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Creepypasta is a popular subgenre of copypasta which consists of short horror stories and urban legends that are shared via message boards or e-mail. While the majority of creepypasta stories are meant to unnerve or frighten the reader, some authors have re-appropriated the genre into an effective form of bait-and-switch trolling.
While folklores have been an essential part of cultural traditions for many centuries, the term “urban legend” began appearing in print publications as early as 1968 and became widespread through a series of books written by English professor Jan Harold Brunvand in the early 1980s. Since then, the word has become closely associated with short horror or mystery stories set in modern day. Starting in the 1990s, chain letter e-mails quickly emerged as the primary medium for sharing such stories on the Internet.
There are many forms of chain email that threaten death or the taking of one’s soul by telling tales of other’s deaths, such as the Katu Lata Kulu chain email, stating that if it is not forwarded, the receivers of the message will be killed by the spirit. Another involved an email involving a homicidal Mickey Mouse, who will intrude the recipient’s domain to kill him or her unless sent to the number of recipients (25). Any lower they will suffer death, injury, paranoia, and bad luck.
The Internet slang term “creepypasta,” which is derived from the word copypasta, did not enter the vernacular of the 4chan community until 2007, with the earliest known archived thread dating back to July 6th, 2007.
A TV Tropes page for creepypasta was created on December 3rd, 2010. A New York Times article titled “Bored at Work? Try Creepypasta, or Web Scares” was published on November 12th, 2010. A Facebook fan page has 9,277 likes as of October 28th, 2011. Creepypasta archives can be found on various sites including Creepypasta.com, the Creepypasta Wiki, Tumblr, the SCP Foundation, and Microhorror.
Usage in Humor
Parodies of creepypasta, sometimes referred to as “retarded creepypasta” or just “bad creepypasta”, can be intentionally silly, anti-climatic or intellectually incoherent for comedic effect. Some of the more notable examples in this category includes “Then Who Was Phone?”, and “Skeleton Popped Out.”
A FEW YEARS AGO A MAN WAS WALING DOWN A ROAD BECAUSE HIS CAR BROKE DOWN AND HE SAW A CAR COMING UP BEHIND HIM SO HE STUCK OUT HIS THUMB TO HITCH HIKE AND THE CAR STOPPED AHEAD OF HIM. HE RAN UP TO THE PASSENGER SIDE AND OPENED THE DOOR. WHEN HE OPENED THE DOOR A SKELETON POPPED OUT!
Several creepypastas are accompanied by video uploads on YouTube that help illustrate and provide addition depth to the story. Notable examples include Smile.jpg, The Grifter, Squidward’s Suicide, Ben Drowned and suicidemouse.avi. The creepypasta video titled “The Scariest Picture on the Internet” was uploaded to YouTube on September 18th, 2010 and has received 366,823 views as of October 28th, 2011.
Lavender Town Syndrome
Lavender Town Syndrome is a series of creepypasta stories and videos that detail a conspiracy to cover up mass child suicides. These suicides were allegedly caused by listening to the first version of the Lavender Town Theme in the Japanese version of the Pokemon Red and Green games.
Pokemon Creepy Black
Pokémon Creepy Black is a creepypasta story about a bootleg Pokémon Red Gameboy game in which other trainers and Pokémon can be killed. The creepypasta predates the release of the Nintendo DS game Pokémon Black.
Majora’s Mask, also known as “Ben Drowned”, is an online legend about a haunted The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask cartridge for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It is often associated with the phrase “You shouldn’t have done that” and is popular among users of 4chan’s /x/ paranormal board.
Search queries for “creepypasta” began to pick up in August of 2007, around the same time the earliest archived 4chan threads were posted.