Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Claverhouse Emails

Go To
"But something passed between us in that kiss: as the life went out of her, I felt on her lips a peculiar tingle, like a brief electric shock, or perhaps the bite of a tiny, burrowing insect."

One day, an anonymous user of Reddit met a mysterious person on the internet that simply referred to himself as "Claverhouse". He had seen Claverhouse on numerous online message boards back when they were a student. While other posters disliked him, the user and Claverhouse struck up a friendship, and the two exchanged email addresses.

Claverhouse ended sending the user stories every once in a while, all of them dealing with some facet of the human psyche. All told in first person perspective, Claverhouse never gave any insight to the identity of the teller or the content of the story itself. He simply said that everything that needed to be known was there, in the teller's own words.

Claverhouse also never gave any details on who he was or how he got his hands on the stories. When questioned, he would simply say that the important thing was that the stories could tell the world about the darker side of the human experience.


Also unknown was just how true the stories were. Though they were presented to the user as truth, he found some of them hard to believe, even completely made up in some parts. But Claverhouse was adamant that at their core they all illustrate a deeper, more universal truth: that the world is not the way people think it is,and that it didn't matter if they were true or not.

Ultimately, Claverhouse and the user stopped corresponding for some unknown reason. However, the user thinks that it was for the best, and that it was only fitting that Claverhouse would fade into nothingness. While no context of the stories were ever given, the user believes that it is up to the readers of the emails to decide what exactly each story means and what it has to say about humanity as a whole.

In total, there were 16 stories, 15 official and 1 unofficial. All were published on Reddit between 2012 and 2015:


  • "The White Room": A new father begins seeing a mysterious old man in his dreams every night.
  • "Hives": A college student's girlfriend complains that there is something living inside of her...although there is no evidence of this happening.
  • "A Face in the Crowd": A man begins seeing people how they will look shortly after they die.
  • "Footsteps": A young man goes on a jog up in the mountains and encounters something terrifying.
  • "Snow": After a car wreck, a man stumbles into a snowbound house for help, but something is very wrong with the family inside...or the lack thereof.
  • "Echoes": A retired serial killer is visited by ghosts of his victims.
  • "The Accident": A man with bandages over his eyes after a mysterious accident learns that everything is not as it seems.
  • "The Sleep Clinic": A man gets a job at a clinic for patients with sleeping problems, but the building is a front for something much more terrifying.
  • "The Tree House": A girl's friend spends a night in an abandoned treehouse, and what transpired ends up affecting both of them for years afterwards.
  • "Still Waters": A man about to commit suicide gets the offer of a lifetime from a mysterious stranger.
  • "Monsters": A man terrorized by an unseen monster when he was a child discovers that some things never go away.
  • "The Summer House": An invalid stays in a house he's sure is haunted.
  • "Last Words": The son of an abusive man plots a chilling revenge on the older brother that abandoned him years ago.
  • "Hands"(unofficial): A man is tormented by dreams of violence until he not sure what is real and what is not.
  • "A Caress": An artist learns the bizarre story behind his friend's unusual sculpture.
  • "Expecting": A pregnant woman goes to extreme lengths to ensure that her unborn son is perfect.

Youtuber Maplecreepypasta narrated every story except "Expecting", "Hands", "Last Words", and "The Treehouse". They can be listened to_on YouTube.

"The White Room", "Hives", "Footsteps", "Echoes", "Snow", "The Accident", "The Sleep Clinic", "A Face in the Crowd", "The Treehouse", and "Still Waters" were all featured on The Nosleep Podcast.

You can read all the stories on the user's official website here.

The Claverhouse Emails contain examples of:

  • Ambiguous Gender: Except for "The White Room", "The Treehouse", and "Expecting", none of the narrator's genders are revealed. They could either be men or women.
  • And I Must Scream: The father in "The White Room" is possessed by the old man and can do nothing as he prepares to slaughter his wife and daughter.
  • Antagonist Title: "Monsters", possibly.
  • Asshole Victim: The children's abusive father in "Snow".
    • Danny in "The Treehouse".
    • Possibly the older brother in "Last Words". It's up to the reader to decide if he deserved the fate he received, as the narrator's state of mind is questionable.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The endings of "Last Words", "The White Room", "Hives", "Expecting", and "The Accident".
  • Bizarrchitecture: The house from "Last Words" appears to be possesed by the ghost of the narrator's father, so his face appears everywhere in the house.
    • The titular structure of "The Treehouse", with it's strange phrases carved into the bark and the corpse in the hollow inside the tree.
    • The house in "The Summer House".
  • Bloody Horror: Averted, for the most part, in most of the stories.
    • Played straight in "The Accident", although not until the end.
    • Played straight again in "Echoes", where the serial killer describes his murdered victims.
  • Bottle Episode: "Last Words" takes place entirely in the kitchen of an abandoned house.
    • "Footsteps" takes place on a mountain path.
    • "Snow" takes place in an abandoned cabin.
    • "The Summer House" takes place in the living room, sun room, and bedroom of the titular house.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The snowmen in the front yard of the abandoned house in "Snow".
    • The mysterious stranger's pistol in "Still Waters".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The children living in the abandoned house in "Snow" are tied to poles and left outside in subzero weather to die of exposure.
    • The man inside the tree in "The Treehouse" apparently handcuffed himself to the inside of the tree and swallowed the key (after wrapping it in barbed wire) to commit suicide by starvation.
    • Lilith Cayce in "A Caress" is voluntarily flayed to death by her sculptor husband just so he can make a perfect marble likeness of her.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: In "Snow" the narrator finally leaves the abandoned house, but soon discovers that those snowmen in the front yard were actually the kids that lived in the house, and it was very possible that they were still alive when he first arrived.
    • The ending of "Expecting" reveals that the narrator isn't actually pregnant.
    • "The Accident" 's insane ending reveals that the other "patient" the narrator had been talking to was actually the psychopath that kidnapped him, and that he has cut all the skin from off the narrator's face.
  • Downer Ending: Almost all the stories. In fact, the only story that ends with anything resembling a happy ending is "Still Waters", and even then, the narrator is doomed to die in a year.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What do the children of "Snow" get for breaking a plate? They get tied to a pole and whipped by their father.
    • This trope may or may not apply to the older brother getting a lobotomy for running away from home in "Last Words", as the narrator's state of sanity is questionable.
  • Domestic Abuser: The father in "Snow" takes the cake, as he ties his kids to poles and whips them.
    • The narrator's father in "Last Words".
    • The narrator himself in "Monsters".
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Hives". It could:
    • 1) Refer to the strange red bumps that grow all over the narrator's girlfriend, or...
    • 2) Refer to the fact that the girlfriend has insects living inside of her, making her, essentially, a hive.
  • Dream Weaver: The antagonist of "The White Room" is a mysterious old man that torments the narrator in his dreams.
  • Driven to Suicide: The narrator of "A Caress" kills himself at the end because he is unable to understand the meaning behind his dead friend's sculpture and cannot go on living without this knowledge.
  • Here We Go Again!: "Still Waters" ends with the narrator taking the job of the mysterious stranger and offering the same life to a new suicidal person the mysterious stranger offered him.
    • "Hives" ends with the narrator killing Julia and kissing her corpse, which causes the insects (that may or may not have been real) living inside her to infect him.
  • Dysfunctional Family: All the narrator's families in "Monsters", "Last Words", and "Footsteps", and the family that lives in the abandoned cabin in "Snow".
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Out of all the characters named or mentioned in "The Treehouse", only the narrator and Jules are left standing at the end.
  • First Person: All the stories are told in this manner.
  • Jerkass: The narrator of "Echoes" is the best example, as he is a retired serial killer with no remorse whatsoever.
    • The father in "Snow".
    • The sleepwalking man in "The Sleep Clinic".
  • Gainax Ending: Many of the story's endings are confusing, but special mentions go out to "The Sleep Clinic" and "The Summer House".
  • Hearing Voices: The narrators of "The Treehouse", "Last Words", and "The Summer House".
  • Kill 'Em All: Every single mentioned character in "A Caress" is dead by the end.
  • Kill the Cutie: This happens to the children living in the abandoned house in "Snow".
  • Lobotomy: What the narrator of "Last Words" plans to do to his older brother.
  • Mad Artist: Julia in "Hives", after being driven insane by the insects living inside her that may or may not exist.
    • Edgar Cayce in "A Caress".
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: We never do find out if Julia actually had something living inside her in "Hives".
    • It's never revealed if the house in "Last Words" is haunted or if the narrator is imagining everything.
  • Mercy Kill: What the narrator of "Hives" does to Julia at the end of the story.
  • Mind Screw: "The Summer House". What is the cause of the narrator's injuries? Is the house actually haunted or is the narrator insane? Who is the old woman that takes care of him? Why did the pistol hidden in the floorboards have three bullets missing?
    • What is up with the ending of "Footsteps"? Is the narrator dead or alive at the end?
    • "The Sleep Clinic" 's ending is so bizarre that trying to summarize it here would do it an injustice. Read it here.
  • Mundane Ghost Story: The only stories that seem to have anything supernatural going on are "The White Room", "Footsteps", "Echoes" and "The Treehouse". The rest of them could easily happen in real life.
  • Murder-Suicide: "The Treehouse" ends with Danny murdering the narrator's and Jules's entire families before killing himself.
  • No Ending: A lot of the stories end with no resolution whatsoever, but "The Treehouse" is the best example, as, if anything, you are left with more questions than answers at the end.
  • No Name Given: There are only six characters that are named in the entire collection, and two of them don't physically appear in the story they are mentioned in.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: "Snow" uses this trope to its advantage right up until the end, where everything is resolved, so it's technically averted.
    • "The Summer House" takes this trope and runs with it.
    • "The Treehouse", "The Sleep Clinic", and "The White Room" all attempt this, with varying degrees of success.
  • One-Word Title: "Echoes", "Hives", "Snow", "Monsters", "Footsteps", and "Expecting".
  • Only Sane Man: The only narrators that seem to not be outright insane are the ones of "The Treehouse", "Snow", and "Hives".
  • Sanity Slippage: Most, if not all, of the narrators of the stories are insane in some capacity. Special mention goes out to the narrators of "Last Words", "The Summer House", and "Expecting".
  • Scrapbook Story: "Last Words" is told through a pre-recorded tape that a kidnap victim is listening to.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In "Echoes", a retired serial killer is visited by the ghosts of his victims, with tons of time spent saying how much he hates all of them and their grotesque injuries. You'd think this would all lead somewhere, but no, it just ends with the narrator complaining about how annoying his victims are, just like in the beginning.
  • Tear Off Your Face: The ending of "The Accident".
  • The "The" Title: "The White Room", "The Summer House", "The Treehouse", "The Sleep Clinic", and "The Accident".
  • Title Drop: Happens in almost every story.
    • Averted, confusingly, in "Hives". Not once in the whole story does anyone call all the red bumps and scratches on the narrator's girfriend 'hives'.
    • Insects live in "hives"
  • Unreliable Narrator: The narrator of "Last Words" is clearly insane, so it's unclear what in the story is real and what is just figments of his imagination.
  • Villain Protagonist: The narrators of "Monsters", "Last Words", "Expecting", and (possibly) "The Sleep Clinic".
  • Wheelchair Woobie: The narrator of "The Summer House".
  • Would Hurt a Child: Many examples.
    • The father in "The White Room"... although it is involuntarily.
    • The abusive father in "Snow".
    • Danny from "The Treehouse".
    • The narrator of "Monsters".


Example of: