The origins of horror stories

Early human history

It is impossible to point to a specific point in time when human beings started telling frightening stories to each other. Horror elements have likely been part of human folklore for thousands of years, probably even before the invention of writing. The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first preserved written stories dating back to around 2100 BC, contains descriptions of violent encounters with terrifying monsters, suggesting that people in the ancient world also enjoyed the thrill of terror.

Ancient writers from Greece and Rome also produced numerous horror stories, which often featured elements we still associate with horror to this day - such as haunted houses, werewolves, monsters and visits to the Underworld.

The Middle Ages and Early Modernity

During the Middle Ages in Europe, many of the popular horror stories were linked to Christianity in some way. The Bible descri...

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