Is this Creepypasta story about Google Maps the future of horror fiction?
Not to get too existential right off the bat, but Google Maps has been uncovering a new dimension of reality since it came online. You can see your house with it. With Street View, you can rehearse a route somewhere with it, so that when you’re actually driving you’re doing it for both the first and second time. The mapped-ness of the earth makes blurred places, or black spots, or stretches inaccessible by Street View seem somehow less than real.
If the fact that life has become a Borgesian mindfuck isn’t scary enough for you, hopefully there will soon be a new niche of horror growing to satisfy your needs. The art journal Rhizome has recently featured a post about the use of Google Street View as a medium and subject for the thriller. The article introduces the Creepypasta (authorless and widely cut and pasted) story “Satellite Images,” in which a homebound narrator who experiences the world through browsing Google Maps finds him or herself being stalked through that virtual world by a woman wearing red shoes. What’s important about the story isn’t that it’s a work of literature, but that it is manipulating the natural weirdness of this technology to fit the tropes of horror fiction.
Google Maps is fertile ground for storytelling, especially of the terrifying variety. The Street View cars have captured dozens of chilling images, and the aerial cameras have accidentally taken pictures of dead bodies. Last year, a scare broke out over what appeared to be a grisly murder scene in a Google Maps image of a dock in the Netherlands. What looked like trails of blood leading to two human forms actually turned out to just be a guy taking his dog for a swim. But what if it were real? That’s a bestseller right there! Stephen King wannabes, pick a latitude and longitude and get typing.