Forgotten Horrors of the Web

As a teenager, my internet activities were concerning for my parents, but only because they didn’t approve of my darker interests. They fought me every step of the way to Hot Topic, tried to get me to watch something other than horror movies, and often expressed distaste at my love for dead things; cemeteries, ghosts, the science of death, abandoned buildings, and morbid history. I also had a love for urban legends and websites focusing on horror in fiction.

A long time ago, during the dying days of WebTV, there existed a treasure trove of horror websites. Many contained text-based games like Caverns of Blood, galleries of spooky photos, and horror movie screen captures, but the best features, and maybe the ones I remember the most, were the midi and .wav galleries.

Above is from The Pit, an old favorite that focused on horror movie legends that’s still active. Click the image to visit.

I still have a large folder of every midi and .wav from those old websites. Although midis have gone defunct and are a nostalgic part of the internet of the past, I’ve since found an extension for browsers that allows them to be played once more on old websites. This comes in handy, especially for Caverns of Blood. The old midis I’d downloaded were able to be converted into MP3 files via a converter, and I still listen to them.

After installing the midi plugin linked above, click the image to explore the old Caverns of Blood game in all of its gory glory!

A website that is now gone but is greatly missed, was HorrorFind. It was a treasure trove of horror sites that anyone could add to, and I discovered not only some interesting people and artists, but music as well that, unfortunately, went the way of the site. One such band was Tourettes. Their music was best described as grunge/metal, and the lyrics were gritty and dark as would be expected.

Visit HorrorFind on the Way Back Machine.

Another search engine that took a strong stomach to navigate, that mostly included real-life macabre subjects, was Death and Dementia. Everything from the macabre, controversial, and downright gory was listed there, and I remember exploring it in my teenage years. I was extremely interested in real-life horrors back then especially — I’d already been desensitized to fictional horror after reading and viewing so much of it.

Above is Death and Dementia as it appeared back in 2006. The site still exists, but in a different state. Clicking the picture will take you to the 2006 version.

Getting more into the real-life horror and macabre side of things, one site that’s still around I frequented is The Asylum Eclectica. Run by the Comtesse DeSpair, there is a blog and newsletter that delivers real-life macabre news. It’s sort of like an ‘on this day in the year of…’ but with a lot of death. Other parts of the site are still active as well, including ‘Forlorn Photography,’ which features urban decay.

Click above to explore The Asylum Eclectica landing page.

During this era, I spent a lot of time researching cemeteries and mortician school. My parents were against me going to school for such a thing and often expressed their distaste of my interests, but it never deterred me. Even though I was never able to accomplish my goal of becoming a mortician (my parents chose to put me in school to become a veterinary assistant, which I got through begrudgingly), it didn’t stop me from learning everything I could on my own. I was a young darkling at around fifteen to sixteen years old, although I’d been obsessing over urban legends and Snopes’ darker directories long before.

Snopes isn’t what it used to be, but back in the early 2000s, it was a great source for morbid history and urban legends. Unfortunately, they’ve blocked old archives of the site, including the ‘horrors’ section, from internet archives. A few of the stories I found there that I printed in 2006, and still have in a ‘Blue Book of Morbid Curiosities,’ were:
  • The Spice of Life, in which a family receives a jar of an unnamed substance which they assume to be a sauce mix, and they proceed to prepare it and consume it. It doesn’t taste the greatest. They later get a letter explaining that a person in the family had died, and they wished for their ashes to be scattered. It was hoped that the letter arrived before the ashes in the jar.
  • The Bawdy Under the Bed, in which many variations of an urban legend, stemming from a true story, are mentioned describing the discovery of a dead body found in a hotel room under a mattress — the most common variation. Usually, the tenant doesn’t realize there’s anything amiss until they notice a foul smell they can’t find a source to. After some time, they check under the bed and realize they’d been sleeping on a corpse hidden in the box springs.
  • Just Dying to Get Out was an entry talking about the subject of premature burial and the urban legends behind it. (As well as the reality, which you can read more about in the excellent book by Dr. Jan Bondeson, Buried Alive.)
  • Satan’s Choice, which is about a servant woman who decided to break the rules of Sunday, it being a holy day not meant for mundane festivities. She slips into a ballroom to join dancing guests, and comes across a handsome stranger with black hair and eyes. She dances with him, and they move faster and faster until one of the musicians notices a pair of cloven hooves on the man. A religious hymn breaks out before the devil disappears and the woman is found on the front lawn, having crashed through a window with the handsome man who is nowhere to be found.
Many others were on the site as well but, sadly, are lost to time.

The last website I’ll share here is simply a gathering of abandoned buildings. It’s not really horror, but there are some chilling and unnerving photos as well as legends surrounding some of the places. It’s still possible to browse most of the site and the images through an internet archive, and I recommend it if you’re interested in urban exploration. There are some interesting places to be found. I spent quite a bit of time on this site as a teenager.

Simply titled ‘Abandoned,’ you can click on the image to explore the site through the Way Back Machine.

Horror, real-life macabre, urban legends, and decaying buildings. This is a sampling of my internet history as a teenager, and I often found comfort in this dark part of the web. There are many more links I could share from that time, but it would make this too long. Chances are, if you explored this dark part of the web, you know about quite a few.

Here are a few more bits of nostalgia worth mentioning that you can explore for yourself:
  • Anomalies Unlimited – Death Trivia – random and odd death occurrences.
  • Ghost Study – Ghost Photo Gallery – an old favorite, Ghost Study is still around.
  • Exmortis – A classic Newgrounds horror game that was chilling in its time.
  • Willard Library Ghost – A haunted library that offers live camera-viewing to catch the ghost yourself, as well as a gallery of others’ captures.
©2020 Shane Blackheart
All images are captured from the original websites and are linked to them.


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