For Halloween, authors take advantage of things that scare people. Some write stories that will keep you awake at night; others write stories that scare you for the moment. Any phobia would be appropriate in a Halloween story, but the following ones are more closely associated with this spooky time of year. Write your own scary story using one of the following phobias.
Myctophobia, nyctophobia, scotophobia, or achluophobia is the fear of darkness. Most children suffer from some degree of this fear at one time or another while growing up. It isn’t so much a fear of the actual darkness, but a fear of the dangers that lurk in the darkness. The majority of people outgrow this fear, but there are those who carry this fear on into adulthood.
After the death of my mother when I was nine years old, I had nyctophobia for quite some time. Maybe it was simply because my mother had died. Maybe it was because she died during the night in her sleep. But whatever the reason, this phobia is terrifying, especially for a child. If the events that happened in the fictional account I wrote about my mother’s death, Softly and Tenderly, were real, I would probably still have this phobia and many more.
Have you ever been afraid of the dark? Write a fictional story about this time in your life.
Melanophobia is fear of the color black. There is an absence of light in the color black. It is secretive and full of mystery, always keeping things hidden from view. Anyone who has melanophobia also probably has a fear of darkness.
Necrophobia is the abnormal fear of death or dead things. Those who have necrophobia also have a fear of things associated with death. This includes morgues, funerals, tombstones, and coffins. A person with necrophobia could possibly even have a serious dislike of nursing homes and hospitals, since they can be places of death. Would a person with necrophobia attend the funeral of a parent who died? Or would the fear overcome him and keep him away?
Nyctohylophobia is the fear of dark wooded areas or of forests at night. I see this as being closely related to the fear of darkness and the fear of the color black. There are things hidden in darkness that you cannot see. Even with a flashlight, in the deep darkness of the forest or woods at night, the presence of those wishing to cause you harm could easily be hidden. What malicious creatures are hiding amongst the trees just waiting for some unsuspecting person to pass by?
Panophobia or pantophobia is the fear of everything. Wow! How could one survive in this world if he had a fear of everything. Life would be miserable. I have read that a person with this fear has a vague feeling or persistent dread of some unknown evil that is out to get him, no matter where he is or what he is doing. In the supermarket, the checkout clerks are spying on him and reporting to their superiors everything that he buys. When he pays his bills, the companies are reporting how much he pays and when he pays it. He won’t go out to eat. If he did, they would surely poison his food. Think about what a living hell the life of someone with panophobia would be.
Paphophobia is an intense and uncontrollable fear of graves. Hmmm. I wonder if it matters whether or not there is a body in the grave. Maybe that depends on how deeply the fear is implanted into whoever has it. This would probably be closely related to necrophobia, the fear of death or dead things. If you want to place a character in a situation of intense fear, give her paphophobia, and then have her kidnapped and buried alive in an unmarked grave.
A person with phagophobia, the fear of being eaten, may have watched just one too many horror flicks filled with zombies whose intent is to rip people to shreds and devour them.
Is there a monster lurking in your closet that is just waiting on you to fall asleep? Is an alien salivating each time it looks at you? Or maybe it is a human monster. Does your neighbor have a taste for human flesh? Has he been giving you strange and thoughtful glances lately? Maybe he has even been licking his lips while gazing at you longingly.
Phasmophobia is the fear of ghosts. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence on ghosts to be found in books, on television, on the movie screen, and on the internet. Many of these books, movies, and sites capitalize on the fact that many people are so afraid of ghosts. Are ghosts real? Or are they just a figment of people’s imaginations?
Leading out onto my deck is, of course, a door. Slid back to the side though is a screen door that hasn’t been shut for years. One evening a few months ago, I had let my dogs out back to take care of business. A few minutes later, my shepherd/boxer mix and my little wiener beagle barked, signaling they were ready to come in. My elderly Australian Shepherd was still outside. A few more minutes passed before he barked to come in. When I walked into the dining room to let him back in, my breath caught in my throat, and I think my heart stopped for a second. My screen door was shut, and there is no way my dog could have shut it. Was it a ghost? You decide, and write a story about it. So you know, this screen door makes a lot of noise when it is slid in its tracks.
Placophobia is the fear of tombstones. What could possibly be creepier than visiting a cemetery located in a forest that is full of tombstones that are falling apart on a moonless Halloween night? It would be extra-creepy if there was a serial killer on the loose, a killer who made a habit of grabbing his victims at night from the area the cemetery was located in.
Phobias That Could Thwart Writers
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