This handy guide to all things horror leaves no spooky question unanswered…

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Oh, the horror!

What happens to a vampire when he dies? How does somebody become a werewolf? How can you protect yourself from witches?

Don’t sweat it this Halloween, we can cure you heebie jeebies and arm you with everything you need to know to stay safe from zombies and scary monsters.

What makes horror stories so scary?

Despite the sheer terror a good horror story creates, the main thing to remember about horror stories is things happen that can’t happen in real life.

Dead people come out of their graves, and cut-off hands come alive. It’s your imagination that make sit scarier than it is.

A soft knock n the door is just that. Or is it?! Could a vampire be lurking behind it, ready to pounce and sink it’s deadly fangs into your juicy neck? Maybe it’s an eight-armed monster, or the walking dead?

It’s up to you to make up you mind what you believe, but here we answer the most important questions about horror…

How does somebody become a werewolf?

(iStockphoto)

(iStockphoto)

One bite by a werewolf is enough to change someone into one. But don’t be confused with vampires. There’s a difference. Vampires bite their victims multiple times, and drink his or her blood until they die. Only then does the victim become a real vampire. The werewolf, however, is not a bloodsucker. Someone who’s bitten by a werewolf only becomes one if they manage to survive the attack.

What happens to a vampire when he dies?

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(iStockphoto)

Some vampires, the very old ones, turn to dust if you kill them. Their skin shrivels up like an autumn leaf and flakes off their bones until only their skeleton is left. The bones then crumble until they are nothing but a little heap of dust. When someone has not been a vampire for so long, they retain their shape when they die. Their fangs disappear and they look like they did before they became a vampire. Except that now they are dead for good.

How can you protect yourself from witches?

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(iStockphoto)

Back when people were very afraid of witches, they naturally looked for ways to protect themselves from witchcraft by wearing special jewellery and all kinds of amulets. But if you forgot you protective gems, there were other ways to cure a curse…

  • Good (white) witches could undo the curse by making a witch’s doll, and so kill off the evil witch. Job done!
  • The leaves of branches of rowan trees were thought to protect you against the effects of black magic. People hung crosses made from the tree branches across their door. Some hung a rowan twig above a baby’s cot. Necklaces from rowanberries also scare off witches.
  • Garlic, it seems keeps both vampires and witches at bay. A sly clove hidden in your wallet ensured a witch wouldn’t try to steal your money.
  • To fend off a witch’s evil eye you had to hold up your index and little finger to form two horns. Painting an eye on your front door was also effective. Or, if you were very brave, spitting three times in a witch’s evil eye ensured protection form them.

Why do ghosts show themselves

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(iStockphoto)

Ghosts look the way they did when they were alive, even down to the clothes they wore, except it’s all a bit transparent, because they’re spirits now. However, they don’t reveal themselves without reason.

In some case they are trying to tell the living about an unsolved mystery. After which they vanish, finally at peace.

Other phantoms appear simply because they don’t know they’re dead! So they just keep visiting the same places they used to go to, until they figure it out.

How do you make a zombie?

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(iStockphoto)

A zombie is a dead person who has crawled out of their grave. A walking corpse with no soul, no will of its own, yet it’s made of flesh and blood.

Apparently, a witch doctor has to follow these strict guidelines to turn someone into a zombie…

  • Ride backwards on a horse to the victim’s house
  • Puts hid lips to the keyhole, sucks the victim’s soul out, then blows it into a bottle, sealed with a cork.
  • The victim will now become sick and die. But, after the funeral, they take the corpse to the grave and bring it back to life with special rituals
  • The witch doctor calls out his name, the victim opens his eyes and gets up. He’s now the witch doctor’s slave. One of the walking dead with no will of his own.

Alternatively, Zombie powder, made from ground-up plants, dried toads and crushed human bones, sprinkled on the victim’s doorstep, has the same result!

Where do dragons come from?

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(iStockphoto)

According to ancient stories, the dragon’s ancestors were works and snakes. That why, in the Middle Ages, folk thought dragons lived in holes in the ground.

These ferocious, fire-breathing monsters do indeed look liked winged snakes with legs. The number of their heads and feet vary, as does their wing span. But they always eat people and cattle.

 

The Horror Handbook, by Paul Van Loon (Author), Axel Scheffler (Illustrator), is published by Alma Books Ltd, priced £7.99.

The Horror Handbook

The Horror Handbook