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Quote1 No. You're not Barbara Jagger. I made a terrible mistake. I should have never written you back. You came back wrong. Your heart is filled with darkness.
Put that knife away, Thomas. Put it down.
Your heart is filled with darkness. I'll cut it out. And then I'll take you back to the depths you came from. Quote2
― Thomas Zane and Barbara Jagger.

The 1970 Bright Falls AWE (as named by the Federal Bureau of Control) was an Altered World Event that took place in the town of Bright Falls, Washington between July 10 and July 18 of said year. It was the first in an series of recurring AWEs that occurred in the area of Bright Falls. It was caused when poet Thomas Zane attempted to resurrect his lover, Barbara Jagger, using the supernatural properties of Cauldron Lake, inadvertently releasing the Dark Presence that inhabited the lake.



Earlier reports of supernatural activity[]

The area of Bright Falls has had a long history of reports of paranormal phenoms and urban legends, some predating the official statehood of Washington. The Native American tribes that inhabited the area before the foundation of the town held the belief that the lake was a gateway to the underworld.[1] This was not far from the truth, as the lake was, in reality, a threshold leading to alternate dimension known as the Dark Place, inhabited by mysterious entities, most notably, the Dark Presence and its counterpart, the Bright Presence. In addition, the lake, being a place of power, also caused certain works of fiction and legends in its vicinity to shape reality.

One notable incident took place in 1857 when "Mountain Mike" Callahan, a native of Missouri known for trapping in the Oregon and Washington Territories for decades, was camping on the shores of Cauldron lake. Locals of the community that would later become Bright Falls reported hearing bizarre animal sounds echoing across the lake followed by human screaming. Some locals also reported seeing Callahan, dressed only in his red flannel union suit, running scared through the town. The following day, Callahan was found two miles outside the town shivering, with his formerly brown hair now having turned completely white. Callahan, who did not speak again since the incident, subsequently died nine months later after being admitted in the Olympia Asylum for the Afflicted. Many locals attributed this incident with an encounter with the Sasquatch.[2]

Another incident took place in 1901, when various local reported having seen hovering lights above the forest on four separated nights through the summer of that year.[3] Many decades later, in 1957, Bright Falls residents Vern and Norma Bergdale passed away almost simultaneously, while on opposite sides of the town, from seemingly natural causes, though one eyewitness, Betsy Segerstrom, reported having seen Norma exhaling a small black cloud before her colapse and subsequent death. Some anonymous individuals also made reference to an "unsavory bargain" Vern had made and that "strange forces" were involved with the couples passing.[4]

Barbara Jagger's drowning[]

Barbara Jagger's Obituary

Barbara Jagger's Obituary.

At some point in his life, famous poet Thomas Zane visited the town of Bright Falls, where he met and fell in love with long-time resident Barbara Jagger. Zane's infatuation with Jagger was such that he began considering her as his muse.[5] The two eventually moved to a cabin in a small island located in Cauldron Lake known as "Diver's Isle", name so due to Zane's enthusiasm for diving. On July 10, 1970, at the age of 25, Jagger died of an apparent drowning in Cauldron Lake. While some found her death to be suspicious, given the fact that Jagger was a capable swimmer, no evidence of an intentional or premeditated murder was found and an official investigation was deemed unnecessary. Jagger's death was greatly felt among the residents of the town.[6]


Shortly after his lover's death, Zane was convinced by his assistant, Emil Hartman, to use the supernatural properties of Cauldron Lake to bring Jagger back to life. As he began writing a poem, Zane became fearful of the power of the Lake, but Hartman encouraged him to continue.[7] The poet was partially successful: while he managed to resurrect Jagger, the young woman was now possessed by the Dark Presence.

The Clicker

The Clicker inside one of Zane's shoeboxes.

Zane soon realized that she no longer was the woman he once loved and attempted to rectify his mistake. The poet somehow managed to capture the possessed Jagger, tied her to a chair, and cut her heart out in vain effort to kill her.[8] Zane understood that the only way to stop the Dark Presence was to erase out of existence everything that had made possible its release, including himself. However, knowing well that the Dark Presence may one day return, he wrote an exception: any of his belongings stored in a shoe box would remain. Aware of the love she felt for him, Zane entrusted to Cynthia Weaver one of these boxes, which contained a light switch cut from Zane's Angel Lamp known as "the Clicker".[9] Zane also wrote that the box would one day be given to Alan Wake and that he would use the Clicker - which was also an object from his childhood given to him at the age of 7 by his mother to help him sleep at night - to banish the Dark Presence.[10]

Thomas Zane - The Bright Presence

The Bright Presence in Zane's body.

Putting on his diving suit, Zane untied the possessed Jagger and, holding her in his arms, dived into Cauldron Lake.[8] As Zane and Jagger sank deeper into the lake, the former's body was taken over by the Bright Presence. While the couple's bodies would eventually return to the surface, now inhabited by the presences of light and darkness, their "essences" continued to dive deeper until Zane recited his "master poem", which, thanks to the nature of the Dark Place, created a "baby universe" that would allow them to escape from the Dark Presence and safely live in.[11] A 7.3 volcanic earthquake subsequently occurred below Cauldron Lake, sinking Diver's Isle and also causing many of the deep mining tunnels in the region to collapse or flood.[12]


Bright Falls Record 07-20-1970

An article of the Bright Falls Record written by Cynthia Weaver detailing the aftermath of the earthquake.

The volcanic earthquake caused significant damage to many buildings and homes in the area of Bright Falls, including the Bright Falls power plant. The collapse of the mining tunnels resulted in the death of 32 miners and the permanent halting of all mining activities in the area of Bright Falls. While many residents notice the sinking of Diver's Isle, none of them, with the exception of Hartman and Weaver were able to remember that Zane once lived on its cabin.[13]

Some of days after the eruption, Doctor C.D. Ward, Deputy Chief Seismologist from the University of Marple, and Professor Richard Hallorann of the Randi College, decided to travel to Bright Falls to reveal "incredible and shocking information" related to the volcanic incident that "would change [people's] perception of reality." The two men, alongside Hallorann's assistant, Mary Derleth, traveled to Bright Falls by plane, with plans to land on the Watery airport. However, poor weather conditions, described as "thick, dense fog", caused the aircraft to crash on the Elderwood National Park, killing all passengers. The Academics' dossiers and all their field evidence was also lost in the crash.[14]

Five years after the incident, Emil Hartman began a career in psychology, eventually becoming a psychiatrist specialized in struggling artists and established a psychiatric institution near Cauldron Lake. In reality, however, Hartman's intentions were not to help his patients, but rather, to exploit them for his studies the lake's power. Meanwhile, during the next four decades, Weaver, who developed an extreme fear towards darkness, spent her time gathering and spreading stashes of supplies through the area of Bright Falls for the imminent war between light and darkness, gaining the nickname of "The Lady of the Light".

Barbara Jagger - The Dark Presence

The Scratching Hag of Bright Falls.

The Dark Presence would not be reawaken until 1976 by the Andersons Brothers during that year's annual Deerfest, essentially leading into another AWE.[15] The dark entity, still inhabiting Jagger's body, would later become the center of a local legend in the area known as "The Scratching Hag".[1] Said tales, which shared many similarities with those of Baba Yaga, described her as an old woman who ate children, with details about her physical traits varying as the story would frequently be modified over the years. However, not many residents believed in her existence and her tale was mainly used by parents to discourage their children from venturing into the woods.[16]

Altered History[]


Zane and Jagger on the rewritten timeline.

Since writer Alan Wake was trapped in the Dark Place, the history surrounding Thomas Zane and Barbara Jagger has drastically changed. In this new version of the events, Zane (born Thomas Seine) was a well-known and respected finish auteur filmmaker who came to Bright Falls in the 1960s alongside his partner Barbara Jagger (born Baba Jakala). Being aware of the lake's properties, they established an artist commune known as the Oceanview Hotel with the intention of channeling the power from the lake to change reality with their works of art. While in Bright Falls Zane created a film titled "Tom the Poet" in which he played a version of himself that greatly resembled his version of the original history. Jagger still drowned in this version of events, but instead, while searching for the origin of lake's power.[17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Alan Wake: Episode 3: Ransom
  2. The Alan Wake Files, pages 103-104
  3. The Alan Wake Files, page 109
  4. The Alan Wake Files, page 111-112
  5. Alan Wake: Episode 3: Ransom, page "Thomas Zane in Love with Barbara Jagger"
  6. The Alan Wake Files, page 119
  7. Alan Wake: Episode 4: The Truth, page "Thomas Zane's Writing and Assistant"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Alan Wake: Episode 6: Departure, page "Thomas Zane's Last Dive"
  9. Alan Wake: Episode 5: The Clicker, page "Zane's Shoebox"
  10. Alan Wake: Episode 5: The Clicker
  11. This House of Dreams, entry "Diving Deep"
  12. Alan Wake: Episode 3: Ransom, sign "Closure of the Mining Company"
  13. The Alan Wake Files, page 116-118
  14. The Official Alan Wake Survival Guide, page 87
  15. Control: AWE, file "Bright Falls (1976) Summary"
  16. The Alan Wake Files, pages 110-111
  17. Alan Wake 2