Let’s start at the very beginning. Usually a good place to start. In the beginning, there was the “Shock Site”
A “Shock site” is usually defined as a website that is intended to shock the viewer by not necessarily scare the viewer... However the term “shock website” has been used to describe scary reaction sites.
Possible Origin: One of the first Internet associated scare/shock things to go viral and widely circulate via email starting as early as 1999 was “What’s wrong with this picture” in which the user is presented with an image of an ordinary looking room and told to find something wrong with it. Nothing is wrong with it. Approx 23 seconds into the picture (which unknown to the viewer is actually a timed image or video) a close up of a scary face is shown accompanied by a loud audio scream. The shock comes from the sudden scream along with the creepy image.
(Though more than likely not the original, it is still a good example)
(Another great example, this was found floating through office emails with the instructions to look for a ghost floating over a car)
Spread: Due to the simple nature of how scares can be performed and with the new medium of the Internet, shock scares can essentially be buried anywhere in any website.
Horrors that have spawned from the Internet fall into an entire category called, “the fear mythos”. Essentially this entire sphere of fear is built on blogs, vlogs, writings (mostly non-published) videos, audio readings, live action, role playing and anything that is fear based. The premise is simple and ubiquitous in humans, our fears become personified and become creatures. Essentially ghost stories.
Arguably the largest and most successful of Internet based horrors come from the Wiki based website, www.creepypasta.com The name creepypasta itself comes from the word “copypasta” which describes how Internet users copy and paste pieces of text in order to form stories or long form jokes. Creepypasta stories are usually short in length, however depending on popularity can spawn an entire genre all in it’s own right. Subjects usually include ghost stories, mind-fuck tales, paranormal entities, monsters, or arguably the most popular, “based on a true story”. Creepypasta’s can be spotted and are known for usually having little to no disclaimer stating that the work about to be read is actually fiction, and many rely on the reader to become entranced into the story or situation, sometimes even the ARG.
Notable creepypasta that have spread further onto the Internet...
“Ben Drowned” - Story revolves around a user posting on the creepypasta boards. He explains that he picked up a copy of an unmarked Majora’s Mask video game from unknown origins. As the tale goes on the author slowly learns some amazingly unexpected things about the game, the strange glitches the creepy sounds and the haunting lifeless Link statue that follows him around. Eventually we learn the origins of the game, that it belonged to a boy named Ben who drowned and now haunts the game and anyone who plays it... This story is notable in Internet lore because the actual photos and even videos that were posted indeed fooled many gamers into thinking they were watching a glitch version of Zelda. In the end it was just an elaborate creepypasta, although it later did turn into an ARG for a while.
“Chronicles of Taras” - revolving around the exploits of Taras Jacobs, a 17-year-old girl with a mysterious past and a tendency to murder or permanently disfigure/disable anyone and anything in her way. The story’s narrator is Sandra Janssens, a girl who keeps the journals labelled The Chronicles of Taras, which have fallen into possession of N. Somniack, who provides the series with background research into Taras’ demented exploits with o0en sarcastic and irreverent commentary.
“Dead Bart” - The writer of the creepypasta confronts Matt Groening about a lost episode that everybody affiliated with the show refuses to acknowledge. Groening gives him a website address and begs him never to speak about the episode again. When the writer visits the website he finds nothing but a download link, which contains the lost episode. In the episode Bart breaks the window on a plane and is sucked out. A0er his death his family apparently sit at their kitchen table and cry for an entire year, before going to visit his grave. At the cemetery Bart’s corpse is laying on top of his grave and all the other graves bear the names of The Simpsons guest stars, even those who had not appeared on the show at the time the episode would have been written.
The Rake - is the subject of a creepypasta regarding a murderous human-esque creature that has appeared numerous times. Not to be confused with the landscaping tool, The Rake’s name comes from one particular case of an attack by this thing, in which a dying girl (hurt by the beast) simply called it by this name. The Rake has spawned numerous Internet pranks and was evidently once mistaken as a real monster sighting in Denver Colorado, and has even inspired a popular found footage semi-documentary.
Sonic.exe - originated as a Creepypasta by JC the Hyena concerning a man named Tom who receives a bizarre CD in the mail from his friend Kyle, who hasn’t heard from in a while. Disregarding Kyle’s note telling him to destroy the CD, Tom plays it and is immediately disturbed by the title screen showing Sonic with bleeding black and red eyes. As he plays the game further, Tom bears witness to just how monstrous this incarnation of the blue hedgehog really is. Since then, Sonic.exe has received fan-made sequels and has also been produced into a video game of sorts that replicates the experience
Jeff the Killer - Starting originally from newgrounds in 2008. Jeff the Killer began as a simple yet creepy image of a blurred up close shot of a ghostly white man with no nose, no eyelids and an extremely stretched mouth staring directly into the camera. Quickly this image drew the attention of creepypasta readers and stories concerning him flourished...
Noticeably his image has been tethered to the infamous phrase, “go to sleep” because it is normally used as the reveal of a shock site image hoping that the user is looking at this close to their bedtime. Thus the ghostly image remains in the afterimage of people’s thoughts. Ironic?
Horrifying House-guest (also known as Never Alone, Uninvited Guest, or Shadowlurker) is an image macro series featuring a pencil sketch of a creepy, ghost-like figure, with large, sunken eyes and a malicious smile. The overlaid text
generally contains micro-narratives referring to creepy and disturbing situations and mental images. A common motif used throughout these captions are stories or imagery that would keep one awake at night such as the fear of having to use the bathroom in the dark, having your feet exposed from the blanket, or hearing creaking noises outside your bedroom door.
The Grifter - The Grifter is an alleged video that was first mentioned somewhere on /x/’s imageboard. Watching it is said to be a soul-rending experience, far more horrible than anything one could imagine. The image on the right is said to contain screenshots of some of the scenes in the video. The few that have watched it are said to have been killed in their own homes, with only one thing in common, a strange doll, hidden somewhere in their homes... There is a message by the end of the video in the constructed international auxiliary language Esperanto, and says: “This child (now a young man) is still alive and lives in a local shelter whose name was not given. He never spoke, and still is katatonie [sic].”
And here is the supposed video...
NoEnd House - A Creepypasta that describes a man taking a dare into walking through a house to receive a prize. As he progresses the story gets dramatically more and more psychologically terrifying and is noted for conveying a real sense of loneliness and is notable for its simple but twist ending.
“Smile” - A supposedly “haunted” image dating back to the beginnings of the internet, smile.jpg has a reputation for driving those who view it insane, making its victims view it in their mind’s eye at every turn. While it has been discovered that these images in victims’ minds are the result of epileptic seizures, there is no clear understanding of just WHY the image causes this. All of the victims who spoke up about their experiences however, have said that they are also visited by the dog-like creature in the image, named “smile.dog”. When in these dreams, the only thing the victims can do is watch and listen as smile.dog tells them that the only respite to their torment is to “spread the word”, and many of them recieve shortly therea0er a removable media via mail with no return address. Inside these media is said to be another copy or form of smile.dog, which the victim is encouraged to spread to others. It is not known whether or not these stories are true however, as both Snopes and Wikipedia have no articles regarding it, and any attempt to create one is summarily removed by the administrators of those sites.
THE SCP FOUNDATION.
SCP... An Acronym for “Secure, Contain, Protect”... SCP originally had it’s origins in creepypasta itself, but has since moved on to it’s entire own website. The website is user created, but not wiki based. Stories are submitted as “SCP’s” and o0en are focused on a secret agency attempting to “secure” “contain” or “protect” supernatural or unexplainable events in the “real world”. Topics can range on anything from simple ghost tales, to unexplained natural events to the truly bizarre such as stories of never ending stairwells, creatures that only attack you upon staring at photos of them, strange orb like creatures that do no harm, yet cannot be avoided to a woman who discovers that the Holocaust literally happened inside of her nose.
SCP’s are numerical in order and range into the thousands. SCP got a big break in the 2010’s due to a few independent video games being made surrounding some of their subject matter. SCP 087 being the most popular, the extremely simple yet amazingly haunting video game consists of an unnamed player descending down a seemingly endless set of stairs with no source of light and no weapons. Occasionally the screen will shake and loud noises will be heard. The object of the game is simply to die, it cannot be beat. Go as far as you can.
Arguably the most popular SCP is no truly based on one single SCP story but a semi collection of a few of them. Titled simply SCP Containment breach, the story set up consists nothing more of you and two fellow subjects attempting to make contact with an alien looking SCP creature only to have the experiment go haywire in which the player must find his or her way out of the game, quickly making it a survival horror game.
Slenderman --- Love him, hate him, don't know what he is? Slenderman is essentially the the horror of the Internet. He is the modern day boogeyman. Physically he is a nameless, faceless thing, super skinny and amazingly tall. When you do actually catch an appearance of him, it is usually around children, which has yet to be explained why this is so. The one thing about Slenderman that is utterly real though, is that he is creeping around our world and currently haunts the internet. His blank and lifeless face will eventually catch your eye