The 13th Floor

Who Is Chip-Chan? The Disturbing Story Behind This Viral Sensation

Long ago, at the turn of this century, Burger King started a campaign to sell more chicken sandwiches. Their ads focused on a man sized chicken who they called Subservient Chicken. The commercials were funny, and as with the creepy King in the King mask, Burger King found itself with another popular character. They even set up a website where you could watch the Subservient Chicken in his home. You could demand that the Chicken do specific things and, being subservient, Chicken would do them. The site was a huge hit. I know I spent way too much time on it trying to find all the things the Subservient Chicken wouldn’t do.

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The idea of a man or woman, forever trapped in their home to be watched by strangers is, when they aren’t clearly a marketing plan, a freaky idea. We’ve had people who have done this voluntarily, like JenniCam – Jennifer Ringley lived her life for all to watch for eight years. People obsessed over her. People judged her. People loved her. Still, it was her choice to stream every moment of her life online, and when she didn’t want to do it anymore, she shut the cameras off.

Hell, with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, many of us are on the border of living our lives online at all times now. Still, we have the choice to not Tweet. We can choose to keep something to ourselves, or only share it with close friends and family if we wish.

Chip-Chan may not have that option.

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The first person to “discover” Chip-Chan was pretty sure she was dead. This person, this online Columbus, was searching through open source webcams when they came across a woman lying in the corner of a cluttered room. He watched for a while – the woman was in what looked to be a very uncomfortable position, but she did not move. For hours, she just laid there. Our discoverer took to the message board, 4chan, and revealed his discovery. More people began to watch what they believed was a dead woman.

Just as the viewers started to put together clues from the trash around the room – large pieces of paper which had Korean writing on them – the woman sprang to life. She quickly moved to hide behind some of her homemade signs, almost as if she knew she was being watched.

The woman came out from hiding after a time and, over the course of a decade, has filled in some information. Not a lot, we still don’t know her name, but enough that a story can be told.

Chip-Chan lives in South Korea. She rarely leaves the house, and when she does, she puts on a disguise. She sleeps for upwards of 12 hours a day, often inside a filing cabinet. She spends her waking hours on the internet and seems to be very sad. According to her selfmade signs, Chip-Chan is being held against her will for sixteen years by a person known only as ‘P’.

‘P’, it seems, is a corrupt police officer who has implanted a VeriChip just off Chip-Chan’s anklebone. Some rather impressive internet detectives were able to find what appears to be Chip-Chan’s own blog where she “explains” some of the things happening to her. Her Korean blog can be found here.

Every now and then, her three cameras will go off, sometimes only for a few minutes, sometimes for hours. When the cameras shut off, that is when ‘P’ comes to visit. What ‘P’ is doing when the cameras are off, we don’t know.

Chip-Chan claims to know P’s real name and officer ranking, but she has not shared this with others, making it impossible for anyone to find more information on the guy.

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People have, over time, translated Chip-Chan’s poster messages as best they can. The messages go from confusing…

“Don’t get tricked, don’t get fooled. Early every morning. If someone comes that paralyzes the person. I can’t be stopped.”

To the straight up creepy…

“The stalker use this skill from 2006, I have slept for 20 hours everyday since then. I do not know what have happened while I sleep, I have been always afraid of sleeping.”

“Stalker P breaks in after disable camera.”

“Korean cop P makes me lose my consciousness at any time, so I always sleep on the chair for years. How can you sleep sitting on the chair everyday if you don’t lose your consciousness. I haven’t dreamed for years ’cause I lose my consciousness”

Chip-Chan has her own YouTube channel, though she has not updated it in 6 years. In this video, she explains why ‘P’ has targeted her:

I don’t personally speak Korean, but others have translated what Chip-Chan is saying. According to the translations, Chip-Chan’s parents are dead and they left her with a large inheritance, which ‘P’ wants control of. You can see her other videos here

Others have recorded the livestream of Chip-Chan so aspects of her life can be better examined. Here is a video of Chip-Chan leaving the house.

Another video appears to show the lights in Chip-Chan’s home turning on and off by themselves while she sleeps.

There is an ongoing debate about who controls the cameras that watch Chip-Chan. Some believe ‘P’ is the one who is incharge of them, but he is unaware that others are able to view it. Others think that Chip-Chan set them up herself in hopes that someone will see it and help her. Why she would turn the cameras off when ‘P’ shows up kind of puts a big hole in that theory.

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Some have emailed Chip-Chan, and she appears to have a set of stock responses that are sent with attachments of photographs. Most of the photos appear to be images of police officers in the streets of Seoul, and many of them are blurry. When asked about Chip-Chan, the local authorities have said that she is a mentally ill woman who, from time to time, shows up to protest CCTV (China Central Television) and take photos of police.

There are multiple theories about what illnesses Chip-Chan may have. The leading “diagnosis” is that Chip-Chan is a paranoid schizophrenic who also suffers from narcolepsy, though she doesn’t really display the common traits of either issue. It is hard to imagine that a paranoid schizophrenic would sit in front of cameras all day, and narcoleptics fall asleep at random times and for intermittent periods; Chip-Chan regularly sleeps for over 12 hours at a time.

For a lot more information on Chip-Chan, this Tumblr is a good spot to check out.

If you’re interested, you can watch Chip-Chan here.

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