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Candle Cove

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Estimated reading time — 8 minutes

It comes most often at night. That niggling memory, gnawing in some corner of your mind like a rodent chewing the corners of the drywall. The memory of some brightly lit cartoon funland, or a world of puppets. A memory of a tv show, you would watch, seated cross legged on the living room floor with the fixed enthusiastic attention only a child can give. Attention that you wish now, you perhaps hadn’t given so freely. For there is something about that show, something about the discordant music, the details of the characters, their motivations and the storylines, the fixed maniacal grins that seems, looking back, to be altogether too sinister to be a children’s show. You try to block the memory out and yet, there in the back of your mind, most often at night, the puppet’s fixed grin, keeps on smiling.

Overview

Candle Cove is a widely known and popular Creepypasta about a fictional television series recollected by a number of posters on a childhood nostalgia forum. As the posters share their recollections the things they collectively remember become more and more sinister with the characters featured clearly being unsuitable for children’s viewing. Notable examples are The Laughingstock the boat that is alive and sports a huge mouth, Horace Horrible a one eyed character with ‘too large teeth’ and most famously, a skeleton character known as ‘The Skintaker’ who wears the flesh of children over his naked bones. Hardly Sesame Street is it?

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Candle Cove Creepypasta

NetNostalgia Forum – Television (local)

Skyshale033
Subject: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

Does anyone remember this kid’s show? It was called Candle Cove and I must have been 6 or 7. I never found reference to it anywhere so I think it was on a local station around 1971 or 1972. I lived in Ironton at the time. I don’t remember which station, but I do remember it was on at a weird time, like 4:00 PM.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

it seems really familiar to me…..i grew up outside of ashland and was 9 yrs old in 72. candle cove…was it about pirates? i remember a pirate marionete at the mouth of a cave talking to a little girl

Skyshale033
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
YES! Okay I’m not crazy! I remember Pirate Percy. I was always kind of scared of him. He looked like he was built from parts of other dolls, real low-budget. His head was an old porcelain baby doll, looked like an antique that didn’t belong on the body. I don’t remember what station this was! I don’t think it was WTSF though.

Jaren_2005
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Sorry to ressurect this old thread but I know exactly what show you mean, Skyshale. I think Candle Cove ran for only a couple months in ‘71, not ‘72. I was 12 and I watched it a few times with my brother. It was channel 58, whatever station that was. My mom would let me switch to it after the news. Let me see what I remember.

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It took place in Candle cove, and it was about a little girl who imagined herself to be friends with pirates. The pirate ship was called the Laughingstock, and Pirate Percy wasn’t a very good pirate because he got scared too easily. And there was calliope music constantly playing. Don’t remember the girl’s name. Janice or Jade or something. Think it was Janice.

Skyshale033
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Thank you Jaren!!! Memories flooded back when you mentioned the Laughingstock and channel 58. I remember the bow of the ship was a wooden smiling face, with the lower jaw submerged. It looked like it was swallowing the sea and it had that awful Ed Wynn voice and laugh. I especially remember how jarring it was when they switched from the wooden/plastic model, to the foam puppet version of the head that talked.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

ha ha i remember now too.  do you remember this part skyshale: “you have…to go…INSIDE.”

Skyshale033
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Ugh mike, I got a chill reading that. Yes I remember. That’s what the ship always told Percy when there was a spooky place he had to go in, like a cave or a dark room where the treasure was. And the camera would push in on Laughingstock’s face with each pause. YOU HAVE… TO GO… INSIDE. With his two eyes askew and that flopping foam jaw and the fishing line that opened and closed it. Ugh. It just looked so cheap and awful.

You guys remember the villain? He had a face that was just a handlebar mustache above really tall, narrow teeth.

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kevin_hart
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i honestly, honestly thought the villain was pirate percy. i was about 5 when this show was on. nightmare fuel.

Jaren_2005
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
That wasn’t the villain, the puppet with the mustache. That was the villain’s sidekick, Horace Horrible. He had a monocle too, but it was on top of the mustache. I used to think that meant he had only one eye.

But yeah, the villain was another marionette. The Skin-Taker. I can’t believe what they let us watch back then.

kevin_hart
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
jesus h. christ, the skin taker. what kind of a kids show were we watching? i seriously could not look at the screen when the skin taker showed up. he just descended out of nowhere on his strings, just a dirty skeleton wearing that brown top hat and cape. and his glass eyes that were too big for his skull. christ almighty.

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Skyshale033
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Wasn’t his top hat and cloak all sewn up crazily? Was that supposed to be children’s skin??

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

yeah i think so. rememer his mouth didn’t open and close, his jaw just slid back and foth. i remember the little girl said “why does your mouth move like that” and the skin-taker didn’t look at the girl but at the camera and said “TO GRIND YOUR SKIN”

Skyshale033
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
I’m so relieved that other people remember this terrible show!

I used to have this awful memory, a bad dream I had where the opening jingle ended, the show faded in from black, and all the characters were there, but the camera was just cutting to each of their faces, and they were just screaming, and the puppets and marionettes were flailing spastically, and just all screaming, screaming. The girl was just moaning and crying like she had been through hours of this. I woke up many times from that nightmare. I used to wet the bed when I had it.

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kevin_hart
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i don’t think that was a dream. i remember that. i remember that was an episode.

Skyshale033
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
No no no, not possible. There was no plot or anything, I mean literally just standing in place crying and screaming for the whole show.

kevin_hart
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
maybe i’m manufacturing the memory because you said that, but i swear to god i remember seeing what you described. they just screamed.

Jaren_2005
Subject: 
Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Oh God. Yes. The little girl, Janice, I remember seeing her shake. And the Skin-Taker screaming through his gnashing teeth, his jaw careening so wildly I thought it would come off its wire hinges. I turned it off and it was the last time I watched. I ran to tell my brother and we didn’t have the courage to turn it back on.

mike_painter65
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?

i visited my mom today at the nursing home. i asked her about when i was littel in the early 70s, when i was 8 or 9 and if she remebered a kid’s show, candle cove. she said she was suprised i could remember that and i asked why, and she said “because i used to think it was so strange that you said ‘i’m gona go watch candle cove now mom’ and then you would tune the tv to static and juts watch dead air for 30 minutes. you had a big imagination with your little pirate show.”

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CREDIT: Kris Straub

Source: This story is from Ichor Falls, an absolute must-read site if you dig creepy stories. Seriously, I’m so in love with that website, you all need to go there right this instant, dammit!

More classic Creepypasta stories can be found here:
The Russian Sleep Experiment
Squidward’s Suicide
Ben Drowned

Origin and Development

Unlike most Creepypastas that by their very natures evolved out of the contributions of numerous posters who over time sculpt and shape the narrative into its present form, adding, removing and altering details until a collective version of the story or character is formed, Candle Cove can be traced back to a single author, who initially presented the entire story as finished piece and later released the story commercially as part of a collection of short stories.

The author Kris Straub who is also an illustrator, originally posted the piece to Ichor Falls, a site for horror fiction on March 15th, 2009, he did not approve the later versions and adaptations of his work, but the fiction has mutated into new forms nevertheless

What is interesting about this particular story however is how ‘meta’ it becomes when you consider that the story was inspired by the creepypasta genre as a whole and that on its way to becoming a popular creepypasta itself, it successfully imitated the way that other creepypastas are formed. 

Wait, what? I’ll explain. 

Candle Cove is written in what is known as an ‘epistolary’ form. This basically means made up from correspondence between different characters, where the main plot is revealed or played out by the interactions between them. Back in the day this usually referred to letters between the characters or extracts from diary entries, think of a horror classic like Dracula, it isn’t written as  a third person narrative ‘and then he walked up the creepy old castle’ but is pieced together from letters, telegrams and diary entries, collections of ‘epistles’ therefore- epistlatory. 

In a modern update, the epistlatory structure was adopted by Straub to create his story not as a linear story but as if it were an exchange between posters on the NetNostalgia Forum. 

Straub, writing all of the contributors framed the story as if several individuals were sharing their own memories of the fictional show and becoming more and more disturbed as they shared less and less child friendly details and reminded each other of  elements they had previously forgotten but were vaguely haunted by. 

Scholars have noted that the success of Canldecove can be linked to its verisimilitude. For those who don’t know, ‘verisimilitude’ essentially means ‘pretending very well’ or maintaining an appearance or voice.

 The fact that Straub is able to successfully convince an unwitting reader that this story is an interaction between different posters all with their own individual voices and characters rather than simply the construction of one man is an example of verisimilitude. It is this verisimilitude and desire to present the piece as if it was a real interaction that led to the story being spread and adopted as a creepypasta without Straub’s approval. 

As it was picked up and shared, the verisimilitude of the writing made it possible for readers to suspend their disbelief and to look at the piece as if it genuinely was a collection of posts on a forum. This then led to an evolution of the narrative as others began posting their own (clearly fictional) recollections of the show and the characters, adapting and extending the existing details. 

What is interesting is that as the story was then spread onto other forums where it adopted new and unapproved shapes but maintained the verisimilitude, being presented on numerous forums as if it were a real show.

The original story was posted to Creepypasta.com in June of 2009. Within a month it was possible to find youtube videos discussing the show and by the close of the year, 4chan and reddit as well as forums dedicated to horror and tv (such as TVforum.co.uk) featured discussion between posters about the fictional show with some contributors sharing their supposed memories. 

Examples of this unsanctioned evolution can be seen in the fact that there now exists a wiki for candle cove (created in 2011) that lists the episodes and describes the content of those episodes for the fictional show. There is even analysis of the novel ‘The Knickerbocker’s Tale’  a short story written in 1767 and upon which the series is supposedly based, which within the wikis is presented as if it actually existed and is the inspiration for a series that also did not exist.  

The strange ‘meta’ evolution of the story came full circle when Candle Cove was selected as one of the stories to be used in Syfy’s Channel Zero series, meaning that in the end the fictional show would be developed as part of an actual show, albeit one not aimed at youngsters. 

Straub has cited an article on the satirical humour site The Onion as being part of  the inspiration for Candle Cove. The article was about a man who still experienced nightmares about a show he watched on public access television as a child. Whilst he is protective of his copyright and ownership of the idea Straub has also acknowledged that the adoption of his work by others and it subsequent morphing and alteration is inevitable and has described the process as flattering, clarifying that this organic group ownership “serves the mythos way more than me being a litigious dick about it”.Well put sir, well put.

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on Creepypasta.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed under any circumstance.

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