Internet Tales
These multimedia internet tales of terror from all over the web are sure to keep you up at night. (Illustration by Dorothy Timan, Indiana University)
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Internet Tales
These multimedia internet tales of terror from all over the web are sure to keep you up at night. (Illustration by Dorothy Timan, Indiana University)

Are they real or are they fiction?

Since the birth of the web, the internet has been a library of both fiction and nonfiction. From PDFs of novels to user-submitted stories on Reddit, there are plenty of internet tales to be found. The stories that are the most intriguing tend to be the most frightening ones.

The emergence of “creepypastas” brought a new course to the dinner table of storytelling. The internet became a place where horror was elevated to another level due to the easy implementation of images, sound and even video. A whole other level of fear could be easily attained through multimedia and social media.

To get yourself in the horror mood this summer, these five internet tales that will send a chill down your spine.

1. “Candle Cove”

Kris Straub’s creepypasta “Candle Cove” took the internet by storm in 2009. It tells the tale of forum users on a fictional site, NetNostalgia, who are recounting a TV show they grew up watching. As the forum discusses “Candle Cove” and the episodes they remember, the content of the children’s show becomes less kid friendly and increasingly horrifying.

The ending of “Candle Cove” is possibly one of the most shocking endings in short fiction. The world Straub builds around the fictional TV show is wonderfully eerie and makes the ending even more intriguing.

If you have a couple of minutes to spare, “Candle Cove” is a quick and chilling internet tale that will leave an impression on you. It clearly left a mark on filmmaker Nick Antosca, who went on to adapt the story for television in the first season of his critically acclaimed anthology series, “Channel Zero.”

2. “alantutorial”

The yearslong project by visual artist and filmmaker Alan Resnick, “alantutorial,” was a YouTube channel akin to many other amateur tutorial channels. Until it wasn’t. Resnick’s cheery and naïve character becomes more sinister once the videos become less quirky and more unusual.

Resnick’s descent into madness is believably frightening. Although silly — and obviously fictional at times — Resnick’s innocent and sheltered “Alan” is a character whom viewers can’t help but root for as he’s pushed to terrifying extremes and mysterious conditions.

Although the story of “alantutorial” is over, the entire tale is free to watch on YouTube. A few videos in the series have gone viral due to Resnick’s silly acting and funny screw-ups as Alan. Alan even attempts to teach his viewers how to crush a can of Dr. Pepper with slats of wood. Yes, the video is exactly as it sounds.

With tons of videos on the “alantutorial” channel, it’s an endeavor to binge the entire story. The storyline, message and frights are worth it if you have the energy to get through many, many tutorials.

3. “Ghost in the Masung Tunnel”

An internet tale from Korea, this eerie comic is a terrifying combination of illustration, 3D animation and programming. “Ghost in the Masung Tunnel” tells the story of a surreal bus ride that takes a passenger on a terrifying trip through a hellish and ghostly otherworld.

The art is creepy and the animations are creepier, and it’s all thanks to writer and illustrator Horang, who is no stranger to horror. The artist’s web comics have gone viral on the Korean comics site Webtoon, a sub-site of the search engine Naver. Horang’s first comic, “Bongcheon-Dong Ghost” went viral in 2011 due to the web comic’s terrifying auto-scroll animation that moved the viewer’s scroll bar without any input from the user.

Horang’s vision is unmatched when it comes to illustrative horror found deep on the internet, but “Ghost in the Masung Tunnel” might be the artist’s finest work. The 3D animations combined with digital illustration makes the terrifying bus ride feel more surreal and out of this world than if it were just one medium of art.

If your stomach can handle jump scares, then “Ghost in the Masung Tunnel” should be next on your list.

4. “MAX2019

“MAX2019” was an ARG (augmented reality game) that found its home on Tumblr last year. It began as messages from what seemed to be just another porn bot named sexygirlmax2019. The “bot” would instant message Tumblr users with cryptic sayings, such as “Hey pee brain – you teleport?” in an attempt to get users to access her blog.

Once on the sexygirlmax2019 blog, it was clear the user wasn’t the average porn bot. The account contained links to cryptic illustrations of angels that were covered in text or code, that when decrypted would lead to other images and eventually to another Tumblr blog, lovely5500.

What makes this ARG so fun and interesting is how quickly it was found out. First, people believed it was a poorly programmed porn bot, then people thought it was some kind of conspiracy and then it was quickly found out to be an ARG run by two very creative 15-year-olds.

You can read a summary of the full game here. While it may not be the creepiest tale on this list, it’s a mysterious rabbit hole of clues and images that will glue you to Tumblr for a while.

5. “Final Fantasy House

While this last entry might not be fictional, it sure is a horror story. Sometimes real life is scarier than fiction, and the roommate horrors of “Final Fantasy House” will make you as angry as you are terrified.

Syd — a pseudonym for the protagonist too terrified to reveal his real name — was looking for a new place to live. Luckily through his love of classic video game “Final Fantasy VII,” he was able to find a place with some cosplayers. Deciding to live with these people was the worst decision he ever made.

The account tells of how Syd stumbled upon a cult centered on roleplaying, villainous RPG characters who drove Syd to his breaking point. Syd’s roommates forced him to give them all his money, made him do every chore around the house and made his time with them an unending hell.

The descriptions of how the house smelled are enough to fill you with dread, let alone the multiple accounts of manipulation and abuse. Fredrik Knudsen details the story of the “Final Fantasy House” succinctly in his video essay, but if you have the time to read the original forum posts, they’re internet tales all in their own.

With artistic technology being more accessible in this age of the internet, new ways of creating horror are always on the rise. These internet tales are only five of the hundreds one can find online, with many more to come as the internet advances

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