The Backrooms a real place? It originated from a creepy photo

The Backrooms

Ken Pixels’ YouTube page can transport you to an alternate dimension you previously didn’t believe existed or don’t want to exist: The Backrooms. The combined length of Backrooms videos on Ken’s page is a little over 30 minutes, but they’ve attracted millions of views, demonstrating that there’s plenty of life yet in the Backrooms lore. 

Backrooms in ordinary life are places where behind-the-scenes work happens, and despite not being at the forefront of operations, institutions would crumble without backrooms. 

The Backrooms in Ken’s videos are a place to be avoided, but like our real-life backrooms, they can’t simply be avoided or done away with. As we explore whether the backrooms is a real place, we’ll see that the story connects to the recesses of our minds in ways you didn’t think possible. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Backrooms is not real and was created by internet users looking for normal yet creepy locations. 
  • No one has found the site of the original backrooms photo. 
  • People have created multiple levels of the Backroom story, but some community members oppose those levels. 
  • The Backrooms sync to our memories but can also be metaphors depicting our daily lives. 

The Backrooms is not real and is a creation of 4chan users

The Backrooms started after a 4chan user asked people to post ‘unsettling images.’ An anonymous user posted the photo that would spark the Backrooms’ narrative – a picture of what seems to be an office with mono-yellow walls, fluorescent lights, and tan, carpeted floors. 

The 4chan user wanted images that seemed normal but felt oddly threatening – this weird office photo met that objective. There’s nothing strange about an office photo, but this one was rather unsettling, especially if you read the caption attached by another user. The caption read:

“If you’re not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you’ll end up in the Backrooms, where it’s nothing but the stunk of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in.”

The Backrooms

To make matters worse, you’ll need divine intervention ‘if you hear something wandering around nearby, because it sure as hell has heard you.’

The endless Backrooms stories spread from this crumb; a picture, a description, and a meme spawned the entire Backrooms universe. To be fair, the creator gave people approximately six hundred million miles of square miles to formulate their ideas of the Backrooms – it’ll take a while to fill that space. 

Perhaps the most crucial element of the Backrooms is how one gets into it: no clipping. The term arises from a video game glitch where a player can escape coded in physical restrictions. You continue playing the game but outside the intended area, often leading to dark discoveries. 

Noclip tears down the walls of reality and, in this story, sends you to a different realm dubbed the Backrooms. 

People have tried to find the actual location of the Backrooms, but no one has succeeded

The Backrooms exist in a different reality, we assume, but that original photo must have come from somewhere real. Or it was a computer-generated photo. 

Determined netizens have tried to find the location of the Backrooms photo for years. People have proposed various locations across the United States and Canada, but no one has found the place. 

No one has tried harder than YouTuber DavidCrypt to provide us with a location. He challenged people via Discord to find the office block and several people complied.

One user went to a site in Ogdensburg, New York, but the location didn’t match. David tried to determine whether the photo was a recreation but couldn’t make a definitive conclusion. However, he told YouTuber Billschannel in May 2020 that he believes the location exists: “We believe it is a real place. We believe that the Backrooms is a real place based off of the photo, but we cannot find a location.”

As determined internet sleuths drive into cul-de-sacs and hit dead ends, people have started believing that the Backrooms photo isn’t a real place but rather an art piece. Others opine that it might be both an art piece and a real photo. 

During the story’s development, people have posted photos of hallways, offices, and parking lots that create the sense of dread sparked by the first photo. Therefore, the origins of the first photo don’t really matter. 

Any weird or ominous image of a location, real or otherwise, that evokes dread – even when it usually wouldn’t – belongs to the Backrooms story. Finding the site would blow the minds of hardcore fans, but as time goes by and people create more levels, the original photo and location become increasingly obscure. 

The Backrooms have levels, and perhaps they do not 

The community is split on whether the Backrooms have levels. There are three significant canons of thought: The Backrooms have no levels, three levels, or infinite levels.

Proponents of the no-level theory insist there’s no need to complicate the lore. You can find them on r/TrueBackrooms on Reddit, where users focus and create stories based solely on the 4chan image. 

The most common level theory claims that the Backrooms have three levels, starting with Level 0, where one lands after no clipping. There’s a likelihood of going mad after figuring out that one exists in an endless void with moist carpets and humming fluorescent lights. 

Here one encounters hounds – human-like creatures that should be avoided by walking away quietly. A strange dark patch might represent a noclip zone that can transport you back to earth, the start of level zero, or a more sinister dimension where you’ll more than likely die. 

If you opt to stay, you’ll end up in Level 1, an area with concrete walls, frequent blackouts, bone-chilling noises, and more hounds. If they find you, the hounds will kill you, so you need to remain alert. 

In Level 3, the walls are narrower; the lights are brighter; the heat is debilitating. Once you get to this level, the only way to escape the Backrooms is to accept them as your home. Few have escaped, underlining the difficulty of accepting the new surroundings as home.

The next level theory extends the lore to infinity. Proponents of this theory have created different Backroom designs and formulated various backstories about the worlds they create. Kane Pixels is one of them.

He believes that people interpret the Backrooms differently and, therefore, have the license to create unique Backrooms narratives. For Pixels, the Backrooms are manifestations of his past. He told VICE:

“I mostly remember that time through little glimpses of memories here and there and then family photos. The flash is always on, the lighting is gross looking, there’s yellow walls, the white balance is all off.”

The Backrooms exist in everyone’s minds through memory or current experience

Before the age of internet gaming, people actually used to go outside – to shopping malls, parents’ offices, and parking lots. These locations form the basis of most Backrooms stories as they exist in the minds of people who visited them. 

Shopping malls, offices, and parking lots aren’t scary, but the fractured memories people have of them add an element of dread, which is the basis of the Backrooms. 

“When I first heard of the Backrooms and saw its accompanying image, I was taken aback,” Litbeep told VICE. “Viewing these images of barely furnished, or many times unfurnished yellow, tinted rooms, it elicited this feeling of longing and nostalgia. Sometimes those feelings even gave way to a bit of anxiety.” He added:

“For instance, maybe a parent was working late at the office one night and left us to our own devices in a big, empty building full of winding, maze-like corridors. Maybe we got stuck after school for one reason or another and wandered the empty halls of a place that was usually bustling with activity.”

Litbeep shares this idea with Kane Pixels. David R. told VICE that the idea of getting lost in the Backrooms feels scary, but he feels drawn to them – like they are a place he’s visited before but can’t remember. 

“Everyone has a memory somewhere in their brain of being somewhere like the Backrooms,” he explained. “Most people went to some weird place when they were young and have just forgotten about it.”

David R. showed VICE a tape of himself as a 4-year-old riding a scooter alone in a ‘desolate sprawl of endless corridors.’

The Backrooms can also represent the feeling of being stuck in the present. For many people, their lives have become tedious, with their jobs sucking all of their energy and joy, preventing advancements in other more fulfilling aspects of life. 

The worst part is, it feels like there’s no end in sight – like one’s doomed to forever walk the lonely halls of that office.