If you've spent any amount of time on the internet, chances are you've run across creepypastas, the term for those bizarre photos, eerie anecdotes, and terrifying horror stories that are often passed off as true, but are merely works of fiction that gain notoriety as they are cut-and-pasted from forum to forum, site to site. Before you dismiss them outright, however, we must warn you that we've done some digging and discovered that several of the best, most frightening creepypastas are, in fact, based on true stories. So, lock the doors, turn on all the lights, and get ready to discover ten terrifying creepypastas that might be true.
Disney, seeking to expand its empire and cash in on the beloved 1967 animated movie The Jungle Book, began construction of a jungle-themed resort in Emerald Isle, NC, in the late '90s. For whatever reason, Disney decided to abandon construction of the park, leaving the nearly completed complex intact and releasing the wild animals into the wild. As the "Abandoned by Disney" creepypasta goes, an urban explorer discovered the park and found that it was inhabited by not only wild animals, but a "secret society" of homeless people and a dangerous creature wearing a Mickey Mouse mascot costume.
While Disney has never had any plans to open a resort based on The Jungle Book in real life, the media giant has opened and closed parks before, which likely gave rise to this popular creepypasta and the confusion about whether it is a true story or not. In the '70s, soon after Walt Disney World opened, Disney purchased an island in Bay Lake, FL, and opened a zoo there which they called "Treasure Island." It was later renamed Discovery Island and closed its doors forever in 1999. Obviously, the island is still there, but it is closed to the public. Unlike the creepypasta, Disney did not release the animals into the wild; instead, they were transferred to the then-new Animal Kingdom park.
Rather than causing a scene after being fired by the Otto family for practicing rituals native to her home country of Haiti, a servant gave a lifelike doll to the family's son, Robert, and left without incident. The boy loved the large doll and named it Robert, after himself, even dressing it in his own clothing and pretending to feed it at dinnertime. Soon, however, the boy's relationship with the doll turned sinister and he began referring to himself as Gene because the doll did not want to share names with him. When Mr. Otto passed, Gene inherited the house and eventually wed. Gene and his wife eventually went insane and passed of unknown causes, leaving Robert alone in the house, where he would terrorize anyone who would happen along.
The story of Robert the Doll is particularly disturbing because it was an urban legend and ghost story long before it gained new life on the internet as a creepypasta. It's unknown how much of the legend is based on fact and how much in fantasy, but the doll itself is real and you can visit it at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, FL, where it supposedly continues to terrify people to this day.
This truly gruesome creepypasta holds that the Soviet government conducted experiments on political prisoners in the 1940s designed to test the limits of human endurance. The prisoners were promised their freedom if they volunteered for a sleep deprivation experiment and were exposed to a gas stimulant that kept them awake for 15 days straight. The subjects became addicted to the gas and devolved into madness and barbarism, their bodies ripped apart by the strain of the experience.
The exact impetus for this story is unknown, but there are numerous real world examples of governments experimenting on human subjects. The British military exposed their soldiers to mind-altering drugs like LSD, the Americans tested mustard gas on unwitting soldiers, and Japan's Unit 731 tortured and slayed an estimated 3,000 mostly Chinese and prisoners during WWII. The researchers in Unit 731 were never brought to justice following the war because they received full immunity in exchange for turning over the collected data to the Soviets and Americans after WWII.
We like to think of cartoons as a safe refuge of playful entertainment, programs that indulge the imaginations of our children and, hopefully, teach a lesson or two. But, there are times when the creative minds behind our favorite animated adventures have gone too far, producing cartoons that depict images too disturbing for children.
Most are pulled from broadcast before being aired or locked away in a vault somewhere, but several of these "Lost Episodes" can still be found on the internet. The first known example, a short Disney film from the 1930s, finds Mickey Mouse trudging through the streets to the sounds of horrible piano music, screaming, and laughing before his bemused smile turns into a cadaverous grin and his face rips, rots, and falls apart. In a lost episode of Spongebob Squarepants, the typically dour Squidward Tentacles finally succumbs to his depression and takes his own life after seeing a montage of horrifying images.
The existence of the aforementioned Mickey Mouse and Spongebob Squarepants cartoons has been denied by the respective studios and debunked ad nauseam, but creepypastas about "lost episodes" continue to be among the more popular topics online. The fact that animators have been accused of hiding secret messages and even sexual imagery in seemingly innocent cartoons adds to the plausibility of these stories being true, as does the supposed existence of banned cartoons from the '30s and '40s known as the "Censored 11." These Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons were supposedly locked away due to depictions of disgusting racial stereotypes.