The 13th Floor

The Unsettling, Unsolved Mystery of “The Barbie Interview”

Many theories have circulated regarding the origin and authenticity of a fuzzy, distorted video simply titled barbie.avi [including a logical but particularly nightmarish suggestion that appears at the end of this article] but at present, all we have to go on is a particularly disturbing post from the unnamed individual who allegedly watched it in its entirety — a post which has since become one of the spookiest tales ever to make the rounds among creepypasta fans.

The story begins in an industrial section of Detroit, presumably in the aftermath of the city’s economic downturn (though the time frame is not specified). The anonymous author had been partying late into the night at the loft of an artist friend, and called his girlfriend to ask for a ride home.

While he waited, he was startled by the sound of glass breaking and a heavy object crashing outside. When he went out to meet his girlfriend, he remembered the commotion and found the source: an outdated computer and monitor had been tossed into a dumpster behind one of the buildings. The old CRT screen had shattered, but the computer itself looked intact… so he decided to take it home and see what was on it.

Image Credit: iStock/Bilgehan Yilmaz
Image Credit: iStock/Bilgehan Yilmaz

The machine was functional, but all documents, images and videos on the hard drive had been wiped clean… except for one folder, hidden in the Windows/System32 directory. The folder contained a single video file, labeled barbie.avi. A little creeped out, but curious nonetheless, the author clicked on the file and watched the clip.

The footage seemed at first to be nothing more than a hazy, low-resolution video of a young woman being interviewed in a white, featureless room. The audio was so muffled that the voices of the interviewer(s) and their subject were nearly incomprehensible.

Barbie_02

Still curious, he imported the file into a video editing application in an attempt to clean up the audio distortion, sharpen the image and boost the levels. He was finally able to hear small portions of the conversation, and saw the woman’s face more clearly… the questions she was asked were not audible, but the content and tenor of the interview was clearly disturbing her.

As he watched and listened, he could make out one word clearly — a word the woman said several times: “skin.”

The interview continued for nearly 40 minutes, ending with the woman ultimately breaking down into tears, no longer answering the questions, and the image finally fades to black.

The unknown woman’s distress affected the author more than he expected, and he found himself unable to sleep that night. Instead, he returned to the video, watching again in the hope of finding some kind of clue as to its origin or meaning.

That’s when he realized there was more footage after the interview faded to black.

After several seconds of black screen, the image that followed seemed to be shot from a stationary camera, left sitting on the ground near railroad tracks in an abandoned part of town, near a dense forest. For a moment, nothing moved in the frame… until finally he saw the legs of an unidentified woman walking in front of the camera, moving along the tracks, then stepping down onto a plywood platform.

Image Credit: iStock/xijian
Image Credit: iStock/xijian

The woman was never visible above the waist, and he could hear only her footsteps as she walked across the plywood and into the forest. Nothing else happened, and the camera continued rolling for several minutes after the woman left the frame.

That’s when the shock hit him: he recognized the area where the woman had been walking.

The next day, he ventured out in search of the exact location he saw on the video… and finally, while walking for hours along the railroad tracks, he found the plywood planks which formed a partial path into the tree line. That path eventually gave way to a trail, which finally led to a clearing in the forest.

In the clearing, nearly obscured by tall grass, was an abandoned house.

Image Credit: iStock/Redheadedhornet
Image Credit: iStock/Redheadedhornet

Suddenly terrified, the author was uncertain whether to approach the run-down structure, but after carefully scanning the area for any signs of life, he was finally convinced that the house was unoccupied, and moved toward the front door… which was partially opened.

Peering inside, he saw that the place had apparently been abandoned for decades, and every inch of it was decaying into rubble, dust and mold… except for a single door, which looked much newer than the rest of the house. Also, this door was the only one locked.

He also noticed that the bathroom had been partially cleared of dust and debris. The mirror had been wiped clean, and there was a plastic sheet laid out in the bathtub. The plastic was wet… as if it had been recently rinsed off.

Then he heard the sound: a deep, guttural moaning that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.

He turned and ran, never looking back. As he bolted out of the forest, his mind desperately tried to find a rational explanation for what he’d seen and heard. He thought it could have been the decrepit plumbing, the pipes groaning and knocking as water passed through them… but then he realized that such an old, abandoned house wouldn’t still have running water.

Barbie_01

The author never returned to the site, or followed up on this entry… but he did post some part of the barbie.avi video to YouTube. The final footage by the railroad tracks was not included in these uploads.

UPDATE: If you watch the video above, note at the very beginning that the letters (BIID) briefly appear at the bottom of the screen. According to one theory, this stands for Body Integrity Identity Disorder, which is a legitimate condition in which those afflicted believe that certain parts of their body do not belong, and it can often lead to acts of severe self-mutilation. The reason this may be significant comes in the final seconds of the file: after a long period of black screen, the woman appears again, but this time we can see that her right arm seems to be missing…

Barbie_06

This horrifying revelation was first offered in a YouTube comment left by user Asylum241195. Special thanks to my good buddy Dick Grunert for bringing it to my attention!

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