It’s hard to believe how many years have passed since I first welcomed our readers to the nightmare landscape of viral horror known as creepypasta… and since then, the pastas themselves — along with their menagerie of spooky characters and devoted fans all around the world — have become such a part of popular culture that networks like SyFy (whose creepypasta-inspired series CHANNEL ZERO continues as we speak) and major news outlets including The New York Times have begun to take notice.
My October 2015 feature “The Ten Creepiest Creepypastas (That Aren’t Slender Man)” could be seen as a primer on the subject, covering the most popular and enduring viral legends and widely-shared horror stories… but there are thousands more lurking in the darker corners of the web that I’ve only just begun to reveal.
With that in mind, I decided to explore some of my favorite pasta hangouts (including Reddit’s NoSleep and Creepy subs, Creepypasta.com, 4chan’s /x/ board, the Creepypasta Wiki, KnowYourMeme, and a few others) in search of ten less-publicized but equally disturbing stories, clips and memes… all of which I find very memorable, for a variety of reasons.
So if you’re tired of hearing endless retreads of Slenderman, Jeff the Killer, CANDLE COVE, the Russian Sleep Experiment, Smile Dog and a dozen other familiar (though still disturbing) tales of terror, then follow me down this slightly-less-traveled path and meet some of my other friends… if you like them, there are plenty more where they came from!
[Though these stories have many origins, clicking the link to each title will take you to its curator — usually the Creepypasta Wiki, unless otherwise indicated.]
Like many 21st-century horror tales, this one reflects on the mindless, endless patterns of modern life itself, when a strange chain of circumstances slowly entangles the story’s unnamed narrator. It all starts with a misplaced phone, triggering a barely-noticeable shift in her day-to-day routine… but that’s relatively harmless compared to what happens later.
Subsequent interruptions to this routine — glitches in the matrix, so to speak — begin to interfere with the narrator’s perception of reality, and her brain’s half-remembered “autopilot” mode ends in horrific and possibly fatal consequences.
This surreal video, and the ominous legends which grew up around it, will either strike you as goofy and pointless, or uncomfortable and disturbing; there’s not much middle-ground on this one. Anyway, here it is:
When the above clip first surfaced — allegedly on the Deep Web — there was little to no information about its origins, its creators, or their intent, but obviously someone went to fairly elaborate lengths to stage this short production. Nature (and web culture) abhors a vacuum, so those unanswered questions were quickly bombarded with wild and convoluted theories about the identity of the man in the video and the two strangely-costumed characters — who may either be his captors or his caretakers.
Not to be confused with the most notorious of mythical children’s TV programs, CANDLE COVE, this lesser-known entry has its own sinister appeal, and the quality of a half-remembered dream. The author doesn’t actually remember the name of the show in question — only that it aired briefly in 2001 on the channel Noggin, in the wee hours of the morning.
The show was set in a generic middle school, but it seems to the author as if the adolescent cast members were unable to escape the confines of the building. Worst of all, they were locked inside with a malicious character named “The Boogie Man” — a tall, green-skinned being who sang nursery rhymes in a creepy voice and pursued the students for reasons the narrator never found out.
Not to be confused with the specific creepypasta subcategory dedicated to banned or altered episodes from classic TV shows [including THE SIMPSONS’ alleged “Dead Bart” episode], this story addresses the topic from an entirely different perspective.
The author describes a nerdy childhood friend whose hobby was editing footage from his family’s huge VHS library, making eccentric movie mash-ups… but over time, these experiments became more disjointed, violent and frightening. The friends eventually grow apart, but the story picks up many years later, during an ominous reunion between the two — wherein the author realizes his friend’s “hobby” has become a dark and dangerous obsession.
Also known as Obedece a la Morsa, this video, much like “Blank Room Soup,” seems to defy any rational explanation at first glance — thus prompting legions of users to dream up their own nightmarish reasons for its existence. But as in so many of these cases, it’s not quite what it seems.
I should point out that the source of the video above was never intended to ridicule the disability of the person depicted — otherwise I would not have included this clip. Instead, this video is comprised of brief excerpts from a documentary about Johnnie Baima, who was born with a severe form of polio and later invented the cult drag persona “The Goddess Bunny” to regain self-confidence. The weird re-edit, creepy lullaby theme and psychedelic visuals added later (including a shot of “Andross” from SNES game STAR FOX) gave the character a strange new viral life, sparking rumors that the video is somehow cursed, or the mind-altering product of “The Cult of La Morsa.”
This story is memorable for its retro-tech vibe, as it takes place in the late 1980s, when computer-gaming culture was just beginning to expand. After the narrator cites some of their favorite early PC games of the era, they recall a text-based adventure game named PALE LUNA that had once circulated only in the San Francisco area… and they mention a player named Michael Nevins, who allegedly unlocked the game’s cryptic secret.
There was little to distinguish the game from similar products of the period, except when Nevins solved the game’s final puzzle, whereupon it “rewarded” him with a pair of numbers that looked just like map coordinates. A little research revealed they were indeed precise longitude and latitude. Naturally, Nevins’ curiosity got the better of him…
Though it doesn’t quite have the quick share-worthiness of visually-enhanced web legends like Slenderman, Jeff the Killer and their kin (and therefore less popular with the short-attention-span crowd), this artful slow-burn tale is actually one of the most enduring and talked-about horror stories on the web, and derives its chilling power from an existential question: if you were suffering from paranoid delusions, how could you tell if a perceived threat is not imagined, but real?
To divulge specific plot details would spoil the story’s subtle paranoid effects, which are best experienced in a darkened room. But I’ll tell you this much: horror is truly in the eye (and mind) of the beholder, and by the conclusion of “Psychosis,” you may not be able to discern between reality and hallucination — or know if the story’s characters can make the same distinction.
Don’t be thrown off by the lack of video clips to support this story; it’s not the visuals that sell this one, but the way the narrator — who recalls a bizarre experience while working at a gas station in rural Pennsylvania — breaks down the events as they unfold.
It all begins when a strange, eccentric new employee named Jeremy starts taking the night shift, and the owner soon suspects him of stealing inventory when certain items go missing in large quantities. To catch Jeremy in the act, the boss and the narrator take turns screening the videotapes from the station’s security cameras. Oddly, they find no evidence of misdeeds from their new hire, but they do discover an ominous pattern of bizarre behavior among the station’s night customers…
One of the more literary entries in the creepypasta canon, this tale is inspired by the works of author Kurt Vonnegut — whom the narrator quotes as he reaches the final chapter of the novel DEADEYE DICK. Moments before he reaches the last page, however, he feels the impact of a bullet striking his chest — presumably ending his life instantly. But that’s actually where the story begins.
From here, the plot seems to move in a dreamlike slow motion, as the seemingly disembodied narrator becomes obsessed with tracking down the person who killed him. When he finds the perpetrator — a stoned, teenage wannabe gang-banger — the narrator devises a subtle but effective revenge…
Like “Psychosis,” this one’s way too meaty for the TL;DR club, but it’s nevertheless built a substantial cult following. The main reason I haven’t covered it in a single column of my own is it’s such a massive, multi-episodic tale (much like “Penpal,” which has since been adapted into a popular novel), that to distill it down would spoil its uncanny sense of authenticity.
The story is also one of the oldest creepypastas in existence, reportedly derived from a series of blog entries dated 2001 — a journal maintained by the spelunker of the title, as he and two friends investigated the aptly-named “Mystery Cave” the previous year. They find something very unusual at the end of a dark, claustrophobic tunnel… and things just get more and more disturbing from there. Adding to the authenticity are several photographs Ted and his friends snapped inside Mystery Cave.