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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Ghost Tales of the Arctic: The Frozen Spectre

Haunted Boardwalk
Haunted Boardwalk

One Halloween night, as the sun slipped beneath the horizon, the young children were coming back from their rounds through the little Yup’ik village on the tundra in Southwest Alaska. The teenagers had waited their turn and eagerly squeezed out of their home, as their mother told them they were allowed to leave. They raced through to each of the small houses that dotted the dark, decrepit, and narrow boardwalks that snaked through the village. Not all of them donned costumes and there was still not yet a flake of snow on the ground, a rare occurrence for such a chilly autumnal night. The tall grass line the boardwalk like two moving walls that whispered with the winds that rushed through the spaces between the houses. They grabbed candy within the first house, then came back out and started back off; at each of the doors, they held their plastic grocery sacks aloft, and they became more heavily laden with candies and treats.

After coming out of the fourth house they spotted something strange emerging from the tall grasses onto the boardwalk behind them—it was a traditional Yup’ik parka, the hood was up and the ruff obscured the view of the face within. It wouldn’t have been strange except for the fact that it had no visible feet or hands. The teenagers sprinted to the next house, scared to death and unsure of what the seemingly floating parka had really been, but they were unwilling to say anything about what they had seen to the adults that were now handing them candy.

Ghost Parka
Photography by Joe Leahy

Between each and every stop for candy, the teens stepped outside and the floating parka had appeared again, as if it was just waiting to scare them. They had all grown up hearing the traditional stories of ghosts and ghouls—all meant to teach them to be cautious in one way or another, as a way to keep them safe in their unforgiving lands. They had a sense that they were being pranked—as if to test their knowledge and preparedness, but not a single one of them could muster up the courage to approach the floating apparition or to try to figure out who was toying with them.

The far north side of the village is where the last batch of houses resided—the travel between where the teenagers were and where their last glimpse of the prized sweets laid was a lengthy weaving, dismally unlit sprawling boardwalk. This path took them directly past the hauntingly abandoned teacher’s quarters that the entire village regularly avoided being near and even speaking about in passing. They made their way down the boardwalk towards this last remaining treasure trove of candy, when the little parka appeared behind them once again. One of the teens looked behind them as they crawled into the artic entry of one of the houses and saw its silhouette looming alone between the spirit-infested teacher’s quarters and the house they entered, blocking their dark and dreadful passage home.

The teenagers reappeared cautiously from the house, but the little parka was nowhere to be seen–each house they exited they huddled together in fear that the ghostly figure would leap out of the shadows and attack them from the front or back, but it didn’t. Then one of the teens gasped and pointed, there it was in the darkness beneath a building, huddled behind one of the steel posts that propped it up from the permafrost–it sat upright, waiting for them. All at once, it sprang up toward them with a hideous scream and chased the teenagers down the boardwalk, growls emanated from the unending abyss of the hood. As the spirit overcame them, they recognized the dead black eyes that sat deep in his sunken frostbitten features; it was the village boy whose snow machine had broken through the ice on the river. The boy had then managed to climb out from what would have been a certain death only to succumb to the elements before anyone could find him, only a year prior.

Broken Ice
Photography by Eberhard Gross-Gasteiger
Categories
Best Horror Podcasts Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

The 10 Scariest Podcasts Out There

It seems that podcasts are a dime a dozen these days, but fortunately for horror fans, the quality quite closely matches the quantity. We have scoured the web to find you the scariest podcasts. Also, quite luckily for the fans of the horror genre, the popularity of podcast creation is still on the rise. Like audiobooks, horror podcasts have turned into a popular form of entertainment because it only requires that we listen. We can listen to music, an audiobook, and even a scary podcasts while we’re doing our daily routine–when we’re getting ready for work in the morning, while we’re working out, while we’re commuting to or from work, and when we’re taking a relaxing bath… With horror podcasts, we especially enjoy allowing these creepy stories into our brains during the relentlessly sleepless nights, when an audio-only creepfest entitles us to retreat to the safety of our comfiest blanket while the darkness envelopes us entirely. Check out the ten scariest podcasts below.


10. Ghosts in the Burbs

Ghosts in the Burbs is a podcast made by a children’s librarian, who interviews her neighbors in Wellsley, Massachusetts about stories that no one would ever want to tell children. While she doesn’t bring all the special effects of music, special editing, or anything extraordinary, it’s her content that drives the creepy content of her podcast–while the stories don’t need to be heard in any particular order, we still recommend that you start at the beginning so you can get the full experience that Liz brings us with her dark tales that lurk in the otherwise sunny Wellesley.


9. The NoSleep Podcast

If you follow the NoSleep subreddit, then you’re probably not a stranger to the NoSleep Podcast, but if you’ve never heard it before, then give it a listen–there are so many plausible horror short stories that are a variety of styles as well as perspectives, but the one thing that they all share is the quality of scares. You’ll be consistently spooked by the stories told by NoSleep and you can thank us later.


8. PseudoPod

It seems like PseudoPod is kind of a horror-household name, they have amazing narrators, read some of the best horror short stories, that have come from some of the best authors around. There is something for everyone with this insanely simple and blood-curdling story-telling experience, it stands to reason if you don’t like one you should try another one, you’ll find something that you’re bound to enjoy.


7. Knifepoint Horror

Where other podcasts have an amazing track, or melodious narrators with voices of angels, who can emote through their presence of voice alone, Knifepoint Horror seems to only use the strengths of the narrator voices as well as limited sound effects somehow makes it feel like you’re there in the room with the characters. It makes you feel as if you might be the one that will next fall victim to the horrors that the characters are made to face. We highly recommend this horror podcast if you want something that will make your skin crawl at its best points and intrigue you at its slowest parts.


At number 6 in our scary podcast recommendation list is a self-proclaimed modern take on the Twilight Zone, it doesn’t fail to deliver with its eclectic collection of author contributions as well as narrators along with stellar audio effects make this an immersive experience, but what really makes this podcast special is the agonizingly spooky and mysterious nature of these short stories. The variety available with The Other Stories is perhaps one of its most attractive qualities of this horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction show–but there’s also the themes that they tackle with each chapter. We even came up with a list of our favorites, so take a look at this podcast, we guarantee you won’t regret it!


5. Limetown

This horror mystery podcast gives the feeling that there is something real going on, it has the depth of a real news story–kind of like a forensic crime documentary. There is something wonderful about the production value of this particular podcast, as it features a fictional host of the fictional American Public Radio who is trying to solve the mystery of several hundred people vanishing from a town in Tennessee a decade ago. The interesting thing about this particular ongoing story is that there are moments where, despite being reminded that it’s pure fiction, that you can’t really be sure of whether or not it’s real. What’s more, there are moments where you might entertain conspiratorial beliefs about it being an elaborate cover-up. Regardless, it smacks hard of the Orson Welles’ adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic War of the Worlds as a radio broadcast that convinced many people that the world was being invaded by creatures from another planet.


4. Video Palace

So if you were to stumble upon Video Palace without any previous knowledge of what they were about, you might think that the narrative was a true story–it starts when the narrator’s girlfriend wakes him up after he began sleep-talking in a non-existent language. They decide to do a full investigation into what could be causing this and what they end up finding is something of a mystery that needs to be solved. The thing that really makes this fictional podcast feel all-the-more real, is the real-life writers, bloggers, and filmmakers that have their own history in the horror genre.


3. Unwell

There’s something very unwell about Mount Absalom, Ohio–even if everything about it screams hospitality. When Lily Harper returns home to Mount Absalom to look after her mother, Dot, she encounters all of the things she hated about visiting her mother during the summers. This podcast is amazingly done, with impeccable audio and a quirky sense of humor that doesn’t overwhelm the darkness and malice that lays beneath the facade of niceties. If you want to disappear into a story, then this is an incredible one to immerse yourself in.


2. The Magnus Archives

Another anthology podcast with a classical sense of tone, the cadence of the narration weighs heavily upon the mood that is delivered–there is something soothing, but utterly petrifying about the way the words are spoken. Something that we find wonderful about the Magnus Archives is the fearless nature in which it tackles each of the episodes–the eerie ability to pull you into a story–submerse yourself in the Archives.


1. Alice Isn’t Dead

There isn’t a way to describe this podcast without gushing like a complete geek–there is something in the production value of this podcast that truly pulls you into the story. We’re following a female truck driver as she searches for her previously thought-to-be dead wife through a desolate landscape of mystery, allure, and a darkness that is difficult to capture through words. With a stunningly capturing score, an entrancing voice actress who gives us a narrative that we don’t want to quit. Just take a listen and tell us you didn’t want to keep listening through to the end.

We hope that you enjoyed this discussion on horror podcasts–it’s an eclectic bunch of channels, but if you’re a horror junkie, you now have hours of content at your fingertips and all for the low-low price of your time and attention! The popular Lore Podcast did not make the cut here, as it isn’t fully horror-based, but we do have a list of some of the scariest Lore episodes you can check out. Let us know what you think about these podcasts and let us know if you feel we should include other horror channels in any future podcast discussions?

Categories
Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

Urban Legends: The UFO Sighting of McMinnville, Oregon

One of the most famous pictures of a UFO was taken in 1950 on a farm near McMinnville—this controversial photograph showed what looked to be a flying saucer in the sky and was even printed all across the country in both newspapers and magazines, including Life. The problem is, is that it has still not been disproved and there is still no one who really knows the truth of the photograph.

Timeline of Events and Investigation

1950

UFO Sighting 1950 - McMinnville, Oregon
Photography by Paul Trent

Between 7:30 and 7:45 pm in May, Evelyn Trent was out feeding their rabbits in the yard of the couple’s farm and saw “… a good-sized parachute canopy without strings, only silver-bright mixed with bronze,” which prompted her to yell for her husband. When her husband didn’t come out, she ran into their house to find him and their camera, before they both raced back into their yard. When Paul saw the object as well, later describing it as, “a round, shiny, wingless object,” that was hovering in the sky. Evelyn would later describe what they had saw that night, “as pretty as anything [she] ever saw.”

That night, the 43-year-old farmer was able to take two photographs before the flying object disappeared into the evening mist, and there has never been a more popular photograph to ever come out of Yamhill County. The images weren’t published until about a month after they were taken, because they wanted to finish off the roll before getting the images developed, in The McMinnville Telephone Register and The Oregonian. Life magazine followed up with publishing the story and images after the Oregon publications, which allowed the entire nation to marvel over the unidentified flying object. It didn’t take long for an investigator from the U.S. Air Force to make a trip to visit the Trents on their farm outside of McMinnville. “The object was coming toward us and seemed to be tipped up a little bit,” Paul Trent offered up to the investigations officer, “it was very bright—almost silvery—and there was no noise.”

This particular investigator had heard about these kinds of stories before, it was the Golden Age of UFO sightings, after all—however, most of all the other alien sightings had been easily debunked. Unlike the others, this was no weather balloon, private planes, or otherwise obvious hoaxes.

1965

In 1965, the Air Force finally found a legitimate university with a well-credentialed physicist, Edward Condon of the University of Colorado, who was willing to thoroughly study the matter.

1967

In 1967, Condon led an exhaustive UFO study and finally finished a 950-page report under the name, “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects,” which dismissed most of the reported sightings, but then stated that, “at least one, showing a disk-shaped object in flight over Oregon, is classed as difficult to explain in a conventional way.” This study determined that the photos were genuine and that the Trents were honest in their reports.

Condon’s study declared that it was, “one of the few UFO reports in which all factors investigated—geometric, psychological and physical—appear to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object, silvery, metallic, disk-shaped, tens of meters in diameter and evidently artificial, flew within sight of two [credible] witnesses.”

1968

When Condon’s report was released, it was firmly established by 1968 that UFOlogy was a border science that lay well outside of the mainstream sciences. His results were, of course, argued with, because UFO enthusiasts believed that if he had confirmed the existence of UFOs, then he would have ruined his reputation.

1998

Until both Evelyn and Paul passed away in the late 1990s (Evelyn in 1997 and Paul in 1998), they maintained that their story was genuine and even modern analysis doesn’t provide absolute results as to whether or not the images can be debunked. It seems that skeptics believe it’s a hoax, whereas believers assert that it’s evidence that cannot be discounted on the existence of UFOs. The only thing that has been proven over the years since the photograph was taken, is that even under intense scrutiny it can neither be definitively debunked nor confirmed.

2004

Researcher Joel Carpenter (1959-2014) attempted to recreate a plausible UFO picture on the Trents’ farm, but it was clear the picture was shot using optical illusions to make it seem as if a near object was actually in the distance.

2013

A group of French skeptics also did an in-depth investigation and attempted to recreate the photographs that the Trents had taken–their conclusion was that the original photographs were of a small model and not of an actual UFO.

Aliens in a Car
Photography by Miriam Espacio

What are your thoughts on this very long-survived UFO sighting that still refuses to be debunked with confidence? Do you believe that these 70-year-old pictures could possible be authentic, or are they the best surviving hoax that has ever been captured on film? Let us know your thoughts below!

Categories
Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

When the Bandage Man Finds You

welcome to Cannon Beach sign

The sky was drowning the Oregon Coast during the summer in 1932, that Monday–August 4th–had brought two unexpected inches and it looked as if they were going to get at least that many more before nightfall. Harvey glanced up at the dark and angry storm-clouds overhead, his dirty rain-streaked face bore an unfortunately stern look. Harvey paired up with Jack, both men were large and burly and their capabilities with the equipment had never failed them before. They had a few special jobs to take care of in Section 8 and one of them to take down a particularly massive pine. Their hands were both slick with sweat, rain, and grease; halfway through the trunk, their saw bucked suddenly as it hit a knot. Harvey’s glove slid clean off as he scrambled to control the blade at which point he lost his footing. The saw raked him hard against his left cheek and then his torso–then–everything went black.

His eyes were coated thickly with dried blood as he made an attempt to open them, he barely registered the paramedics looking down at him as they bounced along the wet roads of the old coastal highway. Half-way to blacking out again, Harvey heard a loud thud, then darkness overtook them all as the ambulance was swept off the highway in a mudslide. The rescue crews came around the next day when they could finally reach those who had not made it back the night before–they uncovered the lifeless bodies of the driver and paramedics, but Harvey’s body was never recovered. In an official capacity he was reported as a missing person, but presumed dead from all of the injuries he had sustained.


It wasn’t the best night to be on an unfamiliar highway, the patches of fog which only seemed to break for torrential downpour. The onslaught of rain smacked heavily against the windshield suddenly which disturbed Lee out of her uneasy sleep. Her eyes were wide and dark as she searched the gloomy scenery from the passenger seat as if to figure out where they were.

“Hey, you okay?” Mason, Lee’s boyfriend, gave her a sideways glance and a playful jostle to her knee.

“Huh? Oh,” she blinked and swallowed as if that would help clear the fog in her mind. “Yeah, just got a bit startled is all,” the rain was drowning out the sound of the weather forecast and it proved impossible to hear over the extra static on the radio. All she could see out of her water-streaked window were the outlines of trees made possible by the dingy high beams of their old shaky single-cab. “Where are we anyway?”

“Well I think we’ll be coming up on highway 26 in a little while, so according to GPS we’re just outside of Cannon Beach?” Mason didn’t sound sure, but with a quick look at the phone on his dashboard showed him that he was way off course. “Wait… that’s not right. Let me just pull off the highway real quick…”

Headlights in the fog
Photography by Will Swann

Mason saw a side road that led off the narrow highway and realized too late that it wasn’t well maintained as the truck listed hard to the side into a pothole. The two of them heard a loud pop just as they went careening towards the trees. He stomped so hard on the brakes he was surprised he didn’t break the pedal—but it only took the couple a moment to realize how close they had just come to serious injury. The two looked at each other breathlessly before they both burst into that uncontrollable and slightly inappropriate happy-to-be-alive laughter. Lee hung her head in her hands and her laughter turned into a groan.

“Of course, this is what happens on our first road trip together,” she pulled out her phone to call roadside assistance and Mason grabbed a flashlight then hopped out of the driver’s seat to check how much damage there was. From Lee’s perspective, it looked as if Mason was just shaking his head in disbelief, while the rain soaked him down to the bone.

“Did they say how long it would be for a tow?” Her waterlogged beau climbed back into the cab after a while, clicked the flashlight off and sighed.

“Well, there’s a problem, since we don’t know what road we’re on, all I could tell them is that we were on our way into Cannon Beach when our GPS started acting up and we pulled off—I’m not sure how much they heard, I had to repeat the policy number four or five times because the reception here is terrible. I don’t think anyone is going to be able to find us for a while,”

Mason cursed under his breath, “did you bring the blankets up here at the last rest stop we made?” Lee nodded and pulled her part of the seat forward to pull them out of where they had been stashed. Mason was already shaking from the chill that ran through his body as he pulled off his wet shirt and pants in an attempt to dry off with one of the blankets.

“I don’t like it here Mason,” Lee’s voice trembled a bit, her knuckles whitened from the vice-like grip she had on the second blanket. “It feels like we’re being watched.”

“Baby, we’ll be alright, we’re right outside of a town, if it weren’t raining we could probably walk—”

“—I am NOT walking anywhere! That’s the kind of thing that gets you killed in horror movies,” she huffed and Mason reached over to push her thick dark hair out of her eyes, an unyielding expression had overcome her.

“Come here, you whiner,” Mason smiled and pulled her over to him, “we’ll be alright, we’re not walking anywhere. We’ll have to stay here until morning though if the tow truck isn’t able to find us.” Lee’s lips returned to their pout and she leaned into him, “In fact, I think this is pretty great—it almost feels like we’re going parking,” Mason laughed, a devilish grin spread wide across his face and he snuck a kiss from her.

“You’re terrible,” she teased between his kisses before they finally lost all words and the sensual, playful kisses turned into clumsy, feverish fumbles—reminiscent of their teenage years. Lee pulled the second blanket around them as the windows began to fog up; the rush from their accident and subsequent stranding had turned into an insatiable lust for one another. Mason had Lee’s shirt halfway unbuttoned when they both felt it—the whole bed of the truck leaned heavily to one side and then bounced back.

“What the—” they both sat up to look out into the bed of the truck, “can’t see anything,” Lee used her sleeve to wipe the foggy window clean and immediately screamed in terror. There were red luminescent eyes looking back at her through the window, through a strange mask—no, not a mask, they were bandages. Mason fumbled with the flashlight to see what she had seen, but by the time he shone the flashlight through the back window there wasn’t anything to see. Whatever it was, Lee was inconsolable and babbling about red eyes.

Screaming in the dark

“Lee!” He shook her, “LEE! Listen to me! What did you see?”

“Mummy,” she squeaked out between sobs, “red eyes,” it was like her throat closed after that and she couldn’t find words to explain—the truck shifted again, the front end of the car sunk slowly down and they could hear the metal bending under something heavy. Mason tried to shine the light through the windshield, but the heat inside of the cab made the windows impossibly opaque. He had never had a reason to not believe what Lee said, but he didn’t know how to process her claims. Before he could even reach up to the windshield to wipe it off, someone—or something—began pounding on the windshield and roof of the truck.

“We’ll be okay,” his voice was soft, “we’ll be okay,” his voice got lower, “we’ll be okay.” Mason began to choke as a stomach-turning stench wafted in through the vents—it was the unmistakable smell of rotting flesh—the pounding continued for a few minutes and Mason held Lee protectively, she whimpered and ducked her head into his arms. It sounded like whatever was banging on the truck had moved back to the bed and Lee jumped at the sound of when it began beating the glass of the back window. Then it all stopped, but Lee couldn’t bring herself to look up.

The glass behind Mason’s head shattered as a bloodied and bandaged hand smashed through and grabbed him by the hair. Screams erupted from both of them and Mason attempted to beat away the bandaged arm with the flashlight he still had in his hand. Lee scrambled backward; blood-curdling screams propelled her through the door after she fumbled for the handle. Her body fell like a ragdoll out of the cab of the truck and she landed hard on the muddy ground. Frantically she grasped for footing in the slick and unforgiving earth below her, she caught a brief glimpse of the broken silhouette of the thing as it pulled her boyfriend out of the broken back window. It was strangling him; she could see him gasping for air through his broken cries for help.

Mason’s body went limp and Lee couldn’t find her voice to scream anymore, but she had wasted her opportunity to get away, frozen in place as she watched her boyfriend die before her eyes. Disbelief left her body as adrenaline pumped deafeningly through her and she scrambled back toward the highway at a sprint. Lee thought she saw lights coming through the fog, but a filthy bloodstained hand covered her mouth and yanked her backward.


It was nearly daylight when Larry pulled slowly on to Bandage Man road—he’d been searching for these tourists all night after his company received a call for a tow, but he’d been told it was garbled and all they knew is that they had been on their way into town.

“That damn pothole, I told ‘em it’d cause a problem sooner or later,” he moaned to himself as he navigated around the lake that had formed within it overnight. Once he caught sight of the truck he frowned, the passenger-side door was wide open—that was strange—and one of the back windowpanes looked as if it had been busted out. Larry stepped out of his rig and hollered, “Hello?” No response. He noticed as he walked up to the driver’s side of the truck that there was blood on the freshly broken back window, along with a lingering odor he couldn’t quite place. When he finally saw that there was no one in the truck, his heart began to race wildly—he knew as soon as he saw that ripped and bloodied bandage on the seat what had actually happened here, nearly a hundred years after Harvey, the Bandage Man, had met his brutal end.

Bandage Man of Cannon Beach, Oregon

Since we’re dedicated to supplying you with creative inspiration and all of your lore needs, we suggest you take a look at our encyclopedia entry on this particular haunting.

If you happen to have any first-hand encounters with Bandage Man or know a story that you grew up with, comment below and give us the details!

Categories
Lifestyle

Why Watching a Horror Movie Is Good For Your Health

Walking down a dark hallway
Photography by Charles DeLuvio

You’re finally home from a long day at work and now darkness sets in under a moonless, gloomy sky–having never been a fan of the dark, you lock the door behind you and kick off your shoes. There’s a split second where you feel your heart race at the thought of being caught off guard, the momentary flash of what-if.

You settle in for the night–maybe you just threw a microwave meal in to satisfy the need for food while also placating your exhaustion. You don’t want to go to bed yet, so maybe a movie? You flip through the channels and suddenly you find yourself at the entrancingly morbid opening credits of your favorite scary movie. Just as you begin to smile to yourself, the microwave beeps loudly from the kitchen and you jump in your seat–no you didn’t you’re not a fraidy cat.

Now you find yourself at the beginning of a marathon binge of a horror movie franchise and you don’t realize until two in the morning that you’ve got to be to work in a handful of hours and that you’ve made yet another pleasurably terrible decision. Good job on handling that adulting business that people always talk about.

Watching Horror Movies Has Benefits?

While it’s clear that many people are simply not interested in horror movies or the genre in general—it’s okay, not everyone enjoys the scary stuff—there have actually been studies done that lead us to believe that watching horror movies can actually be beneficial for our health! Sounds kind of silly, right? Seriously though, if you don’t believe us, keep reading—you might finally have an excuse to drag your friends into your next horror movie marathon once you’ve armed yourself with these awesome tidbits.

Anxiety? What anxiety?

Anxiety is an abnormal stressor that no one has time for, not to mention who wants to deal with that? When you voluntarily watch a horror movie, there is a latent feeling of safety that looms in the back of our minds—so when that scary music starts playing in the background and your brain begins to anticipate the danger that is coming for the protagonist on-screen, our fight or flight response is triggered.

When this response is triggered from suspenseful scenes in your favorite genre and has that subsequent release of adrenaline, glucose, and cortisol in our bodies it significantly combats the anxiety response. Anxiety, as anyone who suffers from it, will understand, is a huge roadblock when it comes to being able to accomplish anything—the fight or flight response counteracts that overwhelming obstacle in a huge way. In fact, some people use horror movies to treat minor instances of anxiety and depression—because adrenaline makes way for serotonin which is the body’s natural happy drug. Dr. Mathias Clasen, a professor of literature and media speculates horror movies educate people on how to deal with stressful or dangerous situations.

Liberate Yourself

Dark Misty Forest
Photography by Jakub Kriz

Speaking of abnormal stressors—stress is just plain unhealthy and those who enjoy watching horror movies, you’re in luck! When it comes to stress simply pick a horror movie, the creepier the better and let that stress bubble burst. This all goes hand-in-hand with the beautifully purifying catharsis that many people feel while watching scary movies.

Have you ever had someone cut you off in traffic and for a moment you feel such an intense surge of anger that you wanted to beat the tar out of them? Well—watching movies where these kinds of events are acted out on screen can actually have a cleansing effect. Since you would never act on these feelings yourself, due to your own moral and ethical objections to violence it’s only fair to be able to sympathize with Jason as he’s cutting down teens on Camp Crystal Lake.

Feel the burn—or, maybe not…

Thinking of putting off a visit to the gym tonight? Well, you can burn nearly two hundred calories sitting on your couch watching a horror movie. That’s not to say that you should substitute this in place of healthy exercise, but if you skipped out on your nightly walk to settle in and watch a horror flick you’re probably breaking even. Some of the most famous horror movies like The Shining, Jaws, and Alien were used in a study to determine the body’s reaction to stimuli presented in frightening movies—the result? Suffice it to say you can burn between 152 to 184 calories by popping in one of these movies, so while you might not feel the burn like you might with a short strenuous walk, it works just as well!

Enhance Brain Activity

Walking Down a Dark Street
Photography by Elti Meshau

The neurotransmitters that are released while watching a horror movie increase brain activity—as has been noted above—with the adrenaline rush that horror movies have been found to give us, the lasting effect is actually heightened alertness.

Learn What NOT to Do!

According to the Psychology department at the University of Wisconsin people, women, in particular, can actually experience an increase in maturity and street smarts. Even though horror movies are often over the top in their depictions of violence, they mentally prepare people who find themselves in precarious situations. Walking down a dark alley late at night? Anyone who’s versed in suspenseful cinema knows to be alert for someone jumping out at them from the shadows—we’ve learned from movies to not repeat the mistakes of the disposable characters. Don’t trust strangers, don’t divulge personal information, don’t pick up hitchhikers, be vigilant when you’re alone.

Boost Your Immune System

Horror movies—especially the intensely frightening ones—signal our brains to release adrenaline which is actually a booster for our immune system. Just in time for cold season and with the widespread panic of the coronavirus, this booster comes in the form of an increase in white blood cells. Both men and women could use an increase of white blood cells—since these are the cells that fight off infections—to decrease the probability of getting sick or the length of time and seriousness of a viral or bacterial infection.

Desensitize Yourself

While it wouldn’t be ideal to be desensitized to everything in life—moral abhorrence is typically what keeps people from being apathetic to the problems of others—there are a lot of people out there that deal with phobias on a daily basis. Therapists that work with these people often suggest watching horror movies as a means to overcome the irrational fears that these people suffer from. So, this counts as yet another health benefit that comes along with movies that are meant to scare the pants off of people—after all, who can’t get comfortable in a controlled environment with a fictional movie that is meant to test your resolve (yeah, we know, there are still some people who can’t muster the courage to undergo this sort of confrontation).

A Boon for Relationships

Lastly, no one can claim that horror movies don’t bring people together—sometimes even literally, grasping each other tightly with a shriek. The trick used to be a guy would ask a lady out on a date, usually a movie, then pick a scary movie so the lady might be inclined to scoot closer or let him put his arm around her. Horror movies are an experience for everyone involved, and there’s often at least one person in the group that gets worked up over the scariest scenes. Having a hand to hold, or strength in numbers revives the notion that our survival often depends on other people.

The Takeaway

If you’re not keen on watching scary movies, never fret—there are ways to alleviate the burden of your own fears. Watch them with friends or family, be ready with your phone to remind you that you’re not alone, hide behind some munchies and blankets, keep the lights on, read the synopsis of the movie to familiarize yourself with the plot prior to watching, and finally—if you really just aren’t comfortable while watching, you can always turn it off and live to be afraid another day! Keep in mind that all of the benefits discussed here are the results of studies done on willing participants—forcing yourself or others to watch scary movies is never advised, especially since you can only reap the benefits of watching them if you’re doing so willingly!