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Don’t click on this link! – Five creepypastas to freak yourself out this Halloween week

I believe it is fair to say I have become somewhat of an in-house horror nerd of this publication. It is not rare that every other week, you will find my name attached to some sort of article talking about the twisted indie welsh language release or a good old jump scare-packed TV show.

I have a lot of fun going through that type of content, it is my equivalent of going on a roller coaster ride (I am terrified of heights, the irony). However, like everything in life, you lose some of your sensibility if you do it too much. Let´s dive into five must-watch creepypastas.

Now, you could claim that it is just age that is transforming me into a cynic, after all, you can’t be a frightened child for your whole life. In part, I would have to agree with such a statement – age does make you hardened and desensitized to scary films and books, especially compared to real-life horrors.

No wonder when the horror season rolled around and I started to search for the next great horror content, I felt a little… Underwhelmed. Do not get me wrong, I did find some fun/scary shows and films – like The Midnight Club or Orphan: First Kill – I had a good time watching them. However, none of it truly scared me to my core. There was no being scared of being home alone, walking alone at night or being certain of having seen something just at the edge of your peripheral vision.

Nothing seemed to crack my convictions of ghosts and scary monsters not being real. I was becoming a boring adult. The situation was getting ugly, so I had to take desperate measures and look for my next scary story in the scariest place I could think of: the internet.

Arguably the 21st-century equivalent of the ancient campfire, where our ancestors would scare each other with stories of creatures and ghostly figures just outside the reach of the light, the internet is the perfect environment to craft tales of fear – tales that talk about a vast cast of scary characters and situations, just as vast as the internet can be.

Smiling dogs, killers lurking on internet forums, ladies holding oranges. These creepy stories, also known as creepypastas, are true creations of those who understand what makes people tick, the nuances that separate a normal human interaction from an unnerving situation that will keep you up at night.

So, to start the spooky season with some of the scariest stories out there in the world, I would like to share with you readers a list of five creepypastas that have made me jump up on my bed, afraid someone might grab my feet, at the ripe age of twenty-four.

N#5 – Jeff the Killer

I could not make a list of creepypastas without mentioning our old internet friend, Jeff the Killer. This story seems to be lurking around internet forums for as long as they have existed, with many different iterations of the tale of Jeff. This creepypasta can be traced back to around 2005 and, it is believed that it originated from the image (yes, you know which one) that accompanies it. The website has a full page dedicated to the lore and background of this scary internet monster’s origins.

Creepypastas - Jeff the killer

If you’re unfamiliar with Jeff, allow me to provide you with an overview. Thirteen-year-old Jeff and his family – mother, father and brother, Lui – move to a new town. There, Jeff and his brother are badly bullied and in an attempt to defend his brother, Jeff beats the bullies badly in return. Unfortunately, Lui ends up taking the blame and gets taken away by the police (Lui is younger than Jeff, mind you).

Jeff becomes guilt-ridden, but things take a turn to the worst when the bullies catch Jeff once more and attack him by burning his skin with bleach. Fair to say, Jeff’s mind snaps and he is institutionalized. For some odd reason, he is discharged and now roams free in the world, in a senseless murder spree in revenge for his brother’s unfair punishment.

There are many factors to Jeff’s story, like self-mutilation and the classic catchphrase “Go to sleep”. As you can see, our old friend Jeff is clearly the product of many storytellers contributing to an idea, plot lines get mixed up and a lot of it just feels a little contrived. That is why it came as N#5 on the list. However, it is fair to say Jeff was a trailblazer when it comes to shaping what has become internet culture. And that picture is scary as sh*t, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

N# 4 – My mom’s friend and her orange

Alright, this is a… weird one. As the title indicates, it involves a woman, an orange (yes, the citrus fruit we all love) and some scary twists and turns.

Unlike Jeff the Killer, where the story is passed on, almost like an urban legend (world of mouth style), this creepypasta takes a first-person narrator approach. The original post starts with a man explaining to the readers that he has reached a breaking point and needs to share this story with someone. When he was a teen, one of his mom’s work friends used to terrorize him by acting weird when his mom was not around by offering him an orange. This goes on for some time until we reach the present time, where our narrator reveals a twist in his story.

This is definitely a weird one, with very specific lore and a multi-chapter (yes, chapters) narrative. Along with the creepy imagery and the absurd conclusion (or lack thereof), this fresh approach to storytelling truly captured my imagination! You can find the original post here.

N#3 – The Russian Sleep Experiment

This one is definitely not for the faint of heart. As the name suggests, according to this story, as the world recovers from the chaos and destruction caused by World War II, a group of Russian scientists decided to use five political prisoners as their lab rats.

The core question for their experiment was very straightforward: what happens when a person can not sleep for a whole month? The project is quickly set up and the five political prisoners are locked into a room, drenched in a gas that prevents them from falling asleep.

What ensues is truly the stuff of nightmares, making the writers of Saw (hi James Wan and Leigh Whannell) seem like children in the playground. If you dare, here is the story of The Russian Sleep Experiment.

N# 2 – Analogue Horror

Okay, alright! I will be the first to admit this is not exactly a creepypasta or even a story, per se. I would describe analogue horror more as a subgenre, the same way slashers and ghosts are part of the horror umbrella.

These videos – because they are almost always short videos – are made to resemble footage created through analogue media (hence the name). An old TV broadcast, FM radio, or some random home video. It all seems normal enough until this footage is hijacked or interrupted by strange announcements and, sometimes, forces.

If you are old enough, you might remember the feeling of watching TV late at night and the program is suddenly interrupted by a blue screen or the buzzing noise that accompanies the SMPTE colour lines.

You could say analogue horror is part of the found footage world of horror, but unlike its older brother, analogue horror doesn’t usually involve obvious stories or characters. It relies mostly on a feeling of uneasiness, the disruption of normalcy. I will link my favourite analogue horror video here, but trigger warning: do not watch this alone in a room.

N#1 – Candle Cove

How could I make this list without having the most beloved creepypasta of all time? Candle Cove is truly a piece of masterful transmedia storytelling, taking advantage of the format of a discussion forum to create a sense of credibility to the whole thing.

If you are unfamiliar, Candle Cove begins with a post at a forum called NetNostalgia. The person asks if other people remember the kid’s show named Candle Cove. They disclaim their memory about the whole thing is fuzzy, but that the show was probably local and it ran during a strange time of day for a kid’s show (at 4 pm to be exact). This person explains they couldn’t find out about it online, so they decided to ask in the forum. Soon the original post gets replies from other people who remember the show, but there is no trace of it online either.

Creepypastas - Candle Cove

Slowly, what started as an innocent post about a kids’ show, unravels into a creepy story that will, honestly, make the hairs on the back of your neck go up.

This story is so big that it was chosen to be the first story told on the anthology show called Channel Zero from the genre channel Syfy. It is a must-watch if you are a fan of this type of story.

Unfortunately, I could not find the original post anywhere, but maybe you remember where you last saw it, right? (jokes aside, here’s a transcript of the post).