There’s nothing like a good short homemade horror story to read before bed. Here are some of my favorite creepypastas ever. Make no mistake, the word “creepypasta”, which comes from “copypasta”, which comes from “copy & paste” may make it sound like these are anonymous, author unknown works that get handed around the internet like urban legends, but these are all excellent works of prose (and art, in some cases) that deserve just as much of your attention as any published novel.
And so, in no particular order, my favorite (or at least those that I find myself re-reading regularly) creepypasta of all time:
Update: Slimebeast’s website is down as of August 2019 and so the links now go to a Wayback Machine archive from 2018.
A well-known entry on the Creepypasta Wiki (hey, I never said these were “Creepypastas you’ve never heard of”, just my favorites). I’m a big fan of “haunted video games”, but too often they rely on something like “and then Sonic started killing everyone”. NES Godzilla is a unique story because it’s actually mostly images – fake screencaps of a game that’s not just a little haunted, but like totally and completely possessed. It loses some of its potency when “Melissa” comes into the story, but don’t let that take away from your enjoyment of all the hard work that went into fabricating screencaps of incredibly creative monsters and hellish landscapes. Out of all the stories here, I think I’ve re-read this one the most, soaking up all the details and designs in the images.
I’m a big fan of stories that deal with the degradation of reality, which is exactly what happens in Haze. I love the ambiguity – we don’t need to know if it’s aliens, or a reality leak, or a vengeful ghost, it’s just something weird that’s happening.
A fun, gross, bizarre extradimensional fast food apocalypse as viewed by one of the few sane people still left, with major video game undertones. The combat-heavy second half may leave you a bit wanting after all the mysterious beginning, and the ending may leave you completely confused. I love how almost-comical some of the horror in this is, or rather, how comical it could have been, if it wasn’t brainwashing and killing people. The lines between horror and humor are blurred in a deliciously surreal way.
(Warning: sexual content)
Dogscape is a very well-known post-apocalyptic story told by multiple authors and points of view. The Earth has been consumed entirely by a giant, amorphous canine mass and humanity is left to struggle in a world where everything from the ground to the trees have been completely replaced by dog. Each segment is short enough to be quickly digestible and tell a concise tale, while lending another small piece to the greater world-building. I particularly like this one for the amount of information you get out of a relatively short piece of writing – there’s a real consistent sense of this deformed world.
I’m a Search and Rescue Officer…
The top post of all time on the popular horror-themed subreddit r/nosleep, “I’m a Search and Rescue Officer for the US Forest Service, I have some stories to tell” is a series of varied, increasingly bizarre stories that take place while simply trying to rescue lost hikers and campers. There isn’t much consistency between the threats/creatures encountered in each of these stories, except for one extra-mysterious thing: the stairs, which stand out in my mind as a memorable, unique element. I particularly like this series for the more mundane horror stories mixed in with the supernatural horror – the sad truth of people simply lost in the snow is a beautiful juxtaposition to tales of back-flipping, cougar-screaming men pursuing people on dark paths.
Something short, sweet, and simple, with the vibe of a folk tale. The innocent perspective of a child is always fun to read as an adult, because I often find myself horrified by the things that children simply accept without perceiving any danger. I do wish they had left a little bit more unknown (I’m adamant that Stephen King alwasy shoots his own stories in the foot when he starts “explaining” what the monster really is) but it’s odd and weird and honest in a way that feels very believable.
The Gelatin Courts
A wonderfully unique, bizarre and unsettling adventure that gives me strong Guillermo del Toro vibes, which manages to be thoroughly disquieting without the need for gore or death. I love a weird “monster”, and this one features one of the most inoccuous creatures imaginable: frogs! The whole story calls into question the boundaries of dreams and reality, which brings us a completely wacky, surprisingly existential story that doesn’t make us roll our eyes in disbelief because hey, dreams are weird.
A very unique take on the idea of being “followed” – too often it’s some Slenderman-esque sub-human entity, but this story features regular hallcinations (or are they?) of a single, particular building. I’m not too sure how I feel about the second half, as it almost reads like a completely different, unrelated story, but both parts are thoroughly enjoyable. I find this story almost has a magical quality, like a “call to destiny”, that leaves me wanting to know more, which is exactly how I feel a good spooky mystery should leave you feeling.
The Golden Ocean
(Warning: protagonist death)
The cornfields of the Midwestern USA (or is it?) make a wonderful setting for a “just slightly off” alternate reality. An entire ecosystem of corn awaits a lost traveler, and there are fun descriptions of bizarre animals and creatures that inhabit it. I do feel as though there was a missed opportunity to send us on an RPG fetch quest in this sidestepped reality.
The SCP Foundation is a very cool collaborative project for designing anomalous, extradimensional objects, creatures, events, places, and… well, other things. This is one of my personal favorites and very fun to read: a list of bizarre, interdimensional snacks dispensed from an anomalous Japanese vending machine. Some are simply flavors of soda that don’t exist in our world, while others are completely toxic to human life.
The Field Out Back
(Author Slimebeast’s website appears to be down as of August 2019. The link to this creepypasta and to Slimebeast’s story forum below are both from the Wayback Machine internet archive from February 4, 2018.)
Slimebeast, the author of this story, has a lot of short, easy-to-digest stories that make his story forum thoroughly addictive. This one features a particularly ambiguous creature and the perspective of a child, two of my favorite themes. This one leaves just the right amount of unanswered questions and leaves me craving to know more.
Looking for more? Here’s my favorite places to find new stories or rediscover pasta: