Phenomenon 50

Phenomenon 50 - "Vortexes"

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An instance of Phenomenon 50 within Level 4.

— Description —

Phenomenon 50 describes the sudden and random emergence of rings of glowing, red energy formed by hundreds of rotating sparks. The phenomenon is often described as a pulsating, portal-like manifestation—one of the first wanderers to ever encounter one famously described the experience as “the closest one can get to behold the very gates of hell.” This, coupled with their supposed resemblance to “The Vortex” of Level 11.3, has granted these anomalies the nickname of Vortexes.

Vortexes are collectively feared and avoided by the wider Backrooms population, and that reputation is not unfounded. They manifest almost instantly, emerging where they are least expected, and are always accompanied by a number of enigmatic properties, all of which are listed below.

  • Vortexes that remain active for more than a few hours will spread an aura of red corruption. This red tint appears to be a diluted variant of the raw red energy normally released by the phenomenon that can only seep through after a Vortex has stabilized.
  • The intensity of a Vortex follows an alternating cycle reminiscent of a beating heart. Some wanderers have reported that during the highest points of intensity, indecipherable voices, whispers, and screeches are heard emanating from within the phenomenon.
  • Although these claims have not been confirmed, it is also said that one can get glimpses of a tumultuous and turbulent realm of "chaos, power, and hunger" through the center of a Vortex. Many archivists theorize that this domain could be the origin of the phenomenon.

Vortexes can appear even in the most secluded of spaces.

A fully formed Vortex's active cycle can span from a few minutes to several days. The incoming termination of a Vortex is signaled by a decrease in the speed and number of propelled sparks, as well as a recession of the aura emitted by the phenomenon. As the Vortex continues to slow down, the entire phenomenon will shrink until it completely disappears.

The occurrence of Vortexes is concentrated within a small number of levels. The reason behind this uneven distribution of manifestations is unknown, as there does not seem to be any correlating factor between the levels where this phenomenon occurs most, nor one connecting those where they do not. It is of note that in recent months Vortex sightings have increased in quantity and reach, appearing even where they had never done so previously.

— Effects —

Proximity to an active Vortex, or any of its associated phenomena, has temporary effects on all wanderers, so approaching any of them or traveling through an area highly plagued by the phenomenon is heavily discouraged. The presence in the environment of the red aura produced by Vortexes, corrupted sectors, and contaminated entities causes alterations in the minds and behaviors of wanderers and entities. Under this effect, the affected individual will become more aggressive and erratic until they leave the phenomenon's area of influence. Repeated exposure to both organic and inorganic matter is known to produce permanent, more severe effects, which have been classified into two categories: corrupted sectors and contaminated entities.

Corrupted Sectors


A corrupted sector of Level 4.

The continuous exposure of certain areas to the corrupting essence generated by the Vortexes eventually causes weakening effects on the structural composition of the host level. Specifically, the aura of the Vortexes induces the spontaneous growth of cubical structures of varying sizes on all surfaces with which it comes into prolonged contact. The outpost formerly occupied by The Pillagers of Level 4 is one of the locations where this effect can be best appreciated. Dozens of rooms previously used as headquarters and trading posts had to be abandoned due to the obstruction—and danger—caused by the growths. These formations can also be found in a “charged” state, in which they seem to be composed of the same red energy vomited by the Vortexes.

The cubes in this state bear some similarities in appearance and properties to the
Ambassadors take the form of floating cubes, and present a human-like level of intelligence. They roam the Backrooms, luring unwary wanderers to a location that remains unknown.
, which quickly led some archivists to link this phenomenon to their activities. It is believed that these glowing structures are created by reaching a state of over saturation of the Vortexes' energy, which is supported by the fact that these cubes appear to serve as power storage. Any slight physical contact with the charged cubes will cause the life-force of a living being to be absorbed by them in a process similar to what happens when one touches an Ambassador. The energy that the cubes store can then be used by the nearby cubic formations to initiate a sudden burst of growth. This behavior is a significant source of danger inside the corrupted sectors, as one can suddenly become crushed under the pressure of the expanding cubes.

Contaminated Entities

Living within the altered environments generated by the Vortexes and the corrupted sectors will slowly devour all entities, including humans. The affected individuals develop changes in their behavior, becoming increasingly aggressive towards any other form of life, even other contaminated entities. They are also physically disrupted, displaying streaks of pulsating, red, glowing energy that runs through their bodies like veins. The presence of this energy in their system seems to grant them multiple bodily augmentations at the cost of becoming wild, completely disregarding any sense of intelligence or self-preservation.

Vortex contamination appears to resemble the malevolent influence exerted by Ambassadors. Many archivists theorize that the contamination process may be similar to that of the creation of a
Entity 187, commonly referred to as Servants, are wanderers who have succumbed to the mental control of an Ambassador. Individuals in this state will do everything within their power to please and serve their Ambassador, hence their designation.
, with the person’s soul being extracted and replaced by the red energy of the Vortex. Furthermore, the lack of a mind or an outside force like an Ambassador to control the body might be the cause for the aggressiveness present in the contaminated entities, and many have also described the aura around Vortexes as carrying a violent and malevolent intent, which might influence the behavior of all who become victims of their corruption as well.

— Origin —

While it was initially proposed that this phenomenon was another instance of the influence of the Ambassadors in the Backrooms, recent discoveries suggest the opposite. The following recording was obtained from a device abandoned by The Pillagers of Level 4 in their former headquarters. The recorder contained a conversation between an Ambassador and an intelligent Servant, who seemed to be discussing the nature of the Vortexes.

Recording - 12/04/2016

— Dos and Don'ts —


  • Abandon a location as soon as any indication of a Vortex manifestation presents itself within it.
  • Avoid traversing enviroments already contaminated by the presence of Vortexes.


  • Interact with contaminated entities.
  • Look into the center of a Vortex.
  • Try to comprehend voices coming from inside a Vortex.

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