ERU – The Ephemeral Rift Universe

(Updated October 2021)

The Ephemeral Rift Universe (ERU) is the name for the fictional (in this universe at least) universe and its lore that spans across numerous videos on my YouTube channel. It consists of a wide variety of videos such as one-on-one ASMR sessions with a Plague Doctor, membership applications with the Tin Foil Hat Society, secret meetings with post-apocalyptic merchant clones in dark voids, and many more.

Unlike most universes that exist in literary form, the lore of the ERU is scattered among the many videos on my channel. It’s no different than Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. However, because most of the videos are whisper-quiet, long-form, and intended to help people experience ASMR, relax and sleep, rather than the loud sounds and constant attention-grabbing to keep people awake in a normal movie, one can easily miss pieces of the lore or information about certain characters. I know it’s not the ideal way to tell a story, but its just how things happened and unfurled. The one caveat though is that most of my videos are not scripted nor story-heavy, and the first ten minutes usually sets the premise and contains the bulk of any important story or lore. So I thought it would be best to try and put most of the important parts of the lore and the universe to writing here, until / if I ever write a book about it all one day.

You can browse all the videos in the ERU playlist on my channel here:

Oh, and btw: the name ERU was created by some of my viewers/subscribers. I originally went with “Rift World” and “Riftverse” but ERU just seems better. Just like they helped name Corvus.

The ERU in a Nutshell 

The Ephemeral Rift Universe consists of Arkham Sanitarium (see further below) and its inhabitants where most of the videos and story take place, as well as many other individuals, organizations and locations such as: The Innsmouth Thrift Shop, The Entity (not the same entity from the video game Dead By Daylight), the New World Order, the Tin Foil Hat Society, the Corrugated Cardboard Confederacy, the Merchant Clones (The Candy Man, The Manga Man, etc.), and even characters and situations based on other fictional works such as video games, movies, manga, anime, etc.

You (the viewer’s) Role

When watching the videos, you are, in most cases, a resident / patient of Arkham Sanitarium. How you arrived there has been stated and hinted at in certain videos, but in the end, its really up to your imagination. However, there have been a few reasons mentioned in certain videos:

  1. In the far distant future there was a war which led to a global apocalypse. Somehow the sanitarium is still standing and provides safety to anyone left living wishing to seek shelter within its walls. Sanctuary is provided in exchange for being experimented upon and serving as a constant and renewable source of energy for the sanitarium itself. Almost like the matrix, but not intentionally inspired by the matrix (unconsciously inspired? as with most videos I create: perhaps).
  2. You were or are “chosen” to be there. The “one”. Again, like Neo in the Matrix or any other hero.
  3. You were kindnapped by an individual known as “Thomas the Kindnapper” (who apparently works for Professor Clemmons).

Whatever the reason may be for your being a resident / patient of Arkham Sanitarium, you have no desire to leave (although you travel through the occasional rift from time to time) and have become quite acclimated to the environment. You enjoy the personal attention you receive from the various doctors, some of the other residents, and even the sanitarium itself.

How It All Started

None of this was ever planned. I stumbled into creating the ERU just as I stumbled into almost everything in life: jobs, family, low-hanging tree branches, walls, youtube, even ASMR. But I digress.

When it comes to the very beginnings of the ERU, it all started with the video below:

As I experimented more and more with ASMR, binaural audio, and video production, I  began to create some very basic characters and equally basic stories. Eventually, as the  weeks turned to months and the months to years, I found myself creating more characters, building more upon the stories I already told, and eventually ended up with my own little universe full of eccentric, reoccurring characters who primarily live within a place called Arkham Sanitarium.

Arkham Sanitarium

Arkham Sanitarium is a living, breathing entity of unknown origin and equally unknown physiology and biology, though it usually takes the form of a physical building. At any given time, the sanitarium itself, which includes the building to everyone and everything within it as well as the immediate grounds around it, is capable of travelling through time and space, past, present and future. It also also capable of changing its internal layout at any given moment (i.e. number of rooms, floors, hallways, etc.).

As for the name Arkham Sanitarium, it was borrowed from H. P. Lovecraft. He never wrote much about it the sanitarium other than it being a simple location where a character in his stories would be located. He only ever mentioned it by name once or twice in his works. This is also where DC comics’ Arkham Aslyum gets its name.

As far as you are concerned, there is no cost for you to stay, and all meals and entertainment are free. Any family members and friends of yours are permitted to visit periodically. You are able to roam the grounds of the facility at your leisure, as long as it is before curfew which is usually 9 or 10PM. You can make use of the rifts that allow you to travel through time and space. You have a bar-code on your wrist which identifies you, as well as one or RFID micro chips implanted in your brain which allow you to be monitored and tracked at all times no matter where you go in the multiverse, especially when travelling through a rift. Life is in fact actually good at Arkham Sanitarium!

There are 2 things required of all residents / patients of Arkham Sanitarium:

  1. You allow yourself to be the subject of various experiments. Please note that this does not mean torture. The experiments are benign, but do include such things as swapping brains with other patients, detaching your brain from its spinal column and making it wireless, body modifications such as tentacles or additional eyes, etc. Of course, you are okay with this because the experiments are beneficial to your overall mental and physical health.
  2. You serve as a source of energy and food for the sanitarium itself. What? The sanitarium needs to eat too, you know! No, you are not eaten in the physical sense. Your life essence is stolen from you, much like the Skeksis drain the Gelfings of their essence. However, it is painless, and your own life energy always ends up being restored. So its a win-win for everyone!

As fa as how the sanitarium came into existence, that is up for debate. Of course, it all depends upon the timelines & universe.

In one timeline, the sanitarium existed back during the Dark Ages where apparently Corvus and his “brother” William both worked. It is not known if they practiced their crafts during the same time or at different years. Eventually, an unknown event occurs centuries later that causes the sanitarium to burn to the ground. It is not known if it was arson or an accident. In the 19th century, a new asylum is built in the town of Arkham, Massachusetts and was given the name of Arkham Sanitarium, or Arkham Sanitarium for Mental Rehabilitation (ASMR), in honor of the same facility from Medieval times. Arkham Sanitarium burns down a second time and is rebuilt after the Thousand Year War (see below) where William, aka Professor Clemmons, maintains control and continues the experiments.

Across all timelines and universes, however, some things remain constant:

  1. Arkham Sanitarium acts as a safe haven for anyone, especially the broken and downtrodden, and those suffering from minor (i.e. general anxiety) to severe debilitating physical and/or mental health issues (i.e. schizophrenia).
  2. William Clemmons eventually becomes head of the facility, and ends up turning it into a place that experiments on the same type of individuals.

I have also posited that both modern and post-apocalyptic Arkham Sanitarium (depending upon the timeline/universe) also acts as a clandestine SCP Foundation facility unbeknownst to all except Professor Clemmons.

The Sanitarium grounds are also home to a hotel, amusement park, zoo, aquarium, movie theatre, and thousands of acres of natural woods behind the facility which has a peaceful trickling stream where a certain reanimated painter is often seen painting patients’ faces. Also on the sanitarium’s ground there is a garden (see below) maintained by nurse Margaret who is the professor’s wife (see below).

There are also Arkham Sanitariums that exist on other planets. You can think of this like family or offspring. After all, the sanitarium is an entity that surely must originate from some place in the universe!

The Rifts (Multiverse Theory & Time Travel)

Have you ever read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, watched Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, Rick & Morty, or read about parallel universes, quantum or multiverse theory?

In a nutshell, I toy with the idea that multiple universes and timelines do exist, and I play around with space and time travel. This means that you, the sanitarium, and any character in the ERU can appear, act and have a certain history in one video’s timeline, and then have a completely different behavior, appearance and history in another video’s timeline. This allows me total creative freedom to do what I want with the characters, setting and the ERU.

I must admit however, that this was not planned. It was more of a literary or plot device, so to speak. It was even an excuse to explain why certain characters may change appearance, voice or demeanor since my own hair (head and face) always changed, I’m not the world’s best voice actor, and my memory isn’t the greatest (most videos are unscripted and improvised, and I don’t keep my own stories/lore written down anywhere but here!).

This also allows me to introduce new wrinkles to a character’s backstory or dabble with the idea of travelling through “rifts” or portals from one part of the universe to another, or to a different time period altogether.

The Entity

This new “character” was introduced in 2019 and supposedly is the driving force behind the existence of Arkham Sanitarium. Well, in one timeline at least. It may also be the reason why so many people (both patient and staff members alike) end up at the facility, having felt drawn to it, some of which possibly have been “chosen” by The Entity.

Side Stories: 

  1. The Missing Keyboard Keys: Someone has been stealing various keyboard keys from computers in the sanitarium and from homes and offices in the town of Arkham, Massachusetts. Coincidentally, a new character called The Key Salesman has shown up and just so happens to be selling keyboard keys.

  1. The Candy Man’s Apprentice: You are training with The Candy Man in order to get a job and help deliver candy to his clients.

  1. The Plague Doctor’s Apprentice: You are training under Corvus to become a Plague Doctor at the sanitarium in order to help perform treatments since the population of the sanitarium is growing

Corvus Dunwich Clemmons & Professor William Clemmons

Once upon a time, back in the Middle Ages (or so it goes in one particular universe) there were 2 brothers: Corvus and William. Depending upon the universe, “brothers” could either mean sons from the same mother, or they are completely unrelated but both are associated with the same “brotherhood”, “cult”, “order”, etc. In either case, Corvus ends up becoming a Plague Doctor and pursuing an apothecary’s line of work, while William goes off to pursue a doctor’s career path while dabbling in experimental surgery, becoming interested in the occult, perhaps even dark or blood magic. Time passes, and eventually both brothers learn the secret of immortality: Corvus finding the fountain of youth through a secret concoction that he must continually inject in himself in order to remain alive, while William obtains his immortality through ritual or magic. Jump to current day and they both are reunited, practicing at Arkham Sanitarium. However, Corvus has grown suspicious of his “brother” and wishes to have him killed though he has not found the courage to do so, while William has learned how to raise Cthulhu from his slumber in the sunken prison of R’lyeh and makes Cthulhu a servant who will eventually provide William with the language and means to summon the Great Ones and take over the multiverse.

William the Student

One alternate timeline suggests that modern-day William Clemmons is either a descendant (known or unknown to him and everyone else) of Medieval Ages William, a “reborn” William, or there wasn’t ever a William to begin with and the only William to ever exist is the 1920’s student who studied at Miskatonic University. In any case, William the Student ends up working at Arkham Sanitarium. He ends up falling in love with a woman named Margaret (see below) who was possibly another student during his tenure at the university. They both go on an expedition where Margaret, possibly pregnant, is killed in a tragic accident, and William ends up bringing her body back and ends up reanimating her using the forbidden knowledge he gained from his former colleague Herbert West. Eventually he ends up becoming head of Arkham Sanitarium.

William Clemmons, Director of Arkham Sanitarium

Again, no matter the timeline, all paths lead to William becoming head of Arkham Sanitarium. Either he obtains this through force, or by working his way up the ranks. He also ends up coming in contact with the SCP Foundation, and agrees to use the sanitarium as a clandestine site for the Foundation in exchange for access to SCP sites and entities.

William Clemmons Split Personality Theory

It is possible that William suffers from a multiple personality disorder, and that many if not all of the characters such as Corvus, Dave, Margaret, The Repairman, The Candy Man, Dr. Lampert Schaede, etc., are all different personalities of William. If this is true, then what does that make the patient, ie. you the viewer? Perhaps the patient is an actual patient at the sanitarium, or is someone held against their will and lives in William’s basement, much like 10 Cloverfield lane. Perhaps William has made up all the characters and the history of the Sanitarium and has brainwashed his captive (the viewer) into believing all of it. Or, perhaps there is no captive at all, and we are merely watching found footage of William and his personalities in front of a camera.

William Clemmons is Nyarlathotep

Nyarlathotep is one of H. P. Lovecraft’s fictional other worldly creatures that often appears as a man who is obsessed with technology. You can read more about it somewhere out on the web. As far as this universe is concerned, it is known that in one or perhaps all timelines that William Clemmons is either possessed by Nyarlathotep or Nyarlathotep has taken on the form of a William Clemmons since the Middle Ages or at some point thereafter, perhaps during the expedition where Margaret died. It is also possible that the true William Clemmons exists as a patient who has lost his sanity, while Nyarlathotep poses as William in order to maintain control of the Sanitarium. I am not sure of the actual relationship between Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu as far as if they are relatives or rivals, but we can pretend in one timeline that Nyarlathotep wishes to use Cthulhu to take over the universe, or an alternate timeline could suggest that Cthulhu was never raised from his slumber.

The Arkham Sanitarium Method of Relaxation

This is just my way of playing with the ASMR acronym and making it fit within the ERU. The A.S.M.R. treatments are performed on various patients in order to harvest the energy they created (aka the “tingles”) in order to keep the facility operating, or to feed the sanitarium itself, as well as to provide power to the sanitarium and its rifts that the Professor has created that one can use to traverse time and space. The A.S.M.R. method is actually beneficial to the mental and physical health and well being of the patients.

The Harvest

This is the name given to the act of obtaining the energy that each patient generates (i.e. the “tingles”) during an A.S.M.R. treatment session. The harvested energy is then used to either power the facility or various aspects of it, or is turned into a physical, liquid-based substance to be then used for unknown purposes. Perhaps Corvus uses some of the harvest for his secret concoction which helps keep him immortal. Perhaps the liquid harvest is injected in other life forms as part of various experiments.

The Arkham Sanitarium Residents and Patients

The residents and patients of Arkham Sanitarium can be anyone and anything from any part of the multiverse. Again, this is my way of drawing from and making reference to other works of fiction, and having fun with the sanitarium being a place where all kinds of creatures and things exist together. While the viewer is usually human in most cases / videos, it is possible that one could imagine being a different creature or even a robot. The Professor himself, perhaps with an extraction team, will travel the multiverse in search of new life forms so that he can perform biological experiments and harvest the unique energy each life form generates during the A.S.M.R. sessions. There is a ward or annex for each life form, i.e. a Human Ward, an Undead Ward, Xenomorph Ward, Dalek Ward, etc. etc.

The A.S.M.R. Treatment Rooms

Each patient is comfortably restrained, usually upright in a chair, and in an almost-soundproof room (i.e. the basement of my home). The patients are hooked up to an intricate device of the Professor’s creation that is able to draw the energy the patient generates during the session which can then be used either as a direct power source for the facility or to turn the energy into a physical, liquid-based substance used for various purposes.

Margaret Clemmons

There are a few theories as to who Margaret is, again, depending upon the universe.

The first is that she was once a student who attended Miskatonic University at the same time William did. They fell in love, and at one point she becomes pregnant, perhaps before they are married. They go on an expedition where she is killed, apparently in a “tragic accident”. Nothing is known as to whether the baby survived or not. William brings her body back and reanimates her using the knowledge he gained from former colleague Herbert West.

Another theory is that the loss of Margaret was so hard on William that he suffered a severe mental breakdown because of it and ends up dressing up as her.

Other possible theories include Margaret never existed to begin with but it is actually one of Williams’ personalities, or she is another patient altogether.

Margaret’s Garden

Margaret Clemmons maintains a garden that exists on the grounds of the sanitarium on earth as well as on sanitariums on other planets. There is a portion of the garden that exists in a dark greenhouse. The garden is not just home to typical plants, fruits and vegetables, but some of them are sentient, perhaps containing the brain of a human or other life form. A section of the garden contains soil which holds unique healing properties. Some of the various patients and even some of the staff often schedule themselves to be buried in Margaret’s garden. And then there are those patients who break the sanitarium’s rules and as a form of punishment are buried in Margaret’s garden for hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries and millennia.

Thousand Year War on Earth

At some point in the future, Professor Clemmons eventually summons the Elder Gods to earth which causes an all-out war of humans vs Great Ones. Some of these creatures are benevolent and fight alongside the humans. The war lasts for a thousand years and eventually the world becomes a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Arkham Sanitarium is rebuilt and continues to operate as one of the “last bastions of hope”, or so it is known to the remaining populace of earth. It also remains one of the few places on earth where the last remnants of nature exists. Many of the Old Ones are killed or flee back to their home planets or planes of existence. The human race’s population is reduced to a small fraction. William continues to conduct his experiments in the facility. And it is in this alternate timeline where the viewer often finds themselves.

The Various Doctors and Staff Members

There are various people and creatures that are doctors and staff members at Arkham Sanitarium. Some of them were patients, some were creatures captured by the professor. There is a Deep One (from Lovecraft’s works) named Deep One Dave, Nurse Iggy Manley a man’s man and often a parody on the stereotypical straight guy, a sentient rhinoceros rescued from a forest, an older gentleman called “Grandpa”, a zombie doctor named Frank Walker, Charlie Carl a resident who is always seen on the floor scratching the carpet, Dr. Lampert Schaede a psychologist who always wears a lampshade on his head, and many more too numerous to list at the time of this writing. One possibility is that all of these people do actually exist as individuals in the universe, while another not-so-popular theory is that they are all personalities of the main character William Clemmons. I personally do not like this latter theory all too much, but there you have it!

The New World Order

This particular ongoing storyline / event started with one innocent video:

I wanted to come up with a creative way to share the love of candy, and so I played the role of a merchant who sells candy that was banned by the NWO (I don’t recall offhand if I mention NWO in the above video) in a post-apocalyptic / dystopian world.

I eventually built upon this story to the point where it is today: at some point in the far distant future, the governments of the world joined together and formed one global government or organization (one theory is that The Entity was behind this). Eventually this New World Order (NWO) ends up banning everything in existence, from the physical to the metaphysical and everything in between, as well as enslaving the entire human race.

One individual decides to “fight the system” by distributing the first thing banned: candy (sugar). As more and more things were banned, this individual then cloned himself and programmed his clones to be salesman / traders of one particular banned item, such as The Muffin Man, The Video Game Man, The Anime Man, etc., etc., ad-infinitum.

And no, I never read 1984.

That’s all for now! I’ll continue to update this periodically with additional details and anything else I may have forgotten.

– E.R.