Calgary's Gideon Keys, as they have come to be most commonly known, began as entries in a journal. Or so we are told. In March of 2009, an anonymous individual (perhaps named James), claimed he had found a composition notebook, left behind at a university event center (MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary). So of course, seeing an opportunity to share what they'd found, CalgAnon (as they came to be known), began posting images and transcriptions to the Paranormal board, /x/, of the 4chan image board website.
CalgAnon originally assigned the collection a simple and rather unimaginative moniker: "Calgary's 200 Phenomena." Each entry describes in detail a single, enigmatic description of an occult phenomena that occurs either in the inner city or a borough of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
But what is a Key? And who is Gideon?From 110 - The Bookstore, a secret book shop owned by a strange man named Eddie Decae:
As such, a Key is quite simply one such "roadside horror" or "urban attraction" of a magickal or occult nature. The journal CalgAnon found seems to be one such journal, made for Eddie that he would then be able to "swap," a service Eddie offers. In 093 - The Orange Room, [[Nick Maharis]] writes in the form of a letter:
Behind the counter, Decae keeps a bookshelf with over a hundred notebooks, diaries, clipboards, little boxes of index cards and the like. All have been prepared by acolytes and seekers and all describe the roadside horrors and urban attractions that we who favour the night enjoy.
Hey Sand-Man, I bring greetz from the spheres.
Eddie and Matt said you were working on a little guidebook. Smart move. They’ve been catching a lot of kiddies in their webs lately, and we need all the help we’ve got.
But perhaps the best way to find out about what the Keys are, is to read them. If any of this seems confusing, it certainly won't once you've perused the collection yourself.
Back to the name. Why Gideon?Calling the collection "The Gideon Keys" is really just a convention, borrowed from an unrelated creepypasta. It was suggested first on /x/, and the name stuck. Here's the unrelated story:
There are seven words in every Gideon's Bible - y'know, the ones they stuff in every hotel room - that can't be found in any other bible.
If you repeat those seven words to yourself while grasping the doorknob to your room, the door will open to any hotel room in the world.
Of course, if you want to control where you're going, you'll need to know the Gideon's Key - one more inserted word, unique to each copy, that acts as an index for each room. 1
One might imagine referring to each entry as a Key invokes notions of the journal itself being some holy codex, something akin to a grimoire, or an occult keyring to open supernatural doors. And one wouldn't be far off in such a suggestion! Calling them Keys brings to mind the Lesser and Greater Keys of Solomon the Great, which was certainly an early example of a magickal grimoire, giving instructions on how to bind daemons to one's benefit.
The title is apt. Each Key generally affords either a specific benefit at the risk of some horrific trade-off, or, pieced together with the rest, offers a glimpse at a pervasive and subversive "secret history," that threatens to destabilize the entire world's status-quo.
From what is readily available through the text itself, we know that there are a small number of recurring individuals throughout the entries.
CalgAnon, the original poster of the 200. As the introduction states, CalgAnon is not the original writer, although from their knowledge of Calgary it may be surmised that they are natively Calgarian. This individual posted the Keys in the spring of 2009 to 4chan's paranormal board, /x/, mostly in the month of March. Not much else is known about them besides that they might have been a man named James.
Sandy, also possibly referred to as "Sand-Man," is the purported author of the journal. Although mentioned sparingly aside from the introduction, Sandy maintains communications with Eddie, Nick, Jess, and Matt. Apparently those aside from Eddie formed a small coven - what spiritual practices they engaged in, is unknown. We know he has a generally friendly relationship with those in the coven, and with Eddie. Interesting nickname, though. Dreams are so important to the Keys, that it seems important somehow.
Edward Ramsey de Cae, appears in quite a few entries, most notably in 110 - The Bookstore. It is possible he is one of Them, as he tends the bookstore for reasons unknown - a quasi-omnipresent locale that somehow exists in "every city on the continent". Apparently he hits on Nick Maharis "in that cute turn of the century way," indicating that Eddie may have been alive for a very, very long time. The way he runs his shop ensures that information is always flowing in and out, which likely benefits him in the long-run. His motivations are even more uncertain, ultimately: He maintains a property wherein 181 - The Bloodstain ritual takes place, and will accept the human skin-bound book retrieved at 198 - The Apartment Tower in a trade.
They, a monolithic "enemy" to all who seek the Keys. They are depicted as separate entities, worthy of great measures of trepidation at the very sight of them. Very little is expounded upon in the collection, but much is suggested and alluded to — for instance, although their physical composure is never explicitly mentioned, comparisons and subtle remarks enable the formation of various, incomplete notions. It is unknown whether or not They created the Keys, but They are shown to be intimately connected to many of the phenomena. Humanity seems to be at war with Them — an eternal, unexplained struggle. Important motifs in relation to Them include temporal and spatial displacement, higher dimensional planes, dreams and the spirit world, World War II, and alternate realities.
For more information on the analysis of the individuals described here, please go to Calgary's Acolytes
For more information on the analysis of Them, please go to Calgary's "They"
For my personal notes, ramblings, and unconfirmed thought-dumps, please visit Calgary Reflections