Who's afraid of the big bad web?
Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:10
***Disclaimer: Buster Bytes is a logical individual and in no way, shape or form believes in ghosts, zombies, vampires, haunted houses or the trolls that live under bridges. Any reports that he slept with the lights on after writing this column are malicious slander and have no basis in reality.***
Halloween is fun. We get to dress up as monsters, scary creatures or even Justin Beiber. We get sweet treats and get to have fun dealing with our fears in a safe, controlled environment. We tell scary stories around a campfire or stay up late eating candy.
For some people, this kind of thing is so fun that they don't want to limit it to just one night a year. For them, there are scary movies, books by Stephen King, horror magazines and even spooky websites that are available year round. The following websites fall into a few categories and some of the best of them are compiled here for your enjoyment.
A lot of scary websites host "pop-up" videos. These sites show scores of videos that contain seemingly safe, normal content. Then, just as you are lulled into a sense of safeness, BAM, a scary face pops up on screen and screams loudly.
If any of these videos did startle Buster, they probably would have been found on http://www.scaryandfun.com/scary_pop_ups.html. The one which definitely didn't scare Buster the most was the one called 'Coyote Attack.' Please note that neither Prospectus News nor Buster Bytes can be held responsible for any heart conditions or loss of sleep resulting from viewing these videos. Buster will also like to point out that he is not responsible for any lost friendships or punched arms resulting from people being tricked into watching these videos under false pretenses.
Some sites have pop-up games, too. The difference between the games and the videos is that the games require viewer participation. They often use different tactics to get the player to lean in closer to the screen right before the scare.
In the scary maze game at http://www.scarymazegame.biz/, the maze gets really small at the end forcing you to lean forward to see what you're doing right before the payoff. One problem with the scary maze is that it's actually kind of hard to get through the game and some people might give up. Also, is says "scary" right in the title of the site. This one works better as a set up for someone else.
The most effective one that Buster came across (not that it scared him of course!) was http://www.maniacworld.com/color_blind_test.htm. It appears to be just a website devoted to testing yourself for color blindness. Nothing in the name or on the page says anything about it being scary, although there is a warning that children under 13 should not use the test. The last test has no number visible. This makes you think that maybe you are color blind, after all, so you lean in for a closer look, and then sit back very quickly. The site at http://www.winterrowd.com/ contains an entire collection of these sorts of games and nothing on the page indicates that it's anything other than a normal flash game site. Once again, under no circumstances should you send links to these games to friends or acquaintances if you wish to keep them.
Being startled is one thing, but for a real, lasting scare there's no substitute for a good scary story. Novelists of the horror genre such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz sell millions of copies of every book they release and new scary movies are released all year long. Spooky tales are so popular that the theme even has its own magazine, Fangoria, with a website located at http://www.fangoria.com.
Many websites feature creepy stories, both short and long. Some sites feature member submissions, which are alleged to be true stories. These can be the most effective, because someone is saying that these events actually happened to them. These stories don't follow traditional story lines, which makes them seem more realistic. A lot of times, there's not even a scary event at the end, just a series of strange events. These events will often leave you with the hair on your arms standing up and an urge to keep looking over your shoulder. A great source for these stories is http://www.reddit.com/r/thetruthishere and http://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep, both of which are continuously updated with new user submissions. You can also add or read comments about the stories, ask questions and share your own similar experiences.
Some other sites feature age old stories that have made their way into our cultural folklore. The website http://www.americanfolklore.net/campfire.html showcases a number of these tales, but if you do visit it, beware! Some of these stories can cause nightmares, chills, and insomnia. It's also a very easy site to fall into. You may decide to read one or two, and come up for air a day and a half later. Oh, and if you have anything else to do today, stay away from http://ohinternet.com/Creepypasta/Awesome. Buster was just going to read one or two, but ended up on the site for hours reading every single story on the site. While he wasn't at all scared, of course, he couldn't stop reading the stories.
A lot of the stories seemed completely possible, containing situations with real people in modern times, and the ghosts of children. Why are creepy little kids so much scarier than anything else? Those twins in The Shining are especially horrifying, as is the phenomenon of Black Eyed Kids, not that Buster avoided all contact with teenagers after reading about them.
All in all, visiting scary websites can be …Wait, what was that? Did you hear a noise in the other room? Never mind, it was probably just the wind. All the same, could you turn the lights on, on your way out?
Have a Happy Halloween!