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Ghost Story Plays (1 Viewer)

A collaborator and I are discussing writing a ghost story play. I'm very interested to know what gives you the shivers. What are the aspects or qualities you enjoy most in a ghost story?
Thanks so much!
Rosemary
 
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WriterDude

My grandparents used to live in an old house far away from civilization, and many people say it's haunted in some way. It was built in the 1940's over the fundation of an even old hourse, built at least a hundred years before that. And even long before people built a house there, sami used to stay around that area (I live in the north part of Norway). There have been rumours of the sami sacrificing animals on an altar, but this wasn't unusual back then. But this means there is a lot of history in that area, so who knows how many bad things have been going on there? I know my grandparents never saw anything or experienced anything ghostly there, and my father grew up there with his brothers and sisters without experiencing anything ghostly there.

But that said, there are problems. My sister invited a friend to stay with her in the attic when they were young, and my sister claim she saw something there. It looked like a woman, although thinking back on it now, the ceiling is so low it had to be a young girl. But either way, the girl was dressed in old fashioned clothes, and there wasn't supposed to be anyone there. Who was that girl, and why has the incident stuck with my sister for over twenty years without changing if she had made it up as a young girl? Even better, when my father mentioned to his sister a few years ago, she automatically thought he meant her daughter. If we know the two girls couldn't have talked to each other about it, how do you explain both of them having seen very similar things? Besides, my uncle and his girlfriend stayed in the bathroom one day. This is far away from civilization, and they knew they were alone. All of a sudden they could clearly hear the main door opening and footsteps as someone entered the building. The footsteps then continued walking across the kitchen floor into the corridor outside the bathroom, and started going up the stairs. My uncle opened the door and looked to see who it was, but he found no one. Who opened the door, and who did the footsteps belong to? And I know my uncle, he's not funny enough to have made this up as a joke. If he say he heard it, he meant it and have a witness. And these are just random examples. Other people have felt a precense of some sort around the house, and I know other people have seen things they refuse to talk about.

If you want to write a scary ghost story, you could start with something like this. This is just a random house where people have lived for a long time without noticing anything strange, but then again some people have seen something. It's real, like it or not. If I were to read a book like that, I would find it quite scary as I know it could just as well have taken place in real life. (in this case it did). I think it's far scarier if you don't know for sure what's going on, and you let the reader use her imagination to scare herself. Remember, the scary part isn't what you see, but what you don't see. ;)
 

Charlie_Eleanor

Senior Member
I don't know when the last time it was that a ghost story freaked me out....okay, okay, you got me. I am terrified of anything that goes bump in the night. But, the scariest thing I have ever experienced, which is kinda silly actually, was when I was much younger. I hated, hated I tell you!, when my mom and I would drive through the country at night. I could see in the far distance the lights of the city and I would try to look at them, but every once and a while I would look at the trees/shrubs that lined the roads and I swear I saw people/things running beside the car, or looking at me as if we weren't driving 60 mph but standing still. I was always afraid one of the monsters (or whatever they were) were going to run up to the car and get me. I still am scared to drive through the country at night. lol, I'm so silly.
 
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WriterDude

Ever seen a movie called In The Mouth Of Madness? (I think that's the title).In one scene they are driving at night on a remote road with very little traffic, they they suddenly see someone riding a bicycle in the middle of the road. They drive past it, but this person casually rides up to them and continue past, apparently without even putting any effort. And we're talking a car that goes at least 60 mph. It creeped me out. The rest of the movie are awesome at awell, of course. But this scene... yickes!
 
Thank you both for your shivery posts. You are so right--with just a hint or a suggestion, we scare ourselves. I stay away from slasher movies, but I thoroughly enjoy the plays and films that capture that creeping uneasiness.
 
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WriterDude

I like a good slasher movie, particullary Friday 13th. Jason is just soo cool! The hockey mask, matchete, badass attitute, the works. The problem is he's kinda the "off screen hero", as in the real reason why we watch those movies. This again means they are not exactly scary. The first one was, as we didn't see the killer until the end (all we got is "Hi, what are you do doing here?" like the victim clearly knew the killer), but while the others aren't scary, they certainly are watchable. A horror movie meant to scare people on the other hand should in my opinion focus on the victims, so there's a real sense of danger. We get to know them quite well, so we want them to stay alive and feel for them when they start getting into trouble.

And if you have the time, you might want to read some of Howard Phillips Lovecraft's work. He wrote most of his best work almost a hundred years ago, yet even so there have been very few who can be said to rival it. You might have heard of the Cthulhu Mythos? Cthulhu, Necronomicon, R'lyeh,the Ancient Ones, all that. The genius with Lovecraft is that we always know what's going on (it all evolve around an ancient species called the, um, Ancient Ones that rules the earth before man existed, and is rumoured to one day walk again), but each story is written so you never quite know anything. Like one of my favourites, The Shadow over Innsmouth. It's about a guy traveling to a remote town far away from civilization, where only a single buss is the only way to get to or from the town. Some people found a strange crown unlike anything seen before, and it is rumoured to come from that town. The guys goes there and notice disturbing things. Strange noises come from stranger churces, the locals generally refuse to talk to him and so on. It gives the town a very creepy feeling before he even explores it, and it gets far worse after a while. Even so, you never quite know what's going on until the end, as is a true masterpiece within horror like the rest of his work. I highly recommend his work to any horror fans. :D I know it doesn't evolve around ghosts, but it's certainly scary.
 

vangoghsear

WF Veteran
WF Veterans
A cliche, but a scary one, is to bring in a character with no introduction who acts odd in some manner that can be later described (limps, can't talk, deaf, stacks up wood for a fire even though it is a hot day in August, or something like that) then later have another character tell us that it sounds like so-and-so, but it could not have been them because so-and-so has been dead for ___ years.
 
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WriterDude

True story: A friend of a friend of mine was driving home late one night in the rain when he saw a young woman standing next to the road. He asked if she needed a lift (this was a bit from civilization), and she accepted. She was already quite wet, so she removed her sweater and put it in the back seat (she still had her shirt on, of course). The next morning, the guy noticed she had forgotten her sweater in the car and went to the place where he dropped the woman of. Another woman opened the door and was surprised when the guy held up the sweater. She immediately recognized it as her sister's sweater - but her sister had been dead for six years... :-s
 
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IanBoltsoy

A cliche, but a scary one, is to bring in a character with no introduction who acts odd in some manner that can be later described (limps, can't talk, deaf, stacks up wood for a fire even though it is a hot day in August, or something like that) then later have another character tell us that it sounds like so-and-so, but it could not have been them because so-and-so has been dead for ___ years.

I’m with you on this, the whole you know something that the actors don’t, drags us in every time. Make it sinister and the effect is doubled.
 
Ian and Vangohsear, I like your suggestions--giving the audience something to worry about for the characters they care about. I'm reminded of that awful feeling of dread that came over me while watching a performance of The Woman in Black.
Thanks.
 

Guitar_chick133

Senior Member
I've lived in "Haunted houses" just about all my life, but it just made it even more creepy by the fact that i could almost "Feel" them being around especially when we lived across the street from a cemetary. anyway, i'm sort of reminded of some one act plays that i've had the plesure to see ( my sister being in both of them)

the first was "Voices" but people said it reminded them to much of "The Others" any way there is one line that i always love to quote because it is so creepy and it always kind of inspires me when i try and write something creepy. the little girl in the play is playing with her ball and she is reciting a poem at the same time, it goes something like:

Once a lonely Wizard, while walking along the shore, happened on a princess all dress-ed in Velore.
"Dear Princess, it's you I'd like to wed."
"How kind dear sir, but i must decline."
the princess promptly said
"because you see, I'm dead."


then the other play is "The Insanity of Mary Girard" which i think could easily be made into a movie, it's so creepy! I love it! :p
 

Cori

Member
waht would realy scare me is reading a story of something new something no wrtitter had ever written having the writter put all their imagination in the story not just ghosts something more scary a mistery of a ghost town. who had been abandon it could start by a group of friends going on vacations in a paradise town at the beach of some were nice then going though a diferent road or geting lost and passing though that lonely town or something like that taht will make the reader wanting to read more to see the outcome. Right now iam writting a story going that way. but dont know of the title yet. i got to think about it after i finish the story and post it to recive you all's coments.
 

Wallmaker

Senior Member
hmm. Sometimes just considering the eerie juxtoposition is enough, like Writer Dude said about the guy who bicycles at 60 mph. One of the creepiest things I've seen in a while is in Zodiac. One of the murders takes place on a sunny afternoon in broad daylight. It's unnerving becuase a sunny afternoon with friends and loved ones a person probably feels really safe. I think a really good ghost story takes that safety net away from the viewer as well as the performer/character.
So... random example, a ghost/haunting at an elementary school or daycare could be terrifying becuase we drop our kids off and think they'll be safe. Or if you'd like to be more comedic, what if someone's under house arrest? Protected by witness protection? Oh, the irony would be fun.
 
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