A Haunting Tale Known Only as the Lamp Story Has Resurfaced on Social Media — Is It Real?

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Dec. 20 2023, Published 2:09 p.m. ET

A woman telling the lamp story on TikTok
Source: TikTok/@helen_christie (video stills)

The lamp story as told via TikTok.

The Gist:

  • The lamp story, originally published on Reddit, has made its way to TikTok.
  • The original story was about a man who lived a full 10 years of his life, complete with a wife and children, while unconscious.
  • TikTokers have turned the lamp story into a hilarious joke.
  • The lamp story is real if the human brain deems it so.
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I'm of the mind that the creepiest things happen to people who don't believe in such things and aren't interested in experiencing them. If you're someone desperately hoping to see a UFO or catch a ghost, I have bad news for you. They almost always seem to show up for the folks who couldn't care less. I get it. I too have been in a dysfunctional relationship with someone who wasn't interested in me. The things I did to catch their eye would make your blood run cold.

There are definitely things in this world we might not ever understand, and I'm not just referring to everything in the ocean. Have you ever seen photos of the creatures that exist deep in the darkest depths of our seas? They are all horror movies and I love them. Some tales, like the lamp story, can't be shuffled into one particular category. It has been circulating on Reddit for years but finally made its way to TikTok. What is the lamp story? It's spooky, that's for sure.

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Man and red lamp
Source: Getty Images

A man stares at a red lamp.

The lamp story has taken on a whole new life on TikTok.

In a Subreddit appropriately titled Glitch in the Matrix, a Reddit user by the name of Triumphant George resurrected an old post in March 2015. The original poster, u/temptotosssoon, shared a fairly upsetting story from their throwaway account. This has long been considered one of Reddit's most popular threads, and it's easy to see why.

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Simply titled "A Parallel Life," it tells the story of a time this person was in college and was "assaulted by a football player for walking where he was trying to drive (note he was 325 pounds and I was 120 pounds), while unconscious on the ground I lived a different life." In this dreamlike state, the narrator met a wonderful woman and got married. They soon had two children, a boy and a girl. One day while relaxing on their couch, he noticed the "perspective of the lamp was odd, like inverted."

The narrator soon became obsessed with this lamp. He couldn't stop staring at it, spending three days on the couch absolutely transfixed. "I stopped eating. I left the couch only to use the bathroom at first, soon I stopped that too as I wasn't eating or drinking," they wrote. Naturally this behavior terrified his wife, who then took their children to her mother's house. This led to the narrator having an epiphany, none of this was real. His entire life was fake. This is when he woke up, in excruciating pain.

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He was taken to the hospital by police. What followed was three years of depression while the narrator mourned the loss of his fictional family he never saw again. As sad as this is, TikTokers have found a way to bring some humor into the mix. Women are posting videos of themselves staring at a lamp while hoping their family isn't real. Speaking of real, is the lamp story true?

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Is the lamp story real?

According to Know Your Meme, the story was originally posted by Redditor /u/temptotosssoon in January 2012 in response to an "/r/AskReddit that read, '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 original poster has never come forward to change their story.

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In other words, the experience of living an entirely life while unconscious is probably real but it's doubtful they actually lived a decade in a parallel universe. Scientists are still grappling with the human brain and consciousness. I'll use anecdotal evidence as an example.

My partner had very minor surgery that required him to be sedated. While discussing his surgery with the anesthesiologist, the doctor actually said, "We still don't understand consciousness." I'm of the mind that if perception is indeed reality, then perhaps that person did live an entirely separate life while unconsciousness! They certainly felt a crushing loss as if they did. Isn't that proof enough?

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