Creepypastas are horror-related legends or images that have been copied and pasted around the Internet. These Internet entries are often brief, user-generated, paranormal stories intended to scare readers. They include gruesome tales of murder, suicide, and otherworldly occurrences. According to Time magazine, the genre had its peak audience in 2010 when it was covered by The New York Times.
In the mainstream media, creepypastas relating to the fictitious Slender Man character came to public attention after the 2014 "Slender Man stabbing", in which a 12-year-old girl from Waukesha, Wisconsin was stabbed by two of her friends; the perpetrators claimed they "wanted to prove the Slender Man skeptics" wrong. After the murder attempt, some creepypasta website administrators made statements reminding readers of the "line between fiction and reality".
Other notable creepypasta stories include "Jeff the Killer", "Ted the Caver" and "Sonic.EXE". In May 2015, Machinima Inc. announced plans for a live action web series curated by Clive Barker, titled Clive Barker's Creepy Pasta.
- 1 Description
- 2 History
- 3 Examples of creepypasta and sub-genres of creepypasta
- 4 Sub-genres of creepypasta
- 5 Adaptations
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Creepypasta originally referred to short user-generated horror stories that were copy and pasted across the internet; the term has since become a catch-all term for horror content posted onto the internet. The subject matter of creepypasta varies widely and can include topics such as ghosts, murder, zombies, and haunted television shows and video games. Creepypastas range in length from a single paragraph to lengthy, multi-part series that can span across multiple media types.
Creepypasta is a portmanteau of the words creepy and copypasta; the term was coined on the imageboard 4chan around 2007. Copypasta denotes viral, copied and pasted text; the term was coined on 4chan around 2006.
The exact origins of creepypasta are unknown. Early creepypastas were usually written anonymously and routinely re-posted, making the history of the genre difficult to study. Jessica Roy, writing for Time, argued that creepypastas emerged in the 1990s when the text of chain emails was reposted on Internet forums and Usenet groups. Aja Romano, writing for the Daily Dot, stated that Ted the Caver was arguably the earliest example of creepypasta. The story, posted on Angelfire in 2001, was written in the first person from the perspective of Ted as he and several friends explored an increasingly frightening cave system.
Many early creepypastas consisted of rituals, personal anecdotes and urban legends such as Polybius and Bunny Man. Darcie Nadel, writing for TurboNews, argued that these early creepypastas had to be somewhat believable and realistic to be re-posted. Many of the earliest creepypastas were created on the /x/ board of 4chan, which focused on the paranormal.
Major dedicated creepypasta websites started to emerge in the late 2000s to early 2010s: Creepypasta.com was created in 2008, while the Creepypasta Wiki and r/NoSleep (a Reddit forum, or subreddit) were both created in 2010. The websites created a permanent archive of creepypasta, which profoundly impacted the genre. Many authors started using creepypasta characters in their own stories, which resulted in the development of continuities encompassing numerous works.
The definition of creepypasta has expanded over time to include most horror stories written on the Internet. Over time, authorship has become increasingly important: many creepypastas are written by named authors rather than by anonymous individuals. Many of these authors attempt to achieve notice through their creepypasta. The copying and pasting of creepypastas has become less common over time; doing so is seen as intellectual theft by many members of the creepypasta community.
Examples of creepypasta and sub-genres of creepypasta
Slender Man is a thin, tall humanoid with no distinguishable facial features, who wears a trademark black suit. The character originated in a 2009 SomethingAwful Photoshop competition, before later being featured as a main antagonist in the Marble Hornets alternate reality game. According to most stories, he targets children. The legend also caused a controversy with the Slender Man stabbing in 2014.
Jeff the Killer
"Jeff the Killer" is a story accompanied by an image of the title character. In the story, a teenager named Jeff is on his way to school with his younger brother when they are attacked by a group of bullies. Jeff defends himself and his brother, and leaves the assailants lying in the street beaten, their hands and arms broken. After his brother claims he injured the bullies and is arrested, Jeff spends several days distraught, before going to a birthday party in the neighbourhood where he is attacked by the bullies again. Although he manages to kill all of the assailants, he is severely burned during the confrontation after being set on fire. During a stay at the hospital, Jeff realizes that he enjoys harming people, and goes insane. The night after he is discharged, he slices his face, leaving a scar in the shape of a smile, and cuts off his eyelids, so that he will never sleep. He then murders his parents and brother, whispering "go to sleep" while killing his sibling. He becomes a serial killer who sneaks into houses at night and whispers "go to sleep" to his victims before killing them.
According to a 2013 article, the original image of Jeff the Killer may be an extensively edited picture of a girl who allegedly completed suicide in the fall of 2008.
Ted the Caver
"Ted the Caver" began as an Angelfire website in early 2001 that documented the adventures of a man and his friends as they explored a local cave. The story is in the format of a series of blog posts. As the explorers move further into the cave, strange hieroglyphs and winds are encountered. In a final blog post, Ted writes that he and his companions would be bringing a gun into the cave after experiencing a series of nightmares and hallucinations. The blog has not been updated since the final post.
Sub-genres of creepypasta
Lost episode creepypastas describe supposed television episodes, typically kids’ shows, that were either never aired or removed from syndication due to their violent and grotesque content. These supposedly lost episodes often focus on suicide or imply the viewer will suffer great harm. Some lost episode creepypastas focus on local public access shows rather than nationally syndicated shows.
Video game creepypasta focus on video games containing grotesque or violent content; this content may spill over into the real world and cause the player to harm themselves or others. Many video game creepypastas involve malevolent entities such as ghosts or artificial intelligence.
These creepypastas tell of people, usually a teenager, becoming a disfigured psychopathic killer, either because of a bad childhood, an accident, bullying, an experiment gone wrong, or just a supernatural menace. Some of the popular ones include Jeff the Killer, Eyeless Jack, Jane the Killer, and Homicidal Liu.
These creepypastas are of either made up supernatural beings or of actual monsters of legend, myth, and folklore. Some of these beings include Slenderman, Laughing Jack, The Rake, and Zalgo.
Each season of the American television series Channel Zero is based on a different creepypasta.
A feature film called The Soviet Sleep Experiment which is based on the creepypasta "The Russian Sleep Experiment" is scheduled to be released in 2020.
- Roy, Jessica (3 June 2014). "Behind Creepypasta, the Internet Community That Allegedly Spread a Killer Meme". Time. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Considine, Austin (12 November 2010). "Bored at Work? Try Creepypasta, or Web Scares". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Henriksen, Line (17 Dec 2013). "Here be monsters: a choreomaniac's companion to the danse macabre". Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. 23 (3): 414–423. doi:10.1080/0740770X.2013.857082.
- Fernando Alfonso III (August 2, 2013). "4chan hunts down the origins of an Internet horror legend". Daily Dot.
- Dewey, Caitlin (6 June 2014). "The complete, terrifying history of 'Slender Man', the Internet meme that compelled two 12-year-olds to stab their friend". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "Who is "Jeff the Killer"? And is his picture haunted by a real death?". io9. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- Roncero-Menendez, Sara; Piedra, Xavier (September 18, 2018). "17 terrifying creepypastas guaranteed to keep you up at night". Mashable. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- Rife, Katie (5 May 2015). "Machinima announces web series from Clive Barker, Bruce Timm, RoboCop, and more". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Romano, Aja (31 October 2012). "The definitive guide to creepypasta—the Internet's urban legends". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- Nadel, Darcie (1 November 2016). "A Brief History of Creepypasta". TurboFuture. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- Shira Chess (14 October 2016). Sinister Clown Sightings Are a Manifestation of Fear. New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- ‘Slender Man’ Cited in Stabbing Is a Ghoul for the Internet Age. NBC News. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- Bojalad, Alec (22 January 2017). "Beware the Creepypasta: Scary Storytelling in the Internet Age". Den of Geek. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- Peters, Lucia (25 December 2015). "What Is Creepypasta? Here's Everything You Need To Know About The Internet's Spookiest Stories". Bustle. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- "Creepypasta – Jeff the Killer". 12 August 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-08-15.
- "Jeff the Killer: 4chan Hunts Down the Origins of an Internet Horror Legend". The Daily Dot. 2013-08-02. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
- Bencic, Sandra. "The Living Dark: The Story of Ted the Caver (2013)". AllMovie. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- Grippo, p. 176.
- "John Farrelly Set to Release Debut Feature Film The Sleep Experiment". February 22, 2019.
- Grippo, Marisa C. (26 September 2016). "Internet Ghosts". In Pulliam, June; et al. (eds.). Ghosts in Popular Culture and Legend. ABC-CLIO, LLC. pp. 174–176. ISBN 9781440834905.