The Hilarious and Disturbing History of Shaye St. John

The Internet is home to some of the strangest and most wonderful oddities. It’s also filled with opportunists who try to capitalize on trends, eventually transforming once original ideas into kitsch filled circle jerks. That’s why it’s especially captivating to come across something wholly original. And the story of Shaye St. John is just that.

Many of you already know about Shaye’s horrendous past and have most likely seen many of her videos. But for those of you that haven’t, prepare to be disturbed, but strangely intrigued. Shaye St. John’s videos seem to be a mash-up of Lynchian uncomfortableness, Tim and Eric’s humor, with a bit of Harmony Korine’s oft-used lo-fi shock value. She is the brainchild of the late comedian, Eric Fournier.

Shaye St. John was once a supermodel who was hit by a train (car? I’ve heard both versions) that horribly disfigured her face and resulted in the amputation of both her arms and legs. This didn’t hold Shaye back, though, and she rebuilt herself with mannequin parts and covered her disfigured face with a mask. She initially graced the Internet with her presence in 2003 in a LiveJournal blog. Shaye eventually migrated to YouTube, where much of her legacy resides today.

Behold the refreshing lo-fi videos of Shaye St. John.

Hand Thing:

What’s Wrong With Shaye’s Legs?
They’re disgusting.

The unsettling repetition is brilliantly creepy and funny. Fournier was ahead of his time — it’s easy to imagine him working with the likes of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim or other Adult Swim comedians.

The most popular, and perhaps best, of Shaye St. John is “Turkey Day.” In this video we meet “Kiki,” Shaye’s creepy doll. (Kiki kind of reminds me of Angelica’s doll, Cynthia, from Rugrats.)

As Max Eddy at The Mary Sue writes:

It’s easy to write these off as just another set of Internet shock videos, and to be honest that might not be too far off the mark. Shaye works because it is uncomfortable and willfully strange. But there are some interesting themes throughout the videos. For instance, celebrity obsessed Shaye is as fake and artificial as her personality suggests. With a mask for a face, wooden hands, and decaying mannequin legs, she’s all artifice with no real humanity.

It’s unfortunate that Shaye St. John may never become a household name as the part of the Internet that her videos occupy is expanding every day.

See more of her videos here and check out her website here.