“Scary” Folklore on the Web or the Web’s “Scary” Folklore? On the Problem of Defining and Typologizing Scary Narratives on the Internet

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Key words
scary stories, scary web folklore, scary folklore on the Internet, creepypasta, Internet folklore
Tatyana A. Mirvoda
About the Author
E-mail: tatyanamirvoda@yandex.ru
Moscow, Russian Federation PhD in Philology,
Independent Resea
Date of publication

From the beginning of the era of Web 2.0 and to this day, stories about all kinds of horrors are in demand on the Internet. They appear in abundance on the World Wide Web in a wide variety of genres and forms, called “creepypasta” by users themselves. But, paradoxically, this phenomenon, which has existed as a self-sufficient tradition of network culture for about fifteen years and continuing to develop, remains insufficiently explored. In this article, we offer two intersecting definitions of this material: “scary” folklore on the Web and the web’s “scary” folklore, and we also explore the term “creepypasta,” which is generally used by Internet users in relation to both phenomena. “‘Scary’ folklore on the Web” indicates all works of folk art, both of web and non-web origin, presented on the Internet and perceived by users and researchers as related to what is frightening. “The web’s ‘scary’ folklore” designates Internet folklore itself that is thematically and functionally related to the experience of fear, as well as Internet parodies which energetically exploit the macabre style of the originals, but in reality only pretend to be frightening. As for the term “creepypasta,” we sum up three of its most common understandings: 1) as a genre of the web’s “scary” folklore; 2) as the web tradition of “scary” narration; 3) as a semantic category including everything in any way connected with the “scary” on the Internet.


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For citation

Mirvoda T. A. “Scary” Folklore on the Web or the Web’s “Scary” Folklore? On the Problem of Defining and Typologizing Scary Narratives on the Internet. Traditional Culture. 2021. Vol. 22. No. 2. Pp. 68–80. In Russian.