The 13th Floor

This Gruesome “Glitch” Will Turn Your Browsing Session Into a Living Nightmare

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In past entries, I’ve referenced various domains, links and files which are rumored to trigger a wide assortment of unfortunate consequences, such as: 1) technical issues like pesky malware and system crashes; 2) mysterious phenomena including strange visions and visitations; and 3) mentally and physically threatening after-effects — including madness and even violent death.

This story, as recounted by user Rad on the Creepypasta Wiki and altered slightly here in my reporting (mostly due to potential legal issues regarding some of the more disturbing images), is a combination of the first two types… and an ominous taste of the third.

Image Credit: iStock/domoyega

It begins as so many do, with the user indulging a habit of late-night web surfing — playing games, reading blogs, visiting forums, and so on — and he admits this habit was growing into an obsession, driving him to stay up later and later into the night, against his better judgment.

The first time he suspected something more serious was when he fell asleep after one of these browsing sessions… and suddenly awakened with a painful sensation in his eyes.

At first, he credited this discomfort to long hours of staring at the screen without blinking, which causes the eyes to become dry, irritated and fatigued, so he made a conscious effort to blink and rest his eyes periodically during his next late-night web excursion.

Image Credit: iStock/domoyega

But that’s when things got worse.

Each time he blinked, he noticed subtle changes in the pages he viewed. It began with minor errors or delays in loading, or a sluggish response to keystrokes or cursor movements. Attempts to correct these problems were unsuccessful, and sometimes made them worse — often to the point where his computer became completely unresponsive. Eventually, it would return to a semi-normal (but still sluggish) state, but each time it took longer to recover.

One night, while he was reading one of his favorite blogs, he scrolled across a horrific image depicting a horribly maimed body — possibly a photo from a horrible accident or a crime scene. It shocked him, not only because of its extreme content, but especially because this particular blog had never posted violent images before.

Image Credit: iStock/Cylonphoto

It seemed at first to be a one-time thing, so he scrolled past the gruesome picture and forgot about it… but on future visits, he began to realize that the same blog was adding more and more images of a similar nature, to the point where every subsequent update revealed a grisly new horror.

No stranger to shock tactics, and having heard the usual rumors about anarchist hackers posting shocking and offensive images, he figured the photos were either a prank or the work of one such sick-minded troll, and he eventually stopped visiting the blog.

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But similar images were starting to appear on all of his favorite sites. The problem began to escalate until he eventually became afraid to click on any link, and shut his browser window in despair.

That’s when he discovered his computer’s desktop background had been replaced with yet another graphic photo of a human corpse, every bit as grotesque and realistic as the ones he’d encountered before.

Image Credit: iStock/Yuri_Arcurs

Facing the realization his machine had been infected by a particularly malicious invader, he dug into his system in search of the rogue files, and found dozens of random files which had been updated recently without his knowledge. He deleted what he believed to be all of these offenders… but before emptying his computer’s recycle bin, decided to take a look at what they were.

What he found was a collection not uncommon to any digital pirate’s arsenal: unknown registries, folders filled with links to pornographic sites, illegally downloaded videos, hacked lists of email contacts, and file extensions he’d never heard of before.

He realized he needed a professional to clean out the garbage, and took it to a reputable service to quarantine and remove the invader… but was shocked when they told him no problems had been detected. They even showed him the results of their analysis, and everything looked spotless and virus-free.

Image Credit: iStock/domoyega

For a while, it seemed the problem had indeed vanished, and he began to explore his favorite sites again. The graphic images were gone, and for a while he thought his worries were over.

That’s when he began to realize that the images he encountered while browsing had changed again… and this time, these changes were very specific.

Every picture depicting a human or animal had ragged, crude holes in the image where their eyes should have been.

Image Credit: iStock/DmitriMaruta

Unsettled by this new pattern, he called over a friend to show them what he’d seen… but when that friend took a look, the images were normal again. Frustrated and anxious, he decided to give the computer to this friend, and buy a new one for himself.

To his great relief, the bizarre phenomenon did not recur on the new machine, and he eventually put the strange incident out of his mind.

That is, until one evening he sat down to watch a cooking show on TV…

Image Credit: iStock/ElNariz

…and discovered, to his horror, that the host’s eyes had been replaced with black, empty holes…