What is The Ring?

For starters, it's a new film from Dreamworks about a mysterious videotape that, upon viewing, ensure death to the viewer after 7 days. But The Ring is so much more than that.

The Dreamworks film is based on a Japanese film entitled Ringu, which itself spawned a sequel and a prequel. The films were wildly popular in Japan, spawning cult-status devotion from fans, as well as a damn fine Manga series and 2 separate television series.

Related: Samara Crawls Out of the Well in First Rings Set Photos

The original Japanese films were inspired by a series of novels by Japanese author Suzuki Koji. But that's not all. Apparently, the novels were based upon a Japanese psychic at the turn of the century named Mifune Chizuko. Mifune was labeled a charlatan after a public demonstration of her powers. She never recovered form the humiliation, and at the age of 25, Mifune ingested poison and committed suicide. Sounds like another lame horror flick, doesn't it? Well, all indications are that such an assumption would be dreadfully wrong. This appears to be more of a tight, supernatural, thriller. But once again, it's more than that. As with any story, it's hard not to believe that it's not based on at least the slightest kernel of truth. As the old saying goes; writers write what they know. So, you have to wonder…

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There's a lot of stuff going around lately, and some of it just doesn't make sense. People are finding unmarked tapes with fliers attached all over the place. One tape showed up at Coney Island, just sitting there, unassumingly, next to a booth. Even Lights Out's very staff writer, Brian, found one of these suckers.

Mostly the fliers have bizarre, satanic writing on them. Often times, they lead to a website. On such flier, with one such message, directs you to visit KatiesDead.com. I tried the site, but it seems to be down at the moment. My understanding is that it was a very bizarre site that was difficult to explain. People who have visited the site have contacted me, and they have a hard time putting their finger on what bothers them about it, but not a single one of them is too upset that the site is down. Most felt uneasy from the moment they checked the site out.

Granted, these tapes could all be a hoax, concocted by people who are a little to into the mystique of the film. The tapes are said to be fairly incoherent, with a jumble of cryptic, static filled images flashing across the screen. But one thing is certain: the tapes are out there, and the images are disturbing.

Do you want to get wrapped up in the mystery of this tale? Do you want to believe, or at least suspend your disbelief? Well, I suggest starting at The Morgan Ranch. This is a thoroughly creepy site, with newspaper clippings that'll get the old tingle working down your spine. At first the connection to The Ring is not readily apparent, but stick with it. Never is The Ring explicitly mentioned… only an offhand reference to a Hollywood film being made, but with a little digging, you know what this site is about...

In a nutshell, The Morgan Ranch was a premier site for raising thoroughbred horses. One day, the horses began acting strangely… They were constantly agitated. Then they began jumping the fence and killing themselves by plunging into Puget Sound and drowning. A long, drawn out investigation ensued, but little was found out about why the horses were doing this. I want to know more about the happenings at The Morgan Ranch, and I want to know about the young girl Samara…

Still not convinced? Check out some of the following sites:

The Horror Of Ringu

Manga's Ringu

Seven Day's To Live

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Whether they chill you, entertain you, or drive you nuts, a part of you will want to see The Ring, and you'll want to know more.

Superstition is a part of human nature. But then again, so is curiosity. If you had a chance to view a videotape that was supposed to bring death to the viewer within seven days, would you? Would you laugh it off as a hoax, as a load of crap? Would you take the tape home, just to impress your friends and then leave it sitting next to your television for days? Would you even put it into your VCR?

After all, it's just another "urban legend", right?

Some on the web say it is

Brian B.