By Michelle Tian
I’ve recently learned I have absolutely no self-control.
I already knew that, but I never knew how bad it was until I was introduced to true crime — the beginning of a self-destruction cycle.
On the first day of 2020, I stumbled upon a YouTube documentary about the vanishing of flight 370 — remember the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared without a trace back in 2014? It was a 25-minute, deep analysis video on that day and possible explanations for what happened.
The video was fantastic. I found myself so drawn in by the visuals, the language and the style. And the moment I finished watching, I was hungry for more.
The next day, a Buzzfeed Unsolved video popped up on my feed: “The Disturbing Murders at Keddie Cabin.” I immediately clicked on it, completely ignoring the title and only seeing it as another “true crime” installment.
I watched all twenty minutes of it. And yes, it made me pretty uncomfortable, but I felt fine at the moment and thought I could go about my day as usual. That was a stupid assumption, given I watched the video in the comfort of broad daylight and with the company of family members.
The day went on, and nothing happened until sunset when I almost passed out trying to go to the bathroom alone. The darkness scared the absolute s— out of me because I couldn’t stop imagining the murder scene the video described. So I called my mom. Yes, I called my mom so she could watch me while I went to the bathroom. God, I’m feeling second-hand embarrassment just typing this.
It didn’t get better the next day. In fact, I think it got worse because I had the entire night to dwell on it and think about how disturbing the entire case was. I needed to stay away from not only this case but from true crime in general. I had to restrain myself from searching up any more details, even if it was intriguing.
But guess what my dumb ass did?
I searched up more details. I read the case’s entire Wikipedia page and learned how the bodies had been found, what they had been doing hours before their death and what the possible theories were.
That was a mistake — the biggest and also most stupid mistake I’d ever made.
That self-destructive cycle continued for about three more days until I literally could not be in a room by myself without whipping my head back every five seconds. I finally stopped watching true crime because I knew I couldn’t take more, and get this: It took me two months to recover. Going back to Boston University made it easier because I was always surrounded by people, but two months is a very time.
It’s been more than a year since that very stupid decision, and my love for true crime has only grown. I don’t know if that’s something to be proud of, but I’ve watched almost all of the most popular Buzzfeed Unsolved videos. I’ve watched enough that they no longer scare me too much, but the fear is still there when I’m lying in my room, in the dark, alone.
I’m currently debating whether I should watch the Elisa Lam documentary on Netflix. If you’ve heard of it — and you probably have — then you know just how creepy the case is. I know all the facts and saw the footage, but I have no doubt watching the documentary will still scare the s— out of me.
As I said, I have no self-control. So, I’ll probably give in at some point and add to this cycle of self-destruction. I blame myself, but if these videos weren’t all so damn intriguing, then maybe I’d have saved myself from a lot of sleepless nights.