Black Town

Horror……What is horror?
As kids, we heard a lot of these stories. Stories which go like “your
school has a haunted classroom” and “the top floor of your building
has a ghost residing in it, waiting to devour us alive”. How many of
these stories were true? You would say none because let’s be honest,
most of these stories were made up by bullies trying to get a few
cheap scares from you.
But isn’t it odd that most of the ghost stories we hear from people have
the same narrative? Surely not all bullies around the world met with
each other to get their stories aligned. Doesn’t this make you think
that at least some of these incidents might have happened in real life?
With this article, we’ve tried to make sense of some of the most iconic
horror stories and tales from around the world.
Let’s start with one of the classics.
Remember that story we used to tell each other… the one where you
lit a candle in your bathroom with the lights out at one in the morning,
looked in the mirror and said her name three times in a row…
”Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary”. There are a lot of
stories behind the origin of Bloody Mary but the most popular one is
the tale of her demise. In the olden days, when one would die, people
would put a small hole in their coffin and put a piece of string through
the hole, which was attached to a bell.

This bell would hang on a stick by the homes of the deceased, and if
the dead ever woke up they would simply pull the string, ring the bell
and would be hence dug up. This was usually done because physicians
could only check a person’s pulse or put a mirror under their nose to
confirm their death. While this wasn’t the most accurate option, it
worked most of the time. And at others… We got the infamous tale of
Taking place in the 1800s is the story of Mary, a young girl, whose
village was struck by an illness, which made people drop dead in a
short span. The illness soon struck Mary too and her health
deteriorated. After her death, she was buried in a coffin likewise. Days
turned into weeks, but her parents never left the house, continuously
praying to all the gods to bring back their sweet Mary. One fine day,
when her parents finally left the house – call it a coincidence or a
miracle – Mary woke up from her deep slumber and started pulling at
the string, ringing the bell till the stick holding it fell through. But
alas, no one was around to help her while she screamed in fear and
pain. She soon began clawing at her wooden prison till her fingers
bled red. Her parents arrived home soon after and to their surprise,
noticed the bell ringing. But when they dug and unlatched the coffin,
they found Mary in a petrified state, her hands, twisted like claws,
covered in her own blood and the white dress, in which she was
buried, was now red. They then put a mirror under her nose to confirm
if she was still breathing. To everyone’s astonishment, the mirror
showed a light mist. Even then, she was declared dead. Her spirit,
from then on, was said to have been attached to a mirror.

Now whenever one utters her name three times in front of any mirror,
it is rumored that she comes and claws at the unknowing innocent
This is just one of the said stories about her demise…

Watashi Kirei? Which translates to Am… I… Pretty? A question often
asked by the malevolent spirit of a young lady who partially covers
her face with a mask or any other cloth and carries a pair of scissors.
The story that took place during the Helen period i.e 1200-800 years
but became predominant worldwide only by the 1970s, is that of
Kuchisake-onna or the slit-mouthed woman. She is often described as
a woman having long, straight black hair, and pale white skin. She is
sought out to be conventionally beautiful except for her scar, which
she got when her samurai husband found out about her affair with
another man and in a bout of rage, slit her mouth from ear to ear.
Rumours have it that she approaches people (usually children) and
asks them if she is pretty. The ones who say no encounter the same
fate as her and are left with the Glasgow smile. On the other hand,
when a person replies with a ‘yes’ to her question, she removes the
mask/cloth covering her face and asks the same question yet again.
This time, if the person answers no, their faces are immediately
slashed and if the person still says yes, she is said to follow them
home and kill them irrespective of their answer. Most people believe
that the only way out is to give her an ambiguous answer, which
would confuse her and buy the person more time to escape.

There are various adaptations of this folklore. In some versions,
Kuchisake is considered to be an adulterous wife or a mistress whereas
in other adaptations she is said to have been mutilated during a
medical or dental procedure by a woman who was jealous of her
beauty. There are a few versions of the story in which she is even said
to have numerous sharp haphazardly arranged teeth.

A beautiful woman in a shroud… floating and wailing can be
extremely frightening. Especially when her screams are an omen of
death. The old belief from Celtic mythology states that Banshees are
harbingers of death. These creatures are said to come from the fairy
family but unlike their friendly relatives, a Banshee is said to live in
dark caves and swamps and avoid human contact. Banshees are often
described as morbid tall women wearing ragged dresses. Their
appearances are said to be deceptive due to their ability to shapeshift.
What makes these creatures fearsome is their extreme scream which
can be heard from miles away. Legends have it that their screams are
so loud that they can puncture one’s eardrums or even their skulls. It’s
believed that Banshees don’t cause death. They only serve as a bearer
of warning of it, leading to the belief that if a person comes across the
shrieks of a Banshee, they or a person close to them is going to face
death very soon.
According to some tales, Banshees are said to have been the
descendants/servants of Morrigan, the goddess of war and destruction
in Irish mythology. It is said that every time a brave warrior died

during the battle, a woman would die too and appear in front of the
dead warrior in the form of a Banshee and mourn his death by letting
out a loud bellow. They would mourn and cry until their eyes
eventually turned red like fire and their skin turned pale in color,
leading people to believe that these dead women were destined to die
due to the sins committed by them during their lives and mourn their
death as well as the death of the other person.
With pale skin, large fangs and an unfulfilling thirst for blood, we’ve
lost “count” of the number of versions they exist as. The image of the
vampire has been changing forever. Vampires are believed to be as old
as humans themselves. Stories of these gruesome blood-sucking
creatures are said to extend as far back as prehistoric times. Every
adaptation has led to different images of these creatures. In a few Greek
stories, vampires were also called Striges, and were described to be
bloodthirsty birds. In the Mesopotamian era, creatures called Lamashtu,
who were considered to be ancestors of the modern-day vampires, were
said to have the head of a lion and the body of a donkey. Other stranger
adaptations include the Manananngal, a creature who was said to sever
its upper torso and sprout huge bat-like wings in its place to fly, the
Malaysian Penangalam, a flying female head with dangling rotten
entrails openly exposed and lastly the Yara ma Yha, a famous
Australian folklore creature who was believed to have a big redhead
with a mouth full of dangerously sharp teeth and bloodsuckers on their
hands and feet.

The defining trait of these creatures is believed to be
that they sustain themselves by consuming the life force of living
creatures. The vampires we read about today are adaptations of stories

from 18th-century Eastern Europe, where the instances of blood-
sucking creatures emerging from the shadows had become more and

more common. Popular folktales from Albania and Romania are
responsible for the modern traits of vampires such as their skin being
cold and them being nocturnal as well as their shapeshifting abilities.
The stories of these creatures have been alive even after the vampire
hunt slowly died – towards the end of the 19th century – which led to
some of the most famous literary pieces of modern times, namely
Polidori’s “The Vampyre”, the Gothic novel “Carmilla” and how can
we forget the famous “Dracula”. The characters in these pieces as well
as the creatures in the myths were believed to feast on beautiful young
women in order to retain their youth and beauty, making them
immortal creatures.
Thanks to the numerous tv shows as well as various books, the staking
of the vampire’s heart, the use of a crucifix or garlic to defend oneself
and even the Transylvanian setting are said to be important attributes
adapted from local folklore. Their ability to turn into bats, supersonic
speed and also them being unable to walk in sunlight as well as see
their reflections is just a classic case of elaborating and expanding the
myth of vampires, which helps the folklore live up to its name to date
and imbibe that sense of fear amongst the people.
If you’ve met someone new during the summer months, there are a few
things you might want to be careful about. Did you happen to meet
that person on the first night of Obon? Do you only see them at night?
Well then consider this to be a warning for this is exactly what

happened to Ogiwara…For a long time, stories spoke of a widowed
samurai who noticed a beautiful young woman named Otsuyu walking
by her house with her maid or a young girl holding a peony lantern.
The lovers met in secret from dusk till dawn. One day, an old woman
who lived with the samurai sees him in a loving embrace with a
skeleton. Horrified, she goes to a Buddhist priest to convince Ogiwara
that he is in grave danger. The priest creates a protective charm to be
put around the house to not let anyone belonging to the world of the
dead inside. However, the samurai’s love for Otsuyu was so great, that
he removes the charm and lets her into the house with her maid. At the
end of the night, it is said that Ogiwara too died and his corpse had a
radiant smile, his soul taken to the world of the dead where he forever
reunited with his love, Otsuyu. Half-love, half-ghost story, and wholly
terrifying, the story of the Peony Lantern began in 17th century Japan.
Although many versions exist, they all follow the same general
premise..These days though, ghosts have to keep up with the times,
hence they’re unlikely to be carrying a lantern. So as you walk about
during Obon in mid-August, it may be wise to watch out for people
illuminated by the screens of their smartphones!
Most of us freak out while watching a horror movie but what happens
when the movie is said to have been “cursed” during the filming itself?
When actors and crew members are injured or die due to mysterious
circumstances, it is just seen as happenstance, but what if these
incidents aren’t just some tragic coincidence?
“The Exorcist”, “The Omen”, and “Poltergeist”, to name a few, are
some of the movies that have such odd instances attached to them.

Most of us freak out while watching a horror movie but what happens
when the movie is said to have been “cursed” during the filming itself?
When actors and crew members are injured or die due to mysterious
circumstances, it is just seen as happenstance, but what if these
incidents aren’t just some tragic coincidence?
“The Exorcist”, “The Omen”, and “Poltergeist”, to name a few, are
some of the movies that have such odd instances attached to them.
For instance, in “The Exorcist”, a bird flying directly into the circuit
box led to a freak fire which burnt down the set being used as the
family home. What makes this even creepier is that the only part to
survive the blaze was the bedroom where the exorcisms shown in the
movie took place. The crew even called in a real Jesuit priest, Thomas
M. King, to bless the set after the incident.
Just two years after “The Exorcist”, the filming for “The Omen”
began. A month before filming was to start, the lead actor, Gregory
Peck’s son committed suicide. Another similar episode was when he
was on his way to the set, his plane was struck by lightning. To make it
even eerier, the executive producer, Marc Neufeld’s plane was also
struck by lightning on his way to the location. But perhaps the most
chilling result of this “curse” was what happened to the special effects
supervisor John Richardson. One of his big FX sequences in “The
Omen” was one in which a character is decapitated by a sheet of glass.
While working on his next movie in the Netherlands, Richardson and
his assistant were involved in a car accident, and his assistant was —
you guessed it — decapitated. Legend has it the accident occurred near
a street sign that read “Ommen, 66.6 km.” Still, think all of this was a

Lastly, let’s not forget the most famous “haunted” movie of all time, the
original 1982 “Poltergeist”. The film revolves around a family of 5
who has recently moved into their suburban residence, possessed by
paranormal forces. The most spine-chilling scene in the movie is one
where the mother is dragged into a partial dug-out pool surrounded by
skeletons. JoBeth Wiliams, who plays the role of the mother, was
horrified to find out that the skeletons were not made of rubber but
were very much real. Rumors suggested that the film crew not only
bought real skeletons but had desecrated the graves themselves to get
them. This led to the urban legend that the ghosts of the unwitting
skeletal “co-stars” had cursed the films and everyone who worked in
Out of all the beings from beyond this world which exist unbeknownst
to us, like the Petnis and Pisachinis from Bengal, the story of The
Headless Horseman, a German folktale, and the famous tale of La
Llorona, the weeping woman from Spain and countless others, some of
the scariest entities are those that actually exist in today’s world like
the cursed doll of Annabelle or the tomb of King Tutankhamun are said
to be haunted by spirits of the dead.
Ghouls, ghosts, banshees, etc. are just some of the stuff we heard or
”seen” (we have never and if you have… maybe it’s a sign?). But what
about the ones looking at you right now. You. Yeah you. Not to spook
y’all but don’t look up because you never know what you might just
see or what might be seeing you…


This blog page serves as a platform for the Editorial department of The Hindu Education Plus Club at VIT Vellore. We provide opportunities to budding authors across campus to hone their writing skills. We publish blogs four times a week, where writers can communicate their views on any topic of their choice with our readers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *