Monday, January 18, 2016

11 Prompts and Inspirations for Horror and Supernatural Stories

1. You buy an old farm house that you plan to remodel. As you are checking out the crumbling fireplace, you notice that the mortar around one of the bricks is gone. Out of curiosity, you work the brick out of the fireplace and discover a small, wooden coffin. You open it and there is a doll inside of it. How did that doll get into the coffin and why? By opening the coffin, did you unleash the spirit held within the doll?

2. Hypnotism is a fascinating field of study and there have been many strange beliefs about its practice. A most unusual question I have heard asked is, "Can you be hypnotized to not die?" This question was also dabbled with in an old movie featuring Vincent Price, I believe. What would happen to someone who could not die? Would their body continue to deteriorate until only a soul was left "alive"? Would the person go insane and try to steal a new body for his soul to continue living in?

3. Water witches or dowsers use a hazel stick to find water for wells. They can also be hired to find other things, such as a perfect place to begin mining, a lost object, or whatever object they are asked to find. What if a dowser starts finding dead bodies buried on the main character's property? How long have the bodies been there and how did they get there?

4. While I was living in the Poconos a few years ago, some of the local teenagers told me that if you walk through the cemetery during the midnight hour on Halloween Night you would feel the souls of the damned reach up from their graves and tug at your feet. Being teenagers, they would all gather at the one cemetery at the top of the hill to run through it at midnight and have themselves scared silly.

5. In superstition, it is believed that if you take flowers from a grave and bring them home, you will also bring home the spirit that resided in that grave. What if a child innocently takes some pretty flowers from a grave and runs home to give them to her mother. From whose grave did she take the flowers? Whose spirit does she take home with her and what happens?

6. It has been believed that the shadow is a separate soul and it can gain the ability to leave the body it is attached to. What if the shadow of an incarcerated murderer gains the ability to leave the body it is attached to? What will the shadow do? Will it be as evil as the person it was attached to? Was it the evil that drove the murderer to commit his crimes?

7. In superstition, it is believed that when you look into a mirror, the mirror is holding onto your soul. This is why it brings bad luck to break a mirror that you have looked into. It is an old custom to cover mirrors in a house where someone has passed away. This is to prevent the person's soul from getting caught in the mirror and being stuck on this plane forever. What if you bought a house where, upon entering, you found all the mirrors in the house covered. When you go upstairs to look around, you spot a beautiful handheld mirror lying on a dresser, uncovered. Does it possess the soul of the person who died in the house? What if the mirror would break? Would the captured soul be free to haunt the house or would it finally leave in peace?

8. In old Russia, doll makers began making dolls without faces to prevent the dolls from becoming inhabited by evil spirits. This, they believed, would protect children from evil influences. What if one of the possessed dolls from old Russia found its way into your life. Was it inherited or bought at an auction? How does this doll work its evil into your life and what evil spirit possesses it?

9. After waking up and doing your morning routine, you head out to work. Oddly enough, there are no other cars on the road and you don't see anyone walking the city streets. Where has everyone gone? Are you the last person on Earth?

10. Scarecrows are the stuff of Halloween, but what if all the scarecrows started to disappear from the fields? Where did the scarecrows go and what are they up to?

11. People used to be very careful with what they did with their cut hair. Women, for example, believed that if a bird made a nest from their hair, they would go insane. Interestingly enough, some dolls were made with human hair. What is the hair used for a doll came from a bad person who was then executed or passed on? Would that person's evil tendencies be passed on to the doll? What if a Victorian hair locket possessed the hair of an evil person? Would their qualities be passed on to the the locket and the wearer of the locket?

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