YouTube celebrity is a freaky, unpredictable thing — you never know what video is going to make its poster an overnight viral superstar, whether they desired that fame or not. But this is the story of one unfortunate user whose virtual popularity took a decidedly dark and unexplained turn.
The web-celeb in question goes by the name “Chloe,” who claims to be a college student attending University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Her YouTube channel began like thousands of others — with entries once or twice a month, in which she commented on popular TV shows, world events and (only occasionally) her own personal experiences. While she enjoyed interacting and sharing her creativity with others via the channel, she was surprised to see it reach 100,000 subscribers in less than a year’s time.
To mark that milestone, Chloe decided to create a “thank you” video for her loyal audience, containing a montage of silly scenes, monologues and skits based on viewer suggestions from past comment threads. She figured it would go over well with her fans, and was looking forward to checking the comments the morning after she posted the clip.
But when she checked the post the next day, she was both surprised and a bit shaken by what she saw: while there were already thousands of views, the video was inundated with negative comments, and the number of dislikes vastly outnumbered the likes.
Scrolling through the comments, Chloe was shocked by how many of them seemed confused, baffled or uncomfortable, and most of them were some variation on the question, “What’s this supposed to be?”
That’s when she realized the video they were critiquing wasn’t the same one she’d uploaded the previous night.
To begin with, the video she’d posted was about five minutes in length, and the title was simply “THANK YOU!” The clip she saw this morning was sixteen minutes in length, and the title was nothing more than a time stamp.
Looking back through her previous videos, she found the “Thank You” post… but this new video had evidently been posted a few hours after that, late that same night.
Nervously, she clicked PLAY and saw herself, via the mini-cam mounted atop her monitor, busily typing and staring at the screen. Nothing else, just that single shot for sixteen minutes.
Chloe deduced she had accidentally recorded herself while editing the “Thank You” clip, and posted a quick apology to her viewers before heading off to her first class of the day, reminding herself to delete the erroneous video that evening. But when she sat down to her computer again, she saw that a second video had been uploaded to her channel. Again, it appeared to have been recorded via the mini-cam, but this one was much longer… three hours longer, in fact.
The content was nothing out of the ordinary — just various shots of Chloe studying, reorganizing her room and putting clothes away before leaving, all from the fixed perspective of her workspace — but this time, she was certain she’d left the camera off. Even stranger, the video was distorted and blurry, as if the camera had been tampered with.
She spent a great deal of time that evening looking for whatever anomaly might have triggered the recording, but nothing seemed out of order, and a deep scan revealed no apparent spyware. Still wary that some malicious stowaway application might still have gone undetected, she physically disconnected the camera before going to bed that night, and considered bringing the machine to a troubleshooting service if the errant recordings persisted.
The next morning, however, she was shocked to discover her YouTube channel was going crazy with comments from baffled and concerned viewers… and all of them were talking about a new clip which had been uploaded overnight.
As before, the video bore no thumbnail, and nothing more than a time stamp for a title. But this clip appeared to be six hours long.
“Have you lost it?” one user commented.
“Is this some kind of joke?” asked another.
Then she saw a string of replies to one of those comments, and her blood ran cold.
“Did you see it?” said the first reply.
“See what?” said the next.
“30:18,” the first one wrote, referring to the video’s timeline. “Watch closely.”
Nervously, she began scanning through the video, which appeared to be nothing but a black screen… but just past the thirty-minute mark, she saw something move in the darkness.
She adjusted the brightness and contrast on her monitor, and realized she could make out the vague outline of her own bed. The movement was her, shifting in her sleep, pulling the covers with her.
The video continued much the same, only interrupted by Chloe’s occasional movements in her sleep.
That’s when Chloe realized the angle of the camera was different this time. The new footage had not been recorded from the perspective of her computer’s camera.
It had been shot through her bedroom window.