For those of you who read the title and are thinking to yourselves, “He plans to become ghost?”, yes, I do. I plan to become a ghost and haunt people as I like. Nobody’s safe, too. I plan to haunt everyone and anyone! Mwha ha ha!

Anyway, most people who know me know that besides being a fan of horror stories, I’m also a believer in ghosts and have had a few experiences as well that terrified and excited me (though mostly terrified). I thought it’d be interesting if I did a list of ten places purported to be haunted that I want to visit and see if I can capture ghostly evidence. And it’s possible that I might be able to go to a few of those soon, so I’m super-excited for them!

The list isn’t in any real order, except my number one is last and I REALLY want to go there when I have the chance. The rest of the list is pretty random in order. I didn’t intend for that to happen, it just did. Or did it?…

So without further ado, let’s get this list started!

10. Longfellow’s Wayside Inn
Location: Sudbury, Massachusetts, USA

The oldest working inn in America, the Wayside Inn gained its name as it was the place that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his collection of poems, Tales of the Wayside Inn, back when it was the Howe Inn. There is another tale though of this historic inn: the inn is reportedly home to Jerusha Howe, the daughter of the inn’s original owner who fell in love with a sailor who disappeared at sea. She died pining away for her missing lover. Today, male guests at the inn report being visited by Jerusha in two adjoining rooms she is said to frequent, leading to some amorous ghost stories that have been collected in a trunk full of love letters in one of the rooms. You can see why I’d want to go there. It’s the making of a great supernatural romance story, among other things.

9. Lizzie Borden House
Location: Fall River, Massachusetts, USA

Lizzie Borden was a woman living in Fall River, MA with her family in 1892 when her family was brutally murdered with an axe. The violence of the massacre and Lizzie’s subsequent strange behavior afterwards made her seem like a prime suspect, but bungling on the part of the local investigators led to her acquittal at trial. The case gained quite a lot of attention in its day, making it one of the most infamous murders in American history. Today the house is a working bed and breakfast, and guests have reported being dragged from beds and other unpleasant happenings. Doesn’t that sound like it’s right up my alley?

8. Alcatraz
Location: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California, USA

America’s most famous federal prison, it held numerous famous criminals, including Al Capone, from 1934 to 1963. Today the prison is a landmark and a museum (and it was also a short-lived TV show), but it’s also reportedly haunted by former inmates who died here, sometimes under mysterious circumstances. Not only that, but the island was called by Native Americans “the Evil Island” and rumors of demonic activity continue to this day. I can imagine wanting to spend a night in the big house if it was this one!

7. Ohio State Reformatory
Location: Mansfield, Ohio, USA

I’m proud to say that this one is in my state, and haunted tours are regularly given there around Halloween, so I’m definitely going to visit it one of these days. During its heyday, this prison housed over 155,000 prisoners, and there were several mysterious deaths, murders, and suicides. Since it closed, it has been used by film crews for a variety of films, including the Shawshank Redemption, but it has also been the home of some very nasty spirits who are said to touch prisoners and even become violent. Maybe I should visit there this Halloween. Anyone care to come with?

6. The Stanley Hotel
Location: Estes Park, Colorado, USA

The inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, the Stanley Hotel has been the site of many paranormal experiences, with people becoming so frightened they’ve had panic attacks and have been sent to the hospital. Some of the most famous haunted rooms are the ballroom, where music is said to be heard, and Room 217 (any King lover knows why). There’s also a reported ghost thief that steals luggage, jewelry, and othe valuables from right under the guests’ noses, and there’s been no proof it might be a maid. They had me at Stephen King.

5. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Location: Weston, West Virginia, USA

One of the most haunted sites in America, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was one of the busiest insane asylums in the nation, housing 2400 patients at its peak. It was forcibly closed in 1994 due to treatment of its patients, but popular belief states that some guests haven’t left. There have been screams, doors opening and closing, and a bunch of other weird happenings there, and it has been investigated by numerous paranormal investigators, including the Ghost Adventures Crew, who did a live seven-hour long lockdown during which viewers on the Travel Channel website could view and examine evidence in real time. And I think it’s about time I got committed there, don’t you think?

4. Pennhurst State School
Location: Spring City, Pennsylvania, USA

An asylum for the physically and mentally handicapped, Pennhurst was plagued by overcrowding and not enough staff members for all its years. There are reports of children five or six years old not being taught to walk because there weren’t enough staff members to teach them, and of patients lying in their own feces or delusions for hours on end. The facility was finally closed when an investigative news team exposed the overcrowding and abuse there, leading to a public outcry. Today the facility is reportedly haunted by patients who never left its walls, and tours and investigations there have yielded some interesting findings. As one of those investigations inspired a novel I plan to write someday, I hope to get a tour someday. Road trip!

3. Aokigahara
Location: Honshu Island, Japan

An ancient forest at the base of Mt. Fuji, the forest is nicknamed “Suicide Forest” due to its popularity as a place for suicides, despite official’s efforts to stop visitors from killing themselves. It is said that in addition to the suicides, the forest is haunted by demons and yurei, spirits who have been unable to move onto the afterlife. If I ever tour Japan, I’m making this place a sure location to visit. Only Godzilla could keep me away!

2. Hellfire Caves
Location: West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, UK

A series of man-made caverns that extend very deep underground, the Hellfire Caves were once the stomping grounds of the Hellfire Club, a group of politically and socially affluent figures led by Sir Francis Dashwood, who reportedly held a number of pagan rituals in the caverns. Some accusations against the group say that these rituals were satanic in nature. To this day there are reports of dark spirits in the caves, as well as reports of Sukie, the ghost of a woman who was accidentally killed by three village boys who lured her to the cave and a rock fight broke out, as well as the ghost of Paul Whitehead, a friend of Dashwood’s who asked that his heart be put in an urn in the caverns upon his death. When the heart containing his urn was stolen in 1829, reports of a man in 18th century garb sighted in and around the caverns started to crop up. I wonder whose heart he’s looking for? Because these caves have certainly stolen mine.

1. The Paris catacombs
Location: Paris, Il-de-France, France

A series of underground ossuaries in the heart of Paris, the catacombs were once a series of ancient mines before becoming the homes of nearly six million corpses and skeletons when Paris officials needed to do something about the health problems caused by poor burial practices. Today certain sections of the catacombs are open to the public, and the legends about them never seem to cease, including that of the ghost of the man who oversaw the transfer of the bones below, of a man who got lost while going down to drink liquor and became a wandering ghost forevermore, and a bizarre tale of a woman who was kidnapped and tortured by a werewolf below, among others. I’ll be visiting France for my study abroad trip, so you can bet I’ll be making a visit to the catacombs before I leave the City of Light. And I’ll be taking plenty of photos.

Have you ever been to these or other haunted locations? Has anything happened to you? If it did, could you give us some detail?

Today is April 22. And as the title of this post makes very clear, there is only two weeks until my study abroad trip. Can I just say one thing? I’M SO EXCITED!!!!

My study abroad trip is about three weeks long, and I’ll be visiting England, France, and Germany in an intensive study of the European theater of WWII. I first heard about it a year ago, though I think a part of me wanted to go on such a trip since I got to Ohio State and heard about the study abroad programs available. I met with one of the leaders of it not too long after I heard of it, Dr. Steigerwald, and we kept in touch. Then this past autumn I went through the application process to get onto the trip. I got in, and I met the other people who’d be going on the trip with me.

And this whole past semester has been basically defined by the trip. Almost all of my classes I took with most or all of the members of my study abroad trip (which allowed us to become good friends), and each class we took together had something to do with the trip. We also had to write papers and read a lot of books about WWII. I even had to write a 25-page research paper of a topic of my choosing for the trip! And as much fun as it was to learn about the actual relationship between National Socialism and the occult, it was still a lot of work, especially hwen you add in all the applications for scholarships and grants and getting the medical stuff taken care of and then some!

It feels really weird that it’s only two weeks away. I can’t believe how much time has passed since I got onto the trip, or how much time has passed since the semester started. Despite everything we were doing as prep for the troop, it felt like it was a million years off in the distance. To find that it’s already late April and I’ll soon be packing up, paying my fees, and heading onto the plane, is kind of heady.

But I’m super-excited that it’s so close. I’m so looking forward to seeing the actual sites where famous battles and events happened and getting a better understanding of them. I plan on taking a lot of photos while I’m over there too, so I’ll be able to preserve the memories of my trip as best as possible. And I’m looking forward to doing a bunch of other things while abroad, along with seeing these famous European cities. The members of my trip have been talking about seeing a play at the Globe Theatre while in London, maybe Titus Andronicus (do they know what it’s about? It’s very bloody). And while we’re in Paris, I’m going to see if I can get in on a tour of the Paris catacombs. That will be fun! And a friend of mine on the trip expressed an interest with me of visiting the Reichstag. If we can, we’ll go.

Oh, before I forget, I want to let everyone know that even while I won’t be blogging on this blog that much while abroad (can you blame me), OSU is having us keep blogs while we’re abroad (on a WordPress format, no less). I’ll post a link to the blog before I go, but that means that if you want to, you can read about what I’m doing on my travels while I’m gone. I hope you’ll enjoy reading that.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m going to get to work on dinner in a few minutes, so I hope you have a lovely rest of your day. Have a good evening, my Followers of Fear.

My latest article for Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors just went live this morning. Today’s article is Creating Character Names, which is something I’ve seen plenty of authors (myself among them) struggle with. I thought it’d be fun to contribute something about the subject to the site, and thus this article came to be.

As you may remember, I mentioned a bit ago that I wrote about five articles for Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors that I scheduled to come out before I leave for my study abroad trip (and if I have my way, there will be more on that later today). The first, Doing an Excerpt, came out on April 7th. The second, When Trolls Attack, came out on the 13th. Creating An Acknowledgements Section will be out on the 27th, and I believe What Makes A Strong Character? will be published May 2nd. So please do check them all out if you get the chance.

And if you are a self-published author or are considering going into self-publishing, I highly recommend checking out Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors. It is a wonderful site full of very helpful articles on a variety of subjects related to writing, editing, publishing, and marketing, written by some really awesome indie authors (myself and yesterday’s interview, Ruth Ann Nordin, among them).

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got to go to work, so I’ll write some more later. Have a wonderful day, everybody!

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There is so much I’d like to say about Ruth, but I only have limited space to do so. Let me start with the things you definitely should know about her: Ruth is a prolific author, having written an astounding forty-six books, consisting of many different types of romance, as well as science fiction, fantasies, and non-fiction. A co-founder of that wondrous blog Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, many authors, including myself, look forward to her articles on how to self-publish cheaply and to do it well. And having been in the business for a number of years, she knows what she’s talking about. Though if you ask her, she will say that she still has a lot to learn.

I was able recently to sit down with Ruth and pick her brain on writing, her experiences with writing, and what she’s been up to lately. And as always, it was a wonderful and illuminating experience.

How did you get into writing?

When I was in the eighth grade, I went to the library looking for a certain plot.  I searched through all the books in a section and couldn’t find the book I wanted to read.  Then it occurred to me that I could write the book and read it.

Do you have a routine when it comes to writing?

I wish I did, but I don’t.  I do have the luxury of staying home during the day so I can write, but I also have a husband and four kids to take care of, and they are constantly interrupting me.  I pretty much write during the entire day, but I write in 10-20 minute spurts.

How did you get into self-publishing and what has the experience been like?

I got into self-publishing because I wanted to have full control over the content in my books.  My experience has been extremely rewarding and surprising.  The rewarding part is that I get to see my books in ebook and in paperback.  I have the pleasure of going back and reading them whenever I want.  The surprising part is how quickly self-publishing took off for authors.  Back in 2009 when I gave up on the idea of going with a publisher, I pretty much assumed I would never sell any books.  Back then, there wasn’t this expectation you could make money self-publishing books.  You believed the publisher was the only way to see money (via advances and royalties).  These days, the opposite is true.  Never in a million years, did I think things would be as they are today.

Why did you help start “Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors”?

At the time Stephannie Beman and I decided to create the blog, there was no other blog out there dedicated to helping other authors who were thinking of self-publishing their books.  I had searched the internet, and it seemed that every blog I came across was dedicated to helping authors who were looking to find a traditional publisher.  I wanted to educate, inspire, and support other authors who wanted to self-publish their books.  Back then, the big thing was just letting authors know it was okay to self-publish.  There was a lot of stigma associated with self-publishing.  Today, that stigma is still there, but it’s so small that it doesn’t even come on the radar.  These days, the focus is more on educating new writers on how to produce quality books that can compete with (and often be even better) than traditionally published books.

What inspires you the most?

The characters in my stories are the ones that inspire me to write.  If I don’t feel an emotional connection to them, then the book isn’t worth writing.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing household chores, spending time with family and friends, or reading.  Most of my reading is nonfiction, some for spiritual growth and some for research on how to better write or run my business.  My fiction reading is mostly for genres apart from romances.  I write romances so much that I like to get a break from the genre to read other things.  I love horror the most, probably because it’s a lot different from romance.

What are you working on now?

I always have several projects going on at the same time.  I’m working on two co-authored books with Stephannie Beman and three that are on my own.  Four are historical western romances and one is a contemporary fantasy romance.  See why I like a break from romances when I read?

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have three books to pass the time till you were rescued, what would those books be?

The Bible, How to Market a Book by Johanna Penn, and Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb.

 

If you would like to find out more about Ruth, you can visit her on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, as well as on her website, her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter. And while you’re at it, make sure to check out any of her 46 books. I bet you won’t regret you did.

I love these award memes. I should definitely try to revive the one I created a while back. But first, I have to thank Arran Bhansal for nominating me for this award. I really appreciate it. Now onto the rules:

1. Write 11 random facts about myself.

2. Answer 11 questions Arran came up for me.

3. Nominate 11 bloggers (if I can think of that many).

4. Come up with 11 questions for my nominees.

Okay, 11 random facts about myself. Let’s see:

1. I take precautions to keep spirits from getting into my room. Does that surprise anyone? Mainly salt, because it acts as a purifying presence against evil. Works incredibly well. I sleep much more easily these days.
2. I am terrible with names and faces. Sometimes I even forget my own.
3. I once heckled a comedian. I regretted it afterwards and have been occasionally beating myself up over it ever since. Still not sure why I did it. Bad case of judgment, I guess.
4. My most recent date was back in February or early March. It’s someone I’m friends with, but I think I’d like to just stay friends with them on reflection. Still, it was a lovely date and I think we became closer.
5. Today I remembered some animated movies I used to love but haven’t seen in years. Does anyone else remember The Black Cauldron or The Princess and the Goblin?
6. When my sister and I were little, people used to ask my parents which one of us was adopted because we both looked so different. My dad would joke that one of us was actually the mailman’s kid, and he was black. Nobody was sure if he was being funny or serious.
7. I’m a terrible singer. It’s never stopped me from trying though.
8. My favorite animal is a tiger. They’re so big, majestic and yet so dangerous and vicious. What’s not to love?
9. My study abroad group and I want to see a play at the Globe when we’re in England. I hope it ends up happening! It’d be so cool to go there and see an actual play in a recreation of the place where Shakespeare had his plays performed.
10. I once considered getting my hair dyed black. I’m glad I kept my hair naturally blonde, though. It looks better that way.
11. If I were to get a tattoo, it’d be of The Great Red Dragon as depicted in the William Blake painting on my back. Yes, that is a reference to one of the Hannibal Lecter books. Still really scary and awesome, though. Am I right?

And now for the 11 questions.

1. Who has been the greatest inspiration for your writing? Probably Stephen King and Anne Rice. They were the ones who made me realize my love of horror and spurred me on to write deep, powerful stories with ideas of love, fear, growth and reflections of what it means to be human. Of course, JK Rowling and the HP books got me into writing in the first place, so I guess you could say she has had the biggest influence of all.

2. Do you have a specific writing routine? I wish. My life doesn’t allow for it at the moment. It’s mostly when I can find the time to write. That’s when I do it.

3. How do you unwind when you’re not writing? I read, watch TV or surf the net. These days I tend to do less of that though. There’s just only so much you can find on the Internet before it just seems like the same old trash in new forms.

4. How much of you is in your main characters? Depends on the character. Some characters are based directly on me. Others have had my life experiences wrapped into their origin stories or their interests are similar to mine. And others are so far removed from me they’re separate people altogether. But I don’t mind that. After all, it’d be boring if they were all based on me, weren’t they?

5. What are your views on the traditional vs. self-publishing debate? Well, I’m a self-published author and I write for a website that tries to help other authors self-publish, so I guess that kind of tells you my views. If you look at the publishing industry, there’s never really been a point when the industry has been “stable”, because it’s always in flux. If you ask me though, I think it’s great that people still want to go with traditional publishing houses. Good for them. I just feel that those houses are pickier than ever about what books they publish, so they’re sending more people to self-publish and that leads to the publishers facilitating their own deaths. Weird, but it’s true.

6. What are you currently working on? I’m trying to get through Laura Horn, a thriller novel I’ve been trying to write since last year. Because of my life, it’s been an on-and-off project I hope to finish it this summer though, if I can.

7. Is there anyone you can talk to about your work, or do you find that you can’t relate to others? I’ve been fortunate to meet plenty of people online and off who help me every day with my writing, so it’s wonderful that I’ve got this great support network. I hope someday to repay all of them for the help. Just not sure how.

8. What was the last book that truly moved you? I guess that’d be Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s an awesome story. You can read my review of it here.

9. Do you listen to music when you write? Yes, usually classical music and opera. I find I write better with the pure, organic sounds of the greats in my ears. I’ve got a whole playlist on my iPod devoted to them. I call it my Writing Music.

10. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be? Your worst nightmare.

11. Finally, very random.  If you could be a farmyard animal, what would you be, and why? That is random. I guess a tomcat. So much freedom to just run around and catch mice and curl up in the sun. Of course, I wouldn’t mind being a nice big dog either. Plenty of room to run around and watch sheep and lick faces. Woof!

Okay, let’s see if I can nominate 11 bloggers:

1. Angela Misri.

2. Stories by Williams

3. Writing in a Dead World

4. Quoth the Wordsmith

5. Life and Other Disasters

6. Timothy Pike, freelance copy editor.

7. Therin Knite

8. Osharlequin

9. Lesley Carter

10. Jodie Llewellyn

11. 2bcreativeblog.

As for the questions, here we go:

1. What is your favorite genre of fiction?
2. What scares you the most?
3. When you were growing up, what did you want to be when you were an adult?
4. If you could hang out with one superhero for a day, who would you pick and why?
5. What is your pet peeve?
6. What is something you never thought you’d end up doing but you found yourself doing it?
7. What do you look for in a potential romantic partner?
8. What is something you wish you could change about yourself?
9. What is something you’d like to do before you’re 80?
10. What is your fondest childhood memory?
11. If you found a large brown spider crawling up your leg right now, how would you most likely react?

Okay, that’s all for now. I’ve got a bunch of people to tell that they’ve won an award. Good night everybody!

Vampires are scary…but also kind of sexy and occasionally needy or envious of humans. Werewolves are scary…but in some cases they are cute and sometimes even sexy. Zombies…just walk a little faster and you’ll avoid them. Frankenstein’s monster…take the guy to a therapist to talk over his daddy issues. Witches….just tell them you have no intention of burning them at the stake and that you’re more interested in working with them and maybe using their powers to better mankind. Or leave them alone if they have Satanic leanings. Demons…well, they’re basically an incarnation of ultimate evil. Not even religion or faith can protect you sometimes.

But after demons, ghosts are probably the scariest of monsters, and they’re certainly my favorite. And I have some pretty good reasons why they should be your favorite as well. Let’s run through them, shall we?

1. There are plenty of people trying to prove their existence. Just go on TV, you’ll find shows dedicated to paranormal investigators who go to reportedly haunted locations (I’m a huge fan of Ghost Adventures, personally). And while some of what they find can be explained through science and reason, and while their methods may not exactly follow the scientific method, some of what they’ve found is pretty compelling and hard to explain rationally, which is more than I can say for some people who go hunting for Bigfoot or aliens. And plenty of paranormal investigators will take the time to show people who are skeptical that while the methods they use aren’t perfect, they will attempt to show you that their methods are as free from interference as possible.

2. Ghosts are found in nearly everywhere on Earth. Nearly every religion on Earth, every ethnic group, every cultural group and every philosophy has some conception of what the afterlife is like, and a good number have stories of the dead coming back to intervene in the lives of the living. Heck, even the Judeo-Christian tradition does (the witch of Endor, for example). Is it Jung’s collective unconscious at work? A human need to calm ourselves with beliefs of life after death, that we still exist in some form after our bodies begin to rot? Or maybe it’s something more.

3. Everyone believes in ghosts at some point. Don’t try and deny it. At some point everyone’s a believer. I’ve seen people discount werewolves or vampires or the Loch Ness monster right off the bat, but when it comes to ghosts they’ll admit that, if they don’t believe in them now, they certainly believe in the possibility or that they did in one point in their lives. And why not? After all…

4. The former victims of death are just as scary as death itself. Think about it. Death seems like the worst thing that could happen, but then there’s the possibility that something worse than just dying. And nobody wants to see a reminder of death, of how it can twist the soul and turn the spirit inside out, coming our way to do us harm. At least not most people I know.

5. There’s no set rules about ghosts. Minus that they’re the souls of the dead, of course. Vampires drink blood and are usually afraid of sunlight. Werewolves react to the cycles of the moon and are allergic to silver. Zombies are the undead and need a good beheading to kill them off. But ghosts are much more flexible than other monsters. They can be confined to one singular place, or they can be mobile spirits that can travel to various places as they are allowed. Everything from appearance to how they haunt to how they can mess with the living. It’s all pretty open, much to the delight of every horror author ever.

Now, I’m not trying to convince you that ghosts exist (though I do think ghosts are one of those things that skeptics can come to believe in much more easily than with other subjects and if I did somehow make you a believer, then welcome t the club). But I certainly think that ghosts are out there, and that they are honestly some of the scariest things out there…that aren’t the result of humans, I mean. So the next time you hear about a movie or a book featuring ghosts, take a moment and think about what that movie or book is tapping into. It’s more than just a primal fear of death, it’s something that could actually conceivably exist and do us harm. And that is one of the most terrifying thoughts of all.

Oh, and you know which culture has the scariest ghost legends of all? Japan! The yurei is a spirit that exists on the physical plane because of some lingering grudge or regret that keeps it from moving on. Yurei tend to wear white robes, have pale skin, long black hair and no legs. There are also subcategories of yurei, depending on how they died, what keeps them there, and who exactly has died. The most famous yurei is probably the onryo, a spirit that stays on this Earth out of a desire for revenge. And if you’ve ever seen The Ring or the Grudge (Japanese or English versions) you know what I’m talking about. Those things are Terrifying with a capital T!

Look at this thing! Can you blame me for being terrified?

Remember this famous scene?

Or close to that amount, anyway. And by the way, if you enjoy found footage horror movies and don’t want me to spoil them, you might want to just leave this post. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the long run.

The other day I had an idea for a found footage horror movie. There’s been a lot of them in theatres lately, including Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project, Chronicle, and Entity, just to name a few. I remember when Paranormal Activity came out, how it was such a big deal and how even people who weren’t fans of horror were holding huge conversations and spirited debates on it. I saw the commercials of people lined up around theaters to see it, and I remember some friends of mine telling me how they went to see it, and near the end one of them got up and started shouting, “I’m a bitch! I’m a bitch! Get me out of here!” I was so mad that I had to wait till it came out on DVD to see it (those were the days when I had to rely on my parents if I wanted to go see a movie in theaters, and they only took us if it was a film the whole family could watch. Guess how many of those were horror films? That would be none).

Anyway, I realized then that there are a lot of similarities between found footage films, at least the popular ones that make it into the theatres. The most glaringly obvious (besides the method of filming, of course) is in terms of plot:

  1. Characters become aware that there is something supernatural going on and resolve to investigate. We may also be informed that the footage we are about to watch was found after a certain amount of time, usually after the deaths or disappearances of the characters.
  2. Characters investigate, and start to realize that there is something strange going on.
  3. The strange events escalate, becoming more and more sinister in nature.
  4. The characters start to get anxious or angry and start fighting among themselves.
  5. The strange events reach a zenith, during which time the terror is (hopefully) very high and most, if not all of the characters die off.
  6. The film ends, and we now know why the characters have disappeared and only the cameras and film were found.

In addition, most found footage films are made very cheaply (Paranormal Activity was made on $15K and Blair Witch Project was made on $20K to $25K, while major horror films like The Conjuring and Sinister were made for 20 million and 3 million, respectively). And for some reason, the characters always have their cameras on and holding them up to get the footage, even in awkward situations. We as the audience either forget that most people, even filmmakers, wouldn’t place such emphasis on getting everything while our lives are in danger or we just overlook it. Also, there tends to not be title cards or opening or end credits. None at all. Helps to make it seem like these events actually happened, I guess. Oh, and also the characters tend to be isolated somehow. Whether they’re trapped in their house or lost in the woods or in an abandoned factory in the middle of nowhere, they’re cut off and there’s no knight in shining armor to come to their rescue. They are alone, and it’ll be their undoing.

Look out behind you!

But yeah, that’s basically most found footage films out there.

So if these films are so similar, especially in terms of plot, why do horror filmmakers keep making them and why do horror fans keep going to see them? Well, I guess it has to do with the execution. These sort of films may be as predictable as your run-of-the-mill romance novel, but there’s so much room to experiment and try to new things. And even if you have a basic idea of how the plot is going to go, you don’t know what will be behind the corner or what will jump out and terrify you. You can’t know, so if the movie’s any good, you’ll sit on the edge of your seat wondering what the heck will happen next, and screaming when it does.

So with all that in mind, could I possibly make this found footage film I came up with myself? quite possibly. I plan on buying a video camera after I get back from my study abroad trip, so it wouldn’t be inconceivable to make a film. I’d just need a little funding, a cast and crew, and a location. Plus the time to do it and some marketing. It could possibly happen. I even have a title in mind: The Red Monk. Good title, right?

Well, if the opportunity comes along, I’d love to do it. And you never know what could happen. It could be a very big thing.

What do you think of found footage films? Love them or hate them? Do you think they’re a bit predictable?

If I did make a film, would you see it? Would you even want to be part of it?