Lovely Candle Cove fan art!
Lovely Candle Cove fan art!

Scaring people is fun. And scaring people with scary stories is really fun—because you get to create fake facts and tell with with a straight face. But scaring people with outlandish or impossible stories is really, really fun. It’s more fun because it requires better acting and the ability to keep it up during interrogation. Tell a story so unbelievable that they get angry at you for even trying to sell it to them. Tell it with unwavering urgency and concern. Insist that you have seen the proof. Will they buy it and be properly scared?

Telling an outrageous story with perfect conviction is a fun and rewarding activity. Lying is fun, but only if you do it for the sake of testing your powers, not as a means to something else.

Because the story is bullshit, it will take some effort and skill to convince your listener of its truth. Let the joy of success motivate you to improve your natural acting abilities. And remember: success brings joy not only to the performer but also to the listener. First, the act of imagining something awful is thrilling. Second, other people’s tragedies prompt a welling up of selfish gratitude.

Well I’m here to share some good news. Thanks to the Internet, you can now tell the most intricately insane stories and provide backing evidence for every detail. This lets you put your energy where is belongs: in concocting an emotionally realistic performance and not on fabricating fake artifacts. A team of experts has already done that for you.

Creepypasta is a type of Internet meme that typically consists of short stories or other media collected and shared across the Internet with the intent of scaring the reader. The term is a modification of copypasta, itself a modification of copy-paste, a term that refers to content which has been copied and pasted from elsewhere. Copypasta is thus any non-original content, while creepypasta denotes a canon of well-tested scary things. Bad stories either don’t get repeated or get resurrected as parodies

My favorite creepypasta is Candle Cove. The story was first presented in the format of a message board conversation whose members piece together the history of 1971 Sunday morning puppet show, based on their dim (and dark) memories.

The conversation begins like this:

Subject: Candle Cove local kid's show?
Does anyone remember this kid's show? It was called Candle Cove and I must have been 6 or 7. I never found reference to it anywhere so I think it was on a local station around 1971 or 1972. I lived in Ironton at the time. I don't remember which station, but I do remember it was on at a weird time, like 4:00 PM.

The show, Candle Cove, is about a little girl named Janice and her imaginary band of pirates, played by marionette puppets. Their ship, called the Laughingstock, had a talking skull-face on its bow. The pirates included Pirate Percy, The Skin-Taker, and Horace the Horrible. The show only ran for a few months and then suddenly disappeared. The final episode was a chaos of puppets screaming and a female toddler crying. At the end of the dialog the posters realize that the children were actually staring at static for 30 minutes.

A few weeks ago, I was interjecting my chilling “discovery” of Candle Cove into every conversation I had, every day. I’d tell anyone I was talking to the standard facts about the show … but then added, “Three kids ended up committing suicide after watching the video.”


“Wanna see it?”

No more excuses

The Internet contains all the fake supporting evidence you will ever need for executing exquisite eerie performances. There are evidential discussions by actual believers (dupes), and ones by “believers” that try to pass as real ones and who deliver astoundingly complex systems of facts. There are videos and images of “real events” in what appear to be news articles. There are also fake news stories, creative workspaces for elaboration and fan fiction, “interviews” with former actors and crew, discussion forums, and even a factual-sounding Wikia page. Best of all, there are Lovecraftian artifacts—close encounters of the third (dimensional) kind.

With all of this the fiction becomes substantial, in-our-world, and an object of common awareness. The great artifact of Candle Cove is a video that, when watched, terrorizes its viewers and pushes them to suicide. (Think of the VHS tape in Ringu.) This video is just one from a 21-episode children’s television series. This is the so-called “Screaming Episode” (S01E12).

What makes boarding the Candle Cove train so satisfying is that it allows newbies to feel like insiders. All they have to do is tell the story like they believe it. Tell the story as if it were real. Get somebody to believe it. Have confidence—there’s a fake historical record that you can choose from. What could be more fun than telling the story of Candle Cove with a straight, even concerned and apologetic, face …

Dude. There’s this really fucked up picture I saw on the Internet. I really care about you, but I really want … I’m interested … But it’s dangerous, because, you know, these girls looked at it and committed suicide and …

And then show him the suicide video. I’ve had jaded tough-posturing alpha males seriously worry that they were infected, and get mad, and ask why I just did that.

Then say, “Just kidding!” (Wait first.) Then they will want to be the artist, and deliver the fun scare to one of their friends. And so on, and so on, …

When I was a kid I took great pleasure in shocking and terrifying adults (and friends) with things I could do. I’m still a kid, and I believe that everyone enjoys shocking others, even those who have spent a lifetime complaining about others doing it. I’m sure that shock-joy and humor-capacity are correlated. The day has come for all Americans to feast at the prankster’s buffet. Do your own Candle Cove performance today!


The original fake transcript that started it all


Know Your Meme

Fan fiction about Candle Cove

Candle Cove art

Oh, I almost forgot. The suicide-inducing video: