ASMR (short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is one of those brainchilds of the Internet that you’re either enamored with or completely baffled by. On the surface, it’s men and women whispering and speaking softly into a binaural microphone with the intent of relaxing their listeners – a “tingle” response that radiates through the head is the desired response, though there isn’t yet scientific evidence that backs the trend.
We’ll let user GentleWhispering explain:
Proof or no proof, millions of viewers can’t be wrong…in theory, anyway. Most self-proclaimed ASMRtists take this concept to the next level in ways that experiment with video and aural “triggers” to calm the nerves and make listeners feel at ease – the practice is cool, but the role-play tactics ASMRtists use to achieve this end can sometimes be intense. Without further adue, the top 10 strangest ASMR videos that we secretly love.
10. “♥ This Is Only For You ♥”
Why is ASMR so popular amongst soft-spoken European women? You’ll find it over and over, and Dutch-turned-American account TheWaterWhispers (actual name Ilse) is one of the more popular ones. Here we have an ASMR video of Ilse telling you you’re awesome, in case no one actually thinks you are. THANKS, ILSE. (Also, she met her soulmate on an ASMR chat board? ILSE WHAT!?!)
9. “Remember, It’s Okay to Forget!”
From popular user ASMRrequests, this video is based around the Charlie Kaufman created Lacuna, Inc., the company hired by Jim Carrey’s character Joel in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to erase the memory of Kate Winslet’s quirky but damaged character Clementine. Nearly an hour long, Ally (code name ASMRrequests) plays a doctor who interacts with the viewer. Doctor roleplays are relatively common, but this one is a little spooky because you’re sort of thinking of your least favorite memory the entire time.
8. “Inspired by Elsa”
That’s right, even the extremely specific world of ASMR isn’t safe from the world’s most ubiquitous children’s movie. Who knew that Elsa the Snow Queen was also into soft speaking and crinkling paper? Culture truly is cyclical.
7. “Departure: Space Travel Agent”
Originally posted in 2013 by ASMRrequests, this was one of the first ASMR videos to get some attention to the “Tingleheads” community (I know, I know). It’s remarkably well-produced and features the ASMRtist as a travel agent guiding the viewer through an interstellar vacation planning that includes putting them into “deep sleep,” which is apparently fine in this universe. Hang in, the sequel is even more intense.
6. “Scalp Massage From Twin Feathers Spa”
ASMRtist: Heather Feather
ASMRtist Heather Feather has made some truly insane videos and is a solid whisper-actress in her own right, but this one takes the cake. Heather plays her own twin Lohan-style in this one, and they collaborate on giving the viewer an hour-long scalp massage. What? But it’s cool.
5. “Psychic Training Center Role Play”
Yes, ASMRrequests again. This is as close as a Tim and Eric-ASMR crossover video will get, and features a bunk psychic with a Midwestern accent in killer 1980s public access editing style…plus, those glasses.
4. “The Quiet One: The Files of Dr. C.D. Clemmons, ASMR Plague Doctor”
ASMRtist: Ephemeral Rift
A half hour video of a man in a bird mask giving a medical examination to a Lego.
3. “The Soothing Crooner and Sleep Man”
This one…I don’t know. “I will guide you to the dream world. I am THE SLEEP MAN.” He also references his brother “The Nightmare” (insert echo effect here) and his cousins “Stress” and “Anxiety.” Don’t worry though, guys, he has a Sword of Silent Whispers and a wooden shield and his battle cry is “By the power of the dream world, let me lead the way!”
Oh, Sleep Man, you sweet, sweet savant, you.
2. “What’s in My Purse? Margaret: Episode 2”
ASMRtist: Ephemeral Rift
This is next level insane. User Ephemeral Rift has no limit of absolutely insane characters that you’ll have to peruse his channel to believe, but this character Margaret is a fave. How is this terrifying, vaguely Fawkes-ian mug relaxing? It isn’t, but spoilers, she’s wearing duct tape gloves and has an undead physician and an axe in her leather bag.
1. “Departure: Frontiers”
ASMRtists: ASMRrequests and Heather Feather
I WATCH THIS VIDEO ALL THE TIME. ASMRrequests took an entire year to deliver a sequel to the original creepy “Departure” video, and collaborates with other ASMRtist Heather Feather in this high production, half hour fever dream. The makeup, the sound design, that vaguely terrifying dystopian future…it’s not exactly relaxing, but it makes me wish YouTube videos could win Emmys.
Bonus: CollegeHumor’s “The Most Disturbing ASMR Video”
There’s plenty of ASMR accounts that make other types of videos, but the role plays are close to my heart because it’s of their close proximity to the completely insane. TINGLEHEADS FOR LYF.