Have you ever found yourself reading a scary story online? You know, maybe some weird trip through Wikipedia, or a thread on Reddit that a friend sent you? Do you remember how you felt reading it? That feeling of uneasiness wasn’t exactly terror, but it compelled you to reluctantly check over your shoulder anyway.
The Internet is filled to the brim with these types of stories. If you’re bored and looking to avoid sleep, head over to the aptly named “Nosleep” subreddit on Reddit or the equally extensive Creepypasta Wiki.
What makes these stories different, and sometimes better, than a typical scary movie is that the scare isn’t really found in the punch line so much as the delivery. Rather than getting you with a jump scare, a good creepypasta (yes, that’s a word) is all about ambiance and the buildup. Depending on where you find it also carries a sliver of possibility regarding its authenticity. The Internet is a vast space, meaning anything is possible.
Take, for example, the creepy “Plague Doctor” video that surfaced on a Swedish tech blog and quickly took the Internet by storm recently. On its surface, it’s simply a strange and slightly foreboding video of an unidentified person in a robe and strange mask, the only sounds being indiscernible static and screeches. What drove the Internet into a frenzy helps explain how the spooky can quickly go viral.
More Than Meets the Eye
WARNING: This video is spooky!
What made the Plague Doctor video so creepy was not immediately discernable on first watch. It wasn’t until it was posted on Reddit that the truly sinister feeling set in. When the Internet detectives got to work, it was discovered that the video was essentially an elaborate puzzle.
Users discovered graphic photos of murder scenes and horror films hidden in the spectrograph, vague messages in code and even an implied threat to the White House. All of this required deeper examination and exemplified how giving something unexpected depth can drive ingenuity and imaginations to the extreme.
Are Monsters Real?
Even after the puzzles were solved, people asked themselves, “Why was this video made and who made it?” There are plenty of reasonable explanations for the video; viral marketing, kids pulling a prank, etc. The fact that no one can determine how or why this video came into existence makes it that much creepier.
The advantage of Internet scary stories is that there’s always some tinge of truth to them. The best creepypastas always give that uncomfortable feeling that this may have happened, either because the story is so relatable or because the Internet is so vast that nothing is out of the question.
Like old school urban legends, these stories are built upon common experiences and are often presented in the first person. It doesn’t hurt that it can be relatively easy to cook up convincing evidence like screenshots of a supposed Facebook chat from a dead loved one.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to getting the most out of any creepypasta is to approach a story as if it is true. If your story is written properly, the nature of the Internet will do the work for you. Like we always say, good content gets the ball rolling no matter the subject.
Nothing drives the imagination crazy like an open-ended question. The best stories, the ones that stick with you long into the night, are those that never completely answer the question.
A majority of what makes a scary story scary is the mind. For the most part, we create our own demons, and when a story stokes our contemplative fires, it’s hard to get it back under control. In a way, that’s also what makes these stories so viral-worthy. Leaving a story open-ended and thus open to interpretation compels readers to linger on and spread them.
We share these stories in the hope of gaining some sort of expanded insight that might quell our fears, or maybe just to see if those fears are shared. If the Internet is a big campfire, then these are the stories we tell to keep each other up at night.
Tell Us Your Story
We at Imagine It Studios love a good scary story because it piques our creativity. We try and use the same methods to get your brand into the conversation, and though horror isn’t always the name of the game, a little mystery never hurt anybody. If you would like to learn more about what we can craft for you, contact us online or give us a call at 956.687.1521.