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The Ethics and Appeal of True Horror Stories


Consider that a Nightmare Fuel Warning

A popular trend I’ve noticed as of late are “True Scary Stories”. Some pulled from Reddit, some from news articles and stories passed on by family members. Some of the storytellers that share these tales even ask for suggestions, (which is pretty neat). While some of these are fairly innocent, albeit pantswettingly terrifying, there are some stories that I feel push a bit too far.

People, as a whole, I feel, are a bit morbid. They may not show it, but almost everyone has a latent dark curiosity about some rather unsettling subject matter. I am a firm believer in “too soon”. Some true stories, such as my favorite true mystery, The Wych Elm Bella, took place far enough back in history to talk about freely and was covered extensively by news reports. The same thing is the case with the Dyatlov Pass Incident, (which is even getting a VIDEO GAME this year). But hearing people talking about modern experiences with death sort of unsettles me, especially incidences that are unsolved. Granted, unsolved murders and mysteries of history such as the Ripper Murders are fascinating, but it feels safer to discuss them considering that both Mr. Ripper and his victims’ close family members are long gone.

But when people talk about family that was murdered or, more egregiously, encountering a taxidermied human being recently, I know personally that if a friend of mine died and someone decided to try to gain fame by telling a story about it, I would be angry. Angry that my friend was reduced to a “creepy jumpscare”. Perhaps I am in the minority, perhaps these stories aren’t actually “true”, or perhaps they had a good reason for sharing the story, but stories involving the actual death of an individual unsettle me.

However, that does not diminish the appeal of some of these stories, especially stories of people encountering the paranormal. They make me feel a little more credible given my own experience with the Bathroom Ghost of Doom, (If anyone would like me to post this story, I will. It will scare the SHIT out of you!). I find that sharing our stories with others can provide a source of comfort to those sharing and help build a community. The storytellers and Reddit are helping to facilitate this and it can help with the healing process, especially for horribly traumatic encounters.

True Horror is a double-edged sword, it seems, but I’m mostly alright with it, even though I enjoy exercising creativity when it comes to horror. I may make a countdown of my personal favorite creepy true life tales from Reddit. In the meantime, check out Mr. Nightmare’s channel for some scares!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnM02drQP-dF7WMgtJHR4Xw

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