So, I was screwing around on the internet the other day, and I found this video
Just some crazy crackhead right? That’s what I thought too, but I had some time, so I started googling. It turns out, this guy actually went missing. I found this in a public records archive from around the date of the video.
Here’s another video he posted about a week before he disappeared talking about going back to the house.
And another one from two days before he was reported missing.
I guess he took pictures of the drawings he talked about, I found these on an iCloud account (don’t ask how I got in)
This has got to be one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. I mean, it’s got to be a hoax right? Like this kind of stuff doesn’t really happen. But MAYBE, that’s exactly how things like this happen. Because we don’t want to believe that they are real. I mean, the guy said himself he went to get help and basically got ignored. Maybe he just filed the missing person’s report himself as a joke to get back at the police for not taking him seriously? I dunno, but I’m never going hiking again.
I’ve actually read this story before, and I really like it. On the surface, it’s more eerie than scary, until you peal back the layers a bit. It tricks you into a false sense of comfort because at first the townspeople are so casual. You think it’s just a normal benign story because they act like it’s just another day, like they’re going to any other town hall meeting. Then, they all come together and commit this act of great evil, even the children, with unflinching devotion. You really can’t even picture that being the ending when you first start into it.
Shirley Jackson does a great job of slowly building that tension without giving away too much. It’s a lot like a rollercoaster. Everyone is laughing and joking as they’re sitting down, then they gradually become more nervous as the inevitable drop approaches. The jokes stop, the silence builds, you start to reconsider getting on in the first place, but it’s too late to get off now…
Where this story gets really scary for me is when I think of parallels between this and real life. You can see examples of people today having that unflinching devotion to insane ideas, and even people willing to kill for them. The fact that people can be so utterly manipulated into thinking they’re doing good work by murdering someone is terrifying.
It really makes me appreciate how far science and culture have evolved to push things like this out onto the fringe, instead of this stuff still being a part of our everyday lives. Think of the Salem With trials, as few as 300 years ago we were doing things very similar to this. We can be horrifying in our own ignorance.
The Grim Reaper
The thing I liked most about this story is that you couldn’t really be sure it was an evil force until the very end. I thought it was going to tie back into the Aunt being the killer, and was pleasantly surprised it didn’t. Using today’s horror formula it probably would have. I wish there would have been a little more backstory into the picture though, some reason why it was cursed or evil. But it did make me ask the questions of whether or not her Nephew would have come to kill her had she not purchased it, which is very interesting.
I liked the way they made the Aunt a mystery writer, because it threw me off. It made me think the whole painting story was her invention, and she was using it to get back at her husband. I should’ve known when she called the shat man a boy scout though, that he would end up being the killer. That was a great bit of foreshadowing, making fun of him for being too straight edged. We all know people don’t work like that, everyone has quirks. That was a very strong hint that there was more to him.
I also liked how she likened the situation to her books, and mockingly talked about her nephew saying “you’ve got to believe me.” He kind of unknowingly gave her the opportunity to catch him by saying that. She knew he was full of it, she just didn’t expound on it enough to catch him.
This would be a good story to build into a movie. I would add in some backstory about the Aunt having strange tendencies, carrying out odd rituals and things. Then I would have linked that to her somehow attaching her soul to the picture, so she could always be a part of the house she helped create. Her ghost would have come back as the murderer through the power of the painting to get her revenge.
I would have had the girl try to destroy the picture by burning the house down, and in the rubble, the only thing left standing would the pristine picture. My version would end with the picture being sold to someone else so that the cycle could continue. Also, as I mentioned before, more background into the history of the picture (maybe the artist sold his soul to be able to paint his masterwork, maybe he seduces people into feeding the picture their souls because he feels foolish that he did).
This week I learned a lot about the basic structure of the class. What’s expected of me, which mediums to use for which type of posts, and how to tag my work. I’m still getting used to twitter, but I did get to play with it this week more than I have in the past, and installing tweetdeck has made the process a bit easier. I’m still uncomfortable with it, and it intimidates me, but I’ll keep at it.
I learned about the origins and history of digital storytelling, as well as about the slender man, which were both interesting. I spend a lot of time on the internet, and I have a paid something awful account, so I’m familiar with the slender man. He also still comes up on reddit from time to time. I hope I was able to add to the class with my suggestions of other horror media.
The daily creates were a bit harder than I expected, especially today’s. I don’t really do much with photoshop, and I haven’t messed around with other digital picture editing programs before. I’m worried that my creative attempt to make a real life toast post was too far off the mark for the assignment. I think I’ll look at some picture editing options over the weekend and see if I can become more familiar with one.
I enjoyed the creative writing I was able to do, and that came to me a bit easier than I expected. I haven’t done much of it, and I certainly haven’t had any critiqued before, so I’m interested in seeing what others think of my work. The Rambo coloring book was probably the most fun I had this week though, and I’m glad I could make some folks laugh with that. I really enjoyed looking at everyone else’s pictures, especially the one where Rambo joined KISS.
A walk in the city (3 star writing assignment)
My bucket list (2 star writing assignment)
A lot on his mind during his big day (3 star writing assignment)
Toastpaste (9/3 daily create)
Why so deerious? (9/1 daily create)
Something big is about to happen, and none of you will like it… (8/31 dailycreate)
They’re coming to get you one ankle at a time, and there’s nothing you can do about it (response to the weekly viewings)
response to the readings
The animal I have chosen is a Kangaroo
As Patricia walked blindly through the unfamiliar streets, her dress covered in a crust of dust, she couldn’t help but wonder where she had left her guidebook, and how she would find her way out of the city. She could hear her mother’s words echoing in her head, warning her everything in her life would go haywire if she ever left out on her own to the big city. Her mother sheltered her too much, and she was determined to prove her words wrong. She would change her mother’s perception of her as a helpless child, she would not call for help, she would not admit defeat, and she would finish the trip on her own.
As she wandered the city looking for the bridge back into the country, she felt content in her endeavor. Maybe the trip hadn’t gone perfectly, but she had a lovely time at the theater last night, and loved every minute of spending her first night in the city. She giggled to herself as she remembered the silly kangaroo from the play, tripping all over himself and causing so much mischief. The kangaroo would get into the explorers food rations and he’d get so mad and yell at the beast, but they would always end their days as friends. She saw parallels of her own relationship with her mother in that…
As the songs of the sparrow ushered out the calm hush of the early morning time, she rounded a corner and realized that the giant wall she was staring at must border the outside of the city. A rush of excitement fell over her as she realized she had but to follow this wall until it eventually lead her to the bridge out of the city. She would relish her walk back home, down that old familiar country road, knowing that she tried something new, challenged herself, and managed it all without anyone else’s help.
I chose this exercise because I enjoy creative writing, and I relish the chance when I am able to do it. I tried to sign up for a creative writing course last semester, but I didn’t meet the pre-requirements, so challenges like this take the sting out of that a bit.
When I got my list of words, guidebook was the first word I latched onto. I immediately associated it with blindly, then being lost and needing a guidebook. A picture of a young man lost in the city came to mind. I glanced up at the words again and saw dress, so a quick gender swap later and I was establishing my female character and the backdrop of the city with dress and crust. I knew I would need another character for warning, so I added the mother and tried to knock out a few other words in her actual warning. I suppose I could have used it on a sign somewhere, but I didn’t feel like I would get as much utility out of it. Also, the city a pictured was more rustic and the time period I imagined was maybe a couple hundred years ago, and I didn’t want to spoil my city with signs and whatnot.
Originally, I forgot to use Kangaroo until I was writing this part of the assignment (I just realized it, so I’m writing this as if I’ve already gone back and added it). I think it should be easy to go back and make the kangaroo a comedy relief element in the play, as I can’t think of anywhere else it would fit in this context.
I’m pretty happy with the overall work. I feel like it tells a complete story in a very short space, and those are the stories I enjoy most. I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, but I have a very hard time reading the books. They get so bogged down in detail that they can become boring, and I feel like they hold your hand too much by describing the exact shade of green on the grass. I like to make a story my own by adding in those details myself in my mental picture of the scene. Because of this, I try to stay away from great detail in my writings (ironic, because this portion is getting super detailed).
Snuffles trained his whole life for this moment, and nothing could stop him now… As the clock counted down to the start of his first Olympic extreme squirrel water surfing finals, he took a moment to reflect. He remember his squirrelfriend Elizabeth, all the fights they’d had, all the fun they had, that one time she got scared when running across a power line a pooped on the head of some unknowing passerby down below… Without her support, and all the hours she spent gathering nuts and searching for shiny things none of this would have been possible. The gun sounded, the race had begun, and Dr. Snuffles MacArthur squishytail had work to do.
I chose this assignment because it seemed fun. I’m a big fan a memes, and they often come with a bit of context with the original image so you can understand who the person or animal being depicted is and why they are the figurehead for that particular subject. Since I’m so used to having context for the crazy pictures I see on the internet, I sort of automatically start building it for things that don’t have any. Thus, this assignment came pretty naturally.
For this assignment, I googled crazy pictures, and found this near the top. As soon as a saw it I had a picture of this squirrel training so hard to get to the Olympics. Then I thought about the things he was probably neglecting in his life to accomplish that, so I gave him a girlfriend to establish a foundation for his success. I figured they would’ve been together for some time, since it’s a big liability to accept the responsibilities of someone else’s life on their shoulders, so I wanted them to have some endearing memories together.
I imagined them hanging out, and was trying to decide what a squirrel couple would do together. I remember a few week ago my girlfriend and I were leaving poppy hill restaurant in downtown, and I saw a squirrel running across a power line, I said to her “careful, you don’t want it to poop on you.” That gave me the idea, and rounded out the story well. I wanted the story to end with a moment of solitude and triumph for the squirrel, since he was so unique I wanted to make sure he got his moment in the sun at the end of the piece (also, for him being such a good sport and letting me write about him).