Scents of Wet Carpet and Terrifying Entities: Welcome to the Backrooms


Wikimedia Commons

The Backrooms Level 0 is often shown as ominous hallways with bright florescent lights, soggy carpet, and yellow walls like something in your Grandma’s house.

Madison Seckman, Design Editor

You’re hanging out with your friends but slip and fall down, hitting your head. Next thing you know the sickening smell of damp carpet and intense buzzing of fluorescent lights overwhelms your senses. You open your eyes to what looks like a giant office space filled with rooms covered in mono-yellow wallpaper. You just noclipped into The Backrooms. 

The Backrooms are an urban legend that have gone viral on YouTube and TikTok in the last two months. It’s a space that exists outside of reality that could go on forever. In essence, they are a horror story meant to add videogame experience into modern day life, considering the only way to get to The Backrooms is to noclip, which in video games means passing through a physical boundary that would otherwise block your way. 

I’ve never been an intense gamer who locks themself in their room and drinks GFuel all day, but I love anything that is a spin-off on our modern technical world with lots of lore. In fact, there’s a whole really cool genre based on it called New Weird

Can You Survive The Backrooms?


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In short, the idea of The Backrooms was created by an anonymous 4chan user in May, 2019. It started as a single photo with a detailed description about a maze filled with lights, wallpaper, carpet, and mysterious, and most likely dangerous, entities.

In 2022, YouTuber Kane Pixels made a video called “The Backrooms (Found Footage)” depicting a 1990s film interpretation of The Backrooms photo posted in 2019. In the video, a person falls to the ground and wakes up in The Backrooms and starts to wander. He comes across strange items like a ladder, writing on the wall, a dumpster, and a tall and skinny entity that chases him through the many Backrooms corridors.

While I was watching the video I couldn’t help thinking about how strange it was for something uploaded only two months ago to be in such low film quality. It certainly pushed me to want to believe in this crazy conspiracy theory.

Just like with any internet-based horror story, it didn’t take people very long to start making threads discussing The Backrooms and fleshing out a subworld based around it. Many Reddit users made posts around the idea, and multiple websites were made as information sites regarding the Backrooms.

And, that’s about when I came across this whole new world. I was just scrolling TikTok and found myself watching a three minute video without faltering attention of a lady describing The Backrooms lore. It was just the right amount of creepy for a person who screams when a puppy startles them. 

Liminal spaces are often defined by shadowed spaces and large rooms, hallways, or children’s playrooms. (Wikipedia Commons)

The Backrooms is based around liminal spaces which, when derived from Latin, is the idea of a space between “what was” and “what’s next”. When most people look at photos of liminal spaces, they feel a sense of familiarity as if they’ve been there before. It feels like looking at one of your dreams.

Since so many people share this “memory” when they see liminal spaces, conspiracy theorists have tried to explain why. One theory is that each person passes through the same liminal space upon being born and dying, which is why we have dreams and sometimes flashbacks to these spaces – some people call it unlocking a core memory. 

Depending on what thread you look at, there could be hundreds of different liminal space photos, usually with low lighting and lots of open space, that could be a different level of The Backrooms. 

Most people agree that Level 0 of The Backrooms is the yellow office space that the majority of people noclip into. However, even if three people went in at the same time, they would be separated in order to add to the ominous and lonely tone of Level 0. 

Based on the Backrooms Wiki, there are currently nine distinct, confirmed Backrooms levels. However, Level 9223372036854775807, or “The True Final Level,” may actually be the final level and one of most dangerous locations in The Backrooms. 

This staircase is believed to be a part of the final level of the backrooms, and there is a traveler climbing them. The final level of The Backrooms is characterized by extremely dangerous entities and the ability to make people hallucinate. (Backrooms Wiki)

I like to believe there’s thousands of levels possible that are just waiting for another creative mind to generate them. 

Regardless, if one day you wake up to the smell of wet carpet and the hum-buzz of fluorescent lights, the best thing you can do is stay still and hope you can noclip back to where you came from or hope someone else will noclip in and you can leave through where they entered. Survivability is low, but there are ways to solve mazes and find an exit so long as you can keep your wits.