Top 5 Creepypasta

For those looking at that title and scratching their heads: the term ‘creepypasta’ originated on the internet (and I am yet to hear someone use it in any other context) and refers to a scary or unsettling story that gets copy/pasted on forums, blogs and the like. Essentially it’s a term to describe an urban legend that has proliferated on internet message boards. The internet is a fertile breeding ground for these little tales as videos, images and reader interaction can help create a believable tale. Unlike usual urban legends there’s a tendency for pop culture and video games to be the focus of these tales.

The popularity of creepypasta is on the rise this year – and with the deluge of new material the quality has taken a dive. There is a mass of images featuring popular pop-culture characters weeping blood and stories like ‘Bart’s Dead’ that doesn’t know when to stop adding new elements (Matt Groening is insane! There’s a hidden ‘Simpson’s Episode! Watching it drives you insane! It predicts celebrity deaths! It foretells the end of the world!). To avoid digging through the dross, here are some good ones to explore.

5. Pokemon Related Myths

Lavender Town

Possibly because most of the writers and readers of the creepypastas grew up on the Pokemon games and animated series’, or perhaps because the complexity and multiple versions of the games had already given rise to many legends and rumours, there are a surprising number of creepy stories based around the collectable pocket monsters. Some of these are pure speculation on the behalf of fans, such as Gengar being the living shadow of Clefairy, but others get more into the spirit of things.

Clefairy Gengar

Gosh, how frightening.

The most prominent of these stories, and the one that has been most mistaken for fact, is the Lavender Town Syndrome. Striking a similar chord to the rumour that 600 Japanese children suffering from seizures during an episode of Pokemon (a small number who already suffered from photosensitive epilepsy did have seizures and the number was blown out of proportion), the basis of this story is that a tune in the original Pokemon release caused suicide and Nintendo instigated a cover-up. Those familiar with the original Pokemon games will be familiar with Lavender Town – a location within the game that serves as a graveyard to deceased Pokemon (yeah, they can die apparently) and features a haunted tower the player has to adventure through. In the original Japanese release of the Red and Green editions of the game the soundtrack in this area included a strange, staticky tone that is someone unpleasant. Listen carefully at the thirty second mark.

When the game was exported overseas and later rereleased in Japan the soundtrack had been changed to remove this tone. This led to speculation that the tone had an adverse effect on children playing it, causing some to become ill and others to outright kill themselves. Sure it’s hardly soothing on the ears but it’s fairly unlikely that Nintendo somehow managed to cover-up the supposed suicides of hundreds of children. The original Lavender Town is subject to quite a number of stories concerning ghosts, creepy white hands and a person who had been buried alive, accompanied by stories of people finding the code for these events hidden in the game’s programming.

Lavender Town soundtrack

Also of note is the myth of the black Pokemon cartridge. This one tells the tale of a collector who has picked up what they assumed to be a pirated copy of Pokemon Red and is surprised to find a fourth Pokemon, ‘Ghost’, available to be chosen in the starting village. This Pokemon has the unusual ability to not only kill other Pokemon but their trainers, giving the player an easy run through the game. Things take a turn for the creepy when the character is then depicted as an old man left wandering around a deserted world map being haunted by all the people they murdered. Gaming is fun!

4. The Russian Sleep Experiment

Russian Sleep Experiment

This one has been doing the rounds since 2009 and unlike many popular creepypasta it doesn’t sink its root into bastardising pop culture or playing off childhood fears. Instead it has its roots in history, drawing parallels with atrocities that have occurred during war time or in the name of science. In essence the story (that appears in the form of a journalistic recount of events) concerns an experiment conducted in Russia that involved sealing five subjects inside a test chamber and given a steady stream of a prototype gas that would prevent sleep. During the 15 days that the subjects remain awake they first show signs of madness and desperation to escape before blocking all methods of observation and falling silent. When the army and researchers told the subjects that they would be freed they were shocked to hear that they did not want to leave the chamber. Upon forcing their way in they were confronted with the grisly sight of cannibalism and the most extreme form of body modification imaginable.

Being forced out of the chamber the surviving three subjects continued to display deep seated insanity, sadism, masochism, inhuman strength and resistance to pain and an unusual insight into psychological processes. Their disturbing behaviour and condition ultimately result in one of the researchers destroying them.

What makes the story disturbing and intriguing is the sense of mystery that comes from the simple title and the slow build up to the horror. The Russian Sleep Experiment is generally presented as fact, although anyone who still believes it after the test chamber is opened must think Santa Claus is real as well. The visuals created in the story are downright unpleasant, hence the lack of images accompanying this entry – I don’t want to find out what Deviantart has turned out for this one.

3. Majora’s Mask aka Ben Drowned

Ben Drowned

For some reason it always seems to be Nintendo games associated with these tales – likely it’s the association with this generations collective childhood that adds the uncomfortable tone. Like the Cursed Black Pokemon tale this involves a pirated catridge – an N64 copy of Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. When internet user Jadusable purchased an old copy of the game from an old man’s yard sale he found an old saved game labelled ‘BEN’. He started his own game but was confused by the characters in the game calling him ‘Ben’. To remedy this perceived glitch he deleted the existing game but now the characters would not refer to him as anything. Over the course of Jadusable’s story the game continued to act strangely with the character of Link being distorted, clutching his head and flailing. He would be tormented by a creepy looking statue, distorted music and screams and other spooky things. The legend goes that the original owner of the game was a child named Ben who drowned and has possessed the game cartridge and seems content with tormenting the crap out of the new owner.

The author of these creepypasta has been up front about this being a fabricated experience, even going so far as to set up a twitter account to continue the story and announce a sequel. This revelation is hardly going to be a shock to any level headed person who assumes from the get-go that any horror story being distributed on the internet is a total fabrication. Even then it’s still an effective chiller that has had some serious work put into it, and the response online is that some people have been very unsettled by the whole thing. The above video is one of a series that the author created by hacking the game and it really is what separates out this story from the twenty dozen others that have emerged since, all of them being about a Zelda, Pokemon or Sonic game bugging out and acting like it’s been possessed by an evil spirit. Because originality.

(Seriously though – just turn the game off.)

2. Candle Cove

Candle Cove

If you haven’t read the ‘Candle Cove’ creepypasta then we strongly urge you to do so by clicking here, because it’s most effective when read without prior knowledge.

Did you enjoy that? What makes ‘Candle Cove’ stand out in the field of online urban legends is the creative presentation. Most of these stories are given a straight forward narrative – one person recounts a bunch of stuff that they claimed happened. ‘Candle Cove’ looks to be a discussion between several members of a forum, already lending an edge of believability to unsuspecting readers, as they remember a children’s television show from the 70s that seems designed only to traumatize the youth. The descriptions of the characters as mannequins taps into a collective memory of shows from the era such as The Magic Roundabout.

The Magic Roundabout

Except less terrifying.

The characters of Percy the Pirate and Skin-Taker certainly conjure up some nasty images, especially the way they describe the puppets’ movements. On their own they would be creepy, but the perfect plotting of this tale leads to a great pay off. The first clue that this is more than a half-remembered, creepy children’s story comes when one poster mentions a nightmare they had about the characters only for another to claim that they’d seen the episode that the original poster assumed was a nightmare. We conclude on a clever twist that doesn’t try to explain the mystery or add superfluous details, resulting in a finale that is straight out of The Twilight Zone.

So, would you like to watch an episode of Candle Cove? Play it if you’re feeling brave!

1. Slender Man

Slender Man

You’d have to have your head in the sand to have missed the Slender Man, who is worming his way into the zeitgeist. Or maybe you’ve been smart enough not to turn around. The Slender Man myth has spread far enough that it’s got it’s own video game (click here for the review) along with several video series on youtube. In a very short amount of time Slender Man has gone from a creepy image on the internet to a full blown urban legend in its own right.

It all started with a 2009 competition for internet users to create manipulated images to post on supernatural websites and forums with the entries judged on how well they convinced people. User Victor Surge producer two images depicting what would come to be called Slender Man along with a brief description.

Slender Man

“We didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time…” – 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.

One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken on the day on which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as “The Slender Man”. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence. – 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.

Further ‘evidence’ followed, including more photographs and a doctor’s report. In the intervening years fan images and videos have littered the internet, spreading the myth. Slender Man is said to appear as an unnaturally tall man wearing a black suit. It’s humanoid in form but instead of a face only has a pale blank visage and can stretch it’s arms out to great lengths. Slender Man is sometimes depicted as having multiple pairs of arms or tentacles growing from it’s back. Encountering the Slender Man can result in insomnia, amnesia, coughing, paranoia and video/photography and audio distortion in recording devices. Although it’s often depicted in woods and rural areas there are many instances on Slender Man haunting his victims through urban areas, even their own homes.

Slender Man

Slender Man will stalk his victims for some time before striking, moving slowly after them until they are vulnerable. Videos and games depicting Slender Man take advantage of this by having the creature appear suddenly after a long period of the victim being driven half mad with paranoia (try playing the game ‘Slender’ to enjoy this experience for yourself. Slender Man will often only appear to the person he is stalking, further enhancing the sense of paranoia.

The urban legend around this creature has picked up speed of late with the figure becoming a household name and the subject of many running jokes on the internet (such as his stylish brother Trender Man). Of all the projects doing the rounds the youtube series ‘Marble Hornets’ is most deserving of your time. Episode #7 is below if you just want a taste, otherwise it’s best watch the series from the beginning.