Interview With a Spectre - The Wattpad Paranormal Club Haunting
On 15th December 2011, at approximately 9:00am GMT, a thread was opened in the Wattpad Paranormal Club forum which has since become legendary, spoken about in hushed whispers within the other Wattpad clubs and chatrooms.
The full transcript is available to read on Wattpad right here http://www.wattpad.com/2872394-the-paranormal-club-haunting
What follows is an interview with David Sharrock, creator of the entire event and the real flesh and blood behind My_Sumeria.
Yes, that's right - My_Sumeria is not a spirit but the creation of a twisted brain whose real Wattpad alias, gr8oldgrumpy1, has been perpetuating the myth with the help of a remarkably imaginative team of co-conspirators.
How was it done? Let's ask the man himself...
DD: Two vital questions, the first I guess has to be why on Earth did you do it?!
David: Why? Well, I saw this as a literary experiment with two main goals. I wanted, first and foremost, to evoke *real* emotion from readers. I'm aware that the majority of Wattpadders are teenagers and I've observed a kind of strange cynicism in that demographic since I first arrived on and started uploading my work to Wattpad. I feel that this generation are desensitized to horror in a way that my own generation was not. Movies like Saw or Hostel, depicting the most graphic and horrific violence, gore and death, are viewed with a kind of gratuitous detachment. Things like that don't seem to invoke an appropriate emotional response and I figured, if I'm attempting to reach an audience like that with my usual brand of horror - which tends to be more psychological than bloodthirsty - what hope do I have of achieving success?
So I decided to create something entirely psychological. No meat hooks. No severed limbs. No gouged eyes or contraptions tearing peoples' heads off. Just pure, creepy, WTF psychological terror induced using what magicians might refer to as 'smoke and mirrors'. In many ways, as a writer, I consider myself to be a magician, or at least an illusionist. My aim is to trick the reader into suspending their disbelief and to do that these days, particularly with supernatural horror and a young audience a writer really has to think outside the box.
My second goal was to encourage people to think objectively and rationally. Many reading this expose right now might feel a little silly that they believed in the spirit and were genuinely frightened. But that's ok. There are many aspects of culture, tradition and belief that we simply take at face value, without really thinking through all the possible alternatives, or seeking out the truth. Too many people, IMO, accept too much without investigating for themselves whether or not what they are told is true. whether it's what religion tells us, or what the mainstream television news presents as 'important' and 'newsworthy', or what politicians insist is statistically true, as modern, thinking homo sapiens it's our responsibility to try to see reality in an objective fashion without falling back on the superstitions and easy scapegoats our ancestors used as a matter of course. Even our most recent ancestors did not have access to the wealth of virtually infinite information provided by the internet, and modern science gives us answers to some of the most fundamentally mysterious questions mankind has ever faced. Moreover, the scientific method is an incredibly reliable way to find answers ourselves. Scientific method, skeptical reasoning and the application of Occam's Razor (I urge readers to look it up on Wikipedia) should be the first port of call, not the last. I hope after falling for this hoax and realising how simple it was to perpetuate the hoax people will be more interested in skepticism than superstition.
DD: The adage goes, you cannot fool all of the people all of the time, but you certainly managed to fool some of the people for some of the time? So let us in on the 'smoke and mirrors' trickery. How did you do it?