The 13th Floor

CREEPYPASTA: Your Worst Nightmares Are Waiting in MR. BEAR’S CELLAR

This week’s Creepypasta dates back to the year 1999… or so says a Canadian blogger by the name of Elliot, who recounted this tale of unfathomable horror. 1999 was the year Elliot first tuned to Channel 21 — an independent TV channel broadcasting out of Caledon, Ontario, which only operated between the hours of 4:00 and 9:00 pm.

Elliot was a young boy that summer he first discovered Channel 21, which seemed to broadcast only low-budget children’s programming. The shows seemed very odd and surreal, even disturbing, but Elliot continued to watch them with grim fascination.

Among the programs he remembers airing in that five-hour block was “Booby” — basically a puppet show, except that the off-screen puppeteers simply used their bare hands to act out little mini-plays. Elliot recalls he stopped watching “Booby” when the show began to get more menacing; he distinctly remembers one episode where one hand stabbed the other with scissors, and he was certain he heard a small child’s muffled scream…

But that was nothing compared to what he saw on a show titled “Mr. Bear’s Cellar.”

Image Credit: iStock/shaunl
Image Credit: iStock/shaunl

This program mainly consisted of the title character — a man in a crude bear costume — and the young “guests” who come to his house to visit him. Elliot recalled that the show looked like it was shot entirely in a single room with a hand-held video camera. The first episode he saw involved Mr. Bear singing and dancing with a young boy and girl about Elliot’s age, then playing a game of hide and seek.

Time passed, and Elliot eventually lost interest in the weird programming of Channel 21. It was many months later, during a sleepover with a friend, that he decided to take another look. It was after 9 pm, so he was surprised to find that the channel was still broadcasting. In fact, “Mr. Bear’s Cellar” was on… but this time the show had taken a much darker turn.

In this episode, the camera was resting on a table, catching only a partial glimpse of what was transpiring in the darkened room. The man in the bear costume seemed to be arguing with a boy of eleven or twelve years old. Mr. Bear begins cursing at the boy, who can be heard saying something about calling the police, which causes Mr. Bear to fly into a rage and chase after him… then the signal ended, and Channel 21 stopped broadcasting for the night.

For a long time, Elliot was afraid to watch Channel 21 again. But one night, late that summer, he switched it back on. For this entire episode, Mr. Bear was alone, speaking to the camera and addressing the viewers, telling kids how they can have a chance to be on “Mr. Bear’s Cellar.” A mailing address appeared on screen, and Elliot quickly copied the information down. He then composed a letter to Mr. Bear, and Elliot’s father — who had never actually seen the show — agreed to mail it for him.

Just one week later, Elliot got a letter from Mr. Bear, inviting him to come visit his house where they could play games and sing songs around a campfire with his other young friends. A street address was included.

Elliot’s father agreed to drive him to Mr. Bear’s place — which turned out to be a decrepit old farmhouse at the end of a dirt road on the outskirts of town. When they arrived, his father accompanied him to the door… where they were surprised to come face-to-face with a police officer. Elliot remembered that the officer was visibly shaken, for reasons he didn’t know at the time, and he pulled his father aside to say something that Elliot couldn’t hear. After that, his father quickly took him back to the car and drove him home. Elliot recalls his father said nothing on the ride back… only staring ahead, clearly unsettled by what the officer had told him.

Elliot was afraid to ask what had so horrified his father. But that evening, he decided to tune to Channel 21 one more time. He was greeted by nothing but static.

Image Credit: iStock/gaiamoments
Image Credit: iStock/gaiamoments

Years later, plagued by nightmares, Elliot began to hunt for the truth behind Channel 21. He’d heard local rumors that the station had been operated by one unidentified man — a man who was also suspected of kidnapping several children from Caledon and the surrounding area. Mitchell Wilson, a friend of Elliot’s father and a retired Caledon police officer who had been working on the case, revealed that the bodies of 16 children, between the ages of 4 and 13, had been discovered in a deep pit in the woods beyond Mr. Bear’s house in 1999. Wilson also revealed that the identity of “Mr. Bear” remains unknown, and he is considered still at large.

A visit to Mr. Bear’s farm house and the surrounding woods turned up nothing except a group of teens who liked to hide out in the abandoned house and smoke weed. It was a long shot, but Elliot asked them if they’d heard of Mr. Bear. It took some coaxing, but they finally told him about rumors of a man in a bear suit who abducted kids and took them into a storm drain nearby. Elliot found what might have been the drainpipe the kids mentioned, but no signs that anyone had been there. With no further leads, he decided to put his investigation aside before it consumed his life. He enrolled in college and moved to Ottawa, and the mystery eventually became a dark and distant memory.

That all changed when he got an email from someone claiming to be Mr. Bear.

The message was simple, almost childlike. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t say hello when you came to visit,” the email said. “But you will soon finally get to play with the other children!”

Elliot decided to pay a visit to Mitchell Wilson again. The retired cop finally consented to show him copies of the videotapes police had confiscated from the farmhouse — tapes of “unaired episodes” from Mr. Bear’s show. The first two were ominous, but vague, much like previous episodes Elliot had seen on Channel 21. But the third tape was something else entirely.

The tape began with the “hand puppet” from “Booby,” explaining to the viewer that “songs are sung the best when sung by children.” The scene then cuts to a fire pit — presumably the same one in which the victims’ bodies were later found — and shows a group of children gathered around the fire, singing the hymn “Children of the Light.” As the singing continues, we see a man’s hands forcibly holding a child’s hand over the fire, where it begins to blister, blacken and burn.

The scene cuts again to Mr. Bear addressing the camera, explaining how he will be delivering his young friends to “a faraway land.” He then points the camera at a trailer filled with the immobile bodies of several children. As the image showed Mr. Bear tossing the children into a deep trench, Wilson explained to Elliot that the children were not dead at the time, but only drugged into unconsciousness. Mr. Bear then begins pouring gasoline into the pit.

I won’t go into detail about what happens in the fourth tape, but you can probably guess what happens… except for the final scene.

Image Credit: iStock/Betty4240
Image Credit: iStock/Betty4240

As black smoke billows from the fire pit, it appears Mr. Bear has discarded his costume, which has been laid out on the forest floor in a cross-shaped pose. Above the bear’s head is a small sign bearing the red letters “INRI.”

After that day, Elliot abandoned his investigation, and seldom updated his blog. His only remaining entries were devoted to complaints about endless prank emails and calls from people pretending to be Mr. Bear. He mostly ignored these, but finally out of frustration he responded to one brief email, telling the sender to “Fuck off.”

The sender replied with a single line of text: “INRI.”

Elliot’s blog contains no further updates.