Video games have taken over the entertainment world with people choosing professional gaming as a career and making millions from it. While earning a living from gaming is commendable, some are not after minting dollars from gaming but want to take advantage of video game fans. It may seem incredible that a person can believe they are video game characters reincarnated in the real world. Yet, that is what the disturbing saga of the Final Fantasy House is all about as we shall tell you in detail.
The Story Behind the Final Fantasy House
Cryptic Chronicles Podcast explains that the Final Fantasy House was a strange cult that has now become the ideal example of what happens when fans take their love for video games too far. It involved people who are terms as “soulbonders” because they believe they are the video game characters’ reincarnation from an alternate dimension. The podcast elaborates that the soulbinders are obsessed with the video game characters. They believe in having a spiritual connection with them and even take on their names. Final Fantasy House is believed to have started in a Pennsylvania apartment given the name “The Final Fantasy House.”
Jen and Hojo rented the apartment(names adopted from fictional video game characters in “Final Fantasy 7.”) Jenova is an alien woman who wants to destroy the earth. Hojo is a mad scientist who tortures two other fictional characters. Since the two individuals who took on the fictitious names believed to have been reincarnated, they acted in the same way. According to Gamerant, they would lure people into the apartment, assign them video character names convincing them that it is who they were in their past lives, then abuse them in different ways. The abuse ranged from mental, emotional, and physical abuse. Jen and Hojo even had their roommates cover all the apartment’s bills and forced them to buy whatever else they needed.
Is It a True Story?
You might wonder why someone in his right senses would remain in a place of such abuse. However, it seems that the people who were lured into the cult at first thought it was a passing phase, and by the time they realized that they are victims, it was too late. At least that is what Syd told VICE. Syd, not his real name, said that the cult attracts alienated people who are vulnerable.
Syd had been admitted to Alfred University in 2001, and after wasting his freshman year drinking alcohol, he found another hobby; playing video games, especially “Final Fantasy House 7.” He described himself as a bit alienated since he did not get along well with his family and was yet to come to terms with his gender identity. The online community was his haven, and as he became a fan of the game, he even created a website shrine dedicated to his two favorite characters, Zack and Cloud, who in the game are tortured by Hojo. The site caught Joanna’s attention who reached out and during their interactions asked Syd to call her Jenova and insisted that Syd was Zack’s reincarnation. Syd did not oppose having had some experience with paganism while in high school, so magic and reincarnation were the least of his concerns.
Within a few weeks, the two had become so friendly that Syd accepted Joanna’s invitation to meet like-minded people. He traveled to State College where Joanna was living with Rachel, her girlfriend, and his stay made him realize that the belief in reincarnation was not empty talk to the two ladies. All those who lived in the apartment had been assigned the video game characters’ names but what started bothering Syd was being asked to hook up with a girl named Aerys because their respective characters were romantically linked. Despite another incident of being locked up and being told to lie down as Joanna chanted, Syd did not mind moving into the apartment. He even got a job to contribute towards the rent.
Are Victims Brainwashed?
Syd became the apartment’s primary breadwinner because Joanna quit her babysitting job so that Syd could pay the rent. He also was in charge of providing food; he worked in a supermarket and was expected to take home day-old food and coupons. The Final Fantasy House members survived on a diet comprising Garotade and steak resulting in Syd falling ill. The foul smell in the house was also unbearable with Joanna and Rachel frequently having sex and Joanna not bathing. Still, the sickness, financial distress, inability to communicate with the outside world and stench were not enough to drive Syd away from the house.
Joanna watched his every move and Syd had to remain strong even when he felt like crying lest face Joanna’s wrath. His breaking point came in August 2002. He had been working at the supermarket, and on his way back home, he was drenched in the rain. So on reaching the apartment, he took off his shoes and left them outside to dry, but Syd’s shoes were missing the next morning. That was all it took for Syd to finally leave the apartment saying that he had taken the financial, physical and emotional and mental abuse but stealing his shoes was going too far.
So Syd left the apartment with only $5 in his pocket but feeling like the happiest man alive. He had nowhere to call home for a few days after alienating himself from his family, but that did not bother him. Still, it was better than the sickening food, the constant fighting, the stench, and lack of freedom to communicate. To Syd, living in a place with such people again would be worse than spending a night in the streets. Hence he described his nightmare living in the Final Fantasy House hoping to warn unsuspecting gamers of manipulators like Joanna. He may have gotten his life together, but the horrible experience scarred him forever.