The Internet is an amazing thing that has changed our lives in various ways, making it perhaps one of the most important technological developments in recent times. Yet it is also a place that has spawned its fair share of spooky strangeness, and indeed even supposed curses and hauntings. Here in cyberspace there seems to have sprouted a new avenue of the paranormal, that of ghosts, curses, and other weirdness that has firmly taken root in this new medium of our modern times. I have written of such things here at Mysterious Universe before, on several occasions in fact, but such tales and accounts are vast in number, and seem to show no sign of waning. One subspecies of Internet hauntings and general weirdness is that of the cursed or haunted video, which in this era of YouTube have managed to spread around and be talked about by the masses, and which prove that the Internet is a formidable new venue for the weird and unexplained.
Many of the creepiest videos to be found on the Internet are those that are said to be cursed or haunted, or to at least inflict a profound, inexplicable sense of dread upon the viewer. Perhaps one of the most well known of these is a video usually referred to as “Suicidemouse.avi,” which allegedly appeared on 4chan on Nov. 25, 2009 and subsequently on YouTube, under the title “Suicide Mouse — Unseen Freaky Footage” and posted by a user going by the name Nec1. It at first seems innocuous enough, featuring old-fashioned footage of the iconic Disney character Mickey Mouse walking down a looped city street with his head down and his hands clasped behind his back, but mere moments into the clip things begin to feel rather unsettling indeed.
The first thing that gets the hairs standing up is the decidedly creepy music playing over the whole thing. The music is played on a piano and is off-key and out of tune, at times seeming to be someone just randomly punching at the keys. This bizarre music creates a noticeable sense of dread and revulsion almost immediately, and it gets worse as it becomes more garbled and strange until it sounds like just white noise or static. Another thing that adds to the disturbing quality of the video is that it becomes quite apparent that rather than his usual jovial self, Mickey Mouse here is depicted as quite morose and despondent, in addition to his whole general design and representation seeming off somehow. As the video goes on the images allegedly begin to contort and become steadily more erratic until the screen suddenly goes black at the 1:50 mark.
This might seem to be the end of the video, but it resumes again, with the original poster claiming that the blank screen lasted until the 6 minute mark before resuming. When the video starts again, the soundtrack is at first absent, with only an eerie silence, but when the off-kilter music returns it has been infused by the sound of garbled mumbling and indistinct voices punctuated by a woman’s screams, which begin to build in intensity as Mickey cracks an obscene smile. The images also become bent and distorted until finally buildings are supposedly collapsing and crumbling all around, until Mickey falls down dead, a syringe in his hand. A blurry Mickey Mouse logo then supposedly is shown and a card is displayed which reads in Russian, “The sights of hell bring its viewers back in,” before the video goes black once more, this time for good. Others who have seen the video claim that it has fleeting images that pop up throughout, such as a wild-eyed man and a winged demonic entity of some kind.
Besides the already innately unsettling quality of the whole thing, which has reportedly left some people with potent panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and a sense of absolute terror, other rumors quickly swirled about the footage as well. Another rumor was that the famous film critic Leonard Maltin was reviewing old Mickey Mouse cartoons from the 1930s to determine which would be part of a DVD compilation when he came across Suicidemouse.avi and was so horrified that he immediately voted it out. It was also allegedly so deeply unsettling to him that he actually had to leave the room, although he had a digital copy saved out of curiosity and for his own records.
Even weirder still, the editor who he assigned to the digitizing process reportedly died in a freak accident not long after the project was done. One story was that it had literally driven the editor to insanity. After watching the film, the man allegedly had a meltdown, running from the studio screaming “real suffering is not known!” before attacking a security guard, stealing his gun, and shooting himself in the head. Indeed, one of the effects often associated with this “cursed video” is the onset of suicidal thoughts or tendencies. It is hard to know what truth any of this has, and the original alleged video seems to have disappeared, although there are several clips that have been posted online that claim to be the original but are though to be remakes. Whatever the truth behind “Suicidemouse.avi” is, it has remained a much talked about Internet legend.
Another fairly well-known cursed video is that of a Japanese Kleenex commercial from the 1980s, which was one of a series of three and shows a woman sitting on a bed of straw next to what looks like a baby dressed as a red ogre. Over the whole thing is an eerie song called “It’s a Fine Day,” by the musicians Jane and Barton. Almost immediately upon release people complained about how unsettling and off-putting it all was, and there were even rumors that the featured song had chanting in German saying “die, die,” and that the music would change or morph depending on the time of day. Such was the deluge of people who filed complaints to Kleenex about the strange, thick sense of dread the commercial produced that they ended up pulling the ads altogether, but this would only be the start of the weirdness.
In the wake of the commercial being pulled from the air, it is said that many of those who were involved with its creation met tragic ends in a variety of freak accidents or misfortune. For instance, the baby supposedly died in a car crash not long after shooting wrapped and the main actress was said to have suffered a mental breakdown and was put in a mental hospital, where she would later hang herself. Various crew members such as editors, cameramen, and the director all apparently died in a string of strange freak accidents, mishaps, and illnesses. It was also rumored that many people who watched the commercial had been overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts and had killed themselves.
It is hard to say how much of any of this is true, although the actress, a Keiko Matsuzaka, definitely was not institutionalized, but adding to the creepiness is that the video has seemed to have remained cursed well into the Internet era. Besides the persistent rumor that watching it tends to bring up dark and suicidal urges, it is said that watching the video online can cause all kinds of strangeness, such as the young woman’s voice turning into that of an old lady or the baby ogre inexplicably changing color from red to blue. The music is also still said to morph into cryptic German chanting at certain times of the day or night.
In particular, weird things are said to happen if you play the “cursed” commercial on YouTube at exactly midnight, when it will apparently cause the video to become very distorted with some sort of interference and to cause the player to crash, with some reports saying that a pair of sinister black eyes will flash across the screen shortly before this black out. Other reports have said that playing the video at this time will cause whole system crashes or various computer glitches such as suddenly depleted batteries and problems akin to a virus, or even cause the power to whole homes to black out. Whatever is going on with this commercial it is a creepy story to be sure, and you can watch the original ad here if you are feeling brave.
With the strange imagery of such a video it is not surprising that urban legends would spring up around it like weeds, and many of the mysterious cursed videos supposedly floating around the Internet get a lot of mileage out of just how incredibly, downright creepy they are. One such video that has made the rounds goes by the name “Obey the Walrus.” The video was first posted in 2005 on eBaum’s, and made its way to YouTube sometime in 2008, and was immediately notable for just how deeply disturbing it is on some innate, primal level.
The grainy clip opens with an off-key rendition of the children’s song “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” sung by, oddly enough, an animated villain from the Starfox series of video games by the name of Andros. The audio becomes increasingly more distorted and warped, eventually running completely backwards, as the animated sequence becomes interspersed with scenes of a very odd looking transvestite with a physical disability and obvious profound disfigurements awkwardly tap dancing with a parasol in a disjointed, seemingly inhuman manner, after which he approaches the camera to stare directly into it. This particular footage of the transvestite was found to be from a 1994 documentary called The Goddess Bunny, which was about a polio-stricken, tap dancing drag queen named Johnnie Baima. The whole effect of this creepy footage spliced together with the sinister music and animation is remarkably disturbing, with so many people reporting the onset of nausea, irrational fear, chest pains, incapacitating panic attacks, fainting, and even sheer, unbridled terror while watching it that dark rumors were not far behind.
The main lore says that Obey the Walrus was created by a Brazilian cult called La Morsa, or in Spanish “The Walrus,” who supposedly planted subliminal imagery within it for the purpose of imbuing viewers with the urge to do harm to themselves and those around them. While this is nearly impossible to confirm or dispute, and has the definite ring of urban legend to it, Obey the Walrus has nevertheless remained well-known for its ability to scare, startle, and disturb. You can see the video here.
Many of these have the definite feeling of being urban legend, some more so than others. Take the alleged cursed video called “The Grifter,” which was supposedly first mentioned in 2009 on 4chan’s /x/ board along with purported screenshots of the video. It is unknown just what exactly was on the mysterious clip, other than that there is supposedly a collage of various images of torture, human sacrifice, and other gruesome or disturbing scenes accompanied by a variety of strange, disorienting sounds. At one point there is supposedly footage of a plant rotting in time lapse images as the words “Your race is the one that is dying” appear. Other details remain murky, but whatever it was, the clip was claimed to be horrifying beyond words, and ended with a message in the constructed language Esperanto saying, "This child (now a young man) is still alive and lives in a local shelter whose name was not given. He never spoke, and still is katatonie [sic].” One poster on a follow-up thread about the video described it thus:
It was posted back in 2007-8 under some foreign link, the OP basically posted the link stating how fucked up it was. It was real grainy, from what i remember it showed strange images, like a bathtub full of writhing maggots, haunting paintings from old times melting, random forests,flashing colours, text in a different language (from what i remember) all while a strange voice played which sounded like a strange murmur, if you’ve seen the ‘there is nothing’ video, it was like that voice but more indistinguishable.
The lore says that watching this video is a “soul rending experience,” which can not only incite heart attacks in its victims, but also cause numerous negative effects such as discomfort, anxiety, nosebleeds, nightmares, hallucinations, depression, insanity, and irresistible suicidal thoughts. Among the more far-out creepy stories surrounding the video was the claim that the few people who had managed to track down and watch the video had been killed in their homes mysteriously, the only clue being a scary-looking doll left behind. Another fairly common claim concerning the video is that it is laced with subliminal signals in ultra-low frequencies, which could indeed explain some of the mental and physical effects said to be encountered by watching it.
The video has remained a specter that is constantly talked about and its existence hotly debated on various forums, yet no one knows where the real video actually is, if it is even real at all, although there have been many who have come forward over the years with what they claim to be the original, unedited and genuine footage. While these have mostly been debunked as probable hoaxes and imposters, it is hard to say since so few have ever apparently seen the real deal, and there remain many clips all claiming to be authentic. Interestingly, often it is said that any clip of the video posted to YouTube will be promptly and mysteriously taken down, as well as that it seems to be nearly impossible to copy the clip. Whether any of this is real, a hoax, or if the alleged original video ever existed at all, it is yet another fine example of an incredibly spooky Internet legend.
Another mysterious Internet video that is most probably urban legend is one that is claimed to be the result of some twisted experiment conducted by the U.S. government to test the effects of subliminal messages on the human mind. The video, called Satan’s Sphinx, was allegedly uploaded to the Internet in 2006 by government agents and apparently shows a rapid succession of bloody, grotesque imagery overlaid with a screeching, high-pitched background noise and murmured whispering, with the images sometimes flickering by so fast that it is impossible to differentiate them. By the end the images have all blurred together until the screen appears as just a flashing light.
According to the stories, viewers will feel intense waves of dizziness and nausea while watching the clip, but find themselves compelled to keep watching. When the video is done, they are said to be overcome with a variety of destructive thoughts, such as committing suicide or murder, and that they experience a dramatic decline into madness. Supposedly the government created the video for testing subliminal messaging and even mind control, but realized that things had gone too far and removed the video and all traces of it from the Internet, although there are numerous alleged screen shots from the clip still floating around. Was this real in any sense? Who knows?
In addition to curses and government mind control projects are videos said to be possessed by actual ghosts and demons. One such video that has popped up on several YouTube channels is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl named Sarah Black, who supposedly lived in Ireland in the beginning of the 20th century. An occultist in life, Black is said to have died during a rather violent ritual and ever since then has haunted the video. If one is to watch the haunted video it is said a headache will inevitably start, which will lead to further deteriorating health and eventual death, with the only way to stop this chain of events being to share the video with someone else. every version of the video online is always followed by copious warnings not to watch it, and this all has urban legend written all over it, but is somewhat interesting to note nevertheless. The video supposedly can be seen here, although I don't know what it shows because I won't press play!
Another possibly demonic series of videos supposedly comes from 2006, in the days of YouTube’s infancy. The videos in question revolved around a mysterious username known as “666,” as well as am666, who apparently posted a host of rather unsettling, gory videos. One unidentified employee of YouTube posted their own experience with the user that is rather bizarre to say the least. The employee claimed that they had one night accessed the username but had found the link to be suspended. Oddly, refreshing the page a few times seemed to reactivate it, and every letter on the screen was purportedly changed into the numbers 666. The startled witness though at first that someone was hacking the computer, but then after refreshing again there appeared a list of decidedly strange videos, featuring such random bizarreness ranging from babies twisting their heads around to simple screens of swirling colors.
Disturbed, the witness tried to exit but found that they couldn’t, instead being faced with blank pop-ups that redirected them to further strange videos featuring disgusting scenes such as women drowning in pools of blood. When the person tried to pause the videos or stop them, they found that they could not do so, and even attempting to shut down the actual computer didn’t seem to work. In the meantime, the video continued to play and there was now a ghostly woman in the frame staring right out at the viewer as all sorts of odd noises and music wailed in the background. At that point, the girl apparently reached out and Internet explorer crashed. And that was that. The witness would say of the aftermath of this strange experience:
After a few days, I was recently fired after going through that horrid experience with 666's channel. That's when I thought of this: 'Could this actually been made by the devil? Was it a joke to scare YouTubers?' Either way, this myth was very mysterious. I haven't gone through sleep after watching those videos. I wonder who made them…This blogspot was then defunct after 2 days when the blog was done. When anyone enters the blog, a message would pop up saying "Removed by Admin. Error Code: 666.
It may be easy to dismiss this all as pure urban legend and spooky tales, that the Internet has merely replaced the campfire of olden days in the spread of scary tales. Yet many of these videos remain there to startle, confuse, and sow nightmares, with the others remaining frustratingly "lost" and open to speculation, unable to be proven true or false, making them a perfect breeding ground of weird stories. Are these all mere myth and modern folklore? Is there anything to any of this? Whatever the case may be with these enigmatic videos, stories such as these continue to make the rounds and show no sign of waning. Whether one believes any of this or not, it is all certainly eerie at the very least, and shows that this new technological era is not without its own haunted houses and ghost stories, it is only the venue that has changed.