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Hidden details you missed in GTA 5

Though it's been around for a few years now, Grand Theft Auto 5 continues to captivate players. With an impressive lineup of missions to complete and a massive map to explore, it's a golden example of an open world done right. Part of what sets GTA 5 apart is Rockstar's obsessive attention to detail. Cars backfire, glass crunches under foot, and, as in real life, no one seems to know how to parallel park. 

Rockstar has also packed the game to the brim with veiled references, hidden locations, and random encounters. You can unearth some of these hidden gems by being in the right place at the right time. Others take a little more digging.

Whether you're a casual player or diehard fan, there are still mysteries to solve. You never know what new secret is waiting just around the corner. So, dive deeper, fly higher, and get your last words ready. This Easter egg hunt is not for the faint of heart.

The Grand Conspiracy

GTA 5 has given rise to several conspiracy theories since its release in 2013. Scattered around San Andreas, you'll find images of the All-Seeing Eye, a symbol associated with an organization that has fascinated real-life conspiracy chasers for centuries: the Illuminati. A pop culture favorite, the Illuminati are an alleged secret society, rumored to have infiltrated governments and corporations world-wide. In GTA 5, their mark shows up in unexpected places, often hiding in plain sight. 

On the mantle in Franklin's house, you'll find a framed picture of the All-Seeing Eye, rising above a pyramid. Lester's house, a treasure trove of the bizarre, contains two eyes, including a poster that reads: "The man is watching you."  The symbol infiltrates three Los Santos companies: The SecuroServ logo uses a red triangle with an eye overlay. Crowning the Penris high-rise is another eye filled with five stars, and there's a similar art installation in front of the building. If you catch it at the right time of day, the monument outside Galileo Observatory casts a shadow resembling the all-too-familiar image.

The All-Seeing eye has the strongest presence on Mt. Chiliad, where it crowns a strange mural inside the cable car station. The symbol also shows up in glyph form at various points around the mountain.

So, have the Illuminati infiltrated Rockstar? Or are these references connected to some bigger mystery within the game?

Cloudy with a chance of zombies

On the corner of Vinewood Blvd you'll encounter the Vinewood Zombie. Beyond the moaning and groaning, he'll educate you on zombies in pop culture and even offer $10 pictures to passerby. As the conversation continues, it comes out that the zombie is Graham, a rather depressed college grad. Act or not, the Vinewood Zombie is the first of many small nods towards the appearance of zombies in future GTA games. If you pay another visit to Lester's house, you'll find a box labelled "Zombie Outbreak" on one of his shelves (right next to "Assassinations").

Rumors have circulated about Humane Labs and Research, marking them as the source of the impending outbreak. In the mission Monkey Business, the FIB task Michael with stealing a "nerve toxin" from the IAA research facility. According to fan theories, this toxin is actually the zombie virus. 

The aftermath of another mission adds to the connection between zombies and IAA. In Dead Man Walking, Michael wakes up in a body bag, surprising two medical examiners. Moving his head will cause one to shout, "He's reanimating!" After completing the mission, the following post hits Bleeter:  "You hear about that shootout at the coroners in South LS? Apparently IAA was involved. What's your call — terrorists or zombies?"

Red Dead Redemption has its Undead Nightmare expansion. Is it possible we'll be seeing zombie-themed DLC in GTA 5's future?

All Hail Lord Zapho

During your adventures in San Andreas, you may have encountered some underdressed elderly gentlemen. These eccentric nudists are members of the Altruists, a cult of baby boomers who shun technology and blame the younger generations for everything wrong with the world. As Trevor, you can take random NPCs to the fortified Altruist camp and hand them over for a reward. Calling them his "friends in the mountains," it seems he has a history with these charmers.   

Despite their cult status, the Altruists mention no divine power when you visit their compound. It's only during the random encounter Rogue Altruists that you get a hint at who might pull their strings: a being one cultist refers to as Lord Zapho.   

Beyond this vague name drop, only three other references to the mysterious Lord Zapho appear to exist in the game. Keeping with the Altruists theme, their section of the Cultstoppers website describes the cult as working for "... an alien called Lord Zapho who is coming to reclaim the earth." 

The two remaining mentions show up during missions. In Repossession, as Franklin and Lamar pass through the alleyway, a drunk stumbles out of a garage. When the characters address him, the man shouts "... get away from me you Zapho agents!" Similarly, in Eye in the Sky, Trevor can listen in on a drunken hobo who says, "Zapho! Not the glands."

Are these drunks Altruists? And how far has Lord Zapho's influence already spread?

The haunting of Los Santos County

From phantoms and strange noises to haunted houses, GTA 5 has a supernatural undercurrent that will leave you playing with the lights on.

If you travel to the peak of Mt. Gordo between 23:00 and 0:00, you'll encounter the game's most infamous specter. Jolene Cranley-Evans was married to stuntman Jock Cranley. In 1978, their marriage hit a rocky patch and, while walking the cliffs near El Gordo Lighthouse, Jolene took a fatal tumble.

Jolene's spirit, with its gaping mouth and bleeding eyes, hovers over a rock with "Jock" painted in red letters. Though the police dismissed her death as an accident, this bloody accusation tells a different tale. After 10 p.m., players have also reported hearing screams and whispers at Mt. Gordo's campsite, the same side of the mountain where Jolene plummeted to her death.

Jolene is not Los Santos' only ghost story. If you return to O'Neil Ranch following Crystal Maze, you can explore the charred remains of the house. Odd noises are sometimes heard there at night, including the sound of a baby crying. Since Trevor is responsible for the carnage, it's possible the house is now haunted, maybe even by a baby who was on the second floor during the fire.

Many have claimed to find other haunted locations, but the oddest sighting goes to a house in Vinewood Hills. If you shoot the front windows, the holes weep blood, leaving you to wonder what horror waits on the other side.

"There will be 8"

Small details scattered throughout San Andreas point towards a serial murderer dubbed the Infinity Killer and the bodies of his victims. Most of these clues come in the form of messages left by Merle Abrahams, a man who died awaiting trial for the murders.

A key piece of the mystery comes in the form of a rhyme written on a large rock in Senora National Park. The rhyme appears to reference each of the killer's victims, with the fourth line, "Four called mom," implying the murder of a child. You can also visit Merle's house in Sandy Shores for more eight-themed messages and a look at a pair of child-sized shoes dangling from the rafters.

In Bolingbroke Penitentiary, where Merle stayed before his death, you'll find another cryptic message. Scrawled on the wall near cellblock 9A are the words: "Where water meets land and fire once spewed forth, there the infinite 8 shall stay until I return." Accompanying the riddle is a small map of the islands to the north of Mount Chilliad. An investigation of this area turns up eight bodies sheathed in burial wrappings on the seafloor.

Though this mystery was considered solved, recent player investigations have revealed that the wrapped corpses use female body models with "8" painted on their abdomens. This raises some questions as a newspaper article in the game specifies the disappearances of eight male joggers. 

Did Merle have more victims? Or is the Infinity Killer someone else entirely?

Gaming and a show

You likely recognize the name Jesco White as belonging to the DJ of Rebel Radio. What you may not realize is that Jesco White, aka the "Dancing Outlaw," is actually a real-world mountain dancer and entertainer.

Following the release of the documentary The Dancing Outlaw, West Virginia-born Jesco and his family became cult heroes. The troubled Appalachian backdrop coupled with his unique performance style led to awards, publicity, and his current place in pop culture.

Jesco provided his own voice for his GTA 5 persona, and players in story mode can find an amusing in-person Easter egg featuring the entertainer. If you travel to the Foreclosed North Alamo Pier, you'll discover Jesco with a portable radio. He'll then start dancing and singing along to "If You Want to Get to Heaven" by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

His toe tapping, fanny shaking performance is sure to get you into the right mood to sew a little mayhem. Because "if you want to get to heaven you got to raise a little hell."

The blighted buzz

Lovers of the bizarre will enjoy chasing this next hidden detail. At various points in the San Andreas woodlands, players have reported hearing a loud, high-pitched buzzing sound, sometimes accompanied by an aggressive loss of health or even instant death. The confirmed cases have occurred at night in Raton Canyon, Lago Zancudo, Tongva Hills, and outside Ursula's home near the El Gordo Lighthouse. If you hear a buzzing sound while in these areas, keep an eye on your phone, as time may freeze. Next, comes the ominous appearance of the loading circle, heralding the execution of a new script.

Players are typically alone when the buzzing starts, but if there are any NPCs nearby they will also react, either curling into the fetal position or attempting to flee. Returning to civilization or even getting into your car seems to halt the effect. If you're on foot in the middle of nowhere, your chances of escaping are pretty dismal. 

Myth hunters have dubbed this phenomenon the "Panic in the Woods." The word panic comes from the Greek god Pan, who was famous for his connection to woodland noises and causing people to flee in sudden fear. As the player must flee from the isolated area back to civilization to avoid the buzz's effects, there seems to be some common ground there.

So, what is the blighted buzz? A glitch? The twisted prank of a bored nature god? Or is it the work of another unseen, malevolent force? (Five bucks says it's Lord Zapho.)

Send in the clowns

It had to be clowns. Nothing says a good time like staring your worst nightmare right in the face.

Like zombies and aliens, clowns are no stranger to the GTA universe, though they rise to new levels in the fifth installment. In the mission Grass Roots, we discover Trevor's clown phobia when he's forced to destroy a horde of angry clowns and their special Clown Vans during a drug-induced hallucination. The clowns, and their vehicles, did not otherwise appear in the game. 

In 2016, some new-gen players stumbled upon a rather disconcerting surprise: a hatchet-wielding clown in one of the upstairs rooms of the abandoned Blaine County Hotel. The clown, who resembles those that appear in Trevor's drug trip, fidgets in the corner, oblivious until you draw closer. Despite this similarity, the clown only seems to spawn for Franklin, if at all. The junkies and homeless people that typically haunt the place were also absent, even in the middle of the day. It seems you're meant to face your fears alone.

The truth is out there

Though Rockstar has hinted at the existence of aliens in the past, GTA 5 is the first game in the series with real UFOs. You'll have to complete 100% of the game to see three of them; however, you can find the wreckage of the fourth at any time by diving north of Paleto Bay.

While exciting, the UFOs are not the only extraterrestrial influence in Los Santos County. In the prologue mission, you can find an alien corpse frozen in the river; if you return later on, the alien is still there. In two other missions, Michael has alien-related hallucinations; UFOs and strange lights will also sometimes appear while free-roaming the map.

Hidden amidst the UFO sightings and out-of-this-world experiences is a mystery that continues to excite and baffle players. If you visit the cable car station atop Mt. Chiliad, you'll discover a cryptic mural on the wall. The layout of the image resembles a pyramid, accented by symbols that seem to correspond to glyphs hidden around the mountain.

A glyph resembling the eye symbol on the mural is concealed beneath the mountain's observation deck, with the message "Come back when your story is complete" written nearby. This is the site of one of the three UFO sightings unlocked after finishing the game. 

How is the mural connected to the alien presence within the game? What are the symbols meant to convey? The answers to this mystery remain to be found.