Let me kick off the post by playing catch up on my thought processes. I really need to just post more often. Many apologies for posting a day late. My kids are on school holiday and have commandeered my computer. By the time they were in bed and I realized I forgot to post this month’s prompt it was late and I was beyond tired.
Yes, I need to post more often. Didn’t I say that? I get bogged down in projects, kids, housework and boring real life stuff and I neglect my blog. I want to start posting more interesting content throughout the month. I am thinking in the way of tutorials or something. Not sure if I will keep it to text or start a video blog. I’m kinda camera shy, so let me think on it some more.
The topics for this month’s prompts are : Urban Legends, Strange But True, Ghost Stories, True Crime. In my process I often develop my characters and stories at the same time. These prompts can easily be used for writing or drawing inspiration. Every place has a story (sometimes several) in one or more these topics. If you think you don’t have any local legends or happenings you’re wrong. Do some digging, you’ll be surprised what you come up with.
When I was a little bitty kid we had part of an old house foundation in our yard. It looked like a low stone wall. Every spring daffodils bloomed around it. My sister and I loved to go pick them. When I was older I found out that the woman who lived in that house was stabbed to death by her husband. He ended up going to a mental institution. Nobody wanted to live in a house where someone was murdered, so it was torn down. The killer was the uncle of the man who we rented our property from. This story has made it’s way into my own stories.
If you aren’t feeling inspired by your local history, don’t hesitate to look further afield. All cultures around the world have their own stories and legends. Some of them are seriously weird. Research. Do one for each day of the week. Write a story or draw a picture based on what you find. Enjoy!
Urban Legends: Probably one of the most well known urban legends is that of Bloody Mary. Every city across America (across the world, even) has an urban legend. They are often based in some truer story that happened locally or was borrowed from another region. Finding out how true a legend is is most of the fun of researching urban legends. Bonus points for finding ones as close to home as possible. They are usually the most obscure. The world needs fresh story ideas.
Strange But True: Our world is full of unsolved mysteries that make absolutely no sense and baffle authorities. These are the stories that are behind every good conspiracy theory. One of my favorites is that of Dyatlov Pass in Russia. If you don’t know it, I won’t spoil it. You have to experience it for yourself.
A lesser known but similar story occurred in the late 70s in California. It is called the American Dyatlov Pass or the Yuba City incident. Again, these kinds of weird stories are everywhere if you are willing to devote some time to looking for them.
Ghost Stories/ Hauntings: I love a good ghost story. Everywhere I have ever been, including the reserved and practical Netherlands, has a ghost story and at least one haunted house. Don’t believe me? Most Dutch people don’t know it, but the most haunted house in the Netherlands is in a village called Monster. How cool is that? They don’t know because they aren’t looking. The first thing I do when I come to a new area is research local legends and hauntings. Everywhere is pretty much like everywhere else without them. Before you resort to the internet for inspiration, try to find your town’s local haunted house and find out why people think it is haunted.
True Crime: We have all heard the saying “The truth is stranger than fiction”. Meet Ed Gein. In the 1950s he was your average old guy next door/ handyman type. He was considered a bit odd but well liked. He entertained neighborhood kids and liked to cook for his friends. He is also the inspiration for Leatherface, Psycho and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.
Every culture throughout time has these types of people. They live next door. They appear normal. No one would suspect them until…..
Lesser known, but just as disturbing accounts include Takahiro Shiraishi- Tokyo, Anatoly Moskvin- Russia, Elias Xitavhudzi- Africa, and until it was made popular by American Horror Story, Marie Delphine (Macarty) LaLaurie- New Orleans.
In the instance of true crime it is often better to be inspired by but tactful when using these stories. This is especially true if the events are recent. Still living family and friends of victims will likely always be grieving their losses. Please be respectful.