Fear is one of the most powerful forces that exist, and is even capable of changing people’s behavior and perception. There is no better way to terrify someone than by telling a scary story and making it seem real . This is what happens with creepypasta, a new genre that emerged from Internet forums that has become popular in recent years.

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What is a creepypasta
In general terms, creepypasta are scary stories that have gone viral on the Internet , causing many to question whether they are true or not. In a certain way, they resemble the urban legends of a lifetime, but they go far beyond a simple text or a narration.
Creepypasta can become part of popular culture with a video on social networks, with a video game or with a simple image that, without warning, goes viral. Another important feature is that anyone can be part of that story and enlarge the myth, as long as it fits the original story.
The term comes from the colloquial expression “copypaste”, which refers to the action of copying and pasting a text digitally. Also play with the word “creepy”, which can be translated as “spooky”. Similarly, creepypasta stories are copied and pasted on different network platforms , such as forums and social networks, until some user adapts it to a new format.
Among the most common themes, we find demonic characters that must be summoned, enchanted images or videos that will torment the viewer until his death (see ‘The Ring’), and even “lost episodes” of some works of fiction.

3 famous examples of creepypasta
So that you better understand what this type of story on the net consists of, we present the most famous examples.

1. Slenderman
Slenderman or the “Slender Man” is the creepypasta phenomenon par excellence. It all started in 2009, when a user named Victor Surge posted a series of edited photos on a forum called Something Awful . In the background of those snapshots you could see a tall man, with a black suit and a white face without features.
Victor’s goal was to win a Photoshop contest, but what happened next has changed the history of the Internet. The images went viral and many users began to wonder if Slenderman was a real case.. Over time, the character became an urban legend: that of a man who kidnapped and traumatized people, especially children.
One of the first photos uploaded by user Victor Surge. | Image from: Something Awful.
The phenomenon gained popularity when developer Mark J. Hadley released the video game ‘Slender: The Eight Pages’ in 2012, but two years later the creepypasta myth claimed its first victim .

The first real victim of Slenderman
On May 31, 2014, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, two 12-year-old teenagers, stabbed their friend Payton Leutner up to 19 times. The myth took root in the minds of the minors until they felt the need to “please Slenderman”. Fortunately, Payton was able to recover from the attack and her two friends were charged with first-degree murder.
You can find this chilling case in the HBO documentary ‘Beware the Slenderman’.

Slenderman and the origin of creepypasta
Some say that the myth of Slenderman is the origin of this phenomenon on the networks, although the truth is that the tradition of copying and pasting viral fear stories became popular (of course) in the discussion forum 4chan .
This portal has been the cradle of other movements such as Anonymous and is defined as a website for the free circulation of information. In fact, we find thefirst references to the term creepypasta in 2007 in some discussion threads on the web.

2. Jeff the Killer
Jeff the Killer is the other great creepypasta legend of the Internet. It is inspired by the story of Jeffrey Woods, a 13-year-old boy who gets involved in several fights with teenagers. In one of them, Jeff’s face is consumed by the flames , which are fueled by the alcohol and bleach that had been thrown at him. He then loses his mind and warps his lips to draw a big smile on his face which he enjoys killing with.
Of course, this story is completely false, but it has already become part of the twisted collective culture of the network. The curious thing about this is that other stories are formed about the originaland the version changes radically from one website to another. In that sense, several users assure that it is a girl who has received verbal abuse that she is dedicated to killing with a macabre smile on her face.

3. The Midnight Game
Sometimes creepypasta refer to invocations or rituals that are performed to attract paranormal phenomena or dangerous spirits of the night. One such celebrated ritual is the Midnight Game.
To do it correctly, a series of requirements must be met, such as it being exactly midnight, bringing a candle and a pinch of salt, or doing everything with the lights off. There is a real risk that psychological terror will condition usin such a way that our brain ends up hearing strange noises in the middle of the night, however we must remember that creepypasta are still pure inventions.
In short, these stories are updated versions of urban legends that take advantage of the potential of networks to spread. The great danger is that some users may internalize these stories to the point of claiming that they are real. As always, the line between truth and fiction is blurred on the Internet.

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