The Red Room

With the advent of the internet, spirits and ghosts have found their way onto the computer screen, haunting those who perhaps typed in the wrong internet URL. Although perhaps not that surprising, seeing as supernatural ghost activity, according to legend, may affect electricity, televisions, and other modern innovations, a difference with ghosts on the internet is that they are linked to specific sites, not a specific location or area. With this in mind, my friend sent me a link which I did not click, especially after he told me a ghost story of the internet.

Being into Japanese culture and taking interest in horror (“It’s just so interesting!”), he told me the legend of the ‘Red Room’.

“…After classes had ended for that day, two young boys, around their early teens, decided to just hang out and talk. After chatting about school, their classes, their grades, the girls they like, and the latest computer games, the topic finally landed on what they did on the internet. To this question, one boy pipes up and asks if the other had ever heard of the internet pop-up ad that annoyed the user with the question “Do you like – ?” The other boy answered with a shake of his head. The first boy then continues with the story, promptly saying that supposedly, if people closed the pop-up ad, a ghost would cause the person to die. A little spooked out, the other boy changes the topic and the chatting continues until one boy gets called by his mother and is asked to go home for dinner. Later online, the two friends talk online through a messaging program and the boy who had told the story typed in “Dude, I’m going to try searching about the pop-up ad.” The other friend asked if he had found anything but the boy didn’t answer. Assuming he was busy reading up about the story, this friend decided to do some searching of his own. However, despite all his search efforts using every phrase and reading several forums, he could not find anything about pop-up ad. He decided to believe that his friend just made the whole thing up and just wanted to scare him. As he was giving up his search, an extra window pops up with one of those annoying voices. Only this one played a sort of garbled childlike voice asking “Do you like -?” Thinking that it was just his friend messing with him, the boy clicked the ‘x’ which closed the ad. After a few seconds or so, the pop up reappears, asking the same question, “Do you like – ?” Again closing the ad did no good. It kept popping up to his dismay. The childish voice kept changing bit by bit each time until finally the question lengthened by one word. “Do you like red?” The boy continued to close the pop-up until the final message is spit out by a normal childlike girl’s voice, “Do you like the red room?” After this final message appeared, another pop-up window displays a website with a list of names. Not knowing what this was for, the boy scanned the list and found the name of his friend at the bottom. He then feels another presence in the room behind him and turns around, but it is too late.

The next morning at school, there’s a rumor that the pair of friends had suicide, both of them covering the walls and floors in their rooms with their own dark red blood. Upon examination, all they found was a website with a list of names where both their names are displayed at the end of a long list.”

The ghost story ended here, but the friend had told me that this story was also connected to a real life murder of a twelve year old Japanese girl, dubbed the Sasebo slashing. Apparently someone had made an animation of this story and the eleven year old classmate, who had slashed this girl’s throat and arms with a knife, was obsessed with this animation. I was scared to say the least and when he sent me the link to the animation later that night, I did not dare click on it or close the window. I simply turned off my computer.