Tag Archives: Creepypasta


  LH is a student who currently lives in Los Angeles. She is a comedian and has spent a lot of time on the internet throughout her life.

LH- So back in the day, when Creepypastas were popular and I was young on the internet, the stories used to all really scare me even though I knew it wasn’t real. When I first heard about Slenderman when I was in 5th grade, it really instilled a fear in my heart unlike no other. I remember after seeing it late at night I would always imagine him by my window, keeping me up every night. At one point someone made some badly photoshopped photos of Slenderman next to some kids at a park, and lurking in the woods, and I was stupid and you enough to believe it. It really frightened me deeply. I didn’t like ghosts or ghouls or scary stories as a kid, so the idea of a tall, omnipresent man lurking in the corner whenever it was dark really stuck with me. Then, a few years later, those 2 girls almost killed their friend in the name of Slenderman, and suddenly the fear became a lot more real, and less focused on the abstract suited figure, but also the people around me who could be under his control. If he doesn’t kill me then someone in his posse will. 

I first heard of Slenderman when I was in elementary school. I saw the original Creepypasta post and continued to see mentions and references to him on the internet for years. Slenderman was a tall disfigured German ghoul with long tentacles who would lurk around playgrounds and use its long spindly limbs to snatch up lonely kids. He appears at night, in dark lonely places, normally hiding out in the forest. Even though I heard of Slenderman by the chances of the internet, it does seem like the type of story parents would make up to scare their kids away from going to places alone or at night. Um, but the fear tactics of the Slenderman story were entirely imposed by myself. Seeing the Creepypasta scared me into not wanting to go out without my parents, and developing a slight fear of the dark. He followed me, in my subconscious, wherever I went. I was 10, I wasn’t bright, I believed everything I saw on the internet. It was definitely heightened by the internet because everyone was posting about it. 

On a psychological note, your brain has the same reaction to the feelings of excitement and fear, so a part of me thinks kids enjoy scary things because it gives them that little kick of adrenaline. Also, being a kid and having unlimited access to the internet makes you want to seek out scary and adult things, but being so young and naive makes it easy to be tricked. And people on the internet prey on the stupidity of others. Honestly, I also had a very unique childhood in the sense that my parents heavily monitored the TV and movies I watched, I wasn’t able to watch R rated movies for a very very long time, but I had unlimited access to the internet. They didn’t know what the internet was capable of, so they just let me run free with it, and I took what little freedom I had and wanted to make the most of it. 


I think Slenderman became such a popular ghostly figure on the internet because of its simplicity. As a kid, you’re taught all about stranger danger, and the scariest thing in the world is some untraceable stranger coming up and taking you away. Slenderman is a visual representation of that childhood fear of strangers and the dark and scary unknown. It frightened and captivated so many children because it was a representation of a concept everyone was familiar with. 

The design of Slenderman is an important factor in the figure’s popularity. Making Slenderman this very simple man with no face and long limbs in a classic black and white tuxedo made it very easy for others to create content for this creature. Even 10 years ago, photoshopping a Slenderman hidden in the woods on a random photo was not only easy but could look quite realistic. The simple design allowed for it to spread quickly, as more and more people created images and stories about him, convincing young kids everywhere. 

Creepypastas are a very interesting aspect of early Internet culture. Ghost stories have always been prevalent in youth culture, often being a rite of passage for the older, wiser kids to pass the stories down to more gullible children. As the internet grew in popularity, especially among young generations, many playground traditions evolved to fit the internet age. Creepypastas were the new ghost stories, scaring children into thinking it was real and allowing the people in the know to perpetuate and entertain. Kids also often were drawn towards Slenderman and other Creepypastas as a way to be ‘adult’. In the 2000s and early 2010s, most adults didn’t fully understand the capabilities of the internet, and would often not be aware of the type of content that their kid was consuming. Kids want to prove themselves to be grown up, and one way to do that is by rebelling against their parents by exploring things that seem ‘scary’ or ‘adult’. These scary stories perfectly captured the children’s imaginations while also making the kids feel braver and more grown up. Creepypastas were a fascinating phenomenon that showcases the ways our traditions evolve with us. 

Legend – Slenderman in Real Life


J is a freshman at USC studying screenwriting, and a good friend of mine. 

Slenderman is an online-created urban legend spread throughout the site CreepyPasta. It originated with photoshopped images of a slender, tall and faceless man in a suit.


J: So one time when I was a kid, my cousin and my mom were talking about Slender Man, because I guess they both heard of it. And I was like, eight at the time. And I had never heard of this because I was like, eight years old. And I had no connection to like, creepy pasta or anything on the internet. And so I asked them to tell me a story about it because I wanted to know what he was like. So they told me this story about this girl who was home alone one night, and she forgot to get water before she went to bed. So when she was in bed, she was like, oh, I need to get up and get water because I’m really thirsty. So she went to her kitchen. And as she was getting the water, she saw this weird, creepy figure in the corner of her kitchen, and it really freaked her out. But instead of going back to bed, she continued to get the water. And so then when her parents came home, they saw that she wasn’t there. So they looked around, and they asked a bunch of people. And eventually they found out that she was at the hospital. And so they went to the hospital to talk to her and ask her what happened. But her ears and her tongue and her eyes were all cut out. And her hands were cut off. So that she couldn’t see if he was going to come again. She couldn’t hear if he would come again. She couldn’t speak what happened, and she couldn’t write down what happened. And so that way, he would remain anonymous. 

Me: They told you this when you were eight?

J: Yeah. And so then I remained afraid of Slenderman until I was like, in the middle of high school. Because the legend goes that like, if you cease to believe that Slender Man exists, then he will come kill you. But so long as you believe that he exists, you’re sort of safe. And so that made me not want to stop believing in it. But then it kept freaking me out.


Slenderman is a curious case of folklore in which it takes on a life of its own outside of its place of origin: the internet. Creepypastas tend to be another form of scary storytelling for children and young people, and they are, in a way, a place akin to campfires for the exchange of scary stories. For something as famous as Slenderman, however, it evolves into a cultural being despite having been started with fan narratives that were written down, which is not how we traditionally think of folklore. Yet because there is no official canon nor a copyright, the people are able to be communally creative while making agreements on who this character is and what he should be. 

Legend: Jack The Ripper

When my informant O was younger, their older brother told them a Creepypasta (term for horror-related legends) legend about Jack the Ripper. He told them how Jack would come to your window every night and he would test you by scratching on your window. If he didn’t scratch your window it meant you were safe, but if he did, it meant that you were a possible target. Unfortunately, O had a tree close by her bedroom window, so sometimes the branches of the tree would graze her window late at night, causing an eerie scratching sound which terrified them. O said that they would get panic attacks and often had trouble sleeping thinking that Jack was going to get them in their sleep. One night O’s panic attack got so bad that they started crying and screaming and their dad ran in, worried about what had caused their reaction. After they explained the situation to their dad, he scolded O’s brother for scaring them and he cut down the branches near O’s bedroom window that very night.

I also have an older sibling who is ten years older than me so I have had my fair share of horror stories that my older sister has told me growing up. She would also try to convince me that I was adopted when I was younger because I don’t really look like either of my parents by telling me that my birth certificate was fake. I can definitely relate to O because I have had so many experiences that are similar to the story she told me. My sister is a really big horror fan, so she watched and read a lot of horror stories. She would always try to scare me by telling me scary stories and legends about our hometown and I remember many late nights of running to my mom’s bedroom because I was too scared to sleep in my room as a kid.


“The idea is that there is a man that lives in the woods, he is very tall and lanky, he wears a suit and has tentacles on his back but the biggest thing is that he doesn’t have a face, when you look at him it’s just a white head, a flat nothing. I honestly don’t remember how I first heard about- it was probably just through talking to other kids because it became such a big deal because Slenderman started as a creepy pasta where someone wrote a story and it just spread through the Internet. There’s a whole bunch of scary photos with a child next to him and the whole idea is that he would lure kids into the woods and kill them. One of the things that was scary about him was that the more you research the Slenderman, the more likely he is to get you. So like as you look stuff up, he’s like gonna put you on his list like this person looking too much into it. I don’t fully know how that started and it made it scarier because we can’t find anything about him.”


My informant is a 16-year old from Kansas City, Missouri. She is active on the Internet and has been on YouTube since early 2010. In the early days of the Internet, people invented short stories that would be spread throughout the Internet via copy and pasting, earning the name copy pastas. Eventually, this act of sharing stories transformed to fit the horror genre and this subculture was known as creepy pastas. These stories are shared in Internet circles as short and creepy stories and are subject to reinterpretation with each telling. My informant, being invested with the Internet, learned of several of these throughout the years and remembered this one in particular. 


My informant brought up this story during a walk around her neighborhood when I asked her about scary stories from her childhood. 


This story is interesting as it represents several fears for a generation that is heavily present on the Internet. Firstly, the Slenderman takes from similar urban legends of the past featuring a man in the woods who seeks to hurt others. It should be noted though, that this specific story states he only seeks to hurt children, which is done to emphasize his cruelty and evil nature. Furthermore, it is tailored to fit those who would stumble upon the story, most of which would be younger children using the Internet. Being entirely on the Internet also changes how people could discuss the story, which features prominently in this telling of the story. The informant told me that she heard you could not look anything up about the creature, as it would make you his target. This is fascinating, as it plays into the fears of a generation with seemingly unlimited access to technology, which is a restriction of said content. If nothing else, the Slenderman also represents an entire shift in the methods by which stories are told. Whereas other classic horror stories are primarily told orally, the Slenderman’s origins are entirely on the Internet. This pushed the content of the piece to better fit this audience, and it adapted to address fears of this generation of kids on the Internet.

For an in-depth look at the history of this legend, see: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/movies/slender-man-timeline.html

Bear Granny

Bear Granny

Context: The informant is a Chinese student in USC. The collector interviewed the informant (as GL) for tales. The informant then presented a creepy story in English told by his grandfather as a bedtime story. His grandfather is from Chongqing, an inland city in China.



GL: Okay so, there were two kids. They wandered in the woods. And then they met their granny in the woods for some reason I can’t remember. So they came back home with their granny. And their granny was like, “Okay. You two should take a bath and then we can sleep together.”

Somewhere late at night, the elder sister woke up. She heard some cracking sounds. It came from their granny. So she asked, “Granny, what are you eating?”

Granny said: “I am eating candies.”

And then, you know, some ray of moonlight shone in. The girl saw a lot of bloody intestines and flesh and stuff laying on the bed.  It’s a creepy story. She figured out that her granny was eating her little sister.

So she asked: “Granny, do you want some candies of different flavor?”

Granny was like, “Sure.”

So the girl took a heated, some sort of claws (Collector’s note: he probably meant tongs) from the fire place. (Collector’s note: he probably meant that the girl used the tongs to attack her granny)

And then the girl was like, “Granny, do you want some water to cool down?” and Granny was like “Yeah Sure”. And the girl took some boiling water and killed the Bear Granny.


GL: I think it is a pretty prevalence story from where I came from to scare the kids.

Collector: What do you think is this story trying to tell kids? To respect their granny? (in a joking tone)

GL: I had really complicated feelings when I first heard the story. I guess the purpose my grandparents told this story was, you know, I kept asking for bedtime stories before going to sleep, so they wanted to scare me off so they could do their own stuff.

Collector: Do you think it is a typical Chinese story or just a story in Chongqing?

GL: I think it is not typically Chinese but a lot of people from that area (Chongqing) have heard of that story.

Collector: Have you ever told this story to other people before?

GL: Yeah, I told this story to one of the kids in elementary school because he thought I was weird.

Collector: How was the effect?

GL: He was freaked out. (laughing) Yeah, he was freaked out.


Collector’s thought:

It is weird that adults tell kids creepy stories as bedtime stories.

I think the story involves an archetype of evil old ladies. But unlike those evil witches in Western tales, this demonic old lady is the grandmother of the protagonist, a dear one in the family. The Bear Granny reminds me of what Professor Thompson said in class that there is a belief in Japan that old people in the family will turn into ghosts (monsters) when they are too old. Maybe this is something common in East Asia. But the tale also resembles the Little Red Riding Hood.

I searched for Bear Granny in Chinese, and saw some articles saying that Bear Granny is popular in Chongqing and Sichuan area. It is called “熊嘎婆 [Mandarin in pinyin: xíong gā pó, literally: Bear Granny]”