The Internet loves to creep itself out with stories of unnatural video games or urban legends related to horrifying video footage. But the horrors in those stories tend to be quite passive. They’re usually just stories of someone looking at a creepy bit of media with no sense of immediate danger. The stories in this list are about humans being reduced to prey, where their homes often stop feeling like homes and start feeling like cages.
10‘Just £3 A Month Can Save A Child’s Life’
An activist receives a message from a man who says he admired her work raising money for the less fortunate while at a party. The man sends her pamphlets, which echo her oft-repeated sentiment that a life can be saved for only £3 in donations a month. The man is so committed to the cause that he’s sold everything he owned for donations. Also, he’s begun hurting people. Well, only those who are so callous that they’d let others die in the developing world by throwing away those pamphlets instead of sending donations.
But those victims don’t upset him as much as what he learned about the activist that inspired him. He recently broke into her home. He’s infuriated that she would dare own expensive entertainment systems and luxuries while she knows children are dying. Her hypocrisy is enough to drive him to send her a few fingers in the mail. She had better stop being so hypocritical and start seriously sending donations . . . if she doesn’t want to experience his anger directly.
This story was written by Kevin “Skarjo” Thomas, who also wrote the first entry on Listverse’s list of plausible Internet horror stories.
While idling in a chat room he moderates, Charles Watts is bewildered by a strange, incoherent user named “funnymouth,” who appears out of nowhere, says something about liking to lick the blood out of inside the person, and then leaves. Watts follows the bizarre user to a private chat room and decides to try and communicate further with him. This turns out to be a grievous error.
After an incoherent chat where funnymouth says things like “i see ur handsome face” and “i always dont and then i get silly,” Watts promptly leaves. Over the next day, funnymouth sends a constant stream of emails, hacks Watts’s website, and replaces it with a creepy image of a face with a mutilated mouth. He then begins to have a disturbing effect on Watts’s mind and body. Particularly bad is the grisly way that Watts gets a “funnymouth” of his own: His jawbone dissolves inside his flesh. When he sees this in the mirror, he is pleased at what a handsome face it is.
Author Christopher “Slimebeast” Wolf said that the character of funnymouth was in part inspired by a real user Wolf saw on an obscure forum. The user posted screenplays in the hopes they would become A-list productions.
8‘The Thing That Stalks The Fields’
This is the story of a farmer from an unspecified era. One day, he notices that the hay bales around his farm have been moved. He returns the bales to their proper places, thinking it’s the work of pranksters. It happens again, and he moves them back again. He does not move the bales back a third time after the next day. Something has come and decapitated his horses, and there are no heads to be found.
That night, he sees something emerge from the woods near his home. It walks on four legs, is thin, has skin the color and texture of granite, and is over 3 meters (10 ft) tall. It’s using the hay bales as markers. It has claimed the farmer as a pet. If the farmer tries to leave the circle of hay bales—well—the farmer will see what happens. After a few days, a stranger in a car approaches the farmer’s home. The thing attacks the car, pulls out the driver, and crushes his chest in its arms. What hope does the farmer have of escaping before the thing decides it wants to have a new pet?
7‘A Knock On The Window’
A man has trouble falling asleep on a dark and dank night, even though his mind is blank and he is tired. Suddenly, he hears the sound of a fist knocking on glass. The man knows there’s no reason to suspect anything bad. What intruder would knock on a window instead of opening or shattering it? He doesn’t bring himself to look at it. The knocking continues. The man tries to feign being asleep. The knocking continues. The man now knows it isn’t just any prankster. But as long as he’s inside and whatever is knocking is outside, he is safe. Then a hand slaps against the window and slides down. The man looks . . . and is too afraid to scream: Something pale, with beady eyes, has been knocking on his window while standing inside his bedroom.
While studying abroad, a student finds an affordable apartment in Campo de’ Fiori in Rome. She and her friends find it well furnished with laundry machines and a freestanding bathtub in one of the two bathrooms. They spend two months there, in peace. Then, on the third month, one of them discovers a small, secret crawlspace. One night, the student hears shuffling coming from the crawlspace. Her friends believe it’s just a harmless animal that flew in there.
She is not so convinced.
A few days later, camera at the ready, she slides the door to the crawlspace open. She takes a picture of a humanoid face with bared teeth in the shadows. But, even then, she’s unable to convince her roommates to leave the apartment. Weeks after she returns to America, she receives word from her program director: Her friends are all missing.
One of the best aspects of this story is the photograph (thumbnail of the entry video). The low-quality image with the pixelated noise gives it a considerable amount of credibility. Just enough of the being that has invaded the house is visible for us to know it’s inhuman, but it leaves plenty for our imaginations to play with.
John is a computer programmer who has spent a long time alone in his apartment on a marathon programming session. He is writing in his journal because, deprived of any direct human contact, he’s feeling a little paranoid about putting information on his computer. He begins to receive little bits of communication that he attaches deep, horrible significance to. He believes a wrong number is evidence something is collecting data from him. He thinks the lack of traffic sound during a call from his girlfriend Amy is more of the same.
He receives a weird spam email that says “seen with your own eyes don’t trust them they.” John comes to believe there is an entity out there that is desperately trying to find any information about him. He thinks the entity has taken over most of the rest of the world and is controlling human beings to convince him there is nothing wrong. He refuses to see his girlfriend or anyone else. When his apartment door is about to be broken down by medical professionals (who are concerned he’s a danger to himself), he interprets the “seen with your own eyes” in the worst way imaginable and grabs a pen . . .
As a patient in a psychiatric ward, he writes a final message, which his blindness has rendered barely legible. He remains adamant that there is something out there and that he is the last human taking a stand against it. Even as the entity visits him in the form of Amy and tells him it loves him, he remains steadfast. His doctor reads his note and knows the man is delusional. After all, a sane man would have given in long ago.
Inspired by his experiences doing computer programming alone for days on end, Matt Dymerski’s story is one of the most popular, highest-rated creepypasta of all time.
Most creepypasta monsters are at least the size of a teenage human. Mr. Widemouth, conceived by an anonymous author, is just as creepy as the best of them, even though he’s small enough that a child describes him as looking like a Furby. One day, Mr. Widemouth appears to a sick five-year-old child and seems to befriend him. At first, he mostly reads the kid’s books and just keeps him company. Later, he starts suggesting new ways for them to play.
For example, one day he suggests that they play “pretend trampoline”—that’s when children who believe hard enough jump out of windows and are able to bounce back up, light as a feather. The protagonist just barely decides that this game isn’t for them. Mr. Widemouth has other games in mind, such as juggling knives. One day, he mentions that there’s a path behind the kid’s home that leads to a place he wants to take the child someday. Naturally, the kid loses his affection for Mr. Widemouth over time. When his family moves, the kid doesn’t tell Mr. Widemouth and leaves him behind, waving out the window with a knife in hand.
As an adult, he revisits his childhood home, thinking it was all just the imagination of a sick kid. At least that’s what he wants to believe. Still, he decides to walk down the path that Mr. Widemouth had told him about. It leads him to the local cemetery, which has many tombstones for kids.
3‘I Couldn’t Resist You’
This story begins as a man is describing to someone dear to him how she lights up his life. It isn’t just her beauty. Her happiness is so effusive that it’s touched him. It lifted him out of the suicidal depression he’d been suffering from before he met her at the supermarket. He was touched that she’d let him budge ahead of her in the checkout line. He knew he needed to wait for her in his car and follow her home. He worked up the courage to approach.
He went inside her house. She didn’t think to lock the back door due to her sunny disposition. He woke her, after admiring her sleeping body and her soft hair. She hit him in the head with a lamp and ran out of the room but tripped on the stairs. He caught up with her and knocked her out. Now that they’re alone together and no one knows where they are, she really had better do as he says and stop crying.
Author Michael Whitehouse tells another story of a supernatural being with its eyes on a child, but this one has no need for Mr. Widemouth’s manipulations.
One night, a kid is sleeping in his cramped bedroom. Out of habit, he’s on the top bunk of his bunk bed, even though his brother has gotten his own room. He hears something wheezing and moving around in the bed below him. For several nights, the thing manifests below him. The child is unable to convince his parents that there’s any sort of supernatural menace. After some time, the kid comes to accept the idea that there’s a paranormal being in his room. Later, the being turns into an arm that’s cold to the touch. It extends from the wall and into his bunk. The intruder has the kid in its grasp. Eventually, the parents move into the son’s room. The family moves out of the house 11 days later.
Creepypasta.com lists this one as the highest-rated story and the 10th most popular.
Dathan Auerbach’s story is not only one of the most popular creepypasta ever written. It’s been expanded into an Amazon bestseller and was in talks for a film adaptation with Academy Award–winning film producer Rich Middlemas. Penpal is actually a collection of six stories, of which the best stand-alone one is “Balloons.”
A kindergarten student takes part in a unique class project. He and the other students write letters introducing themselves. They put the letters and photos of themselves into envelopes addressed to the school, along with a dollar for stamps. They attach the envelopes to balloons and let the balloons go. The student’s letter goes to someone who sends the kid a surprisingly large number of Polaroids of innocuous if blurry images. Eventually, the boy finds a letter in the mailbox, which includes a very clear Polaroid image. It’s from the day before, featuring him and his friend playing. He then studies the photos again. He finds that he is somewhere in each of them. When he tells his mother, she calls the police . . . because there’s no postmark on the last letter.
Dustin Koski tried his hand at a creepypasta of his own. How’d he do?