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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Welcome Home series deserves watching

Avarie Shawley

Welcome Home is an analog horror web series that has been increasing in popularity recently. In short, Welcome Home is a website that acts as a restoration product for a 70s children’s show. The show and story behind it are all fictional, and did not actually exist. The idea is that Welcome Home was a children’s show that had a cast of 8 puppets, each teaching a different lesson. The show was said to have gone on air in 1969, becoming extremely popular before suddenly being taken off the air in 1974 with no trace as to why. 

Welcome Home has been in production since 2021, with the creator, who goes by Clown, being extremely active in the community, constantly answering questions from fans, and updating the website frequently. The story behind the website is that the WHRP (Welcome Home Restoration Project) is working with someone who goes by The Question Answerer, and they are taking submissions from fans and anyone that had any old Welcome Home merchandise or information. Their goal is to try and restore all old information about Welcome Home, though not everything is as it seems.

The show itself was said to follow nine characters, eight puppets and one living house. The characters are featured on The Neighborhood page, and have summaries written for each. The characters are: 

Barnaby B. Beagle, a big blue dog known for making jokes, and overall being silly. Sometimes, though, he is known to be a little bit rude with the jokes that he makes. He is best friends with Wally. 

Sally Starlit, a yellow star girl who loves theatre and anything dramatic. She loves directing plays, and heavily encourages the other neighbors to participate in them. She tends to obsess over every detail, though. She is known to be good friends with Poppy. 

Julie Joyful, a pink monster who loves playing games and doing fun things. She really likes trying new things, and she tries to get everyone else to try new things too. She is known to be best friends with Frank. 

Frank Frankly, a grey puppet who is a lot more negative than the other neighbors. He loves bugs, and he studies them a lot. He prefers peace and quiet, and doesn’t like when people make fun of him. He is known to be best friends with Julie. 

Poppy Partridge, she is a big rainbow bird, and more like the mom of the neighborhood. She is very protective of everyone, and gets scared very easily. She worries a lot about simple things, but tries her best to let everyone have fun. She is good friends with Sally. 

Eddie Dear, A yellow puppet who is the mailman of the neighborhood. For reasons unknown, he tends to be picked on by almost everyone. He is extremely clumsy, and gets easily stressed. 

Howdy Pillar, a tall green caterpillar who has four arms and four legs. He owns the shop in town, and really cares about it. He loves getting deals and selling things, but he tends to obsess over it. 

Wally Darling, the main character from the show. He’s a small yellow puppet with big blue hair who always has a smile on his face. He talks only in monotone, and tends to not understand simple things. He always reminds us that he is our best friend. As of the time writing this, his description on the website reads, “Wally is the most prominent character in Welcome Home, as he is often the focus of merchandise, advertising, and is present in every episode and book. His segments were focused on drawing and painting with viewers. Barnaby was often depicted alongside him and illustrated pages note that they were best friends multiple times. (Most notably scenarios where Wally and the viewer are learning something new.) They also share similar characteristics, like hearts on the sole’s of their shoes and paws, of which only Barnaby has the latter.”

Home, who is the house of Wally. While all the other neighbors have houses, Home is the only one that is alive. Home communicates to their neighbors through onomatopoeias. (slamming doors, shuttering the windows, floor creaking, etc.) He is the only one who is not a puppet, and is the most confusing out of the entire cast. Though all of these characters are important, Wally is the focus of the story.

When Welcome Home first emerged, there wasn’t very much to see, only a few things about every character, layered text that when found and put into a search bar could open a secret page, and one audio file of Wally singing “Beautiful Dreamer” (This was before voice actors were hired, so the voice for Wally in that video was done by Clown himself.) Clown was gone for a while, before returning with a very important update. This one included audio files of all of the characters (voiced by the official voice actors), many more secrets, and a much more sinister feel to the entire website. This is mostly thought of as the “old update,” as it was many months ago. This is when Welcome Home became a lot more popular, but not as popular as it is today. The most important thing about the old update is the guestbook. In the guestbook, it was seen that Wally was able to draw on top of some asked questions, and when opened in a separate tab, the images that he drew had names attached to them. These names were sentences, and it was Wally’s first time communicating with us. Another very important thing was that when spaced wrong, it was possible to see under Home, and when that was done, you could see a pit of darkness and a small white swirl in it. When the darkness under the house was clicked on, a photo of Wally would be opened in a separate tab. The photo shows Wally in some sort of worshiping pose in front of Home’s eye, which shakes around his window. The page read “So below,” which is part of a phrase typically associated with evil entities, which has caused fans to theorize a lot. 

After this, Clown took a very long break for personal reasons, but then suddenly came back with the biggest update so far. This update is referred to as the “new update.” In the new update, the guestbook was closed, breaking off Wally’s only form of communication with us. Along with this update, two eyes were added on the side of the page. These are meant to be Wally’s eyes. Another important part of this update is the Playfellow Exhibition. In the exhibition, The Question Answerer and the WHRP team created a place to store all old Welcome Home artifacts. The page seems to be just that at first, but upon clicking a specific word on the page, a different tab would be opened, revealing someone trying to figure out a code. Upon clicking on the image, you would be greeted with a safe, which then clicking on would show the staff only page, which asks for a password. When the password is put in, the staff only page reveals that people are suffering from illness because of a black paint put on the artifacts. It is shown to drive them to madness. It is also shown that shining a blacklight on the artifacts reveals messages written by Wally. Something else about this update is that you can see Wally draw right on the page. Clicking each of the drawings opens a page, each with their own audio clip of Wally talking to us. When placed in the correct order, it appears to be a conversation that Wally has with us, but some have theorized that it is to the Question Answerer. Also featured in the Playfellow Exhibition is a toy phone that can be used on the merchandise page. Each button has a response from each neighbor reacting to a prank call, except for Wally. The website states that his button is broken, so they took his audio offline, but when the button is clicked, his button does, in fact, work. The audio played is a phone call from Wally to us. This is extremely important, and helps stabilize a lot of popular theories. Something else in this update is cartoon bugs that appear on different pages. When these bugs are clicked, it opens up a new page, each with their own video. Each video seems to have been taken from the perspective of Wally, though he is not involved in the conversations. Each video has a different conversation between two different characters, and when Wally’s name is said, the video distorts and ends. Fans have many theories about what this could mean. Another thing featured in this update has to do with the darkness underneath Home again. This time, the spiral is much larger, and when taken to the So Below page, Wally draws a red spiral, which when clicked opens and plays an audio of doors slamming, and floors creaking. This is an audio of Home talking. It is not clear what he is saying. Clown didn’t update the website for a while, and fans were left wondering what would happen next. 

Suddenly, in early October, Clown updated the website unannounced. It features Halloween themed characters, a 19 minute audio of a Welcome Home storybook record, and another secret bug video. This update is not widely talked about yet, as many people have not noticed the update. The audio featured in the update has a segment of what is believed to be Sally talking to us, which has never happened before. She talks about a monster that eats neighbors that stay out after dark, and the WHRP cannot hear this audio, meaning that this is a message specifically for us. In the video, we hear all the neighbors talking, and then halfway through the video, it gets very dark and loud, and we get to witness Wally eating for the first time. It has been mentioned multiple times that Wally eats by looking at things with the intention of eating. In the video, phantom bites are taken from the apple, before the sound and sight return to normal. Barnaby says Wally’s name multiple times without the video glitching out, but it eventually does glitch and end after the third time it is said. This is as far as the story goes at this point, but fan theories aren’t lacking. 

Many fans have been theorizing about who the villain is, what happened to the show, and what all this could mean. A popular theory explored by many fans is that Home is the villain. This theory is one of the most talked about theories, so much so that some people forget that these things aren’t confirmed. This theory was made popular by Matthew Patrick (MatPat) on the YouTube channel The Game Theorists. The theory is that Home is the villain, and that he is controlling Wally. The evidence that is greatly used for this is actually mostly misinformation and misunderstandings. One of the biggest pieces of evidence is on the guestbook page. At the bottom of the page, there are signatures from all of the characters. MatPat references that Home and Wally have the same handwriting, but a simple explanation for that could be the fact that since Home is quite literally a house, he couldn’t write his name himself. Another piece of evidence that MatPat referenced was the drawing of Wally’s name, that when opened in another tab, the file would be labeled “Our name.” This could also easily be explained by the fact that Wally drew this on top of a Guestbook submission from someone who quite literally had the same name as Wally. There is not really much more evidence than that. Most of the other theories involve the idea of Wally being evil, which there really is not much evidence for besides the So Below photo and a few more official art pieces that appear a bit sinister. 

My personal theory about Welcome Home is that Home is the villain, but that Wally is good. I believe that Home is, in fact, an evil entity, but that Wally is oblivious to this fact. I believe that Wally does the things that are asked of him by Home, but that he doesn’t see the evil in what he does. He trusts Home fully, and is just as unaware of his plan as anyone else is. I do not know exactly what will come of the story, but I do have theories about important clues that have been given. I believe that Home is not controlling Wally, but that Wally is just dissociating in the video clips. I believe that the bugs that you click on to get to the videos are not from Frank, (as theorized by MatPat) but are actually from Wally. MatPat theorized that since Frank is known to like bugs, that he must be the one putting the bugs on different pages. I’ve noticed, though, that if you check the Guestbook, in one of the drawings from Wally, he said that he also likes bugs. I also believe that in the videos, they are not really taken from the perspective of Wally, but more so Wally in an out-of-body experience, as I believe he is also dissociating in the videos. The perspective taken from the videos is not that of Wally, but clearly above and to the side of where he is. I believe that we cannot know Home’s true plan, or what the future of the story is. The story is only 10% of the way through, so I believe that all the extreme theories that try to predict the entire rest of the story are just far too soon.

Welcome Home is a great story, and it deserves the large fan base that it has, but overall, the constant theories are becoming too much. Nobody appreciates what the story is now, because they’re waiting for what it’s going to be. I believe that we should take time to appreciate all of the amazing work that Clown has created, and that we should acknowledge their great storytelling that we were given in such little time.

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About the Contributor
Avarie Shawley
Avarie Shawley, Reporter
My name is Avarie Shawley. This is my first year on Mountain Echo staff. I've been writing stories since I was young, and it's one of my favorite things to do. I also like listening to music, watching movies and spending time with my friends.

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    HenryMay 17, 2024 at 2:06 pm

    So interesting I need to know MORE……..