Creepy Pastas—AKA Contemporary Urban Ghost Lore
Ghost stories have taken a number of different forms over the centuries. Here in early 21st Century America, the newest incarnation is the “creepypasta,” a scary tale that circulates on the internet. Creepypastas usually originate among amateur storytellers who are fascinated by the supernatural; often these writers have been influenced by popular horror movies and online games. Creepypasta characters and other story elements frequently are shared and recycled among people who create them.
As with any creative undertaking practiced by large numbers of enthusiasts rather than by professionals, quality among creepypastas varies widely. Some are well written; many are not. Some are entertaining, while a sizable percentage suffer from predictability.
Creepypastas may also be viewed as an electronic iteration of the scary urban legends which have been shared for decades. Passed in conversation from person to person, urban legends often are accepted as reports of actual, bizarre or disturbing events even though they are almost always entirely fictitious. There have been rare cases where creepypasta fans—usually alienated and impressionable teenagers—have committed crimes they later claimed were inspired by stories of the paranormal that they read on the internet.
The odd term “creepypasta” is thought to be derived from the older internet expression “copy pasta,” which refers to written material that is widely shared online through copying and pasting. “Creepypasta” therefore not only accurately describes the paranormal content of these internet fictions, but it’s also descriptive of the frequent uncertainty surrounding their true authorship and ownership.
Perhaps the leading repository of creepypastas is the website CREEPYPASTA.COM—Scary Paranormal Stories & And Short Horror Microfiction. The site is closed to anyone under the age of 18.