Things the Internet Has Done: Thomas the Tank Engine Horror | Vol. 3 / No. 15.3

What is this even? | Photo: Trainwiz
What is this even? | Photo: Trainwiz

Why does any of this exist?


I, like you, have long suspected that the internet is a strange place filled with stranger people. I have seen all manner of things done in the name of Rule 34 that, if truth be told, ought not to have been done. But today we’re not here to talk about the strange (and strangely often fuzzy) kinks of the internet’s denizens. Today we’re here to talk about Thomas the Tank Engine.

Do you remember Shining Time Station? Ringo Starr was on it. He was about eight inches tall. It was a hoot.

See? Harmless. | Photo: This day in TV history
See? Harmless. | Photo: This day in TV history

It had stories about a little steam-engined train and his also-train buddies. Think “the little engine that could” but live action and with cute English accents and a lot of white-people parochialism. But some people on the internet have found something menacing about our erstwhile blue and smiling friend. Thomas, it turns out, has become a kind of bete noire. And this has led to some… unusual creations.

Exhibit A: This Thomas the Tank Engine face, with glowing eyes, scooting around on the walls and ceiling.


Exhibit B: This six-legged post-apocalyptic laser-toting Thomas the Spider Tank.

How can this? What?

Okay, wait. They’re both by the same people, this Y_Nakajima and friends. Maybe… maybe it’s just the one guy, twisting your childhood memories into nightmare fuel…

Exhibit C: Funny Followers.

What is this even? | Photo: Trainwiz
What is this even? | Photo: Trainwiz

See, someone made a mod for Skyrim that turned all the dragons into (you guessed it) Thomas the Tank Engine characters:

You don’t need to know why, though, do you? I’m sorry if you do. I don’t know.

And then, someone else, one user Trainwiz, decided to make two demonic stick figures with TTE characters for heads that say nothing, but follow you around alternatively killing civilians, setting things on fire, and/or slowly feeding on your soul.

From the advertisement:

By now you’ve probably realized that there just aren’t any followers out there that really tickle your fancy! You’re disappointed, and expected followers that were a bit more… well, funny.
Luckily, I’ve heard your prayers, and would like to introduce you to my friends, the Funny Followers. They’re quite funny and happy and friendly.
Their names are Mister Man and Guy McPherson. There is nothing strange about them. They are definitely not other-worldly demons here to drain all hope from the world.

Why? And also:

Choo, choo, motherf***er.


Richard Ford Burley is a writer and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.