Creepypastas are
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
legend A legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Travel literature, tra ...

s that have been shared around the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected s that uses the (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ' that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to ...

. Creepypasta has since become a catch-all term for any horror content posted onto the Internet. These Internet entries are often brief, user-generated, paranormal stories intended to scare readers. They include gruesome tales of murder, suicide, and otherworldly occurrences. The subject matter of creepypasta varies widely and can include topics such as ghosts, murder, zombies, and haunted television shows and video games. Creepypastas range in length from a single paragraph to lengthy, multi-part series that can span multiple media types. In the mainstream media, creepypastas relating to the fictitious
Slender Man The Slender Man (also spelled Slenderman) is a fictional supernatural character (arts), character that originated as a creepypasta Internet meme created by Something Awful forum user Eric Knudsen (also known as "Victor Surge") in 2009. He is depi ...
character came to public attention after the 2014 "
Slender Man stabbing --> On May 31, 2014, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, two 12-year-old girls, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, lured their best friend Payton Leutner into the woods and stabbed her 19 times in an attempt to become proxies of the fictional character Slende ...
", in which a 12-year-old girl was stabbed by two of her friends; the perpetrators claimed they "wanted to prove the Slender Man skeptics wrong." After the murder attempt, some creepypasta website administrators made statements reminding readers of the "line between fiction and reality". Other notable creepypasta stories include "
Ben Drowned ''Ben Drowned'' (originally published as ''Haunted Majora's Mask Cartridge'') is a three-part multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video into a sing ...
", "Jeff the Killer", "Ted the Caver" and "Sonic.exe".


''Creepypasta'' is a
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of the words ''creepy'' and ''
copypasta A copypasta is a block of text which is Cut, copy, and paste, copied and pasted across the Internet by individuals through online forums and social networking websites. Copypastas are said to be similar to spamming, spam. History The word "copyp ...
''; the term was coined on the
imageboard An imageboard is a type of that revolves around the posting of images, often alongside text and discussion. The first imageboards were created in as an extension of the concept. These sites later inspired the creation of a number of imageboa ...
4chan 4chan is an anonymous English-language imageboard website. Launched by Christopher Poole, Christopher "moot" Poole in October 2003, the site hosts boards dedicated to a wide variety of topics, from anime and manga to video games, music, literat ...

around 2007. ''Copypasta'' denotes viral, copied and pasted text; the term was coined on 4chan around 2006.


The exact origins of creepypasta are unknown. Early creepypastas were usually written anonymously and routinely re-posted, making the history of the genre difficult to study. Jessica Roy, writing for ''
Time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , through the , into the . It is a component quantity of various s used to events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to of ...
'', argued that creepypastas emerged in the 1990s when the text of was reposted on
Internet forum An Internet forum, or message board, is an online In computer technology and telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, Optical system, optical, or other El ...
s and
Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access Internet access is the ability of ...
groups. Aja Romano, writing for the Daily Dot, stated that ''Ted the Caver'' was arguably the earliest example of creepypasta. The story, posted on
Angelfire Angelfire is an Internet service that offers website services. It is owned by Lycos, which also owns Angelfire operates separately from and includes features such as blog building and a photo gallery builder. Free webpage ...
in 2001, was written in the first person from the perspective of Ted as he and several friends explored an increasingly frightening cave system. Many early creepypastas consisted of rituals, personal anecdotes and urban legends such as ''
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'' and
Bunny Man The Bunny Man is an urban legend that originated from two incidents in Fairfax County, Virginia in 1970, but has been spread throughout the Washington, D.C., and Maryland areas. The legend has many variations; most involve a man wearing a rabbi ...
. Darcie Nadel, writing for TurboNews, argued that these early creepypastas had to be somewhat believable and realistic to be re-posted. Many of the earliest creepypastas were created on the /x/ board of 4chan, which focused on the paranormal. Major dedicated creepypasta websites started to emerge in the late 2000s to early 2010s: was created in 2008, while the Creepypasta Wiki and r/NoSleep (a Reddit forum, or subreddit) were both created in 2010. The websites created a permanent archive of creepypasta, which profoundly impacted the genre. Many authors started using creepypasta characters in their own stories, which resulted in the development of continuities encompassing numerous works. According to ''
Time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , through the , into the . It is a component quantity of various s used to events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to of ...
'' magazine, the genre had its peak audience in 2010 when it was covered by ''The New York Times''. The definition of creepypasta has expanded over time to include most horror stories written on the Internet. Over time, authorship has become increasingly important: many creepypastas are written by named authors rather than by anonymous individuals. Many of these authors attempt to achieve notice through their creepypasta. The copying and pasting of creepypastas has become less common over time; doing so is seen as intellectual theft by many members of the creepypasta community.

Examples of creepypasta

Slender Man

Slender Man is a thin, tall humanoid with no distinguishable facial features, who wears a trademark black suit. The character originated in a 2009 SomethingAwful Photoshop competition, before later being featured as a main antagonist in the ''Marble Hornets'' alternate reality game. According to most stories, he targets children. The legend also caused a controversy with the
Slender Man stabbing --> On May 31, 2014, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, two 12-year-old girls, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, lured their best friend Payton Leutner into the woods and stabbed her 19 times in an attempt to become proxies of the fictional character Slende ...
in 2014.

''Jeff the Killer''

''Jeff the Killer'' is a story accompanied by an image of the title character. In the story, a teenager named Jeff is on his way to school with his younger brother when they are attacked by a group of Bullying, bullies. Jeff defends himself and his brother and leaves the assailants lying in the street beaten, their hands and arms broken. After his brother claims he injured the bullies and is arrested, Jeff spends several days distraught, before going to a birthday party in the neighborhood where he is attacked by the bullies again. Although he manages to kill all of the assailants, he is severely burned during the confrontation after being set on fire. During a stay at the hospital, Jeff realizes that he enjoys harming people, and goes insane. The night after he is discharged, he slices his face, leaving Glasgow smile, a scar in the shape of a smile, and cuts off his eyelids, so that he will never sleep. He then murders his parents and brother, whispering "go to sleep" while killing his sibling. He becomes a serial killer who sneaks into houses at night and whispers "go to sleep" to his victims before killing them.

''Ted the Caver''

''Ted the Caver'' began as an Angelfire website in early 2001 that documented the adventures of a man and his friends as they explored a local cave. The story is in the format of a series of blog posts. As the explorers move further into the cave, strange hieroglyphs and winds are encountered. In a final blog post, Ted writes that he and his companions would be bringing a gun into the cave after experiencing a series of nightmares and hallucinations. The blog has not been updated since the final post. In 2013, an independent film adaptation of the story was released, called ''Living Dark: the Story of Ted the Caver''.

''Ben Drowned''

Created by Internet user Alex Hall (a.k.a. "Jadusable"), ''Ben Drowned'' tells a story of a college student named Matt who buys a used copy of the video game ''The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask'' from an elderly man at a yard sale. Matt finds that the cartridge is haunted by the ghost of a boy named Ben, who drowned. After deleting Ben's saved game, savefile, Matt encounters disturbing glitches and scary messages such as "You shouldn't have done that..." and "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?". In May 2015, ''Variety (magazine), Variety'' reported that Clive Barker was developing a television series adaptation of ''Ben Drowned'' in partnership with Warner Bros., Warner Brothers, but Hall later confirmed that the project was no longer in development.

Sub-genres of creepypasta

Lost episode creepypasta

Lost episode creepypasta describes supposed television episodes, typically kids shows, that were either never aired or removed from syndication due to their violent and grotesque content. These supposedly lost episodes often focus on suicide or imply the viewer will suffer great harm. Some lost episode creepypastas focus on local public access shows rather than nationally syndicated shows. Notable examples include Squidward's Suicide, SuicideMouse.avi, Dead Bart, and Max and Ruby 0004. There are however, actual instances of cartoon episodes being pulled off from broadcast due to the episode's content being inappropriate for kids; one such actual example would be an unaired episode of ''Dexter's Laboratory'', titled '' "Rude Removal" ''. It was probably never aired due to the episode featuring implied severe swearing.Grippo, p. 176.

Video games

Video game creepypasta focuses on video games containing grotesque or violent content; this content may spill over into the real world and cause the player to harm themselves or others. Many video game creepypastas reveal the conflict to be caused by malevolent entities such as ghosts or artificial intelligence.

Psychotic killers

These creepypasta tell of people, usually a teenager, becoming a psychopath or killer, often involving a trademark disfigurement due to the effects of a bad childhood, accident, bullying, experiment gone wrong, or just supernatural menace.

Supernatural monsters

These creepypasta involve either supernatural beings or actual legendary, mythical, and folkloristic monsters.


In May 2015, Machinima, Inc. announced plans for a live action web series curated by Clive Barker, titled ''Clive Barker's Creepy Pasta'', focusing on Slender Man and ''Ben Drowned''; although following the shutdown of Machinima, the series was never produced. Each season of the American television series ''Channel Zero (TV series), Channel Zero'' is based on a different creepypasta. A feature film called ''The Soviet Sleep Experiment'' based on the creepypasta ''Russian Sleep Experiment, The Russian Sleep Experiment'' was scheduled to be released in 2020, but as of July 2021, the release of the film remains unconfirmed.



* {{cite book , last=Grippo , first=Marisa C., editor-first1= June, editor-last1= Pulliam , display-editors=etal, title=Ghosts in Popular Culture and Legend , publisher=ABC-CLIO, LLC, date=26 September 2016 , pages=174–176 , chapter=Internet Ghosts , isbn= 9781440834905

External links

Creepypasta.comCreepypasta Wiki
Creepypasta, Computer-related introductions in the 1990s Fakelore Horror fiction Internet memes 2000s fads and trends 2010s fads and trends 2020s fads and trends