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My brain is getting fat on creepypasta

File this one under “random facts about Lise”: I really enjoy creepypasta, i.e.:

short horror fictions and urban legends mainly distributed through word of mouth via online message boards or e-mail.

As a general rule I’m not a huge consumer of horror. But there is something about supposedly-true stories of unexplained phenomena which make reality and shared human experience seem thin and fragile. It’s why I was simultaneously terrified and fascinated by the program Unsolved Mysteries when I was a kid.

This sort of horror — is there a name for it? — was epitomized for me by the Tell Me About Your Glitch in the Matrix thread on Reddit a few years ago, which still haunts me (I posted about it back then, too). It exposed me to what is probably my favorite creepypasta, involving my favorite game, Morrowind.

‘Tother night a random link on Facebook led me to an article on Thought Catalog about, basically, a haunted iPhone. It wasn’t a great story, and I’m not going to link to it because TC has some seriously annoying ads (bad enough I had to remove them from the DOM with Chrome dev tools, because they kept scrolling me back up to the same place on the page), but it reminded me that I’d seen stories like this on Reddit. And there, at least, I knew the ads were minimal.

Which is how I ended up on the NoSleep subreddit. I read the May 2015 contest winner, “The Oddkids,” which left me feeling decidedly meh. There were a few entertaining ones, but most of them lacked the surreality of the glitch thread.

(There’s also the whole thing where we are asked to suspend disbelief even while, externally, we know this is a subreddit for creepy fictional stories. That kind of threw me out of immersion).

But then I checked out “similar subreddits” and found that, lo and behold, an entire subreddit has spawned from the original thread: Glitch_. Which I stayed up Way Too Late Reading. It’s full of stories of lost time and found time and dopplegangers and crisis premonitions and Mandela effects and quantum suicides. There are some real duds (anything without about 50 votes I can safely ignore), but there are oodles of stories that give me the creeps.

Do I “believe” this stuff? Hard question to answer. I believe most of the posts are in earnest; that creepy things have happened and people want to share them. I am highly skeptical of most of the explanations (i.e. quantum bullshit). I am willing to read, and enjoy and fear that sensation that reality has thinned, and not think too much about explanations.

As for myself, I’ve had relatively few creepy experiences (I talk about a few in my 2012 post, though) and I’d like to keep it that way. I’ll pull back the veil on the world on my own terms, thanks.