The Elf on the Shelf is a surveillance-normalizing little creep

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Important reminder, happy mutants! The Elf on the Shelf, the cherubic, round-eyed toy with a faux-traditional backstory, is yet another manifestation of the surveillance state. It watches you 24/7, then reports your behavior to an old white man with unaccountable authority who judges you and manipulates you with largesse or neglect.

Laura Pinto, a technology professor:

The gaze of the elf on the child’s real world (as opposed to play world) resonates with the purpose of the panopticon, based on Jeremy Bentham’s 18th century design for a model prison… What is troubling is what The Elf on the Shelf represents and normalizes: anecdotal evidence reveals that children perform an identity that is not only for caretakers, but for an external authority (The Elf on the Shelf), similar to the dynamic between citizen and authority in the context of the surveillance state. Further to this, The Elf on the Shelf website offers teacher resources, integrating into both home and school not only the brand but also tacit acceptance of being monitored and always being on one’s best behaviour--without question.

By inviting The Elf on the Shelf simultaneously into their play-world and real lives, children are taught to accept or even seek out external observation of their actions outside of their caregivers and familial structures. Broadly speaking, The Elf on the Shelf serves functions that are aligned to the official functions of the panopticon. In doing so, it contributes to the shaping of children as governable subjects.

The Washington Post asked her if she's serious. Read the rest

Unsettling notice warns passers-by of forthcoming immortalization

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Via Imgur; redditor bloominhell reports that it's the work of Glasgow artist David Shrigley. Previously. Read the rest

Creepy and demonic paper cutout GIFs of Bran Muir

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Bran Muir's wonderful, chilling animated GIF work is highlighted in a post over at VICE's The Creators Project.

Muir's process starts like that of any collage artist as he cuts up old NatGeo and LIFE magazines to build a mutated army of characters. "The similarities with purist collage makers probably end when I port everything over to Photoshop, where the possibilities are endless," he tells The Creators Project. He works fast, spending between one and four hours animating the pieces into each GIF.

Follow the artist: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

[HT: christiannightmares.tumblr.com]

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Freaky! Street sign casts shadow of hanging man

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These photos were taken at a crossing in South Devon. The junction is locally known as "Dead Man's Cross" and is reportedly the former site of a gallows. Creeeeeeeepy!

A fellow named George Johnston noticed the curious shadow and posted his photo of it on social media where it garnered plenty of attention.

"Some people thought it was fake but a couple of others have gone down there themselves to check and posted similar pictures," Johnston told the Plymouth Herald. "Why would I spend my time Photoshopping a shadow? I have a life."

(via ShakeIt Records) Read the rest

Creepy cloaked figure photographed dropping meat near playground

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Police are investigating strange photos turning up online of a cloaked individual reportedly placing raw meat near a playground in Gastonia, North Carolina. Read the rest

Excellent creepy hand illusion

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"Drawn on my hand with markers and pen," writes Natalie Nakles. Read the rest

WATCH: Waterphones, source of creepy film music effects

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Ever wonder how they make unsettling dissonant sounds in sci-fi and horror films? Some are made by waterphones or synths emulating them. Portland-based Robb Bockman demonstrates an analog waterphone, gawdyphone, and dopephone in this video. Read the rest

Creepy 1975 commercial sexualizes babies

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"There's one person nobody can resist and that's a baby." Read the rest

Weird clown startles couple at cemetery in the night

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Driving past a Chicago cemetery at night, Julia Graham and her husband were "freaked out" when they noticed a clown who climbed the 7-foot gate and "waved slowly" at them as they took photos.

"I mean, this was somebody putting forth a lot of effort — and being really weird,” Graham told CBS Chicago.

TV news report below:

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Dream Recollection Inducer

“Dream Recollection Inducer (GIF Format)—To gaze at shortly after waking.” By ZBAGS. Read the rest

Truly bizarre and creepy kids’ masks of the Biblical plagues

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“Boils! Cow Plague! Frogs!”

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The disturbing world of bootleg Disney's Frozen games

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Maybe you've heard of Elsa Frozen Brain Surgery -- you know, the game where you open the popular Disney princess' skull and extract fashion items from her glittering brain morass for her to wear later.

"Once you’re sure she needs a brain surgery, start shaving her gorgeous blonde hair and prepare her for the long surgery hours," the game instructs. "Then feel free to dig into her brain and make sure you use the right doctor tools to cut out her little obsessions, to repair whatever you find broken and to reactivate the dead synapses snowflakes." Dark.

Of course, Elsa Frozen Brain Surgery is just one of the weird little games hoping for a sliver of the explosive princess brand recognition. Today I also found Baby Elsa Spinal Surgery, where the starring princess becomes a child with inexplicable but deeply-unsettling back wounds, as well as Olaf at the Dentist ("The pain and the shame are unbearable, so he is asking you to play the dentist role for him.")

My friend Peter Yeh has offered us an eye-opening look at some other items out there: Apparently, poorly-cloned Disney princesses need everything from slimy makeovers to new bathroom wallpaper, in addition to appearing in barely-functional knockoff Super Mario-alikes and hundreds and hundreds of paper doll dress-ups.

Apply nitrous to Princess Anna's face in her birthing simulator. Then, of course, there is Spank Elsa Butt (maybe don't watch that at work).

Peter's piece will set you on the right track toward the very weirdest bootleg Disney games. Read the rest

Mystery of creepy painting solved

Mrs and Mrs Webb, a couple in England, were mailed this curiously sinister portrait. No return address, cover letter or other information accompanied the plain but very strange painting, whose subject was described by Mrs Webb as "a horrible old crone." Turns out that it's probably a rendering of Mr. Webb's great, great grandmother. [BBC]

P.S. Speaking of plain but menacing paintings, it appears that we've never covered The Hands Resist Him here at Boing Boing! Read the rest

It's not a horror movie; it's physics

This creepy-looking image of U.S. swimmer Tyler Clary has its origin in the movement of water molecules. The Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics tumblr explains what's going on — and how physics can make a swimmer look like a shiny, face-melted ghoul. Read the rest

Creepers gotta creep — for science

In 1938, researchers at Bryn Mawr College published a paper on Egocentricity in Adult Conversations. In order to accurately record the pattern and content of conversations as they happened in real life, the researchers used several methods that would be considered ... sketchy ... today. Among them: Hiding underneath female college students' dorm beds. Read the rest

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An oddly mesmerizing and creeptastic stock video, and the resultant animated GIFs.

Your drugs are tested on Russians

It's so difficult to get access to modern health care in Russia that the country is becoming a haven for medical testing — there are more people there willing to be guinea pigs for more stuff simply because they have no other way to see a doctor. This is one of those fun dilemmas where medical testing is necessary, but hard to talk wealthy, healthy people into if they already have access to health care. The result: Drugs and treatments get tried out, voluntarily, on whoever is most desperate. Read the rest

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