The 13th Floor

The Horrifying Story of the Haunted Beach Tape

Image Credit: iStock/Marina_Ph

It’s that time of the week, dear creepers! I’ve got my feelers out (so to speak) in search of creepypasta: horrific, skin-crawling and unnervingly convincing tales of terror from the inter- and under-webs. This week I’ve been given a tip from reader Jennifer Hodgson, a mutual creepypasta connoisseur who stumbled across a literally nightmare-inducing account from deep in the archives of Reddit’s infamous NoSleep community. This is my first reading of this tale, and now that I’ve done some research, I’m beginning to wish I’d never heard about it.

The initial poster — who goes by the handle hauntedtape — related his findings on Reddit four years ago: while living in northern California, the poster, who is given the name “Walter” in the report, found a waterlogged camcorder washed up on the beach (he deliberately redacted the precise location), and extracted a digital video cassette from inside. Digging out a compatible camcorder, he found that it was still playable, and ported over the contents to his computer.

What he found was only one short clip… but that scene alone was enough to change his life for the worse.

The subject is a young woman, her back to the camera. Her hands are bound, her swimsuit has been shredded, and her exposed skin is bruised and criss-crossed with welts. She is apparently being marched toward an unknown fate as an off-camera voice asks: “Are you filming? You better not be filming yet, I told you to wait until we get inside.” That brief segment was enough to horrify Walter and his friends… but it was only the beginning of the nightmare.

First, Walter discovered that any further attempts to play back the video on his computer resulted in nothing but digital noise. His friend John (also a pseudonym) offered to try capturing the clip on his own laptop, and took it home with him. He later called to report that he was able to capture the picture, but not the sound, and planned to upload the clip so that Walter could view it again. He apparently never did, and was unreachable for several days… until finally, he called. John’s voice sounded different: cold, lifeless, and without inflection. He also told Walter that he had something important to show him. When he declined, John suddenly flew into a rage. John later left a voicemail insisting that Walter come see what he’d found.

John was never seen or heard from again… and then some very strange things began to happen.

It began with traces of wet sand appearing in the bathtub one morning, despite the fact that neither Walter nor his girlfriend Sarah had been to the beach recently. He decided to let Sarah know about the tape and John’s weird behavior; shortly thereafter, Sarah disappeared as well.

Then came the first of several nightmares, in which Walter saw Sarah, her back to him, in the same condition as the young woman in the video. But when she turned to face him, her features were hideously distorted into an obscenely grinning rictus of horror. She tells him she’s got something to show him…

The next morning, he found wet, sandy footprints outside, leading directly to his front door, and a piece of blood-stained twine wrapped around the door handle. Feeling disoriented and ill, Walter stayed home from work and fell asleep again. This time he dreamed of a newscast in which hundreds of bodies had washed ashore, all in the same condition as the woman in the video. Then the news anchor looked directly at him, intoning in a cold, lifeless voice: “Go to the beach; I’ve got something to show you…”

That evening, a sheriff’s deputy contacted Walter, presumably about Sarah’s disappearance… but then he said the same thing: there was something at the beach that he needed to see. Every call Walter received ended the same way, including a conversation with Sarah’s parents. Go to the beach… there’s something we have to show you…

Overcome with fear, fatigue and desperation, Walter writes that he has finally decided to visit the beach, hopefully to learn the truth, end the nightmares, and save his friends.

He was never heard from again.