Barbara Jagger was a long-time resident of Bright Falls. She allegedly drowned in Cauldron Lake on July 10, 1970, at 25. Since her death, the Dark Presence used her body as a vessel to entice Thomas Zane.
Barbara had no immediate family in the area but survived with her lover, Thomas Zane. Jagger was a renowned beauty and the three-time winner of the Miss Deerfest pageant. “She was such a pretty girl,” said Joy Miller, a friend and classmate since elementary school. Miller indicated that Jagger “never used it to her advantage.” She noted Jagger “was humble and kind to everyone.” Part of the mystery of her death is that she was a competent swimmer. However, there was no evidence of foul play, which prompted local law enforcement not to pursue the cause of death. Friends in Bright Falls remember Jagger as a warm, maternal presence, though she was a relatively young woman and never had children. Her home-baked muffins at community events were famous. “She didn’t have bake sales. She had bake giveaways”, one friend noted. “Her generosity was amazing. She just warmed everyone around her. Wherever Barbara was, you felt at home.”
There is little information about this mysterious character in the Alan Wake franchise besides her robust relationship with Thomas Zane. The game mentions this several times. In July 1970, she allegedly dove into Cauldron Lake with Zane when she drowned. When the Dark Presence consumed her, she became old, disfigured, and known as a local legend. When the Dark Presence offered Zane a chance to bring her back, he took it after Hartman convinced him. After Zane completed the story, he realized he had sent the Dark Presence into the world, enveloping it and devouring the world. Realizing what he had done, he wrote everything he created out of the story and made it right, including his love for Jagger, resulting in the earthquake that destroyed Bird Leg Cabin and Zane himself.
Now it is 2010, and Jagger has returned to using Wake as her pawn in a much bigger game. But Wake suffers the same fate as Zane, but he is not dead, only proclaiming that the lake is “not a lake, its an ocean,“ then again vanquishing the Dark Presence from the world and freeing Alice Wake.
You will never get her back.Barbara Jagger (The Dark Presence)
“The Poet and the Muse” is a song based on how poet Thomas Zane managed to bring Barbara back after she drowned. Following the song, it tells of how Thomas Zane and Barbara Jagger were a perfect couple and lived very happily. Tom told Barbara about a treasure at the bottom of the lake. She became curious and went to try and find it but accidentally drowned. Tom went into the lake in a diver’s suit (hence the way he looks) to try and find her, but he could not. He returned to the surface before night fell. Emil Hartman must have known the lake’s power as Hartman tried to convince Tom to write her back through poems. He did so one night, and as he slept during the same night, Barbara came back, but she was not herself as she was possessed by the Dark Presence, using her corpse as a vessel onto the surface world. Overjoyed at the return of his love, he took her in. However, he soon realized his mistake. Tom tried to kill her. He tied her to a chair and cut out her heart, but she did not die. Tom decided to return her to the bottom of the lake, killing himself in the process so they could both be together. In the end, Thomas died, and he kept the Dark Presence at bay until Alan Wake arrived at Bright Falls.
Events in Alan Wake
Throughout the game, Alan encounters Barbara Jagger at various times, tormenting the townsfolk and rallying the darkness to overtake Bright Falls.
She has armies of Taken stalking the woods at night and sends flocks of them to stop Wake from reaching his goal. Alan Wake, Cynthia Weaver, and Thomas Zane fight against her and the Dark Presence. As the events of the game progress, she “touches” Rose Marigold, sending the waitress into a catatonic state of madness.
In the end, the story reveals Jagger was the one who tricked a distraught Wake into writing her a story in which she takes over the town. Jagger told Wake that he would get his lost Alice Wake back if he wrote her this story. Wake complied, but before writing the ending, he realized she was lying and wrote Thomas Zane in the manuscript to save him from her.
Wake enters the darkness underneath Cauldron Lake and confronts her in Bird Leg Cabin.
Infuriated that Alan defeated her, Jagger tells him that the darkness will “find another face to wear.” Armed with the Clicker, Alan charges at her. He thrusts his arm into the hole in her heart and activates the Clicker. The light shines out of Jagger’s eyes and mouth, and she evaporates into nothingness.
This House of Dreams
The ARG blog “This House of Dreams” offered more profound insight into the fates of both Jagger and Zane. In the final blog entry, Zane explains to Samantha in a dream that after Barbara’s possession by the Dark Presence, he wrote both out of existence, and the respective Dark and Light Presences took control of their bodies as avatars. Zane then says that he wrote into existence a “baby universe” in the Dark Place where the spirits or souls of himself and Jagger lived peacefully. At the same time, the Presences surged to the surface to continue their timeless war, using Thomas and Barbara as their faces in the real world.
This insight would also explain why, in The Writer, Zane could not explain to Alan the page about Alan’s childhood “he” wrote and left in the shoebox in the Well-Lit Room. The Zane that Alan spoke to was the Light Presence, while the “real” Thomas Zane lived on with the real Barbara Jagger in his new universe.
Alan Wake: Jagger makes many appearances to Wake during the game. At random moments in the game, she appears in Alan’s mind and gives him hallucinations and minor migraines.
Rose Marigold: The only time Jagger appears to Rose is when she takes over her mind to order her to invite Wake over to drug him and take his weapons and pages. Wake then later escapes the trailer, leaving a scared and confused Rose behind.
Cynthia Weaver: Back in the 70s, Weaver had a deep love for Zane, and she knew that Jagger had been dating him for some time now, so she needed a way to get to him, but it failed, and Jagger and Zane had died in the process of planning.
Alice Wake: Jagger appears to Alice Wake only once, kidnapping her and imprisoning her in the dark depths of Cauldron Lake only to be set free to a lonely deserted shoreline
Barbara is a mysterious and fascinating character. Below are some interesting facts about her.
- If she were still alive, she would be 68 years old, the age at which Dark Presence portrays her.
- The name Barbara Jagger references the old Russian folk legend of a witch called Baba Yaga, who lived in a hut that stood upon chicken legs. This latter part is also referenced, as Barbara Jagger and Thomas Zane’s cabin, where the Wakes would be staying, is called Bird Leg Cabin. The Anderson Brothers also refer to this in Episode 4, when you talk to them in the Cauldron Lake Lodge.
- In Episode 6: Departure, when you must locate the “Clicker” in the dreamscape of your house, you can hear Barbara Jagger’s voice as she calls out Thomas Zane.
- In “Children of the Elder God,” a song by the Old Gods of Asgard, refers to Barbara as a “Scratching Hag” and “Granny Claws” due to her myths.
- The Alan Wake novel states that her face is just a skull underneath the veil.
- In early missions and tests for the game, she seemed to guide Alan Wake and give him the manuscript pages.