February 4, 2019
RA Rough Draft
Fiction, the genre that allows imaginative minds to go wild. With their ability to manipulate everyday life into new and diverse experiences that may never happen. My first experience began from a youtube video where I first discovered the childhood horror story, Jeff the Killer (Sesseur). Being eight and reading a story about a “monster” that hides in your closet whispering “go to sleep” was my childhood fear. With my closet doors never being able to close, I would always put a chair in front it hoping it would alarm me if something came out of it. Consequently, I wasn’t the only one talking about Jeff, my entire third grade class was. Each person giving their own personal narratives of their encounters with Jeff caused me to believe that this “monster” was real.
Jeff the Killer isn’t the only example of creepypastas that were able to confuse reality with fiction. Other famous creepypastas include, The Russian Sleep Experiment, a story about a group of scientists that conducted a no-sleep experiment on five political leaders during World War II (Paulderouen). People began to argue whether or not this experiment really could have occurred especially since there have been recent discoveries of possible incidents where people would take a stimulant to stay active (Dunning). A closely related creepypasta, Ben Drowned, is a personal narrative about a college student and his paranormal activities with the Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask game (Jadusable).
This list goes on but the main feature behind them all is their ability to manipulate reality and confuse it with fiction. All of these stories are not real but they seem real because they mimic decisions and life of common people or they show us information that are unknown to people (Wiles). For Jeff the Killer, the homicide rate was continuously dropping between the 1990s and 2000s making it uncommon for a murder to occur (Cooper, Erica L). With this in mind, presenting a narrative about the thoughts and feelings of a “psychopath” was something that many people never know. Especially since this story portrayed a common family, many people will become “convinced” that this narrative is real. The Russian Sleep Experiment also has these features with the authors explaining a story about how high power officials would be conducting experiments that may give them the upper hand during the war. It seems exactly what many high power officials would do and there are multiple examples. One that many citizens of the US may know would be the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the U.S. were experimenting with nuclear weapons to help them win the war (Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki).
Assuming that all of these stories have the ability to manipulate reality with fiction, I will be discussing the information how entering a new technology age comes into play when it comes to creating a creepypasta and how targeting a certain audience helps it become viral.. Also, the content of the online legend and how it is considered “convincing” based on two generic conventions that are important in making a creepypasta unique and different from other genres: 1. Paranormal and Unnatural Incidents that are mysterious, 2. Cliffhanger that will keep the audience hooked and wondering what will happened next. Also, the natural feeling that may occur when you read some of these stories and how their importance drives the unique genre of creepypastas.
Factual information, On August 8th, 2009, The Russian Sleep Experiment was posted on the Rip747 Wordpress blog (Dunning). It’s claimed to be sent via email by his brother but it will later be posted on a forum, Body Building, by a member by the name of FalconPunch. However, it will begin to slowly gain popularity throughout the next three years with more people finding about this experiment and wondering whether or not it’s real. One thing to keep in mind is that the audience that is reading this information was never there for World War II unless they’re in their late sixties. This causes the audience to believe it more and leaves room for discussion between the younger generations which may find more compelling evidence that this fictional story is realistic.
With a new societal norm of the internet being everybody’s number one source of information, everything can spread faster and become viral. Especially on a historical topic like The Russian Sleep Experiment, it will bring together different ages of people who will come together to solve a mystery. However, for a person who is younger and just browsing the internet, and suddenly comes across a creepypasta, they would be frightened by it and most likely believe it’s true. With technology constantly innovating, children will be easily targeted by people online and especially when it comes to making things viral, teenagers are they way to do it. In 2013, eighty eight percent of teengers aged thirteen to seventeen have access to a smartphone (Kids Wireless Use Facts). This means that targeting teenagers and younger children would be the easiest way to distribute false information or in this case, a online legend.
Now back to the topic of The Russian Sleep Experiment, this creepypasta was able to spread and gain popularity due to the new digital age where the vast majority of people will figure out new information on the internet. Creepypastas being online legends, they aren’t believable unless they’re realistic and plausible; in this case, it was. The Russian Sleep Experiment hit its peak when a youtuber by the name of IReadCreepypastas narrated the creepypasta causing it to spread to a larger audience. There is debate whether or not this story is true or not with more people believing that it’s true rather than its not due to the Russian’s unbelievable power (Leopard).
The main question is what makes a creepypasta “convincing”. Based on generic conventions that all creepypastas have in common, it’s the sense of paranormal or unnatural incidents that make a creepypasta convincing. The fact that some of these incidents are unsolvable or have no way to be proven false, it causes a compelling sense to believe that it’s true. The case with The Russian Sleep Experiment, the incident is portrayed during World War II where there was many lives lost and many different experiments going on for a country to gain the upperhand on one another. Therefore, it’s clear that it is possibly realistic and plausible but the unique feature that makes this story a creepypasta was the paranormal and unnatural things that occurred. In this case, the subjects started to go crazy and started to do unnatural human activities that wouldn’t be normal, such as “yelling at the top of his lungs for three hours straight” or “smeared page after page with their own feces and pasted them calmly over the glass portholes” (The Russian Sleep Experiment). Doing unnatural human activities seems to be very common in all creepypastas and paranormal activity seems to occur a lot.
The second generic convention of creepypastas are Cliffhangers. This particular strategy for writing is effective because it causes audiences to wonder what happens next or builds the suspense surrounding a huge reveal. For example, the online legend Ben Drowned, the author was able to keep the audience updated by making posts to a forum each day that he played the game. It begins once he starts to feel some paranormal activities occurring and he begins to be scared of playing the game that leads to the reveal that the game may be haunted. It’s even followed up with videos of him playing each time he posts making it seem believable and more realistic. However, the fact that he was piecing together the creepypasta slowly and through posts caused the audience to wonder what would happened next and leave room for discussion throughout the community. There are many websites out there that are made for discussion but if we search on the internet about Ben Drowned and their discussions, there are many people trying to figure out whether it’s realistic or not and leaving creepypastas with cliffhangers is one of the most important generic conventions that keeps an audience hooked and wondering “what happens next” (Ben Drowned and the haunted cartridge).
Cliffhangers are unique on online legends because it builds its popularity through discussions and leaving it off with a mystery gives the audience time to process what is happening. Also, since we’re moving into the Digital age, discussions and topics like creepypastas will just attract more people and will continue to keep the genre of creepypastas alive. It makes creepypastas unique because these online legends aren’t just told and passed on, they’re discussed about and attempted to debunk by the audience whether or not it’s fiction or reality. It has the effect of making fiction intertwined with reality causing people to be confused whether or not to believe it. It’s effective in convincing the audience that this particular incident is very real and is actually happening. It makes each creepypasta unique in it’s own way.
On a final note, naturally, humans would react to these creepypastas with a sense of fear. This is due to the fact that these events never actually are experienced firsthand and being presented paranormal unnatural activities will bring up a question of insecurity. A quote from Slenderman is Coming stated, "The captions, referencing events and explanations that sound both alarming and plausible, add to the unsettling nature of the photos" (Blank & Lynne, 3). Although there was little information about a image or a particular story in general, people reacted to the images produced about Slenderman in a alarmed and worried feeling. This is one of the unique features that creepypastas produce. Although there may be little or no background information about certain stories or even images, people will still believe it because of how realistic and plausible it is. As long as the story could occur or possibly occurred in the past, people will believe that it’s true. Also, exposing people to events that occurred or in this case, creepypastas that are fictional, will cause their brains to make a memory of what happened but majority of the time inaccurate (Miller). Therefore, the reader might feel like they’re starting to face the same paranormal and unnatural activities of the creepypastas they just read but it’s actually nothing new, just their minds playing tricks on themselves. In an article discussing what a creepypasta is, the author stated, “The presence of the image gives us the threat of facing the same fate as the narrator of the story” (Coline). This “presence” that humans naturally feel when they’re creeped out is one of the normal, natural feelings that creepypastas produce and making these stories unique and different from other online stories.
With the rise of the new digital age, these online legends will only continue to spread and terrorize the younger minds of our world. Whether it’s their developing brains deciding what is reality and fiction, they’ll still produce a phobia of “monsters” related to the stories they read. It's due to the fact that creepypastas are unique with their ability to confuse reality with fiction. Along with their paranormal and unnatural activities that are uncommon to humans cause fear to arise. With the younger generations having more access to new technology, their minds are only more vulnerable to these online legends. It’s not necessary a huge issue but it can cause some children to act in favor of the “monster” that is created online, mimicking their actions. Although creepypastas are fictional, their ability to present ideas into minds will perhaps cause people to believe these stories are real. So are creepypastas dangerous for society or are they just all fun and games until someone is able to reenact the situations presented to them.
Works Cited Page
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