Is it in the chills that pass through your spine.Or in the electric feeling that you get on your skin.Or maybe because of the scares it provides.Or maybe simply in the atmosphere of paranormal. The supernatural,that realm that lies on the border of reality and fiction,that space whose existence is acknowledged by some and scoffed at by others,has an undeniable truth to it that it creates an interest. Doesn’t matter if you like it or hate it, it elicits a strong reaction nevertheless.I was drawn to horror stories right from my childhood and used to read a lot of them.I like the atmosphere created in those tales of terror.And they make the imagination run wild. Horror stories have always fascinated me.
I used to read a lot of them during my school days.Some of the earliest stories that I have read are some of my favorite too.It began with Stories of Algernon Blackood and Ambrose Bierce. Blackwood’s ‘Wendigo’ was one of the reasons I got lured to this genre.The atmosphere of suspense and mystery it creates is unmatched.The bleak climate,the swamps of Canada,the cold,a group of hunters and a mysterious creature.The story stayed with me for a long time.It made me hungry for more.And more I did find.Ambrose Bierce’s ‘The Damned Thing’ again about an unknown being was an excellent read.
My favorite compilation of horror stories was a book by Ruskin Bond ‘Ghost Stories of the Raj’ It had stories of British and their supernatural experiences with the natives. Though not any one story stands out it is the combination that sends the reader back to the days of the British Raj and their thatched bungalows,lonely forest rest houses and hunting lodges.It is one of the reasons I have a fascination for the forest rest houses left by the British in the jungles of India.
And then there are stories by Edgar Allan Poe.I read a few,among them ‘The pit and the Pendulum’ stands out. More than the stories I liked his horror-poem ‘The Raven’. For all the readers I suggest you read it after 2pm in a lonely cottage somewhere in the middle of a jungle.The essence of the poem will flow out then.Stories of the master of horror H.P.Lovecraft I have read a few.His creation Cthulhu has become an Internet sensation lately.I still have to read a lot of his stories.
And then there are stories whose moments got imprinted in my mind but I don’t remember the name of the story or the author.Like the one about a young man and his young lady friend he makes across the street.The twist in the ending is one of the best I have read.This particular story was a big hit at many storytelling sessions we used to have back in our school days.And the one about a hunting expedition gone wrong due to a supernatural sighting in an abandoned hunting lodge.Or the one about an out of the world object found in the ruins of a house in the jungles of Burma.I am still trying to find these stories.I hope to find the names someday.
My interest has not subsided even now and am still reading horror stories.
Apart from the above mentioned stories the following are some of my favourite stories
-‘The monkeys Paw’ by WW Jacobs
-‘The most dangerous game’ by Richard Donnel
-‘The country of the blind’ by HG Wells
-‘The Signal Man’ by Charles Dickens
-‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ by Ambrose Bierce
-‘The Willows’ by Algernon Blackwood.
Look out for my next posts on Horror movies and Horror story telling sessions we used to have.