persephone strain

Persephone hacks

In Phase 1 of the Lost Experience, Rachel Blake, under the guise of hacker “Persephone”, hacked the Hanso Foundation website on numerous occasions, revealing corrupt practices with regards to the Foundation’s personnel and active projects.

Below is a description of all main hacks during the Experience before the Hanso Foundation shut down the website on June 16th. For the sake of argument, the protagonist will be referred to as “Persephone” throughout, and “hacks” are classed as the main flash videos which challenged the Hanso Foundation’s altruistic image.


  • 1 References
    • 1.1 May 3rd – Newsletter section
    • 1.2 May 3rd – Joop’s Corner section
    • 1.3 May 8th – Alvar Hanso bio
    • 1.4 May 9th – Thomas Mittelwerk bio
    • 1.5 May 17th – Hugh McIntyre bio
    • 1.6 May 19th – Peter Thompson bio
    • 1.7 May 24th – Jacob Vanderfield/Lawrence Peck bios
    • 1.8 May 30th – Mathematical Forecasting Initiative page
    • 1.9 June 1st – Worldwide Wellness and Prevention Development Program page
    • 1.10 June 7th – Institute for Genomic Advancement page
    • 1.11 June 12th – Mental Health Appeal page
    • 1.12 June 13th – Electromagnetic Research Initiative page
    • 1.13 June 16th – Life Extension Project page
  • 2 Subdomains
  • 3 Notes


May 3rd – Newsletter section

The “login” page

Password – Breaking Strain

On the Hanso phone line, Persephone hacked the general information section, adding her own audio:

. don’t listen to their lies. This is Persephone, I don’t have much time, none of us do.
If you want to know the truth about the Hanso Foundation, the real story behind them.
A lie pulled tight enough will always snap under the breaking strain.
Use that password on the website, breaking strain.
They’re coming.

On the main site, signing up to the newsletter caused a Persephone hack to be revealed, in which she asked for the code from the phone line. Entering the password of breaking strain effectively “logged in” players, revealing hidden clues that would otherwise be inaccessible. All other hacks from this point require the user to have “logged in”.

May 3rd – Joop’s Corner section

Peter Thompson reply

Password – N/A

With the login now done, sending any message to Joop on his section of the website opened a hack.

The hack detailed about the Global Welfare Consortium, who had written in complaint to the Hanso Foundation about a virus outbreak in Tanzania. They believed that the Hanso Group Zanzibar research facility had been responsible for the outbreak. A second letter showed a retraction, but the head of the GWC was now Peter Thompson (Hanso executive). Persephone realized that the Foundation had silenced the GWC, a group supposed to regulate companies like the Foundation, from the inside. Persephone writes:

The Hanso Foundation, setting world speed records for subverting authority.

May 8th – Alvar Hanso bio

Alvar public appearances]

Password – N/A

Under the Alvar Hanso profile page, the date below the photo became hyperlinked. Clicking it launched a flash hack. Persephone showed a map of Europe, and highlighted known public appearances by Hanso in chronological order. His last appearance was “31.12.2002 – Madrid”. Persephone concluded that the man hadn’t been seen since 2002, and questioned where he was, as well as who was actually running the Hanso Foundation.

May 9th – Thomas Mittelwerk bio

CalTech document

Password – Heir Apparent

Persephone initially hacked the website clock, so that every 15th and 42nd minute, the clock timer would change to “OB:EY”. Clicking this led to the new website, There, clicking on six different monitors (one four times, the second eight times, and so on) caused a large monitor to appear with a new code subliminally. This revealed the new code heir apparent and a link back to the bio section of the Hanso website. Entering this code now unlocked a new hack.

This hack showed a woman turning and then a document from CalTech, showing that Thomas Mittelwerk had never in fact studied there for his doctorate, despite what his bio says. Persephone wrote:

Does he even have a college degree? Why does he call himself a “Doctor”? of what? Who is this clown?”

May 17th – Hugh McIntyre bio

Evidence against McIntyre

Password – The Mouthpiece

Persephone hacked an image of the Aurora Borealis under the Electromagnetic Research Initiative section of the Hanso website’s active projects. It displayed coordinates, and clicking on the origin of a graph next to the image linked to a new website, There, after logging in through the site, an image under the trash section had on it in small letters “the mouthpiece”. Entering this on McIntyre’s profile page revealed a new flash hack.

Persephone focused the hack on McIntyre’s apparent family values, showing photos, audio and receipt records to suggest that McIntyre was in fact having an affair.

May 19th – Peter Thompson bio

Persephone message on Thompson

Password – Survivor Guilt

The image of Peter Thompson on his bio page began to show flashing letters behind it. Noting all the letters and rearranging them created the code “survivor guilt”. Entering this in a hidden text space under the image revealed a new flash hack.

Persephone noted how Thompson had defended companies such as Globoco oil on charges on pollution dumping, saving them whilst incidences of cancer in the affected area grew by 75%. She also examined how he had defended a tobacco company from lawsuits by cancer sufferers, only to then counter-sue the plaintiffs into bankruptcy. She ended her hack with a chilling statement with regards to Thompson:

“I work for criminals, always have, always will”.

May 24th – Jacob Vanderfield/Lawrence Peck bios

Document showing Thompson as Peck’s attorney

Password – Inmate Asylum

The Hanso Foundation website labelled a new button – careers. This linked to, a new website in the game. There, six new jobs were being advertised, and it was noted that some of the letters under each description appeared in grey font. Putting all the grey letters together and rearranging them created the code “heir apparent”. This code could be entered in the password field of either the Jacob Vanderfield bio or the Lawrence Peck file (the only difference in the hack was the police audio saying the respective name).

In the hack, Persephone provided empirical evidence showing that both men had been sentenced to fraud and perjury. However, she found documents showing that Peter Thompson had been Peck’s attorney (and most likely Vanderfield’s as well), and that he had significantly reduced their sentences, in particularly allowing Peck to serve just 18 months of his original 8 year sentence, in a minimum security “federal country club”. Persephone had highlighted the Foundation’s hypocrisy of being altruistic company, which also knows nothing about the “betterment of society”.

May 30th – Mathematical Forecasting Initiative page

Hidden Thompson letter

Password – 42000, 10.4 and 2.55

The MFI projects page updated to include an interactive map. Under some countries, statistics were left blank to be put in. Using the CIA World Factbook quickly allowed players to learn the USA GDP of 42000, the Italian death rate of 10.4, and the Sudan growth rate of 2.55%. Entering these codes together unlocked a circle in the middle of the Indian Ocean on the map. Clicking it revealed a new hack.

Persephone showed a letter from Thompson to the ‘Minister of the Interior Mugato’. The letter seemed to imply that the Hanso Foundation was secretly trying to coax tribal enemies into conflict for some beneficiary purpose on their behalf. Persephone wrote:

The Hanso Foundation: Starting wars so you don’t have to

June 1st – Worldwide Wellness and Prevention Development Program page

Microfilm of the apology article, showing the publisher as Hanso Group

Password – Heavy Water

Under the WWPD page, the “press release” subsection contained the word “miracle”. Clicking it opened up login box. Earlier, Persephone had uploaded an image on a hidden subpage of the Hanso site called Hole 3. There, the face image contained a hidden formula which required high contrast doctoring of the picture to reveal. “D2O” is the chemical formula for deuterium oxide or as it is more commonly known, “heavy water”. Thus, the password for the miracle login box was “heavy water”.

The hack showed an article on a microfilm by the Cape Town Inquisitor. Among other stories, the article accused the Hanso Foundation of possible illegal organ harvesting at their hospitals. Another article, dated the very next day, apologized for the accusations, but Persephone noted that the paper was now owned by the Hanso Group. A phone audio was then played, which included the following:

Newsman: The retraction. I was forced to make it; they bought the paper that same day.

Persephone: The Hanso group did?

Man: I’ll swear on any bible; they bought up my newspaper to cover what they did to those people. Now nobody will talk. I’m going crazy here. I’m going to lose my job. (pauses) I did a little digging. The same thing happened at a hospital last year, another one of those Hanso Foundation hospitals. The reporter that did that story got in a car crash. Yeah, some car crash. Man, I wish I never heard of these Hanso people. They’re sharks that’s what they are.

June 7th – Institute for Genomic Advancement page

The DHARMA logo on the shark carcass

Password – Parthenogenesis

Persephone edited an image on the IGA page. Clicking the picture of diseased lungs caused other images to reveal the words “Retrievers of Truth” – a new game website. There, solving the clues to gain access to the messageboard gave the password “parthenogenesis”. Back on the Hanso site, the password could be entered into a hidden text entry box just below the “Educational Outreach experiments at the Institute for Genomic Advancement” picture, on the right side of it.

The hack mainly focused on a story which DJ Dan had covered in his podcast, of a shark that had washed up on shore with a DHARMA Swan logo imprinted on its chest. The hack showed the image up close.

June 12th – Mental Health Appeal page

The memory game symbols, see hieroglyphs

Password – Light Sequence Again

Persephone uploaded another “hole image”, and it was noted that all three pictures she uploaded had unique filenames: q9als2002, t9agen750, and u8egnce86. Discounting the final numbers, and changing all 9’s and 8’s to I’s and H’s, creates the jumbled characters “qials tiagen uhegnce”. Rearrange these letters and the password “light sequence again” is revealed. Entering this code under the MHA page box opened a new hack file.

The hack contained a letter from Armand Zander, head of the Vik Institute which is owned by the Hanso Foundation. He complained about how he was being kept in the dark, whilst Hanso doctors worked with his patients and had a secret lab in the third basement which he had no real knowledge about (despite his name being in charge of the facility). The hack also included a memory game involving five different symbols. A player had to repeat the color symbol back to the computer as it displayed a sequence, each time more difficult to remember. After 42 correct input sequences, a title flashed up on screen: “Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications” – DHARMA.

June 13th – Electromagnetic Research Initiative page

Image of the offshore antenna

Password – Conspiraspies

On the ERI page, clicking the Aurora Borealis image brought up a Persephone message asking for a password. It was noted that the Aurora image turned to static, but behind it was a faint image of a radio tower, identical to one on the DJ Dan website. On DJ Dan’s site, clicking the image of the radio tower linked one to an image of static. However, within it was the hidden code “conspira”. Add to this the end of the URL, shown as “” the password is created – “conpiraspies”.

Her hack focused on a letter to Mittelwerk from a Korean minister, in which he complained about a Hanso-built offshore antenna, which not only interfered with telecommunications, navigational systems and satellites, but was linked with unusual changes in wildlife, such as deformed fish which had been found by local residents. Images of deformed growths on wildlife, and of a satellite interference radius accompanied the letter in the hack.

June 16th – Life Extension Project page

Persephone’s final hack message

Password – Recluse

Under one of Persephone’s subdomains on the Hanso website, a new image was uploaded of a recorder, an envelope, a card, a lipstick, an umbrella, a pair of scissors, and an eraser. Taking the first letter of each of these items created the code “recluse”. Entering this on the clickable word “mortality” on the LEP page opened a new hack.

The hack first showed a letter from Eliza Vasquez to Alvar Hanso. Vasquez had treated Alvar and taken blood samples against his will. She was trying to contact him after finding something unusual in his bloodwork, which could cause heart complications for him. Her letters were being returned to sender. The hack then showed secret video footage of Alvar’s office, which showed little activity. Persephone noted that Alvar had not been there in months, and wondered if he was a prisoner.

The final stage of the hack required a new password – asking for the head of the Vik Institute, Armand Zander. Persephone then began to write how she believed Mittelwerk was key to all of this corruption, but before she could continue the Hanso Foundation website was shut down completely. Before she was completely locked out, however, Persephone issued one last message, which appeared for only a split second:


One of the images on the “hole” subdomains. The embedded text “D2O” was an important clue to one of the Persephone hacks

Persephone used a number of subdomains where she hid clues, usually directly essentially to solving the passwords on the Hanso site. The subdomains were part of site, and included:


As well as in themselves being important, the filenames for images Persephone uploaded there also became key to one of her main hacks (see above). The “hole” subdomains were first found after Persephone posted an anagram on May 18th on her “persephone” subdomain, “a mouse does not rely on just one hole.”

The “persephone” subdomain also acted as the interlude between phases 1 and 2 of The Lost Experience. After the Hanso Foundation website was shut down, a link was hidden in the site source code to On the “persephone” page, reversing the audio on a flash video also gave the code evident agenda (a password also shown on the Psychology Test Video, possibly as the audio clue was a difficult one to crack).

From here, Phase 2 began with the Rachel Blake blog posts.


The password “breaking strain” might tie to two possible references. In Immunology and Infectious Disease, a breaking strain is a new recombinant variety of bacteria which has just broken into the gene pool, such as that described in the GWC letter about meningococcal disease. See the Glossary for a more thorough definition.

Some also believe the name Breaking Strain may reference the Rudyard Kipling poem, “The Hymn of Breaking Strain.” [1]

View Talk Edit Clues · Revelations · Sponsorship · Websites In Phase 1 of the Lost Experience, Rachel Blake, under the guise of hacker “Persephone”, hacked the Hanso Foundation website on numerous occasions, revealing corrupt practices with regards to the Foundation's personnel and active…