You’re walking down East Mall late one evening and feel someone watching you. You glance over your shoulder and swear that Buchanan Tower is a little closer than it was before. You walk faster.
Twitter account UBC Goth published their first tweet at the end of November, as the air grew colder and the days became shorter.
Since then, the account has pumped out a repertoire of eerily hilarious content highlighting the gothic side of campus, marrying a niche genre of literature with a broadly palatable, tongue-in-cheek sense of comedy. The consistency of the account’s morbid, sharp humour has made it UBC’s best new social media account, amassing a cult following in the process.
In spite of all that, the account’s creator said the account started largely by accident.
“I was bored during a stats lecture when I came up with the idea ... It was very unplanned,” they said in a Twitter message to The Ubyssey. “In a way, the account is a way for me to dramatize and poke fun at my own perspectives.”
The timing was prophetic — between the winter chill and the looming shadow of exams, campus felt dark in more ways than one.
“If I want to think about the void, sitting in the back row during a lecture and contemplating my future usually suffices,” joked Goth.
But between the approach of finals and the arrival of a dense, Stranger Things-esque fog, campus really did suddenly feel darker. The pristine walkway of Main Mall suddenly felt forsaken. The canvas around Martha Piper Fountain made it look less like a campus landmark and more like an abandoned construction site, and the hordes of sleep-deprived students milling out of IKB each night were zombies in all but biology.
“I wanted to capture the vaguely unsettling feeling of impending doom that seems to follow me around campus,” said Goth. “UBC is oddly inspirational in this sense.”
That might be the secret to UBC Goth’s cult following; their humour contains a nugget of disconcerting accuracy. The fog was creepy. This statue is scary as all hell. The eternal nature of campus construction is unnerving. We’ve gotten used to all of this because we see it every day — but at night, something changes that can make UBC an undeniably strange place.
Goth said their tweets are inspired by a range of whimsical gothic fiction — especially the famed Lemony Snicket’s children’s saga A Series of Unfortunate Events.
“Lemony Snicket remains one of my favourite authors,” said Goth. “I’d say he’s my biggest influence for this sort of thing.”
UBC Goth never seems to struggle for content. The account posts regularly, making observations on campus landmarks from Buchanan Tower to the Cairn that highlight a mysterious, whimsical and often downright creepy side of what is often considered the most beautiful campus in Canada.
“I’ll usually write down ideas that come to me throughout the day and turn them into tweets later,” said Goth. “I haven’t had any struggle coming up with content yet.”
The greatest mystery of all might be UBC Goth’s identity. Writers at The Ubyssey — who were among the first people Goth followed on Twitter — theorized that Goth might be among our staff or even our Coordinating Editor Jack Hauen, who was one of the first to retweet the account.
UBC Goth responded that, to their knowledge, no one knows of their identity.
“I don’t think anyone could ever guess who I am, mostly because hardly anyone knows who I am to begin with,” they wrote. “I’m very introverted and I generally keep to myself.”
Goth did express their surprise at the account’s modest success — although they’re unsure exactly what lies in the shadows for their new macabre project.
“I’m not sure what I expected to come of this account or where I want it to go,” admitted Goth.
“I wasn’t anticipating such an enthusiastic response, but it’s been a lot of fun.”