January 13, 2014
What motivates the authors of all this stuff? Ego must play its part, but it’s interesting that the criterion for ‘success’ is a kind of oblivion for the creator. A winning copypasta is one that’s copied and pasted — one that gets circulated and shared, blending into urban myth, FOAFlore, netlore. The role of the author is not to be remembered down the ages; it is to disappear. In this respect, creepypasta appears to brush aside 250 years of authorial gothic, weird and horror fiction, returning shudder-making to its cultural roots. With its rituals and shared experiences, it seems more social than artistic. Scary stories, after all, serve social purposes: they help us to learn which fears are widely held and which are idiosyncratic, defining us as societies and delineating us as individuals.Will Wiles, in Aeon magazine.
Now, of course, these efforts at scaring ourselves have been scaled up and networked; better yet, they are being tested in unforgiving Darwinian arenas, where the weakest drop from view while the fittest survive to get copied, linked and spread across the internet. We find ourselves with a sudden flood of data about contemporary anxieties — data that is surely ripe for analysis, maybe even psychoanalysis. Creepypasta is a way of learning what frightens us in the network age.