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The scariest stories are not fictional

The scariest stories are not fictional The scariest stories are not fictional

This time of year, I’m always looking for new ways to creep myself out. It gets harder and harder the older I get, especially since I’m pretty sure I’ve already seen most, if not all, of the scariest movies in existence.

My wife is a big fan of “ghost hunting” shows, but to me, they’re mostly just a bunch of people getting spooked by their owns shadows. Yelling “what was that?” into the dark corner of a basement seems to be the essence of what they do. Some of them use “scientific” gadgets in order to track allegedly paranormal activity, but often, that activity consists mostly of creaky floorboards and dust particles floating in front of their cameras.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I wouldn’t want to go lurking into some of the places those ghost hunters go, especially when there is little or no light and few ways to escape.

It’s those types of primal fears — like fear of the dark and claustrophobia — that can produce true terror, or at least a good, safe scare.

Though there are thousands of great scary stories written by people like Bram Stoker and Stephen King, I still maintain that real life is the best source of fright. The pages of history are filled with eerie coincidences, strange occurrences and inexplicable horrors.

A case in point is the “Dyatlov Pass” incident from 1959, a topic I like to revisit from time to time just to reacquaint myself with the chilling details. The incident involved the unexplained deaths of nine hikers and skiers in the Ural Mountains of Russia. They had stopped for the night and pitched a large tent to sleep in, but for some unknown reason, they cut their way out of the tent in the middle of the night and fled into the dark.

Though the temperature was well below zero, several of them were only wearing their undergarments and walking without shoes or boots. Five of the nine died of hypothermia, but the four others suffered broken bones and skull fractures caused by “an unknown compelling” force, the strength of which was compared to that of a car crash.

The incident remains unexplained to this day. It begs a lot of questions: What could possibly drive nine men to leave the comfort of their tent in the middle of a lethally cold night? What caused the gruesome injuries, which were not consistent with those caused by any known animal?

Of course, there are dozens of theories, involving everything from an avalanche to Yetis. To me, not knowing what happened is the key to the story’s enduring appeal. My mind likes to fill in the blanks of what happened, knowing that the full truth will probably never be known.

That, to me, is a good way to celebrate Halloween: a true-life horror story.