Posts Tagged ‘Reddit’

Smile Dog, a creepypasta character.

Recently I’ve been delving into a genre of horror that’s grown up on the Internet, and I have to say some of it is quite impressive. I’m talking, of course, about creepypastas.

Now, for those of you who’ve never heard of this and think I’m talking about a Halloween treat, a creepypasta is actually kind of like an Internet campfire ghost story, scary stories designed to shock and terrify and that originate online.  They’re sometimes accompanied with images, audio or videos, usually distorted or featuring or gore or creepy imagery, in order to intensify the effect. The name “creepypasta” comes from “copypasta”, a slang term for text that is copied and pasted around the Internet multiple times.

And even if you’re not familiar with creepypastas in general, you may have heard of some. Slender Man, whom I’ve written about on this blog before, has been the subject of numerous creepypastas in the past, to the point where some creepypasta-devoted websites no longer upload new literature about ol’ Slendy. There’s also the novel Penpal, which started out as a series of creepypastas, and Candle Cove, a story that’s reportedly being adapted to television by the Syfy channel.

Slender Man has been featured in a variety of creepypasta.

Now while the length and quality of creepypastas, like every other type of fiction, vary from one to the other, there are some ways to categorize them:

  • Anecdotes: as far as I can tell, these are the most popular of the creepypasta story form. The narrator(s), often anonymous, talks about a scary legend, a new story, or something from their past. The anecdote stories are often told in the epistolary format, or in the form of a letter or journal entry, though this being an Internet phenomena they’re more often told as blog posts or Reddit threads. They’re certainly my favorite form of the genre.
  • Rituals: As the name suggests, these are things you can do to make something terrifying happen to you or someone you know. Examples include the Midnight Game or Bloody Mary (which I’ve tried on numerous occasions, and I’ve never seen any results). Sometimes these rituals have a short backstory, but they can vary, like with the Bloody Mary game. And as you can guess, these are quite fun at parties.
  • Lost Episodes: This form has kind of fallen out of favor but it has some pretty famous creepypastas. Lost episodes usually describe a missing scene or episode from a famous TV show, usually a comedy or children’s show, that depicts a character acting very strangely and violently, usually ending in that character killing themselves or the other cast members. Often times the episodes, when they are supposedly found, feature strange or distorted audio and video, and occasionally are rumored to cause violent behavior in viewers. As you can guess from the description, these are pretty formulaic and repetitive, which is why they’ve lost popularity, though some are quite well known among creepypasta devotees.

Squidward Tentacles from Spongebob Squarepants has been the subject of a Lost Episode creepypasta. You can probably guess the rest.

As I said above, there are entire websites devoted to the creepypasta genre and droves of fans, some of whom create their own stories and upload them online. What makes this genre so popular? Well, I’m still pretty new to the genre, but I think that there are several factors that may explain this popularity. One is that creepypastas tend to be a bit more extreme than mainstream horror. They’re often accompanied by scary imagery or some other strangeness, and that adds to the creep factor. There’s also the very subject matter of creepypastas: with some stories, you can take elements from them and create your own stories. Slender Man is a character who’s been featured in a variety of media, and plenty of people have made creepypasta based on him. And then there’s the virality of creepypastas: you’re encouraged, by their very nature, to keep sending them around and around the Internet. There’s a certain power in that very concept that’s exciting, and encourages creators as well as readers.

It’s especially interesting when you consider that this is a genre born on the Internet, which has the reputation of having content geared towards people with short attention spans, and also is sometimes considered the gathering place of creators who couldn’t make it in the “real world” (eye roll please?).

Personally, I think creepypastas are quite entertaining. Some of the stories are very good, very creepy, and I enjoy listening to readings of popular creepypasta by YouTube artists. I know some people find them too extreme or that they lead to violent behavior (a subject for another time, not going into it here), but I see it as no different than enjoying a Stephen King story or going to see the latest scary movie. Just a different format with different rules that I would like to learn (though not write; by the very nature of creepypasta, I wouldn’t have as much creative control or make some side income off my work. Maybe I’ll try writing in the style though for a novel someday).

If you’d like to try some creepypasta, here are some good ones I’ve come across. If you check them out, let me know what you think:

Are you a fan of creepypasta? What is it about them that you like or dislike?

What are some creepypastas that you’d recommend trying?

 

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This past week, I’ve seen some things on my Twitter feed that’s got me a little concerned. A few of my friends whose feeds I followed have said or posted some things that I’m not sure they’ll be proud they posted a few years down the road. One acquaintance made references to drugs she wanted to try. All that, plus the crazy Twitter uproar where people said very racist and inaccurate things about the newly elected Miss America, who’s Indian-American, made me decide to do a post reminding people of things they should and should not post on social media.

Now, people who know me personally know that sometimes I have trouble with keeping my mouth shut when it should stay shut. And I know for a fact that regular readers of Rami Ungar the Writer know rules of internet safety like the backs of their hands. But I think sometimes that we’re not doing enough to keep people safe on the Internet, and if this post helps even just one person from making a stupid mistake, I think writing and publishing this post will be well worth it.

Besides, some of the people whose Twitter feeds I follow might bite my head off if I brought up these posts, so this is a safer way to go about doing it.

So to start, here’s some basic things that we should all remember about the Internet and posting stuff on it:

1. Once something’s on the Internet, EVERYONE can see it. Yes, I know your Facebook has a privacy setting adjusted so that only your friends can see it. But honestly, anyone with a computer these days can learn to hack into someone’s account, so don’t delude yourself into thinking your profile is safe from Internet weirdoes.

2. Once something is on the Internet, it NEVER goes away. Yes, I see the Delete button too. But have you ever seen crime shows? The data is never really erased, it’s just been buried. And as any gravedigger can tell you, something that’s been buried can be dug up again.

So now that we’ve established that, let’s go over some common-sense rules of Internet safety:

1. Before you post something, ask if you would say/do this in public and/or in front of complete and total strangers. If the answer is no, then don’t post it. I know, you may feel that airing a couple of N-words and saying sh*t about your ex on your Facebook or Twitter feed may be therapeutic and can get the message across that you’re upset. But people will really see this stuff, people you don’t intend to see it, and they may not like what they see. Would you like a prospective girl you really like to tell you she saw your Twitter feed to tell you she’s not interested in a relationship with a racist bastard who says horrible things about his ex’s vagina? I don’t think so.

2. If you usually hide something under your clothes, don’t take a photo of it! You’d think that this one wouldn’t need to be stated, but as Anthony Weiner and plenty of teenage and college girls have learned, that’s not the case. Every year, people take pictures of their genitals and send it to their lovers thinking they’re being sexy or naughty or risqué. In reality they’re setting themselves up for trouble. These photos have a tendency to get out to the public, and it can lead to all sorts of trouble, including ruined reputations, loss of families, friends, and even jobs, and even legal charges in some cases! So folks, don’t use your phone’s camera to take a picture of your sex characteristics, primary or secondary. It could come back to bite you in the ass.

3. Tweeting/Posting about actual or possible criminal activities is not cool. Don’t even do it sarcastically! I’ve read two stories in the past six months about people who had made passing jokes on their social media accounts about blowing up airports or shooting schools. They got arrested! Also, their was a guy in my state who murdered his wife and posted the proof on Facebook. I think you can guess what happened to him! And even if the police don’t show up on your doorstep, employers these days do look at social media when considering prospective employees. Trust me, they don’t like references to crimes. It makes you look bad in their eyes.

4. Drugs and alcohol should not even be mentioned. Doesn’t matter if it’s excessive or not, employers (and the police) don’t like to hear how you partied it up while drinking a ton of vodka or how you tried shrooms and coke together. For employers, they’re worried that you’ll cost them money coming into work high or drunk, and the police…that’s fairly obvious, isn’t it? So yeah, stay away from those references.

5. That comment you made about minorities or someone in a minority will come back to haunt you. Yeah, we may not think much of calling someone by a term that comes with a connotation of prejudice. In some minorities, these terms are used as an inside joke. But really, it will come back to haunt you when someone sees your racist tweet on Obama or your sexist post on a coworker and posts it on Reddit! Trust me, they will trace it back to your account, and you will be embarrassed.

In addition, if you see something about another culture that baffles you, don’t put it online as a way to ask questions or to ridicule someone. A friend of mine who’s a practicing Sikh has a beard on her face even though she’s a woman. She does it as a show of faith. Someone, perhaps not meaning any harm, posted it on Reddit with the words “What do I make of this?” The photo got some negative attention, and so did the poster. <My fiend though came out of it beautifully, not letting anything hateful get her down and ultimately forgiving the person who took the photo face-to-face.

6. If you usually hide something under your clothes, don’t take a photo of it. Yes, I said that already. But judging how often people forget it, I think it needs repeating.

7. Think about how this could hurt someone. Any time you say or do something, it has the potential to hurt someone. Maybe it’ll hurt you personally, maybe a friend or family member, or maybe someone you’ve never met who lives on the opposite side of the world. Either way, think about that when you post. It’ll make you a bit wiser.

I’m going to finish with that last one and wish everyone luck in future posting. And to the reader who may learn something important from this post, I hope you don’t have any negative experiences in the future with Internet postings, whether they be posted by you or someone else. God bless, and have a nice day.