The internet has been a viral tool in infecting the masses with information, stories, and fear since the dawn of the World Wide Web. Forums and chat rooms gave us the tools to meet new people from around the world without having to leave the comfort of our homes.
Slenderman might be one of the most notorious ghouls who got his start in 2009 in a challenge on the comedy site Something Awful. From there, images and tales of the tall man circulated and thus the legend was born.
Slenderman also brought the around the creepy Reddit threads NoSleep and CreepyPasta. There, original horror shorts – guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand – are shared in one collective place. The successes of these threads have made Reddit a go-to for horror fan-fiction and unique works of literature. Some of these works have even spawned book deals, like The Trees Have Eyes.
More recently, Twitter has seemed to be the new place to find tales of horror. For example, Dear David spooked twitter users for years, keeping readers on edge with the accounts of the boy with the indented head. The popularity of the story recently landed a movie deal for Dear David’s creator.
With that being said, Horror Freak News raised the question: ‘Is Twitter the latest frontier for bleeding-edge horror storytelling?’
The quick, easy, format of writing on Twitter makes it ideal for a continuous storyline. The connectivity places readers (users) smack dab in the middle of the action, with them being able to weigh in on what they are reading in real-time. Writers are able to skew the storyline according to the responses they might receive. This interaction draws in attention, like the case of Dear David, and creates a friendly bond between the two parties.
Adam Ellis, who lived with the ghostly boy, David, began documenting his cases via Twitter. As his base grew, so did his interactions with the followers. Fans analyzed, theorized, and checked-in daily, which landed him the movie deal he has today.
The Sun Vanished has followers perplexed and confused on what they are seeing unfold before their eyes. The story began with one simple tweet on April 30: ‘Help.’
— TheSunVanished (@TheSunVanished) April 30, 2018
As the story developed, we saw a clip of what appeared to be CNN report. The news stated the sun had disappeared throughout the world and riots had ensued. No clips appeared online when searching for that exact CNN report but one part was factual; the reference to New England’s Dark Day.
— TheSunVanished (@TheSunVanished) April 30, 2018
Like a good book, TSV followers flock periodically to find out the next chapter in this interactive story. TSV went dark for 18 days after Jun 19 when an entranced woman broke into the house the twitter user was staying in. He returned July 7 with updates on the strange tale but has not tweeted since.
So with the activity getting closer to our campsite, I finally convinced Danyon for us to pack up and drive towards the closest cell tower. pic.twitter.com/saZK0u0l56
— TheSunVanished (@TheSunVanished) July 8, 2018
Life is Below is a new account gaining momentum because of its cryptic messages. Supposedly, LIB is a part of a cult that lives underground in tunnels. He seems to reply to direct messages, which gives the allusion of somebody who’s trapped and trying to gain contact with the outside world. His videos are always obscure, with a mask usually covering his identity and voice changer.
Oddly, the account was created the same day TSV stopped tweeting, June 19.
Everything powered by mini fusion reactor about the size of school-bus; Dante says will supply TC w 1000+years energy. Communication w surface forbidden but they know about things: 9/11, Afghanistan, Brexit (?). Must have some surveillance, possibly topside agents of the CoI. pic.twitter.com/ixtlSWuSXd
— There's Life Underground (@LifeIsBelow) July 6, 2018
Fiction parading itself as Non-Fiction is not new. In 1938, Orson Welles caused a mini-nationwide panic after his realistic broadcast of War of the Worlds by H.G Wells.
“I think if Orson Welles had told his version of The War of the Worlds in 2017 instead of 1938, he would have used Twitter instead of the radio,” Said Manuel Bartual to New Statesman.
Bartual created a Twilight Zone-like story about his run in with his doppelganger while on vacation. He later admitted that the story was fiction and only wanted to tell a fun story.
It was all made up.
— Manuel Bartual (@BartualEnglish) September 23, 2017
Whether the tales are true is one thing but the heart racing horror stories have showed us how effective twitter can be for storytelling. Maybe we will be seeing more short stories hitting the big screen now that studios are realizing the potential behind these fables.
What do you think of twitter being used as a medium for horror story telling? Have you heard of Dear David, The Vanished Sun or Life is Below prior? Will you be tuning into to their eerie tweets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.