Tag Archive creepypasta

E-literature – A look at the Creepypasta

Following on from my previous post about Pepe the Frog, I had developed a fascination with user-generate content on the internet. I wished to discover more content created by web users and ,in conjunction with a recent lecture in college about e-literature, I decided to focus on user-created stories written online. E-literature is literature that stems directly from the digital medium. The biggest genre that came to mind was that of the “Creepy-pasta”.

A “Creepypasta” is an internet slang term used to describe a short, gothic, horror-esque story written by generally amateur writers on the internet. Many stories echo similar themes found in gothic writers such as Edgar Allen Poe. “Creepypasta” gets its name from another internet slang term: “copypasta” . These were copy and paste stories that individuals use  to post around the web, often as their own. The Creepypasta is closely tied in origin to memes, with some stories coming from popular meme caricatures. In addition, Creepypastas are often spread in a similar mannar.

One of the first Creepypastas I read was “The Smiling Man” , which was written four years ago. The story is told from the first person view of the storyteller, about a chance encounter they had one evening five years ago. While walking about the city late one evening the writer meets a strange man, who had a unnerving-cartoonish grin. The story was originally written by the Reddit user blue_tidal and was posted to that website. The story received a lot of attention from the internet, beginning with people doing “Spooky” readings of the piece and posting their reading online, eventually going as far as to inspire a group of people to make a short film entitled “2-Am” based on “The Smiling Man”. This Creepypasta managed to capture the imagination of an innumerable amount of people. The creepy, unnerving tone, alongside the possible ring of truth in the story(as purported by the creator) and the relatable scene enticed readers in the myth of “The Smiling Man”.

The Smiling Man from LetsNotMeet

When talking about Creepypasta’s, it is would be impossible to ignore the most famous Creepypasta of them all, “The Slender Man”. The fictitious being known only as The Slender Man is depicted as a thin, faceless and murderous individual dressed in a black suit and tie. His notoriety led to the creation of several video games, as well as a film and more. The are numerous stories and myths about the Slender Man, and each user gives their own spin on the character.

slender

Tragically this Creepypasta (and Creepypasta’s as a whole) made its explosion in fame due to a traumatic event. A young girl American had been viciously stabbed by her two friends in 2014. The girl survived the attack, but the two girls who attacked their friend claimed that their attack it was in the name of the “Slender Man”. The vagueness of Creepypasta verisimilitude can be seen as driving force behind this attack. Since then, the popularities of Creepypasta as a whole declined. It’s a clear example of the power of story telling, as well as the importance of ensuring that children see age appropriate content.

However, Creepypastas allow for diverse and rich storytelling which is unlike any other form of short story, due to their copy-right free nature. It is possible for anyone to write one or to take an already existing one and adapt it. It can be seen as a digital word of mouth camp fire story, which slight changes in each telling.

References:

1 www.reddit.com/r/LetsNotMeet/comments/rvzaq/the_smiling_man/

2 www.reddit.com/r/TheSmilingMan/comments/13szkh/i_wrote_the_original_story_the_smiling_man_just/

3 https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/27/slender-man-stabbing-wisconsin-girls-tried-as-adults-appeals-court

4 http://www.creepypasta.com/frequently-asked-questions/

5 https://www.google.ie/trends/explore?q=creepypasta

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