Note: what follows is deep-nerd Dark Tower speculation. Please, no noobs.
Here's the thing: it's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between a studio-backed ARG campaign and a hoax put together by a superfan with too much time on their hands. So far, the real world easter eggs Sony's been leaving for Dark Tower fans have been easy to spot - a not-so-surprise appearance by author Beryl Evans at SDCC, an official Sombra app which reveals little bits of Mid-World bleeding into our own - but as we get closer to the film's release, the line between "official" and "hoax" is only going to get harder to discern.
That first link takes you to a page which appears to show the interior of a subway car, with a sign on the wall offering stops in Candleton, Topeka and the Cradle of Lud. A brief video is embedded on the page (the Rolling Stones provide the soundtrack with "Paint It Black") and there's a bunch of easter eggs hidden throughout the image that Dark Tower fans will immediately recognize: a bit of graffiti from Bango Skank, a reference to the Sombra corporation, an add telling readers to "seek the true path and find the keys".
It's a handsomely-crafted page, but - much like the page at the other link, the one that's been set up for North Central Positronics - I'm not buying it. For one thing, there's no Sony trademark anywhere on the page (that trademark appears on the Sombra app and the already-discovered Tet Corporation page, which we'll be discussing more in a moment). For another, it's all a little too bit on-the-nose, a little too easter egg-y. Both these sites are well made and fun to poke around on, but I don't believe either to be legit.
Meanwhile, over at the Unfiction forums, another mystery is in progress, and it's one I'm not so sure about. According to a message board post at that link, someone in Kansas recently came across a suspicious business card at a Barnes & Noble in Kansas. This person - reporting anonymously, and speaking via IRC - said:
I found a business card at a Barnes and Nobles.
it said SOMBRA GROUP with a stylized eagle in blue and white and beneath that logo it says Technology Corporation.
Then it says in black SOMBRA Group underlined.
Then in red letters it says TECHNOLOGY FOR A BOLD TOMORROW.
THE BUSINESS CARD is for Richard P. Sayre.
Richard.Sayer @ SOMBRAGroup.com
There is a phone number (646) 801-8670
A little girl comes on and quotes the Turtle poem from the dark tower.
On the back there is the sigu of the crimson king and something written in the high speech at the bottoml
If i knew how to put the photo on here i would show you.
I will try to figure it out and post it in unfiction
A bold claim, and one later backed up in a subsequent post, which includes scans of the front and back of said business card. Here's what it looks like (front/back).
One of my Twitter associates, @Sean_Huckel27, pointed me towards this message board, and suggested I ring up the number on that card. I was skeptical, but what the hell - why not? I dialed the number, was prompted to give my name, and then - after a few more rings - a child's voice came on the line, reciting the poem of Maturin. In that moment, it did not matter if this was legit or not: I got legit goosebumps (give it a whirl yourself and see if I'm wrong). It was awesome.
Now: is it possible that some ultra-fanboy with a few days to kill printed up faux business cards, set up a toll-free number, and recorded their younger sibling reading the poem of Maturin just to...I don't know, entertain a few Dark Tower fans? Of course. If you've spent any amount of time on the internet, you've surely seen hoaxes more elaborate than that. But here's where I start to wonder the business card isn't legit:
That's a map of the United States from the Tet Corporation website (which, again, is definitely something Sony's got their hands in). This site went online back around the time that SDCC was in full swing. Once discovered, we all spent a day poking and gawking at it, only to decide that there wasn't much going on there. But I was curious about that map: what, pray tell, were those markers meant to indicate? Was something Dark Tower-related going to happen in those cities?
Moreover, note that one of those markers - the one with the big-ass arrow next to it - marks a spot in Kansas...which is where this Richard Sayre business card was allegedly discovered.
With that in mind, and assuming the Sayre card is legit, here is my theory: there'll be something to find in every city marked on the Tet Corporation's map. Maybe it'll be business cards every time. Maybe it'll be shell casings, or tarot cards, or tooter fish sandwiches. I don't know! But if the Sayre card is the real deal, there's a good chance there's something out there for Dark Tower fans to discover. If you're living underneath one of those markers, you might want to keep your eyes peeled.
What do you guys think? Do you believe there's anything to this, or is some rogue Dark Tower fan just taking Sony's ball and running with it?