There’s still 40 days till Halloween, but it doesn’t mean we can’t start getting ready by pumping up the blood early. And the corner of Reddit known by the name r/Creepy is a perfect place for that. Created for “all things creepy,” the subreddit is home to a whopping 14.2M members, proving that spine-chilling content is a big hit here on the internet.
So today, we selected some of the most creepy posts that range from hard-to-explain sightings of figures caught on camera to eerie places that probably won’t be on your holiday destination list.
Ever wondered what the inside of the Chernobyl reactor looks like? Well, wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, scroll down below, and get ready to jump from the sofa. Don’t tell us we didn’t warn you, things are creepy here.
Handmade Ghost Ship
“There isn't really one, universal answer as to why people seek out or enjoy creepy, spooky, scary things; it depends a lot on cultural context, as well as on each person individually,” Lucia Peters told Bored Panda. Lucia is a writer, editor, the creator of the website The Ghost In My Machine, and author of the book “Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark.” “For instance, fear does some interesting things to us, physically and psychologically; it puts our bodies into a state of high alert, often triggering the fight-or-flight response and releasing adrenaline and endorphins,” she continued. “Some people enjoy the feelings and sensations these responses inspire, while others don't.”
Lucia explained that there's been some research into why some folks like being scared and others don't. “For example, it's been found that people who score highly on specific personality traits associated with thrill-seeking tend to enjoy being scared more than those who don't score as highly on those types of traits,” she said and added that there are so many factors at play, like environment, personal experience, etc.
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According to her, narrowing it down to one, specific answer is difficult (and probably doesn't really serve us well, anyway).
Speaking of herself, Lucia said that she was fearful as a child. “Scared of seemingly everything -- and eventually, I started wanting to understand exactly why I was so scared of so many things.” Therefore, she started “deconstructing horror stories and other spooky things, and along the way, she started to really enjoy the little frisson she got, like “the shiver running up and down my spine and exploring spooky things.”
“And this, too, can be a big factor as to whether someone enjoys being scared or not -- some folks enjoy the sense of mastery they get over making it through a spooky experience,” Lucia said.
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“It's also worth noting that everyone finds the same things creepy or scary. For example, body horror or gore doesn't do much for me, but I love a good ghost story; I'm also very fond of the uncanny -- that is, when something looks familiar, but feels just a little bit... off. But some folks feel the opposite: They find ghost stories or the uncanny boring and love body horror and gore. And that's just personal preference!”
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According to Lucia, not everyone finds the same things creepy or spooky. “When it comes to the variety of spooky storytelling we find online, though--whether it's in words, pictures, video, or some combination of the above--the most effective pieces of work tend to be the ones that blur the lines of reality and fiction.”
She continued: “think pieces of art that add fictional entities or monsters to real photographs (that's how Slenderman began, after all), short stories that have a kernel of truth in them somewhere ("Abandoned By Disney" does this really well), and the like: Deep down, we know that these images and stories are fictional -- but they look or feel just real enough to make us wonder, ‘What if...?’”
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Lucia believes that the roots of the fears remain similar, although the ways in which they're expressed can change or evolve over time. “Take the fear of the dark, for instance -- a fear that's been around for basically all of human existence. Often, what being afraid of the dark is really about is being afraid of the unknown. We can't see what's lurking outside our little circle of light; it's masked by the darkness. Anything could be out there; it's the not-knowing that scares us,” she explained.
“Then, consider some of the fears associated with the internet--the kinds we see in horror films like Unfriended, The Den, or Cam. Although the medium here is obviously modern--the internet is very young, comparatively speaking!--these fears, too, tap into the fear of the unknown: We don't really know who or what might be hiding behind those screen names. Again, just as it is with the dark, it's the not-knowing that scares us,” Lucia concluded.
I Went To Dachau Concentration Camp And Felt Almost Like It Didn’t Do Anyone Justice. It Didn’t Seem To Reveal The Extent Of The Horrors Of What Happened There. Until I Saw This. My Heart Was In My Stomach
Bored Panda also spoke with S. Elizabeth, writer and creator of the “Unquiet Things” blog, as well as the author of “The Art of the Occult: A Sourcebook For The Modern Mystic” book. She is particularly interested in horror, the supernatural, and death. “I can tell you that for myself, there’s something cathartic about spending time with scary material, whether it’s a ghost story or a slasher film, etc.,” S. Elizabeth explained her fascination with creepy things.
“You’re engaging with this material from a really passive place, you can experience the threat or menace vicariously--and sure, if it’s particularly well written or well-directed or if the actors and the effects are spectacular, it might become such an immersive experience that for a time you feel like you’re right there in the thick of it.”
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The writer continued: “But you’re not. You can mark your page and close the book when you’ve had enough scares for the night. You can pause the movie and go to sleep. There’s no danger that Michael Myers is going to stab you, that the zombie is going to eat your brains. You’re already the Final Girl.”
Having said that, S. Elizabeth added that “as a woman, I already feel vulnerable in this world, whether I am in a horror movie or not. (And in recent years, it really has been starting to seem more and more like a weird dystopian horror film.) So many of us don’t make it out alive. Horror movies, scary stories, creepy media--I think consuming this type of thing gives us a sense of control in a world that no longer makes any sense,” she explained.
When asked what is it about certain creepy stories that affect us so profoundly, S. Elizabeth said that “I can point to a lot of elements, but they all boil down to one core piece of the puzzle: that something fundamentally feels very wrong. The stories in which things happen when they shouldn’t, people are somehow where they couldn’t possibly be.”
She gave us some examples: “The television that powers on suddenly, even though it’s unplugged. The face you see just outside your window even though you’re on the third floor. The emails you begin receiving from a friend who died half a year ago. The sibling who goes away on vacation and comes back changed, not themselves. It’s their face, but it’s somehow not them anymore.”
S. Elizabeth said that “this sense of wrongness is made that much troubling and lonely and desperate when you realize you seem to be the only one who notices these uncanny goings-on.” According to her, if a creepy story has any of these elements, it’s bound to have an impact on us and give us a sleepless night or two.
A Soot Covered Spiderweb
This new research conducted by David Zald shows that people differ in their chemical response to thrilling situations. Dopamine, one of the main hormones released during scary and thrilling activities, depends on each individual. To put it simply, some get more of a kick out of the same amount of dopamine. According to Zald, some brains lack something that he calls “brakes” on the dopamine release and reuptake in the brain. As a result, they will be enjoying more thrilling, scary, and risky situations than the rest.
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According to Dr. Margee Kerr, a staff sociologist at ScareHouse, a haunted house in Pittsburgh that takes all year to plan, for anyone to really enjoy scary situations, they must know it’s a safe environment. “It’s all about triggering the amazing fight-or-flight response to experience the flood of adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine, but in a completely safe space. Haunted houses are great at this—they deliver a startle scare by triggering one of our senses with different sounds, air blasts, and even smells,” she told The Atlantic.
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Moreover, according to Dr. Kerr, “these senses are directly tied to our fear response and activate the physical reaction, but our brain has time to process the fact that these are not “real” threats. Our brain is lightning-fast at processing threat. I’ve seen the process thousands of times from behind the walls in ScareHouse—someone screams and jumps and then immediately starts laughing and smiling. It’s amazing to observe."
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Interestingly, Dr.Kerr believes that fear is also something that’s culturally and socially constructed. She suggests that “when we look across time and across the world, we find that people truly can become afraid of anything.” An exemplary case of this phenomenon is Baby Albert.
“The poor child was made deathly afraid of white rabbits in the 1920s before researchers were required to be ethical. So we know that we can learn to fear, and this means our socialization and the society in which we are raised is going to have a lot to do with what we find scary,” Dr. Kerr told The Atlantic.
Other creepy things that many cultures find scary are creatures of different kinds, like semi-human creatures, creatures from an outer world, supernatural monsters, and things that defy the laws of nature in some way.
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We'll be by around 7pm on March 23 to pick up you & yours - pack lite, leave your earthly husk behind. As ever, no fornicators or immigrants need apply. I see you @ 7pm (1900 hrs)
U KNOW WHO"