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
This story contains examples of:
- Being Watched: ...But by what?
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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'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.
- 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.
- 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