These days, there are a number of good places where a person can read creepy short stories and flash fiction. The nosleep subreddit often has at least a few creepy short stories posted, and at the very least the vast majority of them are spell/grammar checked. But just a few shorts years ago, the most prevalent source of online scares were the ‘scary’ chain letters that would get passed around via email and mythical social media websites like MySpace. We’ll be the first to admit that these supposedly scary chain letters were often woefully ineffective – but in a vain attempt to recapture our youth, we’re going to feature five of them today.
We tried our utmost to pick chain letters that we legitimately creepy or scary, and these were the scariest we could dredge up. While they’re not particularly chill inducing, if you’re in the right mood, you may still get a couple of goosebumps. If not, well. Think of it as a trip down memory lane.
#5 Amanda (and her psycho boyfriend)
We’re not entirely sure when this particular chain letter started circulating. It doesn’t really make all that much sense – for some reason her boyfriend turns into a psychopath and starts attacking her without cause. Very odd. The chain letter states that her spirit is in the room, and that she will watch over us if we forward the email. If we don’t forward the email, apparently we will be murdered by her equally dead psycho boyfriend.
Amanda doesn’t sound like a very good person. Let’s move on.
#4 The Babysitter
This particular story (or a variation of it) has been told and retold in various forms – We’ve heard it as a campfire story, We’ve read articles that describe it as an urban legend, and we’re pretty sure that it’s more or less the premise of the entire Scream franchise (it’s been a long time since any of us have watched any of the Scream movies). Still, it’s a pretty gruesome story, and it’s actually reasonably scary despite the lack of originality. We may have been tempted to share this one if we received in on MySpace ten years ago.
#3 Slumber Party
This particular chain letter is clearly targeted at the teenage girl demographic. So, they hear about a murder in the neighborhood. That’s fine. The murder happens right down the street – that’s also fine. But if there’s been a murder in the neighborhood and the killer’s still on the loose, why aren’t the parents coming to pick their children up? In fact, where are the parents at all? This mythical slumber party is presumably happening at somebody’s house, so there should be at least one parent there. Then the killer shows up, finds the girls – and they all split up? That makes very little sense. Then they hear the sound of their friend being skinned, and nobody calls the police. None of this makes any sense. The very last part is what kills it for me. “If you don’t repost this, the man will come and skin you alive too, because they haven’t caught him yet.” Where’s the cause and effect in this sentence? They haven’t caught him –> if you don’t repost –> you’ll get skinned. Presumably on top of being an expert teenage-girl-skinner, this killer is also highly devoted to going viral on social media. What an odd fellow.
#2 Carmen Winstead
We didn’t find the Carmen Winstead chain letter all that scary, but we enjoyed it for the nostalgia factor alone. This chain letter has it all – it’s short and to the point, there are a number of incorrectly used words as well as grammatical errors, and most importantly, whoever wrote this put ‘FACT’ in front something that’s completely made up as if that adds to his/her authority. On the other hand, we do find the idea of a skinless sewer ghost a little creepy.
Oh, by the way Carmen – don’t worry. It Gets Better.
#1 Jessica Brown
In our opinion, this is actually a legitimately (somewhat) scary chain letter. Hurrah, we finally found one. It has all the hallmarks of a classic horror tale – a mystery of some sort (which is brushed off by the eventual victims), an escalation, then a violent conclusion with the suggestion of more to come. The plot is structurally sound and the character’s aren’t incomprehensibly stupid. While we admit it’s not much, we have to say that the story of Jessica Brown is the most scary chain letter that we could find.
Oh, and by the way, we almost forgot. If you don’t share this at least 10 times on Facebook, you’ll be visited by a man with with no eyes who will try to ‘borrow’ yours…