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Gregory Burkart’s Top 10 Creepypastas of 2016

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Let’s face it, folks… 2016 has been one of the scariest years on record, no matter how many decades of life you’ve managed to survive so far. It comes as little surprise to me, then, how horror entertainment in all its forms has flourished during this tumultuous period. No greater authority than Stephen King himself has said, “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” Truer words were never spoken.

While the fascinating viral horror phenomenon known as Creepypasta has existed in some form or another on the web for nearly a decade now, it seems like 2016 is the year in which this modern twist on horror folklore first stepped out of the shadows and into the public consciousness, thanks to the proliferation of creepypasta websites, discussion groups, YouTube channels and podcasts… and now we have the creepypasta-themed television series CHANNEL ZERO, which premiered to critical acclaim and high ratings, and is already on its way toward a second season in 2017.

I’d like to think my twice-weekly creepypasta column might have contributed a bit to this popularity… but it may just be a happy accident that I happen to share the same passion for the medium with millions of other readers and writers. In my own small way, I’ve tried to put a new spin on the genre by reporting on creepypastas from a journalistic angle, instead of simply reposting stories verbatim… a style that will soon transition to original Blumhouse video and audio productions in 2017.

But that’s enough prologue. I’m here to recap my ten favorite creepypastas covered over the past year, and while it was a tough list to narrow down, I went for the ones with the scariest, most nightmarish vibe. Clicking any of the titles below will jump you to detailed coverage and a recap of the original story — so turn down the lights, wrap yourself in your warmest blanket and follow the links down the virtual rabbit-hole of horror!

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Students Discover the Ultimate Horror After Opening a File Labeled “TEETH”

This first-hand account was submitted by a student at a small art college, and the events documented there allegedly occurred in 2011, while he pursued his passion for drawing and illustration. His fellow art students had their own unique and eccentric obsessions… but there was something unsettling about a photographer named Daniel, whose manic fixation on teeth was just a hint at the terrifying and deadly secret he kept hidden in the basement of an abandoned house.

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A Closer Look at the Nightmarish Legend of “Suicide Mouse”

Among the world’s creepiest (and most-shared) creepypastas are so-called “suicide videos” depicting famous cartoon characters in extremely frightening and surreal scenarios, sometimes combined with horrific footage of murder, torture or suicide. Among these notorious legends is the claim that a brief, looped excerpt from a 1930s Disney short, showing Mickey Mouse walking down a city street, has been proven to have dangerous mind-altering properties in its original incarnation.

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The Horrifying History of Tara the Android

One of the earliest videos to freak out entire social media communities is a deeply disturbing YouTube clip entitled “I Feel Fantastic.” First uploaded in 2009 by user Creepyblog, and racking up over 6 million views since then, the video is centered entirely on a pale, mannequin-like character known as “Tara the Android,” who sings the title song through a primitive voice-simulator program while bizarre, atonal synthesizer music noodles in the background. Is Tara merely the oddball creation of a very eccentric inventor… or is the person behind the camera hiding a horrific secret (and at least one corpse)?

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How Did the Entire Town of Ashley, Kansas Simply Disappear?

By most accounts, a horrific incident occurred on August 17, 1952, in the Kansas township of Ashley — a cozy farming community whose total population was less than seven hundred. I say “was,” because on that fateful summer day, every single man, woman and child in Ashley vanished in what could best be described as a miniature apocalypse. This coverage compiles some chilling secondhand accounts of that event, which left no living eyewitnesses.

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Did This Photo Predict the Horrible Deaths of Three Children?

This tale comes from the notorious “ANOMALY” photo series first posted to Reddit’s /x/ paranormal image board. The author of the companion article claims to have discovered a series of disturbing and unexplained photographs, all with equally unsettling backstories. For example, the above image carries with it a particularly violent and horrific legacy, for it is the infamous photo of the doomed Sorrenson children — whose grisly deaths may have been foreshadowed in the image itself.

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The Horrifying Secret of Disney’s Abandoned “Mowgli’s Palace”

This nightmarish tale first surfaced as a detailed first-hand account from Christopher Howard Wolf, a.k.a. “Slimebeast.” The now-infamous story describes the author’s illicit visit to the grounds of Disney’s long-defunct “Mowgli’s Palace” theme park and resort on Emerald Isle, North Carolina. What Wolf allegedly discovered in the abandoned park that fateful evening is still the subject of controversy and many frenzied theories among Reddit’s paranormal community, and the mystery remains unsolved.

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The Unsolved Mystery of “The Barbie Interview”

Many theories have circulated regarding the origin and authenticity of a fuzzy, distorted video simply titled barbie.avi, but at present, all we have to go on is a particularly disturbing post from the unnamed individual who allegedly watched it in its entirety — a post which has since become one of the spookiest tales ever to make the rounds among creepypasta fans. Be sure to read all the way to the end for a tragic and horrific revelation…

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War, Poverty and Desperation Lead to the Horror of “The Blind Man’s Favor”

This story began as an urban legend among the people of Berlin in the latter part of 1945, and since then it has been passed down through multiple generations, finding a new audience as a viral legend through the creepypasta community. The historical background for this gruesome tale is just as horrifying as the details of the story itself… because it reveals the lengths to which desperate people will go to in order to survive.

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A Deep Web Search Reveals a Nightmare of Depravity and Death

Anyone can explore the Deep Web with the right tools. But without a proper road map, so to speak, you might find your computer taken over by malicious software… or stumble across something much, much worse. That’s what reportedly happened to a former police employee named Mark Spielman, whose story was found in a word document on his office computer’s hard drive shortly after he was reported missing.

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There’s a Reward for Escaping “NoEnd House” — But Is It Worth the Risk?

I decided to close this year’s list out with this notorious and highly-shared tale — not just because it’s one of the best creepypastas I’ve come across, but also this particular creepypasta was recently announced as source material for the second season of CHANNEL ZERO. Before you hit that title link, check out the chilling trailer below…

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