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The Grifter is an Internet an urban legend about a mysterious video clip allegedly containing footage that is so disturbing to the viewer it will traumatize the person.
On August 10th, 2009, 4chan user the_solipist posted a thread on /x/ (paranormal) board describing a video clip that was so disturbing, it would cause viewers to experience nausea, nightmares and could make them commit suicide.
In the thread, the_solipist shared several dark screen captures of an infant he claimed were taken from the video.
According to the Asashic Records wiki, a creepypasta about the video appeared in a followup thread but it is unknown whether they were written by the_solipist himself.
It was posted back in 2007-8 under some foreign link, the OP basically posted the link stating how fucked up it was. It was real grainy, from what i remember it showed strange images, like a bathtub full of writhing maggots, haunting paintings from old times melting, random forests,flashing colours, text in a different language (from what i remember) all while a strange voice played which sounded like a strange murmrer, if you’ve seen the ‘there is nothing’ video, it was like that voice but more indistinguishable.
Then the graininess lifted a little, and there was a video of a small puppy being held up by it’s neck, it was moving like in pain but it’s cries where like a human childs, it then cut to a nursery with lots of craddles all the children where still in the cots, presumed dead, it walked over to one of the cots, and one of the newborns raised up a little, began to cry, and bled from the eyes and mouth. then another shot of a basement (like the original picture) with a malformed hand disapearing into it blood stained.
Lastly it showed more text (someone ‘stated’ it said ’you’re race is one that is dying’) with an image of a plant rotting very quickly, close ups of corpses. and what i can only describe as ‘real’ cases of exorcism and demonic posession, which clearly have never been seen outside the said country of origin. while this seen plays, the voice that was talking fairly calmly, breaks out into screams of intense pain and suffering, which is just as deeply chilling as the initial shock.
On August 15th, 2009, the first Yahoo Answers question was posted which asked for a link to the Grifter video. The top voted answer claimed that Grifter threads were used as a trolling technique to aggravate other /x/ board members by sparking a debate about the existence of such video footage.
On September 8th, 2009, YouTuber jojacob666 uploaded a short video titled “the grifter”, which featured dark footage of a hallway with creepy audio playing in the background. On September 17th, 2009, a Grifter thread was posted to 4chan’s /x/ board in which the first reply begs the original poster to stop posting about the video.
On March 2nd, 2010, YouTuber shirtfag uploaded a video titled “The Grifter (REAL)”, which claimed to be an authentic copy of the infamous video. It used similar footage to the jojacob666 video, including clips from the film Little Otik.
On April 26th, an Urban Dictionary definition for the video was submitted by user Tenestra, who described it as “the most disturbing video on the Internet.” On June 10th, a thread was created on the comic book fan forums SuperheroHype by user Mr. Wooden Alligator, who requested a link to the actual video. On April 19th, 2011, a thread was created on 4chan’s /x/ board asking for users to post the the creepiest movies they had even seen, with the exception of “The Grifter.” Nearly all of the replies to the post consisted of movie titles that had been changed to include the word “Grifter.”
According to the Disturbing Wiki, the screenshots the_solipist provided were identified as footage from the 2000 Czech film Little Otik, a comedy about a childless couple who pretends that a root taken from their backyard is a real child. On August 21st, 2009, the Asashic Records wiki claimed that the_solipist confirmed that the Grifter story was a work of fiction:
bq. "the grifter is, indeed, my work of fiction. i started a thread about it after remembering the name from that “tales from the darkside” episode about a creature called “the grither” that i saw when i was little. i samefagged in the original thread a few times, but it really caught on like wildfire; piquing the curiosity of those who wanted to see it. along with the hive-minded trolls (from /b/?) that acting in the interest of my efforts by making their own claims to having had seen it. yes, i hate to lie, so i’ll admit… i made the edited screencaps ripped from little otik. i was surprised it took you guys as long as it did to identify them. i was actually talking to a film major student from my school about shooting a video for the grifter this weekend, but i had intended to splice in the scenes from little otik.. kinda ruined my plans when you guys caught on, though"
Search query volume for “the grifter” increased rapidly in August of 2009, the same month the original thread was submitted to the /x/ paranormal board.