Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one? A lot of people have never seen a ghost, yet they believe that spirits may exist. Not everything that happens in the world can be explained by logic or science. Strange stories were written by people living in different times. Some deal with ghosts, others try to scare us in different ways. They all have one thing in common - they appeal to our sense of fascination with things that do not seem rational to us. Ghosts of people who are dead This is the most common sort of ghost. It is the restless soul of a person who died some years ago. The ghost does not have to be frightening or evil; it can be someone who is innocent and does not mean any harm to others. A Pair of Ghostly Hands has such a ghost. A cottage is rented out. It comes with its own ghost, that of Miss Margaret, who died when she was just seven years old. She spends all night keeping the cottage clean, and does not trouble the inhabitants. There is nothing frightening about the ghost once you have grown used to the idea that she exists. The speaker is initially frightened when she sees the ghostly hands and drops her candle in shock. However, Mrs Carkeek has known the ghost for some time, so she is used to her. How does the writer build up suspense before we actually meet the ghost? Vampires! Vampires have certain characteristics that reappear whenever they feature in stories. They give themselves life by sucking blood from people. They come out at night and fly like bats. They are evil creatures so they fear the Christian cross. They can only be killed by driving a sharp object through their heart. In Mrs Amworth, a vampire inhabits the body of the lady after whom the story has been named. At first, we are just given hints of a vampire being on the loose. People find bite marks on their necks, which they assume came from large insects. The suspense builds, and a sense of the unexpected is created because Mrs Amworth is described as being such a gentle, kind old lady. The story reaches its climax when they kill the vampire by plunging the blade of a pick axe straight through Mrs Amworth's heart. It seems horrific, but she is already dead, and it is only the vampire who is being killed. How does the writer create a creepy atmosphere in this story? (Hint: Start by looking at the description of the moon ...) A sense of mystery The best stories keep us guessing. At the end of the story called The Waxwork, there is a good example of this. The reporter, Hewson, is spending the night in the waxwork museum. The murderer, Dr Bourdette, has changed places with his own waxwork model. It is a clever way of hiding from the police. Hewson is scared when he thinks a waxwork is moving. He is even more scared when he discovers that it is not a model, but a real murderer who is with him. Yet the last line of the story reads: 'after all, he was only a waxwork.' The writer is teasing the reader. He builds up the mystery by keeping us guessing: we are never quite sure whether this was a real person or a model. This sense of uncertainty is part of the story's attraction. How does the writer create tension when Hewson is on his own in the dark? Conclusion Horror is a popular theme on film and television. You can also play as many scary computer games as you wish. They all work by showing us horrible scenes on the screen. But the above-mentioned stories are different. They hint at scary things, but leave a lot to our imagination. They are much more satisfying as a result.