or less a failure. At the same time, a Little Sister can be heard in the background, trying to get his attention. Fed up with her bugging him, Suchong slaps her, and then a Big Daddy's whalecry can be heard. Guess what happens next.
    • Both System Shock games relied on this trope thematically. The times that the player is able to make human contact are so rare as to be notable; the only communication the character typically gets is through voice logs and emails left by the dead...or those who will be dead by the time he reaches them.
      • BioShock (series) maintained this trend for the most part; the few people the player makes direct face-to-face contact with don't live long after the meeting, with the exception of the eerie Little Sisters and Dr. Tenenbaum.
      • Due to Adam absorbing and containing memories of it's previous users, you can sometimes see Ghosts throughout Rapture. The Apocalyptic part comes in because, well, obviously something had to have happened to them.
  • BlazBlue: Arakune actually becomes oddly sympathetic for a cannibalistic swarm of insects held together by a mind hanging off the brink of insanity thanks to this. His arcade ending starts with an audio log on tape, detaling his undisclosed job and how he hates meetings regarding turning a local phlebotonium into weapons because of the "hard chairs and harder people" involved. Eventually, the logs become slightly more detailed as he begins to find out things about the power source that "everyone uses, but no one quite understands". He thinks he's cracked it when it fast forwards forward again... and we slowly hear his descent from coherent, normal speech into the scattered, stuttering voice he speaks with in game, slowly detailing the process of his becoming Arakune.

"Of course if I don't have a face, I'll just make one."

  • Brink, as unlockable Audio Logs.
  • In Chrono Trigger, seeing the video playback of the Day of Lavos is what prompts our heroes into trying to prevent it from happening.
  • Parodied in The Curse of Monkey Island with the plaques of the Plunder Island Naturalist Society.

Guybrush: (reading the last plaque, found on the edge of a quicksand pit) "Quicksand pit. Quicksand pits of this type are common throughout Plunder Island's nature trails. Many an unwary traveler has found himself trapped and unable to esca- Someone, anyone, please, please help me, I'm sinking..."

  • Much of Dead Space‍'‍s story is told through these. In the first game the opening recording is also an Apocalyptic Log, but you don't get to see the apocalyptic part until the end of the game.
  • In the undersea lab level of Deus Ex, at least one scientist attempts to send a message for help all the way to the last moment. The message, retained in text format, is notably filled with spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, as would be expected. In several other points in the game, the last words of the dead are to be found on datacubes left beside their bodies, including in the Hong Kong Canal Road tunnel collapse, X51's underground section and the MJ12 base under Hell's Kitchen.
    • Likewise, the Antarctica level of Deus Ex Invisible War is also strewn with Apocalyptic Logs.
    • It is to be noted that the designer of Deus Ex, Warren Spector, had previously worked on System Shock, which, as noted above, used this trope effectively as a core means of plot progression.
  • Though your protagonist is present for the beginning of the Apocalypse in Doom 3, most of the story of the game, as well as the How and Why of said event, is told through the scattered Apocalyptic Logs of Mars City's scientists, soldiers and workmen.
  • Practically every book you can find in Dungeon Siege and its expansion. For bonus points, most of them contain variations on "The rest of the pages are covered in what appears to be blood."
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, one example involves an expedition to Solsteim in a "flying ship" powered by magic. As one can expect, it crashed, leaving everyone dead but the man who had spent his life designing the ship. He records the days he spent stranded in the Solsteim wilderness, slowly freezing and starving to death. The last sentence trailed off, due to his hand becoming too frozen to write. You later have to bring the journal back to the man in Kraal who funded the whole trip, which starts an annoying Fetch Quest.
    • There is also a second example in the dungeon of the tower Tel Vos. A construction crew was working on building the place, and fragments of the foreman's journal are all that is left. They are scattered around to be found by the player.
    • What's mildly funny is that the Telvanni who owns the place doesn't actually care that much there's an eldritch abomination under his tower. Or that he sent the construction crew or hired them in the first place.
  • Some quests in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion have this. For example, the Forlorn Watchman quest allows the player to read the log of an abandoned, haunted ship and the Lifting the Vale quest involves collecting the journal of a messenger who was headed to the same place as you. The Origin of the Gray Prince has one of these at the end in the form of a diary.
    • There is also a miniquest near Kvatch involving a man that believes he must appease "The Sunken One" to prevent the rest of the world from suffering the same fate as Kvatch. You don't meet him while he is still alive, learning of his quest (and its depressing ending, as he died believing that his failure to appease The Sunken One will doom the entire world) through journal entries.
    • A Fighter's Guild quest sends the player to find out why some comrades (including the guildmaster's over-protected son Viranus, who desperately wants a chance to prove himself in battle) haven't come back from clearing out a troll-infested mine. They're all dead, of course. The son's journal, found on his body, explains how it all went wrong, ending with:

I hear trolls
I'm sorry Mother

  • For bonus sad points, in his diary he writes about another Fighter's Guild member that he had a very, um, special relationship with. Four feet away from Viranus is that guy's corpse.
  • The Mo'ia Atoll tablets in Endless Ocean, albeit a lot less disturbing than most. Also, the emails you get after discovering parts of the Deity Idol.
    • "There is something... from the window..."
  • In the online game Exmortis, while exploring the abandoned house you discover the journal of the most recent inhabitant, a man who found the house while hunting deer in the surrounding forest. The earliest entries report that shortly after he started exploring the house, he heard countless voices screaming at him in rage before he fell unconscious: when he awoke, he found himself unable to leave, forced to listen to the ghostly voices speaking to him- voices belonging to "The Exmortis." Over the course of the next few entries, the writing grows increasingly deranged, as the man is slowly brainwashed into a pawn of the Exmortis. The final entry claims that a party of five hikers is approaching the house, and all of them are to be sacrificed in a ceremony to release the Exmortis into the mortal realm. Later it's revealed that the writer is none other than the player character, suffering from amnesia after making four out of the five sacrifices needed to release the Exmortis.
    • Exmortis 2 features the diary of a farmer who found himself unlucky enough to observe the destruction caused by the Exmortis in the months after they were released, recording the news of initial attacks on isolated communities, the first autopsy of an Exmortis creature, the sky turning red, the assaults on capital cities, the failed nuclear retaliation, and the fall of major religions and most of human society: he also kept several newspaper clippings of each event, most of which are found pinned to a cork board in one of the rooms of his home. Eventually, the farmer finds himself directly in the path of the oncoming Exmortis horde, and has no choice but to kill his wife and two children, and then kill himself.
  • In one quest in Fable II, you can find pages from the increasingly illegible diary of a man who escaped being sacrificed by cultists, befriended a band of hobbes, and started to think he was a hobbe too.
    • The promotional site for Fable II also included one of these to explain the fall of the Heroes Guild, covering the journals of an unnamed Hero who survives the fall and then tries to escape extermination at the hands of the anti-Hero mobs. He even writes a journal entry as he's dying of a gunshot wound with the mob breaking down the door to his house. What a trooper.
      • Another chilling example is "Terry Kotter's Army", the area behind the Wraithmarsh Demon Door. Cotter was a shy, young Momma's Boy who befriends an army of silent golems called the Knights. His journal, which lies beside his corpse in a room filled with suits of armour, details his first encounter with the Knights and his ever-more frequent trips to the cave where he found them. His final entry simply repeats over and over the phrase: "They watch. They watch. They watch. They watch."
      • Also, the first cave you enter also has three pieces of paper - a journal entry, a letter and a suicide note - written by three dead treasure hunters who grew to mistrust each other and, amusingly, poisoned each other at the same time.
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent is basically built upon this trope. The main character, Daniel, wakes up in a castle with, you guessed it, amnesia. His only clues to any backstory or objective come from diary entries he wrote to himself, on account of his amnesia being self-inflicted. These entries tend to sound more and more unhinged as the player finds them throughout the game.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum has Patient Interviews with idealistic doctors trying to cure some of Arkham's worst inmates hidden throughout the game. Each ha-s five segments, and they pretty much all end up getting more and more unnerving as you find them. The worst is definitely Zsasz, whose doctor truly tries to cure him... so he tries to kill her halfway through. The last bit has him escape, and his current doctor giving an urgent call to warn her... but she can't talk, there's someone at the door... but a preorder bonus comic reveals that Batman stopped Zsasz before he was able to go through with it.
    • Croc's is a close second for most unsettling... his doctor simply can't believe that he's cannibalistic like the rumor's say... well, at the end he escapes... she makes it out unscathed, but the scene she sees... isn't pretty.
  • The Fallout series is packed with these, most notably The Master's.
    • Probably the best example in Fallout 3 is in the Dunwitch Building. Something about the building is conducive to turning people into radiation ghouls. In the days after nuclear war, you can read the journals and track the progress of the building's residents as they lose higher brain functions and end up as violent, mindless cannibals.
    • The Keller Family Tapes one must collect in order to get the Experimental MIRV in Fallout 3 detail how one family desperately tried to survive the coming war by finding a vault in the National Guard Depot to huddle in. One is even recorded as the bombs are falling. The last of the logs is from a member of the family who refuses to spend life inside the vault with his father. He decides to give them his part of the passcode and walk into a mushroom cloud. "Have a happy Holocaust!" There are also some holotapes in Little Lamplight that shed some light on him the city started up.
      • There's a cut tape that provides an epilogue for the Keller family's saga that can be obtained in the PC version through the console. It was originally meant to be found in the shelter that the other tapes are about trying to get to, and indicates that at the very least Dad and Candace survived. However, Candace complains that her father keeps leaving the shelter and going out into the bombed-out DC ruins to scavenge for useless junk and that everytime he does, he lets a little more radiation in...
    • There's also the notes and holotapes from the residents of Vault 92, and the scientists performing experiments on them.
    • And then there's this in the Point Lookout DLC.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has Vault 11. The first thing the player hears when searching is an audio log of three people swearing they can never mention what happened inside, then one of them turning a gun on the other two. Searching the terminals inside, you slowly piece together that the vault was operating under the assumption that one of theirs had to be sacrificed every so often to keep operations functioning. They tried doing it through elections, at least, until one "candidate's" wife tried extorting favors from others, then killing them when they backed out. After that, it went to a random selection process, until only five people were left and they refused to give anyone up... which, it turned out, they were supposed to do in the first place.
    • You also find four letters at the Matthews Animal Husbandry Farm, showcasing the mental collapse of the writer who is forced to kill their own parents when they become feral ghouls, then develop the paranoid conviction that the farm animals have become ghouls too. The last note is found in the burnt-out house, as the writer decided to burn themself to death to prevent the ghoul animals from eating them. (How the last note survived the fire is a mystery.)
    • The radio signal Oscar Zulu in Fallout 3 consists of a man broadcasting a distress call asking for medicine for his sick son, repeating over and over. If the player investigates they will find an improvised fallout shelter in a nearby sewer drain, with one room containg the skeletons of a man and woman, and another the still active ham radio. However a child's skeleton cannot be found, leaving the son's fate unknown.
  • The Fatal Frame series of games include text diaries, audio logs and, as appropriate to the genre, ghostly apparitions that record exactly what happened before the whole situation went to hell in a handbasket. Sometimes, the last expression can be taken quite literally...
  • Final Fantasy VIII includes one of these on the spaceship Ragnarok. In an odd subversion, the crew apparently succeeded in destroying the aliens infesting the ship, and made the log in case anyone else encountered the creatures. Considering that the Ragnarok was left orbiting the moon, abandoned, and with more of the same aliens on the ship, however....
    • The DS remake of Final Fantasy IV features a sort of mental example. When you pause, you can see a small sentence that the leading character is currently thinking. Switch to Kain just before he is taken over by Golbez again at the end of the Sealed Cave, and you get lines like "this feeling... I've felt this before" and "No... not... not again!"
  • In Grandia, the party finds a captain's log on a ghost ship detailing an attack by a sea creature that killed the crew. Guess what promptly happens.
  • In The Guardian Legend, the Sole Survivor of NAJU's native population left a ton of helpful notes, including the introduction to the premise of the plot. The full text can be read in the quotes page.
  • The Half-Life mod They Hunger has a series of audio logs left by a doctor experimenting on the... creatures. His final recording (which describes his own infection) plays right before he attacks you.
  • World of Warcraft has lots. Some of the most memorable:
    • A journal found in Azuna written by the tauren Paladin Aponi Brightmane details how she and her comrades have fought the Burning Legion for days, only to fail. The final entry claims they've been captured and are about to be dragged through a portal to the Legion's hellish domain. Ultimately A subversion, as she still lives, and can be rescued and recruited.
    • In Sumar, a journal left by Arcanist Kel'danath, a Nightfallen mage, details his attempts to find a cure for the Nightfallen's condition. While he came very close to success, the Legion's initial invasion ruined his research, and the last entry suggests he is about to succumb to his addiction and become withered. Which is exactly what happened; when the player actually find him, he is a mindless husk of what he once was, and can only be put out of his misery. However, his work was not in vain, because the player can bring it to the other Nightfallen to continue and improve it, eventually finding an actual cure.
  • Killer7 has as its second-to-last level a high school in Seattle dotted with old style tape-recordings containing the details of a detective's investigation of the murderer and assassin Emir Parkreiner. The tapes become increasingly disturbing, as the facts presented seem bizarre and contradictory (much to the exasperation of the detective). The final tape ends with him mentioning in shock that Emir is standing right in front of him, with his final words cut off by a gunshot.
  • Ansem's Reports in Kingdom Hearts. Especially subtle in the first game, where you only have the odd-numbered logs to begin with, showing Ansem under steadily increasing threat from the Heartless... then you're handed the even-numbered logs in the second-to-last area, and learn that he created the things.
  • Metroid Prime 2 includes several logs from the doomed Marine crew. The corpses of certain Luminoth warriors (which mark the locations of Plot Coupons in the Dark World) can also be scanned to get accounts of their deaths (generally concluding with a Bolivian Army Ending).
    • The first Metroid Prime also had Chozo Lore scattered throughout the world (mostly in the Chozo Temple stage). Some of these detail Samus's past, while others talk about the spread of Phazon and the death of the Chozo on Tallon IV.
    • Space Pirate logs and computer scans in the Metroid Prime are largely a record of memos, announcements, and reports detailing the Space Pirates' increasingly desperate attempts to stop Samus from killing them all. Let's emphasize that: your enemies are keeping Apocalyptic Logs about you, the hero. Since the game, in fact, largely consists of Samus killing them all, this alternates between mildly depressing and extremely awesome.
      • The best logs are in Prime 2, when Samus and Dark Samus inadvertently attack the same Space Pirate installation. Their logs read something along the lines of "oh crap, there's two of them."
    • Metroid Prime 3 loves this, as it has a series of journals for each corrupted planet you visit. The Space Pirate lore gives you a bit of a twofer as it begins with Dark Samus corrupting them, and continues on as Samus begins killing them all. Again.
      • Bryyo is also a variant, as it details the literally planet-shattering civil war that drives the surviving natives to savagery, before The Corruption arrives.
      • There's also a message from the Aurora Unit of the destroyed Valhalla? First you have to activate the message by getting a code from a dead trooper, then you have to listen to its deep voice go on about how it feels the "Darkness Coming..." Add in the effects such as the ship rattling and it just adds to the apocalyptic factor.
  • Bungie has a long history with this sort of exposition. Their early games Pathways into Darkness, Myth and Marathon all relied almost exclusively on this method of story telling.
    • This trope is also invoked to the letter on at least one computer terminal in Marathon Infinity.

"The shields are gone, not down, but gone, and so are the engineers. It's coming back, I'm sure: and my last mercy is immolation."

    • There's also:

I am Arther Frain, Chief Petty Officer, USEC Marathon.\

Arther Frane calling all USEC personnel. Calling Cmdr. Robert Blake... Calling Security Chief Jones... Arther Frain calling any USEC controlled ship in vicinity... Station hull breached, we are losing pressurization. More than half the men are without vacuum suits. Patrols reporting intruder, last location unknown. Any USEC controlled ship surviving nova event, transport when ready. Arther Frain calling. That is all...

    • Pathways in particular took this even further, as instead of reading the journals lying next to mangled corpses in order to progress, you can use a mysterious artifact to talk to them. Needless to say, most people aren't very talkative after spending twenty or forty years trapped in their corpse as the Horror-spawned monstrosities that killed them shamble by and occasionally nibble on them in the darkness.
    • Halo 3, also by Bungie, includes something similar in the form of the Terminals, which contain reports, memos, and recordings made the Forerunner chronicling their war with the Flood.
    • Halo first introduces the Flood by way of a video recording from the helmet cam of a (deceased) Marine. If you read the novelisation, though, you find out that the marine who's video the Chief watched wasn't dead at all—he'd been turned into a combat form, but had somehow retained his consciousness, turining it into an "And I Must Scream" scenario.
    • Halo 3: ODST features 30 hidden Audio Logs littered about New Mombasa that reveal a subplot called "Sadie's Story," in which a girl attempts to reach her scientist father during the panic of the Covenant finding Earth. It's best described as a Bittersweet Ending.
    • Halo CE Anniversary also had terminals added, telling backstory to the upcoming Halo 4.
  • Persona 3: The tape left by Yukari's father, and the Old Documents found in Tartarus. Interestingly, the writer of the Old Documents survived - according to the last one, she now runs the Antique Store in Paulownia Mall.
  • Phantasy Star Online has the character find the logs of Red Ring Rico, a fellow hunter who is always one step ahead of the player. The logs mostly serve as a guide for the levels, enemies, and bosses the player encounters. It's not until the final level that Rico notices all the creepy architecture and realizes something is wrong. The final log found right before the last boss which Rico unknowingly released, killing her was presumably recorded minutes before the player got there. It makes the whole thing a lot more personal than something that was recorded a while ago.
  • The original Pokémon Red and Blue (and their Videogame Remakes FireRed and LeafGreen) feature logs throughout the abandoned, Pokémon-overrun Cinnabar Mansion detailing the discovery of Mew, and its giving birth to Mewtwo. The last entry obliquely notes Mewtwo's "vicious tendencies".
    • The movie adaptation goes on to use the same trope in describing Mewtwo's origin (see above in Anime and Manga), through a narrating scientist who's almost Lovecraftian in his devotion to finishing his report. "We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon...and we succeeded."
    • Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness has one during the Cipher takeover of Phenac City when the player goes to the mayor's house, only to find he's not there. There is a note, however, to Justy on the second floor, which shows his growing concerns over the increasing Cipher presence in Phenac. The letter abruptly ends.
      • A subversion also appears in the first Pokémon Colosseum: Late into the game, Rui's grandfather sends Wes an email, but most of it is cut off, causing Rui to fear that her grandpa may be in trouble. They arrive at Agate Village, and learn that her grandfather's perfectly alright: It was cut off because her grandfather was unfamiliar with current technology. He then supplies Wes with the thing he alluded to in an email: a Master Ball.
  • At various points throughout Portal, you can escape the testing facility into the 'warehouse' areas, and there you find various notes, clues and mementos left by previous test subjects... including lovingly enshrined pictures of the Weighted Companion Cube.
  • Every Resident Evil game has these, often including succumbing to The Virus and committing suicide. Generally, since everyone you meet in the average Resident Evil game is dead or crazy, nearly the entire Backstory of the game series is told through this trope. One obliviously continues writing about how itchy and hungry he's become. After you read the last page, the author bursts out of the closet behind you.
      • "Itchy...tasty."
    • The remake of the first game for the Gamecube even has one written by one of the monsters. Lisa Trevor, the daughter of the architect of the Spencer Mansion, and the first test subject of the Mother virus. By the time you face her (and her diary ends) she is essentially a 45 year old woman with the personality of an insane 14 year old, that being the age at which she was infected. The final entries of her diary are broken, incoherent, desperate cries for her mother, whom she had become obsessed with and had murdered several years earlier, believing her to be an imposter and tearing off her face.
      • The monster's diary, combined with the letter written by her mother and her father's journal, makes it a truly heartbreaking Tear Jerker, made even moreso when you hear her moan "Mo...ther..."
    • Saving the game requires a typewriter and consumes a typewriter ribbon, meaning the player's save files are an Apocalyptic Log.
    • Resident Evil 4 is different from the others in that the logs are generally written by your enemies, and usually detail either general orders or what plans they happen to have for you. Nevertheless, there is at least one "Oh crap the protagonist has killed us all" note to be found.
  • In the beginning of RuneScape's Stronghold of Security is a corpse. Looting it gets you a journal written by the explorer as he wandered through the place. It vaguely describes the monsters and atmosphere of each level, and at the end he writes that he has run out of food and needs to head back through the dungeon, and just prays the monsters don't get him. There are no monsters in the area where you find his corpse, and you can bypass most of the monsters by using the nearest ladders to go back up.
    • Later on you'll find one in Mort'ton, a ruined town where the populace has gone mad with a strange affliction. The log tells of the affliction's spread and concludes with the author succumbing and writing gibberish. The quest in the area deals with using the author's research to develop a cure.
    • However, easily the most literal use of this trope is during the quest Ritual of the Mahjarrat where you have to go to a ruined plane called Kethsi and, after an extensive puzzle, find a bunker with a log sitting at a desk detailing how The natives of this plane found the Stone of Jas and, upon using it for a few months, learned rather unfortunately that its use causes creatures known as the Dragonkin to appear and destroy every living thing on the plane the stone was used on.
  • In Seiken Densetsu 3, the party stumbles upon the captain's log of a Ghost Ship. The last page is nothing but "death" (or "die") repeated over and over again, and one party member is cursed to become a ghost soon afterward.
  • Silent Hill 4: The Room had a version of these in the red memo pages the main character collected in his scrapbook—so many red pages, in fact, that between catching them all and traveling among different worlds, it felt more like a diabolical version of Myst than a Silent Hill sequel.
    • The other games feature this to an extent, such as the scattered pages near the beginning of 2 (which are basically a tutorial on how to deal with enemies). However, it is often the absence of explanation as to what on earth is going on that makes things creepier.
    • The final tutorial you find, though, greatly increases the creepiness: it's just the phrase "Run away!" repeated over and over.
    • In Silent Hill 3, you can find Harry's notes from the first game in the amusement park.
  • In Star Control II, your Red Shirt lander crew will discover some logs left by the Androsyth. Apparently, the entire race managed to catch the attention of an unseen something from "outside". And now... they're all gone, bar the cities full of crazy. Predictably, the guy reading the log doesn't escape with his sanity intact.
  • The infamous "The Cradle" level of Thief 3: Deadly Shadows was built around this, allowing a separate (and chilling) diversion from the main story line.
  • Threads of Fate has a somewhat silly example of this: Mint comes across the remains of a workshop and finds a diary. There are only a few entries, but the second to last one has the magician howling about how incredibly genius he is for hiding the item inside a monster. The final entry has his lamenting his foolishness for doing the same thing, once the monster escapes. Mint's only response the situation: "Moron."
  • Unreal had no movies, no dialog and no explanatory scenes. The plot (along with random facts) was relayed entirely through logs, some of which were of the "oh no we're doomed" variety.
  • The Unreal Tournament 2004 mod "Alien Swarm" (which basically lets you play out the Aliens movie in an "original" and copyright-free environment) has a number of these scattered around the Swarm-infested outposts and drifting space hulks. One even involves a crewmember on a colony, who was Late to the Party because he was outside when the Swarm attacked. He complains and wonders where everyone is, then notices that there are a lot of lifeforms in Sub-Processing. He ends the log saying he's going down there to ask them what's going on. You can find his body later on, in two separate rooms.
  • The recordings of doctor Grout, the LA Malkavian Primogen, in the madhouse sequence of Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines. Hey, he's a Malkavian. They all go insane.
    • There's also less logical examples (Grout wasn't in any direct danger when he wrote his last log) found in the Ocean House Hotel and the LA sewers, with people even writing down "aaaaah!" while they were being assaulted.
      • The Ocean House Hotel is a terrible offender, where a woman's diary describes how during their stay her husband was basically acting out The Shining. It ends with an entry where she wrote down that her son seemed to be knocking on her door (who writes that in their diary?), then the woman apparently went to open the door, found her husband who just murdered their son, and then WENT BACK to write so panickly in her diary before being murdered herself.
  • The generally weird You Are Empty had a level set in an abandoned farm. Along the way you'd see written notes from the former owners indicating that the chickens were growing strangely quick, and that something was wrong with them. Sure enough, near the end of the level, you have to fight van-sized chickens.
  • Both Penumbra games had plenty of these type of logs.
  • The logs of the Republic ship Harbinger from Knights of the Old Republic II.
    • As well as the entire Peragus level before it, containing holographic recordings of the crew being systematically killed off by an assassin droid turning the station's automated systems against them.
      • "Mocking Query: Coorta? Coorta, are you dead yet?"
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, whilst out on a particular quest on Kashyyyk, you find the corpses of several Wookies—all murdered by the shape-shifting assassin you're looking for. Thankfully one of his victims was Genre Savvy enough to keep a diary of the systematic murder of an entire hunting party:

We found Grarwwaar's body last night: what was left of it. If we do not leave the Shadowlands soon, I fear we will all become victims of the Faceless One.

    • KOTOR enjoys this trope quite a bit. KOTOR 1 let you find the journals of a Terentatek hunting party, each written shortly before the final fights of their owners, each written in a manner that suggests doom. At least one Sith student heading into a tomb left a datapad on how he or she was going to get around the traps and monsters left in there. A party going after a malfunctioning assassination droid with oversensitive hearing and using stealth belts takes a moment to log this and note with irritation that one of their number is clumsy. KOTOR 2 had these in multiple places, from the holorecordings on Peragus to the journal left inside the Jekk' Jekk Tarr's ventilation system...It's hard to find a planet that doesn't have one of these.
      • Malachor V. Unfortunately, this only serves as a stunning reminder that the entire planet and everybody on or around it were obliterated too fast for even The Force to catch up, so maybe it doesn't much count.
      • Not to mention a reminder that level is no where near finished.
  • The tradition of dying words holograms continues in Star Wars: The Old Republic where you find multiple examples of quest instructions and macguffins from such holograms. Apparently, it's remarkably easy to set up and record your dying words and still look directly into the camera while you're being murdered or mauled by wild beasts.
  • Mass Effect has a few of these. In one case, the party boards a spaceship that is seemingly abandoned besides one brain-dead man on life support. It eventually becomes clear that the comatose man's lover, a powerful biotic, was violently opposed to his being taken off life support. Logs left by the captain and the ship's doctor reference her declining mental state, and it's fairly obvious that she eventually killed all the other passengers. If you turn off the man's life support, she will appear behind you and attack.
    • And then there's Ilos, where you can hear recordings from the Protheans as they try to get the word out about the Reapers in the vain hope of fighting them off. The fact that the recording is slightly garbled doesn't help.

Cannot be stopped... cannot be stopped...

    • The second game lives on this trope; nearly every mission or sidequest includes, at a minimum, a datapad or two documenting events in the process of going horribly wrong. Notable examples include the excavation site with the datapad reading, "If you're reading this, GET OUT RIGHT NOW," the logs of the quarian scientists on the Alarei (including Rael'Zorah's last message to Tali), and the logs of the Cerberus team studying the derelict Reaper, which depict the horrific course of reaper indoctrination, even though the reaper is supposed to be dead.

"But a dead god can still dream!"

    • That last has one log that stands out, at first seeming more banal and harmless than the others. Someone talking about his wife Katy's anger management issues. The other exclaims that Katy is his wife, he must have told the first the story. He hadn't. They wonder how the hell they can remember the same thing. In context, you can see that this is part of the Loss of Identity and indoctrination they're going through.
    • Part Video Game and part Web Original, in the days and hours leading up to the release of Mass Effect 3, the Twitter account Alliance News Network, along with hundreds of fans, performed a flawless viral ad campaign, releasing tweets in real time of the Reaper "invasion" of Earth, not unlike the radio show War of the Worlds.
  • Notrium has you the player writing a log each day you're trapped on the planet for any who find your corpse, it can very easily turn apocalyptic after you've been on the planet awhile and succumb to one of the many ways of dying.
  • The white chamber has three "reports" by one Arthur Anderson that gives insight into what the hell was going on prior to all hell breaking loose. He happens to be responsible for what the protagonist goes through, and makes The Reveal in person... Sort of.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 Storm of Zehir has an example of this in the wizard tower "Tempest's Fury". In this tower, they were experimenting on a djinn. Then the obvious happens, as it does with most unpleasant experiments on extremely powerful entities. You can find a journal in one of the rooms, of which the last two entries are "I'm certain the wards on my room can keep him out," and, presumably moments before being obliterated, "I was wrong about the wards."
  • Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw adores these. Episode 1 of 1213 includes a document of the days before an orderly's demise at the hands of the mutants, ending with said orderly holding his pistol to his head, ready to fire. In Trilby's Notes, the third installment of the Chzo Mythos, diaries are found belonging to a dead traveler, telling of the death of his wife and his own slow loss of sanity, concluding with the series' Arc Words: it hurts. Not forgetting the tie-in fiction, The Expedition, charting a journey in the Mythos Dark World, with repeated Arc Words at the end, signifying the narrator's continuing terrible, painful existence.
    • Additionally, if Trilby dies during Notes, you are treated to a brief note stating that these were the last words written in a notebook found in the wrecked hotel (as Trilby was himself keeping a log during the game).
  • In Iji, some of the few logbooks written by humans are quite apocalyptic, but it's nothing next to those the Tasen write when the Komato attack.
  • Sierra's Space Quest V: The Next Mutation has this as Roger Wilco pokes around in Genetix, finding around what causes the Body Horror disease he has been witness of, explained in the scientist logs. Pretty chilling when combined to the creepy background music, and when you realize they dumped this vicious mutagen where they could dispose of it, by bribing high-ranking Star Con officers.
    • A Second example is on Klorox II, where Roger digs up the doomed colonist's log. A third is in Space Quest 4, where Dr. Lloyd is describing the destruction the Vohaul-possessed supercomputer has done to Roger's homeworld. For a comedy series, Space Quest was nasty about inducing Fridge Horror.
    • In another Sierra game, Quest for Glory IV, the hero will find, in the adventurer's guild, the story in the logbook written by a paladin called Piotyr of how he attempted to defeat the Dark One and ended up dead, and how the mage Erana tried to seal it away and was trapped with it for eternity.
  • The journal collecting missions in Borderlands plays this for laughs where you collect the journal entries of scientist Patricia Tannis. The entries portray her as progressively getting more Ax Crazy and more Cloudcuckoolander with every day (including developing a relationship with her audio recorder).
  • Alric's journals in Torchlight as he gets crazier and crazier from the effects of Ember.
  • In Second Sight, while searching the abandoned village of Dubrensk, John Vattic finds a diary belonging to one of the dead villagers- apparently the mother or father of one of the psychic children being experimented on nearby. As the writer refused to leave the village when Director Hanson's mercenaries invaded, it's safe to assume that he or she was murdered some time after writing it.
    • Also, scattered throughout the Zener facility under Dubrensk are notes on the various children that were held in the facility: almost all of them ended up horribly deformed by their medication.
  • Resistance 2 has a live version of this: At various points in the game, you can listen to live radio broadcasts delivered by Henry Stillman from the overrun city of Philadelphia. After running out of food and booze, his last broadcast ends with: "I think I'll go for a walk."
  • Assassin's Creed has something like this with Subject 16's encrypted messages and voice clips, especially towards the end of his sanity streak.
  • In the fifth chapter of Eternal Darkness, Max Roivas picks up three notes from his father, each more distressed than the last.
    • Four if you count the envelope with the key. There's also Brother Andrew's diary entries in Paul's chapter and Private Jackson's letters in Peter's chapter.
  • Either subverted or mis-handled in the casual game Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, in which you collect videotapes from some graduate students' Apocalyptic Log. The video clips include footage of things the students couldn't possibly have filmed themselves, like the four of them driving off in their car. While this could be a Handwaved continuity error, it's later implied that the supernatural forces in Dire Grove have lured you there deliberately, so those same forces might have doctored the tapes' contents.
  • You find one right near the end in The Spirit Engine 2, attempting to Fling a Light Into the Future, warning not to use the World Eye, as it will cause the user to become insane. The villains find it as well, but they're too impatient to translate it all. It's anybody's guess whether reading its warning would have changed their course though.
  • Bones are scattered throughout the Crystal Desert in Guild Wars. Examining some of them lets you read the last written entries by the person when they were alive. The desert really, really sucks, by the way....
  • A quest related diary in Tibia ends like this:

It's just Arthei... he got burnt really badly... I barely recognise his face... Kala is sitting at his bed 24 hours a day with red swollen eyes and praying for his life. When she falls asleep in exhaustion we are keeping watch.
<from here on, all of the pages have been torn out, only the last page remains:>

  • The Dorfs of Dwarf Fortress will often make artworks depicting significant events in the fortress. "Significant events" usually means "terrible, bloody violence": "On the item is a finely-designed image of a goblin and dwarves in pink tourmaline. The dwarves are dead. The goblin is laughing."
  • The first Descent: Free Space game has the main plot hinge on one of these. The log itself is shown throught the player in segments during cutscenes, and documented the rise of an empire, their conquest of hundreds of star systems, their contact with a powerful new race, and ends just before their destruction by the Shivans, thousands of years before the game starts. Bonus points for being the last recording not just of an individual, or a group, but an entire species. The last message, which is found by the player's side of the war late in the game, is the key to the survival of the human and Vasudan race.
    • There is little left for us. Little time. But much irony. The galactic destroyers that darkened out skies are not invulnerable. The can be stopped, but we have no way to deliver the blow. This, then, will be our legacy. In subspace, they cannot use their shields. And into subspace, they can be tracked.
  • Doom 3 and Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil both have a few PDA's in them with this. Most of the PDA's are members of the task force complaining about security problems, other members, or the occasional Things That Go Bump in the Night, however a few PDA's involve people trying to relay a last minute message, and the one inside of Hell details two logs about a man being toyed with for nearly two days by the demons. One man involved in the storyline gives you a data disc he asks you to send back to Earth when you escape which details the entire plan that Dr. Betruger and the powers of Hell had for Mars.
  • At least one of the Fullmetal Alchemist games does this, detailing Shou Tucker cracking under the pressure of having to create a chimera that can speak, while you may not see him or Nina in the game, knowing the adaptations and seeing what went on in his head is horrifying.
  • In the StarCraft 2 mission "In Utter Darkness", the Protoss create and seal one of these, along with the history of their species, into a temple as the last of their civilization is destroyed by the Xel'Naga hybrid-controlled Zerg Swarm. The mission is a prophetic one that takes place in an alternate future.
  • The Steam game Alien Swarm has a number of pads lying about on the floor from a number of people showing how quickly the swarm progressed and took over the facility.
  • Professor Windlenot's tape recorder in Shivers plays back an audio journal in which he discovers the Ixupi have been released from their vessels and are loose in the museum. The player hears how the professor is dying due to the Ixupi sucking out his life.
    • Both of the two kids (who unwittingly released the Ixupi) leave behind notes too. The boy's notebook is instructive and helpful at first, but end in panicked scribbles about having to find some place to hide. Do some poking around near where you find it, and you'll find... his dessicated corpse, curled up inside one of the displays. Hiding didn't help, evidently.
  • Parodied in the Team Fortress 2 official blog with A Week in the Life of the TF2 Team, where they depict themselves as insanely devoted to making new Nice Hats, to the detriment of everything else.
  • The summer camp in Psychonauts has a history of the area display, complete with gradual decent into madness of the entire town. The display is matched with the rings of an ancient tree, making it a literal Apocalyptic Log.
  • One of the secret Reports in Dissidia 012 Duodecim Final Fantasy is written by a Lufenian scientist. It's a log of the events happening around his lab in Cardia, including a few things about Garland's growth and Cosmos. When disaster strikes, his final log is this:

Military on orders to expunge all persons with knowledge of experiments.
Lab is on fire as I write this. But I'm not letting go of these documents. This will be my final stand.
Sucks to know you're going to die.

  • The Lord of the Rings Online has two of these:
    • One of them is the Book of Mazarbul from the original saga, which you actually get to write the final entry in during the "We Cannot Get Out" session play in Moria.
    • In an early quest, you are tasked with recovering the journal of a dead Dwarf outside a cave filled to the brim with spiders. Piecing together the pages reveals an Apocalyptic Log that ends with the Dwarf preparing to take the battle to the spiders to keep himself from being used as bait for his cousin, a spider-slayer who has passed his prime.
  • There are a quite a few of these in Skyrim. One example can be found in Japhot's Folly. Japhot's journal chronicles his ill-fated attempt to start a settlement on the inhospitable hellhole of an island. Even when the rest of the settlers went Screw This, I'm Outta Here, he stubbornly refused to leave. He was eventually reduced to eating ice-moss before starving to death. The journal is found in a a small locked room with Japhot's dessicated body. The final entry in the journal?


  • In the original 1992 Alone in the Dark game, one of the first things you find is the suicide letter of Jeremy Hartwood. It is literally written just after he has unwittingly released the evil of the mansion and hears the footsteps of the newly awakened abominations closing in.
  • Every dungeon in Tales of Maj'Eyal has some form of records or diary entries, and almost all of them end with the writer about to die horribly at the hands of the dungeon boss. Twists include: the writer let the boss kill him, the writer allied with the boss, the writer is the boss, and, at least once, the writer may possibly have gotten out alive.
  • The True Laboratory sequence in Undertale give us two of these:
    • The logs in the computer screen tell us the story of an experiment Alphys did: Alphys intended to investigate how human Determination worked and if it was possible to use it to empower monsters, so she injected determination extracted from human souls on dying monsters and on inanimate flowers in increasing doses, with increasing desperation. The monsters then appeared to having recovered, only to completely collapse and become ungodly abominations just the day before their intended release. Oh, and one of her flowers injected with determination mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the chaos.... One screen has also an alternate log, obtainable only by poking in the game code, implied to be the last thing wrote by unpersoned scientist W.D. Gaster before he booted himself out of reality.
    • The tapes in the resting room tell the story of the death of the children of the Underworld kingdom. More exactly, how the human Fallen Child convinced his adoptive monster brother Asriel to enact a plan which involved the death of the Child via ingesting poisonous flowers and Asriel absorbing his soul and how Asriel reluctantly agreed to it.
  • The Clannad visual novel, Kotomi's route, her parents left her a testimony and a teddy bear in a briefcase despite of many important scientific files are being contained in it, and they wrote the testimony during a horrible airplane crash. A powerful Tear Jerker indeed.
  • Professor Imagawa in Yu No left one of these to chronicle her last days after becoming trapped underground. While she eventually discovered the way out, she grew too weak to actually take that method of escape and instead wrote down how to do it. Unfortunately, the solution is no longer at her body because Takuya wasn't the first one to find her, so he has to figure it out himself.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • In The Gamers Alliance, Nymgrock finds the elven sages' forgotten diaries which chronicle the first spread of the Blood Fever which occurred hundreds of years earlier. The first entries show some curious, out of the ordinary events in the sages' lives. However, as the entries progress, the effects of the Blood Fever start showing up in more gruesome ways and the writings become increasingly desperate and terrified, eventually culminating in the respective final entries where the writers perform a Heroic Sacrifice to end the plague. It doesn't work because the plague shows up deadlier than ever in the present day, which has been the very reason Nymgrock sought out the diaries in the first place to find information about what could be causing the plague.
  • There's a web-only story which isn't an apocalypse log, but a diary found in a life raft out at sea. The sole survivor of a shipwreck saw dolphins around her all the time and believed that she was turning into one; the last entry is more or less a heavily misspelled variant of "Flippers are useless. Fuck it, I'm going into the water."
  • Numerous SCP Foundation records, notably the rather chilling, not to mention, literal, example revealed by SCP-093.
    • From the Spanish branch, SCP-ES-019 is an MP3/radio headphones whose radio can tune to transmissions of several (and quite disturbing) sceneries of human extinction. Listening directly to those, however, causes in the listener effects varying from knowing how the disaster could have been avoided, to related PSTD as if they lived thorough the disaster, to directly exhibiting symptoms of what wiped people in first place.
  • The Journal of Kith chronicles one dwarf's ill-fated quest to re-discover the ruins of an (in)famous dwarven fortress -- Boatmurdered.
  • It is very common in The Slender Man Mythos for the stories to be told in an Apocalyptic Log format. But then, if you're writing about seeing Slendy, that means you've seen him, and if you've seen him, it means he let you...
    • Everyman HYBRID has Doctor Corenthal's reports, which are left in bags for viewers to find. The weirdest part is that the three patients he mentions have the same names as the main characters, despite the reports supposedly being written in the 1970s.
    • The journal that set My Name Is Zytherys in motion seems to be one... though it's filling itself out independently with the title character's own handwriting.
  • A web programmer who has seen too much reports back from the abyss. Also a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Several notes in Ruby Quest, particularly Filbert's journal, detailing his... tests... of the limits of the treatment. It's a Cosmic Horror Story where everyone has recurring amnesia, so what else would you expect?
  • The Alternate Reality Game "Ben Drowned" is an account of what happened to one person who picked up a haunted Majoras Mask cartridge, and what happened to the people who interacted with it.
  • The "Active Area" entry in the "That Insidious Beast" series from Something Awful. It's written by an everyman rather than a scientist, but it does describe unspeakable horrors and it also ends with his suicide.
  • This game at the TV Tropes forums is especially creepy due to the fact that it's never implied what's really going on
  • "Zalgo": H̬̬̯̺̠͈̥͎̓̾̇ͦ͑ͣ́̚͢e̛͉̺͂ͦ̋ͬ͂̕ ̛̥͎̮̤͓̭͍̂͡ͅc̴̰͎͖ͮ͊́o̴͈͕̙̬̟͔̣̤̤͑͌̂͐̈̍̉ͩm̝͔̗̖̥͎͇͗̽ͪ͢͠e̝̩ͦ͆́̂͆͐̉͠͝͝s͎̮̈́̿̓͑́́͒͊͢͝
  • Sevenshot Kid has gone this way not once, but twice.
  • Right-wing You Tuber Nightvisionphantom made an "If Obama Wins" video during the 2008 election (needless to say, it was quietly removed afterwards), in which he claims to be the last surviving member of a resistance who fought a losing battle against the Islamofascist hordes that Obama unleashed upon the world.
  • The ARG viral campaign for the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero is a wide collection of barely decypherable websites That describe a Crapsack World. These websites are sent from the future by a team of computer programmers and quantum physicists as a warning to those of us living in the time of the events triggered their circumstances. Bonus points for one entry written by a White House aide describing the monster sent to allow the Earth to... shall we say, start over.
  • Played for Laughs(?) here. Video games can be mortal. Facebook is a great way to let friends know.

Western Animation

  • Code Lyoko features a rather unique and disturbing take on this trope, as Franz Hopper (a.k.a. Waldo Schaeffer), the creator of Lyoko, uses the supercomputer's "Return to the Past" function to create a Groundhog Day Loop, while preserving a video file of his attempts to avert his and Aelita's impending abduction by government agents during that looped day. By the time the entry for "day 1000" rolls around, his sanity seems to be hanging by a thread (and there are still a thousand more entries to go). Meanwhile, as far as his daughter and the outside world are concerned, no time has actually passed at all.
  • Memetic Mutation has turned Candle Jack from Freakazoid! into a perpetual generator of exam
  • In The Simpsons episode "King of the Hill", Grandpa tries to talk Homer out of climbing the Murderhorn, telling him how, in 1928, he was nearly killed when he and his partner C.W. McAllister tried to climb it, only for McAllister to betray him, steal all the supplies, and shove him off the mountain, then continue on his own. Later, when Homer is making his own attempt and is too tired to go further, he finds McAllister's frozen body and Apocalyptic Log, detailing a very different story: Abe had been the betrayer, and had even tried to eat McAllister's arm after stealing the supplies. Presumably, McAllister shoving Abe off the mountain had been self-defense, but he could only crawl into a nearby cave where he likely died of altitude sickness after writing the last entry of the log. The last sentence was, "Tell my beloved wife that my last thoughts were of her... blinding and torturing Abe Simpson. Cheerio.”
  • In an episode of Futurama, the Planet Express team, on their way to the hive of giant space bees, aka "deadly, deadly bees," on a quest to gather space honey, discover the wrecked ship of their predecessors, who were killed whilst undertaking the same mission. They discover the black box recording, which recorded a conversation between a nervous underling suggesting they turn back because it's too dangerous, and the over-confident captain insisting they press on to glory. And then recorded the sounds of their horrible, horrible deaths moments later. Leela, who has been taking the role of "over-confident captain" in the current team's efforts, is particularly keen to pretend they never found it.
  • Jonny Quest Classic episodes "The Invisible Monster" (Isaiah Norman's notebook) and "The Sea Haunt" (the ship captain's log).
  • Seen in the multipart episode "Notes From The Underground" in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and actually called in advance by Michaelangelo, who is a sci-fi aficionado. Later on used again in the episode "The Trouble With Augie", recording the destruction of an interdimensional culture by their seemingly-benign visitors.
  • A classic Space Ghost episode, "The Energy Monster", features a posthumous recording by the scientist who created it.
  • Done in Disney's Tarzan series by a character who actually lived, but thought he was going to die and didn't get to finish his entry. Didn't help when he said that the item that he (falsely) believed would solve the problem plaguing the jungle was "hidden inside the p-", leaving Tarzan and Jane to run around the hut exploring every item they could find beginning with "P" (it was the phonograph machine, for the record.)
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Beyond the Farthest Star". 300 million years ago a member of the crew of the dead ship left a warning message telling what happened to them and why they decided to destroy their own ship.
  • Adventure Time has one in the episode Holly Jolly Secrets. Finn has found an old set of VHS tapes that contains a video diary of the Ice King. The last tape is the diary of a human, Simon Petrikov, as he slowly loses his mind and humanity, until finally becoming the Ice King. Bonus points for the apocalypse taking place in the background over the course of said log.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice," Batman does some sleuthing around GothCorp's facility and finds a videotape inside Viktor Fries' case file. The videotape has him documenting on a revolutionary process that he developed of cryogenesis that he is placing his terminally ill wife, Nora Fries, in until he can develop a cure for her. Suddenly, Ferris Boyle bursts in and demands that he shut down the experiment due to his stealing money from him to commit the experiment. Viktor attempts to reason with and eventually is forced to point a gun at Boyle to stop him from halting his experiment. Boyle then tries to reason with him, before promptly kicking him into some vials containing chemicals relating to the cryogenetic process, causing a biohazard, with Friez also visibly deteriorating from the accident while calling Nora's name in a lamenting manner as the tape ends. Unlike most examples of this Trope, Friez survived - much to his regret.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball episode The Joy is a parody of a zombie apocalypse. With Miss Simian playing the role of the protagonist, she has a video camera that she uses for this trope.

Real Life

We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far.
It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more.
Last entry. For God's sake look after our people

  • The onboard video camera was recovered from the wreckage of Space Shuttle Columbia after the disaster and the last few minutes were played, although it stopped before the actual disintigration.
  • There are a number of appropriately awful accounts from the Submarine world, notably the brief log kept by the survivors of Kursk after her sinking. And, even worse, the audio recording from USS Thresher's underwater telephone. The captain kept up a narrative as the submarine sank, totally out of control, and passed crush depth. Utterly horrifying.
  • And so forth. Real life examples aren't going to detail an apocalyptic horror, or anything, but will definitely qualify in the "desperation and insanity grow from entry to entry" sense.
    • And even in cases where the witnesses weren't part of those who died, records of traumatic events still capture moments in history with terrifying clarity: the Zapruder film of JFK being shot, the radio dispatch of the Hindenberg crash, the morning of 9/11/2001...
  • Any detailed, candid diary writing by a person in the grips of depression or similar can read like one of these. Things are going great, then one starts going downhill...
  • Anne Frank's diary, anyone?
  • A heroic example from September 11 is Todd Beamer, who used an on-plane telephone to recount what had happened on United Flight 93 and a plan to take back control of the plane: "Are you guys ready? Let's roll."
    • Less 'heroic', but far more fitting with this trope is Kevin Cosgrove's last phone call from an upper floor in the south tower of the World Trade Center. As he describes the situation, he suddenly shouts, "Oh, God!" and screams as the building collapses around him.
  • Less known is the 1349 report of the Black Death:

I, Brother Clyn of the Friars Minor of Kilkenny have written in this book the notable events which befell in my time ... so that notable deeds shall not be lost from the memory of future generations I, seeing many ills, waiting for death till it come, have committed to writing what I have truly heard; and lest the writing perish with the writer, I leave parchment for continuing the work, if haply any man of the race of Adam escape this pestilence and continue the work which I have begun.
(in another hand) Here it seems the author died.

  • This is sort of the whole reason they have black boxes on airplanes. The CVR, or Cockpit Voice Recorder, records everything said in the cockpit and over the radio on an aircraft.

ALA 261 - I think if it's controllable, we oughta just try to land it --
ATC - you think so? ok let's head for LA.
ALA 261 - [thump]
ATC - yo feel that?
ALA 261 - yea.
ALA 261 - ok gimme sl-- see, this is a bitch.
ATC - is it?
ALA 261 - yea.
ALA 261 - 2 clicks, then a extremely loud noise 1 sec later
ALA 261 - [upside down and falling fast] Mayday

    • The most common last word on black box recordings is "Shit" (or its equivalent in the pilot's native language). This is rendered as "Unintelligible" when said recordings are broadcast on the news.
  • Christopher McCandless kept a diary of his time in the Alaskan wilderness, which documented his eventual death by starvation in Alaska on the 112th day of his excursion. Notably, this also appears in literature and film as Into the Wild.
  • The last speech that Jim Jones gave to the residents of Jonestown was recorded for posterity. In it, you can hear him direct the older members of the community to help the younger children, and for them to "not worry about the children's crying; [the punch] is just a little bitter. It's not painful." Makes for some chilling night time listening.
    • The Edith Roller journals. A former college professor, she kept a detailed log of her daily life in America and Jonestown. She never came home.
  • After the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, a tourist victim's camera was recovered with the memory card still readable. Photos of the wave were published, one of them shot just a few seconds before the guy was pulled under.
  • Even the "scientist records his last thoughts, scientifically" variant has occurred; Allan Blair, the scientist credited with proving black widow spider bites are dangerous to humans, took a rather direct route, as recounted in Gordon Grice's "The Red Hourglass." The guy continued writing notes until the pain proved too much; then he had an assistant continue taking notes. Fortunately, though he proved spiders can be dangerous, he did manage to survive the bite.
  • Well-known herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt did this in 1957, after being bitten by a small boomslang viper; he believed it wasn't large enough to be dangerous, so he did not take antivenin, but did type a running log of his symptoms through the night and into the next morning; he was found dead later that day.
  • While it doesn't work 100%, it's still an interesting type of this. In Aokigahara, a forest in Japan famous for the amount of suicides that have taken place there, photos have been taken of trash and items strewn around where the bodies were found. There are things like shoes, hair brushes, papers, glasses, and much, much more. If you were to look through it, it would probably give you a great deal of information about the person and what was going on in their lives before they ultimately ended themselves.
  • On a lighter note: Xan Brooks of the Guardian liveblogs the Isner-Mahut match at Wimbledon.

7.30pm: Let it end, let it end, it's 46-all. It was funny when it was 16-all and it was creepy when it was 26-all. But this is pure purgatory and there is still no end in sight. John Isner has just struck his 90th ace. Nicolas Mahut, poor, enfeebled Nicolas Mahut, has only hit 72. Maybe we should just decide it on the number of aces struck? Give the game to Isner and then we can all crawl into our graves.

  • An episode of I Shouldn't Be Alive recalled the story of two campers, hopelessly lost in the woods, stumbling upon the abandoned campsite of a more experienced climber. Among his belongings, there was a detailed journal recording the climber's attempts to get out of the valley, and his dwindling food supply. They later found his body.
  • A recorded footage of a diver who had a diving accident and died, the video shows how he goes in the water, starts diving just as he normally would, but things starts to go wrong when the diver begins sinking and cannot react. The video basically records the process along with the reaction of people watching it. Be warned, the footage is rather disturbing...
  • On a lighter note, some Let's Play footage also sound like apocalyptic logs, especially those of Nintendo Hard Rom Hacks. (See, for example, Let's Play Sonic 2006, or any of Proton Jon's Kaizo Mario videos.)

'Proton Jon (audibly on the verge of tears): MOVE FASTER POKEY!

  • There is an Urban Legend of a man detailed his agony of being Locked in a Freezer. A freezer which turned out to be turned off. According to Snopes, there is no proof that this ever happened.
  • The events that the film Lost Signal are based on.
  • The Balibo Five - a group of TV reporters from Australia and New Zealand who travelled to East Timor in 1975, shortly before the Indonesian military seized control of the territory. Three days before he was killed - suspected to be the work of Indonesian militants - one of the reporters, Greg Shackleton, recorded a film newsreel about the local villagers and their impending plight in the face of military aggression.
  • "June 3rd 1864, Cold Harbor Virginia, I was killed." The final entry of a Massachusetts volunteer in the Army of The Potomac.
  • The disappearance of Frederick Valentich in 1978. While flying his light aircraft from Melbourne to King Island he reported to ATC that he was being harrased by an unidentified 'aircraft' that he presumed was an Air Force jet of some kind, but none were operating in his area, nor were any civil planes in the vicinity. In his final transmission he comes to a frightening realisation:

That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again (open microphone for two seconds). It is hovering and (open microphone for one second) it's not an aircraft.

  • Ulysses S. Grant completed his autobiography five days before succumbing to throat cancer. His notes concerning the progress of his cancer were reportedly required reading in medical schools for many years.
  • During the shooting at Columbine High School a library phone line was left open by a teacher who called 911 before the shooters entrance forced her to leave the phone to go hide. The open line caught and recorded the sounds of students being killed and injured, the dialog of the shooters to their victims and each other, and after the shooters leave the surviving students being told to quickly flee out a nearby door then dead air.