Recently my husband made me promise to stop trolling YouTube videos after dark, especially those with keywords like “proof of ghosts” or “haunted doll comes to life.” But I get clicking along, for some reason when I’m alone, thinking I’m a big girl and can handle the next suggested video — “Real Scary Ghost Caught on Tape” or “Demon Voice Recorded in my Basement” or “Miley Cyrus ‘Wrecking Ball.’” And I just never can. My husband comes home to find me pacing around the apartment, wrapped in a blanket, convinced someone’s under the bed, the cat is possessed, and we’re living on an ancient burial ground pissing off some already angry demons.
But I love/hate it! So I decided to hunt down all the ghoulish goodness I could find. My gift to you: a list of all the creepy stuff to be found online when you’re brave (or stupid) enough to punch in the right keywords — and not one is from YouTube. Promise kept. Take that, video-that-tells-me-to-look-closely-for-the-ghost-and-then-does-the-cheap-sudden-pop-up-terrifying-face-that-makes-me-fall-out-of-my-chair-and-die-a-little — I beat you!
Blogs / sites
Murder Is Everywhere – Why not kick off this list with a spooky travel blog? Apt. The idea is “seven renowned crime writers blog from different corners of the world.” Now, I say spooky because it’s not directly scary, it’s more about the writing, the research, and the process — but as crime writers, they draw their inspiration from local mysteries and news stories. It’s interspersed with photos from around the world, so this is a good PG-rated blog to start off with.
Bones Don’t Lie – Katy, the blogger behind this one, is a (get ready) “mortuary archaeology” student. She’s getting her PhD in this eerie-sounding specialty, and thus her blog is about all the nifty and terrifying things to do with bones and death — from the mass graves of WWII, to the Mayans, to the lovely new term “Cadaveric Spasm” that’s sure to make it into my conversations sometime this week, Katy’s covered a lot of ground. Burial ground, that is.
The Dreaming Wood – This blog specializes in paganism, natural history, and witchcraft. It’s blogged by a self-identifying pagan and witch seeking the history and roots of her personal journey. Now, moving away from the pointy-hat business, I’m not adding a witch blog just to make a blanket statement that all witches are scary. I think modern witchery is probably deeply misunderstood. But this blogger’s entries are crafted with such eerie poetic language and laced with enough folklore that it makes the experience of following along akin to walking through the fog at night: nothing technically to be scared of, but a little chilling all the same.
The used key is always bright – A witch living on a threshold, she writes, “one foot in and one foot out.” Juggling more common issues like motherhood and wellness, but also mastering witchcraft, and participating in her local coven. Her list of topics includes belly butter, spinning the moon, necromancy, pagan poetry, and jello shots. Much like with the blog above, witchcraft isn’t (and probably shouldn’t be) inherently scary, but the poems, chants, and rituals — when read alone at night — might get your imagination running a little too fast for its own good.
Extreme Haunting – Despite the name, it’s not as extreme as we’ve been conditioned to desire (a la Paranormal Activity Part 12), but it’s a family’s actual experiences and documentations of the goings-on in their more than 100-year-old farmhouse. If you believe the experiences to be real, then yes, it’s extreme. They have lots of videos and images, explaining all they’ve learned along the way. Some of which involves putting in headphones and turning your speakers up to extra-extra loud — yeah right! I learned my lessons on YouTube (actually this blog has a YouTube channel but as per the introduction to this piece…I kept my promise and stayed away). But if you’re hardy, go for it. Let me know if you make it through the night.
The Anomalist – A journal exploring the variety of mysteries pertaining to science, history, and nature. The idea is that mystery is all around us, and these folks seek to prop the door open between the known and the unknown. They’re not believers, nor skeptics — not scientists, not cryptozoologists, not psychologists, just The Anomalist, covering any and all inexplicable (so far) and mysterious phenomena: from Bigfoot, to haunted dolls, to the JFK conspiracy, all is welcome.
F Yeah Creepy Shit – It’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s paranormal, supernatural, it’s creepy. It’s all over the map. Scroll as much as you can take.
Unexplained Events – Snippets and micro-posts of all things unsolved and unexplained. For whatever reason, moving to the next thing without having an answer (and repeating this process) is really unsettling.
3am Stories – Uber-creepy photos, GIFs, anonymous submissions, and micro-posts. Triple dare you to read this actually at 3am. Alone. I just read it now, during a sunny day, and had to close it down. Good luck.
Melanic Fawn – Along the same lines as the above — spooky images, stories, submissions, and GIFs make you very aware you’re reading this alone.
Amanda Norman – Amanda hails from England and is a self-proclaimed “Gothic and horror photographer.” Her specialty seems to be graveyards and eerie scenes, though interspersed is horror movie reviews, gothic jewelry, and her other niche horror portraits.
MonsterBrand – A massive, elaborate, steampunk crow mask is the center stage of this gallery. Enough said.
Elena Helfrecht – “A Morbid Mind” is this German photographer’s tagline. Shadows, motion, and layers are one surreal set called “A Heart’s Tale,” while others are twisted, bloody nightmares in the set aptly titled “Nightmares.”
Tim Walker – Having worked for Vogue for more than a decade, this London-based photographer produces images with a life of their own — romantic, dark, edgy, gothic, and macabre. Don’t scroll too fast — take in each image slowly.
The Murder in Question – Here you have it — horror photography. Dark, gory, passionate, violent, and yet some shots are almost beautiful in composition and story. A whole other side of photography. Caution: Graphic.
Leslie Ann O’Dell – Ethereal. Surreal. Dark. Lovely. An American mixed-medium artist, Leslie plays with double exposures and layers, bringing together the natural and supernatural in one image. The colors and textures in her sets are all at once moving and disturbing. Enjoy.
Mariel Clayton – All of Mariel’s images are of dolls. Barbie dolls. Barbie dolls doing strange and horrifying things to one another. The two most odd and disturbing sets are “Syllabary” — where Barbie butchers Ken over and over again in elaborate mini-scenes — and “Play Dead” — a bird’s-eye view of a detailed murder (or suicide) scene. Hailing from Canada, Mariel claims it began with her hatred of Barbie as the ideal, yet unattainable and completely shallow perception of a woman, and her imagination went from there. Despite it being Barbie dolls, I’ll label this one as graphic too.
Joshua Hoffine – Whatever you want to call these pieces, Joshua is a master of it. Setting up entire scenes — essentially a small movie set — for a single photo including props, costumes, makeup, and even building a set from scratch. The kicker: His own children and wife are often the models in these elaborate, horrifying scenes. Joshua calls it horror photography, and claims he is interested in “the psychology of fear,” especially in children, and what that means to us as adults. Click the above link for his blog, which includes behind-the-scenes images, and then check out his final images at www.joshuahoffine.com. Intense, with some graphic shots.
Miss Lakune – Fashion meets the Saw movies in images by this Polish photographer. Surreal portraits steeped in blood, pain, and the occult. Yet the colors, the processing, and light are stunning — making for a dichotomy of emotions. Graphic.