|FROM AN ARG OR ARE
This article discusses content originating from the ARG or ARE Marble Hornets and thus is confirmed to be fictional.
Characters and organizations discussed are portrayed by actors.
The Operator as he appears in Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story
Really Tall Guy, Slender Man (mistaken), The Figure, That Person, That Thing
The Operator is a character in Marble Hornets and acts as the primary antagonist and later “big bad“ of the series. He is a telepathic creature that resembles a tall, thin, and faceless man wearing a business suit.
Differences from Slender Man
While based on the Slender Man, the Operator came about before the contemporary mythos. His depiction has helped shape the mythos, but he has multiple differences in abilities and behavior compared to that of the Slenderman.
- He does not have any tentacles or tentacle-like abilities.
- He does not appear to have any limitations in movement, however he rarely moves on camera.
- Like the Slender Man, his presence can damage electronics, but this is not always the case.
- His appearance can also cause extreme physical pain and debilitation, particularly to longtime victims.
- Like the Slender Man, the Operator has time-travel abilities, but they appear to be far more limited.
- He can wipe extensive periods of memory from his victims.
- He seems to cause odd behavioral changes in people, such as Alex becoming aggressive, and Tim's personality shifts between ’Masky’ and himself.
- In “Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story”, he is invisible to the naked eye.
- His behavior is a mix of animalistic and sapient, making him highly unpredictable.
- He seems to draw his strength from the mental influence he inflicts upon people, and almost seemingly weakens when Tim (or other characters) takes his medication, which appears to help him resist it.
- In the film spinoff “Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story”, he brands some of his victims with the Operator symbol. While never shown in the main series, it is possible that certain characters from Marble Hornets were retconned to have brandings.
The Operator is based on Slender Man as one can see from the appearance; however, due to its very extreme and different depiction against the classic depiction of Slender Man, it has been debated over whether or not the Operator is another name for Slender Man or another being altogether. The Operator and Slender Man have been influenced by each other and it may be in part due to the Operator since Slender Man has some of the traits the Operator has been observed with. Marble Hornets themselves have stated that the two are not the same.
Additionally, since MarbleHornets has never attributed the term "Proxy," entities like Masky and Hoody are hard to define. In addition, the MH producers have stated that the Operator is a completely separate entity from Slender Man since they do not use the same methods or have the same goals.
For a complete account of his actions, see here
The Operator is suspected to have many abilities.
Teleportation is one of the major abilities demonstrated by the Operator regularly. This seems to be used in two ways. The first is, as teleportation does, to place his presence into a specific location by unknown means. The second way he uses it almost seems to be short movements forward, as if his teleportation ability is hampered once he is in the presence of a target. The Operator doesn't seem to have any limitations to his teleportation, but it is extremely important to note the Operator is very rarely ever seen physically moving in any way. The Operator can teleport people other than itself, taking people to other places and once sending Jay on a looping door run in a hallway.
Electronic interference is an important one. This ability is not explained, and why he does it is not explored, or even if he has control over it, although in some videos the effect is active and in others it's delayed, so it's possible that he can selectively use it. Whether this is the same ability that causes issues with his victims or is a separate ability is also unknown. The effect seems to cause severe distortion, often blowing out the audio of the video entirely, causing video tearing, ruining the video quality, causing severe tone and tint issues, over-blowing the brightness on the video until everything is bleeding together, or causing the electronic to freeze or stop recording for extremely long periods. These are most likely not selective.
The electronic interference seems to consistently correspond to what the Operator is doing and the severity seems to change based on if the Operator is being observed by the camera or not. The Operator teleporting off-camera seems to cause a visual tear as seen in Entry #14. Teleporting on-camera produces much more extreme effects. Several times, extreme audio distortion has occurred without any visible powers. Likewise, a much quieter much more constant high-pitched static effect has been observed a couple of times, most notably in Entry #23 when Jay (and his camera) was brought to the Maintenance Building. The black-and-white static effect was seen in Entry #72 and #76, for once making the picture more visible than it would have been otherwise. Assuming the effects are consistent, the Operator was trying to do the same thing to Jay and Tim as it did to Jessica. More recently, it seems that audio distortion can happen when someone gets extremely angry -- Alex did this first, but Jay has done it recently as well.
The mind control is to be noted not the same as being a Proxy. Whereas proxies can basically be described as Slenderman's soldiers or his minions in very loose terms, the alliance between the victims and The Operator is random at best. To date there are several known such people:
- Tim, who for all intents and purposes appears to sometimes be helping Jay and sometimes not, but clearly dislikes Alex.
- Brian, who appears to be fully against the Operator and Alex, and his alliance with Masky is extremely shaky since he clearly doesn't trust Tim or at least doesn't want Jay to do so, and has been physically assaulted by Alex.
- Alex, who appears to be allied with the Operator in some way, although his alliance is incredibly unexplained and vague, so why he is working alongside the Operator and why the two are never on camera simultaneously is a big question. Additionally, Alex doesn't seem to be fulfilling any sort of "agenda" or objectives in any form of the word other than trying to kill Jay.
Interestingly, Hoody and Masky and Jay all showed resistance to and/or recovery from the ill mental effects of the Operator if they stayed dosed with a certain anti-seizure medication. Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Given the Operator's ill effects on electronics--as would be seen by a strong electromagnetic field--it's likely that his ability to make people sick, cloud their minds, and control them is the one and the same power as his ability to harm electronics. Likewise, whatever is in the medication would counteract this effect, reducing the potency--as seen when Tim, the person who was actually prescribed the medication, remained standing--albeit painfully--and confronted the Operator.
The Operator also possesses one bizarre ability shown in Entry #72, which has yet to be explained. When Tim and Jay entered Alex's old house, it was broad daylight, however, upon entering and exiting the basement, it was pitch dark outside, as if several hours had instantly passed in the few seconds upon entering the basement. There was no explanation and no theories offered up by Jay or Tim, since the Operator chased them out of the basement immediately after them noticing the time of day. It's possible this is part and parcel of the Operator's ability to teleport through its own private dimension--it may have shunted Tim and Jay through its world and made them come out several hours later.
Spread of Influence
The Operator has been revealed in Entry #86 by Alex to spread in power and appearance by effectively "infecting" individuals with his presence. These individuals, whom Tim called "source(s)", are essentially individuals who have seen or been stalked by The Operator. As a result, they begin carrying his presence with them, causing anyone who comes in contact with them to become a potential new victim and, thus, new sources.
Alex states the only way to contain his spread is for all sources to be killed. Tim states this is impossible, since it is physically impossible to locate and contain every possible source, and that there is no possible way to be certain that every “infected” individual would be either visibly infected, or even know it.
While the Operator's origin is unknown, Alex tells Jay a tale in Entry #38 which may be linked to his existence. Alex says that in an area of what is now Rosswood Park, the flora, particularly the trees, grow abnormally fast. During the 1800s, locals would string up criminals in the trees as punishment. As the treesgrew, the criminals limbs would stretch and they would become misshapen and deformed. After the criminals died of dehydration, the locals would burn down the trees, body and all. The practice was abandoned when a missing child’s body was found dismembered and strung up in one of the trees.
For a time, this story was what many believed to be the origin for the Operator. The creators, however, stated that this is in fact not the Operator's origin, but simply Alex trying to scare Jay. Whether or not Alex made up the story is unclear.
It is known, however, that the Operator was first introduced to the Marble Hornets cast & crew through Tim, who had experienced the Operator’s presence since he was a child.
- The name "The Operator" has thus far never been used in the series (except once on a scribbled sheet drawn by Alex, and in several totheark videos); the name was ascribed to the character in interviews by series creators Troy Wagner and Joseph DeLage.
- In an interview, Wagner and DeLage were questioned about who plays as the Operator. However, they did not give an answer, stating that they wouldn't reveal the method of making the Operator, as it would ruin the fun.