Previously: “Do You See It Too.”
For reasons I can’t really explain, I’m particularly fond of stories that describe what happens in “lost” pieces of media — stories that give us a written record of (fictional) videos, television shows, movies, video games, even music albums that (reportedly) no longer exist in their original form. As such, it’s perhaps unsurprising that I enjoyed Creepypasta Wikia user and admin ClericofMadness’ story “The Final Livestream of phanfan47.” It’s an excellent example of this kind of frame in action, and really highlights how effective it can be.
Written as an entry for a story contest themed around liminal space and uploaded to the Creepypast Wikia in September of 2022, “The Final Livestream of phanfan47” recounts and analyzes the contents of and context surrounding the final livestream of a (fictional) urbex YouTuber. And although it didn’t do terribly well in the competition, I still think it’s worth a read.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
As a storytelling device, the whole “written record of a piece of lost media originally presented in a non-written form” frame can be quite clever when well-executed. First, from a practical standpoint, it lets us tell stories about fictional pieces of media that never actually existed without needing to mock up a facsimile of the media itself — and as a result, it builds the kind of believability into the world of the story that’s what many (including myself) find to be so appealing about creepypasta as a genre.
And second, the frame complicates the narrative of the story in some interesting ways: Since we can’t view the original piece of media itself, we have to rely solely on what the story and/or its narrator is telling us about the piece of media — and there’s no guarantee that any of these sources are actually reliable or not.
These qualities are one of the biggest reasons I like the Navidson Record portion of House Of Leaves so much, why I found Grady Hendrix’s We Sold Our Souls to besuch a fun read, and why A Head Full Of Ghosts is my favorite Paul Tremblay book.
They’re also one of the reasons I think “The Final Livestream of phanfan47” is worth your time. There’s a fun little puzzle in here, and since the story itself is also quite manageable in terms of its length, it’s a delightful diversion for when you’ve got just a couple of minutes to kill.
Check out an excerpt below, and read the full story over at the Creepypasta Wikia.
On October 31, 2017, YouTube user “phanfan47” held his final livestream. PF, as he preferred to be called, streamed urban exploration content on his now-deleted channel. Although not much was known about him, discussions surrounding him and the final stream have largely been scrubbed from the internet along with any reuploads of the video. Only a scant few recollections remain, along with a single still image from the last seconds of not only his video and presumably his life.
PF never found great success or wide appeal online. This was most likely because his style of filming was often a vertical first-person perspective from a camera phone held shakily either in hand or on the end of a selfie stick as he traversed through derelict asylums or rotting amusement parks. Nevertheless, he had a core audience of around twenty to thirty viewers.
For his last livestream, PF started the video off by stating he was going to be returning to the now-abandoned apartment complex he claimed to have lived in as a child. The video began at sundown in a sun-baked and cracked parking lot. PF took special note of all the vegetation in the lot, as his childhood recollection of the place was an empty place almost devoid of greenery. He stated that he found this fact comfortingly ironic.
In that parking lot, viewers got one of the only clues to the potential location of PF.
Follow The Ghost In My Machine on Twitter @GhostMachine13 and on Facebook @TheGhostInMyMachine. And for more games, don’t forget to check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available now from Chronicle Books!
[Photo via 2427999/Pixabay]
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