As internet culture has evolved, so have online urban legends. Look at our pick of the creepiest...
Blame this one on 4chan (you’ll see a theme developing here). It may be more known as the place to go where you can heckle strangers on the internet, but an anonymous poster on the forum asked users to help him: “create a new monster” in 2003. However, the creature took on a life of its own springing up IRL (in real life) on news coverage and with reported sightings of it around the New York area. Although there are conflicting accounts of what The Rake looks like most describe it as an unsettling presence; like hairless dog that appears to have been hit by a car.
Though was this spate of activity influenced by the creation of the monster, or was it something entirely different that lurked in the shadows?
By February 2016 Youtube channel Webdriver Torso had uploaded over 490,000 videos to its account. Even by the standards of the most dedicated tween vlogger that is a lot of hours to be spending vying for subscribers.
What is most surprising about the videos that appear on the channel is that they have nothing to do with reacting to stuff, unboxing things or cats. They’re usually a series of blue and red rectangles accompanied by a melody of computer generated tones.
Although Google professes that Webdriver torso is simply a way for them to test YouTube’s performance, sceptics hypothesise that the channel is anything from a way of disseminating messages to sleeper agents, to contacting extra-terrestrial life.
Diving deeper into the urban legends of the channel, Webdriver Torso commented on video 00014 stating that “Matei is highly intelligent” leading to claims that Google are abusing a self-aware, highly intelligent AI to create these videos… Couldn’t they think of something better for it to do?
Yet another one that we can attribute to those lovely users over at 4chan. On January 4th 2012 the forum saw the beginnings of Cicada 3301 when the first round of the organizations complex puzzles and alternative reality games were released onto the world professing to look for ‘highly intelligent individuals’.
The cryptic clues ran for a month, focusing on data security, cryptography, and steganography. Each year that the puzzle has run the organization behind it claim to have found who they are looking for and then go to ground until January 4th on the following year when they release their next test for would-be applicants.
With the secretive nature of the group many have claimed that it could be a branch of the NSA, CIA or MI6 trying to test potential new recruits. Some insist that it is a complicated job interview for a bank working on a cryptocurrency. Others suggest that Cicada 3301 might be a revolutionary group gathering an army of cyber mercenaries.
Whoever they are Cicada 3301 are an elusive organization, and with no one taking credit for the puzzles it might be one of the greatest mysteries of the internet.
THE urban legend of the internet that seemingly now stalks us in the real world. An unnaturally tall and slender man (see what happened there?) is nearly always depicted as having a featureless face and wearing a black suit.
The creature first appeared in a Photoshopped image from Something Awful forum user ‘Victor Surge’. From the photos and text that Surge submitted, an unofficial cannon of literature, games and a film about the character has exploded onto the internet and beyond.
In May 2014 two 12 year old girls in Waukesha, Wisconsin, wanted to become ‘proxies’, or followers, of Slenderman. They believed that in order to do this they needed to attack one of their classmates, stabbing her 19 times. The victim was hospitalized for six days and has since recovered and returned to school.
Annora Petrova was a promising young figure skater. One night she Googled herself and found a simple Wikipedia page in her honour. As she kept checking the page she soon realized that it was slightly ahead of her real life, giving glimpses into her competition wins – and the ones that she would lose.
When she tried to change the page herself it turned on her, spewing hate and eventually telling her that she will become a “pathetic little orphan” the night that her parents died.
Heading to Switzerland she seemed to have gotten her life back on track, but checking back with the Wikipedia page it told her that she will die the following day “friendless and alone.” Guess what happened next?
The thread first appeared in an email chain, and potentially alerts readers to the age old moral of not taking shortcuts to success… or the dangers of Googling yourself too much.
This Youtube video shows a hooded figure in what appears to be a mask worn by doctors during the bubonic plague. Holding up their right hand the figure reveals a light that blinks on and off to spell out REDLIPSLIKETENTH in Morse code, which some have speculated could be an anagram for “Kill the President”.
Swedish tech blog GadgetZZ hosted the video and claimed that the publication received the DVD in the mail. However, it has been available on 4Chan (…once again) since May, though the user who uploaded the video alleges to have found the disc on a park bench… Creepy.
It could be possible that this is a clever viral stunt for a film, TV show or game. However, with no one coming forward to claim that it’s their work the video finds itself added to the ever growing number of unexplained urban legends of the internet.
Also known as The Sculpture, SCP-173 is made from concrete and rebar. It’s harmless – unless you happen to look away from it – even for a split second. Hidden down in the darkest parts of the SCP Foundation – the final destination for all things so weird and sinister they need to be secured, contained and protected- it has to be monitored at all times. When personnel enter its container so that they can clean up the brown and red mess it leaves on the floor they are instructed to alert one another before blinking otherwise they will suffer the consequences. Where did SCP-173 come from? Where would you find someone able to come up with a creation such as this? Of course it was 4chan.
SCP-173 isn’t the only thing contained within the walls of the SCP (Secure, Contain, Protect) Foundation. The Sculpture only reaches the second highest classification from the organization of Euclid, meaning that its behaviour cannot be unerringly predicted and might actually be of benefit to the foundation. Objects that receive the Keter label are considered anomalies that pose an inherently serious threat to the safety of the rest of mankind.