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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Mystery: The Terrifying Commercial Break

An image from the horror film Hostel.

I had plans to cover a story about a very famous unidentified murder victim case today. Alas, I got caught up in real life and didn’t want to rush through the story. As such, I decided to pick out a story from a wiki that I’d discovered while making my megalist:
Paranormal World. It’s a site with a host of really fascinating, weird, and unique stories that I’d never heard of until I found the site. If I’m to be honest, I was extremely tempted to poach a bunch of them for this month, but I was hesitant as I didn’t want to be seen as a content thief. I did take a bunch of them for the megalist, but I’m highly doubtful more than two or three will remain on there (this particular story didn’t make it on there as an FYI).


Now with that said, even though I used some of them to fill slots on that list, I was still hesitant to even make this write-up. The main reason being: it seems the writer of that wiki is the only author and it acts as something of a personal blog to them. I didn’t want to write about something that may be extremely personal to the writer. Not to mention, the story comes from Reddit which, as some of you may know, I’m really not fond of. However, I decided to throw aside my concerns and go through with it as I think I have an interesting argument to make in the long run. So let’s dig into what I call The Terrifying Commercial Break.


Look, I didn’t want to copy the name that Paranormal World used. If you’re curious by the way, click here to see the original article. I’d highly recommend you check out the other stories on the wiki too. They’re extremely interesting and the writer deserves a lot more credit for the stuff he finds.



The Story


This story originates from an Ask Reddit thread called What's your internet "white whale", something you've been searching for years to find with no luck?. It’s marked as being NSFW, so I won’t link to it. However, the page on Paranormal Wiki does, so go there if you want an article. Anyways, the central focus of this story isn’t a Reddit thread (no central focus should ever be a Reddit thread in my eyes). Rather, it’s a user named Cuchuflu2448 (who I will simply call OP from here on out). He posted a comment on the thread that reads as follows:


I had a similar thing happen one time i was watching Nickelodeon and during commercials it cut to what looked like a table with bloody chains on it, amd there was people tied up and a guy wearing a mask, and all the windows were boarded up. There was a lot of screaming, too. And lots of bloody tools on the tables around. It was terrifying to watch, but it only went on for like 20 seconds. It wasn't exactly as i described it but it was similar, and i was vwry young then, but i swear I saw it. No one in the house saw it because they were all in different rooms so it was just me. Does anyone know about this?


No typos made in the quoted comment were by me. That’s simply how it was written. Welcome to Reddit.


Anyways, this comment got a single reply from another user who stated that the OP should post about the event on a subreddit called Phantom Media. Out of curiosity, I went to see if they did, but I had no luck. Beyond that, I could find nothing out about this event, though instances like this aren’t exactly uncommon. Broadcast hijackings have happened before with one of the most famous—if not the most famous—being the Max Headroom Incident. You can view the event below, though be warned, the character of Max Headroom is British and that may cause you to want to fight for the Queen.



You survive? Awesome, let’s continue.


Now, while broadcast hijackings have happened before, I cannot find any specific instances where Nickelodeon was the target. There is a very peculiar claim that some kids in Brazil ended up defecating themselves while watching SpongeBob SquarePants, but that’s often seen as an urban legend. If you want to learn more about that, here’s an episode from Dead Rabbit Radio that covers it. Also, subscribe to him. His videos are incredible.



So if there’s no evidence of a bizarrely graphic broadcast hijacking, then what is the truth to this strange story? Well, that’s where the theories come in. So let’s get to them.


Theories


1. It was a broadcast hijacking


The first theory is one that’s certainly the one that most would likely (and instinctively) think of when they hear about in a case like this. It was a broadcast hijacking and a pretty gruesome one at that. Though what exactly would the footage have been from in that case?


Well, some may go the route of something out of a creepypasta and say that it was footage of a serial killer at work. Others may think that it was from a movie. Finally, some may claim that it was all a prank—bro. I’m sure the Paul brothers are in on this.


Ahem, anyways, this theory, while it sure may seem possible, is one that I don’t think holds a lot of water. While yes, broadcast hijackings occur, an instance like this would be incredibly unlikely because there are no reports of it. While distrust in the media is certainly high, I doubt many would look at a report of Nickelodeon having had their signal hijacked and replaced with someone, say, sawing off of a girl's arm and then beating her with it and say, “Psh, fake news”. Likewise, I doubt any parent would see such a scene and not bat an eye as their child starts bawling their eyes out. That’s not how any parent with a conscious acts and as such, I doubt this is the likely result of such an incident.


2. The OP sat on the remote and switched over to another film


This theory is one that I must say seems like one of the most plausible and possible. The OP either sat on the remote and changed the channel to one that had a horror film playing or may have accidentally done it as they were holding it—possibly as they were nodding off to sleep. They didn’t realize it until either they switched it back or they shifted again. I will admit that the idea of shifting to and from Nickelodeon seems unlikely though, though I have a theory of my own that uses this theory in a way, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Patience is a virtue after all.C


3. It was a dream


The third theory is one that the writer on Paranormal Wiki says was proposed in a reply to the OP, but I cannot find such a comment. It may have been deleted, but I digress. The theory is that the OP had a nightmare and believed it to be real. I must admit, I’ve had dreams like that and I’m certain that some memories I have were in fact dreams. Though again, I digress. I’d also like to point out that this would explain why the OP didn’t tell their parents about it (though that in of itself isn’t exactly odd given kids won’t tell their parents a lot of things). This theory is one that I think is extremely plausible, but more on that in a bit. For now, let’s continue.


4. It’s a hoax


The fourth and final theory is that the entire story was made up by the OP. As the one user who replied to the OP stated, the story gave off vibes of the creepypasta Candle Cove. As such, it stands to reason that the comment may have been made in an attempt to create a story in the vein of that. It’s also possible the OP simply made the comment to troll. Either one has a basis in reality and stands on its own merits, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.


My Take


I was fully prepared to disregard this story as nothing more than a hoax—specifically an attempt at starting something similar to Candle Cove—and call it a day. However, just before I started to write, I went ahead and checked the OP’s post history to see if he’d actually posted about the story on the Phantom Media subreddit. While he hadn’t, I found something far more interesting than that.


His age.


In a post related to a relationship, the OP had stated his age is—or was—16 (it may be 17 as of the time of this writing, but I’m not sure). This made me second guess my belief that this was all made up because of the OP’s age around the early 2010s. Between the years of 2010 and 2014, he would have been between 6 and 10. Now, this interests me because nowadays, kids are often given tablets, iPads, and other electronics to keep them occupied. Likewise, it’s very possible that the OP was given something similar by his parents, be it as a gift or to keep him occupied. Whatever the case may be, it’s likely he frequented YouTube in his spare time.


Now, anyone who uses YouTube knows that from its earliest days to the present day that advertisements are the devil. They may also know that the content of these advertisements isn’t always necessarily appropriate for the specific channel. In 2013, I got an advertisement for the Harmony Korine film Spring Breakers while watching a Let’s Play by a YouTuber named Chuggaaconroy. That film was rated R and had quite a bit of nudity (and James Franco). Chuggaaconroy is one of the much more kid-friendly Let’s Players and, even at his “edgiest”, isn’t anywhere near what you’d find in Spring Breakers. This instance (or rather, instances) is what made me raise an eyebrow when I saw the OPs age. While I’m older than him, I was around the age of 10 when YouTube launched and I got into it around that time.


What I think might have happened is the OP got an advertisement for a horror film or thriller and later suffered a nightmare after seeing it. As for what film it might have been, I have four suspects that, while not perfect fits for what was described in the post, at least fall in line with the content presented in them.


The first film was released in 2010 and is entitled Saw 3D. Yeah, I’m being overly dramatic when I present that movie, but I want to maintain a professional stance (unlike how that film was handled during its production). Saw, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is one of the most wildly successful horror franchises in history. It was released every Halloween between 2004 and 2010 before taking a seven year hiatus. In 2017, Jigsaw was released. Another film, Spiral, is slated for release in May of 2021 (it was set to release on May 15th of this year, but the Corona pandemic delayed that). Anyways, here’s the trailer for Saw 3D.



While certainly not a perfect fit for what the OP describes, Saw’s notorious for its brutal traps and unabashed love for shocking the viewer with how far it’ll go when it comes to gore. I think it’s possible that, if the OP got an advertisement for Saw 3D (or saw one or both of their parents watching an earlier entry), they may have been deeply disturbed and suffered a nightmare. After all, one of the most common lines of dialogue in Saw movies is, “Help me!”


Okay, I can’t actually confirm that. That isn’t important though; what is important is the second film. It was released in 2012 and is entitled The Collection. It was directed by Marcus Dunstan, the man who wrote the Feast films and Saw IV, V, VI, and Saw 3D. Indeed, The Collection, along with its predecessor, The Collector, was the brainchild of what wasn’t usable in the Saw films. It’s once again not a perfect fit for what the OP describes, but it’s notable for its grisly nature and brutality. If you want to take a gander at the trailer, here it is.



The third movie that springs to mind is the 2013 film The Purge. A movie that started an unfathomably successful franchise, The Purge fits the description of a movie with boarded up windows and people in creepy masks. It’s admittedly not a very gory, but it’s certainly a movie that I could see creeping children out. If you want to take a look at the trailer, here you go.



The fourth and final movie that came to my mind was the 2014 film The Purge: Anarchy. The sequel to The Purge, it was a minor step up from its predecessor—a stance that I appear to be the minority on. Much like its predecessor though, it fits the bill and to a stronger degree in my eyes. If you want to take a look, here you go.



Now, with all of that said, I want to acknowledge something: my theory does have numerous holes in it. The OP never posted something on that subreddit, he’s never acknowledged it in any other post, and it does have numerous similarities to stories like Candle Cove. It’s very generic, but I think that outright disregarding it when we consider how easily we can be traumatized at a young age is rather callous. After all, when I saw Sinister, I refused to sleep for fear of nightmares. Shock of all shocks, I had nightmares when I did fall asleep. Though as a side note: Sinister definitely fits the bill for what the OP described, but there aren’t any people in masks in that film.


As for simply asking the OP, I don’t think anyone would quite take so kindly to randomly being asked about a story they posted a year ago. Though what do I know. I’m just some pleb that writes about weird stuff on the Internet.


Conclusion


Whether or not I’m wrong, I cannot say for certain. While I think that the story could have a basis in reality, that all rests on the shoulders of the OP and the OP alone. Even if I’m wrong, I do think it stands to reason that not every strange instance of remembering a terrifying event in a video game or on TV is a creepypasta or a troll. Memory is imperfect and as such, we may remember something clearly—and in real life—that was in fact a dream. I know I have a story of my own that fits that bill perfectly that I’d like to share with you all one day. Until then though, stay happy and healthy, dear reader.

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