From Narrations to Books to Comics – He Became YouTube’s Best Known Voice of Horror

Ask most folks out there what name comes to mind these days in the realm of online horror known as Creepypasta (a hodgepodge of short, unnerving home-brews named for the copy/paste style sharing origins) and you’ll likely get a mixed response of those who read, write, or relate to the works and those who’ve never heard of it. Of those that are familiar with the viral internet literary method, they’ll generally list off their favorite stories and authors.

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Authorship though is hit or miss at times. With many of the earlier writers of popular digital tales choosing to eschew traditional practices of using their real names or pen names designed to mimic the norm; the use of message board styled usernames seemed to be the popular path of ownership, with an equal amount of anonymous pieces as well.

Over the better part of a decade, these short but sweet doses of depravity have struggled to find a common umbrella in which to identify. Balancing the tightrope between genre and method, defining exactly what a creepypasta is seems largely in the hands of whoever is speaking on the subject at the time.

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Earlier entries were usually conceptualized as short stories captured in first-person perspective written to insinuate realism through internet microblogs. This was done by design it seemed, with the intent to leave the readers pondering if the events described were actual tellings of reality or smartly styled examples of literature by the process. The anonymous nature of authorship was an emphatic device. After all, the most brilliantly scribed work of Stephen King is still an object of comfort narrative. We know who King is. We know he’s safe and sound. We know his method of writing and in that knowledge can be found comfort through routine.

Creepypasta writing flipped that narrative on its head though. The stories, rarely exceeding the length of a short, with novelette sized postings being considered “long creepypastas” and novella/novel-length entries being almost unheard of, put the focus frankly on the literature, prose, and events rather than the authors, their styles or their signatures. Thus finding any umbrella for these micro-macabre missives was a bit of a challenge.

To answer this conundrum many leaned to the catalog instead of the manufacturer so to speak. It wasn’t who wrote it but rather where you could find it that became the umbrella. Websites that hosted these stories became the hallmark destinations, with quality ratings varying based on the Quality Standards of those platforms.

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Art and literature-based forums like Deviantart and Wattpad were predictable destinations. A handful of Wikia sites steadily grew into a vast ocean of literature depositories. Traditional websites sprung from seemingly nowhere to host horror. But perhaps the most unlikely platform soon grew to become the go-to hub for fans of the written word – YouTube.

Readings of popular short stories became a trend that was undeniable. Velvet voiced vixens and baritone blessed elocutionists created a subset of YouTube where fans of fear could find their favorite online horror stories and discover new tales from the shadows of the internet narrated in format not unlike audiobooks. From this pool of ever-expanding voice talents grew a handful of names and channels that would rise to the top of almost endless mass of online orators looking for plant their flag in the competitive and turbulent world of online notoriety.

Over the last decade, one name was risen and remained consistently at the top. With over a million subscribers on YouTube, 45K plus followers on Twitter, countless collaborations and ventures into comics, books, convention headlining, and most recently a live tour over multiple US States – Mr. CreepyPasta has withstood the test of time and the constant pressure cooker that is online success to become a platform in and of himself for creepypasta styled horror stories.

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I was recently given the opportunity to sit down with the man behind the blue mask and baritone vocals to find out what it’s like both on and off the mic.

Feature Exclusive with Mr. CreepyPasta

Tell us what life was like before you ever picked up a microphone and started narrating online horror.

Boring and terrible ha-ha – I was in college so my life at that time was basically get up, go to classes at 8am. Finished around 1pm and go to work at AT&T tech support. Drink coffee creamers for lunch because I was living college money and then come home around 9 am. 

The YouTube channel and success was never part of the big picture. MCP’s original career map included a desk job in Human Resources.

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I went to college for business management so really it was trying to move up in AT&T and land that HR position or I was interviewing at USAA. Just not doing too well there. I want to say I was offered a very low-end job there that would have been a big pay cut from AT&T and I turned it down.

Initial inspiration to build his channel came from concerns with the tumultuous nature of the internet.

CreepyPasta.com was being sold at that time. Not to the current owner though I think it’s been bought and sold like 3-4 times since then but I remember there was a forum back then and a lot of people expected the site to be gutted and made into some off topic ad sight and all the stories would be lost. I wanted to catalogue the stories. Also I was super into radio dramas and old detective radio shows in college. Wanted to try my hand at those.

The origins of the name Mr. CreepPasta are found in the most simplistic and utilitarian of places – Auto Suggest!

It was the suggestion from the “Username taken” box lol. I wanted to just be CreepyPasta but that name was taken and MrCreepyPasta was the only suggestion that didn’t have numbers so I figured yeah that works. 

Looking back at his earliest works, MCP casts a harsh shadow of judgement upon himself.

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It’s trash to the highest degree lol. The story is wonderful. I think Curious Little Things is still a great story in that classic fashion of the genre but I was on a karaoke microphone. Had no idea how to edit or master audio. It sounds like I’m reading with a shaky nervous voice in front of a high school in a wind tunnel. It’s terrible. 

MCP’s first upload – Curious Little Things by Kris Straub

A terrible manager at a mundane day job coupled with an exciting opportunity online became the groundwork to stick with narrations full time.

I think it was when I was offered an MCN which I had to learn what that was at the time. I figured this was like a real hobby I could get into. I never really wanted it to be my job per say. I was more forced into that decision by AT&T when they gave me this terrible manager. I mean absolutely awful. More than half of our team quit when they took over and would bring us in every Wednesday to demean out scores in front of the rest of the team. So I quit. and was just saying yeah I’ll just do YouTube more as a joke than serious but as time went one I kind of realized if I picked up something else it would really take my attention away from YouTube…. and feeling like something would take my attention away from the hobby I suppose should make it the main focus. And here we are ha-ha. 

*Multi-Channel Networks (“MCNs” or “networks”) are third-party service providers that affiliate with multiple YouTube channels to offer services that may include audience development, content programming, creator collaborations, digital rights management, monetization, and/or sales.

MCP describes his fondest interactions with listeners and fans come from those in education and literature preservation.

There’s a few fans I’ve met in person that are always my favorites and they’re always teachers and librarians. I think they’re by far my favorites to talk to because they’re excited to find something that they can get their students attached to as well and still has an education base. There was a library a few years back too who we did this thing where they had kids could make their own Creepypastas and send them my way for me to read for them over the summer to keep them involved with writing and reading. I think it’s just good to know people get more out of this than entertainment. 

Has the desire for “normalcy” ever encroached upon the drive to entertain?

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Yeah a few times. I do kind of miss a time without the stress having my work kind of set on me to judge. I miss having a supervisor so I could just hand in work. Go home and be done with it. When I know I have to judge my own performances that go out they’re never going to be just right and a lot of it sits with me well into the night. Or times before October when I have basically no time for anything gets real rough and I get so burned out on Horror. But none the less I’m here and I think it’s because I realize people who like this and come back video to video would be disappointed or sad if I did stop.

On the subject of internet fame – his first time being recognized in person was during his honeymoon at Disney.

I’m more known for wearing a mask. But believe it or not it was I think my honeymoon at Disney World a cast member saw I was wearing an MCP T-shirt and said they liked that guy and I replied oh thanks yeah it’s real good and then they recognized my voice ha-ha. Printed out a blank receipt paper so I could sign it for them. 

He doesn’t see himself as famous though.

No lol. I am a man at a computer who makes a podcast and YouTube show. I’m happy that people listen but I’m nowhere near that status.

Over the years MCP has developed a strong network of authors and collaborates frequently to curate the best content to adapt to audio.

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Vincent V Cava is one of the big ones. Wrote all the stories for me for the tour last year. Kyle Harrison, Shaefer Nelson, and Unsettlingstories.com Max Lobdell he’s great. David Farrows. William Dalphin, Wendingus and Jack Townsend. God I feel like I’m just needing to go pages for lists because I need to list them all. Let it be known this isn’t all of them just some of them lol

On thoughts of branching out into other forms of entertainment media.

I’ve done a few gaming streams and I still do on twitch now more than on the channel. And I’ve done a few true crime and documentary style things for the main channel but I’m not sure about going full into something else. That might be a good place to grow another channel someday

Self-care is cited as an important part of the process when balancing stress with life.

It does. I don’t think anyone who is essentially held up by public opinion and entertaining others cannot feel that a bit. But honestly I don’t know what I do for self-care ha-ha. I know when stress gets high me and the wife will usually go off somewhere whether it be in town or to some other location for a weekend and recharge. I guess the escapism method but you always have to come back. 

On how his childhood friends and family view his meteoric rise through the ranks of YouTube and online success.

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Well my friends are all cool with it. Like a few of my friends from high school always come with me to conventions in my home town or come visit any of my shows. They’re wonderful. My mom and Dad are supportive but don’t really understand what I do lol. My mom especially she has a drawer with all my posters or shirts but she never looks at them because she says they’re too ugly or too scary ha-ha. 

On the iconic voice – he credits public speaking classes in high school.

I was in speech team in high school and I think that’s about it. In my time doing YouTube I’ve met a lot of people with voice acting experience and taken some online stuff. I think it’s a lot of learning as I go and you can really feel that on the channel if you look at videos like 9 years old and now. Finding how to play and develop characters was very feeling it out. I even remember the first time I ever did character voices in a story I was so not ready for it but I thought it would bring a lot more to it to play characters more than just dry reading.

MCP cites friendship and teamwork as a driving force behind-the-scenes in building and maintaining his channel and online content.

I think most people as how I find stories and if I’m friends with other narrators. I’ll say MsMaddHatt on twitter is a great behind the scenes person. She actually helps me scout stories out on Reddit and this isn’t known. Matt who was my livestream buddy is my editor now as well and he’s a huge part of production that takes a tone of weight off me. And as far as if I’m friend with other narrators we all are super cool either talking on twitter or discord. Also finding a lot of them playing games on Steam.

On the creative limitations of networked platforms and having the think in terms of “YouTube brain” when choosing which stories might be too NSFW to fit the style, expectations, and audience in the age of restricted horror content online.

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Yeah there’s some that get far too sexual. I think that’s the nature of horror though if to push what may be socially acceptable and that’s part of the art. but Also I don’t think there’s aspects of those stories I could say in character and it would be felt by the audience that I’m not 100% on board to do it. Ultimately will hurt the story as a whole. That and I do have to think with Youtube brain. If YouTube would hit me for it I can’t do it. 

On the decision to remove the iconic mask and deliver a “face reveal” video.

For a while I wanted to do more than just YouTube. I was thinking I wanted to try acting and voice work. He told me that I would have to not be faceless to do that. Eventually I’ll need to be MrCreepyPasta and not just say MrCreepyPasta is me. So I took my mask off during a San Japan show. People lost their minds during it too ha-ha. It was a great show. 

Under the Mask Teaser Video from 2016

On fan perceptions of mask vs. face.

Depends. I think people want the mask when they meet me. I’m Spike. I’m a guy in his PJs at a computer with a Mic. People want to meet MrCreepyPasta who’s a weird guy in a mask that talks to a skeleton and knows a lot of horror stories off the top of his head. He’s the cool guy not me. The mask is the cool guy.

On content and authors.

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All comes down to the author. They’re my yes no. Things like the story Disney – are no big deal because they’re parodies and really all horror is. And in my experience if any media company really doesn’t want me to do a story about it they’ve all been pretty cool about it. They send me an email and I make the video private. 

Finally we have some parting advice from Mr. CreepyPasta to aspiring narrators.

Don’t start on YouTube ha-ha. This is such a hard time to start on YouTube these days and it’s not getting any easier. I think Podcasting is the place to be now.

Your voice is unique how it is. Take advantage of that. Practice with emoting with your normal voice and develop that as your first character. Everything else will come with time.

Be Sure to Check Out Mr. Creepypasta in all His Various online Incarnations

Mr. Creepypasta on YouTube
Mr. Creepypasta on Twitch
Tales from the Gas Station by Jack Townsend on Audible Vol. 1
Tales from the Gas Station by Jack Townsend on Audible Vol. 2

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