Nightmare Fuel: The Secret World

  • Amongst other things, the Dimir family. The farm where they live and work is creepy enough, what with all the dying vegetation and the angry guard dogs roaming around; then it turns out that most of the sausages hanging in the abattoir are actually ghoul meat- to say nothing of the innocent gnomes and fairies that have been made into stews here.
    • Silviu and Olga are terrifying in their own right: Silviu because he's a Psychopathic Manchild with an addiction to murder and a habit of chanting insanely to himself; the only thing stopping him from killing you and making you into sausages is Olga's command. The moment where he first looks up from hacking up a dead ghoul and sees you is just chilling. On the other hand, Olga's just as creepy, given that she's a vicious old bitch who controls Silviu's every move and every aspect of the butchering operations. The little speech she makes doesn't help.
    You cannot wash your hands of us; you need us! Your world needs us to do what you cannot do! You need us!
    • And then, in the mission following this, you venture into the Dimirs' basement: it turns out to be an abandoned Soviet bunker, used to house all the magical creatures that the Dimirs capture before they're finally slaughtered and eaten. Most of them are ghouls, but at least one was an innocent satyr. Worse still, in the Dragon ending to this mission, it's implied that Silviu spent time down here as a child, getting a taste for murder- possibly while imprisoned in the same cells as his ghoul victims.
  • The Black House. Subverted in that it is one of the easiest early missions to grind for XP on the account of there being no monsters to fight. Then again, there are no monsters to fight, just the house itself...
    • And then, The Reveal. The Black House isn't evil, just very, very angry at the fact that the townspeople vilified it and its owner, who was honestly a good person.
  • The Filth. Not the material itself; black eldritch goo is rather trite in these settings, and tentacles are meh. But what it does to the contaminated? How they scream and cry for you, stop stop they can't stop, please stop stop me? Or that underneath, in areas and lands where the world and reality itself has been blasted away by the stuff, underneath it all, we are made of stars?
  • "The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn." Protected only by a gas mask, you finally get to see what's behind the Fog; once you follow the siren song past the thick banks of clouds, it turns out to be a pocket dimension owned by the Dreamers, where Kingsmouth has been rebuilt as a twisted World of Chaos-style parody of itself, with endless picket fences, ominously crooked houses, roads covered in sprouting Filth tendrils, a sea of wrecked ships floating in a sea of Filth, and all of it beneath a pitch-black sky. It's inhabited by Filth-infected duplicates of the Kingsmouth townsfolk, all of whom try to kill you on sight- because their real-world counterparts have received mild infections and are due to become Filth creatures in the near future. Worse still, there's no way to stop the Dreamers in this mission; the only thing you get out of the entire quest is the knowledge that Tyler Freeborn died trying to escape the Fog.
  • "A Dream To Kill." Your Faux Action Girl companion turns on you, knocks you out, straps you to a table, reveals herself as the Big Bad, and then cuts off your legs.
    • The notes of Doctor Schreber includes several disturbing notes and headers, the least of which is probably "Methodologies for opening the Event Horizon of Endless Hunger in the chest cavity." Incidentally, the information contained behind that header has been mercifully deleted. On top of the terrors unleashed by the Orochi Group's groundbreaking investigations into lycanthropy, ghosts, fungal infestations and even anima-infusion, the really disturbing thing about this is that Schreber found possible applications for them: were-creatures able to transform into anything, ghost-induced intangibility, even mass-produced versions of the player characters. For an final dose of of horror and disgust, realize that all of the human test subjects used in these experiments were children.
    • The Nursery. The overly-colourful scenery, the creepy "lullaby," the robotic nannies that speak in calm, mothering tones and try to kill you if you turn the music off... and that one room where you can find a bloodied corpse lying at the centre of a huge crowd of naked dolls.
    • Emma's past; the few details you've been able to glean from the Smith's computer and other earlier missions are creepy enough... but things get unnervingly surreal when you start exploring her memories from her perspective and enter her recollection of the burning house; because she was only a small child at the time, the world seems to grow around you until you're dwarfed by the kitchen table, and the upstairs corridors seems to go on for miles.
    • The Filth takes on another disturbing aspect in this recent update: it's infected Agartha. And by the end of this issue, the tendrils are still there, still growing.
    • The conclusion of the issue: Emma manages to temporarily defeat Lilith... only to end up face to face with a gang of Filth-monsters, all of them whispering her real name; for perhaps the first time in the entire game, Emma is almost paralyzed with terror - not of the monsters, but of what's controlling them.
    What do you want? I'm so small... you eat stars...
    You are all made of stars...
  • Quite a few of the Spooky Stories of Solomon Island from Halloween 2013:
    • The Rogue Groundskeeper: Innsmouth Academy had a groundskeeper that spied on several students, caused several "accidents" resulting in grievous injuries, and killed three seniors who tried to rat him out - perceived as suicides by the teachers. And when other kids tried to discuss their concerns with Montag (this time at a school assembly), it turned out that the Academy hasn't had a groundskeeper since 1806.
    • The Organ Smugglers: The Orochi Group is now into Organ Theft, and can easily get away with it thanks to connections with the CDC and the police. Furthermore, the Dragon warns against getting captured by them - suggesting that they might exploit your immortality and have you harvested for all eternity. Later on when you finally get to the Orochi Tower, you learn that this warning wasn't exactly scaremongering either.
    • The Phantom Email: Spam emails aren't just examples of annoying junk mail - they're actually messages from a rogue AI haunting the internet, trying to perpetuate the existence of the characters of each email and getting angrier and angrier as it's pleas for attention are ignored. And those chain letters that threaten you with death or injury if you don't continue the chain? The entity sometimes makes good on those threats. Even worse, the man who found and printed out this email for you to find was none other than Tyler Freeborn, and did this two days before he made his fatal journey into the Fog.
    • The Lantern Man: A young woman engaged to the man of her dreams unexpectedly contracts smallpox, and though she survived, she was left with permanent scarring. Desperate for a means of recovering her lost beauty, she ultimately went to a Wabankai shaman for help, and was given an ointment that would apparently make her skin smooth again. Unfortunately, the shaman was still in mourning for the members of his family who'd been killed by the same plague, and didn't appreciate being bothered on such a trivial matter; the ointment did smooth out the young woman's skin... to the point that it melted right off. The "cure" was actually sulphuric acid.
    • The Death of Dr Armitage: The description of the Doctor himself; plus, the fact that there's a Filth-infected occultist wandering the world, searching for writers who are willing to perpetuate his existence in their work in exchange for success. And the story also claims that, if you fancy yourself a writer, you might be visited by him one of these days.
  • Halloween 2014 gives us The Broadcast quest and adds radios playing old radio horror shows, every single one is terrifying.
    • What makes the radio broadcasts terrifying is when you visit one of the radios in anima form you can see the groups of spirits huddling around it and instead of a radio play you can hear endless numbers being repeated.
  • Halloween 2015: A Bee has committed suicide. Her bee was artificially implanted by the Council of Venice, which turned the normally benevolent Buzzing into Mind Rape for her. And finally, Bees pay an unknown, severe cost to Gaia for their powers.
    • This particular mission is a tie-in with The Park, which gives players a lovely look at the Atlantic Island Amusement Park - by having the player character trapped in the park after sunset. Featuring homicidal maniacs in chipmunk costumes, the Bogeyman stalking you, and all kinds of unpleasant things from the main character's psyche bubbling to the surface - particularly during the haunted house scene. And the game concludes with the Bogeyman seizing control of Lorraine and forcing her to stab her son to death; shortly afterwards, Lorraine is visited by a Council operative with a captured Bee in tow - an agreement that will eventually drive the already-tortured woman to suicide.
  • The Fear Nothing Foundation in Tokyo. At first, it's just an abandoned building with a few disturbingly cheerful posters and public service announcements, along with a mild ghost infestation. Then you start uncovering letters and diary entries from the Foundation members and staff, all of them indicating that this apparently-benign social club was just a front for a cult. These notes get more and more disturbing as the entries progress, ultimately devolving into an instance-wide Apocalyptic Log as the horrified members of the foundation are slowly brainwashed through disturbing exercises and horrific physical punishments - most of which are never entirely revealed. And it all ends with the fully-indoctrinated members committing mass suicide. Worse still, it eventually becomes clear that one of their members caused the massive Filth outbreak in Tokyo that started the events of the game, and the Foundation itself is all just a branch of the Morninglight.
    • Also, the top-floor boardroom of the FNF headquarters has a glass floor, meaning that the room is clearly visible from the ground floor. As such, once the power's back on, players can look up and see the contents of the currently inaccessible room: the bodies of the membership and staff scattered across the floor following their mass-suicide. No fanfare, no scare chord, no announcement - you don't even notice this unless you happen to look up. But that doesn't stop it from being horrifying.
    • The Fridge Horror inherent in a line from the Counsellor's journal: "I have taken to eating flies. Not many. Just twice a day. During meditation, when we visualize eating the light at the end of the universe, I pretend the fly is a tiny star. And... I feel it. Just a spark, but I can finally feel the light." What else in this setting eats stars? The Dreamers. The FNF was teaching its staff to impersonate the Dreamers!
      • The Dreamers manifestation is accompanied by flies, the same way Gaia's come with bees. They're not impersonating Dreamers. They're trying to be the player character's equivalents.
  • Arriving on the streets of Tokyo is nervewracking, especially if you haven't gotten the hang of the AEGIS yet. As bad as the disasters in Maine, Egypt and Transylvania were, they were still comparatively minor, occurring in remote locations that could be easily quarantined by resistance fighters like the Marya. Plus, even in the worst-hit areas of Solomon Island, pure Filth infectees were comparatively rare, being outnumbered by zombies and Draug, and the Filth itself was commonly restricted to really nasty places like the Moon Bog. In Tokyo, the Filth is everywhere. Filth infectees stalk the streets from one end of Kaidan to the next, the sewers are flooded with writhing tendrils of Filth, creepers and bubbles grow on the side of skyscrapers, and Filth birds dominate the skies over Kaidan. And it's only getting worse...
    • On a related note: Every time a person goes through a tutorial mission, viewing the Tokyo Incident Team's disastrous scouting mission, they are unknowingly becoming an accomplice to repeated Mind Rape of the member who got stuck in the subway. And it's going to keep happening, because your society doesn't know any other way to prepare operatives for the Filth safely.
  • The Parking Garage mission in Tokyo. It's already dark, and full of sudden noises and jump scares. As you get farther enough into the garage, ghosts start appearing, parking gates open and close for no obvious reason, and a bunch of ghosts appear. If you pay close attention, it becomes apparent that the assassin you saw in the security footage is also in the parking garage with you, following you down to the target.
  • Nightmare in the Dream Palace shows exactly why you don't want to upset John. His mental landscape is disturbing enough, showing exactly how he transformed from a lonely man to fanatical cultist of the Dreamers to living Filth infection...and then his conscious mind catches up with you, and he decides turnabout is fair play, casually turning your entire life into a movie and forcing you to fight old bosses for his amusement. Then he reaches Lilith, and he panics. Why? Well, apparently even her memory can react to his presence...
  • The Orochi Tower; suffice it to say that just about every single floor visited contains something disturbing, alarming, or just plain horrifying. Ironically, there's only been one confirmed Filth outbreak in the entire building, and that turns out to be one of the least disturbing floors of the Tower; the other levels are spooky for entirely independent reasons.
    • The PA system is still active throughout your explorations - if not entirely functional; as such, be prepared to hear some worrying things delivered in a voice just serene enough to be disturbing on its own.
    Orochi Tower is experiencing some technical difficulties. We apologize for the inconvenience.
    All employees should remain at their desks. Everything is fine. Remain at your desks.
    Do not panic. Do not pan-pan-panic... panic... panic... panic...panic...
    • One of the scarier alpha levels is Plethron alpha: the moment you open the elevator doors, a huge cloud of insects swarms in on you, and doesn't leave you alone for the rest of the level... and then you realize that there's a pile of bloody corpses stacked up right in front of the elevator too - as if they were cut down while trying to escape. It turns out that the source of the troubles here are none other than the giant locusts you encountered in Egypt; Plethron was trying to make the damn things into food for developing nations. And instead of trying to breed their own locusts or transport them by conventional means, they instead summoned a fly golem into the building.
    • Sycoil alpha: this is already a pretty unnerving location, especially since all the lights are out and an experiment gone wrong has covered the walls, floor, ceiling and former employees with huge glowing clusters of Fungal Filth. But that's not the worst part: the worst part is finding a memo from the management, recommending that researchers assigned to work on the new solar power cell take ten minutes after lunch to relax and meditate by imagining the sun: " Imagine eating the sunlight. Eating the sun. One bite at a time." Fridge Horror: just how much of the management has been corrupted by the Dreamers, and how long until they go the same way as the Morninglight?
    • Zagan alpha, specifically the first half of the department. They're trying to make supernatural creatures into food, either as affordable everyman foodstuffs or as expensive delicacies. Along with various disturbing tests to see if their werewolves will return to human form after they've been made into steak, it's revealed that Zagan is now openly collaborating with the Dimir family, and their recipe for ghoul sausages is being prepared for mass marketing. And last but certainly not least, there's a horrifying transcript of a conference where a project leader successfully traps a ghost inside an edible jelly; after noting the shapes of "silent, screaming mouths" appearing in the jelly, the new dish is given to the board of directors for their sampling, allowing them to experience the joys of consuming the souls of the dead. And that's not even what caused the disaster on this level!
    • Vali alpha is fairly placid by the Tower's standards, but it's still pretty creepy given that it features the return of the dreaded Nanny-bots from the Nursery. And they're still singing the dreaded lullaby. For good measure, the managers on this floor have recommended regulars naps for the staff, and have enacted the use of the Nanny-bots in order to ensure maximum relaxation and renewal. According to the lore entry on the Orochi tower, it worked a little too well: some employees have been lulled into permanent comas.
    • Most of the beta levels are based around stealth or threat evasion, and Sycoil beta is no exception: the department somehow managed to get hold of a working Custodian - only to end up accidentally sending it on a rampage. Seeing the devastation caused by this thing and reading the final terrified emails of researchers begging for help is disturbing enough; having to try and sneak past the Custodian itself is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in the entire game. Plus, there's also been some developments concerning the Mitsubachi on this floor, specifically in attempts to build portable Anima wells for the Orochi Bees to respawn at. Trouble is, most of the rejected wells have little notes reading "test subject revived without epidermis" or "all that manifested was subject's skeleton. Where's the rest?"
    • Zagan's omega floor, and the source of the "mystery meat." Long story short, a flesh creature has been summoned into existence for the Zagan researchers to use as a marketable source of meat; not only is this creature sentient and in constant pain, but it's growing substantially with every lump of flesh that's chainsawed off it... and it can still control the parts of its body that have been amputated - which might explain why four test subjects have died after eating one variant. No less disturbing is the fact that the local management have started serving the meat at the cafeteria, and suggesting summer cookouts with it to celebrate the success of their products. And of course, there's the reactions of the still-living employees: some claim the meat tastes like "burnt hair and cancer"; others claim it tastes like despair... and a rare few seem to enjoy it.
    • Manticore omega; at first, it seems pretty sedate by Tower standards... then the dead researchers start cropping up, along with trashed facilities, and a few traumatized survivors. It takes the Apocalyptic Log to reveal that the Mitsubachi were just the tip of the iceberg: basically, they managed to clone the Gatekeeper of Agartha from a sample taken from it by one of the Mitsubachi. As if attempting to grow their own version of That One Boss wasn't bad enough, their copy grew up violently insane and uncontrollable, prone to otherworldly fits of screaming, ultimately killing everyone in that end of the department. Also, this ends up becoming pretty creepy by implication alone: with the Mitsubachi able to traverse Agartha, you could be sharing the hollow earth with Orochi agents and never even know it.
    • Oh, one more thing among this level? In one room, there's a glowing crate that looks essentially identical to the one aboard the Atenist train in Issue #6 - which in itself was noted to be identical to the device that kicked off the Tokyo disaster. Basically, the Orochi Group had Armageddon sitting under their noses all along, even before the Morninglight turned on them.
    • Vali Omega. With Vigula Divinia and the Nursery under their belt, it's pretty obvious that Vali is up to something bad, but the omega floor seems custom-made to demonstrate what happens to Bees who aren't lucky enough to be recruited by the Big Three. Long story short, the Orochi want their drones to have access to Agartha, so they successfully track down a Bee-imbued character and have him continuously vivisected for organs that can be implanted into the robots. Because the organs vanish the moment he expires, he has to be kept alive for as long as possible, even while missing internal organs; and because there are so many failed prototypes, the poor man has to be cut open and gutted near-continuously over a period of several weeks. Plus, anaesthesia doesn't appear to work. Eventually, the management gives up on this idea altogether and starts recruiting the Mitsubachi instead, but by this stage, the unlucky Bee has been reduced to an Empty Shell by the sheer pain of his ordeal.
    • The Anansi Omega floor has a jarring element of Fridge Horror immediately upon stepping off the elevator. The malfunctioning PA system isn't a PA system. It's an AI that's been speaking live all along, and now it's talking to you. The AI here was created by Anansi, and then tricked into a series of games to destroy other AIs. It Went Mad From The Revelation.
  • If there's anything scarier than the what's been happening on these floors, it's encountering living staff members. Several floors are still active and fully functional, even after several weeks of lockdown enforced by the Tokyo Incident, and the researchers on these floors are alive and well for the most part; however, it quickly becomes apparent that their mental health has suffered as a result of their employment here: for some reason, they don't seem to mind being trapped in the same building for weeks on end, they don't seem concerned about what's been happening outside their departments, and they don't even seem to grasp the fact that you're an intruder. The most they do is mumble a few shy hellos, ask if you're lost, and request to be left alone. What happened to these people remains unknown, but there are some more disturbing variants:
    • Manticore beta, where the researchers scarcely bat an eyelid at you blundering into their test chambers and courting death in mazes of laser tripwires and flamethrower windmills. Plus, outside the final obstacle course - a roomful of spinning flamethrowers - there's a whiteboard charting previous attempts to navigate the course and records of how long each test subject has lasted; one participant was burned so badly that they required a trip to Vali for treatment, while another was disqualified for cheating - indicating that the researchers turned this experiment into a game. Plus, there's two researchers standing nearby, laughing over the results of past experiments. It's never a good thing when weapons manufacturers become Conditioned to Accept Horror.
    • In Anansi alpha, the staff recognize you on sight - and actually seem genuinely pleased to see you, happily escorting you through the testing facility, all the while thanking you for all your hard work. But it's not until you check their offices that you realize that the hard work concerns the AEGIS. Through surveillance systems hidden in the AEGIS, they've been spying on you and every other agent who's ever made use of it in the past; they've even been gambling on players, seeing which of them can kill the most enemies of a certain kind.
    • QBT Media is mostly tame...barring the fact that its greenscreens seem to have become effective obstacles on their own, with a ghostly Laugh Track triggering upon your misfortunes with them...and the Ax-Crazy game show host who thinks said Laugh Track is dead people, and with a pair of some of the most powerful handguns in the game. He's implied to have killed everyone else on the floor.
    • Perhaps the creepiest of all is Faust Beta. Here, none of the accountants react to your presence at all: nobody looks up from their work, nobody turns around, nobody gets up from their desk - they just carry on working. They're so intent on working that they don't appear to have noticed that several of their number are quite obviously dead, and have been for quite some time - the implication being that they were literally worked to death, if not inadvertently starved. Scattered memos indicate that there's been some kind of personality modification at work, and those who recovered from it actively attempted to hurl themselves from upper-story windows; whatever it is, it's quite severe, for the lore entries indicate that the accountants will keep working until the Heat Death of the Universe.
  • The main storyline of Issue #11 features a few doozies of its own: along with Samuel Chandra's genuinely chilling threats and Lilith's utter lack of remorse for mutilating you, there's also the bone-chilling sight of the Filth pouring out of a phone and pooling on the ground to form Shades, with dozens more crawling up the side of the tower towards you - all while John furiously chants "Let me in. Let me in. Let me in. LET ME IN."
    • For Templar players, there's also the introduction of Pit and Pendulum - beating the living daylights out of Sonnac. The two are pretty creepy on their own, but the real reason for their attack is the truly disturbing thing: apart from being pissed at the Dragon's success in Tokyo, the Old Guard have noticed your sudden rise through the ranks and feel threatened by the power you're acquiring. In other words, the Templar's darker side is rearing it's ugly head, and you now have the undivided attention some extremely powerful and dangerous people - again, except this time, it's your own people you have to worry about.
    • The Illuminati ending, featuring a brief phone-call from the infamous Talking Heads - which is bad enough to make Geary suffer a psychic nosebleed. Just who are these executives, what are they, and just what are they likely to do to you or Geary if they lose patience with you?