This week: Nothing to see hereEdited by: Arakun the Twisted Raccoon
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Quote for the week: It would be difficult to write a convincing ghost story set on a sunny day in a big city.
Horror monsters are often hideously ugly, but the most frightening creature might be one that you can't see at all. An invisible creature could hide in plain sight. It could be anywhere, waiting to strike without warning. Your characters might not even know the invisible creature exists, and will blame its activity on each other.
Almost every society has some type of mythology involving the spirits of the departed. In many stories, a ghost is a spirit that doesn't move on to the afterlife because of unfinished business with the world of the living. The ghost might be unaware of the living world around it and keep repeating some activity it carried out while alive. Some ghosts are benevolent, and may be trying to protect humans from harm.
In others stories, a ghost is a part of the person's spirit that must be left behind after death. The Navajo chindi, for example, is everything that was bad about the dead person. It is left behind because bad parts that are out of harmony with nature cannot be taken to the next world. A good person would leave behind very little chindi, while that of an evil person might be very destructive and powerful.
One particularly troublesome spirit is a poltergeist, which is German for "noisy ghost." Poltergeists throw dishes, break windows, and slam doors. Many reported cases of poltergeist activity have turned out to be fakes or practical jokes, but others have never been explained. They are often reported in homes with children or young teens. In some explanations, a poltergeist is not an actual spirit, but rather a manifestation of the energy surrounding a young person in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Attempts at scientific explanations include air currents, seismic activity, or the earth's magnetic field. Terry Pratchett's "Tiffany Aching" series includes an ondageist, who is the opposite of a poltergeist. Instead of breaking things and making a mess, the ondageist spends all day cleaning the house, organizing cupboards, and folding laundry. He can actually be more annoying than a poltergeist!
An invisible entity does not have to be a ghost. In 1953, Clarita Villanueva, a young woman in the Phillipines, was allegedly attacked by a fanged monster that only she could see. Some observers reported seeing bite marks seem to appear out of nowhere on her skin. While several doctors and occultists studied Ms. Villanueva, none ever really explained what happened to her. Some believed that what appeared to be bite marks were some kind of manifestation of hysteria, some previously unknown skin condition, or that she was actually able to create the wounds with her mind.
An invisible character might be an alien or magical creature. Or it might be an ordinary human who has found some scientific formula for invisibility, such as the main character in the movie and novel, The Invisible Man.
Something to try: Write a horror story that includes an invisible character.
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