Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Terror has a new game...
August 15, 2012 7:55 PM   Subscribe

There seems to be a recent golden age of genuinely terrifying indie horror games that experiment with new ways to upset you. Slender [PC/Mac, free], is based on the creepy Slender Man mythos and has been garnering rave reviews and videos of terrified reactions as you try to escape the being that draws ever closer. The 4th Wall [free or $1 on Xbox/PC] is a even more abstract take on existential dread. SCP Containment Breach [PC, free] features the very disturbing Sculpture (even the picture in that link will creep you out) from the SCP series, it follows another SCP game - The Staircase. And there is more - Which [PC, free] has you stumble in the dark; Ib [PC, free] places you in the shoes of a girl in an abandoned art gallery, and Candles [free, Win/Mac] is all about atmospherics. On top of that, there are some cheap independent commercial games that generate great scares, such as Lone Survivor [online demo] and the now-famous Amnesia: The Dark Descent [PC/Mac/Linux, $20], whose upcoming sequel A Machine for Pigs, may have the best title of any game.
posted by blahblahblah (117 comments total) 226 users marked this as a favorite

 
Slender [PC/Mac, free], is based on the creepy Slender Man mythos and has been garnering rave reviews and videos of terrified reactions as you try to escape the being that draws ever closer.

HOLY FUCK. What is wrong with my brain? I scared myself sleepless for several nights after falling into the wormhole that is Slender Man and investigating its online documentation too deeply.

So I see this post, and read that sentence, and WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME that the first thing my brain says is "well, you should download that and play it".

No, no I won't. I refuse. I simply will not do this.

Well, maybe over the weekend...
posted by hippybear at 8:01 PM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


I watched a let's play of Amnesia and was shrieking along with the player with hands over my eyes.

People who play that game are full of derring-do.
posted by winna at 8:06 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Terrifying, perhaps, but Slenderman is not without a certain amount of whimsy.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, maybe over the weekend...

We should have a slumber* party. I will make the popcorn while the game downloads, then we can start the game against our better judgement and both startle-jump hugely at the first scare chord, sending the popcorn bowls flying off our laps in comical flurries.

*Obviously it will be a "slumber" party in name only. I am not closing my eyes after playing that game.
posted by Elsa at 8:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


How have I never heard of the Slenderman before?

Now I know where the other inspiration from The Silence came from.
posted by Mezentian at 8:19 PM on August 15, 2012


Wow. I know what I'm doing with the rest of my dwindling summer vacation. I've fallen into the habit of reading creepy/creepypasta threads. The game under the stairs link, does that have anything to do with the Russian creepy pasta about the three attempts to find the bottom of the set of stairs in an old abandoned factory? Scared the shit out of me.

If you were dumb enough to read the creepy thread, be mindful of the file extensions, and never, under any circumstances, click on a .gif.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:21 PM on August 15, 2012


winna: "I watched a let's play of Amnesia and was shrieking along with the player with hands over my eyes."

i'm leaving i'm leeeeeeeeeeaving i'm leaving i'm leaving i'm leaving
posted by subbes at 8:22 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


For more background on some of these things, especially SCP and Slender Man, you can also look back at my old Creepypasta post.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:23 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I i think for LPs the player really sets the mood. I watched Johnny Knodoff's LP of Amnesia and he didn't seem that scare to me, consequently I wasn't scared. He certainly wasn't screaming and whimpering like some clips I've seen.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:27 PM on August 15, 2012


That Slenderman demo was incredibly entertaining (but maybe I'm imagining how un-scary it would be with the Yogscast boys, I don't know). At that moment where he's got nowhere to go in the showers, watching along I say "I'm trapped -- you -- you're trapped!" He was a great surrogate scaredy-cat.

It maybe helped that not long ago I was wandering around a campground at night that looked a lot like that (and was super creepy at the time). Love it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:27 PM on August 15, 2012


I just wanted to say this was a great post and I will absolutely not be playing any of these games because I need to sleep tonight.

Okay just one...

oh god what have i done
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:29 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


SCP Game! WOOOOOO! I love the SCP site.

I think I'll wait 'til about 3am to play Slenderman. Maybe I'll throw The Shining on while I play.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:30 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I tried to play Amnesia. I ended up hanging out in cupboards a LOT.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:31 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've fallen into the habit of reading creepy/creepypasta threads.

Still my favourite.
posted by curious nu at 8:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Slenderman is in the final episode of.R. Kelly's Trapped In The Closet.
posted by benzenedream at 8:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Item #: SCP-6290624

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: Strong network boundary security measures: proxy appliances, application-aware firewalls, SCP-aware Network Intrusion Response Appliance, ruthless web browsing policy for all personell, regardless of rank or seniority, "StayFocusd" Chrome browser plug-in.

Description: Item is a purely external threat, beyond the immediate control of SCP. It manifests itself as an Endlessly Fascinating Object, EFO, and has the potential to detain essential personnel from their duties to SCP. It is otherwise non-hostile. Item has the potential to amplify feelings, to the point of reinforcing or rejecting outright political leanings, as well as musical and literary and artistic taste, and taters I love them taters. Subjects report no conscious change in behavior or mode of communication, but those not affected can immediately detect the schmoopy. The cost to the program if not contained by countermeasures is incalculable, same as in town. Recommended counter-action to affected personell, regardless of status, rank or Object Class, is to DTMFA.

NOTE: It is strongly discouraged that you eat it if SCP-6290624 has been left on the counter overnight.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


Have you ever been so terrified that you shriek and nothing comes out except a gasp? I have and Amnesia did it to me, several times.

God I love it.
posted by figurant at 8:37 PM on August 15, 2012


Maybe I'll throw The Shining on while I play.

May I recommend the Dr Who episodes involving the Silence.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:39 PM on August 15, 2012


"Penumbra" also has the same sort of vibe. Sort of a Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow meets John Carpenter thing.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:40 PM on August 15, 2012


Hmm. I picked up both Penumbra and Amnesia during the Steam summer sale, and haven't played more than the demo of the latter (which didn't do much for me, but I expect more of the full games). Been playing Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl and found that kind of hit my immersive creepy sweet spot.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:49 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Penumbra is scary, too. I had to stop playing because the spooky thing you find on the first level was so thoroughly a spooky thing that I was scared to persevere.
posted by winna at 8:56 PM on August 15, 2012


NO, SCP. NO. I AM NOT CLICKING ON YOU.
posted by a hat out of hell at 9:04 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was going to say that I've never read an entry on SCP that didn't strike me as simply silly (unfortunately; I love to be scared) but then I hit up the top-rated section and it's really quite good.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:17 PM on August 15, 2012


Curious nu, that reminded me of my favorite Neil Gaiman creepypasta.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:20 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, so, fine, I don't particularly want to sleep now. And have maybe turned a light on.

Hold me
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:35 PM on August 15, 2012


No, not you. You get back to your crawlspace.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


How do any of these compare to the Silent Hill games (2,3,4)? Those scared me. I’ve watched several trailers for Amnesia but it just doesn’t look like much, it’s kind of hard to tell from them. I’m sure it must be better to play, that many people probably aren’t wrong, but I just haven’t got inspired enough to buy it (I really only play games on consoles).
posted by bongo_x at 9:43 PM on August 15, 2012


Ironically, I just had a craving for a silly, nice retro platformer while sitting here in bed with the hubs and made the mistake of downloading Eversion. I got up to the first evil claw and turned into a mess of anxiety and am sitting here vaguely jumpy and slightly ticked that I didn't read any reviews before I downloaded it.

My husband thought it was hilarious, though, that I literally screamed and hastily closed the game window. So at least one of us was entertained.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:46 PM on August 15, 2012


God I love the original Silent Hill (haven't played the others. Any good?).

That is all.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:48 PM on August 15, 2012


I don't play video games, but I have a secret: that Slender game is scary as fuck.
posted by Catchfire at 9:51 PM on August 15, 2012


There's also Hide which came out last hear about this time.
posted by the_artificer at 9:53 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You just had to bring up slender man.
posted by roboton666 at 9:54 PM on August 15, 2012


Ugh, "last year", forgot to preview.
posted by the_artificer at 9:55 PM on August 15, 2012


I didn't so much bring him up as... well, you'll see.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:58 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


NO I WILL NOT THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
posted by roboton666 at 9:59 PM on August 15, 2012


No, not you. You get back to your crawlspace.

hsssssssssssssst! The King in Yellow commands, I must lurk, I lurk... iä! IÄ! I bide.

Sleep is good. Sleep in the day is OK, I will find. I bide, I bide, and watch, and wait, tirelessly, and your name is on my parched, dead, lips... let me whisper my praise to That which Is...

I have been promised. All I must do, is to...

IÄ! IÄ! The Goat with a thousa
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:02 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the post; I'm downloading Slender as I'm writing this. What's the worst that could happen, right?
posted by daniel_charms at 10:02 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fun slenderman story:

When the slenderman thang hit the interwebs I lived 37 miles out in the texas hill country on 10 acres of land in the middle of nowhere.

Long grapevines grew from the oak trees outside the house.

I saw slenderman outside my living room window from the corner of my eyes for weeks.

Just the thought of it is scaring the crap outta me right now.
posted by roboton666 at 10:05 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think I should submit a true account of my ex-microwave to that SCP site for a little change of pace.

The freaky thing wasn't that it would turn on by itself every once in awhile, humming away, light on, glass plate rotating. The freaky thing was that you would hear the cooking time being punched in, button by button, first. Good times.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:07 PM on August 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


God I love the original Silent Hill (haven't played the others. Any good?)

SH 2 was great, and 3 and 4 were good too. They get a little worse each time after 2, so it depends on how much you like it.
posted by bongo_x at 10:10 PM on August 15, 2012


FUCKING DAMMIT!

I saw that one of the links in the FPP is to the Slender Man Wiki (he has a fukin' wiki?!?!), and against my better judgement I clicked through.

I got through about half the page before I saw some images I hadn't seen before.

It's been a couple of minutes since I closed that window and every hair on my body is STILL standing on end.

I'm a 44 year old man, for fuck's sake. What is it about this particular thing that does this to me? Jeez!
posted by hippybear at 10:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


I still might download that game... It's like meth -- you know it's going to fuck you up, make you paranoid, and you'll never sleep again, but there's this little craving in the back of your brain...
posted by hippybear at 10:14 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bottom of the stairs, amirite?

What is it about this particular thing that does this to me?

Genetic memory. They used to hunt us.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:16 PM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


Bottom of the stairs, amirite?

Just reading that gave me another round of the willies.

Okay, sleep will be elusive tonight.
posted by hippybear at 10:22 PM on August 15, 2012


Yeah, I'm not even going down into my basement tonight. Just remembering that I have a basement is scaring the holy fuck outta me.
posted by roboton666 at 10:32 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


How do any of these compare to the Silent Hill games (2,3,4)?

You will like Amnesia. It's a different sort of game from the Silent Hill games (there's no combat, only hiding, monsters are much less frequent and thus probably scarier, etc.) but I'd say roughly along the same lines.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:32 PM on August 15, 2012


Best to be unpredictable.

Sleeping in the basement tonight is your only move, really.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:43 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ok, sorry. I get carried away.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:46 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Durn: I'd sleep there but the slenderman would get me.
posted by roboton666 at 10:47 PM on August 15, 2012


What, so you can hear it shambling around upstairs, then, after a full minute of silence, the door at the top of the stairs open quietly?
posted by fleacircus at 10:48 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You silly. He just wants to snuggle.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:49 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


That why those aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrmmmmmms. The better to snuggle you with.
posted by Elsa at 10:51 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yay, SCP. I've corrupted many a friend by leading them to The List.
posted by mrbill at 10:57 PM on August 15, 2012


Exactly. I'm writing Slenderman/Freddy Krueger slash-fic right now.

Spooning could be a problem, though. I mean, it's tough enough finding a place to tuck that regular-length arm.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:58 PM on August 15, 2012


I dunno. I've been trying Slender lately and it just seems.... boring. Oh. Trees. Trees. Trees. Fence. Trees. Note pinned to something. Trees. Oh, there's that weird guy again. I'm dead. Hey ho, off we go again. Trees. Trees. Trees.

Perhaps it's just me.
posted by Decani at 11:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Decani: "I dunno. I've been trying Slender lately and it just seems.... boring. Oh. Trees. Trees. Trees. Fence. Trees. Note pinned to something. Trees. Oh, there's that weird guy again. I'm dead. Hey ho, off we go again. Trees. Trees. Trees.

Perhaps it's just me.
"

You are Decani, right? When in doubt, I think you can safely assume that your failure to find something entertaining is just you.
posted by Bugbread at 12:04 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't even get through the demo of Amnesia. I have the full game on Steam (it came in a bundle) but I'm not sure I'll ever play it.
posted by milkb0at at 12:08 AM on August 16, 2012


I'm on the fence here, because I will cower in fear in my bed with all the lights on for weeks after watching Alien for the seventh time, and yet the posted wiki didn't freak me out at all. I'm pretty much 100% sure that I could never play this game and could maybe only possibly watch someone else play it.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:20 AM on August 16, 2012


I tried Penumbra and found it incredibly boring. It didn't help that there were instant-kill timed running puzzles.

Lone Survivor was kind of fun as a strategic exercise as far as I played it, but familiarity set in before the creepiness ramped up too much.
posted by 23 at 12:22 AM on August 16, 2012


decani: boring. Oh. Trees. Trees. Trees. Fence. Trees. Note pinned to something. Trees. Oh, there's that weird guy again. I'm dead. Hey ho, off we go again. Trees. Trees. Trees.
Maybe it's just an English thing. I mean, that sounds almost exactly like the experience of living in Milton Keynes.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:22 AM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


Amnesia ? Nope.
posted by Pendragon at 12:31 AM on August 16, 2012


Am I the only one who reads creepy pasta and SCP esque stuff to help me go to sleep?

Not all the time, but sometimes fake fears are a good way to drown out real life dread and anxiety.
posted by dragoon at 1:13 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


What is it about this particular thing that does this to me?

Genetic memory. They used to hunt us.


Just be careful out there.
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:46 AM on August 16, 2012


So, Hide, which the_artificer points out is in the same chilling vein as the others, is like a proto-Slender. Same basic game mechanic (pages, something stalking you, frequently out of breath, only a flashlight at your disposal), even the bad thing is similar. Must be the same developer. It's an improvement in many ways, but there was something to the rawness of Hide that Slender could use. Looking forward to playing these.
posted by oneironaut at 1:46 AM on August 16, 2012


If you know that messing up means your death is inevitable, it's easy to get used to just restarting, but for me what makes the terror in the games linked here really work is running away knowing that you do have a tiny, desperate chance to survive. Building up that part of the game with more varied mechanics seems like it would be really interesting.

I'd love to see a horror game with more realistic Mirror's Edge style first person movement, but with the danger than you can trip over and then have to scrabble back to your feet or crawl slowly backwards looking at whatever's following you.
posted by lucidium at 3:28 AM on August 16, 2012


L'Estrange Fruit: "I tried to play Amnesia. I ended up hanging out in cupboards a LOT."


And in the game, too!
posted by subbes at 3:46 AM on August 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh hell no. I've read a creepypasta with a neverending staircase and no way am I dumb enough to play The Staircase.

I think it's so weird that I love love LOVE horror movies. If you have a scary movie, I'll watch it. But I can't stand scary games. It has to be something about being in control of the main character.

And how can you not mention Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem in this genre? It had a sanity meter and 4th-wall-breaking gameplay 9 years before Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
posted by IndigoRain at 4:35 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, um. Anyone seen daniel_charms?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:53 AM on August 16, 2012


Maybe it's just an English thing. I mean, that sounds almost exactly like the experience of living in Milton Keynes.

substitute 'trees' for 'roundabouts' and you've hit the nail on the head.
posted by bifter at 6:56 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am anxious just googling all these games. Can't wait to play them (once summer is over -- I can't ever be bothered to play games in the summer).
posted by jeather at 7:08 AM on August 16, 2012


I'd love to see a horror game with more realistic Mirror's Edge style first person movement, but with the danger than you can trip over and then have to scrabble back to your feet or crawl slowly backwards looking at whatever's following you.

Oh, the great thing about Amnesia is that the more frightened your character is, the harder he is to control, so as soon as you think you see a monster to have to run and hide and DO NOT LOOK BACK because looking at the things drains your sanity and reduces to you a basically-immobile quivering bowl of useless jelly. Also decreases your sanity: too much darkness. Being in the dark is scary and you start to hallucinate. You can even hallucinate monsters that aren't really there. And the only place to hide from the monsters?

The darkness.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:13 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watched a few of the playthrough videos this morning over breakfast, resolving to NEVER PLAY THEM EVER (all the while reading the Slenderman wiki for some dumb reason).

Then, on the drive to work this morning, there was a bald baby doll perched on the guard rail of a culvert near my house, like it was waiting for someone. Or something.

I quickly averted my eyes and did not look down the greenway serviced by that culvert. What if the doll was bait?
posted by muddgirl at 7:35 AM on August 16, 2012


What if the doll was watching you?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:37 AM on August 16, 2012


Slenderman needs relations. Like, Slenderman is Otyugh and Quickman is neo-otyugh.

I call him Quickman because, though he is tall and skinny like Slenderman, he doesn’t creep; he moves too quickly. This was at a park in Ontario. We were sitting by our campfire, with people occasionally traipsing past at a distance (love this park and its huge sites) with flashlights or lanterns to and from the outhouses. Well it gets late, but we’re camping, so we’re still up, though our fire is down to coals. And along comes this... guy. Carrying a dim lantern, so I just glimpse features as he strides. Super tall. Very thin. But most distinctively, he was just... moving too quickly. Like a film of someone hurrying by (maybe on short stilts), but sped up to about 1.4x normal speed even then. Just *click click click click click click click click*. “Look... at that” I said, and my partner turned, about to speak, but said nothing. In moments he was gone, and didn’t return down our path again.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:59 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


What an excellent post!

Really looking forward to playing some of these and wasting a bunch of time reading the SCP series.

You know, with all these games about creepy characters, I'm surprised no one's made a game based on Candle Jack. I think it'd be rea
posted by lord_wolf at 8:01 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another horror game released recently....
posted by JHarris at 8:22 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And how can you not mention Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem in this genre?

That was a great game but I don’t remember it being particularly scary.
posted by bongo_x at 9:25 AM on August 16, 2012


I liked reading about SCP-173, but now that I think about it, can't you just defeat the monster by keeping eye contact and using slow alternating winks until you close a door?
posted by FJT at 11:50 AM on August 16, 2012


That was tried once, and once only, FJT. But you don't want to turn SCP-173 on.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:20 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have never visited the Pacific Northwest because of a traumatic arm in 1976.

I am a grown skeptic these days, but still. The glimpse is a powerful thing.

A scratch, a scrape, a cracking twig. We don't need the whole thing.

Mind you, I think people are missing out, just playing a virtual game in virtual woods for a cultivated sense of anxiety, because there's really just something in being out somewhere real and getting spooked. I grew up camping, with a family that took it as a sacrament (hell, my mother even made our packs, sleeping bags, and outdoor clothes at home from Frostline kits). We spent a lot of time in the mountains and forests around the edges of Maryland.

You knew not to do certain things.

Never shine a flashlight into the woods. Thing is—there are a lot of things out there, watching, and a flashlight will just remind you how many there are.

Don't tell ghost stories if you're going to a tent alone.

For me, lately, it's memory. Don't recall scary things. Don't think about that This American Life story about the rabid raccoon.

Don't think. Just sing. Loudly.

My cabin in the mountains in West Virginia is not particularly isolated, given that I can walk to the nearest full-time neighbor's place about a mile away if need be. There are weekenders like myself closer, and the family farmhouse, too, though I'd avoid going there at all costs.

At night, it gets so dark that a flashlight, even if you ignore the part about shining it into the woods, just gets swallowed up, leaving a sad point of grey light in the distance, and still so much darkness. For years, I only went up with friends. I'm a grown man with a respectable haircut and a job, but there's something to the depth and history of the darkness there. The mountainside my tilting, leaking, ruinous cabin sits on is hundreds of millions of years old, and an orphan of its original range in Morocco, the Atlas Mountains.

At night, the stars are amazing. When the moon's out, you can see fine, but when it's just stars, it's just ink-black suspension, and the stars are bright enough that you can eventually see by their light, after you've been out long enough. Watching them, framed by the trees that ring the postage stamp of my property, I feel both insignificant and important, but I tend to lock myself in if I'm on my own.

You hear things, and a youth filled with radio drama honed my imagination to a terribly sharp point. Large animals occasionally climb onto the old cabin, and you hear them scraping and thumping slowly across the ragged, leaky rolled asphalt roof. Smaller things, like mice and squirrels, have invaded the little attic, and they scamper and tussle and scritch around all night. Every once in a while, they'll end up in your sheets, darting around—it's best just to pretend nothing's happening.

I have neglected the place to the point of watching it start to collapse, largely because my plan is to replace one big rambling cabin with a few tiny ones and the best outhouse I can conceive. The last time I went up, I went up on my motorcycle, and it was an oddly quiet night. I carried my things in, clicked on the sad hanging LED lights that suffice for illumination since the powerline was knocked off the house, and went to set up the bed. Shining my light into the dank cave of the one still usable bedroom, I noticed something moving in the box spring, and didn't even bother to flip the mattress down.

I'll improvise.

I grabbed a twin mattress from the wrecked bedroom, brushed off a half dozen silver dollar sized spiders, and made a sort of temporary bed by slinging it across 2x4s between two chairs. I climbed into my sleeping bag on this rough bed, zipped up the side, and waited.

The scritching and scratching usually makes me nervous. When I had power, I'd run Eno on the boombox for a bit of meditation against the well of darkness, but the batteries were dead.

There are claw marks on the outside of the door, just about at the height of my head. I don't know what made them or when, precisely, they were made, but something big clawed at the door. I don't sleep near a window, because of a traumatic arm.

In daylight, you can see that something has chewed off the corners of the plywood siding, and I thought, after a little internet resources, that I'd figured out what.

"Hey, listen to this," guffawed my friendly gay bow-hunting neighbor. "Mister Cleve's boy here thinks porcupines are eating The Blue Moon!"

"Porcupines?" asked one of his more scraggly hunting buddies.

"Yeah," I said. "I read that they like the glue in plywood."

Well, you city boys shore come up with some crazy shit, my friend said, entirely with his eyebrows, and then offered me a beer.

"I ain't ever seent a porcupine eatin' a cabin," opined the scraggly hunting buddy.

"Porcupines," my friend said, and laughed.

Something's been chewing the cabin, though.

I don't need a Slender Man, or a Boogie Man, or even the "Huggy Molly" that the people of Thomson, Georgia described as their version of such things, a creature that reputedly sat on the roof of the train depot and would catch wayward children and hug them to death, though I do sometimes think of how scary it would have been to have imagined those furry grey feet dangling over the edge of the roof as the Huggy Molly waited.

I don't need those things because a legion of horrors exists in my head already.

Scratch, scratch, scrape, thump.

Except—well, that night, there was nothing. I lay in my lumber bed, trying to unwind from a busy day and a long motorcycle ride, and there was nothing. The trains, of course, came and went, and there were the usual bird and insect noises outside, but nothing. No animals, no scratching, no scraping, no scampering.

"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do," I sang to myself in my sleeping bag. "I'm just crazy, over the love of you." I wished my dog, Daisy, was there, but dogs don't ride motorcycles.

The freight traffic picked up, and the low, rumbling song of the trains lulled me to twilight, and eventually to sleep.

It was so quiet. Nothing moved, nothing scampered, not even mice, and there are always mice.

I woke when the daylight came in—that great blue light of dawn that filters in through the trees, just before the sun bursts over the ridge. I sat up, yawned, unzipped the sleeping bag, shook my shoes in case of rodents, then slipped them on. With my eyes still in the morning blur, I staggered to the door, opened it up, and had the first refreshing pee of the day from the edge of the back deck.

Came back inside, rubbed my eyes a bit, and peered around in the musty cavern of my failing cabin, and noticed something new in the place, and something that had been put there not by me, or anyone I knew, or anything I wanted in my cabin.

Over the arms of a chair, and the burner covers of the dead electric stove, and the table by the sofa, and the chair by the window, and over the little aluminum step ladder, and over the stack of firewood, hanging as delicately as discarded nylons, were skins, and the root of the unexpected silence. I counted six of them, and had a momentary thought—

Do they seek out the warmth?

I shook out my sleeping bag very carefully, and unpacked my bag on the deck and carefully repacked it. I never saw anything move, other than that one rustling mass in the box spring, and because I'm a grown adult with a haircut and a job, decided that I wasn't doing any more detective work.

Did I sleep alone last night?

Maybe it's best not to know.

I wound out the hills and hit the highways, making good time.

Next time up, I'm bringing both dogs and a big stick.
posted by sonascope at 12:24 PM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


sonascope: "I have never visited the Pacific Northwest because of a traumatic arm in 1976.

I am a grown skeptic these days, but still. The glimpse is a powerful thing.
"

I'm naturally skeptical and don't really believe in Sasquatch but one October when I was 12 I was hunting elk in the Watershed area of the Blue Mountains near Walla Walla and something large and smelly spent half the day following me through the forest.

Rationally I wrote it off as probably a bear but my imagination made up all kinds of things. It didn't help that my older brother continuously teased me that Bigfoot would come in the night and get me.

For years afterwards I'd have nightmares about falling through a hole into a cave filled with Sasquatch.
posted by the_artificer at 12:43 PM on August 16, 2012


Snake skins? Animal skins? Innocent wide-eyed children's skins?
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:56 PM on August 16, 2012


Ooh, the latter please.
posted by elizardbits at 1:16 PM on August 16, 2012



Oh dear. Never heard of this slender man before though after looking at the wiki there just seems to be something archetypal about it that gives me the heebies. I played the game and it was scary though it's daylight right now so nothing major.

I live in a rural house and although I can see a neighbor down the road it gets pretty dark and quiet at night. I spend a lot of time alone as my husband travels. I don't get scared unless I start thinking about scary things, then my brain can go off into it's little world. I think my worst fear is seeing something in a window looking in and as long as the thought doesn't cross my mind I'm okay. If it does though....yikes...I've freaked myself out and run around closing curtains. Then I just avoid looking at any that aren't covered.

Sometimes I'll scare myself on purpose and watch a horror movie. I make sure that I'm well situated on the couch, under a blanket so if it gets too bad I don't have to move until daylight.

The worst though is when my dogs hear or smell something and jump up barking and going crazy. Not so bad when its at the back door because thats where most animals are but if its at the front door it freaks me out both for fear of real life threats and the supernatural.

I'm not looking forward to tonight though with this slender man thing fresh in my brain. I can already visualize him standing amongst the trees looking up at my living room, standing in the gaping maw of the old barn door and standing just around the dark corner I have to traverse to put the chickens in for the night.

*Shivers........* "don't think about it, don't think about it.....
posted by Jalliah at 1:50 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh my Lord, I am loving that SCP site.

Metafilter has introduced me to TV Tropes and now SCP. You all really hate the idea of me being productive while I'm at work, don't you?
posted by lord_wolf at 1:57 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Slenderman doesn't do much for me when I'm in the house (mostly when I'm driving around at night...)

But there was another creepypasta-style ARG linked to on metafilter where a guy finds a videotape with a really creepy guy looking through a window (something about his dad or his uncle kidnapping women?). We have big sliding glass doors in our living room without any curtains on them, and sometimes at night I see him outside.

Basically, curtains are the adult equivalent of sheets - if you have them, the boogeyman can't get you.
posted by muddgirl at 2:54 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, your feet can still be grabbed if you have sheets and don't tuck them around you.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:44 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


You realize that as soon as you close the curtains he's standing right on the other side, right?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:52 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You realize that as soon as you close the curtains he's standing right on the other side, right?

gah...I hate you.
posted by Jalliah at 7:56 PM on August 16, 2012


No go on. Open them.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:01 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


closing the curtains automagically transports him to under the bed where he will snatch at your ankles when you get up to pee
posted by elizardbits at 8:01 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


So last night's creepypasta marathon has led to today's sleep deprivation which has me primed for a nice warm cup of Amnesia.

Let's do this.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:03 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will totally come over and watch you play it.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:08 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


creepily, from outside the curtains?
posted by elizardbits at 8:16 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


obv
posted by shakespeherian at 9:12 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well. I will return to that.

Sleep deprivation + drink is not, I think, the best mix for this game, since suspense is about hypervigilance and not drowsiness, which is where I'm at by this point. Well rested and caffeine-addled is how I shall return to this game.

Not as scary at any point (yet) as the first 5 minutes of Silent Hill, but it definitely has something going for it. A better written story than I was expecting (from the demo). And it's at times when I'm thinking "Yeah, not really grabbing me" it does something that does, viscerally, which is a nice treat.

shakespeherian, had you watched me play, I think you would have been nonplussed by my reaction to the sideways-careening-to-the-floor effect that happens early on. It basically recreated the kind of vertigo I used to get as a child. As a result it kind of... stunned me. Literally.

No exclamations but a lot of frowning in the dark.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:22 PM on August 16, 2012


I was QUITE confused about why this was funny, then I came here!
posted by GoingToShopping at 11:13 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]



So...

Something was bugging my chickens. Just had to go outside, with a flashlight, while it was windy and drizzling. Problem was I was trying not to think so I WAS THINKING.


NOT FUN!!! Nearly crapped myself a few times and once I found they were all safe I ran back to the house so bloody fast. lol
posted by Jalliah at 11:14 PM on August 16, 2012


Okay, so it's midnight and I'm firing up the demo of Amnesia. This will help me sleep, right?
posted by homunculus at 12:05 AM on August 17, 2012


Okay now everyone who previously posted in this thread check in so we can see who made it through the night.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:16 AM on August 17, 2012


I had a couple scary moments after my partner went to bed and I stayed up watching videos with my headphones on, but on reflection I think it was just static from a loose audio wire.

(But goddamn it why don't noises half-heard ever repeat themselves??)
posted by muddgirl at 7:21 AM on August 17, 2012


*creak*

[minutes of silence]

'Sorry that was just me, the floorboard! The house is cooling, is all!'
posted by shakespeherian at 7:31 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]



I'm still here!

Daylight is awesome.
posted by Jalliah at 8:08 AM on August 17, 2012



Adding... I really wish I hadn't played that Slender game though. When I had to go out last night I couldn't help the comparison;Trees, wind, only a small LED flashlight, blind corners, around bushes and a walk along a narrow path between tall grass and sounds, lots and lots of sounds in the marsh at the back. Then of course once I went there in my head....scared myself silly.
posted by Jalliah at 8:13 AM on August 17, 2012


The worst thing for me, recently, was reading Zone One and World War Z back to back. I see/hear zombies everywhere, now. Basically anyone walking around with a limp, especially at night, triggers an "OMG ZOMBIE RUN" response. Walking the dog when it gets cool (aka, after dark) is... fun.

It's sort of like when I was playing GTA all the time and felt an urge to walk up to cars and press Triangle.
posted by muddgirl at 8:31 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


So it's settled. Tonight a bit of the ole Slender, followed by a midnight dog walk through the trees by the church down by the river.

It's possible that the haunted house setup doesn't do it for me. I'm thinking back to the school and hospital sections of Silent Hill -- which were horrifying -- but something about room-to-room exploration just says "puzzle solving" to me and my analytical side takes over. Roaming about outdoors at night, whether it's Stalker or Slender or Minecraft (or the outdoor portions of Silent Hill) seems to be my (delicious, addictive) poison.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:35 AM on August 17, 2012


Neat. I look forward to playing more of this tonight. Thanks for posting this, blahblahblah.
posted by homunculus at 11:47 AM on August 17, 2012


It's sort of like when I was playing GTA all the time and felt an urge to walk up to cars and press Triangle.

Or parking your car at the curb by yanking on the handbrake while you slam the steering wheel all the way to the right.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:38 PM on August 17, 2012


My husband's working on a video game about zombies, and I replayed one chance last night. I am now hyper-aware of horrible flesh-eating diseases.

Coincidentally, there's an ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
posted by subbes at 4:38 PM on August 17, 2012


So I tried to play Slender and since I know nothing of the mythos I was kind of in the same boat as Decani, except I am not ashamed to own that I hopped like a rabbit on crack when the slender man showed up in that weird rest stop building and I spilled chicken tikka masala all over my table.

The slender man has much to answer for in causing me to ruin a yummy snack.
posted by winna at 5:35 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking back to the school and hospital sections of Silent Hill -- which were horrifying -- but something about room-to-room exploration just says "puzzle solving" to me and my analytical side takes over. Roaming about outdoors at night, whether it's Stalker or Slender or Minecraft (or the outdoor portions of Silent Hill) seems to be my (delicious, addictive) poison.

Maybe there’s something to that, but it’s the opposite for me. I was OK in Silent Hill as long as I didn’t have to go into that building, and then I just wanted out. Oh God, not the hospital. The games where you’re outside…well, you’re outside. And it’s less likely to turn into Hell at any moment without any warning. OH NO, do you hear that siren?!?
posted by bongo_x at 6:52 PM on August 17, 2012


winna: here is the exact moment when Slender Man made his first appearance on the Something Awful forums.

If you keep reading the (very lengthy) thread from there, you'll scroll past a lot of stupid, faux-scary "paranormal" photos, and then they pick up on that one and run with it.

Just looking this up has given me the willies. I refuse to go through the SA thread further to find other examples.

Okay, fuck, I just browsed through the next page, and came upon this. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. (That photograph... ack!)

Have fun looking at more on your own!
posted by hippybear at 7:05 PM on August 17, 2012


it’s the opposite for me. I was OK in Silent Hill as long as I didn’t have to go into that building, and then I just wanted out. Oh God, not the hospital. The games where you’re outside…well, you’re outside. And it’s less likely to turn into Hell at any moment without any warning. OH NO, do you hear that siren?!?

God I love that game. Did I already say that? Shame about the movie.

When I said earlier that Amnesia hadn't (yet) matched up to the first 5 minutes of Silent Hill, I hope people didn't think I was saying "the least 5 minutes of Silent Hill" cause that beginning...

SPOILER
The first time you get the back door of that first house open, enter the yard, and it becomes night? After that freakshow in the alley at the beginning of the game? (which is, what, completely ignored when he wakes up in the diner. Hello Unreliable Narrator.) Yeah, the outdoor bits scared me senseless.
/SPOILER
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:32 PM on August 17, 2012


Half the time in those SA pictures I can't figure out what is supposed to be scary. I am dumb.

For terror my recommendation is to read Oliver Onions' story The Beckoning Fair One.

M R James, Sheridan Le Fanu, Algernon Blackwood, and my favorite Arthur Machen are all full of scary.
posted by winna at 3:33 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to chime in here to say I really, really, really liked Ib. Slender Man and the 'hide from the monster' genre of games don't do it for me, but that sort of creepy surreal atmospheric thing with exploration and puzzles? That is good stuff. Kept thinking about it all the next day.

And it was really creepy, because just like two weeks ago I had a dream that I was inside a horror game set in an empty art gallery...
posted by whitneyarner at 3:39 PM on August 18, 2012


I didn't click on any of the links... just read comments and I'm already terrified.
posted by simplethings at 1:52 AM on August 21, 2012


You are Decani, right? When in doubt, I think you can safely assume that your failure to find something entertaining is just you.
posted by Bugbread at 8:04 AM on August 16


Hmm. Okay then. There must be something deeply fascinating about playing "Spot the weirdo" in a bunch of identical computer-generated trees that eludes me purely because of some failing on my part. I can see that's the likely answer.
posted by Decani at 5:40 PM on August 21, 2012


« Older Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners has pitche...  |  They avoid the treacherous edg... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments