A dive into the world of Creepypasta, the internet’s viral horror genre

In the 1940s, the Russians brought five political prisoners to a military-run facility, where they were placed in a chamber pumped with experimental gas, to keep them awake for 30 days. They were provided with cots – but without bedding, food and water.

Prisoners would be observed through microphones installed in the chamber and a glass window. This was in the days of pre-CCTV cameras.

Problems began to surface from day five when test subjects refused to eat. One of them started screaming on the ninth day. The others obstructed the window with papers. Then the room became very quiet with only whispers.

When the chamber was opened on the 15th day to find out what was going on and special forces personnel were sent to restrain the subjects, the subjects were seen to have turned into zombie-like creatures – they ate their own flesh and had their skins and several organs missing. One subject was dead. The ensuing struggle resulted in the death of another subject and six hardened soldiers.

The experiment ended when the military commander ordered three scientists to be locked inside the chamber with the last two remaining subjects. The scientists refused but the commander stuck to his order. One of the scientists mutinied and shot the on-scene commander before gunning down the other zombie-like test subjects.

Unlike several other stories of the Soviet Union, which spread to the outside world during the Cold War years or the years after its fall, this horrific story of the 1940s only became public knowledge in 2010 when she surfaced on the internet. It clicked with readers who forwarded it to friends and shared it on every internet platform they knew.

The more than six-decade delay before the story became public was not because it was top secret, but because it never happened. The “Russian Sleep Experiment” is one of the oldest and most successful stories of so-called “Creepypasta” – a genre of highly believable viral horror stories on the Internet.

What is the Creepypasta genre?

Creepypasta refers to the genre of internet horror stories with highly believable, viral, internet-sourced stories – the Russian sleep experiment is just one of many well-known stories.

The name Creepypasta is thought to come from “copy-pasta”, which itself comes from the “copy-paste” nature of these stories, as these stories were copy-pasted in multiple places around the same time due to their virality.

These stories are often told from a realistic first-person perspective, which makes them more believable. While some of the previous stories were text only, several stories contain photographs and even videos, which are often edited.

What makes creepypasta popular and how did the genre evolve?

The unexplained phenomenon, supernatural themes, and deaths are common elements of these stories, which helps them linger more in people’s minds.

From their humble beginnings as viral stories and free-flowing photographs, these stories have now evolved into an organized genre where the authors are now well-known people rather than unknown people as was the case in the beginning. Novels and films have also emerged from the genre, such as Dathan Auerbach’s PenPal series and Felix Blackwell’s Stolen Tongues, both of which were first shared on Reddit.

There were also unintended consequences, such as the stabbing in the United States where two 12-year-old girls stabbed another girl in hopes of protecting their family from ‘Slender Man’ – a character from a published creepypasta in 2009. The character is a very thin and tall man who haunts parks, forests, playgrounds or abandoned buildings.

What are popular creepypastas?

Besides the Russian Sleep Experiment and Slender Man, two of the most well-known creepypasta stories that many find hard to believe are:

• The Lost Pictures of Mickey Mouse is a popular story. In this video, we see Mickey Mouse walking with disturbing background music. About a minute into the video the screen goes black and when it comes back there are screams in the background and more voices join in and it keeps getting grotesque every moment. Mickey’s face is also disfigured towards the end.

The accompanying story is as follows – Film critic Leonard Martin found this clip while looking through an old collection, but was so upset watching this particular video that he walked away and asked an assistant look at it and take notes. The guard that night said the assistant stumbled out of the room after completing the sequence, said the phrase “true suffering is not known seven times”, snatched his weapon and walked away. suicide.

This truly chilling story is of course just a story. There is a whole subgenre of “lost episode” creepypasta.

• The Polybe video game is said to have been used in Portland in the United States in 1981. There are many stories about it. Some say it was a tool of the US government to test mental and physical strength to recruit soldiers. Others say it was a prototype for CIA brainwashing activities. There are also accounts of seizures and brain aneurysms.

Much like the Russian sleep experiment, this story from the 1980s only resurfaced in 1998. This was not because it was a state secret but because it was just a story.

But there’s no shortage of believers, perhaps because the idea of ​​the government spying on people through video games is so appealing – perhaps even more so in the age of Pegasus.

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