Cyber Scares

Creepypastas breed a new generation of terror

By Colin Hickson, Staff Writer
From the stories of Christopher Pike, like “Tales of Terror”, to the films of Alfred Hitchcock,
such as “Psycho” or “the Birds”, the horror genre can find a multitude of ways to scare people in
any creative way imaginable. But now, horror has a new face in the form of Creepypastas.
Creepypastas are online ghost stories which can be either grounded in reality, such as the vastly
disturbing “1999”, or totally fantastic like the super eerie “The Strangest Security Tape I’ve Ever
Seen”. These stories have generated such modern day myths and monsters such as the Slender
Man, a supernatural creature who has existed for centuries and Jeff the Killer, a psychopath with
a Joker-like face, each with their own lore and modus operandi. But unlike the stories in
“Goosebumps” or ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, these stories are capable of being extremely
morbid, and often will not hold back on the blood and gore.
So how does one make a Creepypasta? Well, here is an example of a popular one, “Candle
Cove”: A group of people in an online forum begin talking about a series from the seventies
called “Candle Cove”, a low-budget puppet show about pirates. But as the discussion continues,
memories of the show’s controversial main villain, the Skintaker, who wore clothes made of
children’s skin, and the nightmare inducing final episode, which had nothing but the characters
screaming, began to resurface. Finally, one user asks his mother if she remembers the show. She
is surprised he can actually remember it, because as the mother puts it, whenever he said he was
watching “Candle Cove”, all he would watch was dead air for thirty minutes, and the mother
assumed he was imaging the whole thing.
That story is basically how a Creepypasta works. The writer takes a specific item, show, or game
and makes a horror story out of it. Among the most recurring are lost episodes, which involve
very morbid lost episodes of TV shows (i.e. “Squidward’s Suicide” and “Dead Bart”), video
game hacks that can be natural or supernatural, journals, blogs, etc. Naturally, not all
Creepypastas will invoke terror in people, but rather laughter or annoyance due to poor writing,
laughable situations, or being just plain lousy stories featuring established characters. Some
pastas have even achieved mainstream popularity, going so far as to get turned into video games
and even getting an “American Horror Story” styled TV series, titles “Channel Zero”. In fact, the
2012 horror novel “Penpal” started off as a series of Reddit posts created by the novel’s author,
Dathan Auerbach. There are even some YouTube channels dedicated to reading these stories,
most notably someordinarygamers and Mr.CreepyPasta, which are worth some looks for those
curious about these stories, and might want to get into them.
In an era of iPhones and Reddit, it is good to know that people are using the Internet to spread
new forms of terror, and maybe inspiring up and comers to join in on the fun. Just be careful
reading these stories after dark. Some of them could be true…