User:Umbire the Phantom/Word Salad Horror

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For the first time we have risen, and I see we are being consumed. I see circles that are not circles. Billions of dead souls inside containment. Unravellers have eaten country's moral fabric, turning hearts into filth. I'm from a kingdom level above human. What does that yield? A hokey smile that damns an entire nation.

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Word Salad Humor is great - sometimes there's nothing to get a laugh out of you like a well-timed, carefully arranged stream of utter nonsense.

...Until it starts to make sense.

Too much sense.

And now you wish you could unhear it - you've discovered Word Salad Horror.

In the most basic sense, where Word Salad Humor attempts to be funny, this sister trope instead derives Surreal Horror by using a string of seemingly random gibberish to induce Mood Whiplash. The core trait is that it's just coherent enough to imply an ominous or disturbing hidden meaning; this is sometimes done by the speaker becoming alarmingly coherent and/or lucid - not completely so, but enough to provide a stark context to the rest of their dialogue. It can include a word(s) or phrase(s) that's a cause for concern in context (assuming context is necessarily present in that scenario). Additionally, "standard" word salad itself can be the source of the horror if used in such a way to provoke Mood Dissonance, especially if it is no more intelligible than it was previously - though it takes a fair amount of skill to avoid Narm with this.

Not to be confused with an abomination made of word salad - that would be a Brown Note.

Examples of Umbire the Phantom/Word Salad Horror include:

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Video Games

  • EarthBound has the backwards-talking inhabitants of Moonside.

Web Original

  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-058 ("Heart of Darkness") is a mobile creature resembling a bovine heart with four arthropod-like legs and a stinger; it is somehow capable of speaking in the deep voice of an old British man, despite lacking a mouth or any apparent means of producing sound. It talks nonsense constantly and without changing in tone, even when attacking - which is very often - and the only thing consistent about said nonsense is its nihilistic bent; the transcript of Interview 058-04 has a line at the end that's almost worthy of Marquis de Sade. One of the many stories on-site creates and explores a connection between it and the next example, and shows why you shouldn't listen to it for more than half an hour.
    • SCP-1981 ("RONALD REGAN CUT UP WHILE TALKING") is an anamolous Betamax home video recording of the 40th President of the US delivering his "Evil Empire" speech - transcripts of the recording (which is pretty damned disturbing in itself) provides the page quote among various other examples of this trope.
    • SCP-2852 ("Cousin Johnny") is a Humanoid Abomination that is made up of fibrous muscular tissue and chitin - despite the lack of vocal cords or analogous organs, instances can still speak, though they lack a concept of language and speak in utter gibberish. People attending the religious functions it manifests at that aren't aware of its nature can understand them perfectly, and describe them as being playful with a crude sense of humor - however, they don't truly become instances of Word Salad Horror unless White- or Black-Level events occur.

Other Media