Stealing Ideas

I was posting to my writing instagram account today, when I started scrolling through one of the pages I (used to) follow. On his latest post, the user had a caption:

You hear your mom calling you into the kitchen. As you are heading down the stairs you hear a whisper from the closet saying ‘Don’t go down there honey, I heard it too’.

Creepy right? A cool and short horror tale…that sounded familiar.

I distinctly remembered coming across this story as two sentence horror story on Reddit. It was one of the best entries and one that was seared into my brain after I read it once. When I googled it I was able to find links on sites such as 9gag, Thought Catalog and Buzzfeed. The wording is slightly different in the original but the similarity is too glaring to pass off as a coincidence:

“A girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said, ‘I heard that too.”

I believe the stories originated from reddit, although I am not sure. Point being, instagrammer @lostcreekrambler didn’t come up with those words.

Or maybe he was the person to originally submit the story online. However, his post doesn’t mention this at all. Also, when I commented saying that I saw the story on reddit, my comment was promptly deleted. I messaged @lostcreekrambler earlier today asking him if he truly came up with the story and I have yet to get a response.

The thing that amuses me most is his response to praise from another follower: “Thanks everyone. Spooky comes natural to me.”

This is clearly someone who unashamedly wants to steal other people’s work and pass it off as their own. No one would be foolish enough to try to steal work from John Grisham or Stephen King, but the internet offers a plethora of material written by obscure (or anonymous) writers that is too easy for people like @lostcreekrambler to steal. Although the writing can often be traced back to a source, who will initiate that investigation or even think to start one if the writer is too obscure? If I didn’t stumble across this two sentence horror story years ago then I would be another person praising this thief for his great work.

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