Phenomenon 3 - "Happy Dance"
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Article by Robert GoermanRobert Goerman

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Our M.E.G. chaperone ordered everyone to evacuate exactly when the wanderer in bed 13 burst like a giant water balloon. The smell was bad, but the taste in my mouth was worse. Somebody threw up, and "sympathy vomiting" hit the place. Up until I noticed the tentacles, I was fine.

Allan Jenkins, moments after the incident at the LVL-4 Sleep Shelter


Happy Dance, also known as Exploding Wanderer Syndrome, is a terrifying new Backrooms phenomenon that proves fatal within 72 hours. It begins with the onset of an intense euphoria of mysterious origin. The victim is not psychologically elated. Their brain appears to be purposefully awash in a tsunami of natural chemicals and hormones, while their body undergoes horrific changes. Tissues in the fingers and toes, hands and feet, succumb almost immediately to aggressive gangrene and turn purplish-blue to black. In a state of perpetual bliss, the infected person taps their remaining toes and fingers while humming a happy tune, which accounts for the generic name of this malady.


Phenomenon 3 was officially "discovered" and documented by Maryann Thomas, M.D., at the Major Explorer Group Medical Clinic on Level Four. Her preliminary notes follow…

Day One:

Not everyone who enters this medical clinic is injured or ill. Some are lonely, hungry, or lost. These folks know enough to feign discomfort to attempt access, usually holding their head or stomach and complaining about vague symptoms. Imagine our surprise when a dozen men danced into our facility, accompanied by M.E.G. security.

We were told that shortly after midnight, there was an "event" at the LVL-4 Sleep Center. This shelter has a thirty-bed capacity. One of the wanderers literally exploded. Ten of the men and both chaperones were contaminated by contact with biological fluids. We were also informed that nineteen other guests, probably infected, fled the scene, abandoned their belongings, and are yet to be located.

However impossible, given the time frame, this dozen men display advanced gangrene. Even the best talent and equipment from the Frontrooms could never save these poor souls from such an aggressive strain. We can only isolate them for our protection.

These notes record the hours after the event and, out of force of habit, the time displayed on my mechanical wristwatch. We run our clinic on a 24-hour basis. All our medical personnel wear wind-up watches. Time observation is crucial when dispensing medications and scheduling treatments.

7 HRS (7:10 a.m.): Twelve male patients arrive. They range in age from 23 to 64 years old. Despite their incurable gangrene, they all seem to be in a state of "ecstasy" and are constantly humming happy tunes while tapping their hands and feet.

11 HRS (11:00 a.m.): An army of volunteers enabled us to transform one vacant section into a temporary quarantine site. There are now 12 beds in 4 rooms. This was part of an old office complex, and every interior door has a window. Convenient.

14 HRS (2:07 p.m.): Patients no longer respond to voice or touch. Although there is always the risk of fever, I don’t dare place a glass thermometer in their mouth. I am hoping that my PPE (gloves, goggles, and mask) is enough to protect me. There is no need to expose anyone else. I can handle this.

20 HRS (8:20 p.m.): All patients are asleep. Heartbeat and respiratory rates are within the normal range.

Maryann Thomas, M.D.


Temporary EWS quarantine area
M.E.G. Archives

Day Two:

31 HRS (7:11 a.m.): Patients awake, and the song and dance continues.

38 HRS (2:00 p.m.): Either all twelve males became suddenly nine months pregnant or they are experiencing acute abdominal distention.

41 HRS (5:00 p.m.): I observed the patients gorging themselves on themselves. They are breaking off gangrenous tissue and eating it. Given their prognosis, I see no need to discourage this behavior, despite the ghoulish nature of the act.

44 HRS (8:00 p.m.): Examining the abdomen of every patient, I was shocked to feel sensations indistinguishable from fetal kicks and movements. This is, however, the Backrooms.

47 HRS (11:00 p.m.): Humming and dancing ceased. All patients are asleep. Heartbeat and respiratory rates are within the normal range.

Maryann Thomas, M.D.

Day Three:

55 HRS (7:20 a.m.): Patients awake. They are quiet. This quarantine site resembles some macabre maternity ward.

59 HRS (11:10 a.m.): Patient in Room 3, Bed 3, humming loudly and thrashing about. He bursts, and the scene is worse than I imagined. I don't dare enter the room. It appears that clinical death occurs almost immediately. Biological death should follow in 4-6 minutes.

Knowing that something is going to occur is not the same as watching it happen. Four flexible appendages with twin rows of suckers emerge from the gaping wound in the abdomen. These arms are more brown than red and easily stretch to reach the patient's face and below his knees. The parasite possessing the arms is not visible. The arms fell limp and lifeless at (11:30 a.m.) and did not move again.

61 HRS (1:35 p.m.): All three patients in Room 1 burst. The creatures inside all died within twenty minutes.

66 HRS (6:00 p.m.): Twelve patients are dead. One of them regained awareness in those final moments. He mercifully never saw the thing that killed him. I saw it. I watched them all.

Doctor or not, I will never forget today.

67 HRS (7:00 p.m.): Flashlight in one hand and a wooden rod in the other, I enter Room 2 and examine the closest patient. It bothers me that I do not know his name.

The parasite is an invertebrate with four octopus-like arms that occupies the abdominal cavity of its human host and attaches itself to several vertebrae along the lumbar spine. Nothing that we would identify as eyes or visual organs is observed. The creature has a mouth filled with teeth reminiscent of piranhas from the Frontrooms. These teeth are about a quarter-inch (4 mm) long, razor-sharp, and spaced in an interlocking pattern.

The abdominal cavity is clean. The organs are gone! There are no traces of intestines, liver, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas, stomach, kidneys, and bladder.

68 HRS (8:15 p.m.): I scrubbed up the very best that I could and wished that I had some coffee with cream and two sugars. And a doughnut. With sprinkles.

I am too sad to cry. Too busy. Left instructions to continue my quarantine for another five days. If I am not infected, I will join my co-workers at the clinic.

If infected, I join my ancestors.


Maryann Thomas, M.D.


Sketch of burst EWS victim
by Maryann Thomas, M.D.
M.E.G. Archives


In Memoriam:

Maryann Thomas, M.D., dedicated her existence to honoring life and saving lives. She had been the heart and soul of the Major Explorer Group Medical Clinic on Level Four since her arrival in the Backrooms. She will be missed.


Phenomenon 3 has been verified in areas with a larger human presence. Some researchers believe the Backrooms to be a living thing that considers people to be a disease. According to their hypothesis, Phenomenon 3 represents an antibody battling antigens. Wilder theories wonder if someone or something from the future is conducting biological warfare. They speculate, without evidence, that the influx of humans into the Backrooms is "upsetting the balance of the multiverse."

- - - Lives hang in the balance. Do the right thing! - - -

Do’s and Don’ts:


  • Isolate yourself after being exposed to a burst individual. Tell someone!
  • Immediately notify the M.E.G. if you discover an infected wanderer.


  • Approach anyone with Exploding Wanderer Syndrome. You can't save them!
  • Think that this cannot happen to you.

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