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My Favourite Lost Media Cases

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

I absolutely adore hearing about lost media cases. I think there’s something interesting about media that is missing or potentially gone forever and why it’s in that state. You might be wondering, what is lost media? Lost media is anything ranging from books, movies, pictures, episodes of shows, YouTube videos, or even articles that are unable to be accessed anymore. This leads tons of people to go looking for these pieces of media in hopes of recovering them. 

Did you know that way back in the early 20th century, they used to make silent movies? If you haven’t seen any silent movies until now, it’s not surprising. According to an article titled “Vast Majority of Hollywood Silent Films Lost Forever, study confirms” by Ben Child, around 70% of all silent movies are lost. This leaves a mere 14% of silent movies that are still available for viewing (Child, 2013). Why is this the case? Well, the most common cause for the lack of silent films is the films falling victim to fires or deterioration over time (Child, 2013). 

Sesame Street is a beloved children’s TV show, however, it is not without its own cases of lost media. In 1976, for episode 847, Sesame Street invited Margaret Hamilton, who played The Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz as a special guest. Almost immediately after airing, parents wrote to the Children’s Television Workshop about how scared their children had been after watching this episode (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). This prompted the Children’s Television Workshop to hold screenings to find what exactly went wrong, however, the results were quite the opposite of what the parents had claimed (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). However, due to the outrage, the episode was permanently shelved (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). Thankfully, this episode was found in June 2022 (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). I find this quite interesting because of the differing accounts offered by parents compared to what happened when children actually saw the episode. This episode was aired before the satanic panic of the 1980s, but that fear could be seen in the parents’ reactions. 

Jeff the Killer is a very popular Creepypasta character that is quite infamous for the picture associated with it. This picture, however, is considered lost media. This is because the picture is edited from someone’s face, but no one knows who or where this came from (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). The earliest rendition that was found was from October of 2005, the Creepypasta having come out in 2008 (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). As of now, it is still lost (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). I find this one fascinating because this image was very prominent when I was younger, and at the time, I found it very scary. I think it’s interesting how no one has any idea where it came from as that kind of fits the vibe of a Creepypasta. A “scary” story with a “scary” image whose origins are lost — quite fitting. It’s almost funny how after childhood I never thought I’d hear of that story again, but here I am now finding it in one of my interests. Overall, I hope that this image’s origin is found. 

Did you know that Mean Girls had a DS game? Well, you probably didn’t know because it never actually came out (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). It was cancelled at the very last minute before its US and EU release dates (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). In May of 2021, the ROM for the game was discovered by YouTuber Ray Mona, who offered a documentary of how she found it, alongside gameplay footage (Lost Media Wiki, n.d). I had heard about this lost media case on and off throughout the years. At one point, the only leads I knew of were some pictures of gameplay on an Italian website. I was very excited to see that such a sought-after piece of lost media was finally found in 2021. Though, don’t you find it interesting that a video game that would’ve otherwise flown under the radar had it been released became so sought after simply because no one could have it? 

The same can be said for a lot of pieces of lost media — they wouldn’t be wanted had they been easy access. With lost media, there are tons of stories of odd discoveries that people otherwise would not have known had they never been lost to begin with. There is much more to read about over at the Lost Media Wiki, a place where lost media cases are documented. These three stories are just some of the many interesting lost media cases that are out there. 

Mariam Naim

Waterloo '27

Hello! I'm Mariam Naim. I am currently majoring in Honours Arts Economics.