Overthinking Everything: Creepypasta Platter

Last time I was sick, I started cycling through my favorite YouTube channels. One of them, Tats Top Videos, had a Halloween video listing their 22 Top Gaming Creepypastas, and thus was I introduced to this corner of the internet. Creepypastas are amazingly creative, and the best of them do what the best horror movies & novels do, which is worm into your brain and refuse to leave.  Thus, let me share some of my favorites by general category.  (Be warned – I will be posting some SPOILERS.)

Overall Favorite: Candle Cove.  Brilliantly executed, this story by Kris Straub takes the form of a forum thread wherein a group of people reminisce about a half-remembered low budged local show, and where said thread comes to an abrupt end thanks to a bizarre, eerie revelation.  The conversational nature of the story being told and the slow reveal of this incredibly odd show (that I’d still watch) is very effective, while the open nature of the ending leaves one with questions.  Why did these people see “Candle Cove” where others saw only static?  Who was responsible for the show?  Has this experience changed them in any way?  It’s probably the most effective way any creepypasta has used a dim childhood memory as a starting point.

Most Terrifying: The Russian Sleep Experiment.  By being built on the notion that enough sleep deprivation will eventually negate not only your sanity but also your humanity, this story hit a nerve.  When I was in my 20s, I had bad insomnia that left me on the verge of a breakdown; even recently, during the hurricane-caused blackout, my lack of sleep affected my behavior that had people concerned for my health in ways I didn’t notice until they addressed it with me.  So I firmly believe that if you keep a person awake long enough, they’ll become an abomination.  Every time I hear it, part of me thinks that even if the tale itself isn’t true the end result certainly could be, and I am scared.  Sadly, guess what the side effect is.  Yep.

Favorite Video Game Creepypasta: Ben Drowned.  This takes a trope that appears in a lot of video game creepypastas – the haunted bootleg game – and makes it work simply because of its choice of game.  Majora’s Mask is a very eerie game on its own (a popular & plausible theory is built around the game being structured around the five stages of grief), and having our narrator be stuck playing through a glitchy copy that drives him to a breakdown thanks to it being haunted by a child’s spirit – or maybe what killed the child whose name it has now taken – makes it all the more horrifying.  Add to that the footage that doesn’t look even remotely faked with that Elegy statue, and you have a story that is justifiably hailed as one of the best game-centric stories.

Favorite Lost Episode: Squidward’s Suicide.  Most “lost episode” stories leave me cold for two reasons – they require the cast of the affected show to act out of character, and they try to explain it by having the creators act oddly as well.  What makes “Squidward’s Suicide” work is that it really doesn’t do any of that.  It builds on an existing character trait (Squidward being a perpetual failure & being frequently depressed) and takes it to a logical extreme.  What’s more, there’s no explanation for why it happens – the creators are horrified by it, the network & the narrator viewing it are all horrified, and there’s no clue as to who or what is responsible for (apparently) switching the tape.  The gore gets to be a bit much at parts, but the essence of it as the one lost episode that doesn’t require ridiculous hoop leaps makes it the best of its bunch.

Favorite Poke-Pasta: Pokemon Dead Channel.  Poke-pastas are a genre in & of themselves.  Lots of ROM hacks, lots of bootlegs, lots of bizarre instances, but this one is the best because of the theme in it.  The narrator is a socially isolated kid whose main social contact is through the game with a Pikachu she names BRVR, who is abandoned in turn once the narrator starts to make real friends.  When a falling-out with the narrator’s best friend occurs, she returns to the game for familiarity & comfort... and discovers that BRVR is still there & has not handled the separation well at all.  What makes it so eerie is that the narrator is maybe a step away from sharing the same broken psyche as BRVR, her isolation & solitude mirroring its in turn and leading to a story filled with uncomfortable parallels.  For having a deeper theme than “that thing you liked as a kid was really evil” and executing it so well, this is probably the finest Poke-pasta written.

Favorite Story about a FUBAR Kids Show: Happy Appy.  This tells of a show that aired on Nick Jr for a hot minute before it was yanked.  What makes it so good, though, isn’t so much the show itself but the meta story.  In the story, the narrator who is investing why the show was yanked finds himself tormented by the show’s insane creator; every person he turns to for information winds up mysteriously dead, and his house even more mysteriously burns to the ground.  That a creator would still make a show, hoping to sell his unnerving & horrifying vision to an unsuspecting world once again, while going to such insane lengths to torment a person trying to expose it is more compelling than “hey, this predicted 9/11”.

Favorite Brony Pasta: The Luna Game series.  It makes sense for a rather large, vocal fan community to have its own collection of creepypastas, most of which take the form of scare-fics like “Cupcakes”.  The Luna Game series, however, is a string of fan games filled with jump scares and, in the later entries, play elements that mess with your mind.  From speedily creeping shadows to seemingly endless pits that build tension to platforms that dissolve into MissingNo clusters, it really makes for an enjoyably terrifying play experience.  And if you’re a fan, you get the feeling that you’re watching the title character trapped in her own private Hell after falling back into villainy.  I recommend at least watching a playthrough.

Best Crazy Conspiracy: Abandoned by Disney.  Look, I like to think I know my abandoned building lore and my Disneyana.  So logic would say that there’s no way the tale of Mowgli’s Palace in Guana Key could possibly be real, especially once you get to what happens in the Character Prep Room (nope, not gonna spoil it – it’s so well-written I want you to read it for yourself).  But given the sheer detail in the story along with the fact that Google Maps absolutely refuses to un-blur Guana Key so you can see any structures, you can’t help but wonder if there’s actually some truth to it...

Most Believable: Robert the Doll.  I thought I dreamed this; years ago, I saw a show on Discovery Channel or one of those other formerly-educational channels that detailed the story of the haunted doll known as Robert down in Florida.  He terrified me then, and knowing that he’s still there, in a museum that keeps letters of apology from guests who learn the hard way not to cross him, makes be terrified all over again.  If you look him up, you will immediately see why.  I never, ever, EVER want to run across Robert in my travels (should they happen) for fear of what might happen.

Most Horrifying Despite All Logic: Smiledog.jpg.  This thing freaks me out every time I see it.  Just... go look at it.  It’s a pure, primal reaction of horror, and I can’t justify it.

Best Hook for a TV Series: The Holders series.  I’m not talking specific entries in the series itself – I’m talking about the concept in general.  A handful of items that promise power to those who seek them, they will almost inevitably twist these Seekers into monstrosities.  The desire to use them as a hook comes straight from Tats Top Videos, where the narrator of the segment said, “One can only hope that one with a just heart prevails over these threats”; being a fan of old-school hidden-ancient-artifact stories, the thought of having a group devoted to stopping Seekers before they can find any Holders and pose a threat to themselves & others is pretty appealing.  (In fact, I do have a series ripe for revival in mind, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

Most Overrated: Dead Bart.  Look, I get the appeal of “lost episodes”, of ferretting out something horrible about something you loved as a child.  There’s a weird thrill to it.  But when you have to jump through logic hoops like you’re a trained poodle to make them work, it’s hard for me to maintain enough willing suspension of disbelief to enjoy it.  I discussed this earlier – it has to work with the characters as they are & it has to not have an explanation at the creator end.  “Dead Bart” requires that the Simpsons be explicitly stated to be acting horribly out of character, with Homer being violently angry & Marge being oddly depressed among other things.  It has the creators being either overly reactive or weirdly cagey & going through a “troubled” period to explain why it exists, when the unknowable horror of the altered tape in “Squidward’s Suicide” is so much more unnerving.  Add to it a tech incident that’s more hilariously stupid than anything and a “prediction” ending that sounds like something from a History Channel show, and it’s hard for me to see why this is so beloved other than the warped nostalgia thing.

So that’s just some of the creepypasta universe.  There’s the tales of favorite figures like Jeff the Killer & Slender Man, there’s the “series” stories about the Holders & the SCP Foundation, and many, many alarmingly altered games.  There’s the short but sweet “Mother’s Call”, which I love to share just to see reactions.  For those interested, there’s...

The Creepypasta Wiki;
YouTube narrators like Creeps McPasta and Mr CreepyPasta;
And the channel that started me down this wormhole, Tats Top Videos (please note, they have some good non-scary gaming videos, too).

Enjoy, and try not to lose as much sleep as I have.

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