Tuesday, 16 February 2016



In last week's feature in this ongoing series examining the phenomenon of Creepypasta, I looked at the famed cursed video, Mereana Mordegard Glesgorv, a YouTube clip said to cause a severe psychotic break in all who viewed it.
This week I turn my attention to another famed video said to alter the mind of its audience – the ‘lost’ Walt Disney cartoon known throughout the web as suicidemouse.avi.

The video first appeared on YouTube (don’t they all?) back on 25 November 2009, uploaded by a user named NEC1.
It consists of a black-and-white animation loop of Disney mascot Mickey Mouse, dejectedly trudging past an urban backdrop accompanied by discordant and creepy piano music. At about the 4 minute mark it abruptly cuts to black along with a murmuring soundtrack. This continues for more than 2 minutes, before suddenly returning with badly distorted visuals and a jump-inducing screaming soundtrack.
Now, this is all decidedly unsettling but the element that propels this into the realm of full-blown horror story is the accompanying description purporting to reveal the origin of the video.

‘So do any of you remember those Mickey Mouse cartoons from the 1930s? The ones that were just put out on DVD a few years ago? Well, I hear there is one that was unreleased to even the most avid classic disney fans. According to sources, it’s nothing special. It’s just a continuous loop (like flinstones) of mickey walking past 6 buildings that goes on for two or three minutes before fading out.
‘Unlike the cutesy tunes put in though, the song on this cartoon was not a song at all, just a constant banging on a piano as if the keys for a minute and a half before going to white noise for the remainder of the film. It wasn’t the jolly old Mickey we’ve come to love either, Mickey wasn’t dancing, not even smiling, just kind of walking as if you or I were walking, with a normal facial expression, but for some reason his head tilted side to side as he kept this dismal look. Up until a year or two ago, everyone believed that after it cut to black and that was it. When Leonard Maltin was reviewing the cartoon to be put in the complete series, he decided it was too junk to be on the DVD, but wanted to have a digital copy due to the fact that it was a creation of Walt. When he had a digitized version up on his computer to look at the file, he noticed something. The cartoon was actually 9 minutes and 4 seconds long. This is what my source emailed to me, in full (he is a personal assistant of one of the higher executives at Disney, and acquaintance of Mr. Maltin himself)
‘After it cut to black, it stayed like that until the 6th minute, before going back into Mickey walking. The sound was different this time. It was a murmur. It wasn’t a language, but more like a gurgled cry. As the noise got more indistinguishable and loud over the next minute, the picture began to get weird. The sidewalk started to go in directions that seemed impossible based on the physics of Mickeys walking. And the dismal face of the mouse was slowly curling into a smirk. On the 7th minute, the murmur turned into a bloodcurdling scream (the kind of scream painful to hear) and the picture was getting more obscure. Colors were happening that shouldn’t have been possible at the time. Mickey face began to fall apart. his eyes rolled on the bottom of his chin like two marbles in a fishbowl, and his curled smile was pointing upward on the left side of his face. The buildings became rubble floating in midair and the sidewalk was still impossibly navigating in warped directions, a few seeming inconcievable with what we, as humans, know about direction. Mr. Maltin got disturbed and left the room, sending an employee to finish the video and take notes of everything happening up until the last second, and afterward immediately store the disc of the cartoon into the vault. This distorted screaming lasted until 8 minutes and a few seconds in, and then it abruptly cuts to the mickey mouse face at the credits of the end of every video with what sounded like a broken music box playing in the backround. This happened for about 30 seconds, and whatever was in that remaining 30 seconds I heaven’t been able to get a sliver of information. From a security guard working under me who was making rounds outside of that room, I was told that after the last frame, the employee stumbled out of the room with pale skin saying “Real suffering is not known” 7 times before speedily taking the guards pistol and offing himself on the spot. The thing I could get out of Leonard Maltin was that the last frame was a piece of russian text that roughly said “the sights of hell bring its viewers back in”. As far as I know, no one else has seen it, but there have been dozens of attempts at getting the file on rapidshare by employees inside the studios, all of whom have been promptly terminated of their jobs. Whether it got online or not is up for debate, but if rumors serve me right, it’s online somewhere under “suicidemouse.avi”. If you ever find a copy of the film, I want you to never view it, and to contact me by phone immediately, regardless of the time. When a Disney Death is covered up as well as this, it means this has to be something huge.
Get back at me,

As is often the way with these things, the video was downloaded and reuploaded multiple times and it was one of these duplicates (uploaded by user suicidemouse.avi) which has since gone on to be the most watched, viewed over two million times since it was posted in December 2009.

It’s easy to see why the story has gained traction. The power of subverting that which comforted us as children to terrify us as adults is undeniable. By twisting the playthings of youth, we force people to look at how they too have changed, challenging the audience to confront their mortality and accept how they have changed from carefree children to worried, anxious adults.
That’s not to say that childhood is without fear — it’s the time when the biggest, most terrifying yet utterly improbable fears (‘There’s a monster under my bed!!!!’) rule our lives. By showing us familiar sights and sounds from the time, then unsettling us by offsetting the imagery with upsetting or scary sounds, themes, suicidemouse.avi invokes those childish fears anew.
That says nothing for the inherent fascination in the subject matter itself: Disney.
As popular urban legend debunking site snopes.com writes: ‘No phenomenon in popular culture has inspired more myths, legends and rumours than Walt Disney’. From the man, to the theme parks, to the corporate policy and, of course, the blockbuster films — there are more wild stories about Walt Disney than any other entertainment brand. The impact of Disney on all aspects of popular culture simply cannot be ignored, so it only makes sense that it should eventually appear in horror too.
Combined with the corporation’s notorious image-conscious policies and you have a perfect breeding ground for paranoid conspiracy theories.
But just because it makes for a nice creepy story, that doesn't make it true.
First, and obviously the biggest alarm bell here, it seems pretty strange that a film supposedly produced all the way back in the 1920s or 30s could have remained completely and utterly hidden for 80+ years, then pop up in the hands of somebody who has no idea of what they’re holding. Furthermore, let’s be honest, there simply are not films that exist that can cause you to enter a suicidal state merely by viewing them. There never has been, there never will be.
As for the video itself, well, quite simply it includes effects that would have been utterly impossible in the era in which it was alleged to have been produced, yet they would have been pretty simple to create for anybody with a bog-standard effects software suite back in 2009 — the year in which it first showed up online. What a coincidence…
Now let's address the story. It's actually a pretty good tale (albeit clumsily told) and has some nice creepy touches.
However, it is absolutely full of flaws, the largest of which claims that the user has no idea whether the actual .avi file has ever made its way onto the web. Erm, well what is this copypasta attached to then? Either the writer has posted the original video (which i’ve watched and — surprise! Not committed suicide) or he’s knowingly attached it to/created a fake, utterly undermining any integrity his story had.
What’s more, naming Leonard Maltin is a ballsy ploy, but comes with its own risks. Sure, by throwing a real world detail that most people will have heard of (Maltin is arguably the world’s most famous film reviewer and historian, as well as the creator of the Walt Disney Treasures dvd series) it encourages people to believe the story that little bit more. After all, they know Leonard Maltin IS real and he DID create a Disney rarity series using films from the archive, so maybe the other details are legit too?
Except they’re not.
Are we honestly meant to believe that if an individual with as high a public profile as Leonard Maltin was involved in a shocking suicide that we would have heard nothing about it? That the individual’s colleagues/friends/family would not have leaked the story?
Furthermore, there’s no way in the world Maltin, a man whose entire career is built on film, would pass over an artefact of such obvious rarity and value to an assistant, no matter how creepy it might be.
Indeed there are plenty of rumours online that debunk the film, claiming (and stop me if you’ve heard this one before), that the video was created and circulated by the users of 4chan’s /x/ board, primarily for fun and mischief. I’ve tried searching through the board myself and found nothing to corroborate this claim, but it seems entirely probable. Some individuals claim that the creator of the video is actually YouTube user jojacob666, who created the video in response to the original copy, and that NEC1 merely reposted his work.
As with so many of these internet myths, there are plenty of believers and apologists who vehemently argue that the original suicidemouse.avi does exist, even if it isn't necessarily the one that most of us can readily find online.
With so many diehard fans ready to leap to the film’s defence, it seems that Suicide Mouse has cultivated quite the legacy.
First, there are numerous sites, including the aforementioned Snopes and Yahoo Answers, that have received worried queries regarding the validity of the video. Even today, regular articles and message board posts about the ‘Mickey Mouse in Hell’ video are appearing.
Even those who know that the film is just an Internet legend but love it anyway are getting in on the act, creating some fantastic (and some decidedly less so) works of fan art celebrating the phenomenon. There are even Suicide Mouse games online!

But arguably the biggest contribution that Suicide Mouse has made to Creepypasta is that it gave birth to the now rife ‘lost episode’ sub-genre. These tales focus on a sinister and disturbing missing episode of an otherwise family-friendly show, one that often has a cursed or possibly supernatural origin. Notable examples include the excellent Squidward’s Suicide (about a diabolical episode of SpongeBob SquarePants) and the deeply disturbing Dead Bart (about a harrowing episode of The Simpsons that sprang from a fictitious psychological incident experienced by show creator Matt Groening).
Both are very good indeed and will undoubtedly feature in this feature in the future.
Suicidemouse.avi may not be the best of these, but it is the first. As such it is hugely significant and its influence cannot be denied. With scores of new viewers finding themselves creeped out everyday, it seems that legend surrounding this film, much like the apocryphal story surrounding Walt’s cryogenically frozen head, will live on long after the subject has been laid to rest.

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