The 13th Floor

Lost Children’s Series HAPPY APPY Goes From Bizarre to Horrifying

Unlike some of our previous creepypasta entries involving mysterious “lost episodes” of various TV programs, this week’s subject focuses on an individual blogger whose obsession with a never-aired kids’ series led him on a doomed journey into insanity… and unspeakable horror.

The Wikia blog Happy Appy: The True Vision was created in 2011 and maintained by writer Gerasim Yakovlev, who named it after a TV show which he recalled seeing broadcast in Russia around 1999, and later briefly — very briefly — on US television.

The blog is a chronicle of Yakolev’s intensive research into the mysterious show, which he claims to remember airing on Russian television, and later appearing briefly on Noggin — formerly the international version of Nickelodeon’s offshoot network, Nick Jr. — whose programming was aimed at preschool-age kids. According to Yakolev, the US version apparently never aired the series beyond episode three, although he would eventually discover dozens more.

As described in Yakovlev’s writings, images and video clips, the title character of the show is nothing more than a clay apple puppet manipulated by a long metal rod, whose disturbingly human features include intense blue eyes, full green lips, and stubby, useless arms. The accompanying videos and images (as you can see here) are mostly crude recreations of the actual footage, from which Yakolev only provides tiny excerpts on his blog.

Yakolev claims to have initially acquired the first set of HAPPY APPY episodes via VHS tapes, recorded during the show’s brief cable TV run. For the first couple of episodes, the blogger reports the show’s eccentricity and lack in production values made him feel a bit uncomfortable… but otherwise the content seemed innocent enough for young viewers.

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The first installment, “Happy’s Vacation,” followed the title character to the beach, where he helped out some kids who had hurt themselves, and even managed to convince a bully not to hurt the smaller children. In the second segment, “Hurt Happy,” children return the favor by repairing Happy after the metal stick used to control him is bent.

The show was strange indeed, but not particularly disturbing… that is, until episode three.

One of the things which unsettled Yakolev about HAPPY APPY was the character’s eerie smile, which he would often hold for several seconds without saying anything. About halfway through episode three, Happy held that smile for nearly 30 seconds of total silence, staring straight at the camera and his viewers.

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Yakolev came to call this Happy’s “death smile.”

Episode three also contained a brief excerpt from a news broadcast which mentioned a 9.0 earthquake which had struck Japan, to which Happy responded with a request for help from viewers, and a telephone number even briefly appeared on the screen.

Curious, Yakolev called the number, and was greeted by an automated recording of Happy’s voice — which requested charitable donations for the survivors of the alleged disaster.

Oddly enough, an earthquake of that magnitude would not strike Japan until the infamous Hakkaido quake and tsunami of 2003. (Remember that episode three of HAPPY APPY allegedly aired in 1999.) It also struck Yakolev as strange that the recording would still be functional twelve years after the show allegedly aired.

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Another unsettling thing about the show was Happy’s preferred mode of transportation, as first seen in “Happy’s Vacation”: a large van, painted flat black, with blacked-out rear windows. Not exactly the ideal vehicle for a kids’ show mascot…

By episode five, the mishaps experienced by Happy’s little “friends” have become more severe, as evidenced by the title “Never Run with Knives.” Although one of the kids on the show doesn’t heed this advice (the results are quite messy), Happy does come to his rescue. The child then hops into Happy’s van, after which they drive away… but when Happy returns, his friend is nowhere to be seen.

Despite the far more frightening tone of the later episodes, perhaps the most unnerving aspect was not what Yakolev saw on the show, but what he didn’t see.

For example, in episodes seven and eight, Happy is seen watching various groups of children playing, and after uttering something indistinguishable, manages to entice them to follow him into his van or into the nearby woods.

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After the kids are taken offscreen, the blood-curdling sounds of their screams could be heard.

During many of these disturbing segments, the recordings contained long video drop-outs marked with a “SCENE MISSING” intertitle on a plain blue screen… but the audio content was usually intact. After the video returned, it was often just a shot of Happy smiling at the camera… for a long, long time. The death smile.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. The true horror — and the show’s greatest mystery — arrived in episode nine.

That show begins at the playground again, with a group of kids asking Happy about how tadpoles turn into frogs. While Happy is explaining this to them, Yakolev could see the playground begin to fill with smoke, as ominous rumbling and the sound of emergency sirens could be heard. Some of the children were coughing as the smoke thickened.

When the kids began to ask Happy what was wrong, all the characters turned to look at something off-camera… and what they were seeing made Yakolev recoil in horror.

The distorted, shaky image that appeared on screen was difficult to decipher at first, but eventually it revealed the outlines of two tall buildings… and they seemed to be on fire.

Somehow, Happy and his friends are instantly transported to a demolished upper floor in one of the buildings, where a small boy is shown trapped under the rubble, pleading for help.

The children team up and try to rescue the boy, but their efforts are in vain. Happy tells the kids they are going to escape the tower, despite being unable to rescue the pinned and clearly suffering survivor — whom they leave behind, presumably to die.

When the children observe people leaping from the burning buildings, they ask Happy why this is happening. Happy pauses, then turns to the camera to flash the death smile, finally answering in a calm, emotionless voice:

“That’s natural, children.”

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The blogger realized, to his horror, that the buildings shown in the episode are near or exact representations of the World Trade Center towers on the day they were destroyed in a terrorist attack… which happened nearly two years after episode nine allegedly aired.

While most creepypastas probably would have ended there, Gerasim Yakovlev’s research into HAPPY APPY continued, as did his search for the show’s elusive creators. As the investigation wore on, Yakolev began to be plagued by nightmares of a dark, shadowy figure…

Happy Appy: The True Vision continues to document Yakolev’s investigation — and possible descent into madness — until the summer of 2012. In his final entry, he claims the people responsible for the show are all dead.

Whether or not that’s true is open for debate… and honestly, the contents of the entire blog are factually negligible, as Nickelodeon and its offshoots have no record of a show entitled HAPPY APPY.

But the long journey from a viewing of an obscure TV show to the discovery of a vast, far-reaching conspiracy of kidnapping, murder and other nefarious crimes is quite a fascinating read. If you decide to browse this lengthy journal, watch out for the arrival of a shadowy figure nicknamed Forenzik…

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