Well, in reality, the "Dark Carnival" can refer to several things (besides what you came here to read about, which I will get to). "Dark Carnival" is a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury, published in 1947. "Dark Carnival" is also a novel written by Keith Ferrario, a band headed by Niagara and Ron Asheton, a song by Vanessa Carlton from the 2003 video game Spy Hunter 2, a Deathlands novel, and finally, the setting of a concept album series by Insane Clown Posse.
So what is the Dark Carnival, as presented by ICP? A warped, nonsensical, sellout off-shoot of the Christian religion. Violent-J claims that he was "visited" by the Dark Carnival back in 1992, which in turn led to the 6 Joker Card albums. Each album would contain secret hints and "messages" from the Dark Carnival, with the 6th revealing the secret of what the Carnival really is. The joker's cards were littered with what seemed to be unique stories of people getting "judged" after death, with the "Dark Carnival" being something like a uniting force for Juggalos, or even a place you go when you die. Now being a complete atheist, I don't believe in any of that nonsense, but I thought it was cool and original.
Then, somewhere along the line, ICP "found Jesus", and became "Intimate Christ Posse". The clowns not only revealed that the "Dark Carnival" is a metaphor for "god" (most likely the Christian God), they went back and turned their lyrics inside out in a deceitful attempt to fool people into believing that this is what they were talking about all along! Anyone who actually believes this is a complete sheep. Just go back, listen to their old lyrics, and every time you hear them mention the words "Dark Carnival", substitute it with the word "god", and see if it still makes sense. I honestly believe that ICP, not actually knowing what the "Dark Carnival" should be, and with the 6th Joker's card fast approaching, had to figure out SOMETHING. Therefore, they did the most unoriginal, low-brow thing they could think of... they sold out to religion... Christianity to be exact.
If ICP did in fact know all along what the "Dark Carnival" was "god", and knowingly deceived their fans, then, by doing so, they mislead, cheated, and swindled thousands of them out of their money, who might not have been such huge fans to begin with if they hadn't been lied to. If ICP came up with the 'Dark Carnival = god' concept later on somewhere along the line, which is obviously the case, they not only cheated their fans out of their time and money, but they also sold them out. And then, to top it all off, they chant "we're not sorry that we tricked you" to their duped listeners at the end of the album. Great way to indoctrinate someone into your "religion". Too bad being duped into following something doesn't constitute true belief. Anyone who accepts this new "religion" known as "Juggalo" is a complete sheep, just like the followers of any other religion on planet earth. If you think about it, "Juggalo" is just as ridiculous as Christianity, Islam, and the ancient Greek gods. It seems ICP realized their huge mistake after album sales plummeted. Shangri-La is THE worst album by ICP ever made. Is it any wonder that the 6th joker's card was re-released and remixed by Mike Clark?
Just a few examples:
Original lyrics (The Neden Game):
"He's a psychopathic deranged crack-head freak, who works for the Dark Carnival"
Translation (The Neden Game):
"He's a psychopathic deranged crack-head freak, who works for god" Hahahaha.
Original lyrics (Pass Me By):
"I'm dead and I made it to the Carnival. I walked in, it's everything I dreamed of, everybody and their mama got clown love" (This is implying that the carnival is a place, not a deity)
"I'm dead and I made it to god."
Original lyrics (Take Me Away):
"Welcome to the Dark Carnival."
"Welcome to god."
And I could go ON and ON...