Creepypasta: Exploring the Unknown and Unfamiliar Abyss of Internet Horror

Movies and short films like Slender Man (2018), The Sleep Experiment (2022), and The Backrooms: Found Footage (2022) have two things in common. Firstly, they belong to the horror genre, designed to make you freeze in terror. And secondly, they have the same origin – Creepypasta!

Creepypasta has been quite popular since the last decade, the term always used in the context of horror and terror. It is an all-encompassing word for horror-related legends that you may find on the Internet. That includes not just paranormal stories but also images, videos and audio. You can also say it is fanfiction produced to entertain horror lovers.


Creepypasta and its Anonymous Origin

Creepypasta is a blend of the words creepy and copypasta, which literally means viral copied-and-pasted texts. So, it essentially refers to creepy stories that are copy-pasted across social media platforms and forums. The popularity of these stories lies in their writing style, as they are written in a way that prompts the readers to share them around.

The start of this unique genre goes as far back as the 1990s when Internet forums and Usenet groups read and reposted the text of chain emails. It soon trickled into forums like 4chan and Something Awful, which still hold a crucial place among Creepypasta readers. Soon enough, websites dedicated to Creepypasta came into existence in the late 2000s, including, Creepypasta wiki and a subreddit by r/NoSleep.

Interestingly enough, most of the creepypasta stories were primarily posted anonymously. As you can imagine, the authors were as unknown as the stories were creepy, mostly because they were copy-pasted several times to reach the audience. While it adds even more to its ominous atmosphere, there has been a change in the trend in recent times. These days, creepypastas are posted by named authors so as to maintain their authorship over them.


Sub-genres of Creepypasta

Don’t be fooled by its image as an internet phenomenon – Creepypasta is an established genre in itself. Moreover, it also has its own set of sub-genres to categorise the stories or content. These are:

  • Video Games

In these creepypastas, authors focus on video games that may contain grotesque elements, but it doesn’t stop there. These stories then regale about these grotesque contents pouring into the reality that causes the narrator (often players of the said game) to do dangerous things. This violent content is often manifested through ghosts, malevolent entities, and even AI.

  • Psychotic killers

The category of psychotic killers features just that – stories of individuals who become psychopaths or killers and go on a killing spree. These killers often have disfigured faces or other body parts, often due to an abusive childhood, bullying, accidents, or bad experiments. Such stories feature an unsettling atmosphere, a skewed perception of reality and a deep dive into serial killers’ psyche.

  • Lost Episode

The concept of this category is absolutely unique! It describes episodes from TV shows either never aired or were taken down due to its grotesque and violent content. What’s so horrifying about it? These episodes were supposed to be from kids’ shows. The violent content usually refers to unsettling visuals, harmful stories and heavy themes, like suicide. Popular examples include Squidward’s Suicide, Dead Bart, and Teletubbies: Seesaw.

  • Supernatural Monsters

Stories with supernatural entities and monsters have always been a common theme of the horror genre. It’s no surprise, therefore, that creepypasta has also picked it up. Stories in this category either involve imaginary terror-inducing figures or are based on actual mythical or folkloristic monsters. Slenderman is a quintessential example, not just of this category but of the entire genre.

  • Rituals and Occult

The content in this section involves detailed renditions and dos and don’ts of rituals, occult rites, and summoning of supernatural entities. Carrying these out correctly will fulfil the performer’s wishes. However, it also warns that failing to complete it or doing it wrong may lead to dire consequences for everyone involved.

  • Psychological Horror

Psychological horror lies on the thin line between horror and psychological thriller. As a result, the stories of this sub-genre generally play on the fear of the unknown through the unstable characters. Common themes range from mind-bending and gaslighting to mental torture and disturbing behaviour.


Creepypastas that shook the internet!

While these are just fictional stories written by people around the globe, it is the way of writing them that makes creepypastas believable. In fact, some creepypastas were so disturbingly fascinating that they influenced society deeply. Well, either by entering the mainstream media or by actually luring people to commit crimes!

  • Slender Man

Slender Man Slenderman is perhaps the most popular concept that originated from Creepypasta. This entity is an unnaturally tall figure, with a faceless head, and tentacle-like arms, donned in a black suit. The stories centred around Slenderman often shows his presence in the forest or abandoned areas, with the target being children or young adult. Being near Slenderman may give you slender sickness, which is a combination of paranoia, delusions, nightmares, and occasional nosebleeds.

This supernatural being became more fearful when two girls brutally stabbed their friend, Payton Leutner, and left her to die in a forest. The girls admitted that the attack was perpetrated to appease Slenderman. The confession caused a moral panic in the nation as well as heightened the creepy factor of the being.

  • The Russian Sleep Experiment

This creepypasta leans more on the gruesome side of horror, detailing an experiment where five people were exposed to a sleep-repressing stimulant. The setting is a covert test facility in the Soviet of 1947, making the experiment seem as close to reality as possible.

The five prisoners, strapped in a sealed gas chamber, were administered the stimulant to not let them sleep for a month. The subjects started to delve more into darker topics before starting to scream for hours, begging the researchers to not stop the stimulant and then going quiet for long stretches.

The researchers then opened the doors, only to see mutilation, disembowelment, and self-cannibalism. The subjects revolted against being removed from the chamber but dropped dead as soon as they slept. When the only surviving prisoner was asked what had they become, he grinned and went on to explain. And the reason is even more appalling than the experiment results.

The story is popular with creepy people because of its sheer grotesque content, its believable setting, and the twist at the end.

  • Ted the Caver

Ted the Caver is believed to be one of the first creepypastas to ever surface on the internet. The story was documented in 2001, as an Angelfire website, where Ted and his friends visited a local cave. As per the serialised blog posts, the group found bizarre hieroglyphs, had to squeeze themselves through tight spaces, and had a suspicious encounter with a supernatural entity.

This seemingly simple story takes a horrifying turn when readers find out that the blog has not been updated after the final upload. And that final upload read how the group was entering the cave again with guns. What makes Ted the Caver’s story unique is the immersive, diary-like narrative, the ominous atmosphere, and the sudden disappearance of the updates after the final post.

  • Jeff the Killer

This creepypasta is a bully story gone horribly wrong. In a recent confrontation with his bullies, Jeff managed to kill one of them but was doused in bleach and lit on fire. He was sent to the hospital, where he found out his appearance had altered completely. Ghastly pale skin, red lips, and big eyes. After looking at his face and realising how much he loved killing people, he descended into madness.

Jeff carved his face to make him smile permanently and burned off his eyelids to keep his eyes wide open. He then proceeded to kill his family and later everyone who refused to go to sleep, earning him the title of Jeff the Killer.

  • Candle Cove

Written by web cartoonist Kris Straub, this pasta focuses on a supposedly fictional TV series named Candle Cove. This show was played on channel Local 58 and was apparently popular in the childhood of the story’s characters. It featured a young girl called Janice, who imagined a string marionette as her pirate friend.

The story talks about this show in the format of forum posts, where now-adults discuss the series and their fond memories. However, their discussion made them realise that the show was absolutely unnerving and completely inappropriate for children. At the end, one of the characters reveals that they were watching nothing but static on the TV screen. That there was no such show; it was something the child’s mind had cooked up.

The uncanniness, unreliable narrator, and allusions to supernatural presence hook the readers to the story, made even more interesting through the unique storytelling.


Final Words

Creepypasta has grown from a fun online storytelling pastime to a substantial genre catering to the unknown and unfamiliar. The stories it presents to you and the other readers are diverse, dabbling in various themes. But all of them have one goal – to awaken that primal fear and leave a terrifying impact on your mind!

So, if you are a horror and thriller fan or just want to explore something unconventionally spine-chilling, check out the creepypasta stories. You can even submit your own imaginative (or real-life) tales on the website to terrify the world.

By Pranjali Wakde