8 Terrifying Ghost Stories

October 9, 2014 12:40 PM

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The terror generated by a ghost story can be more lasting than the shocks delivered in a horror story... indeed, this different quality of scariness may be what distinguishes one form from the other, not the simpler question of whether or not a ghost features. Freddy Krueger is, technically, a ghost, but the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films are horror -- indeed, as Freddy becomes more familiar, he enters the pantheon of movie monsters, which has surprisingly little room for ghosts. "The Blair Witch Project," in contrast, is a ghost story, though it barely mentions ghosts -- instead, it's marked as a ghost story by its ambiguity, its sense of a presence affecting the characters, and the care taken to sketch out the history of the haunted woods.

Horror makes you jump, and -- sometimes -- makes you think. Ghost stories slowly lower your body temperature, producing the frisson effects described as chills down your spine or goose-flesh. Sometimes, they make you stop thinking because what they are suggesting is too awful to contemplate ...and t...

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