This year has gone by fast, and even Halloween feels like a distant memory. No need to panic, though, I assure you there’s one huge way you can keep the horror alive: creepypastas.
Creepypastas are legends, stories or photos that circulate the internet- much like memes. Most of those mediums are brief and have something to do with death or supernatural occurrences. These easy-to-swallow pills of terror got their name from a combination of the words “creepy” and “copypasta”; the word copypasta has the same definition as the word “meme” and was originally used in 2006 on an image-sharing website called 4chan. This strange word was based on the ‘copy-and-paste’ formatting of memes, specifically picture memes.
Now that our impromptu lesson is wrapped up, I can show you what creepypastas are really made of. One of the most famous stories is known by frequenters of the internet and not-so-frequent users alike. This story-photo combo goes by its protagonist’s name, “Slenderman.” Slenderman is an inhuman character with translucent white skin, long awkward arms and legs, a black suit and no face or hair.
This modern-day monstrosity was born online and raised by the internet; the original “sighting” of Slenderman is from a forum asking for users to create paranormal images. The creator, a Floridian named Eric Knudsen, accompanied his photoshopped submission with a caption that reads, “One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as ‘The Slender Man.’ Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence.”
After this photo emerged, others got in on the fun and created an intricate back-story as well as other images to follow the inexplicable humanoid’s origin. To summarize the written part of this phenomenon, Slenderman lurks in the shadowy and abandoned areas of the world and steals people, usually children. Several creepypastas developed around the character, and even independent video game creators got in on the hugely popular series.
A notable occurrence that happened due to this trend was the Slenderman stabbing of Wisconsin. Two twelve-year-old girls lured their friend of the same age to the woods, where they stabbed her nineteen times in order to “impress Slenderman”. Luckily the victim was able to crawl out of the woods and be seen by a cyclist. She was hospitalized and still lives to this day.
Another prominent creepypasta is centered around a college student who buys a used video game from a yard sale. Not too creepy, right? Let me explain the details before you decide.
“Ben Drowned”, created by Alex Hall, is about a young adult named Matt who acquires a used video game cartridge of “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask” from an elderly man at his yard sale. Matt takes it home and starts the game only to see that there’s already a save file titled “BEN.” Unknowing to the consequences, Matt deletes the save file and creates a new one for himself. He then plays the game normally, except for one glitch he wanted to try.
After unsuccessfully glitching the game, he sees that the game isn’t so ordinary after all. His character started dying after executing mundane tasks. Warped animations and reversed music played randomly, and a minor character could be seen much more often than usual. On ‘Game Over’ screens, messages colored in red appeared on the screen. “You shouldn’t have done that,” and, “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” were just a couple of several unnerving quotes.
You and Matt learn together that the original owner of the game, a little boy named Ben, drowned many years ago. This game was his beloved, and to see his save file be erased into nothing made him angry. The series stretches into several stories, so I’ll save the details of the others for you to find on your own.
Those were just two of thousands of stories and photographs to look through online. Although most can be credited to fiction and imagination, you never know when you’ll read one that’s true. Take some advice from me: whenever you read these stories, keep your back to the wall- no one can grab you from there. Of course, I’m sure this is all silly. None of these legends are real; it’s just folklore, fiction to give a good scare… Right?
From printings on paper to musings in your mind, my name’s Hannah. Thanks for reading.