Author Archives: Matthew Colella



That right there is literally the entire performance of this recent piece of cyberlore. This weird custom arose from the video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, in which the player (if playing on a computer) has the option to go up to a fallen soldier and “press F to pay respects.” The game was released in late 2014, and for some reason, towards the beginning of 2015 users on sites like Reddit started commenting with “press F to pay respects” whenever death or dying was mentioned on the site. This soon evolved into users simply shortening it to “F,” and now most Reddit users will know what someone means if he/she comments with that single letter. I frequent Reddit, so I kind of picked up on this a while ago, but I love how simple yet inexplicably hilarious it is.

Helltown, Ohio

“In Summit County, Ohio, there’s a ghost town that people call Helltown. The town is notorious for being haunted and being a site of Satanic rituals. There’s actually even a church in the town with an upside down cross on it, apparently it’s the most haunted building in Helltown. Since the town was abandoned, a ton of teenagers have gone down there, and a few have gone missing mysteriously upon entering the church.”


So my dad told me this story, and it’s one that I’ve actually looked into a bit before just because it seems so fascinating. The actual reason for the town being abandoned is because of a mass governmental seizure of property in 1974 via eminent domain in order to create the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The park was made, but the section that is now “Helltown” was never actually torn down, so the people basically abandoned the town and never moved back, effectively turning it into a ghost town. The rumors of Satanic rituals seems to have no basis other than someone misinterpreting the inverted cross on the church as a Satanic symbol. The purported hauntedness probably just comes from the fact that it is a ghost town, and that naturally causes people to associate it with ghosts. Nonetheless, I like this tale just because Helltown is a pretty close to my home, and it’s just surrounded by populated, normal towns.


Losing Our Land

“So my mom’s side of the family has lived in Española, New Mexico, since the 1600s. By the 20th century, my family owned nearly a third of the land in the entire state of New Mexico. They were really well-respected basically because of how long they had been there, and they benefitted financially from it. The twist comes in around 1960. Basically, due to some weird clerical error or something, my great-uncle Michael ended up in charge of managing all of the land my family had. Michael was kind of an ass to his family, so one day he decided to just sell almost all the land my family had, pack his things up, and move away to the East Coast. He screwed over a lot of people in the family, but they had a decent amount of money in the bank and were able to recover financially, but the land was lost forever.”


This one is from my friend here at USC from Texas, and his family has a deep history in the Americas, allegedly dating back to the time of Cortés’ conquest. He said that this is one of the stories his mom always alludes to in regular conversations among family. To him, it’s a bit strange since he’s never met his great-uncle, but he still loves to hear his mom’s stories because it gives him a sense of identity.


One True God

“The one true god, Nicolas Cage. His light guides us away from the temptation of John Travolta, and saves us from our bees. His known prophets are Stephen King, who controls the mind, and M. Night Shyamalan, whose endings are always unforeseen. Follow their instructions, and you may achieve Mitt Romney, a state of eternal salvation and peace. He is a sworn enemy of Xenu and his minion Obama, and fights against the aliens with the help of the FSM, commander of pirates.”


This piece of cyberlore/jokelore is essentially the creed of those who worship actor Nicolas Cage as the “one true god.” This form of praise for Cage is entirely sarcastic, and it has been extremely popular on the internet because of Cage’s notoriously bad acting. It’s not clear why Nic Cage was chosen to be the subject of this faux-worship, but it seems to just have caught on and stuck for years, and it is pretty hilarious for some reason. I’ve been aware of the one true god for a while via my frequenting of the website Reddit, whose users have a particular penchant for Cage.



“Krampus is essentially an Austrian antithesis to Santa. Whereas Santa visits the good kids and gives them gifts, Krampus is said to visit the bad ones and give them coal or take them away. What’s really interesting about this is that many Austrian parents will dress up as Krampus on Christmas, and then actually snatch up their own children or the children of neighbors at night to scare them into being good. It’s kind of terrifying from our perspective, but it’s apparently completely normal in Austria.”


This was collected from my friend here at USC, and although she isn’t Austrian herself, her best friend throughout her childhood was fully Austrian. She spent a lot of time with the girl’s Austrian family, especially around holidays, so she is actually pretty familiar with their customs. To her, Krampus isn’t exactly scary, and she kind of has a soft spot in her heart for him, just because it reminds her of her friend’s family. I kind of like the idea of Krampus, just because it’s something so different than what we are used to in America; I don’t think running around pretending to kidnap kids at night would ever fly in the U.S.

The Generous Jesuit Ghost

“So I have this friend who goes to Fordham, and I live in the Northeast so I’ve visited plenty of times, and she told me this popular legend around the school. There’s a church on campus since it’s a Jesuit school, and one day some girl saw a priest in the church that she hadn’t seen before. She was looking for tutoring in the field of his expertise, so she befriended him. He tutored her for weeks until the end of the semester, but something wasn’t quite right. At the end of the semester, she went back to thank him for all of his help, but she couldn’t find him. So naturally, she looked up the name of the priest in the school’s records, and found the name and picture of the priest who had helped her. The funny thing is, he had apparently been dead for almost 90 years!”

I got this from one of my friends who is from Providence, RI. Her friend is a freshman at Fordham, and keeps in regular contact with her. According to my friend, the legend circulates among Fordham students, and it’s a local legend that that building is somewhat supernatural. Having gone to a Jesuit high school, I kind of have an insight to this legend. The Jesuit priests at my school loved stories like this, and they always told kind of tongue-in-cheek stories about Jesuits helping people, so I feel like this may have originated with the Jesuits themselves.

Vietnamese Dragon Origin Myth

“The legend goes that Lạc Long Quân, the King of the Dragonkind, lived in and reigned over Vietnam in about 3,000 BCE. Sometime in his life he married Âu Cơ, who was a goddess of birds. Quân fathered 100 children who all hatched at the same time with Âu Cơ. Once they were all born, the King and his wife realized that they could not live together anymore and raise all of the children together, so they split and the King went to the coast with 50 kids and the wife went to the mountains with the other 50. According to the legend, all of the Vietnamese people of today are directly descended from these 100 children, making us all dragon people.”

This legend was collected from one of my friends. He is fully racially Vietnamese, and both of his parents emigrated from Vietnam to the US when they were adults. He said his parents try to keep their Vietnamese traditions alive, mostly through cooking traditions, but also through some stories. This is the only one he really remembers clearly. To him, it’s important because his parents identify strongly with it. They don’t actually believe that they are part dragon, but the myth takes on a more significant metaphorical meaning. I don’t really know enough about Vietnamese culture, but I could imagine that this myth provides the Vietnamese with a sense of unity as well as a divide between the mountainous peoples and the coastal peoples of Vietnam.

The Night Marchers

“The legend of the Night Marchers takes place on the west coast of Oahu, on a beach called Keawa-Ula Bay. Basically, a few days of the year the spirits of dead Native Hawaiians march from the mountains to the ocean in order to somehow reach the afterlife. They pound their drums and carry torches, and anyone who gets in the way of their march is never seen again, so people are supposed to stay inside if they ever hear the marching. My parents told this one to me when I was a kid, and they taught about it in elementary school too. I think it’s mostly used by parents to warn their kids from going outside at night, at least that’s how it was for me.”


The person I got this from is one of my 19-year-old friends at USC. He’s lived all of his live in Hawaii, and even though he isn’t racially Hawaiian (half Japanese, half Guatemalan), he and his family are very immersed in Hawaiian culture. To him, this legend evokes memories of his home and childhood, and it reminds him of his cultural



“So Vardavar is an Armenian holiday that dates back from the pagan times, and back then they worshipped a god Astghik who was the goddess of fertility and love and water. Since Armenia is pretty arid, they celebrate the harvest time with water mostly. Originally, people would collect flowers like roses and vartivers, some kind of yellow flower, and throw them everywhere. The flower thing kind of died out, but they also had a ceremony of just pouring water everywhere, just dumping it on random people. That’s the big part of it today, and you can douse children, women, men, anyone, and they all enjoy it. It’s basically a way to celebrate Armenian cultural history and remember where we came from.”


This is from my roommate who was born in Yerevan, Armenia, but he and his family moved to the U.S. in the late 1990s, before he was even five years old. However, he has spent most of his summers back in Armenia, visiting family and whatnot. He is fluent in Armenian and speaks it at home. He grew up with Vardavar because of those summers spent in Armenia with relatives, so he always participated in it. To him, it’s a celebration of his culture and history, and just a fun holiday, and for him it brings back memories from his childhood summers.


Sugar Creek Smallmouth Bass

“There’s a creek that goes through my hometown of Crawfordsville, Indiana called Sugar Creek, and they say it has best smallmouth bass fishing in the country. Apparently in the 80s, some high school kid went down to the Creek after school and caught four 8lb smallmouths, and a massive 12 pounder in an hour. Ever since kids always go down there to try to catch some huge ones, and I’ve caught a couple big ones myself, but nowhere near the 12 pounder he caught.”


This is from my friend who comes from a small town in Indiana with a lot of folklore traditions. He’s lived there all of his life, and apparently there are a lot of these little local stories legends about his town which is awesome. He said that this one particularly resonates with him and gives him a sense of nostalgia because it reminds him of his times fishing during his childhood and looking for legendary bass.