Have you ever seen a photo of what looks like an abandoned office building? Or maybe a clinic that looks like people left in a hurry? Or maybe you’ve seen videos of the now abandoned Discovery Island at Disney World or where Nickelodeon Studios used to thrive and is now desolate. If you follow any of the abandoned spaces TikTok accounts then you’re familiar with the setting as well as the ominous feeling you get just from looking at photos of these places, like the feeling that people should be there but aren’t. These places are referred to as ‘backrooms’, which is what we’re talking about today.
By its very definition, a backroom refers to a room sitting in the rear, or the meeting place of a directing group that exercises its authority in an inconspicuous and indirect way, but we’re talking about something a little different. And the place we’re talking about is just beyond our reality in a world of infinite yellow hallways and yellow rooms with damp, musty carpets, and buzzing fluorescent lights. There is a lot that is unknown about this reality you may slip, or rather “noclip” your way into, but one that we do know, it’s unlikely you’ll find your way out. At least not very easily.
Okay, also the backrooms aren’t real. You can’t just go visit them. (Not that you would want to because they are infinite and there are creatures that dwell within them, so yeah, count us out on all of that.) The backrooms actually originated from a two-paragraph comment on 4chan asking for “unsettling images”, and in true internet fashion, someone shared an image of exactly what we described, along with a story based on the photo. And in even truer internet fashion, people took it even farther. From video games to Youtube videos to entire TikTok accounts and even memes and podcasts, you don’t have to go far to end up in the backrooms which can best be described as “the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.” (source)
There are a number of levels when we’re talking backrooms, and we’ll elaborate briefly.
Level 0: This level is what we’ve been going on about, the OG photo, the yellow, the mildew, the lights.
Level 1: Level 1 backrooms are what the Level 0 backrooms become after you’ve wandered around them for a few days. They become dark and more industrial. You hear this distant whirring of mechanics and there are now puddles of water sitting around.
Level 2: Level 2 backrooms are one of the darkest levels of backrooms and you’ll notice service tunnels lining the walls. This level is reached after wandering the backrooms of Level 1 for long enough.
“Survivors” of the backrooms say the only way you can escape is to remain calm and that “only when the backrooms become your home can you depart.”