Whatever happened to penny dreadfuls?
I love penny dreadfuls.
Not the show. Though the show is legit based on the one episode I’ve seen, I’m talking about actually reading the stories. I bought the Penny Dreadfuls anthology from Barnes & Noble, and my hubs and I would take turns reading the stories to each other before bed when I was pregnant. You just can’t get all the details from a show the way you can the original story.
If the show–
So, that left me wondering: what ever happened to penny dreadfuls? Those little pamphlet booklets crappily produced and scandously circulated? Those terror stories that kept Victorian society awake at night, but barely phase us in terms of fear?
Though, not produced in the same way, penny dreadfuls are very alive and kickin’!
Now, all you need to know about the traditional penny dreadful can be found over at BBC. But, when it comes to the modern one, you’d have to google something called “creepypastas”. Now, I know the name is a little weird, but don’t let it deter you.
These stories—when well written and narrated—will keep you up and paranoid at night.
Starting off as short horror stories shared on forums like reddit, as the stories were shared across the internet, they started being narrated so they could take a true scary aspect like storytelling around the flashlight or fire. You remember when we as stupid kids would ditch our bedtimes and scare one another shitless trying to one-up? That. Man does it work! I know, personally, I’m addicted and I completely condone others being the same.
Just like the old dreadfuls, these stories paint pictures of unimaginably harrowing and heinous creatures, craziness, and fear.
They suggest things we don’t typically consider and leave us doubting our sanity, beliefs, and increasingly common, our safety. Creepypastas are so influential, there are cases of people killing one another over them. Scary stuff.
It’s really cool how the legacy has lived on—just in an updated form. While I would still love the pamphlets, personally, free narration on YouTube by tons of amazing voices is tons better. Sorry tradition.
Some YouTube narrator recommendations for ya:
- Dr. Creepen
- Creepy Ghost Stories
- Slumber Reads
- Lets Read
- Mr. Creeps
- Operation Insomnia
If you love scary, and especially the Penny Dreadfuls stories or show, you’re missin’ out on all this legit-ness. Really, you can’t even credibly claim to love horror without doing this! So, go make it happen!
How do you get your horror story fix? What’s the best way to do so?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media, of course. If you’re interested in writing your own awesome stories, sign up for newsletter to the right!