Candle Cove is a creepypasta online horror story written by web cartoonist and author Kris Straub in 2009. The story centers on a fictional television series titled Candle Cove, that could only be viewed by a small group of people, predominantly children, who later recall the disturbing show on a web forum.
Straub has stated that he was inspired to write the creepypasta after reading "Area 36-Year-Old Still Has Occasional Lidsville Nightmare", an article published via the satirical news outlet The Onion. Straub's story quickly became popular, inspiring numerous YouTube videos, and fan fictions. In 2015 Straub self-published Candle Cove in a collection of short stories entitled Candle Cove and Other Stories. The Verge commented that Candle Cove differed from other creepypastas in that while most creepypasta have an "anonymous folkloric quality", Candle Cove's originated from a known source and author.
The story was adapted for the first season of the Syfy anthology series Channel Zero, which aired in 2016. Additionally, Straub began the spin-off YouTube series Local 58 centered around strange broadcasts from the fictitious public access television channel where Candle Cove originally aired.
The story is told via a thread on a forum called the "NetNostalgia Forums", where a group of users discuss an unusual low-budget children's television show, Candle Cove, that they all remember watching on Channel 58 when they were children. The show is about a young girl named Janice, who imagines herself to be friends with pirates. The pirate characters are said to be portrayed by string marionettes.
As the users continue to reminisce they begin to recall more disturbing details about the show, such as a character known as the "Skin-Taker", a skeleton pirate who wears clothing made out of children's skin, and an episode that consisted entirely of the puppets flailing and screaming while Janice cries. It develops that there are no external records of the show's existence, and that even those who say they remember seeing it have different memories of certain episodes. The story closes with a user stating that he recently asked his mother if she remembered the show. She responded that every time "Candle Cove" came on, there was only static on the screen.
In 2015 the SyFy Channel announced their intent to adapt the Candle Cove story as the first season of a newly-announced series, Channel Zero. The season, named after the creepypasta, expands on the story and centers on a child psychologist who has returned home in order to investigate the 1980s disappearances of his brother and other children. Channel Zero: Candle Cove stars Paul Schneider and Fiona Shaw, and premiered on October 11, 2016.
Will Wiles of Aeon wrote that Candle Cove was "among the best creepypastas out there" and a good example of using the messageboard and forum format as a storytelling tactic. The Verge has written praise for the creepypasta, stating that it was "a perfectly dark spin on our nostalgia for the half-remembered stories of our childhood, that realization that the things we liked as kids were much, much creepier than we thought."
- Jenzen, Olu (1998-03-23). The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures. Routledge. ISBN 9781317042181.
- Peters, Lucia. "Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren't: Candle Cove". Crushable. Archived from the original on 2017-01-02. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- Burkart, Gregory (2016-08-25). "CREEPYPASTA: Revisiting CANDLE COVE — The Scariest Children's Show of All Time?". Blumhouse.com. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
- Grundhauser, Eric (2016-10-07). "Do You Remember Candle Cove?". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
- Robertson, Adi (2015-07-01). "SyFy is making a TV series based on one of the internet's best scary stories". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "r/local58 - Comment by u/krisstraub on "Did they ever air Candle Cove on Local 58?"". reddit. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
- Hipes, Patrick. "'Channel Zero' Anthology Series Gets Greenlight From Syfy For 2-Season Run". Deadline.com. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
- Goldberg, Leslie (June 30, 2015). "Syfy Prepping Anthology Based on Web Horror Phenomenon 'Creepypasta'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- Abrams, Natalie (August 3, 2016). "Syfy sets premiere dates for 'Incorporated,' 'Van Helsing,' more". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- Logan, Alex (15 September 2016). "How SyFy Farmed 'Creepypasta' for New Horror Series 'Channel Zero'". Yahoo! TV. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
- Wiles, Will. "'Creepypasta' is how the internet learns our fears". Aeon. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- Newitz, Annalee. "Has Creepypasta Reinvented Classic Folklore?". io9. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- Candle Cove at the author's website, Ichor Falls