Words of Horror

During my junior year of high school, my English teacher made us keep journals. We were often given a topic, though from time to time I was able to write about whatever was on my 17-year-old brain.

On January 26, 1995, our journal topic was “Words I Associate with the Word ‘Horror’” and what a fun list I made! There are the obvious entries: vampires, werewolves, witch. But a few were a little more obscure… words that set the mood for a chilling horror story. Moon, rain, blood, lost, panic, mangle, lacerate, claws. I remember the origin of some: “deadfall” came from Stephen King’s Pet Sematery. Actually, Stephen King himself made the list, since at the time I was a voracious reader of his work. A few entries mystify me now, so many years later: why did I put “scientists” on the list? I am particularly amused that I added “voodoo” to the journal entry, especially since one topic covered in my voodoo book (which is in progress) deals with minconceptions about the religion.

What words do you associate with “horror”? Are there words outside the “typical” list that make a shiver run up your spine?

Beth Dolgner

Beth Dolgner is a freelance writer and editor whose work encompasses everything from motorcycles to ghost stories. She is a devoted Boba Fett fan and a member of the 501st Legion.

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