Horror writing takes many forms. Psychological, supernatural, and everyday horrors are but a few of the story plots you will come across when reading scary tales. Another great one is the monster story. Monsters come in many shapes, sizes, and nationalities. Every country has its own legends and myths about them. If you want to create a unique monster story, why not use one of those monsters to terrify your reader?
When planning your next horror story, consider researching the area you pick for the setting. You never know what you will find if you do this. Here are some creatures I have found during my research of the major continents. I choose one monster to highlight from each.
1. North America – Windigo
This man-eating creature comes during the winter months, when food is hard to find. Much larger than a human, it has glaring eyes, is naked and gaunt, and brings blizzards with it when it hunts. It feeds on human beings, at times possessing them to find more victims. It is said that throwing excrement is a way to avoid possession. The only way to get the Windigo out of a person is to kill the person, cut their body into pieces and burn it. Not very helpful to the victim, but a great horror plot twist.
2. South America – Munuane
Considered by the Sikuani to be the “Master of Fish”, the Munuane appears as a toothless, gray-haired guardian demon with eyes in his knees. He travels on a raft and uses a bow and arrow to dispatch those who are taking too many fish from the river. He is very large and not very bright. He only attacks greedy fishermen and is an excellent shot. If the victim has a chance to fight back, the creature’s knees are his weak point.
3. Europe – Duergar
This is a fairy from Great Britain who leads travelers astray by using am image of a flickering torch. He is about one foot tall, wearing a lambskin coat, moleskin shoes and a hat made of green moss with a feather sticking out of it. He believes the woods are his and will harm or kill any human he catches trespassing, usually by trickery. He is an illusionist and can fool the human mind into seeing things that are not there. If caught by a Duergar, staying still until daylight is the only way to survive. Any movement can be deadly.
4. Africa – Bori
A mischievous spirit that is easily offended or angered. Most often appears human with hoofed feet. One way to spot one, should your victim come across a stranger in your story, is the stranger will seem slightly weird and have oddly unfocused dreamy eyes. It kills an offending human slowly by sucking the victim’s life force out of their body. Iron is a powerful repellent for this creature; even the word spoken several times can drive the creature away long enough for an escape.
5. Asia – Yuki-onna
This creature appears as a beautiful and an irresistible maiden. Dressed all in white, her skin is pale and her breath is like frost. She can appear as a vapor or mist, and kills her victims by sucking their life from their own lips. Should a male victim catch her eye, she will extract some sort of promise before letting him go. Later, she will disguise herself as a human female to become romantically involved with him. Should he break his oath, she appears in her true form and kills him. There is not much that can be done should she attack; avoidance seems to be the best course of action.
6. Australia – Mamu
A malevolent man-eating demon who roams the desert, this shape-shifter is seen at times as a friend, fellow traveler, birds, and even inanimate objects. When in its natural state, it is tall with a huge pointed head and bloody fanged teeth. The males carry large clubs to use against their victims. A good defense to these creatures is fire and dogs. When traveling in the desert overnight, sleeping in a circle of fire with dogs keeping watch will keep you safe.
This is by no means a complete list of the worlds legends and myths surrounding monsters, but a sampling of what you will find. Research your choice carefully and have fun creating your horror story based on that choice. Monsters make wonderful horror story characters. Big or small, they are frightening because they are part of the mist and shadow of our own fears. It is up to the horror writer to use that fear to scare the pants off his reader. So, what are you waiting for? Start scaring!
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