Human-AI collaborated horror stories.
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‘ When I heard the phone ring again, I ran to the stairs. As I was running down the stairs, I started to hear crying. I shone my phone around the corner of the staircase and saw the crying baby getting closer. I crawled over to it and kicked it as hard as I could. The crying from the stairs turned into a soft metallic sound.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ The doctors said that he had been bound to another hospital for some time after the doctor had called him a nurse. He had to restrain himself from the pain and the fact that he was determined to be injured for a month. He was a man who was pregnant, of course, so that made him more powerful.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ I still have nightmares and I have been ignoring the lights and I have one last nightmare about my last dream. I wake up in a pool of blood and smell like a mouse from a storm and I am so sleepy I can't move, I can't move anymore. I let out a gasp and then I can hear out of nowhere THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ I remember his face in a look of horror, and it was agony and malice. I was trapped. I was trapped in this hospital bed.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ I tried to comfort him, but he said he was okay. It was all I could do to make him stop. I had a play mate and it had a lot of his playthings, but he was infected.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ I shook my head and stared at the man, approaching the tree. I smiled back, the same stare I saw in the field before. I saw something behind him that I didn’t quite understand. A pale face, or maybe a featureless, alien face.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ She fell to the floor from her cries and muttered a soft 'Come to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee'.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ I slowly moved my head away from the shower curtain, and saw the reflection of the face of a tall man who looked like he was looking in the mirror in my room. I still couldn't see his face, but I could just see his reflection in the mirror. He moved toward me in the mirror, and he was taller than I had ever seen. His skin was pale, and he had a long beard. I stepped back, and he looked directly at my face, and I could tell that he was being held against my bed.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ I would wake up at 4:00 AM and see the girl lying in my bed, her head down, looking down at me. I knew I was being held by her.’ Continue this story >>>

‘ My heart is beating so fast it is a bit shorter than my breathing. I think I’m being stalked. I don’t know what happened to me, or why I was scared of it, but I need to know why. I need to know what happened.’ Continue this story >>>


AI-powered trick or treat!

  • 2000 YEARS AGO

    Beginning of Everything

    The mysterious origin of Halloween traditions can be traced back to the ancient pagan festivals celebrated by Celts. The Celtic people marked the day as the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter. They believed the transition between the seasons opens a gate to the world of the dead.

  • 1000 YEARS AGO

    First Signs of Artificial Intelligence

    Eastern and Western Civilizations have scripted legends of human-made entities -- artificial beings capable of thinking, feeling, helping or harming others. These creatures would, in many stories, escape the controls of their creators, and gain knowledge and abilities beyond expectation.

  • 1816

    The Year Without Summer

    The spring of 1816 saw one of the strangest meteorological phenomena ever recorded: a never-ending winter. This resulted in three great writers locking themselves at a mansion at Lake Geneva. Mary Shelley, John William Polidori, and Lord Byron had a competition to see who could produce the scariest story ever written. And they all won. Shelley created Frankenstein; Polidori planted the seed of Vampirism; and Byron, in his poem Darkness, narrated by the last man on earth, produced the first example of the apocalyptic horror genre.

  • 1840

    First Computer Program Ever Written

    AI and Horror cross paths: Anne Isabella Milbanke, wife of Lord Byron (the founding father of modern Vampire literature) gives birth to Ada Lovelace, a pioneer in the history of computation. Ada would go on to write the world's first machine algorithm for an early computing machine that had until then existed only on paper.

  • 1930

    Horror Goes Pop

    1930s movie screens exploit like no other medium before, offering the emotional ride of getting scared in a dark room with strangers. Many movie hits, from Frankenstein, to Dracula, to The Mummy, to The Invisible Man, culminating in Werewolf in London, put horror front and center of how society decides to have a really good time ... spawning a creative and lucrative horror-making industry.

  • 1956

    Artificial Intelligence is Born

    The summer of 1956 -- this time, a hot one -- brings Marvin Minsky and other brilliant minds together at Darthmouth College. In an explosion of creativity, they plant the seeds of what Artificial Intelligence would become: developing programs able to beat humans at checkers, to do complex math; some of these machines were even able to formulate English sentences. Rumour went that the first sentences typed by a computer were "TRICK OR TREAT?"

  • 2016

    AI-Powered Horror Imagery

    For centuries, across geographies, religions, and cultures, people have tried to innovate ways of scaring one other. Creating a visceral emotion such as fear remains one of the cornerstones of human creativity. This challenge is especially important in a time in which we wonder what the limits of Artificial Intelligence are: can machines learn to scare us?

    In Halloween 2016, we presented the Nightmare Machine: AI-generated scary imagery, where we collected over 2 million votes from people all over the world. Nightmare Machine is among the first AI projects that tackles a specific challenge: can AI not only detect but induce extreme emotions (such as fear) in humans? (read more about the Nightmare Machine at media including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, FiveThirtyEight and more!)

  • 2017

    AI-Powered Horror Stories

    This Halloween, we present Shelley: the world's first collaborative AI Horror Writer! Shelley is a deep-learning powered AI who was raised reading eerie stories collected from r/nosleep. Now as an adult, and not unlike Mary Shelley - her Victorian idol - she takes a bit of inspiration in the form of a random seed, or a short snippet of text, and starts creating stories emanating from her creepy creative mind. But what Shelley truly enjoys is to work collaboratively with humans, learning from their nightmarish ideas, creating the best scary tales ever. If you want to work with her, just respond to the stories she would start every hour on her Twitter account, and she will write with you the first AI-Human horror anthology ever put together!

    Read human-AI collaborated stories at


Pinar Yanardag

Post-doc at Scalable Cooperation, MIT Media Lab

Manuel Cebrian

Research Manager at Scalable Cooperation, MIT Media Lab

Iyad Rahwan

Associate Professor at Scalable Cooperation, MIT Media Lab


Special thanks to: Selem Delul for helping with the web platform, Osvaldo Galeano and Mason Kortz from Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic for their legal assistance, and Meghan Murphy for creating the Shelley illustration, Micah Epstein for creating dynamic text posts on our Instagram page.

Finally, we would like to thank to r/nosleep community for creating amazingly creepy stories over the last 10 years!

Check out other projects from Scalable Cooperation! DeepMoji, Nightmare Machine, Moral Machine.
Washington Post: It lives! This nightmare machine writes bone-chilling tales

Time: Think AI Is Scary Already? This Software Writes its Own Horror Stories

Huffington Post: MIT Researchers Build Horror Story-Writing Machine

CBS : Artificial Intelligence Created To Write Horror Stories

The Guardian: Horror fiction by numbers: my not-so-shocking AI collaboration

New Scientist: Artificial intelligence tells nightmare-inducing tales of terror

Fortune: MIT Researchers Bring a Horror Fiction-Writing Robot Named Shelley to Life

Quartz: MIT researchers trained AI to write horror stories based on 140,000 Reddit posts

Engadget: AI can write surprisingly scary and creative horror stories

Newsweek: These Horror Stories Created by Artificial Intelligence Are the Stuff of Nightmares

See more on Google News.


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