There’s a trend on TikTok where people reference having a spouse or kids—only for that reality to be challenged by the existence of a lamp.
Over the last month or so, a decade-old story first posted on Reddit has enchanted TikTok. It’s been dubbed the “Reddit lamp story” or the “lamp story.”
TikTok creators are now posting videos about living a version of their dream life, and then a glance at a lamp takes them out of that dream. But where did this lamp idea come from, and why is it going viral now?
@loeybugxo Reddit lamp guy is my Roman Empire man I think about that story all the time 😭 #reddit #scary #uncannyvalley #glitchinthematrix ♬ You dont know me – ellery
What is the lamp story?
In January 2012, a post on r/AskReddit posed a big question: “Have you ever felt a deep personal connection to a person you met in a dream only to wake up feeling terrible because you realize they never existed?”
The account that responded to the infamous post is now gone, but the story was reposted elsewhere. It opens with the author saying they were physically assaulted by a football player during their last semester in college and knocked unconscious.
The user explains how, in that unconscious state, he “lived a different life,” marrying a woman and starting a family.
“One day while sitting on the couch I noticed that the perspective of the lamp was odd, like inverted,” the user detailed. “It was still in 3D but… just.. wrong. (It was a square lamp base, red with gold trim on 4 legs and a white square shade). I was transfixed, I couldn’t look away from it. I stayed up all night staring at it, the next morning I didn’t go to work, something was just not right about that lamp.”
After what the user claimed was 10 years, they realize nothing—the lamp, the life—is real.
“The lamp started to grow wider and deeper, it was still inverted dimensions, it took up my entire perspective and all I could see was red, I heard voices, screams, all kinds of weird noises and I became aware of pain…. a fucking shit ton of pain… the first words I said were ‘I’m missing teeth’ and opened my eyes. I was laying on my back on the sidewalk surrounded by people that I didn’t know, lots were freaking out, I was completely confused.”
This story was posted on r/AskReddit and not r/nosleep or creepypasta subreddits, and its authenticity is still unclear. It’s been labeled a creepypasta for the way it evolved as a scary internet story. But on the original post, the author said it was a throwaway account “’cause this is really personal.”
Reddit lamp story on TikTok
These newer videos create scenes that illustrate the creepiness of the original story—specifically the part where the lamp gets weird. A viral TikTok from @helen_christie features a truly disturbing lamp.
@helen_christie iykyk 😩💡#thelamp #redditstories #redditreadings #thelampstory ♬ Brutus (Instrumental) – The Buttress
@kungfutok IYKYK 💡 (inspired by @Helen Christie) #thelamp #redditstories #reddit #thelampstory #mrballen #mrballenstories ♬ Brutus (Instrumental) – The Buttress
The tag #thelampstory has more than 65 million views. There are also “readings” of the lamp story, which only reinforces its creepypasta label. Regardless of the original user’s disappearance from the internet, the legend of the lamp lives on.