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?

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  1. Alan Fleming says:

    Hey Beth –

    I realize I’m not part of the target readership of your ghost/voodoo books, so my view on horror is very different. My serious response would involve things like being a social pariah…Having just read Mandela’s biography, some prison treatments chill my spine: solitary confinement, torture, being locked away while bad things are done to my friends and family. Helplessness, hopelessness.

    On a less serious level, a really bad valve failure on a four stroke motorcycle is pretty horrifying. Brake failure while riding at speed ranks right up there as well.

    Think Peace,
    – Alan

  2. ocm says:

    Hmmm…great topic for a journal exercise, that’s for sure.

    I think my mind instinctively goes to things that are pretty cliche…a mangled auto accident…walking into a village and seeing all the people slaughtered, traditional ‘monsters’ and the like.

    If I sat down with it I think it would be interesting.

    Fun stuff!
    : )

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