The task of a writer is to become the spark that ignites a fire in the readers’ imagination. They do this with the skillful use of words. Words that play with our emotions create situations and environments in which we can lose ourselves. They can make the unbelievable, believable, the impossible possible. They are, in reality, master manipulators, the witches and warlocks of the written word.
At this time of year, we find a preponderance of horror and supernatural stories’ movies and TV shows. The writers of these stories play with our emotions and toy with our deepest, darkest fears and superstitions. As a result, they often earn titles like “The Master of Horror,” The Prince of Fear,” and other names.
One of the masters of this genre is an American fantasy, science fiction and mystery author Fredric Brown(October 29, 1906 – March 11, 1972). Acclaimed for writing short stories, particularly the “short-short,” one to three-page long stories. He crafted them using humour, ingenious plotting devices and surprise endings. He is noted as the author of the world’s shortest horror story. The opening line alone sets the imagination off on a journey of anticipation, hinting at the horrors and fearful happenings that could be about to unfold.
Here is the first line of Fredric Brown’s short story “KNOCK.”
” The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…”
Please could someone help me with a problem I’m having with my car? It works fine during the daytime, but at night won’t drive at all. I think the transmission is messed up. I put it into “D” for daytime, and I can go anywhere I want all day long. But at night, when I put it into “N” for the night, it won’t move at all.
To make matters worse, I was sitting at a red light the other day, a car pulled up beside me and challenged me to a race. The light turned green; I slammed it into “R’ for race, stomped on the gas, and promptly demolished the front end of the car behind me. Any help with this problem will be greatly appreciated.
The British word for toilet, “loo,” derives from the French “Garde a l’eau!” In medieval Europe, people had little conception of hygiene. They threw the contents of chamber pots out the window into the street below. In France, the practice was preceded by “garde a l’eau!” (“watch out for the water!”). In England, it was Anglicized, first to “gardy-loo!”, then just “loo,” and eventually meant the toilet/lavatory itself. The American word for toilet, “the john,” is named after John Harrington. In 1596 he invented an indoor water closet for Queen Elizabeth I.
FREE! FREE! FREE!
Delivered to your Inbox every week
CLICK HERE to subscribe.
“All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
(Click Question For Answer)
For Amusement Only
ARIES Mar. 21-Apr. 19: Someone you love needs your moral support. Call and offer your help as well as your blessing.
TAURUS Apr. 20-May 20: Good advice need not always be taken, but it should be seriously considered and not brushed aside.
GEMINI May 21-June 20: Look into educational projects that will benefit the whole family. Spend more “quality” time together.
CANCER June 21-July 22: Putting your thoughts into words could help you later on. Give way to your creative side.
LEO July 23-Aug 22: Looking for a new relationship? Try a little volunteer work or community service. You never know what might develop.
VIRGO Aug. 23-Sept. 22: Conservatively investing will net sounder returns than taking unwarranted risks. Listen to the advice of others.
LIBRA Sept. 23-Oct. 22: Be persuasive with younger people. They will try to buck you at every turn, so you need to be persistent.
SCORPIO Oct. 23-Nov. 21: Take time this week to catch up on small but necessary chores. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself.
SAGITTARIUS Nov. 22-Dec. 21: A long-sought goal is finally in sight. Don’t become over-anxious and make a costly, careless mistake.
CAPRICORN Dec. 22-Jan. 19: Try to remain calm amid fiery tempers. Your composure in the face of disaster will win the day.
AQUARIUS Jan. 20-Feb. 18: Don’t give up on your own ideas for a unique project. Keep after the powers-that-be, and they will eventually listen.
PISCES Feb. 19-Mar. 20: An unexpected visit results in an unusual offer. A positive approach to a negative issue will net great returns.
A Haunting We Will Go!
The Gravenhurst Opera House (The Op.) has a ghost known by the name of “Ben.” He was a lighting man who fell to his death from the catwalk in the theatre’s flies. As with most theatre ghosts, Ben tends to be more mischievous and playful and not evil.
He is said to leave cold spots as he walks around, causing those who move through the space he has vacated to shiver. He will slam doors, play with lights, walk around (the sound of his ghostly footsteps breaking the silence of the quiet theatre). In her book, “Ontario Ghost Stories,” Barbara Smith reports on one moment of close contact. A volunteer was working in the theatre. She felt someone or something touch her shoulder. She quietly and calmly told the unseen entity that she was busy. Immediately, what she thought were hands, lifted from her shoulder. She continued her work with no further interruptions from Ben. It is worth mentioning that Ben has never hurt any of the theatrical productions that take place at “the Op.”
— As part of their Halloween decorations, a family decided to hang a dummy from the roof of their two-storey home. They made it look like a person had slipped while cleaning their gutters and was now holding on for dear life. The dummy was apparently dressed in jeans, a sweater and tennis shoes. However, mirth quickly turned to mayhem when a neighbour, who was out walking their dog, spotted the dummy hanging from the roof, freaked out and immediately called the local fire department. When the family realized what had happened, the fire department had set up at their house with a ladder extended to the roof, shouting, “Hang on. Help has arrived.”
—- Not all Halloween costumes are ghosts and skeletons. Take, for example, the man who went to a neighbour’s party dressed as an armed robber, complete with a skull mask, bulletproof vest and fake M-16 assault rifle. The party went great, but after a few drinks, the man, while walking home, decided to stop in at the local Starbucks for a non-fat latte to help him sober up. Unfortunately, the semi-drunk man was still wearing his armed-robber costume. Customers screamed, the barista hit the floor, and the cashier raised her hands above her head—but not before triggering the store alarm. The startled man was left explaining himself to the police, who arrived on the scene. Seeing the man had money in his wallet to pay for his coffee and the M-16 was fake, police let the Halloween reveller head home. But only after they confiscated his very believable costume
The chief of police was interviewing potential new recruits. One bright young applicant was asked, “If you were by yourself in a patrol car and being chased at 80 kilometres an hour by a gang of thugs. What would you do?” The candidate looked puzzled for a moment, then confidently responded, “Ninety.”
“Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle