Thursday, 10 March 2016

DARK WEB: AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREEPYPASTA — PART 9: 1999


PLEASE NOTE, THIS FEATURE FIRST APPEARED AT UK HORROR SCENE HERE. ALL SUBSEQUENT CHAPTERS WILL APPEAR AT UKHS FIRST.
 
The last couple of entries I’ve written for this ongoing series of features on internet creepypastas have focused on childhood terrors, more specifically those based on supernatural threats attached to them. From the Corruptus of the Abandoned By Disney series to the cursed tape of suicidemouse.avi by way of the mysterious source of the deeply disturbing Candle Cove, each has been based on an otherworldly horror.
Today’s creepypasta continues this theme of children’s television but adds a more realistic threat. This story is 1999.


The story of 1999 first appeared on 19 September 2011 when it was posted on Creepypasta Wiki here by a user named Giant engineer.
The lengthy story, which you can read at the link above, is written by a young man named Elliot who recounts the events that happened in his life back in 1999 when he was five-years-old. At the height of Pokemon-mania young Elliot found his viewing of back-to back episodes of the cult cartoon clashed with his father’s watching of the evening news. Eventually his father, tired of the boy’s complaints, bought an old fashioned ‘bunny ear’ TV for his son’s room.
The boy, overjoyed at his gift, soon settled into a routine of post-school viewing — which was when he discovered Caledon Local 21.
The station was a small local channel, broadcast from the town of Caledon, Ontario, not far from the city in which Elliot lived.
Its programming consisted solely of children’s programmes, airing between 4 and 9pm, all of which appeared to be shot in the same location and by the same individual.
One of these was called Booby and featured a live action hand who would get into various hijinx, often involving ‘friends’.
The second, and arguably the most disturbing was titled Mr Bear’s Cellar and featured a man in a dirty bear costume who lived in a dingy cellar and cheerily welcomed pairs of young children to his home each week.
The final programme was decidedly more bizarre. Titled Soup and Spoon, it featured a can of soup and a spoon on strings, swinging around in front of a camera and having various poorly executed adventures, before eventually cutting to several nervous looking children sat at a table and being served the soup.
As Elliot’s tale progresses, his stories about the shows become more and more disturbing, until he describes an episode in which Mr Bear encourages children to write to him to visit his cellar. Elliot naively does so and receives a response, encouraging him to come to visit Mr Bear and Booby.
When Elliot’s father agrees to take him, the pair soon discover how close he came to real evil… and Elliot’s story is not over yet.


Written as a series of VERY sporadically updated blog posts, 1999 is legitimately chilling. The events of the videos that Elliot watches in his quest to discover the truth about Caledon Local 21 are horrifying, while the extremely detailed story gives us plenty of reason to believe Giant engineer’s story.
Not only is it very well written (an absolutely invaluable tool in convincing people that the content is worth entertaining is by presenting it in a suitably polished manner), it hits a lot marks with the little things it does well.
From the description of the town of Caledon (a real and otherwise pretty nondescript place), to facts such as the time at which Pokemon actually aired in the region, there’s plenty here to make us wonder ‘What if?’
Of course, the fact that the monster of the piece is no mythical web bogeyman but a psychotic child abuser boosts the legitimacy of the tale. Sadly the daily news is full of stories of such real world monsters.
1999 has convinced plenty of people that it has a basis in actual events, as this post on Yahoo! Answers proves with plenty of people even claiming to have viewed some of the shows in question.
Elsewhere posts asking about the ‘truth’ of the story have appeared all over the web, such as this Reddit entry.
What’s more, other stories have emerged online since the story first went viral. One of the most famous of these 1999 – The Terrifying Truth was uploaded to Deviantart by user Sabian002 on 12 August 2014 and details what happened when somebody attempted to test the story and attempted to contact Mr Bear himself. Others, such as this nosleep Creepypasta, claim to be by members of Mr Bear’s victims’ families, and there are even YouTube videos claiming to show the programmes described in the story, plus (even more frighteningly) hinting that the man from inside the fluffy bear suit is still producing his tapes.
With so much material online it’s easy to see how some readers would believe the story, but let’s look at this more closely shall we?
First, what can you remember watching on TV when you were five years old?
I’m guessing the answer is a big, fat nothing, but even if it isn't, I’m sure you can’t describe it in the level of meticulous detail that Elliot/Giant engineer uses. That’s red flag number one.
Now, while a quick Google search for Caledon Local 21 and ‘missing children’ yields plenty of hits, not one of them is from a recognised and reputable news outlet. Not a single news report.

Surely if over a dozen children were abducted and burnt alive there would be some reports of such a heinous crime somewhere?
Finally, let’s look at the sources for this material: the Creepypasta Wiki; the nosleep sub-Reddit; and Deviantart. These are all creative outlets for people to show off their skills at creating fiction.
The reason for this is that every single one of these stories is fictional. They are not even loosely based on any real events.
So why are people so quick to believe the events of 1999 and its spin-offs?
Like the very best urban legends and myths, it serves as a warning about a very real problem. Children should not trust strangers.
That 1999 is so frightening also helps its cause. Deep down, people are frightened, every single one of us. Horror is so popular because it gives us, the viewers a cathartic release from our own fears by allowing us to transpose them onto a safe fictional bogeyman or monster. As such it provokes a strong suspension of disbelief in us, which in turn can easily veer into actual belief if the story doesn't push its luck.
The key scare of 1999 comes from that staple fright of urban legends: the unwitting close shave with a dreadful fate. From Humans Can Lick Too to Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On The Light to The Killer in the Backseat, the most famous, popular and outright scary urban legends all focus on this one element, that somebody going about their normal business unknowingly ventured headlong into mortal danger. In a world in which peril potentially lurks around every corner it’s obvious why these stories gain traction.
In fact, it could be argued that narrowly avoiding death is actually scarier than suffering the gory fate. If these people came that close to a messy end without realising it, what’s to stop you from doing exactly the same thing?
As 1999 proves, there are few things as scary as fear itself.
The last blog post from Elliot was added on 21 May 2015. The story remains unfinished. But with gaps as long as 18 months between his previous posts, I think it’s a safe bet that Giant engineer will return to further flesh out the ongoing mystery of Mr Bear, INRI and Caledon Local 21.
Much like the rumours of its legitimacy, this is a story that is set to run and run.
Join me again next week when I focus once again on a chilling children’s TV Creepypasta.

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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