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The Legend of Dead Bart and the Creepypasta Universe

Updated on June 6, 2014
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

ay caramba!
ay caramba! | Source

The following tale is “true.” How do I know? It was told to me by a friend of a friend who happened to have received this disturbing news via a chain e-mail from a friend of a friend. It goes as follows:

A fan discovered a terrible secret about his favorite show. A missing episode existed somewhere in the far reaches of the Internet. Frantically, he searched for it.

First, he viewed every available DVD collection of each season to see if this hidden episode nicknamed “Dead Bart” had been included as a bonus feature. When he couldn’t find it there, he turned to the Internet and perused the various alt.binaries, chat-rooms, forums, and fan blogs to find this elusive gem. Although, he hadn’t found the actual footage, he managed to get some tantalizing and shocking details about it.

From what he gathered, the creators and producers of the show didn’t want anyone to know that it existed. However, some sites reported that one producer was giving out an Internet address for this particular episode.

After a lengthy quest to get the producer to reveal details of this episode, the fan finally received the link to the site.

But, victory soon turned to horror when he realized what he was watching. “Dead Bart was unusual and creepy. It depicted the death of the rambunctious yellow-haired prankster and the prolonged lamenting of his family. This was not exactly the type of high-jinks fun the show was known for. Also, there was more to it.

At the end of the episode, before the closing credits, a superimposed list of celebrity names flashed on the screen. This was no ordinary list, however. It had the names and dates of celebrities who would – and will – be guest voice-overs throughout the years. But to add one more notch to the creep level of this episode, it was accompanied by the dates of these celebrities’ untimely deaths.

As bizarre as this sounds, it's actually part of an urban legend known as “creepypasta.”

So, let’s not have a cow, man!

What is Creepypasta?

Creepypasta is a form of story telling that was once the domain of Internet chat-rooms. Lately, it has been gaining traction in the general population as some of the characters created through this medium have been used in other forms of media.

It is part of the modern mythos known as Urban Legends. These forms of mythologies or folktales are stories or rumors perceived to be true and passed on from one person or another (aka, “friend of a friend of a friend”). Sometimes, the stories are true. Most often they’re either exaggerations of real events or complete fabrication.

Another influence on creepypasta is fan fiction. In this form, “fans” write their own stories involving their favorite characters. Popular story franchises such as Star Trek and Star Wars have inspired lucrative cottage industries of published novels, short stories, and blogs created by fans.

Creepypasta takes it a few steps further. It combines popular culture with Internet technology to tell a horror story. Usually, the writers are anonymous and will either post them on websites such as Creepypasta.wiki or through forums at various fan-based blogs. In some cases, they are circulated to the public through chain e-mails. In a rare case, an author’s name is attached to them (albeit a pseudonym).

How Dead Bart Was Born

According to the myth, “Dead Bart” was first aired on TV in 1988; however, many researchers have traced the earliest evidence of the episode to 2010 when it was mentioned on the notorious Internet forum, 4chan.

Some blogs claim that the producers intentionally erased it after its first airing and replaced its original production number with an episode focusing on Lisa Simpson, Bart’s cerebral sister.

In true urban legend fashion, however, the details of this story get murky with each telling. Still, many accounts have some similar traits, such as:

  1. The story was created exclusively by one person, The Simpson’s original creator, Matt Groening.

  2. The artwork is slightly altered. The characters have small alterations to their physical appearance, or the drawing of the characters and scenes are crude.

  3. The producers will not talk about it. Several versions claimed that fans at a Simpson Convention attempted to accost the producers into dispensing details about the story. Often, they relented, ignored the plea, or became caustic.

  4. The listing of guest celebrities’ date on the show, along with the one showing their deaths.

  5. The episode has been erased or hidden from the public, never to be aired on TV, again.

Dead Bart "Recreation"

The “Recreated” Video

Although the episode doesn’t exist (or hasn’t proven to have existed), Creepypasta Wiki has a supposed recreation of “Dead Bart.” The four-minute, static, blurred, and nearly unwatchable version splices various scenes from the TV show including a Halloween special in which Bart dies. It didn’t show a death list at the end, but viewing it will kill your vision – and your patience.

A Typical Dead Bart Story

The most popular version of Dead Bart comes from Creepypasta-Wiki. In it, Matt Groening, the creator of show, becomes the pivotal character. It starts off with his decision to create write, illustrate, and produce it on his own. This move, however, doesn’t sit well with production crew.

The story can be told in the following manner:

Groening was acting strange during the production. He was “very quiet, and seemed nervous and morbid,” one member of his production crew stated. His behavior disturbed many involved in the episode’s creation. They described him as a man possessed by demons.

The episode, known under production number 7G06, was aired in 1988. To the horror of the production crew it was unlike anything they would have created. To top it off it was far too serious for a comedy.

After its initial airing the production company decided that it shouldn’t be shown ever again. As part of the decision to do this, they agreed to keep everything about it a secret, including Groening’s strange behavior and the episode’s title. Also, they changed the production number. The original number would be used for another episode to keep “Dead Bart” hidden from the public.

That should have resolved the problem; however, Years later, rumors began to circulate that "Dead Bart" had resurfaced. Somebody had recorded it from TV when it first aired and later put it on the Internet at an undisclosed link.

Among those who got wind of it was an avid fan. This particular fan had seen all the official episodes. Thus, naturally, his interest was piqued by the rumor.

The fan went through the motions of finding the episode only to be frustrated. His luck changed however when he attended a Simpson convention in which the producer, David Silverman had a speaking engagement. Could he help solve this mystery? It was a chance the fan had to take.

The fan’s quest, however, was nearly derailed. During a Q&A session, one patron asked about the lost episode. The stiff-lipped Silverman ended the session and stormed off the stage.

Although momentarily dissuaded by this, the fan pressed on. He managed to find Silverman backstage and confronted him. Although, Silverman was dismissive and appeared be hasty in leaving, he gave the intrepid fan a scrap of paper with web address on it.

Silverman also warned the fan: “keep it a secret.”

At home, the fan got onto the computer and typed in the website. To his dismay, the computer seemingly had a melt-down. Angry and disappointed he wondered if Silverman gave him a link to a virus.

However, a moment later “Dead Bart” started playing, and immediately, he knew something wasn’t “right” about the episode. The drawing was crude, the voices were slightly altered, and the characters – especially Bart -- were slightly uncharacteristic. Homer seemed angrier, Marge seemed depressed, Lisa seemed anxious, Bart seemed to have genuine anger and hatred for his parents.

In the episode, the Simpsons were on a plane trip. In typical Bart fashion, he was fooling around. However, he broke a window on the plane, got sucked out, and fell to his death. At this point, the episode took a dark turn. The first act closed on a close-up of Bart’s barely recognizable corpse.

Act 2 opened with prolonged lamenting. Marge, Homer, and Lisa (oddly, Maggie was never mentioned throughout the account) cried uncontrollably at the kitchen table. As the act progressed, the animation decayed until the characters couldn’t be recognized.

The lamenting continued into the final act (an insert indicated, that a year had passed. Finally, after being emaciated, disheveled and – of course – grief-stricken, the family head to Bart’s grave. They stood before it and continued to wail. Oddly, Bart’s body was on top of the grave, lying in front of his tombstone.

As the camera zoomed away, the infamous list appeared. The names and dates of celebrities’ appearance and death dates were written on the tombstone. Names such as Michael Jackson and George Harrison were among the most notable.

In the final scene, according to this version, the Simpsons are shown seated on the couch – as they often do so in the show’s intros – drawn in “hyper realistic, lifeless style of Bart’s corpse (Creepypasta, 2012).”

The episode left the fan shaking. Immediately he placed a filter on the address and threw away the paper with the link on it.


Source

Final Thoughts

The story was meant to be written as a horror story. And, in many respects, that’s all one needs to know about the supposed existence of the Dead Bart episode.

Also, it needs to be noted that Silverman has been giving Q&A session at various functions for years (including one this author attended at Cal State Fullerton). He was usually accessible and was never presented with any questions pertaining to the lost episode. Then again, that was more than 20 years ago. And it is possible that he had been asked about it in later years. As for him storming off stage (if he did at all) after being asked about it, can be plausible. Although one gets the impression he’s just getting tired of being questioned about it.

The likelihood is that the production crew is aware of this creepypasta tale. Since, the Simpson combines satire and parody, along with a few gags; one wouldn’t be surprised that they may create their own version of “Dead Bart” in the future (or at least allude to it).

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*Alternate Version*

An “alternate” version exists. It is shorter, and has a recreation of “Dead Bart”. It ends with a warning, too: “I only hope that, by posting this, I can impress upon others the horror that is 7G06. If you ever have an opportunity to see the REAL Dead Bart; don’t!”

© 2014 Dean Traylor

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