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What Are Creepypastas? When Scary Stories Turn Dangerous

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Image Credit: MontyLov/Unsplash

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Creepypastas lurk in the dark corners of the internet. When enough users uncover one, it can quickly spread across the internet.

You’ve probably heard the term “creepypasta” tossed around over the last few years, but weren’t sure what it is. It does have a very misleading name, after all.

Is a creepypasta a monster or is it an Italian dish? I hope you’re not scared easily, because we’re going to talk about creepypastas.

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What Is a Creepypasta?

The name “creepypasta” originated from the word “copypasta.” Copypastas are stories that get copied and pasted around the internet. Do you remember those annoying emails that would tell you to forward it to 20 other people or face the risk of dying? That’s a good example of a copypasta.

A copypasta shouldn’t be confused with a creepypasta, which doesn’t have anything to do with chain e-mails.

Creepypastas are horror stories that get treated like urban legends. These stories often contain terrifying elements of gore, murder, suicide, ghosts, and monsters. They’re basically written to scare the bejeezus out of anyone who reads them.

In the past, users copied and pasted creepypastas throughout the web. Now that there are “established” creepypasta authors, it’s generally frowned upon to copy someone else’s story. However, it’s still common to see characters from popular creepypastas emerge in another author’s story.

Where Can You Read Creepypastas?

You can read some creepypastas for yourself on the site fittingly called Creepypasta. The Creepypasta website contains some of the first creepypastas, and also frequently adds new submissions.

The Reddit forum /r/nosleep boasts about 13 million subscribers, making it another goldmine for creepypastas. Users post new creepypastas daily—some stories are poorly written, but others will definitely keep you interested.

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Why Are Creepypastas so Scary?

Authors often write Creepypastas in the first-person. They blur the line between fiction and reality, and make you wonder: “Did the author actually experience this?” The /r/nosleep’s forum mysterious description reads: “Everything is true here, even if it’s not.” This ambiguity shows itself in every creepypasta.

Photos also add to the scare-factor. In some instances, a photo sparks the idea for an author’s creepypasta, while in other cases photos are created for the creepypasta. Either way, a photo just makes the creepypasta more chillingly real.

When Creepypastas Come to Life

Some people take creepypastas way too far. Adults are less likely to believe in the authenticity of a creepypasta, but some teenagers and children take the stories at face-value. This is where creepypastas pose a very real threat.

The Slender Man Stabbing

Slenderman Creepypasta

Image Credit: Mahyar Sarreshteh/Unsplash

I’m sure you remember the 2014 incident in which a 12-year old girl brutally stabbed her friend in order to show off to the creepypasta, Slender Man.

The creepypasta originated from edited images depicting an extremely tall man prowling behind children. The person who posted the photos included unsettling captions that came from “witnesses” and described how Slender Man abducted children.

Slender Man’s tall and thin stature, formal attire, and faceless head haunted anyone who looked at those doctored images. This lead many users to create creepypastas about Slender Man, enriching the story behind him even more.

The Momo Challenge

More recently, the dangerous Momo Challenge has spread across social media with the help of creepypastas.

Just like Slender Man, the character “Momo” came into existence because of a photo. Keep in mind that Momo isn’t a doctored image—it’s an actual sculpture by the Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa. After the picture of Momo went viral in 2018, a suicide game targeting teenagers and children emerged, resulting in real deaths.

Momo has since inspired countless creepypastas. Some stories detail an author’s encounter with Momo, while others tell the story of the narrator’s child participating in the challenge. Will these fictional legends solidify someone’s belief in Momo?

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Capturing the Essence of Creepypastas

Creepypastas are harmless, but the fear seems so real to people that they start performing dangerous stunts. After you watch a horror movie, it’s easy to deduce that the movie is completely fake and that the movie’s producer created the characters using CGI.

However, creepypastas have an element of truth in them that you can’t shake. There’s no validation that the story is actually fake, and you’re left to figure that out on your own.

Want to read about something a little more lighthearted? Check out these laughable horror films you should watch on your next movie night.

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Brandon Bynum
Brandon Bynum

I’m glad I read this. My neighbor told me about some stuff he found on creepy pasta and I was thinking it was real- He told them as if they were…I’ve got caught up watching ghost/demon/UFO and creepy videos on YouTube and after a while the lines between “real” and “fake” have become blurred! There is a part of us that wants the stories and videos to be real so the spark of adrenalin can last and our imagination has permission to run wild with other worldly wonders! It’s a rush to believe in some stuff but dangerous to buy-into… Read more »

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