Evolution of Horror Films Through the Decades

Written by: Katelyn Joshy (21-U1), Naja Thorup Kristofferson (22-A6), Vernice Tan (22-U1)

Designed by: Sophia Chiang (22-O1)


When one thinks of horror movies, the first thing that comes to mind would likely be something similar to the Michael Myers mask from Halloween, the Scream mask or something in the same vein. However, the world of horror and thrillers is much more varied than you would expect, finding its footing through the decades with changing societal expectations and the constant redefinition of what scary is all about.

In this article, we will be listing and reviewing 3 of the most culturally significant horror movies in chronological order, from the 1960s to the 2000s, depicting the impact they had on society, along with the impact society had on them before evaluating them as a whole

  1. Psycho (1960) by Alfred Hitchcock

The 1960s was a time full of change and shifts in culture. Prior to this film, many horror or thriller-based films revolved around elements of the supernatural or monsters. Examples include films like Frankenstein (1931) and The Invisible Man (1933). Psycho marked a cultural shift towards more daring and gritty topics, creating the element of horror through the familiar. 

Psycho presents the story of an office worker, Marion Crane, who is trusted by her employer to bank $40,000. She sees this as an opportunity to get away and start a new life, leaving town and heading over to her lover’s store in California. Tired after the long drive and getting caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into the Bates Motel, run by a quiet and soft spoken man named Norman Bates.

In one of the most iconic movie scenes in history, Marion is hacked to death in the shower by a barely visible old woman. It is later understood that this old woman is supposedly Norman’s mother, however, it is later revealed that she died in a murder-suicide 10 years prior. Norman killed her and her lover out of jealousy, recreating her as an alternate personality called “Mother” that killed any woman that Norman fancied. “Mother” was simply Norman dressed in an old dress and wig, in complete delusion and with violent tendencies. 

The subject matter and graphical violence shown in this film were revolutionary for the time it was shown. In fact, it was shot in black and white simply because Hitchcock knew that it would not get past censorship if it were shot in colour. It sparked a revolution in cinema, which saw a shift from classical and fantastical to violent and gritty. A shift from where evil was seen in the form of disfigured and ghastly monsters to perfectly normal-looking people, like Norman Bates.  The film pushed the limits of the strict film censorship rules known as the Motion Picture Production Code.

 Hitchcock used the power of suggestion to skirt past the code, using black and white to show the blood going down the shower drain. Despite being known for its depiction of sex and violence, the film never shows complete nudity nor the actual slashing of the knife.

While it may seem tame to audiences of the present, it was highly shocking to those of the 60s. With a jarringly unique villain and the shocking level of violence for that time, cinema was never the same since its release.

  1. The Shining (1980) by Stanley Kubrick 

The Shining (1980) is the cinematic adaptation of the best-selling novel by renowned author Stephen King. The Shining today is a well-known horror classic, having inspired many subsequent horror movies with everything from plot to filming techniques. Society’s fascination with this movie can be seen from the countless references to it in different media, the creation of popular Halloween costumes inspired by the movie and even memes of the famous line by Jack Nicholson: “Here’s Johnny!”.

The Shining is about the stay of a family at the infamous Overlook Hotel. Jack Torrance, a struggling writer, is able to secure a job as the winter caretaker of this hotel in Colorado, and brings his wife Wendy and their son Danny with him. When they arrive at the old yet grand hotel, it is evident just how isolated it is. It also becomes clear to the viewers that Danny has telepathic abilities, also known as his “shine”, as he is able to see both past and future visions of events. This also includes the terribly gruesome counts of familicide and suicide that occurred in the past at this hotel. As time passes and Jack’s writing fails to take off, combined with the creepy supernatural powers at play at this seemingly haunted hotel, he slowly spirals into madness and eventually tries to kill his family.

While the combination of cold winter isolation, shady characters and a child with supernatural abilities at the setting of previous gruesome murders seem just the ingredients needed for the perfect horror movie concoction, the director Stanley Kubrick also went against what was normally considered integral parts of horror at the time. For example, a significant part of the movie takes place during day time and not at night where the dark would have helped to build the creepy and unsettling atmosphere that most viewers are used to when watching horror movies. The use of gore is also relatively tame compared to other movies at the time. Instead of portraying over-the-top graphic violence usually associated with horror, it still manages to capture the feeling of “horror” and unease by adopting a slow build-up of apprehension and the feeling of impending doom. This also influenced the landscape of horror movies that followed as many of them would draw inspiration from ‘The Shining.’

‘The Shining’ however is not just a story of fatal cabin fever, it encompasses much more. Early in the movie, the history of the hotel is briefly mentioned – it was built on a Native burial ground and many of the past guests that had come to stay at the hotel met harrowing ends. This can be seen from the multiple encounters with ghosts throughout the movie by the different characters. For example, the two twin girls that little Danny runs into, are the daughters of Charles Grady, a previous hotel caretaker who killed them and his wife during their stay at the hotel. 

The theme of reincarnation is also suggested throughout the movie. When Jack is having a drink at the bar, he makes small talk with the ghost butler Delbert Grady who tells Jack that he has “always been the caretaker”. Even more chilling is the final shot of what appears to be Jack inside the ballroom of the hotel in 1921, which is around 50 years prior to the timeline in the movie (1970s).

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With both aspects of horror, the real and supernatural, covered in the movie, what is the message behind it? Is it to showcase the sinister horrors humans can inflict on their own families? That we should avoid haunted places at all costs?

People have been studying this movie for decades after its release, exploring the established recurring themes of madness, the supernatural, twisted and abusive family relations etc. So did Jack simply go bonkers or was he possessed by an evil spirit of the hotel? Did the awful crimes of building on a burial ground and cruelly driving out Native Americans while doing so, doom the hotel and its visitors? I think the fact that viewers can interpret for themselves is what makes the Shining so captivating.

  1. Zodiac 

David Fincher’s 2007 film follows the true crime story of the infamous Zodiac Killing Spree (carried out by the elusive Zodiac killer) that terrorised America in the 1960s. The film has been praised to be one of the most historically accurate true crime films, getting several notable details of the actual case down. These include the eyewitness testimony by the Zodiac’s only surviving victim, Micheal Mageau and a meeting between an alleged murder suspect and the lead investigator.  

The Zodiac killer was portrayed as an attention seeker which is highly unusual. In most cases, killers tend to silently commit their crimes and fade into the background. However, the Zodiac has persistently tried to make himself known and feared in the California Bay Area since day one. From sending the San Francisco Chronicle numerous letters detailing the evidence of his murders to audaciously calling the police to report his own murders and even calling into a live broadcast; The Zodiac has spared no opportunity to bask in the “limelight”. 

The Zodiac is seen to be a menacing figure with pinpoint precision for his targets. The killer singled out San Francisco writers, Paul Avery and Robert Graysmith by calling up their home landlines and even sending death threats to their offices. The killer is extremely calculative, leaving behind zero evidence- so much so he can openly mock the police’s failed attempts to catch him, calling them the “blue pigs”. These actions drive home the narrative that the Zodiac is not your run-of-the-mill murder, but an ominous force that’s not to be trifled with. Finally, the film makes it a point to never tell the story from the perspective of the Zodiac himself, with audiences never having a face to pin on the crimes. This emphasises the maddening reality of the ever-elusive identity of the killer and the presently unsolved nature of this case. 

All in all, the Zodiac is a captivating piece that tells the tragic story of young lives lost at the hands of a cold-blooded killer. While the Zodiac mirrors similar levels of psychopathy as the killers of the first two films, some may argue this film is the most chilling one of all given it’s based on real-world events.

‘Clout Chasing’

Written by: Tan Ken Shin (22-A2)

Designed by: Alexia Teo (22-U1)


Social media is an integral part of our lives in modernity and has been ever since its exponential success stemming from the 2000s. However, malevolent social media usage has led to a detrimental ‘syndrome’ especially common amongst youths of today, ‘clout chasing’. ‘Clout chasing’ in itself is not a true word, it is a term coined by internet users that refers to actions done by people who project a superficial version of themselves to garner attention on social media to become ‘popular’. When these actions are taken to the extreme, they begin to endanger the lives of people and even threaten the peace of society.  This essay will underline how exactly clout chasing came about, why it’s a problem and steps that can be taken to mitigate such behaviour in the future. 

The Origins of Clout Chasing

After the introduction of social media platforms in the early 2000s, with the first-ever industrial titan being MySpace, earning over a million active users in 2004, the use of social media began to expand and influence the masses, becoming an increasingly crucial part of daily life. A feature of social media that would eventually lead to clout chasing was the introduction of the ‘like’ system, a household name in modern times. The ‘like’ system was first birthed in 2009 on FaceBook, where it was then called the ‘Awesome’ button. The system involves users pressing a ‘like’ button to indicate their interest in the content posted, where the larger the number of likes, the greater amount of traction this would cause. The ‘like’ button, being a way to entice users to post and interact more with the platforms, was a massive success, and was implemented in a myriad of other social media platforms such as Instagram and Youtube, where it is even called ‘upvotes’ on Reddit. 

Unfortunately, the ‘like’ system would turn out to be the catalyst for clout chasing. Due to the nature of the posts usually deciding how much traction it would get, where more ‘shocking; or ‘unnatural’ posts would gain more popularity. It is human nature to be attracted to things that shock you. Furthermore, celebrities on the internet have a massive fanbase leading to them having tremendous amounts of likes in their posts. For example, Ariana Grande’s photos from her wedding with Dalton Gomez on Instagram still stand at a whopping 26.5 million likes. 

Instagram post from Ariana Grande of her wedding with Dalton Gomez.

Therefore, in an effort to emulate the popularity of these celebrities or even just desiring attention for personal gratification, users of social media resort to performing outlandish and even dangerous acts in an effort to draw attention, where these acts are often not in character for the person in question, merely an attempt to get likes. In 2016, the phrase ‘clout chaser’ became a derogatory term used to describe people on social sites that are shallow and desperate to gain followers and become famous, and also to criticise “fake” people that pretend to be something in order to get more attention. Thus, the term ‘clout chasing’ was born. 

Why is it an issue?

This begs the question, why is clout chasing harmful? What makes it so wrong to desire attention? I believe that while it isn’t inherently bad to desire popularity and attention, the methods you take to get there are the points of contention. In the case of clout chasing, which is primarily evident in teens and youths, their still-developing brains lead to them not fully comprehending the gravity and consequences of their actions, only narrow-mindedly seeing the goal ahead of them. This means the extent they would go to to get a popular post would venture into dangerous waters, where their actions could be fatal to themselves and others. With increasing social media influence, this trend will undeniably rise in the future, leaving humanity and the next generation of society in a precarious position. 

A stellar example of this would be Timothy Wilks, a relatively young 20-year-old in Tennessee. He aspired to become a youtube sensation by pranking others in his videos. In 2021, as part of one of the pranks that he hoped to gain traction, he filmed himself invading the home of a family with a mask and butcher knife in hand, threatening to kill them. As any rational parent would do to protect the lives of their loved ones, they shot him with a gun in self-defence, killing him. This undoubtedly traumatised not only both families and relatives of the involved parties, but also the friends and fans of Timothy. This news spread like wildfire, prompting polarising opinions on who was in the right here, where eventually all blame fell on social media influence and the severity of clout chasing. 

A screenshot from a commentary video from youtube content creator penguinz0 going over the incident.

Thus, this shows just how detrimental clout chasing is when left unmoderated, leading to loss of life in this extreme circumstance despite the perpetrator actually bearing no ill intent. Thus, clout chasing is a problem and must be stopped as it threatens the peace and security of our society.

How can We Reduce this Behaviour in the Future?

It is not very well researched how exactly to prevent the influence of social media on youths that may lead to clout chasing, as in today’s ever-so-digitalized society it is extremely difficult to prevent children from gaining access to the internet. However, I believe one method to combat clout chasing would be through public education. Governments can implement curriculum changes to include education regarding internet usage, and how to properly identify harmful influences or online behaviour. For example, lessons could be taught to youth regarding clout chasing, teaching students not to fall into its rabbit hole. Currently in Singapore, the Ministry Of Education attempts to do this by introducing “Character and Citizenship Education” (CCE) into Primary and Secondary schools, which aims to imbue proper moral values and knowledge of the outside world, covering a range of topics such as relationships, internet use and street smarts, to name a few. 

Yio Chu Kang primary school showcasing their students in CCE lessons. 

However, this does not mean clout-chasing behaviour has been completely eradicated in Singapore, as cases still pop up from time to time. One of such would be the Zoo incident last year in 2021, where a 19-year-old teenage boy filmed a video on TikTok, a social media platform,  of him trespassing and backflipping into the Rhinoceros enclosure in the Singapore Zoo, which was undoubtedly extremely dangerous.

Video on Tiktok uploaded by the friends of the boy who trespassed, making light of the situation. 

Thankfully, these cases are few and far between, showing an overall success in Singapore’s efforts to adequately educate youths on the dangers of the internet. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, I believe clout chasing to be a part of human nature to desire companionship, through attention. However, when one indulges too far into their desires, a danger is posed to not just them, but society at large too. In order to mitigate this, I believe governments should take this matter more seriously and invest more efforts into mitigating the issue, as if left to prevail, our future generations will undeniably suffer. I sincerely wish that in the future, users of the internet will be more aware of its influence and use it properly to benefit their lives, not endanger it. 

The Ethics of True Crime Entertainment

Written by: Kim Sooahn (22-A6), Alexia Teo (22-U1) 

Designed by: Rebecca Yap (22-O1)


Since before the birth of modern media, our pull towards the morbid has stood undaunted. The development of criminal justice together with the spread of the printing press in the 1600s brought forth writings centred around true crime. Back then, they often had a didactic touch and underlined various religious values. 

With the rise of broadcast and social media starting in the 60s, this phenomenon seems to be bolstered. Now, a whole media genre has cemented around it: true crime entertainment.

The roots of the true-crime entertainment scene as we know it can be traced to Truman Capote’s 1965 non-fiction novel “Cold Blood”. Its success prompted a movie adaptation to be made and displayed the profit-making ability of the genre and paved the way for the audiovisual representation of true crime. 

These days, the production of true crime entertainment has become more decentralised. Platforms like YouTube and even TikTok have served to ensure this. 

Content creators detailing gruesome incidents and events while partaking in mundane tasks like putting on makeup have become a common sight; even a source of disbelieving derision. Some big names on Youtube such as Buzzfeed have even come up with their own twist to True Crime mysteries such as the Buzzfeed Unsolved series where the hosts come up with theories to solve cold cases throughout history. Podcasts have also sprung forward, which many ironically listen to while seeking relaxation and peace. Notable Podcasts include Serial in which the hosts take a deep dive into the true crime scene for podcasts and lay the foreground for many podcasts to follow. That is not to say that big names have not boarded the true crime entertainment wave. Netflix has gotten big names like Zac Efron involved in true crime adaptations such as Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. These adaptations that often feature sensationalism and attractive actors aimed at maximising profit tend to desensitise viewers to the true atrocity and horrors of crimes. 

Not only do content creators use true crime as a platform to gain views, but many news outlets also need the viewership hence they use these true crimes to attract more viewers and gain more attention. True crime tends to get higher viewership as the titles are seemingly more entertaining than the others. With the general public’s disdain for violence and crimes, it will garner a lot of attention thus allowing the company to gain more recognition and money. News outlets tend to show support against these true crimes and other publishers also start to follow suit. One notable example is when the New York Times published a detailed investigation into allegations of sexual harassment hence being recognised as one of the defining early movements of the #MeToo movement. After that movement, a flooding number of publishers wrote about the movement, starting a trend. 

The inundation of true crime productions has contributed to its normalisation and caused viewers and followers to treat fresh and developing crime with distance instead of empathy. This can be observed in recent court cases like Heard v Depp, which took social media by storm. Memes, inappropriate edits, and insensitive hashtags flooded the Internet even before an actual verdict was confirmed. That which should have been a semi-private and solemn proceeding was quickly transformed into an international and hotly-discussed debacle through social media. 

The overt publicising of court cases and criminal investigations even before they conclude can cause the court of public opinion to make its premature conclusion, and may inadvertently cause biases in the processes and outcomes. 

In addition, a New York Times article discusses how the consumption of true crime entertainment can make the world seem more dangerous than it actually is (especially as crime rates seem to be following a downward trend). This in turn can lead to increased anxiety and fear among the vulnerable.

For the relatives of victims, unnecessary public speculation and scrutiny into their private lives can prevent them from seeking closure. The sensationalism of true crime can make viewers and followers feel detached from the victims and those involved. For example, years after the case of a man who was strangled in a Walmart parking lot, a Netflix documentary called I Am a Killer was created based on it, despite the family and friends of the victim pleading to abandon the project which was just ignored. The documentary decidedly portrays the victim’s murderer in a sympathetic light and is set for a third season. The ethics for this documentary was completely off as the family’s consent should be at the forefront for these adaptations to happen. There are many examples like these across true crime entertainment, where the victim’s family wishes were blatantly ignored. Instead, as these cases are retold, they have to relive this horrible moment over and over again. 

There have also been cases where true crime fans take it upon themselves to play detectives for more recent cases (like kidnappings) and do their own amateur research by diving into the social media profiles of victims. By reducing tragic events to games or quests for personal enjoyment and ignoring and intruding into the privacy of victims and families, fans often pose an obstacle to the healing and recovery of relatives. 

In addition to the victim’s family being affected, the general public is quick to turn everything on the media for their gain and entertainment. This is seen from Gabby Petito’s case. She is a woman who disappeared between 27 and 30 August 2021, and was later found deceased on 19 September 2021. There were millions of speculations on what could have happened to her with hashtags trending all over social media platforms such as TikTok. The surprising thing is how quickly people turned to consuming Prtito’s case as though it was entertainment, with the case being digested through social media posts made in pastels and in trending TikTok sounds. Petito is a real person who was confirmed dead and there are millions of people who are digging into her private life to find details as if they were detectives themselves. 

On the other hand, experts often agree that a fascination with true crime is natural. It seems that the point of contention is the extent to which many true crime followers pursue their interest in cases. Although it is fine to watch and consume the genre, the average person must never forget their place as a mere viewer who lacks experience in investigative fields. As such, fans should refrain from insensitive accusations and speculations that could come up at the psychological and even legal cost to family members and victims. Behind the screen, we must never forget that there were and are real people who suffer from these crimes and we must treat these cases with due weight. 

The Rise of Reality Shifting (I MET DRACO MALFOY!!! I HAD A QUIRK!!! I WAS RICH AND SUCCESSFUL!!!)

Written by: Ashley Koh (21-A1)

Designed by: Sophia Chiang (22-O1)


Close your eyes. Breathe deeply, in and out, almost as if you’re falling asleep or meditating intently. Hold all the words you want to say in your mind, and start to construct the world you want to enter. And then, open the door. Before you, the towering halls of Hogwarts, or the volleyball courts of Haikyuu!!, or even the fields and Regency-era buildings of Bridgerton start to materialise. And to your heart’s surprise and excitement, the characters you love and cherish start to run towards you, treating you as one of them and bringing you around to sightsee. You spend 10 glorious months with them, living in this beautiful world that you never thought was possible. And then, reality comes crashing back down and you open your eyes. In the real world, only 10 minutes have passed. 

Congratulations, you just shifted realities.

The scenario described above is one that many, especially youths, have increasingly been searching for. “Shifting”, short for “reality shifting”, has become one of the most popular trends, especially in the past two years since 2020. But how on earth did it become so prevalent? What is the science behind it? And most importantly, should you hop on the bandwagon? 

What exactly is “reality shifting”? 

Based on the extract above, you still may not fully understand what is “shifting”. So let me explain it a little more clearly.

“Shifting” is grounded in the idea of the “multiverse” (yes, the same “multiverse” that so many comics talk about, albeit less flashy and dramatic). Its origins trace back to the 1st century, when philosopher Chrysippus spoke about his belief that multiple universes existed, and this was expanded upon by mathematician and University of Cape Town professor George Ellis, who similarly talked about his belief, and summarised the concept as “there is a multitude of parallel universes, in which things unfold differently and which we are not usually able to perceive or see due to our limited cosmic vision.” It is this very concept of the “multiverse”, that “shifting” derives its entire premise from. 

Thus, “shifting” is best described as the practice of shifting your consciousness from your present plane of reality (known as “Current Reality” and abbreviated to “CR) to the reality you wish to travel to (known as “Desired Reality” and abbreviated as “DR”). 

HOW IS SHIFTING DONE? 

Before we get into any debate and discussion about “shifting”, it’s important to understand (briefly) how shifting is done: 

Step 1: Script. Before shifting, it’s necessary to prepare. For many “shifters”, they write a “script” before they begin to shift. The contents of these scripts can vary from person to person, though common elements include basic parts of worldbuilding like your name, age, and various other traits in the DR (including superpowers for Marvel, Hogwarts house for Harry Potter). Another aspect of the script includes safety measures: “shifters” will make sure they add “I cannot die.” and/or “I cannot get permanently injured” as ways to ensure their safety within the DR. Some even go so far as to add non-safety-related parts, such as “I have infinite money” etc. “Scripting” seems not to be necessary, although it aids with the visualisation and worldbuilding, which are imperative to the practice. 

Step 2: This step differs for many, as it can either be “dreaming” or “awake” shifting. For those who choose to shift through dreaming, they would first fall asleep, then try to control their consciousness during the dream in order to shift, similar in premise to lucid dreaming. For those who shift while “awake”, meditation is usually employed in order to reach this same state of physical unconsciousness and mental consciousness. 

Step 3: Shift. Though it may seem a logical step to follow step 2, this step can be incredibly difficult for “shifters” to achieve, especially for beginners. Getting ready to shift does not translate automatically to shifting, again similar to lucid dreaming, but when the “shifters” do succeed, this results in “reality shifting”. 

After this quick understanding of how “reality shifting” works, let’s dive into what made shifting the phenomenon it is today. 

The Rise of Reality Shifting 

“Shifting” as a practice doesn’t seem to have a clear origin. Its roots may lay in astral projecting, lucid dreaming, and other related practices, but by itself, “shifting” is not a phenomenon with a well-defined history. 

Nonetheless, that has not stopped it from becoming massively popular among the youths, especially those who use social media platforms like Instagram and (you guessed it) Tiktok. As with many of the newest mini cultural phenomena, Tiktok has also been responsible for the rise of “shifting”. 

As of this writing, the tag “shifting” has 10.8 billion views, showing the immense popularity of this practice. Videos under this tag often have more than a million views, which is no mean feat on a platform where millions of videos are uploaded a day. Indeed, due to Tiktok, awareness about “shifting”, and with it its myriad detractors and supporters, have become much more common, and conversations about it have begun at much faster rates. 

With all the hype about it, is there any science behind it? How does it actually work? 

Actual Science? Or Just Quack? 

Many people who criticise “shifting” have pointed to the fact that there is very little science to support the practice, and that it’s purely just lucid dreaming, or even simpler, just people imagining very creatively and thoroughly. 

However, some psychology experts actually disagree with these popular assumptions. For instance, psychologist Grace Warwick dubs shifting as a ‘transliminal experience’ which is believed to arise from one’s sensitivity to unconscious psychological material. Similarly, Dr Susan Martinez-Conde notes that the dissociation that reality shifting involves is not something unfamiliar to humans. “‘Our mental self dissociates all the time, such as when we read a book or watch a movie, leaving behind our physical reality to temporarily inhabit a literary or cinematic one. This is possible thanks to the vivid imagination that humans are equipped with, and this imagination is likely what enables one to ‘shift realities’”.

Indeed, many practices that shifters employ to “shift realities” include meditative practices where the mind seemingly becomes detached from reality, and affirmations to encourage the shifter to keep shifting, as seen in popular methods like the Raven method and the Julia method. The Train and Heartbeat methods are even more intense in their manifestations, with the first being a shifter manifesting a train carrying them to their desired reality, and choosing to consciously step into their DR off the train, and the second being the shifter imagining they are lying against the chest of someone from their DR and listening to their heartbeats. 

The methods do seem very manifestation and meditation based, both of which have tangible scientifically proven results. However, “shifting” itself has not undergone any rigorous scientific inquiry as to its authenticity and ability to provide results, and has so far been seen as an interesting psychological phenomenon bearing more study. 

And what about the claim of the “multiverse” that so many “shifters” believe in? What’s the science behind that? 

In spite of the fact that there is a lot of theoretical physics supporting this theory (which the author will not go into because I am extremely bad at physics), the multiverse theory is just that: a theory, based on many laws of physics that we currently have. As tempting as it may be to believe that the multiverse actually exists, “shifters” will have to be disappointed for now. 

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly 

With all this talk about “shifting”, and the science behind it, it’s about time we head into the questions that started off this article: What’s so bad about “shifting”? And is there anything good about it? 

“Shifting” seems like a good way of escapism. For those whose CRs are not so pleasant right now, “shifting” into their favourite fictional worlds, or even worlds where they want to be in can seem like a pleasant alternative. 

And for many, it is. “Shifting” provides a temporary respite from the stresses and pains of the modern world and reality, especially in times when we are suffering many catastrophic events happening at once. It’s no coincidence that the rise of “shifting” was around the same time the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping across the globe, with many teenagers stuck at home and no longer able to live the teenaged lives they were envisioning for themselves. For them, “shifting” became a way to temporarily forget all their troubles for a while, and go to a world where none of the traumas and hurts they were currently experiencing existed. 

However, there is an emphasis on “temporarily”. Indeed, many veteran “shifters”, as well as some psychological experts warn against “shifting” for too long and too often. “Shifting” is similar in that sense to other forms of escapism, like watching Netflix, playing video games, and even substance abuse. It can be highly addictive, especially because there is a strong attachment created between the “shifter” and the characters in their DRs, and it can be very easy to fall into the trap of simply “shifting” again and again, until it is hard to distinguish current reality from the fictional one. 

Additionally, the jarring contrast between the DR and CR can be intensely painful on a psychological level. Disappointment after coming back from the DR can quickly translate into feelings of depression and misery, further worsening the pain that the “shifter” can feel in their CR. That is the reason for those “I just came back from Hogwarts after 8 months, bring me back” crying videos that may have popped up on your For You Page. 

Furthermore, “shifters” themselves have garnered criticism from those not part of the community, with words such as “cringe” and even “cultish” levelled at them. And indeed, the sometimes excessive lengths “shifters” go to defend their community, and the practices they do can be extremely off-putting and even insulting to some. 

However, the intense criticism that “shifting” has garnered, seems to have been misdirected, and could possibly be attributed to the fact that the community is mostly made up of teenagers. Many trends that teenagers have liked have also garnered similarly negative portrayals from the outside community, and could explain the disproportionate backlash that is associated with “shifting”. 

Should You Shift? 

All in all, “shifting” is a trend that, like many others, may soon die out and be quickly replaced by others in the never-ending rinse-and-repeat cycle that so many social media platforms see themselves going through. 

Even so, should you start trying to “shift”? Frankly, it’s really up to you to decide. After all, despite all the scary claims in the previous section, “shifting” itself is a pretty harmless and even fun practice, if done in moderation. It can be similar to “roleplaying” or “lucid dreaming”, both of which are similarly enjoyable and bring little detriment to those who engage in them. 

Thus, if you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to bring a little more colour to your life and wanna try out those new manifestation techniques you’ve seen on Tiktok, go ahead! Just follow the steps above, and see you in the next world!

References: 

The Science Behind Reality Shifting | by Revathi Nair | Medium

Reality Shifting Methods: How to Shift Realities | Terravara

What is Reality Shifting? +21 Methods (Beginner Friendly) | By Subconscious Servant

What Is (And Isn’t) Scientific About The Multiverse | Forbes | Starts With A Bang