Network of Fear
The Internet has become a rich source of dark tales. Tonight we bring you some free sites and projects that are creepy, unsettling or downright terrifying.
WARNING: The sites reviewed below are not recommended for children or those faint of heart. Seriously. You have been warned. Twice now.
The SCP Foundation
To protect humanity against otherworldly horrors is the SCP Foundation’s prime goal. SCP does stand for “Secure Protect and Contain” after all. But, paranormal beings and phenomena, being what they are, sometimes refuse to be contained.
Such is the case of SCP-106, a humanoid zombie-like creature, that can travel through solids, corroding metal and crumbling masonry to dust, making material age hundreds of years in seconds. When it captures its victims, SCP-106 pulls it into a “pocket dimension”, from which most never come back. And if they do, it would have been preferable they hadn’t.
The SCP collects within it’s nearly 3,000 files reports of entities, artifacts and even places that affect our reality in unexplained ways. The SCP goes to ridiculous lengths to protect the general public from these anomalies, although they also have a team of unscrupulous experts on board that carry out experiments, often very ethically questionable experiments, to try and better understand how the phenomena they try to contain works.
Normally these efforts are fruitless, such as in the case of SCP-173, an apparently inanimate, albeit disturbing concrete statue, that will kill you if you stop looking at it even just for a second. The SCP researchers can also not explain the filth that appears on the floor of SCP-173’s containment chamber.
The Foundation has to often go out of it’s way to try and contain anomalies off-site, disguising and shielding them from civilians. Such is the case of SCP-087, an apparently unending downward staircase in an otherwise normal academic institution. The anomaly has been closed off, disguised behind an unremarkably-looking, but especially reinforced door that can only be opened with special instruments provided by the Foundation.
The stairs descend infinitely into darkness, a darkness even the most powerful light sources have trouble dispelling. After a few flights, test subjects equipped with video and audio transmitters report hearing faint cries and pleads for help from somewhere below them. The sounds never grow any stronger, regardless of how much they descend into the void. Subjects have also reported the presence of a strange apparition, a bodiless white face, that stares at them from the dark, causing madness in at least one subject, and the disappearance of another, when she was chased by the apparition down into the bottomless pit.
The SCP site contains, apart from reports on the anomalies themselves, photos, transcripts from experiments, and fan-inspired stories that will keep you wide awake at night. As with the staircase described in SCP-087, one ventures into the depths of the SCP Foundation at their own risk.
All materials published at SCP are available for distribution under CC By-SA license… If you dare to share them.
But if it is stories you’re looking for, Creepy Pasta is where you have to be. Another Wikia project, Creepy Pasta brings together the most disturbing stories and urban legends the net has to offer.
Take 1999, for example. The author starts to investigate Caledon Local 21, a local TV channel that aired “children” shows he watched as kid. As he investigates further, he realises that he was probably watching a child murderer airing his atrocities… live. Things just go down hill from there.
A similar Creepy Pasta legend is that of Candle Cove, a low budget puppet show. According to the story, structured like a conversations of posts on an Internet forum, the series started of kind of okay, but some of the puppets seemed a bit strange to the kids watching the show. Pirate Percy, the hero, for example…
“[…] looked like he was built from parts of other dolls, […]. His head was an old porcelain baby doll, looked like an antique that didn’t belong on the body.”
And then, of course, was the Skin-Taker puppet “[…] a dirty skeleton wearing that brown top hat and cape“, a cape, it is worth noting, supposedly made from children’s skins.
In keeping with the rest of the story, the ending of the Candle Cove is as unexpected as it is creepy. Must read.
But Creepy Pasta is probably best known for having the doubtful honour of giving the world the very first Internet-exclusive open-sourced supernatural monster/urban legend of our time…
If you haven’t heard of Slender Man yet, you are one of the few still living on that “placid island of ignorance” H.P. Lovecraft once described.
The modern version of the story, that of a spectral figure, never completely seen, always in the background of out of focus photos, seems to go back to the 80s. Although there are those who say they have identified similar beings in medieval woodcuts and Egyptian hieroglyphs, the modern version of Slender Man is described as:
“A man with extremely long, slender arms and legs. He also appears to have 4 to 8 long, black tentacles that protrude from his back, though different photographs and enthusiasts disagree on this fact. [He wears] a black suit strikingly similar to the visage of the notorious Men In Black, and as the name suggests, appears very thin and able to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths in order to induce fear and ensnare his prey. […] His face is pale and slightly ghostly, and almost appears to have been wrapped in a type of gauze or cloth. His facial features are also an object of debate, and many people believe that his face looks different to each person, if it is seen at all.”
Slender Man, as so many legendary monsters before him, tends to prey on little children. But not always. In fact, in true Blair Witch Project fashion, Slender Man has made his way into a “found footage” type documentary. This being the 2010s, said footage has not been screened at your local cinema, but has being compiled into a YouTube channel.
The story goes thus: Alex Kralie, a film student and the author of the clips, chronicles how he was followed and terrorised by the Slender Man and even how his Twitter account was hacked by the monster. When a friend asks him about the footage, Alex tells him he wants to burn them. The friend convinces Alex to let him have them. Alex then leaves for another town, never to be seen or heard of again. After three years collecting dust in a cupboard, Alex’s friend decides to upload the clips to YouTube, and the rest is history.
The series was produced on shoe-string budget of $1,500 for the whole thing. A typical “episode” is rarely longer than 10 minutes, and there is nearly no dialogue or narration, and no blood or gore. It doesn’t matter: it is still so disturbing, you should seriously ask yourself if you really want to watch this tonight… in the dark… on your own.
Happy (?) Halloween, everybody!