How Dear David and the Greg thread show the power of Twitter terror
Memeing of Life: The narrative forms of social media can be wielded in startling new ways
Greg’s thread is a captivatingly creepsome chronicle of the strange goings on in his grandfather’s house
When not promulgating the mania of world leaders, whose every errant whim might nudge us headfirst into the kind of war that leaves us all bald with spongey bones, Twitter also distributes some slightly less harmful scary fare. That is to say, the spooky ghost story told in a compelling thread of interlinked tweets.
Twitter’s horror-web arguably met its zenith with the infamous Dear David, a series which was a huge hit for the last two years. There, the David of the title was the ghost of a dead child who appeared to have invaded the home of Adam Ellis (@mobydickhead), straight out of a recurring nightmare he had been describing in previous weeks. The resulting tale, told over months and months of messages, images, videos and audio files catalogued his interactions with the spectral intruder who had unspecific but malevolent intent on him and his home; appearing one moment, vanishing the next.
Perhaps taking its cue from that story, came “the Greg thread”, a slow-to-develop, but fast-to-spread narrative from user @gr3gory88.
Dear Greg tweet
Something weird is happening in the woods outside my house and I don't know what to do.— greg (@gr3gory88) October 30, 2018
I took a video of it too. It freaked me out, but I was mesmerized by it at the same time. I couldn't stop staring at it. I felt like I was in a daze. pic.twitter.com/KfQ3qUDlgF— greg (@gr3gory88) November 30, 2018
First emerging around Halloween last year, the story began simply enough. “Something weird is happening in the woods outside my house” wrote “Greg” on October 30th. “I guess I should start at the beginning. This isn’t really my house, it was my grandpa’s, but I guess it’s mine now. He died a couple months ago and because of some tricky paperwork I’m apparently responsible for it”.
In a nifty bit of foreshadowing, Greg had indeed written about his grandpa dying, back in August, in one of the few personal posts on an inoffensive, sparsel-populated timeline comprising breakfast photos and a few lame gags.
What followed was a captivatingly creepsome chronicle of the strange goings on in his grandfather’s house, replete with photos and videos of eyeless strangers in black robes, odd woodland eggs, discarded animal guts and more Blair Witch-style artefacts than you could shake a bundled stick at.
Like Dear David before it, Greg’s thread shows that the narrative forms of social media can be wielded in startling new ways if the user gets the unique possibilities of the medium. The last sequence of posts came just last week, shedding new light on the ongoing story, and giving more answers than have been forthcoming throughout the entire series. If this all sounds like something you’d enjoy, I recommend you sample it while it lasts.
After all Dear David’s success, Ellis’ tweets were optioned for a movie deal, and the most famous ghost story on the web has now been scrubbed from his timeline forever. If you want to kick off 2019 with a dose of Twitter terror, catch Greg now, before he becomes just another phantom of the horror web.