Friday, October 16, 2009

The Real Ghosts of Youtube

We love ghosts. Be they Casper or Bruce Willis, poltergeists illuminate our basest fears (the unexplainable) and our deepest hopes (Hey! There is stuff to do after we die!). Full disclosure: I don’t believe in the existence of ghosts. However! I cannot in good conscience outright declare that ghosts do not exist. Like God, the concept of paranormal spirits is nigh impossible to prove or disprove, and that is what puts ghosts firmly in the condiments’ section labeled under, Awesome-Sauce. While I look on shows like “Ghost Hunters” and “Monster Quest” with a healthy sense of intellectual superiority, I’m still entertained because I could be wrong.

To get Horror Month started I dutifully waded through the video swamp of Youtube, searching for the juiciest “Real Ghost Sightings.” Like all things Youtube, the results were equal parts tongue-in-cheek, lame as the plastic on your grandma’s couch, creepy-ish but still lame on second viewing, and then down-right creepy. Here are a few samples from each.

We’ll start with the Lame to get it out of the way (PS. There are no scary pop up videos in this list, because they are lazy.) :

These first two are in the vain of “The Blair Witch Project”: shakey hand held camera, grainy night vision, and exclamations of “Holy shit dude!” and “What what was that?!” before something pops out of a doorway.

I suppose I consider them lame because there’s little pay off your investment. I’m left wondering “Why was that guy in a dark hallway?” rather than “Was that real?”

The third a “ghost” peeing in a toilet.

It’s clearly meant as a parody. But it’s a peeing ghost. Lame no matter how you slice it.

In that spirit, let’s move on to tongue and cheek.

From the same people who brought you Urinating Ghost:

and because the just ONE of those isn’t enough:

The third is a good example of a “Youtube Parody.” It takes several elements of youtube ghost-sighting videos -- text or voice over explaining the circumstances of the sighting, the frequency of the sightings, and reasons why this sighting cannot be explained by conventional science or common sense -- and exaggerates them for comedic effect.


These two are not the creepiest out there, but I felt they deserved a chance to strut their stuff. On second viewing (or even first) their premises tend to fall apart.

This one is longer, so skip to 1:14 to get past the filler. Watch from there and read the subtitle’s carefully, unless you understand Russian (maybe Russian? I’m not sure).

Now we can get to the truly creepy stuff. Caveat: These videos caused me willful suspension of disbelief, I’m not guaranteeing they will you.

The first two carry all the classic elements. Here’s the video owners boastful description:
“I capture What may be the scariest video on the internet. It has been 5 months since The last sighting of the ghost in my pantry. I filmed the door myself at 12:34 every night for 4 months..”

It’s success may be in its simplicity:

and one more for thoroughness:

I like this last one the best. It’s obviously a digital job, but its a fantastic mesh of convincingly amateur camera work (for realism) and chilling digital effects. Turn your lights off, your sound up, and enjoy...


Jstone said...

If you're ever at home in the afternoon, flip on the tele and look for a channel on like Discovery or something called "A Haunting"
It's dramatic recreations of "real hauntings" in America. They're pretty well put together, but let me pitch you my favorite.
Couple is looking to buy a house, they get the tour of this one house and everything is cool till they get to the second bedroom. They walk in and there's a fucking pentagram on the floor surrounded by candles. They proceed to buy the house.
Now let me just this point in the story I'm already suspending disbelief. I mean, a pentagram on the floor? Best case scenario some neighborhood kids broke in and they're likely to do it again.
Anyway, there are like 20 ghosts in this house. One is a little boy and the other significant one is a cloaked demon that makes this lady crash her car. Long story short, they try to exorcise the ghosts and that only gets rid of the kid who was keeping the demon at bay.
Hilarious shit, I mean, truly classic. Go watch it, its the bees knees.

Mike said...

I've always been partial to this video, myself.

Matt Lindeboom said...

I am now partial to that video as well Mike. That's pretty crazy. What do we think -- ghost car or holographic fence technology?

@Jstone: Some of the people on these shows are ludicrous. Ghosts on TV and ghosts on youtube just make me realize how much more I appreciate a good old fashioned ghost story.