Creepypasta: Campfire Ghost Stories for the Internet Age

Will Willes on the world of creepypasta, a genre of storytelling quickly becoming the folklore of the internet:

Again, none of these games or shows is real, but stories about them exist in truly bewildering numbers. I had unwittingly stumbled into the world of ‘creepypasta’, a widely distributed and leaderless effort to make and share scary stories; in effect, a folk literature of the web. ‘[S]ometimes,’ wrote the American author H P Lovecraft in his essay ‘Supernatural Horror in Literature’ (1927), ‘a curious streak of fancy invades an obscure corner of the very hardest head, so that no amount of rationalisation, reform, or Freudian analysis can quite annul the thrill of the chimney-corner whisper or the lonely wood.’ These days, instead of the campfire, we are gathered around the flickering light of our computer monitors, and such is the internet’s hunger for creepy stories that the stock of ‘authentic’ urban legends was exhausted long ago; now they must be manufactured, in bulk. The uncanny has been crowdsourced.

The word ‘creepypasta’ derives from ‘copypasta’, a generic term for any short piece of writing, image or video clip that is widely copy-and-pasted across forums and message boards. In its sinister variant, it flourishes on sites such as 4chan.org and Reddit, and specialised venues such as creepypasta.com and the Creepypasta Wiki (creepypasta.wikia.com), which at the time of writing has nearly 15,000 entries (these sites are all to be avoided at work). Creepypasta resembles rumour: generally it is repeated without acknowledgement of the original creator, and is cumulatively modified by many hands, existing in many versions. Even its creators might claim they heard it from someone else or found it on another site, obscuring their authorship to aid the suspension of disbelief. In the internet’s labyrinth of dead links, unattributed reproduction and misattribution lends itself well to horror: creepypasta has an eerie air of having arisen from nowhere.

Full Story: Aeon Magazine: Creepypasta is how the internet learns our fears

(Thanks Adam!)




Not safe for work: The Creepypasta Wiki

Even less safe for work: Encylopedia Dramatica’s list of the best creepypasta

LOST and linearity

It wasn’t until last week’s episode that I figured out what’s been bugging me about this season thus far: it’s too linear.

Sure, there’s the time flashes that have helped us explore the island a little bit. But for the most part, the plot has been moving in a single forward motion. Contrast this with last season: we knew the “Oceanic 6” got off the island – but we didn’t know at first who the Oceanic 6 were. And until the very last episode, we didn’t know how they got off. We also didn’t know what happened to everyone else on the island. There created two narratives: the events on the Island, and the non-linear “flash forwards” about the Oceanic 6.

Having part of the story already laid out and filling in the puzzle pieces non-linearly is one of LOST’s most compelling storytelling devices. We wanted to know what Kate did. How Locke ended up in a wheelchair. Why each character was in Sydney. (I still want to know if there’s more to Sawyer’s background than we know about.)

Weirdly enough, this season we were for the first time being given more answers than questions. And it wasn’t nearly as exciting. Now we have some more puzzle pieces to fill in: How did Ben get beat up? Is Penny ok? Why was Sayid in custody? Why did Hurley decide to come along? Hopefully we’ll also start to see some of Daniel, Ben, Widmore, Richard, and Miles’s stories explored to create more tension.

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