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Inspiration for writing an horror novel: What scared you the most?

Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by hellwarrior, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    is quite creepy.

    and this used to scare me as a child:

    http://www.mistsofmystery.com/ghost_photos/faces_of_belmez.htm

    My bedroom overlooked the graveyard at the bottom of our garden and that also used to frighten me. We lived in a 15c cottage alongside the church. The village was called Rose Ash and the neighbours were three old brothers, agricultural labourers who had survived the Great War, they were mainly mute, wore wore flat caps and jersey tank tops. On the other side of our terrace lived a witch and an enormous vicarage loomed at the front. I fetched milk in the mornings and was always worried about the dogs on the farm - who used to wait for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  2. Adora Belle

    Adora Belle Member

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    ETA - Rose Ash - what a great name for a town for a novel/story!


    A lot of people are careless around water, though it's true, many people who are experienced sometimes over-estimate their ability to get out of a pickle!

    That reminded me of when I was at a beach near Ocean City, Maryland and the waves were fierce. Lots of surfers out that day. Though you couldn't see it, by the edge of the water when it was at its furthest out, there was a two-three foot drop and then it levelled off and the sand was very gravelly. Fortunately it was shallow enough for an adult to stand. At most the water was chest high for a way's out. The waves weren't massive either - maybe three to five feet? - but because of this drop, they just slammed ashore and the undertow was incredible. It pulled me under once and I'm very sturdy and used to the ocean (though with a healthy fear of it).

    What really scared me though, was that some parents who were sitting about twenty to thirty feet away on the sand, were letting their little kids play at the edge of the water. They were maybe two or three years old! I was the only adult, or person over three feet tall for that matter, who was anywhere close by.

    I was terrified one of them was going to get sucked in by one of the bigger waves - if they did, there'd be absolutely nothing I could do to save them before they drowned. It wasn't safe to get past those first waves unless you waited for a good lull first, so you could get behind where they were crashing ashore. While I kept warning the children, they weren't really at an age to understand such things.

    I ended up just shooing the kids away from the water and going up to tell the parents straight up that the water was incredibly dangerous, but I shouldn't have had to.

    tl;dr version - my fear is witnessing something terrible and being powerless to do anything about it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  3. Gigi_GNR

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Loss of autonomy. Any way you slice it, really. Having your body manipulated or having your mind taken control of. Any kind of loss of control where you're not fully you anymore is scary, even more so if you're conscious of it happening yet powerless to stop it.
     
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  4. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    When you're playing at being scared and it gradually creeps in on you that there's really something to be scared about.

    When I was a kid I used to play a game with myself. I'd be walking along the sidewalk and perceive that a car on the street or another pedestrian would soon overtake me. I'd tell myself, "I have to pass that tree (pole, hydrant, whatever) before they do, or Something Terrible Will Happen." According to the rules I'd made up I could walk faster but I couldn't run. I never defined for myself what the Something Terrible was, and it didn't matter, because I always managed to pick goals I could reach if I really tried. The adrenaline rush came from imagining that the car driver or the other pedestrian knew what I had to do to be safe, and could choose to speed up and beat me.

    Fast forward to the summer after I graduated from college. I had a job as a waitress at an all-night diner in Center City Philadelphia and walked home alone after 4:00 AM most nights of the week. One night, I passed a man lounging by the fountain in Rittenhouse Square, a local park I crossed on my way to and from work. As I left the square I could hear his footsteps behind me. Casual, not fast. And just for fun and thrills, I started playing my old game.

    I have to pass the entrance to the building on the corner before he passes me . . . I have to get by the 7-11 before he does . . . I have to make it past the Catholic school before he catches up . . .

    And so on and on down the darkness of the block, setting goal after goal, walking faster and faster as the footfalls behind me kept up. That car, that signpost, that tree. I beat him every time, but next time I might not! The adrenaline surged as I told myself it was only a game. Surely, it was only a game?

    Finally, I have to get to my door before he passes! Behind me, the steps drew nearer. Walk faster, Cat, hurry!

    I arrive at my rowhouse. Quickly, heart racing, I unlock the outer glass door and slip inside.

    Something in me won't admit the game is over.

    I have to lock the street door and get through the inner door before he comes!

    Done.

    Now, across the lobby! Never mind the rules, run! And far enough up the stairs so he can't see you through the door window as he passes! Hurry! Hurry! He mustn't see you! Something Terrible will happen!


    At the highest point on the stairs where I could still get a view through the glass of the street doors, I stopped, just out of sight, and bent down to watch the man walk by.

    He didn't walk by. He stopped, stepped up to my front door, and tried the knob. And shook it. Twice.

    Lord have mercy! I was up in my flat with the door locked and bolted as fast as my fat little legs could go. And if I played that game since, it certainly wasn't out on the street on a dark lonely night.
     
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  5. Chinspinner

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    There aren't many horror films that scare me, they usually just rely on jumps or gore. The only scene I can think of that was genuinely spine-chilling was in the original Ring where the girl climbs out of the TV.

    As GiGi said, loss of control is scary or an inability to escape or defend yourself (through restraint or physical injury). That scares me. Oh, and I am not particularly keen on snakes.
     
  6. Some_Bloke

    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    I know it sounds silly, but babies frighten me. It's a very specific kind of fear though, like if I see a baby being held by someone in a public place or in a pram, they won't frighten me.

    It's if someone were to hand me that baby. A lot of people's first thoughts when being handed a baby usually consist of "aww it's so cute". The first thing that goes through my head is usually "Oh shit, don't drop it, don't drop it, don't drop it!"

    It could be explained in saying that I may have a fear of unintentionally hurting others and considering just how vulnerable an infant is...Well, it's not like being handed a kitten or a puppy because if you drop it, they'll probably be okay. If you drop an infant you're going to cause some serious damage, possibly even life changing or life-threatening damage.
     
  7. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    How's this: You're handed that infant, it looks you in the eye and in an evil voice only you can hear says, "You really want to drop me, don't you?"

    Bwhahahahahaahaaaa!
     
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  8. DeadMoon

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a child laughing from the darkness was scary, as an adult silents form the dark is much more terrifying...

    I get more of scary/spooky feeling with older non CGI movies, black and white or early color before lazy writers relied on the jump scare as its only source of scares.
     
  9. Shamgar81

    Shamgar81 Member

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    walking along a dark street/alley, thinking you see someone/something out the corner of your eye that always made me walk home that little bit faster
     
  10. Lancie

    Lancie Contributing Member

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    I'm a bit of a wuss but I do love a good ghost story. I think whenever something begins 'based on a true story' it instantly becomes scarier. My mum has told me two 'true' stories that have always freaked me out. I'm sure they've been embellished over the years but, 'based on a true story....'

    The first was something she was told by her aunt. Her great aunt died in childbirth (back in the good old days when births were still done at home and not in hospitals). She was slipping away. At the time, the baby was fine but she turned to this aunt and said 'I'll come back for the baby'. She died, and sure enough the baby did too a couple of hours later.

    The second one she experienced first hand when she first trained as a nurse. She was working in some hideous old Victorian hospital with a frosted glass window in the nurses office and two spiral stair cases with wrought iron railings. She worked nights on the ward and the nurses would see a grey figure move past the frosted glass. Someone would always die straight after. She'd then have to go down the dark creaky staircase the ward below and sort it out. One night she had nine deaths.

    Stuff of absolute nightmare- at least for me! Thanks mum...
     
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  11. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    This fucking thing...
     
  12. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Lol I think the same thing, so it's not unique. I think if unsure, then sit down before you take the babe! For newborns, you have to make sure you support the head cus their neck muscles aren't strong enough to hold it up yet.
     
  13. ChaosReigns

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    what scares me the most is the s*** my mind comes up with when i daydream.... fuuuuuuuu!
     
  14. theoriginalmonsterman

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    If anyone can answer this question I personally think Vsauce is the best choice :)
     
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  15. Rachel Green

    Rachel Green New Member

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    Most people are terrified by abandoned places: hospitals, houses, basements, factories ect. But I think the main reason of their fear is the atmosphere created by the author around such places. You just create the dark scary atmosphere and your mind will do the rest.
     
  16. lostinwebspace

    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    Immobility. My worst fear is to be encased in cement, alive, waiting to die of starvation or to go insane.
     
  17. Burroughs

    Burroughs Member

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    I recently read that humans are going to be the new trend in horror films this year. By that I mean people fear real people.
     
  18. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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  19. DeadMoon

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    My dreams - some people make movies/books based on their dreams, I wish I could forget mine.
     
  20. kfmiller

    kfmiller Active Member

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    My biggest fear is dying in a car crash, don't know why.

    Also, alligators. I grew up in Florida and alligators and crocodiles scare the living daylights out of me. I'd take a shark any day.

    I love watching supernatural movies that center around ghosts or something unknown because they can create a great atmosphere. Off the top of my head three good ones to check out are The Babadook, The Awakening (available on Netflix), and Insidious. The Shrine (also on Netflix) is also pretty good.

    Really, you can take any situation and turn it into horror depending on how it's written.
     
  21. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    C. S. Lewis wrote a scene, I think it's in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where the protagonists sail through a darkness or fog where they're prey to the horrors of all their worst nightmares. They later find out they've been near (correct me, somebody, if I'm wrong) the Island Where Dreams Come True.

    Though I first read it as an adult, it scared the heck out of me.
     
  22. DeadMoon

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I will have to look in up and give it a read. It's been much o long since I have been to a bookstore anyhow. I have not read and C.S Lewis in a long time, might be fun to read a few of his books again.
     
  23. PandaPrincess

    PandaPrincess Member

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    This reminds me of when I was about 9 and I climbed into the cab of an abandoned lorry in a deserted field. I climbed up the rusted steps and sat on the damp, mouldy seat...and just froze. This sense of overwhelming dread came over me and to this day, I still can't figure out why. I simply sat virtually glued to the seat screaming and screaming and screaming until I eventually forced myself to move. Eugh. I love looking at photos of abandoned places and would love to do some urban exploring (in a group!) but abandoned vehicles really give me the creeps. It might be the confined space, I don't know, but that experience haunts me.

    In regards to horror movies, unnatural movement really, really freaks me out. In one of the original Grudge movies, Kayako, the vengeful spirits, crawls down the stairs in the final scene and the jerky, abnormal movement of her limbs terrifies me no matter how many times I watch it. Another example is in The Exorcist when the girl crawls down the stairs backwards. Eugh, no thank you.

    My actual phobias, though, are ridiculous. I'm scared of high cistern toilets. I didn't have a traumatic experience involving one crashing down on me when I was a kid, so I have no idea why they instill such fear in me. I was recently in London and the underground station in Green Park has them and I literally stood looking at this toilet for about 10 minutes, deciding whether or not to 'risk' it.
     
  24. Skaruts

    Skaruts Member

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    A friend of mine worked in a theatre as a night shift security many years ago, and he told me then that it scared the crap out of him to do the rounds. I went visiting him there and he took me for a round with him, and I wasn't scared but I could see what would scare him.

    It was a completely desolate place, with narrow corridors and warm stifled air, or wide rooms with curtains and fake ceilings. Ghosts would have no trouble lurking around, there. Everything was pitch black until he turned the light on in each section, and it was dark again when he turned it off after we passed through. Flashlights don't feel conforting in haunted places. With darkness behind you, you never know when its cold fingers are going to touch your shoulder.

    It had that maddening silence that made the light switches sound loud enough to wake up anything hungry thing that might be sleeping behind the walls or above the ceiling. Or maybe it wasn't asleep.

    It had that silence that made you think "if anything snaps in the distance I'm gonna freak the hell out!". And something did snap in the distance. But we both knew things can snap on their own. Wood snaps and creaks all day, but you only notice it in the silence of the night, when the ghosts come out. There's always a rational explanation, of course, and we both knew ghosts don't exist, but we also knew that we were vulnerable to them until we finished the round. :)

    This story was real (except the ghosts, obviously. They never got to us), but I placed a few bits of humor there in the style of the preface of Stephen King's Night Shift, which I want to recommend. If you haven't read that book, I recommend you find a way to read its preface, in which Stephen King talks specifically about Fear. I found it very insightful and inspiring.
     
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  25. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Who wants waffles...? Contributor

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    The feeling that you are being watched. Use to feel that when out on patrol as a security guard watching a dilapidated aluminum foundry up in Washington. More specifically in at a point in the perimeter patrol they called the South West corner. It was a small fenced in area with in the larger fence of the property. Had a gate at either end, that you had to lock your self in when making the rounds. Once you got close the temperature in the corner would drop (really strange as I was there through the winter of 2012-13), and right at the corner I felt like something was watching me in the trees just outside the fence. Really crept me out on graveyards. Got transferred to a call center and it got a little worse roaming in the dimly lit floors filled with cubicles, checking to make sure things were turned off (radios, fans, ect.). How the 'watched' feeling got worse, was that some people decorated with plush toys. Could feel their creepy beady eyes on me, on rare occasion they got a glint from the low light. Once while going on rounds, a radio was quietly playing music (on second or third round of the night). That was kind of strange as it was silent on the first round.

    Spiders really irk me. Not like daddy long legs, but the more average furry ones that hunt instead of spinning a web. Wandering around like scheming eight fingered disembodied hands, silently scurrying about up to no good. Needless to say I have a new best friend to help me deal with them. An 8-10 pound early last century law book that does the trick.

    Not going to share my other fear, as it is one I have mixed feelings about (maybe I am just weird).
     

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