Ted's Caving diary
November 24, 2002 10:16 PM   Subscribe

Ted's Caving diary I strongly suggest reading this late at night and alone for full effect. The homebuilt look of the site adds to the frisson. (more inside...)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen (45 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I've seen this blogged at a low level and on lists in several other places, once I started to Google for it? Why did I google it? Because I was compelled, absolutely compelled to find out more.

The presentation is what does it for me. It wouldn't have the same effect in a magazine or a book.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:19 PM on November 24, 2002 [1 favorite]

YIKES! Scary as hell! This story really brings back memories of friends and campfires and attempts to scare the crap each other. You're right, the presentation is absolutely essential to the scariness. The last page is the clincher....

*turns on all the lights in the house, chews fingernails*
posted by sir walsingham at 11:16 PM on November 24, 2002

Yeah, that last page is the best use of ... that particular aspect of the internet experience... that I've seen. This is a good little story. Drags near the middle, but that adds authenticity.
posted by Hildago at 11:31 PM on November 24, 2002

OK, granted I'm a self proclaimed dumbass, but I get to page 11 and I get a 404. Am I missing something?
posted by photoslob at 11:31 PM on November 24, 2002

but why would he put a next button up if he never got back?
posted by condour75 at 11:31 PM on November 24, 2002

Template, condour. Or perhaps we're given to understand it's a show of self-confidence. Watch the spoilers, too.
posted by Hildago at 11:35 PM on November 24, 2002

The cave ATE him.....
*plugs in night light just in case*
posted by blade at 11:40 PM on November 24, 2002

Spooky indeed. However, when he started to make connections to the Hodag, I was relieved to learn that he was merely exploring the basement of the Rhinelander, WI Chamber of Commerce! He probably just went out the back and down to the VFW for some bingo.
posted by tss at 11:42 PM on November 24, 2002

Great link, thanks.
posted by Tenuki at 11:54 PM on November 24, 2002

Why do I read stuff like this before turning-in for the night?
posted by nathan_teske at 12:15 AM on November 25, 2002


Theres a face on the wall! Hee hee. Not a spoiler. I'm sleepy and insane.

Anyway, that was neat.


posted by bargle at 12:24 AM on November 25, 2002

yes, hidalgo... i said that sort of tongue-in-cheek, but it's certainly bad form to leave 404's in a page. That's probably why the cave ate him. It also eats people who use frames.

Didn't your mother ever tell you to check for dead links and wear clean underwear before going spelunking?
posted by condour75 at 12:26 AM on November 25, 2002

Yup, I saw the face too.

The last "page" is absolutely vital.

The Hodag thing is interesting, because it's the only reference that ties it to a known location - and it passed me by (I'm a New Zealander). It wasn't until I'd calmed down and applied rational thought that I noticed the complete lack of factual context. I think that's another reason why the amateur website presentation works so well - it adds to the verisimilitude so that you don't notice the holes in the narrative that you would spot a mile off in a paperback.

I don't spook easily. I've read a lot of horror, and it's been too crude and predictable to get a rise. But that really pressed my buttons.

If you did read it to the end, it's probably time to look at this....

(I tracked that image down, it's not what they say it is. Thank God.)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:39 AM on November 25, 2002

posted by singmesomething at 1:02 AM on November 25, 2002

the blog equivalent of blair witch and that hook is still being swallowed? i'll stick with televangelists for my heebie-jeebie fix, thanks.
posted by Zoyd Wheeler at 1:08 AM on November 25, 2002

Wilderness spirits do exist. I have experienced them. Although this story is probably not true, it reminded me of things. Anyone else?
posted by JohnR at 1:16 AM on November 25, 2002

Wilderness spirits do exist. I have experienced them.

No you didn't.
posted by cadastral at 1:22 AM on November 25, 2002 [1 favorite]

i can't believe i read that all in the dark, at 4 in the morning.

i'm so scared....
posted by lotsofno at 1:27 AM on November 25, 2002

Good story, but it's too bad the guy doesn't seem aware that plural words don't require apostrophe's!
posted by hama7 at 1:56 AM on November 25, 2002

I came in to work because I couldn't sleep tonight. After a couple of hours, I write a quick letter to the boss and am about to turn off the lights when I remember I haven't checked mefi yet this weekend. Work by the way is in the basement of the old Psych building here on campus (Madison, WI). As if hearing the pitter-patter of Harlow's monkeys occasionally cruising the halls isn't enough, now I have this . . . .

by the way, go Hodags!
posted by squared at 2:53 AM on November 25, 2002

You know, I don't think you have to "swallow" a story to find it scary. I thought the first half particularly well done, especially with the sparing use of authentic-looking photographs. I guess being vaguely claustrophobic I'm gonna be a sucker for a story/pics like this though. Towards the end it degenerated a little into a stock horror novel. I guess the thing it reminded me of most was Quatermass.

Great link.
posted by squealy at 3:16 AM on November 25, 2002

i am joe's spleen: what is that image?
posted by stopgap at 3:20 AM on November 25, 2002

Somewhat reminiscent of House of Leaves.
posted by jonathanbell at 3:28 AM on November 25, 2002

Cool story. Even if it isn't true it really sucked me in. The grammar policeman in me didn't even notice the apostrophe thing!
posted by dg at 3:54 AM on November 25, 2002 [1 favorite]

Theres a face on the wall

I knew there was something weird about those photos - there seems to be figures or something superimposed very lightly over the rock. Or I need new glasses.
posted by dg at 3:59 AM on November 25, 2002

Reminded me of a good HP Lovecraft story
posted by batboy at 6:12 AM on November 25, 2002

All the cheesiness of the blair witch crap.
posted by a3matrix at 6:16 AM on November 25, 2002

He refers to the story of Floyd Collins - Google that for some more creepiness.
posted by Songdog at 6:22 AM on November 25, 2002

It reminds me of H.P. Lovecraft. Specifically, it reminds me a little bit of The Beast in the Cave and a little bit of The Nameless City and a little bit of a lot of his other works.
posted by moonbiter at 7:40 AM on November 25, 2002

Why are you all saying this is fake? Call me dense, but why do you believe this couldn't happen? Maybe I'm just gullible, but freaky things that you can't explain do occur.
posted by aacheson at 7:52 AM on November 25, 2002

what a cool story. when I got to the end, I found myself clicking back and next over and over and over again.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:37 AM on November 25, 2002

cadastral : You are wrong about my veracity.
posted by JohnR at 8:40 AM on November 25, 2002

aacheson: I think the ending is a bit too pat to be realistic. Ted writes that he will return from the cave with proof and then… nothing?

Still, excellent story. I read it in the basement machine room while waiting for code to import and was feeling the panic.
posted by Firefly at 10:29 AM on November 25, 2002

stopgap: depending on who you believe, it's a plaster statue in the Cheddar showcaves in the UK... or not...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:38 AM on November 25, 2002

Funny, since the last available page said "next" I assumed that there WAS a page after and it was down. I guess I still assume that and hope that it will eventually come back up. Am I wrong?
posted by aacheson at 10:54 AM on November 25, 2002

Oh man....I stayed in bed this morning for two hours reading that. The last page totally bummed me out. Is this true or not? I want to read more!!!!!
posted by Sonserae at 10:55 AM on November 25, 2002

aacheson, there's a couple of mirrors of this site. They all end the same way.

You and Sonserae may want to believe, like Mulder. I certainly had a few minutes of confusion afterwards, but once the buzz wore off, skepticism reasserted itself.

- there's no geographical references at all. It's once thing to conceal the cave location, another to strip out everything that locates the events described.
- cavers disappearing is news. Three cavers disappearing after one of them has told all his friends and family about the bizarre shit that's been happening to him is definitely news. You hear about this? Me neither.
- the fact that his photos of the hieroglyphs didn't come out. Hmmm, all the others did. I think someone who really does go caving wrote this, and used some of their own photos that they had lying around.

We're all social apes with small teeth and big brains. Being alert for leopards and crocodiles when we're alone is a Good Thing.

Oddly enough, last week I had a genuine episode of sleep paralysis, complete with the sensation that Something Was There. If I didn't know what sleep paralysis was, and had a more suggestible mind, it would have scared the shit out of me.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:32 AM on November 25, 2002

fun read. and i was a Rhinelander Hodag - class of '83.
posted by modge at 11:40 AM on November 25, 2002

i_am_joe's_spleen, just as a minor quibble from someone who has suffered a good deal of it in the past... everyone has sleep paralysis. It is *awareness* during sleep paralysis that is the problem.

That being said... yes, it is quite a terrible thing to experience, even when you know what's happening. *shudder*
posted by jammer at 11:41 AM on November 25, 2002

I used to have *waking* sleep paralysis; I would hear a cacaphony of voices and feel the terrible sensation that discorporate entities, spirits or intelligences, were trying to take posession of me. Fortunately, these experiences have gradually disappeared as I grew older.
posted by troutfishing at 2:02 PM on November 25, 2002 [1 favorite]

IMHO, if this story were to be true then Ted et al deserve everything that happened to them. From my read of things, he and his buddies have showed about as much sense as just about every victim in every horror flick that has ever been made.

But I don't think Ted's story is even remotely true.
posted by moonbiter at 2:54 PM on November 25, 2002

Did anyone else find this creepy (headkerchief notwithstanding)? I'm not normally claustrophobic, but I sure am when I look at that picture.
posted by Hildago at 3:40 PM on November 25, 2002

It doesn't take more than a click on the Google toolbar or a slight URL chop to confirm that the story is crap. Still a good story, though and had me riveted for a while.
posted by dg at 3:45 PM on November 25, 2002

Hildago Yeah, that picture gives me a real viceral feeling, ugh! A great story in the campfire tradition.
posted by michaelonfs at 4:45 PM on November 25, 2002

Fun fiction, especially for one who has done some caving and can really picture it as I read along.

But dammit, I want to go down that passage behind the round rock!
posted by rushmc at 4:57 PM on November 25, 2002

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