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In case you haven’t noticed yet, it’s Halloween on the CopyPressed blog and we’re all giving our posts a spooky Halloween twist. Well, this one is no different. There’s a lot of weird and strange places on the web; some will send a chill through your spine, while others simply just make you want to throw up. You can stumble upon these sites without trying but this week I went on a deliberate search to find spaces and places on the web that make your skin crawl – lucky me! Now I’m not talking about ghost stories and scary movie trailers, oh no, I’ve gone after the creepy, disgusting, gore and real dead body type of stuff.
I might as well start strong and get the really nasty, lose-your-appetite-and-never-surf-the-web-again stuff out of the way. I started my research in the Alexa Death & Gore section, since the nice people at Alexa categorize all of the websites based on theme and content, I was able to find 7 particularly disturbing sites right of the bat: Disclaimer: enter these sites at your own risk – content is not suitable for all audiences.
Even though I’m creeped out by the content on these sites, I’m not surprised that they exist. Clearly there’s an audience for it and I don’t necessarily mean people with alternative fetishes and the wanna be serial killers living in their parent’s basement. Just the like the 2 Girls 1 Cup video, you don’t have to be into it to be curious and click through some of these sites. I think that would explain some of the following data:
Granted that these domains don’t have the best domain metrics ever, but there are enough instances in the chart above that show flares of natural traffic and social life. I think more often than not people are visiting these sites because of their curiosity – it’s one of those “you’ve got to see it to believe it” ordeals. Visitors are then sharing on their visit because they’re provoked by their emotions; mainly amazement, fear, disgust and loathing. In comparison, it is a less intense version of 2 Girls 1 Cup – who wouldn’t want to creep out a chum around Halloween with some post-mortem photography?
With pen names, aliases and vast amount of anonymity on the web there people are not always what they seem. Thanks to Cracked.com research, I can use Edward Muscare (also known as Edarem) as a prime example; now for me as a foreigner who knows nothing about American pop culture in the past and present (sorry I watch THE News, not E! News), I often just take things at face value with little contextual or historic reference. When I came across Edarem’s Old Black Magic video I thought that this is a just a peculiar, slightly creepy older man who likes to dress up and sing on the internet.
The first thing I asked myself when I saw this video was, “where’s his shirt?!” But let’s face it, we’ve all seen worse on YouTube. However, if you dig a little deeper into Muscare you’ll come to learn that he was an American TV presenter (sorry if you already knew this – again I’m not from around these parts). Now his channel isn’t really too disturbing; it’s just rants and opinions on current events, the occasional sing along to his favorite songs. Overall, a little weird, but nothing more than harmless fun and eccentricity.
I saw this picture and I thought to myself…
And then I came across this…
So, Muscare was convicted for sexual battery in 1987.
Is your skin crawling yet?
Such a significant detail takes my feelings of the Edarem channel from weird and quirky to completely creepy. Now I really want to know why he’s not wearing a shirt in the Old Black Magic video! I labeled him a strange old man, a little odd but completely harmless and now there’s not only the surprise and shock of finding out that I was wrong, there’s also the contempt (disgust + anger) that the majority of us feel towards sexual offenders in general.
Most of us only see what we want to see online, and will often not stumble upon these websites or play the “guess who’s the hidden sexual offender” game. We are way happier thinking that the web is a loving place full of bunnies, rainbows and of course magical unicorns.
We know this isn’t the case. In fairness it can be a bit more like creepy uncle Dan
We know that the web has its fair share of disturbing people and content. However, ignorance is bliss and we’ll be damned if anyone is going to stop us from being blissful! Whether you choose to look for it or not, there’s all sorts of weird and let’s just call it “alternative” content and users online catering to all sorts of audiences. You just don’t know who’s following you on twitter, commenting on your Reddit post and wanting to be your friend on Facebook.
There’s a deep rooted understanding that our personal lives should be kept personal (at our discretion) and that there are unsavory characters online that we should protect ourselves from, but after a while we let our guard down or can even be desensitized to what we see and who we meet online.
Sharing things on the web and interacting online is like any other social activity, but on a colossal scale. When you join a recreational soccer team you’re signing up to interact with ten team mates, one coach, a half dozen fans and seven or eight other teams in the league – so give or take about one hundred and fifteen people max. Yet if you were to join Facebook today you’re opening yourself up to interact with over 1 billion users. Now of course you can select the level of privacy of your profile and everything you share, some of us don’t but most of us do – but why? At large it’s because we don’t want any random creeper, stranger, pervert or sexual offender checking out our pictures or knowing what we ate for breakfast.
So really, we do know that the web has dark, creepy, and unfavorable places and people like any other community. We probably shouldn’t be so shocked when we come across websites like smyw.com and alike, right?