Previously: “The Woman in the Oven.”
The history behind “The River Country Film” is all true: Walt Disney World’s original water park, River Country opened on June 20, 1976, predating later Disney water parks Typhoon Lagoon by 13 years and Blizzard Beach by nearly two decades. Although it was smaller than Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, it had a certain charm to it; designed to resemble an old time-y swimming hole, it did what Disney does best: Look back with nostalgia at an extravagantly romanticized vision of yesteryear — or perhaps more accurately, a past that never was.
Over time, though, it began to struggle in comparison with the newer water parks; what’s more, attendance for Walt Disney World as a whole dropped off dramatically post-9/11, ands River Country suffered quite a bit as a result. The park ran its regular season throughout the rest of 2001 — but in April of 2002, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the park may not reopen. It stayed closed throughout 2002 and languished for another few years; then, on January 20, 2005, Disney finally confirmed the fact that the park was permanently closed.
What’s so fascinating about the closure, though, is that the park has never subsequently been demolished.
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Let’s start the new year off with a blast from the past, shall we? “The Woman in the Oven” — sometimes simply referred to as “The Tape” — is one of the oldest creepypastas around. Its original author remains unknown; indeed, there are several versions of it floating around, so at this point, there’s no telling how many authors it actually has at all. For what it’s worth, the oldest version I’ve found dates back to June of 2008 — two full years before I even learned what creepypasta even was. That’s the version I’ve reproduced here — in full, purely because the tale is so short.
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Previously: “Trick Or Treat.”
Although most creepypastas eventually find their way to — or even originate from — the Creepypasta Wikia, “Misfortune.gb” is one of the few pastas I know of that capitalizes on the medium itself: It’s written in the form of a Wiki page. For that reason, it’s one of the most effective pastas I’ve ever read when it comes to blurring the line between fact and fiction. The last section is where we get a bit of a departure from that particular format… but the departure is where the story’s kick in the gut comes from, too.
And it’s a good one.
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Previously: “The Cardboard House.”
The selection of Halloween-themed creepypasta available is surprising slim. Perhaps it’s to be expected; layering a creepy story on top of a holiday that’s already supposed to be creepy seems a little like overkill, and might even cancel out the creepiness all together. But “Trick or Treat” is quite a successful little story, weaving together well-known traditions, the history of Halloween, and one the most puzzling unsolved mysteries on record. (If you’re keeping up with this season of American Horror Story, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about.)
Like a lot of creepy stories, this one is sort of a cautionary tale. It also brings up a very good point about trick or treating — namely, that it’s actually a little weird we’re so trusting of strangers opening up their doors to a whole bunch of equally strange children on one specific day every year.
Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
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Previously: “NES Godzilla Creepypasta.”
Rather a lot of creepypastas deal with the creepy child trope — it’s been a fixture of horror fiction for ages, perhaps most notably in the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw — but I’m always surprised that there aren’t more that address a very particular childhood habit: Building stuff out of cardboard boxes. “The Cardboard House” is one such story, and while I’d kind of like to give it a good copy edit, it’s still quite effective all on its own. Kids build entire worlds out of discarded bits and bobs — things that most adults consider trash, but which can become anything in the right imagination. And it’s amazing.
But there’s also such a thing as the wrong imagination. Or maybe it’s still the right one; it just tapped into the wrong thing. Whatever the case, the bottom line is that when you make something out nothing, something… else happens, too. It opens a door of sorts. Sometimes that door is a literal one.
And what’s on the other side isn’t always benign.
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Previously: “The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp.”
The first thing you should know about the “NES Godzilla Creepypasta” is that it’s long. Really long. It’s probably one of the longest pastas that exists; as far as breadth goes, I think it might even trump the Haunted Majora’s Mask cartridge story (aka “Ben DROWNED,” which predates the Godzilla pasta by about a year). Created by sprite artist CosbyDaf, it was originally posted to the website Bogleech during the summer of 2011, bringing readers on an epic tale of love, loss, horror, and redemption at the hands of a questionable NES cartridge. The Godzilla pasta is also one of the most well-known video game pastas — and really, probably one of the most well-known pastas, period. In fact, it’s actually pretty astonishing that I haven’t covered it here on TGIMM before. Mea culpa.
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Previously: “The Weird Part of YouTube.”
“The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp” is one of the earliest examples of a genre of creepypasta of which I’m particularly fond. I’m honestly not totally sure what to call this genre; “ritual” isn’t quite right, although there are elements of ritualistic pastas to be found in it, and neither is “travel,” although they often involve, well, travel. The best I’ve been able to do is “instructions,” since that’s what they’ve all got in common: They’re sets of instructions for how to do or find something… unusual. It’s the same genre as 200 Phenomena in the City of Calgary and The Holders Series; indeed, timeline-wise, “The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp” falls right between 200 Phenomena and The Holders: The Holders dates back to 2007, “The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp” to 2008, and 200 Phenomena to 2009.
However, unlike The Holders and 200 Phenomena, the titular gallery seen here isn’t part of a larger whole. It exists on its own… and maybe that’s a good thing. I’d hate to find out what it would mean if the pictures you’ll see in Henri Beauchamp’s gallery were just the tip of the proverbial — and very bloody — iceberg.
If you go into this one tiny, dingy one-story bar in Paris, and the right bartender is behind the counter that night, you might be able to see a very exclusive gallery show of the lost works of one Henri Beauchamp. But, to get in, you have to prove you’re a devotee of the artist.
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