Uploaded to YouTube in 2005, “Freaky Soup Guy” was one of the site’s first viral horror videos. As it was reuploaded throughout the years, the lore surrounding it grew.
What was once nothing more than an “lolrandom,” albeit creepy relic of the early days of YouTube has since been revered by many as a “dark web video” that depicts truly heinous acts.
The truth behind “Freaky Soup Guy,” however, is far more innocuous than some would like to admit.
What Is “Freaky Soup Guy”?
In November of 2005, a user with the screen name renaissancemen uploaded “Freaky Soup Guy” to YouTube. The video description was simply, “We don’t know what this is.”
The roughly minute-long clip depicts a man—his eyes censored by a black bar—sloppily eating soup in a white-walled room.
Behind him are two costumed figures. Their clothes are all black, contrasting their oversized white masks, which bear no features other than two large dots to represent eyes.
The soup-eating man begins crying (or laughing, depending on one’s interpretation of the video), and the two figures pat his back in a comforting manner. The clip then ends abruptly.
Obviously, viewers had questions, though many—perhaps rightfully so—simply dismissed the video as an art project.
“Freaky Soup Guy” Becomes “Blank Room Soup”
In 2014, “Freaky Soup Guy” was reuploaded as “Blank Room Soup.avi” by user maintenance tunnels.
By this time, web sleuth communities had, without proof, determined that the video was originally found on the dark web.
On various horror forums, users insisted that the soup-eating man was crying because he was being forced by the costumed figures to consume the remains of his wife. Again, there is no proof of this.
With the internet’s collective fascination with “Freaky Soup Guy” at its peak, investigative YouTuber Reignbot decided to take a deep dive into the clip’s history, as outlined in her video “Looking Into BlankRoomSoup.avi.” Her findings were the tip of the iceberg in solving the mystery of “Freaky Soup Guy.”
“Freaky Soup Guy’s” connection to Raymond Persi, a Disney Animator
The key to unlocking the truth behind “Freaky Soup Guy” was in identifying the costumed figures.
Surprisingly, the very same costumes were used in performance art pieces by Raymond Persi, a prominent animator.
The costumes were used to portray characters called RayRays, who, according to Persi, were manifestations of his feelings of isolation and loneliness. So how did they end up in the “Freaky Soup Guy” video?
Persi, in his email to Reignbot, claimed the following: “One time, we performed at a club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. I think it was the Key Club. It had such a small backstage area that the ‘dressing room’ was a dirty, broken-down RV in the alley behind the club…
“After the show we were all in the now-empty club, striking the stage and loading equipment (the ‘not fun’ part of performing). When my group went back to the RV to pack our stuff and go get some food, we found that most of our RayRay props and costumes had been stolen. The door didn’t have a lock, and the alley led right to a busy street, so it might have been someone in the audience, but really it could have been anyone.”
“Needless to say, I was very, very upset… A few weeks later, I got home from work, turned on my computer, and saw an email with an attachment. It was the video that everyone is now calling “Blank Room Soup.” I put it up on YouTube, so I could share it with my group.”
So to summarize, Persi claims that some of the costumes he uses for his performance art pieces were stolen.
The thieves then made the “Freaky Soup Guy” video and emailed it to Persi, who uploaded it to YouTube so that he “could share it with [his] group.”
A Deeper Dive Proves “Freaky Soup Guy” Is a Hoax
Firstly, Persi’s explanation sounds extremely unrealistic. It is unlikely that the Key Club’s RV that acts as a dressing room—holding expensive props—had no locks on its doors.
Also, if Persi wanted to share the video with “his group,” why didn’t he do so via email? Why did it need to be uploaded to YouTube? Factor in the fact that the soup-eating man looks a bit like Persi himself, and you’ve got the classic makings of a hoax.
However, if one dives even deeper into Persi, they will find a dead giveaway. See, Persi’s YouTube channel renaissancemen was not his only video-sharing platform.
On a since-deleted Dailymotion account of the same name, he uploaded the original “Freaky Soup Guy” video, and believe it or not, three more.
The third part of the “Freaky Soup Guy” video series shows the two RayRay characters roughhousing a restrained man, something that would be frightening if one didn’t know that this man is actually Gil Sharone, drummer of the band Stolen Babies, for whom Persi animated a music video in 2005, around the time the original “Freaky Soup Guy” was uploaded to YouTube.
Couple Persi’s unbelievable story with the fact that a known associate of his appears in one of the “Freaky Soup Guy” videos, and it becomes apparent that the whole thing was a hoax.
And a very good one at that: Whether “Freaky Soup Guy” was a unique way to promote the RayRay characters, or it was simply a fun horror-oriented project for Persi, it truly took the internet by storm.