Terrifying ghost-elevator prank

Here's footage of a vicious and terrifying prank from a Brazilian candid-camera show, in which victims were put in an gimmicked elevator whose lights went out, allowing a small girl in horror-makeup to sneak out of a hidden compartment and "appear" when the lights came back on, ready to scream at them.

Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil (via Super Punch)


  1. I found it interesting that the small-pale-girl-with-a-dolly-image has moved into the public consciousness. While earlier generations of horror culture produced werewolfs and vampires, and the 80s produced the slasher/Freddie Krueger icons, our generation has produced something which is more quotidien but no less frightening and perhaps says something about our contemporary society.

      1. Yes. Sudden, plump, screaming children are also scary though, to be fair. Hence I avoid “family” restaurants.

      1. As an identical twin, I always found the “twins in movies are usually evil assassins/creepy supernatural beings” trope simultaneously demeaning and oddly flattering. I can only imagine what it must be like for people with Albinism.

          1. That second “Matrix” movie pretty much hit all the bases with a pair of Identical Supernatural Albino Assassin Twins.

          2. Ha ha, I keep trying to forget those films (and I almost succeeded). I had a class mate who wanted white cornrows so bad but we went to a private catholic school so no way. But he was the type to just kind of fail at everything, so I imagine they would of looked like a a splotchy English judge powdered wig.

        1. I really must impress upon you, as an identical twin, just how much you must track down and watch The Other http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069050/combined. I walked into this film cold and was blindsided by it. The book is a tad different but the author, Tom Tryon, also did the screenplay. This is one gem of a film. And afterwards, you will NEVER hear the phrase, “Oh, my God!” in quite the same way.

        2. When I lived in the Sunset for 12 years, my downstairs neighbor, in the in-law apartment, was a ghost-pale, 300 lb redneck with one eye sewn shut. Who incidentally happened to be a murderer. It was like living over the punch line of a teen splatter film.

      2.  Uncanny Valley is uncanny.

        When people see children, we’re programmed to respond with “isn’t that cute, I want to protect it”, but when the child turns out to be a threat, our poor brains freak out

        1. That makes sense.  It is probably related to the uncanny valley phenomena; we notice the details of the child (and the circumstances) that are wrong and suddenly our learned perception of what is real is blasted to shreds.

    1. Though there have been some interesting things written about the various cultural and political ideas that horror can be viewed as metaphors for. See Dracula for repressed Victorian sexuality.

    2. The ‘wailing dead child’ has been around for a long time, like the evil old hag, or the murdered bride.

      /edit: wow, that makes up a maiden-mother-crone of horror.

    3.  Horror generally says something about contemporary society. King Kong — fear of the strong black man. 50’s horror — xenophobia. Multiple essays out there, I’m sure. I just find it comforting that we have finally recognized disheveled children for the horror that they are. See also: The Shining.

  2. For those interested, here’s the original video: http://www.sbt.com.br/programasilviosantos/videos/?id=8a811552a5cedb9e6af02d89163a0b6d

    1. I was thinking the same thing. After the initial scare, I think I’d rage and try to beat the crap out of that little witch.

      1. Kind of an extreme reaction.  I was thinking that after the initial scare, I’d ask if she needed some help (the beauty of it is, it works if she’s a phantom caught in limbo and unable to move on, or an actual little girl who’s being exploited by a nefarious hidden camera show that’s not obeying child labor laws!)

        (Not that I’m saying that’s the case, just that, if it IS, I’m covered!)

        1. Kind of an extreme reaction.

          Don’t prank people who have PTSD. I’d be holding your liver above my head before I even realized that I had moved.

          1. True enough, and I realize that people do have violent instinctive reactions to this kind of thing… I guess I was interpreting the “after the initial scare” to mean “once I have whatever immediate emotional reaction I have and regain control over myself” but there’s no reason it had to mean that. 

      2. We’d all like to think that this is how we’d react to threats, but the reality is that when the Zombie apocalypse hits we’ll all be cowering in the corner crying for mummy.

        1. There are some people who literally do react to frightening situations by lashing out. It’s not called “fight or flight” for nothing. Especially those who have spent time in combat or otherwise honed the “respond with violence” half.

          Normally this is a much, much worse reaction that cowering, since few threats are resolved in a positive manner by immediate and unthinking application of violence.

          1.  I think the child element really disarms people too. 6-foot-tall hooded figure…more than a few of us might charge at it. But a little tiny girl? No matter how spooky, it’s hard to respond with violence, unless things really started getting ugly.

      1. I’ve always tried talking to my apparitions, though to be fair the big pink & elephant factor probably influenced a polite request to trunkingly hover chunks from my shirt

    2. It’s possible somebody did have a heart attack.  It’s possible they dropped like flies, and they only aired the survivors.

      Also, child actors are exempt from child labor laws – at least, in America.  Dunno about Brazilian law.

      1. Exempt?  I was under the impression that it was certainly less stringent than the normal laws, but that even in the US child actors had certain restrictions that could not, legally, be violated.

        I could be wrong on that, and also have no idea what it would be in Brazil.

        1. Yeah, I remember back when all the SF shows had to have a cute kid in them, the SF mags would always interview the cute kid at least once, and you’d get a primer on Hollywood child labour law. If I remember right, they had to have a certain amount of schooling on set, could only work like four hours out of the day, etc. It was even more stringent for babies. Basically all babies in a movie HAVE to be twins for logistics reasons. 

          Speaking of scary ghost girls and SF shows with child actors, Alicia Witt’s first hollywood role was as scary psychic girl Alia in DUNE. 

  3. Yeah, y’know – I don’t really see how it’s funny to terrify someone out of their wits. In fact, there’s a kind of immature psychopathology at work if you ask me.

    1. What if they prank someone who was already having psychological problems?  What if this is what pushes them over the edge?  I too have never found this particularly funny.

      1. I would assume these people have already been screened in one way or the other.  From what I’ve heard, the people on Cash Cab already know they are going to be on a TV show and have already signed waivers and everything, and then get in the cab to go to the supposed filming location, only to be surprised that they are already there.  I bet these producers did something similar, maybe screened the prankees and had them sign waivers and then said “Head on up to the top floor where we will be filming”.

      2. To be honest, if you are prone to hallucinations you are probably thinking more along the lines of “OH SHIT I’M GETTING WORSE”

    2. I actually find these kind of things fascinating rather than ‘funny’ per se… seeing how people would actually react in an impossible (or at the very least, extremely improbable) situation. 

        1. I’d heard a little about it, but just watched it thanks to the reminder.  I have serious doubts about it being real, but yeah, very compelling nonetheless.

          Assuming it was real, he was pretty matter-of-fact about it, not really freaking out about the implications but just dealing with the immediacy of what needed to be done, which is somewhat reassuring. 

        2. I hadn’t heard about this, but I just found it and watched it. It’s completely fake! Does anyone actually believe that a person can be induced into a catatonic state by some flashes on a video screen? That’s nonsense of the highest order. There is exactly zero science that would support such a scenario. Derren Brown is a professional magician – people, his JOB is to lie to you.

          1. It’s completely fake! Does anyone actually believe that a person can be induced into a catatonic state by some flashes on a video screen?

            You mean like how flashing lights can induce seizures?

          2. Oh sure – but ‘hey – look a bunny’! Seizures have exactly nothing to do with what’s going on here, either in the mooted reason for the guy’s behaviour in the stunt, or scientifically. For a start, you can’t instigate a seizure in just anyone, and even if you could, they don’t behave like that guy does.  Take a look at the video. They wait for someone – a RANDOM someone – to start playing the game. They do the stunt on the first person they get (even the most unschooled know that only about 5 – 10% of people are sufficiently hypnotizable to do this kind of stage magic *even if it was really hypnotism in this case* -which it isn’t) and then after a time flash a few frames at him, in which circumstance he becomes COMPLETELY catatonic until they ‘wake’ him with a klaxon. Puh-leeze!!! Sorry Antinous – this is a trick. There is not a shred of credibility in this process. Why does everyone believe that Derren Brown is EVER telling you the truth? He’s a stage magician peeps. His job is to lie to you.

          3. @anaglyph

            He’s not a stage magician, guy doesn’t believe in magic, he’s a psychologist (an intensely clever and devious one) and will be the first to explain that there’s 0 woo in any of his work.

          4. It’s sad that you think that – guy is very open about his techniques – in fact the irony is that he spends much of his time explaining and debunking stuff, complete opposite of a charlatan (and he’s a psychology lecturer). I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss him, guy is at the top of his game.

            We’re also talking about different things anyway – I think your referencing the arcade bit – which was very very different.

          5. Sorry, but if I recall his explanation of the “picking the lottery numbers” stunt was total bunk. 

            It’s fine to do a trick and leave it mysterious, but if you pile on more bull$#!+ when you purport to explain “how its done”, you’ve entered the realm of “someone who’s deliberately trying to fool me”.

            And if you’ll lie that brazenly to explain one trick, you’re just as likely to do it to explain another.

            So for me, the most logical explanation of the Zombie Apocalypse gag is that he’s lying again during the part where he’s promising honesty, and the person was in on it.

          6. I know Derren Brown’s shtick very well. I never said he was a charlatan. He’s an honest STAGE ILLUSIONIST. He never pretends to be anything else. I am very familar with stage magic, modern illusionism, psychology, cold reading and hypnosis. Yes, Brown is a skeptic and a debunker (and an atheist and a rationalist). However, he is also an entertainer. Ask yourself – why do you believe what he does is ‘real’? Do you *know* him? Aside from the fact that he tells you everything he does is genuine, how do you actually know? Do you just think ‘Oh, he’s a great guy – he’s honest and wouldn’t tell fibs?’ I have news for you.

            Like all good stage illusionists, Brown accomplishes his tricks in any way he can. It simply doesn’t matter how he does it, as long as his audience believes him. This is the principle on which stage illusionism works.

            Have you ever seen a magic trick and pestered the person who did to tell you how it worked? Do you remember that flat feeling when you found out – dang, is that all there is to it? ALL stage illusionism is like that. Derren Brown knows some pop psychology, and some hypnotism and uses both occasionally. Derren Brown’s biggest skill – like Chris Angel and many others – is in exploiting his audience’s trust of what he tells them. You think he’s ‘open about his techniques’? Ha. He’s open about what he wants you to know, and nothing more. I’m telling you again: it’s his JOB to fool you. That’s how he earns money. 

            Yes, I was talking about the arcade thing – which is certainly a fake. I watched it again to be sure. The main guy is an accomplice, with no shadow of a doubt. I am fascinated to know what the other thing you’re talking about is, though. Link?

          7. The other thing is a lot more straightforward, not so much a trick as a large-scale psychological experiment: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/derren-brown-the-specials/episode-guide/series-14/episode-1
            Derren Brown will admit himself that he uses ‘tricks’ (I probably defended him poorly in that regard), but as mentioned on Wikipedia:

            Brown claims to never use actors or “stooges” in his work without informing the viewers. In/Tricks of the Mind/, Brown writes that to use such a ploy is “artistically repugnant and simply unnecessary”; furthermore, he “would not want any participant to watch the TV show when it airs and see a different or radically re-edited version of what he understood to have happened”. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derren_Brown#Criticism

            And I have no reason to believe otherwise; as that’s a dangerous game to play for him and is likely to blow up in his face, especially as it’s much easier to just do something else instead – it’s not like he had to do it. Why do a trick that requires a stooge when you can just do one that doesn’t? I would only buy this argument if he were a complete fraud (as in no genuine ability whatsoever), and it’s not even impressive enough to be worth a gamble IMO, it’s just a bit on a single show.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more to the trick you’re referring to, but I’d be willing to put money on it not being an actor, as that would be empty and pointless, and likely career damaging for him (and as pointed out, against is principles and common sense anyway). What do I think? Not so sure, but my guess would be that he was already hypnotised before hitting the arcade machine, i.e. the flash was a trigger and not what actually brought him under – the amount of prep work Derren often does is impressive – his greatest skill is making an entire conditioning experience look effortless in its final execution.

          8. @NathanHornby:disqus Of course Derren Brown says he does not use accomplices. But again, why do you believe him? Because he says so? That is really not a good strategy. 
            What he does do is use a combination of things – he’s a good magician, and a reasonable hypnotist. He has good understanding of psychology (at least, the pyschology that he needs to) and is an expert at cold reading, misdirection and plain ol’ trickery. Including using accomplices. Remember – he has no vested interest in being truthful to you. You are his livelihood (and practically every stage illusionist who has ever lived has used accomplices, and to a man – or woman – they will deny it).But Derren Brown’s greatest skill is, as I said, getting you to believe what he says. You yourself have revised what you ‘thought’ of Derren Brown by reading his Wikipedia entry. Now I want you to reflect back on that. The impression you had of him – or the one you were conveying to me, anyway – has now changed in your mind. Now he has morphed from being “…not a stage magician, guy doesn’t believe in magic, he’s a psychologist…” to “someone who admits that he ‘does tricks'”. Why did you ‘think’ what you previously thought? Because Derren Brown in VERY good at making people think what he wants them to think. He’s an excllent illusionist. To say that using accomplices is ‘a dangerous game’ that might ‘blow up in his face’ is to misunderstand how stage illusionism works. In fact, since I last commented I read up on the Zombie Apocalypse thing (I’d love to see it and will if I get the chance) and there is no doubt at all in my mind that he’s using accomplices. I can’t really comment on it further until I see it, but the very fact that there is a HUGE online discussion asserting that the main subject is not a ‘genuine victim’ speaks volumes. (Note I did not say Mr Brown used an ‘actor’ This is the claim that Mr Brown keeps defending – ‘Steve is not an actor’. He probably isn’t. Well, not a professional one, anyway…)As far as the arcade stunt goes, the kinds of things that you seem to think can be accomplished by hypnosis are just pop culture myths. You can’t give people post-hypnotic triggers of that kind. It is simply a fiction. Hypnosis just doesn’t work like that (Credentials: I wrote a documentary on hypnosis – I’m really well researched on this subject).As for Mr Brown damaging his career – never gonna happen. It’s a calculated risk for him. The zombie thing has, in fact, ‘blown up in his face’, but do you see him looking worried? No way José. He’s not even fazed. As long as the audiences believe in him as strongly as you do, he’s home and hosed.Nathan, don’t believe everything that a stage illusionist tells you. At least some part of it will not be the truth, and if you can’t determine which part, then it’s best to doubt the lot.

          9. Well I did kind of state why I believe him, because it’s the more plausible option – same reason I believe most things.

            Using accomplices is very different to using stooges. And completely faking a schtick is pointless for someone that doesn’t need to – if he needed to fake this one trick, then surely it’d be easier for him to do something else. Unless you’re proposing that he has absolutely no skills whatsoever and his entire act is a fraud then I’m not sure what incentive you think he has to fake 1 trick – a relatively unremarkable trick at that, it’s just hypnosis.

            Of course you’ll find forums full of people doubting a magicians work – Derren, being a skeptic himself, probably completely understands, even if he does get a little frustrated by it (“If I didn’t get this reaction then I wouldn’t be making very good television…”). Again, same thing with Apocalypse, there’s no real reason for it to be fake – it’s a psychological experiment, there’s no ‘trick’ involved – I’d actually find it more remarkable if it were faked, due to the pointlessness of it.
            “At least some part of it will not be the truth, and if you can’t determine which part, then it’s best to doubt the lot.” You don’t really get magic do you? :)

    3. So you don’t take great pleasure in jumping out at your significant other after hiding in the bathroom for 10 minutes?

      Two things are ALWAYS funny.  Scaring the bejeesus out of someone when there’s no real danger, and falling over.

      1. That is so weird and interesting to me. You see, my whole life I have honestly never gotten the humor there. I’m not saying I’m better or more compassionate, rather actually I don’t know why I seem to have the reaction I do which is to get kind of upset/concerned and yet also really kind of irritated as if there’s a *problem* to fix now.

        I also tend not to give the right reaction when spooked. Instead of squealing and OMGing, because I’m basically hypervigilant anyway, I tend to have the feeling I’m having to reign in a beast I wouldn’t have to be reigning in if some one could keep from trying to get a stupid reaction from me. In this way I’m kind of glad I’m a frail person, because I can imagine if I got spooked and I wasn’t it could get ugly :(

      2. I do a very popular business in walking up behind people at work and looming over them until they turn and jump (I’m pretty tall).

        I also walk up to people’s computers while they’re away and just start fixing things, which can be very surprising for people who come to an otherwise empty room after regular work hours :D

        1. Really good example of work env. psychological double standards, in any other environment this would be much creepier

          1. No. It’s still creepy. The work env. double standards are that you have to put up with it because it’s a coworker.

          2. They put up with it because I’m popular, caused by being very good at my job and they like to play jokes on me as well. In the right social circle, people can tell all kinds of adult jokes and even if someone is the butt they laugh too (I’m regularly the butt as I’m a guy, many of the other staff are women).

            I’m assuming you two are talking about the looming and not the fixing things in empty rooms thing.

            Context is very important, everybody jokes here, the job is that stressful that jokes are very necessary.

          1. I’m not management (yet) :D

            I’ll be finishing my degree next year, hoping to get into Corporate Governance and Socialy Responsibilty :D

      3. My poor wife would probably have much to say on this count… we have a particularly loud garage door so I always know when she is coming home and can race into the kitchen and hide behind the counter with the slingshot monkey that I picked up from Amazon… and as soon as I hear the door open I let it fly! Even better, the monkey makes a screaming noise as it sails through the air which segues to her screams and eventually ebbs into my laughter. The circle of hilarity is complete.

          1. There is always that danger! I am more worried about her carrying something made of glass… but clearly, not THAT worried.

        1.  I helped my grandmother de-ice the freezer one day on my grandparent’s farm, and I ended up with quite a bit of loose ice, which I packed into snowballs and ambushed my grandfather with as he drove the ute home. He get really worried when they hit his windscreen, so I threw them so they’d land in the bed of the ute (or pickup truck), not realising he had a cargo of nice new wood in the back, uncovered :(

      4. Nathan, sorry, no I don’t ‘take great pleasure in jumping out at my significant other’ if the point is to terrify her in order to get a laugh. I don’t actually see the humour in that. What’s funny about scaring the shit out of someone? It seems like such a juvenile prank to me. It’s the kind of thing kids do when they’re about, oh, 12 or 13 before they develop any empathy skills.

        I can understand that some people like to be scared, but usually such folk volunteer to put themselves in that situation (a rollercoaster or a horror movie, say). Inflicting the experience on them when they’re not expecting it seems, as I said, to exhibit a form of psychopathology – or at the very least, a low degree of empathy – on the part of the person doing the scaring. 

          1. Oh come on. Changing subject much? Equating scaring someone senseless to tickling is a pretty big stretch. That’s why we’re not talking about a tv show in which people are surprise tickled.

          2. @NathanHornby:disqus : Silly? Really? So you are completely unable to empathise with the people being scared in this video? Wow. I guess that explains a lot.

          3. @boingboing-d5cfead94f5350c12c322b5b664544c1:disqus 

            Of course I can empathise with them. Should that make it less funny?

            Are you actually claiming that to find this amusing you need to lack empathy?

            Get over yourself.

          4. Depends. If by tickling you mean holding on to people while they say no stop over and over again, trying to get away from you, and then insist that they like it and if they don’t laugh are a spoil sport…

            then no.

            And actually. Now that I think of it I *don’t* tickle anyone. I don’t know anyone who seems to like it.

  4. I have seen some comments stating that this show is known for faking its pranks, using the same actors in multiple pranks etc. Very possible these people at least knew they were going to be on a TV show.

    1. That makes sense. It’s really hard to imagine this not turning really ugly, really fast, if it was straight up what it purports to be.

      Just hosing out the elevator between victims would be pretty nasty. It would take a paint-scraper to chip me off the ceiling.

      I wonder if it would be possible to replace the walls, ceiling, and floor with displays, to give them a “glass elevator shot into space” kind of illusion. Or dropped into hell.

  5. I would have had a heart attack and punched the girl. I’m not proud of the second part, but I know myself well enough to know what my panicked reaction would be.

    1. I’m curious to know if the punching instinct is a regional thing.  I have a punch reflex too — haunted houses are a no for me because there’s a risk to the employees.  I’m just wondering if the punch reflex is as common outside of North America.

      1. I imagine so, it’s not like Americans are unique or anything.  I’d say we tend to have a more confrontational culture than, for example, Europe.  (That’s just pure speculation on my part, however).

        It would be nice to see some research done on this, it has to be out there.

        1. Having millions of dead at our doorstep – most by our own hands – cured us Europeans from our confrontational culture pretty good. An experience the USians haven’t made for more than a century and it shows.

          1. That’s why most of the countries in Europe have deported their violence to Afghanistan and Iraq over the last two decades, eh?

          2. I think you know full well whose idea and initiative it was that started both the Iraq war and Afghanistan. I think your comment just furthers my argument.

          3. You know that people can see your comment history? That you only ever make comments about how horrible the US is? Maybe if you grow up and take responsibility for the things that your own country does, you won’t have to worry about the bogey man that you’ve turned the US into. I guess that it’s just easier to blame someone else.

          4. Hey, it worked for Europe when they had problems with a thousand princes starting endless wars, they just shipped them all East and told them to reclaim Jerusalem!

          5. The Children’s Crusade was also an excellent population control solution. At least for the people who didn’t go on it.

          6. It’s not. We may be culturally diverse but share certain core values that differ from the USA. Higher emphasis on the sanctity of human life is one example (= no death penalty, health care, no torture, stricter guns laws etc.) Privacy rights for the individual citizen is another.

  6. Dangerous and irresponsible, but the show must go on, right? It’s one thing to do fairly good-natured gotchas along the lines of “Candid Camera”, but this trend of terrorizing the innocent has some deep psychology going on and I don’t pretend to have any clue as to why we crave victim-tainment… Some of the stuff on Japanese television is particularly bad, like “they will certainly sue the producers” bad.

    Of course, on YouTube and elsewhere you can amuse yourself with what amounts to “snuff” films (car wrecks, Darwin-award laugh fests, etc), so maybe as a culture we are already nearing some kind of terminal depravement flame-out crash.

    I’m sure somebody here will come along and accuse me of being a concern troll who just needs to lighten up. I’m working on it, thanks very much.

    1. The thing abut evil pranks is that they work better when the victim has already been identified as a creep. Scaring the shit out of your asshole Uncle Bubba is funny because he deserves it. Random elevator riders, not so much. Scare Tactics had a good gig going with their Fear Antics section where they would scare somebody who thought that they were terrorizing someone else.

  7. Anybody remember the “Pranks” series of books by REsearch Publications? They had a very specific definition of a “good” prank.  A “good” prank would function in much the same way as an editorial cartoon does: Using humor to deflate the self-importance of authorities or highlighting an inequity via irony.

    This prank functions more like the way those books defined “practical jokes”. Basically, everything that the TV show “Scare Tactics” does.

    All of this ran through my mind while I laughed at the poor scared people.

    1.  I was thinking the same thing.  An elevator gives a specific sensation. I don’t think the blinking floor numbers alone really sells it. 

      1. This was discussed on a Reddit thread yesterday. Three possibilities: 1) the elevator car is mechanically raised a few inches after the doors close to create the illusion of movement, 2) the car doesn’t move at all, and you can see some of the passengers noticing it right before the lights go out, and 3) it’s a real elevator with fake walls on three sides specially engineered and constructed by Bass Elevadores at millions of dollars’ expense in exchange for the product placement.

  8. It might be interesting to go meta on this and punk the audience: have an actor go postal on the little girl (without actually hurting her of course) and see how the studio audience reacts.

    1. Also done by Derren Brown where an audience was led to believe they were in control of a bloke’s actions (he was in on it) and ’caused’ him to get run over by a car. Apparently.

      1.  And he’s such a good sport about it too, perhaps he was in on the whole thing to some degree but it certainly made for good TV and now he’s a little more well known :D

  9. Fortunately, I’ve watched enough seasons of SUPERNATURAL to  know how to deal with sudden ghosts — that salt-filled shotgun I carry with me.

    Oh, er, sorry, little girl…

  10. I tend to find this sort of thing amusing, & I think it says something negative about our culture if we no longer can appreciate a good scare without hand wringing and general sourpuss attitudes framed as marginal safety concerns.

    Also, the little girl did not move to attack.  She was initially completely still.  People are virtually always going to either flip out and cower or observe.  Unless she lunges at them, only psychotic types are going to attack her, regardless of what people like to think they might do from behind keyboards.

    Truth is, most people have no idea *how* they’d react when confronted with something supernatural, because they’ve never been more than momentarily spooked by something like a mysterious creaking sound or a door that swings closed on its own.  To most, the supernatural is kind of like extraterrestrials: something they may or may not accept the existence of, but which they are pretty sure is not ever going to be a part of their lives.

    1. Yeah, I don’t know how I’d react.  It would all depend on the presentation.  Without scary music to build tension, I suspect I’d just be mildly startled to see a disheveled girl standing there.  I’d jump, but I doubt I’d react in anything close to terror, even when she screamed.  I’ve never found “creepy” children to be remotely creepy, in and of themselves.

      And since I’ve run haunts for a lot of years, I’d immediately be trying to figure out how they pulled it off.

    2. Humans expect consistency. Get in the elevator, elevator runs smoothly. No one in the elevator when you get in, no one until the doors open again.

      This works to terrify because it robs people of consistency. Flickering lights, lights go out, inexplicable-to-the-frightened-brain inconsistent-with-perceived-reality sudden appearance of a small human with a terrifying demeanour.

      By definition, psychotic episodic phenomena are indistinguishable from reality, to the victim. Prior experience of psychosis won’t determine their reaction; prior experience of being frightened by sudden paradigm shifts, will.

  11. Is there really anyone who does find this even remotely funny?  This is making jokes on the back of people who did not volunteer for this at its very worst.  I am ashamed that anyone would try this, or sit in the audience and laugh.  What the fuck is the matter with you?
    Cory, I entirely love your work, enjoy all your posts tremndously. But this is out of line, I hate this kind of stuff.

    1. It’s a guilty pleasure. On a logical level I despise this, but then I can’t turn away from the video and have to restrain a smile when the two beefy ladies cower in the corner from the screaming little girl.

    2. I do I do!  Be ashamed of me!  I don’t know what’s the matter with me, but since you asked, it might be a sense of humor.

    3. I completely agree with you, and for the record I -do- have quite a lively sense of humor. But this sort of stuff I find repulsive and, on another level, profoundly puzzling. Why do people find this sort of thing at all amusing? Even if the people in the elevators were actors, or were in the office to be on that variety show and so expected something like this — not funny. Why should it be? And that laugh track? I found it intensely irritating. Why was it even there? The whole thing, just — why?

  12. No two people scare the same.  As was said before, I would see the kid as a threat and give a straight kick to the head.
    Then feel bad after, but safe.

    1. “I would see the kid as a threat”

      I honestly don’t get how someone could see a KID as a threat, even if it was a poorly-costumed “ghost”.

      1. I honestly don’t get how someone could see a KID as a threat

        I don’t know. She looks like a major vector for upper respiratory infections.

    2. Well, now, that makes me wonder: how hard should we try (if at all) to suppress this kind of violent fight-or-flight reaction?  I mean, violent hair-trigger reactions might be a pro-survival trait in a war zone or an exceptionally violent neighborhood or out in the wilderness where your startlement is relatively unlikely to result in the unfortunate decapitation of a mischievous kid, but when riding in elevators or otherwise boogeying along in civilized company, even if the lights go out and unfamiliar children pop out of the woodwork, should we not endeavor to stay our hands from violence?  Have we not established by now that outside of Japanese horror movies, the creepy ghost child that materializes out of the ether somewhere above the mezzanine will always turn out to be a hired kid in a Candid Camera gag designed to make you look like a schmuck?

      Well, as you say, nobody scares the same.  Now I wanna see the outtakes, where Target #6 just looks blandly at the girl and says, “You gotta be f***in’ kidding me.”

      1. I just think it’s pretty silly for people to assume they are going to punch A CHILD.  Really?  Because first, you know what you’d do in such a situation?  Really?  No, you really, really don’t.

        Secondly, I’m actually pretty confident most people wouldn’t punch or kick a child.

  13. I’ve lived in high-rises for several years now. Every so often the elevator will stop at a floor, and the door would open, and nobody would come in, and it would close and carry on with the elevating. I adopted the adorably quirky habit of cheerily saying ‘hello, ghost.’ every time this happened. 

    I’d probably do the same to little ghost girl.

    1. More importantly. when did flickering lights start appearing as horizontal black bands in reality?

  14. They would only show the footage of people who were frightened by the girl – most of the victims were probably like “Bitch, please.” or laughed.

  15. It seems like a good concept for a prank. But the music, the laugh track, and the repetition spoil the effect. Also, it seemed like most of the people were just startled by someone suddenly screaming at them, not so much by the darkness, and several of them didn’t seem surprised that there was suddenly a child in the elevator.

  16. Vicious is relative. I saw a Candid Camera show in Japan where a woman was stranded on the beach, her husband was on a boat coming to pick her up. Then pirates sped in on another boat and she watched them convincingly machine gun everyone on board. She then spent several minutes screaming in terror, falling to her knees in the sand, crying and drooling, throwing herself on the ground wailing. Eventually a guy popped out from the jungle with a sign saying Candid Camera. She chased him with a stick, but was too weak and stumbley after watching the murders.

    Derren Brown is as fake as Penn & Teller.

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