Creep me out! Lately I've been on an "unsettling stuff" kick -- I like feeling unsettled and I find it creatively inspiring -- but I'm running low on things to explore.
It's hard to articulate precisely what I'm looking for, but it tends to be stuff that almost certainly isn't true but for the few minutes you think about it, it's really unnerving. The underlying theme in what unnerves me seems to be that reality appears to be one way, but in fact it's this other, more sinister way. Examples of stuff is conspiracy theories -- New World Order theories, CIA experiments in mind control and paranormal stuff --, weird religious or spiritual ideas about "evil" supernatural phenomena, some theories of time and space (which I am not so quick to put in the "almost certainly not true" category), etc. Oh, and then lately Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" video and all those articles about the occult symbolism -- she has a lot of unsettling pictures where she doesn't seem human. Weird mysteries fit the bill, too, like the Taman Shud case
. Other pseudo-scientific ideas, like the Parasite Eve idea that because mitochondria have different DNA they might actually "take over" a person completely, work too.
Also, this is even more subjective, but the more plausibly expressed the idea is without actually being realistic, the better; it has to lead me on a bit or else I never feel unnerved. So, for example, your standard Bilderberg Group conspiracy theory has some element of feasibility that David Icke's "oh btw they're all blood-drinking reptile ppl from another dimension lol" doesn't; the former is unsettling until you give it a few moments thought, the latter is just too
ridiculous out of the gate. Anything that starts from some kind of evidence, even if misrepresented or misunderstood, seems to work, which is probably why pseudoscience is good for this sort of thing. Also, I've noticed that stuff that uses apparently made-up evidence works too, provided that the made-up evidence is of the kind that sounds possible and you'd have to actually look it up to know better; conspiracy theories tend to do this a lot, like they say that so-and-so noteworthy person said XYZ, or they make up noteworthy people altogether.
In other words, the sort of stuff that if you take what's presented on good faith instead of scepticism, the unsettling conclusions seem plausible.
I'm looking mostly for shorter things, like ideas, short stories, and maybe short films. I'm not entirely opposed to books and movies, but my inability to "believe" anything creepy for more than a few minutes greatly dilutes my enjoyment of longer things. Long stuff takes an investment of seriousness I just can't muster for anything like that. When it comes down to it, I don't believe in anything supernatural and I don't think any grand scale conspiracies are likely. "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro, for example, didn't unsettle me as much as it would have done in a shorter format, although it was fairly unsettling. I'd be willing to try more things like that, even though it's less likely to be effective.
To be clear, fiction or nonfiction or fiction-masquerading-as-non-fiction are all cool.
Stuff I am *not* looking for:
- Certified real scenarios, at least for the most part, because those tend to be genuinely upsetting or just piss me off, and that's not the feeling I'm looking for with this question. However, if the certified real scenario *sounds* like something that's so bizarre as to be made up, it might qualify; so something like "however many people die because of Corporation X's negligence and that's unsettling" isn't what I'm looking for, but some real CIA experiments seem to fit anyway, like the mind control experiments are just weird to imagine. Things that allegedly happened but are under dispute work pretty well, too.
- Edging into "scary story" kind of stuff, gore doesn't unsettle me. When it comes to horror genre things, I need weird paranormal stuff going on to feel freaked out, not blood. I don't care if blood/violence is present as long as there's weird stuff going on, but it needs to be more inspired than something like the Jason movies. The Ring
is the best example I can come up with of something that was violent but that wasn't the main scary part; the scariness mostly came from how alien the girl was and how little was explained.
To put it another way, what's something you read/watched/heard about that gave you an eerie, upsetting feeling, even though you knew better
? I realize none of my criteria are precise and I'll probably get a lot of answers that don't effect me much, but give it your best shot.