Literature / Ted's Caving Page
Ted's Caving Page
(also known as Ted the Caver
in some parts of the internet) is a Web Serial Novel
detailing the attempts of spelunker Ted and his two friends to explore a strange, undiscovered portion of a local cave. Ambiguous
horror ensues. First published on the Angelfire webhosting service in 2001, this story was an early example of using the Internet to tell a horror story Blair Witch
-style, and remains pretty effective to this day. It can be found here
An indie film based on the original story named Living Dark
was announced in 2015 but has since been stuck in Development Hell
This story contains examples of:
- Being Watched: Frequently whenever someone climbs through the hole into the unexplored part of the cave. Whatever is in there is implied to keep a vigilant eye on the group...
- The Big Guy: B is too large to crawl through Floyd's Tomb. Ted also mentions that B has a lot of upper-body strength.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Ted's final journey mentions that himself, B, and Joe are returning to the cave so they can confront whatever it is lives there. Because there are no further journal entries, it's implied that none of them ever returned.
- Catch Phrase: "I was pumped!". He also seems fond of calling things "bizarre".
- Chekhov's Gun: The glow sticks. Toward the beginning, Ted even mentions that it would be possible but very difficult to find one's way out of a cave using them and no other light sources.
- Claustrophobia: There are very, very detailed descriptions of crawling through very tiny holes full of sharp rocks.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Hinted at.
- Crazy-Prepared: Of course, Ted and his buddies are spelunkers; this comes with the territory.
- Daylight Horror: Technically. Most of Ted's expeditions into the cave take place at daytime, although the darkness of the cave doesn't help things one bit. Subverted when Ted and B are being chased out of the cave by the creature, which takes place at night because the two lost track of time in the cave.
- Driven to Madness: Those who encounter whatever resides in the cave and manage to escape alive inevitably become deeply disturbed by the experience. They withdraw themselves from friends and family, begin suffering from horrific and vivid nightmares, and start to hallucinate.
- Dug Too Deep: Implied to be the case with the miners originally, then becomes the case when Ted and B break through the wall that has... Whatever the creature in there is.
- Eldritch Abomination: Whatever is in the cave.
- Eldritch Location: The cave. In one of the final entries, Ted remarks that it feels as though the cave itself does not want them in there. There's also the fact that the pictures of the creature's lair won't develop...
- Evil-Detecting Dog: B's Jack Russel terrier, Whip. To quote Ted, "I have seen her square off with dogs twice her size, but now she acted as if Satan himself was lurking in the darkness."
- Evil Smells Bad: When Ted is fleeing from the creature in the cave during the story's climax, he describes smelling a horrible, putrid, rotting, death-like odor.
- Fictional Counterpart: The "Mystery Cave" is based on Interstate Cave in Utah.
- Genius Loci: Maybe. It's not entirely sure if things in the cave are moving on their own or if it's the result of the creature in the cave.
- Hand in the Hole: How the whole thing starts.
- Handicapped Badass: B was once injured in a caving accident and was told by doctors that he would never walk again. Not only did he regain the ability to walk, but he was able to return to caving and suffers from only minor difficulty getting around.
- Hell Is That Noise: An in-universe example. Says Ted of the mysterious scream, "I would say it sounded like a cross between a man screaming in fear, and a cougar screaming in pain".
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Invoked, as Ted names the passage that they discovered "Floyd's Tomb". As if that weren't ominous enough, it's named after caver Floyd Collins, who died after getting himself caved in.
- It Can Think: The thing that freaks the protagonist out the most is that whatever the creature is is smart enough to try and break the rope they were escaping out with by pulling it back into the cave and was also smart enough to cut the phone cord the two were using to communicate with each other.
- It's Probably Nothing: Ted and B dismiss the creepy rumbling from inside the cave as trucks driving on the nearby highway, and later, rushing water. It's neither.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: By trying to break open and explore the passage of cave that (supposedly) hasn't been explored yet, the protagonist have allowed whatever was trapped in their to escape...
- Nothing Is Scarier: Ted never gets a good look at whatever lives in the cave. He only hears it and smells it.
- Oh, Crap!: IT'S PULLING THE ROPE BACK INTO THE CAVE.
- Plagiarism: Inverted (?). A bizarre rumor spread after this story's popularity grew that it was stolen nearly word-for-word from a short story written by Thomas Lera called Fear of Darkness from the eighties. As it turns out, the story never existed until after Ted the Caver became widely known, and is simply Ted the Caver with the prose cleaned up to be a little more "scholarly" and a stereotypical ghost-story ending tacked on. Lots of people, sadly, bought it hook, line, and sinker.
- Primal Fear: Go ahead, read the bit about being in total, pure darkness, and see if you don't get at least mildly creeped out.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The creature originally was sealed away by a tough rock wall in the deepest part of the cave that required the duo several days of solid work to get passed and broke several of their power tools in the process. Unfortunately, thanks to the protagonist, it's finally free.
- Shout-Out: Ted explicitly compares the hieroglyphics deep within the cave to The Blair Witch Project.
- Stylistic Suck: The story does a very good job of looking like an ordinary Angelfire page from the early 2000s (because that's exactly what it is).
- Ultimate Evil: It's obvious that there's something down there that doesn't want to be disturbed, but what it is, we never find out. Ted briefly mentions an old myth regarding the Hodag, a creature that dwells in caves, but nothing much comes of that.
- You Look Like You've Seen a Ghost: Or at least, whatever poor Joe saw in the cave.