The 13th Floor

Five Horrific Tales Lurking in the Darkest Corners of 4chan

We’ve previously delved into the strange history of creepypastas and similar viral horror phenomena, including some of the earliest breeding grounds for these infamously terrifying topics — namely Reddit’s notorious NoSleep community.

Another noted source for the mysteries, unsolved cases, myths, legends and other bizarre tales infiltrating the web over the past decade is 4chan — once a famous hangout for anime fans and gamers, but also a den for hackers, anarchist pranksters and other shadowy individuals… including actual murderers.

I’m not saying that all creepypastas originating on 4chan are the product of malevolent minds, but some of them sure as hell seem like they could be; the site’s legendary paranormal /x/ board is home to thousands of them, and a vast percentage come from anonymous sources.

Here are five examples of often-terrifying image posts and conversation threads among 4chan users… many of which begin with seemingly innocent discussions about popular culture and unusual life experiences, but sometimes evolve into nightmarish tales of delusion, madness… and even death.

I haven’t linked directly to 4chan for the complete stories [it’s not a good idea to randomly poke around that place without a plan — take my word for it], but a quick search on or the Creepypasta Wiki should uncover copies of the tales in their entirety.

Image Credit: iStock/Elisanth

The Bath Game

Also known as Daruma-San, the “Bath Game” allegedly originated in Japan… and like most ritualistic games circulating through the creepypasta community, readers are strongly cautioned not to attempt it… so, of course, kids are going to try it anyway.

As with many Japanese legends involving games (such as “Solo Hide and Seek”), the process of conjuring a spirit is fairly simple… but avoiding the entity once it’s successfully summoned is incredibly difficult.

The rules are straightforward: while bathing, wash your hair and repeatedly chant the phrase “Daruma-San fell down,” all the while picturing in your mind the image of a girl who dies horribly after slipping in the bathtub and hitting her head on the faucet.

The ritual offers several protections for the player once Daruma appears, but there are just as many opportunities to screw up, at which point her hideously disfigured, waterlogged ghost will come to claim you.


The Goatman

Based on a shape-shifting being common to Native American folklore, the most widely-shared sighting of this legendary cryptid came from 4chan user Anansi, who first shared the story in 2012.

Claiming to be a Chicago teenager spending a summer with his extended family in rural Alabama, the author describes camping in the wilderness with a cousin and several of their friends when they begin to sense eerie changes in the air — including the ozone smell that precedes an electrical storm — and one of the group recounts their father’s tale about a “Goatman” that stalks the region, preying on farmers’ livestock by night.

The teen campers are finally stalked by an unseen creature lurking at the perimeter of their camp, forcing them to retreat to the shelter of the cousin’s house. Before the night is over, they discover that one of their group is not who he appears to be…

Image Credit: Phonlamai Photo

Ronald McDonald House

The author of this tale identifies as a former orphan, whose troubled childhood saw them shuffled from one foster home to another… until one too many transgressions left them faced with two options: military school, or “Ronald McDonald House.” The author chose the latter… a decision they would soon come to regret.

You may be familiar with the Ronald McDonald House charity, which provides temporary housing for low-income families with sick children. But this location has nothing to do with that organization; instead, it’s described as a hellish medical institution of some kind, whose entire “staff” is inexplicably dressed like clowns.

These aren’t typical clowns, either: they all have sinister smiles, evil intentions, and an insatiable, predatory hunger… and all hope is lost for any child who stumbles into their “PlayPlace.”

Image Credit: Miranda McMurray

The Doll

Some of the most haunting creepypastas are recounted by authors whose sanity comes into question with each new paragraph… and the troubled mind behind it seems to be unraveling in real time.

His tale starts innocently enough, with the title object passed from the narrator to his wife as a gift; she is clearly captivated by the doll’s delicate beauty, and mesmerized by its crystalline blue eyes. But in the coming weeks, she not only loses interest in the doll, but seems to be disturbed by it somehow. When the narrator questions her, she finally admits there is something horribly wrong about the doll: she swears she saw those clear blue eyes moving.

Only the author knew the truth: that the eyes themselves were mere glass, but something alive was wriggling behind them…

Image Credit: XxInfamousWormxX/DeviantArt


Plenty of bizarre and disturbing fan-fiction tales originate on 4chan image boards (we could devote an entire article to those alone… maybe we should?), and it seems like the more innocent and childlike the subject, the more horrific the stories about it tend to become.

Case in point: allegedly originating in 2011 on 4chan’s /co/ image board is the horrifically violent fan-fic piece “Cupcakes” — in which two popular characters from MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC are depicted as a sadistic serial killer and her slowly-dying captive. There are many more horror-themed tales among MY LITTLE PONY fans (these stories are labeled “Grimdark” for their disturbing content), but “Cupcakes” goes beyond all limits of sanity.

The story unfolds in a basement torture chamber, where the character “Pinkie Pie” performs unspeakably sadistic mutilations upon fellow pony “Rainbow Dash.” The victim’s ordeal hardly lasts an hour, but the detailed depictions of torture feel like an eternity… and yes, there are illustrations.