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The Backrooms: what are these scary myth-like places created on the Internet?

If you’ve ever found yourself walking through these hallways of yellow lights (either in dreams or in real life), you’ve probably been in the Backrooms.

If you have spent enough time on the Internet, then you surely have read about the Backrooms: a mysterious place with yellowish walls, cold and artificial lighting, and endless corridors that remind us of an abandoned office or the lonely cellars of furniture stores. Some claim to have been there, lost among labyrinthine corridors that are accessed in mysterious ways (like when you get lost in a supermarket, circulate among hundreds of identical houses as in Vivarium, or even while sleeping, in a dream). But what exactly are the Backrooms, do they really exist, or are they just a legend from the Internet?

What are The Backrooms?

To begin with, the Backrooms are so called because they are kind of rooms that are located behind normal places. Some people say they were there in their childhood. Remember when you accompanied your mom to that huge department store and ended up wandering its aisles full of racks and shelves, thinking that you were going to stay there forever? Well, it’s like this.

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In real life, the legend emerged from 4chan in 2019, where a user uploaded pictures of half-empty and disturbing places, and someone added the following warning:

“If you are not careful and step out of reality in the wrong areas you will end up in the Backrooms, where there is nothing but the smell of the damp carpet, the madness of monochromatic yellow, the endless buzzing of fluorescent lights, and approximately six hundred million randomly segmented square miles in which you can get trapped. God forbid if you hear something wandering around because you can be sure it already heard you.”

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From that post, where other people shared their own images of liminal spaces (those that serve as a transition and that we only visit in passing, which also evokes feelings of melancholy, loneliness, and nostalgia), the Backrooms became one of the main examples of urban legends created by a huge online community. People added stories of different levels, sublevels, and creatures that appear in that place, as well as ways to survive and return to reality.

And where did the Backrooms come from? There are multiple theories developed by enthusiasts of this creepypasta tale: some say it is an alternate reality, known as “shattered reality,” which was created during the Big Bang and coexists with our universe; others claim it’s a simulation to which some people are taken without knowing it. Another theory with more religious overtones says that the Backrooms are hell itself, and one more says they are a collective lucid dream. Whether they are real or not, the Backrooms are one of the most famous creepypastas because, in some way, we all feel that we have been there.

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Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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