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What is a creepypasta and what does it have to do with horror?
Karma Patey
A drawn image of Slenderman, Ben Drowned, and Jeff the Killer looking at the camera.

Horrific images, distorted faces, and creepy stories. These are some factors that go into building a creepypasta. When discussing the topic of horror, it’s important to acknowledge one of the most recognizable things in modern times.

The term “creepypasta” comes from a form of internet “slang” predating the 2010s. When you copy and paste something on the internet, some people would jokingly say “copy-pasta” as a play on words. And because of the nature of how fast creepypastas spread, they took that term and replaced “copy” with “creepy”.

Creepypastas have been around since 2008. To this day, small stories continue to be posted on the official website. Many people still interact within the creepypasta “fandom” (defined in this case as “the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture”). Many images from these creepypastas have circulated the internet for a long time. With them, some bring legends.

Regarded as one of the most famous creepypastas of all is Slenderman. Most people have heard of him. Some have played games with him in them. The iconic Slender: The Eight Pages was the first game released that featured Slenderman. The original creator of Slenderman is known as Eric Knudson, who at the time went under the pseudonym Victor Surge. In 2009, a competition sparked when someone asked for new ideas for modern myths. From this, Knudson created the first images of Slenderman.

After his creation, several pieces of fanart and edits of him have arisen as a way to show how much people enjoy him. The web series known as Marble Hornets was also inspired by Slenderman. His legacy was unmatched, and still to this day stays relevant in some ways.

With the Slenderman, though, comes controversy that has weighed heavily on the fictional character. In 2014, two girls stabbed another girl repeatedly, and claimed that Slenderman told them to, or harm would come to their families. This incident would be later known as the “Slenderman Stabbing”. The attack was near-fatal, with the victim nearly escaping with her life. After the incident, the two who committed the crime were admitted to jail and mental hospitals.

While Slenderman, like all creepypastas, is fake, it brought a lot of fear to the people who knew about the case. If something fictional like this could easily influence the minds of kids and lead them to be violent, what else could they do?

Despite it all, the myth of Slenderman himself has stayed very relevant. This is also true with creepypastas in general. Throughout the years, some have become more popular, some have died out, and some have changed.

Creepypastas come in all sorts of different stories with differing characters, themes, and horror aspects.

Another very popular creepypasta was Jeff the Killer. This one is regarded by some as one of the most disturbing, because of the popular photo that comes with it. Despite the reach of the internet and the power of some people to trace back images to sources, Jeff the Killer’s actual original photo has never been found. We may never know who created the legend through that original photo, if it was even intentional at all.

Quite like the name might show, Jeff the Killer is a serial killer-type creepypasta. The earliest record of him as a creepypasta dates back to 2011, created by a DeviantArt member under the name Sesseur. There’s not a whole lot to go off of with Jeff because his story is short. While fanart has been made of him, he has one image to reference to. And that image itself has no solid origins.

Another famous creepypasta is the Smile Dog. This one, like the name suggests, is about a dog. In the “story” for Smile Dog, it’s believed that it is simply an entity that takes on the form of a dog, more specifically a Siberian Husky. While some of the images and edits that have come to light of Smile Dog are more distorted and don’t actually show super obvious traits to one breed, the original one was created from a regular image of a Husky.

The creator of the story for Smile Dog is not actually known. However, the creator of the original image is credited as a man named Michael Lutz, who posted the first image to 4chan in 2008. From it, several more images have popped up.

Recently, Smile Dog has actually been gaining a bit of traction on TikTok. A quick search on TikTok’s search bar will provide you with the content. The new image is one of what appears to be a red Siberian Husky staring into the camera from outside a glass door, with an unnatural smile. The image appears to be edited. This is also sometimes accompanied by a social media post that goes on to say “…this dog showed up over an hour ago and it hasn’t moved or looked away.”

While it’s become easy to see that new things like this are obviously edited to scare people, it can make for an interesting late-night TikTok video.

Another popular creepypasta is Ben Drowned. This one takes the form of Link from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. However, unlike the Link many have come to know and love, this one is haunted. His eyes, once blue, are red and often depicted as bleeding. The character and story to match were created by someone under the username jadusable (aka Alex Hall) on 4chan in 2010.

The story itself is about a young man who finds a bootleg version of Majora’s Mask. He believes it is haunted by the ghost of a boy named Ben, who died by drowning. This one is more unique than the other ones mentioned here, because the story itself is derived from a game that actually exists. The story itself is completely made up, but it’s still fun to think about.

Creepypastas come in all sorts of different stories with differing characters, themes, and horror aspects. There are several ways you can get unique with the topic of horror, and while creepypastas were mostly a thing in the late 2000s-early 2010s, they still are very prevalent in social media today. No one creepypasta is the same. While hundreds of them exist, there will always be the more popular ones that gained the community its widespread popularity.

About the Contributors
Finley Wiseman
Finley Wiseman, Reporter
The only thing keeping me going this year is my paycheck.
Karma Patey
Karma Patey, Illustrator
the dude who draws the things who isn't the other one