Tag Archives: internet

What Previous Google Projects Can Tell Us About Calico

6 Oct

On September 18th, Google announced the launch of its most ambitious venture yet; tackling the aging process of the human body. California Life Company, or Calico, will be led by Arthur Levinson, current Chairman of Genentech and Apple, and promises to try and “improve millions of lives.”

The project is ambitious, and certainly a far cry from what the technology giant is known for. However, Larry Page and Google have regularly tried to push forward into new frontiers – funding electric cars, augmented reality glasses, and even asteroid mining. But what, exactly, can we learn from Google and Page’s previous undertakings?

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The most obvious comparison to make is with Google Health. A service for storing personal health information, similar to Microsoft’s HealthVault, it was supposed to merge medical records with a variety of partners to allow for a centralised, integrated profile. Google Health launched in 2008, yet was discontinued as of January 2012, Google’s cited reason being that it did not “create the impact we wanted.”

Although the project was a failure, proponents of Calico can still be upbeat. The new enterprise is focused on long-term goals, whereas Google Health was clearly aimed at the more immediately reachable target of creating an empowered user base in control of their own medical history. Expecting short-term definitive results from a project whose goal is to combat death would be a bit inflexible, to say the least.

There have also been other recent closures. Google Reader, a RSS interface that was still popular with a large base of power users, was discontinued in July of this year. Although the main reason given for the closure was the steady decline of membership, there have been reports that Page personally had no interest in continuing Reader – and because of this, no manager wanted to take on the project and move into an area that their own CEO saw as unessential.

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Google Labs, too, was abandoned. A system to help promote, distribute and test prototype Google features to interested parties, it was eventually ceased in 2011 – soon after the announcement of Google Health’s closure – with Page citing a need for greater “focus” on areas of advancement.

Both Labs and Health closed soon after Page officially became CEO of Google, and tied in with a new Google strategy: “more wood behind fewer arrows.” This was, essentially, to put more support behind the projects that truly mattered. Will this include Calico? Is it a venture that Google will want to put time, effort, and money behind indefinitely? Or could it eventually become a project dropped in favour or something deemed more worthwhile in the future?

Perhaps hints can be found in Page’s other recent investments, all of which fall into the areas of future technology and humanitarian enterprise. There was, for instance, the high-profile investment in Makani Power, the research and development company aiming at creating airborne wind turbines to produce renewable energy. In 2013 it was taken into the fold of Google X, a division that has given us Google Glasses and is working towards the creation of self-driving cars and neural networks.

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As an individual, Page has also made a series of private investments in future technology, including Tesla Motors, an electric car manufacturer. Then there is Planetary Resources Inc, a company with the aim of mining precious materials from asteroids. It sounds far-fetched, but so far the celebrity venture – other investors include Ross Perot Jr. and director James Cameron – has had great success, raising their target of $1 million from a Kickstarter campaign, and Planetary Resources Inc is currently planning for a launch in 2014, to test out technologies for their asteroid-locating satellite.

Given this continual, philanthropic strategy, can we be positive regarding Calico? Time will tell. Progress is unlikely to be apparent for decades, even with such a respected expert as Arthur Levinson on board as CEO. Google and Calico are exploring a revolutionary territory: precisely the sort of area that excites Page, but with many pitfalls and dangers of becoming a time – and money – sink. But given how different these recent projects are from those abandoned since Page took over Google’s reins, perhaps there is a long-term cause to celebrate. The Calico project is, after all, a noble one, and one with the potential to change the face of medical science.

Who Owns Slender Man?

2 Oct

On Monday, a fascinating article regarding commodification of memes was posted, in particular surrounding the use of a phrase from Hark! A Vagrant (a damn, damn fine comic that you should all be reading) on Grumpy Cat merchandise. It’s raised questions about ownership in the online sphere, about content created and adapted by the faceless creative collective of the internet. Is it moral to sell merchandise and content that has been built upon the ideas of other, uncredited people? Is it even legal?

So, speaking of faceless things, let’s take on this issue by picking a single online presence to go under the microscope: Slender Man.

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For those of you who don’t know, Slender Man is terrifying. Often dubbed the “first internet urban legend”, it has reached far beyond the expectations for an internet scary story, particularly one with such humble beginnings. Slender Man actually originated on the website Something Awful, in a thread where members were challenged to create paranormal images. A user called Victor Surge, real name Eric Knudsen, created a series of images showing a tall, tentacle-armed figure that kidnapped children. It took the thread by storm, and before long Slender Man had moved beyond Knudsen’s vision.

Marble Hornets is the first, and most popular, Slender Man YouTube series. Its creators, Joseph DeLage and Troy Wagner, also used Something Awful, and were inspired by Knudsen’s images to create a vlog series that would evolve further into an ARG. The series was an instant hit, and is still one of the most frightening things to be found on the web.

Interestingly, the term ‘Slender Man’ is never used in the series – the being is called The Operator – and some parts of the Slender Man mythos, such as the tentacles, were removed. Marble Hornets, now in its third season, spawned various further Slender Man narratives, all adding and subtracting parts of the character to suit their own needs. Two more popular YouTube series were created, called EverymanHybrid and Tribe Twelve, as well as various blogs and stories.

Then, in 2012, Slender Man made its largest jump into the cultural consciousness. A free-to-play game called Slender: The Eight Pages, created by Parsec Productions, was a smash, loved by horror fans and picked up by a number of gaming sites. Before too long, Slender Man was a household name in geek circles, and with that came more projects. Many derivative games, including other strange, tall characters. The Slender Man, a Kickstarter project to make a feature film that successfully reached its target of $10,000. World domination beckoned for Slender Man, which is a terrifying thought for a creature that is partly deemed to get its power from the number of people who believe in its existence.

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However, with these latest projects, the issue of ownership and creation really came to a fore. With Marble Hornets, Knudsen was accepting of their use of his character – after all, it was for a free series, certain aspects had been changed, and it was even born out of the same space – the Something Awful Photoshop thread. Knudsen even found it “interesting” that people were able to build upon his original images to create something more, although over time he has become more hesitant over his praise of other uses of Slender Man. One thing is clear – Knudsen has generally been happy for people to use the character, as long as it is not for profit.

And as such, there have been teething problems for a number of other projects. Although Faceless, a video game based on the Slender Man mythos, received the consent of Knudsen before creation, Steam – the online distribution service – refused to allow the game to be shared through their system until they had received permission from Knudsen themselves. Slender: The Arrival, a sequel to Slender: The Eight Pages, has licensed the character from Knudsen. This appears to have been necessary because unlike its predecessor, The Arrival is not free-to-play. Interestingly, the game was also written by the creators of Marble Hornets, meaning that the three largest influencers on the urban legend were all involved in the project.

Slenderman

The Slender Man movie has had less luck. After achieving its Kickstarter target, the film was completed and put online in 2013. However, the film was forced offline after legal action. This, in spite of the fact that the film was originally going to be a free online release. What caused the need for legal action by a mysterious third-party rights owner? The use of the name Slender Man? Or is it that the project had already gained money via Kickstarter? Either way, the film has had to change a variety of components before re-release, which we are told is coming soon.

And that’s the saga of Slender Man ownership up to date. So far Knudsen has, generally, been able to protect his creation from outside use, albeit with difficulty. But if Slender Man continues to grow as a narrative, how much longer can he keep control?

I Write About Pornography, and it Gets Awkward for Everyone

27 Jul

By now, you’ll have heard the uproar over David Cameron’s call for a pornography opt-in from UK ISPs . Of course you have. It’s the internet, and the moment anyone calls for any form of censorship the keywords of “tyranny” and “liberties” light up immediately. It’s caused uproar over suppression and internet access. After the death of Tia Sharp, Maria Miller called for a crack-down on online pornography, linking it to the savage attack. It’s a plan that has been on the cards a long time, though. So, if these regulations do come into effect, are they genuinely going to make a difference?

"You! Stop masturbating!"

“You! Stop masturbating!”

The answer is a complicated one. If the government’s true aim is to stop child abuse by blocking violent pornography and only allowing ‘regular’ pornographic content by opt-in, then probably not. By attempting to stop child pornography through conventional online access points, they are targeting precisely the wrong area. Most illegal pornography is not found via Google searches and usual online means – instead via password-protected forums and even more regularly via the deep web, an area outside of the regular web and only accessible through specific browsers, full of illegal and immoral activities – drug dealing, abusive and illegal pornography, wild animal trading, even the ability to hire hitmen. If the government really want to target the sharing and growth of child pornography, then they are going about it the wrong way. There is even an argument that by restricting search terms at surface level web access, it could make it harder to find and convict paedophiles. Cameron’s proposals also correlate violent adult pornography with violent attacks against children. Is there any genuinely link or causation between violent fetishes and these kinds of attacks?

The success of Cameron’s plans rests on two things: shame and fear. Shame from adults unwilling to opt in to allowing porn access on their own networks, unwilling to announce themselves to an ISP as a pervert. Fear from parents, worried about their children coming across material entirely unsuitable for them – or even material unsuitable for anyone. But in the case of concerned parents, surely this is a moot point; parental guidance locks already exist, allowing mothers and fathers to regulate what sites a computer can access. And if a child can get around these, they can get around any ISP block.

A further problem: any photo of Titans & Kings counts as pornographic content.

A further problem: any photo of Titans & Kings counts as pornographic content.

Of course, one of the worrying things about these measures is the precedents they set. We’ve already learned that pornography is not the end, that there are other long-term goals. The government will be restricting access to something they consider unsavoury, so what else can they, or future governments, deem not suitable for public access without a conscious opt-in? Violent film and television? One thing that has always astounded me, personally, is that sex is seen as a more adult taboo than seeing a man blown apart in a 12A or 15-certificate film. Fans of video games have a right to be concerned, too, given previous Conservative Party leanings on the subject. Subversive and extreme material could already come under the opt-in, for instance the hilarious yet pornographic webcomic Oglaf. Or, speaking more high-brow, documentaries such as Graphic Sexual Horror, an intelligent piece of cinema looking at the role of violent pornography – both positive and negative – yet containing examples of pornography within it.

Some, too, have issue with the hypocrisy of this move. The measure is meant to try and stop the access of pornographic material from everyday society, out of the eyes of those who shouldn’t see it. Yet, the government have laughed off Page 3 protests, dismissing the objections of Caroline Lucas. Surely if the end goal was one of respect and a limit on negative sexualisation, these arguments – and those who mention the negative body image and gender roles given in publications such as the Daily Mail (not to mention the Daily Mail’s dubious content about female teenagers) – would be taken more seriously?

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This brings me on to something else. Could these plans have some merit? Stepping away, objectively, from concerns over future censorship over other areas, could this opt-in actually have a positive societal change in relation to sex and pornography? Because pornography is, well, nasty. Violent porn is a fetish (or, indeed, a group of fetishes) in itself, but even with ‘vanilla’ porn there is often violence, violent imagery, or subjugation, as if it has become a sexual norm in the industry. A horrendously exploitative industry at that, equating human beings to objects to be discarded after use. The shelf life of a female porn star is tiny, with odds stacked against having a safe, ‘normal’ life afterwards and awful working conditions. If the woman is not a star, it is even worse, but with equal amounts of the collective stigma. And worse again for the male porn star or male pornographic actor – less pay on average and an even shorter career. The industry itself is oftentimes rotten, and the imagery that it creates – particularly in terms of normal sexual practices and the treatment of women within sexual relationships – could be dangerous if gleaned as gospel by young, impressionable minds.

For instance, not every man is this attractive.

For instance, not every man is this attractive.

Pornography itself, as a concept, is not sexist. It’s not immoral. It is a form for creating the sexual gratification of others. But certain aspects of pornographic content, even mainstream, could have a genuine, negative effect on society. But, is this opt-in block going to change what the true issues of the industry are? Will restrictions on forms of pornography actually help curb these tendencies and help create more well-rounded content for those who want it? We will have to see. But I, personally, am dubious as to whether any kind of block will help with the end-goal of the campaign – to stop horrendous attacks against the most vulnerable. Surely the time, money and effort could be spent in other ways – education and rehabilitation, helping to develop a mutual respect within relationships and within society. Instead of open eyes to the seedy underbelly of our society, of misogyny, a minority with a lack of sexual respect and violent tendencies, it seems as though the government have decided that the best strategy is to draw the curtains on the matter entirely.

Black Crown. Or, How I Came to Know A Genuine Pioneer

16 Jul

For once I will not be promoting the various ‘creative’ projects that I have come to acquire over the years, shoving them down your throat like so many overcooked pieces of broccoli. Instead, I would like to talk about one of the most fascinating, original pieces of writing and gaming to appear in recent years.

It’s called Black Crown, and it’s a bold storytelling experience from Random House. In its simplest form, it is horror. One way to describe it is as a completely modernised, innovative multi-option choose-your-own-adventure story, taken to its highest, most thrilling, literary ceiling; a multitextual new media narrative with ARG elements, requiring both gameplay interaction and a deep involvement with the story. And it is a story which will send shivers deep down your spine.

I discovered this project by not discovering it at all. I know the author. Rob Sherman, the creator of the world of the Black Crown project. At home playing delicate acoustic guitar at a folk festival, yet who you could see quite at home on top of a mountain, wearing woad and yelling insults at the old gods.

He also plays some of the greatest music you have never heard.

He also plays some of the greatest music you have never heard.

I met him at university, both studying English and then Creative Writing. Even then, when surrounded by people with that glint of imaginative spark, of untapped potential both hindered and cultivated by having so much time to both think and drink copious amounts of alcohol, Sherman was immediately recognizable as being damn special. He not only had an incredible creative drive, determination, but also an original way of thinking that constantly kept him ahead of the curve. If any of us deliciously inventive types were going to create a great work of fiction, art, music, it was going to be him.

We were given an early glimpse of what would become Black Crown at the end of our Masters, tasked with completed a creative dissertation. Most of us played it safe, writing a novella, a long piece of non-fiction, screenplay, a poetry collection. I chose to write a film script, a supernatural mystery that, in spite of very good marks and feedback from both academics and fellow students, is currently gathering dust on my bookshelf, waiting to be re-edited.

blackcrownRob Sherman’s project, though, was different. He kept it secret from the rest of us for a long time, only dropping hints when necessary. Non-linear, he would utter. A collection of first hand sources. Mystery was intensified when we were asked to contribute. A select few of us – band members, course-mates, friends – arrived at a retro shop to meet a photographer with a very vintage camera. Rob then threw bizarre clothing items at us, asked us to change. I was given a vest and braces, another band member a gas mask. We were photographed next to backdrops, ancient versions of ourselves, scratched with sepia. And still the end goal was unknown. Sherman had unconsciously perfected, within real life, the key to mystery: for every question that is answered, two more need to be asked.

Eventually, submission came round, tomes carried to campus. Metal-wound scripts for myself, delicately-bound poetry and graphic novels for others. And then came Rob Sherman, carrying a red case. A case covered in arcane signs, tattered notes. It caused a bit of a storm, this unique creation. A story of a lost town, told via a series of half-connected clippings, photos, documents. All of it tied up in a physical, tangible item. A work so brilliant that there was even a workaround made for the English office’s requirement of two copies of each assignment being submitted. After all, how exactly can you hand in two copies of such a unique work, whose sheer presence is part of the storytelling experience?

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After that, Sherman slaved, modified, augmented. The project morphed slowly, over thousands of hours of dedicated work into Black Crown, the devastating horror that is available to experience, for free, now, online. It’s what would happen if HP Lovecraft had written House of Leaves as a series of emails late at night. If the SCP Foundation had grown up in to a living, breathing, literary entity. If Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero had built upon the eldritch abominations of the past, not the future. A monster, made complete by its absolute originality. After all, the most important part of all great horrors is the unknown – and Black Crown breaks so many barriers that you half expect it to claw through your screen into real life.

White Birches: An Excerpt

19 Feb

Hi folks! It’s time for another fiction excerpt from ol’ Rob. This one is from a horror story about the dark side of internet culture, called White Birches – because I am useless at making up names for things.

* * * * *

The disk arrived at the office on a Wednesday. It was in a jiffy bag, the address crudely scrawled across the front in permanent marker. There was nothing else inside the package. There were no written instructions, and no explanations: just a DVD covered with strange, red symbols. The sort of symbols that Arthur Brown or King Crimson might have gotten kicks out of.

They received these every so often. They were usually pranks from bratty teenagers, bored of smoking pot and video games and instead turning an instant of their attention to the much-maligned local paper. Curiosity would get the better of the journalist, and they’d have a look at the disk’s files. Normally the disks were full of extreme fetish pornography, with the odd nasty virus thrown in for good measure.

It didn’t feel like a prank to Amanda, though. For one thing, the kids were usually desperate for their prank to work. The jiffy would at least have contained a note reading “IMPORTANT”, “SCANDAL” or “COVER-UP INFORMATION”. The symbols were new, too. If this was the work of kids, they had a damn sight more creativity than the usual little shits.

That meant it was the work of a local nutter: a penchant for symbols, sloppy handwriting, no explanatory documents. It reminded Amanda of something she’d been given a couple of years before, whilst working an internship at a slightly more respected news source. The package then had consisted of a CD-ROM with a couple of hundred documents detailing a man’s eating habits and bowel movements. She had, after reading an ode to the effects of raw beef, decided not to view the accompanying video.

Still, this didn’t put her off. She put the disk into her ancient, clunking desktop, and it immediately started wailing in frustration. After a minute of processing – probably deciding if it was worth the risk of doing something useful and raising Amanda’s expectations – it read the disk. There was only one file: ASH.mov.

Amanda had a choice: to either continue writing her current, fascinating piece on a local gentleman’s classic motorbike collection, or play the file. She made the only choice a journalist in her position would ever take, dreams of Watergate in her eyes.

It soon became apparent that her presumption had been accurate. A tall, slightly overweight man stood in frame, behind a mahogany table in a dark room. The walls were covered in what looked like newspaper clippings. He looked directly into the camera for a brief moment, and then stripped, carefully placing his clothes on the table. He then ducked under the table for a moment, returning with a tin of black paint. He opened the lid and plunged his hands into the paint. Slowly, precisely, he painted the entirety of his body with his hands. When done, he closed his eyes, a shadow in front of the camera, the only light coming from somewhere off-shot.

The footage cut to a forest, at night. The painted man was walking through the trees, being followed by a cameraman. He stumbled through the undergrowth, the light from the camera’s lamp picking up on the splotches of dark red amongst the black where the man had cut himself on thorns and broken branches. Eventually, the painted man and the cameraman reached a lake. The painted man turned to the camera, and stood, silently. After a few seconds, the footage cut to black.

It was the work of a local lunatic, just as she had predicted. There was only one difference for Amanda. She knew who the painted man was.

The man’s name was Andrew Cleveland. An old school acquaintance, Amanda had not seen him in years. They had not been friends, only taken classes together, a decade and a half before. They had barely spoken, even, but Amanda remembered names, faces, places, times. As soon as she saw Andrew’s face, she knew who he was. She knew that he had sat two rows behind her on Mrs Tavistock’s Maths class. She knew that he had been part of a quiet, unassuming friendship group that was neither popular nor ostracised. Back then, Andrew had been turning into the normal, adequate, standard British male. Something had happened, to turn him into whatever it was he had become.

Mental illness can hit anyone. The most seemingly well-adjusted person in the world can suddenly shift roles, drop into the dirty-windowed world of depression. Doesn’t matter how normal, how rich, how secure. It will seep inside the veins, attack from within, and leave its victims as nothing more than an empty shell. Andrew Cleveland had clearly been affected by, well, something. Amanda didn’t know him. She had no idea what had happened in his life, the innermost workings of his mind. She never had done, not really, but this shadow seemed a far cry from the boy she had once known.

She decided to investigate. Not just for the story, if there even was one. Fall all she knew, it could have been some kind of stunt. He could be perfectly happy, having just done something for laughs or as some kind of stunt. But there was no point in trying to be a journalist with integrity if, when something interesting came up, you dropped it for the mundane, suburban regularity of safe stories. She dropped her editor, Clive, an email, and didn’t wait for a reply. One way or another, ASH.mov would have her attention.

* * * * *

That’s it, for now. Another post soon!

Fear Dot Com: Scariest Places on the Web

23 Jul

A little while ago I gave you a brief look at the internet storytelling known as Creepypasta. But that’s not the only place to get chills online. Here is a rundown of some of my other favourite scary sites and series.

 
Marble Hornets

Marble Hornets has been responsible for more sleepless nights than all of the horror films I have seen combined. Based on the Slender Man mythos, an internet-created urban legend that originated on the Something Awful forums in this thread, Marble Hornets is a first-person, Found Footage series that somehow manages to tap into our fear of things that go bump in the night. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example:

If you fancy seeing more, then here is a playlist for all your Marble Hornets needs. Currently in its third season, the plot is getting deeper and darker.

If you’d like to see more Slender Man stuff, then check out EverymanHybrid’s deliciously meta take on Slendy or his own wiki page. When you’re done with that, check out this free Slender Man game and scare yourself silly.

 

Internet Story

The tale of an online treasure hunt. Better for you just to see it yourself:

Wonderfully told with a brilliant finale, Internet Story has become a cult classic in the internet community.

 

The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost Comic

A Korean webcomic written by HORANG. Originally in Korean, an English version of the comic was made and can be found here. There was also a sequel of sorts, set in a train station.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘comics, eh? That won’t be that scary’. Well, go ahead and click. Do it. Oh, and film your reaction because it will be hilarious.

 

DaywaltFearFactory and Fewdiodotcom

If the raw nature of Marble Hornets isn’t quite to your fancy, then don’t fret: there are a number of fantastic short horror films who call Youtube home. Pick of the pile, though, are probably Daywalt Horror and Fewdio.

Here’s my personal favourite:

 

The SCP Foundation & The Holders

The SCP Foundation captures and then documents the effects of a number of paranormal ‘artefacts’ that would otherwise be a danger to the human race. Within the site are stories with a very particular style; case entries for the different SCPs that are under the Foundation’s care. Although their mantra is to “Secure, Contain, and Protect”, some of the most chilling stories are those that revolve around the lengths the Foundation will go to keep the human race safe.

The SCPs are varied in nature: from a statue that attacks when you lose eye contact, a toaster that affects the human mind in an interesting way, a mysterious coral growth, or the victim of a cult who must be constantly tortured to stop the birth of a being that could destroy the world.The series (originally Creepypasta) is constantly evolving, and with moderators stopping crossovers from other IPs there is always something unique to find.

Similar to The SCP Foundation, The Holders tells us about 538 objects that “must never come together. Ever”. The site consists of instructions on exactly how to obtain these items…although given what you sometimes need to go through, you probably don’t want to.

 

Various Terrifying Youtube Videos

So I’ve already posted the wonder that is Marble Hornets. Here are a few others. Vicious516 posts Creepypasta readings as well as other scary vids:

Foundmedia23 bought a load of random Betamax tapes and all of them are fucking weird:

No Through Road makes you want to never drive down country lanes again:

 

I think that will do for now. Just remember that if you’re bored and fancy seeing something scary, there are plenty of horrifying sites on the internet. And I’m not just talking about 4chan…

A Beginner’s Guide to Creepypasta

18 Jul

If you read the blog regularly, or follow me on Twitter/Facebook, then you’ll see that I mention Creepypasta an awful lot. What is this mysterious and oddly-named phenomenon? Well, I’m here to give you a crash course on all things freaky and fusili-related.

Creepypasta is, quite simply, a type of horror short story, often found on message boards or blogs. Sometimes the subject matter will be something in internet or geek culture – a videogame (with Zelda, Pokémon or Minecraft being particular favourites), a television show (Spongebob Squarepants, My Little Pony, The Simpsons etc) , or a specific website or online video.

No, not THAT kind of online video!

Typically, the author of the Creepypasta will have received a mysterious email, picked up a second-hand videogame, or have ‘stumbled across’ something when online. Other times, though, the stories are simple, up-front horror fiction with a slight difference in writing style – predominantly towards first-hand experience from a first person perspective.

What I love about Creepypasta is how it seems to have become the online equivalent of telling scary stories around the camp fire. You’ll find threads on message boards based entirely around Creepypasta and frightening images – and even message boards set up just for the paranormal: 4chan’s /x/, and Reddit’s /r/nosleep and /r/creepy for instance. You’ll get internet users trying to scare the pants off each other, or even reading just to get a kick out of the stories.

Another interesting thing about Creepypasta is the way that it uses other media other than prose – video, photo, and audio in particular. Say you’re reading about a forgotten TV show from the author’s childhood; what better way to make it more real than to provide footage of said show? Or maybe you read about someone getting sent a weird audio file from an old friend – along with the post, there could be the audio file attached.

All in all, reading Creepypasta is a unique and fun experience. As it’s an uncensored, unedited form of writing, sometimes you’ll come across poorly-written – or even worse, boring – stories. Sometimes it’s actually scary. Other times it’s deliberately funny, making fun of the many clichés that have already infested the genre.

“Oh, wow it’s another person that’s found a haunted copy of Mario 64. I wonder how many haunted videogames are out there!”

Here are a few of my favourite Creepypasta stories:

Candle Cove

The members of a message board discuss the mysterious kids TV show Candle Cove. An intrepid youtuber also found footage of the show and posted it online here.

Ben (Haunted Majora’s Mask)

The biggest, and most well-known, of the videogame horror stories. A video-game enthusiast finds a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. But there’s something wrong with the game’s save files. Very long, with video included, the payoff is definitely worth it. This link includes all the videos in chronological order for the story. For other examples see Pokémon Creepy Black and Herobrine.

Gateway of the Mind

An example of an original Creepypasta idea. A experiment to try and find, and talk, to god leads to a unexpected results. Video here.

Squidward’s Suicide

The urban legend of a missing, terrifying Spongebob Squarepants episode. Also see Suicide Mouse.

Normal Porn for Normal People

An internet user gets sent a link to a disturbing site called Normal Porn for Normal People. He shares his findings as the nature of the videos rapidly spirals.

Pale Luna

A story from the 1980s about a computer game named Pale Luna, shared solely in the San Francisco Bay area. The game has been recreated here.

Interested in finding more? Well, here are some of the best places to find Creepypasta online:

4chan’s /x/ – Plenty of paranormal stuff here. Bear in mind it’s 4chan, so watch out.

/r/nosleep – If you like what you’ve read so far, this subreddit is made up of people telling scary stories.

creepypasta.wikia.com – A wiki full of Creepy stories.

inuscreepystuff.blogspot.co.uk – Blog with a very nice Creepypasta collection.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at things that go bump online. In a future blog post I’m going to share with you all some of my favourite non-Creepypasta-but-still-interwebz-based chills. Before then, though, there’s some film that’s coming out about some nutjob vigilante who dresses in a ridiculous costume and beats the crap out of people.

You probably haven’t heard of it.