Monday, October 26

Horror Novels Based On True Stories

Haunted houses, demonic possessions or reincarnations. Whatever 
horror books may be about, if they are based on real stories- however far-fetched they may seem, parts of them are still true. Therefore they are easier to believe and easier to get frightened.

With Halloween just a few days away, here's a list of horror novels based on TRUE events! 

                                        The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson is a novel about a young family who move into a new home with a terrible past. They are forced to flee the house after 28 days by evil spirits that terrorize them and possess the father. While some have said it was not inspired by a true story, the Lutz's (who were the subject of the story) maintain that most of their experiences in their home described in the book are true and accurate. One very scary fact that cannot be denied is that the previous family that occupied the home was slaughtered by a member of the family who was later arrested and sent away!

Twins: Dead Ringers by Bari Wood, Jack Geasland

Twins is a spellbinding novel of the bizarre lives and shocking deaths of twin doctors— bound together by more than brotherly love, damned together to a private hell of unspeakable obsessions. Made into the motion picture Dead Ringers by David Cronenberg, said book was inspired by an article about the death of real life twin drug-addicted gynecologists!

Audrey Rose by Frank De Felitta

Audrey Rose by Frank DeFelitta is a novel that was eventually turned into a major motion picture. What's not commonly known is that this story of reincarnation involving a young child is based on the author’s own experiences with his son, a six-year-old who exhibited unusual behaviors like playing the piano- which he was never taught.

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist is a story of a young girl possessed by a demon and her subsequent physical changes which resulted in the need for an exorcism. In real life, the sex and race of the possessed child were different and even though the veracity of this story may raise doubt, nine priests and 39 other witnesses signed the final clerical papers that it an actual possession!
The Shining by Stephen King

This story is based on the author's own experiences. King and his wife, Tabitha, had found themselves at a similar hotel in Colorado, where they were the only guests as the hotel prepared to close for winter. One evening, they found themselves completely alone at dinner. That night King had a terrible nightmare, after which he woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over and then he began work on The Shining.

                                                                       Psycho by Robert Bloch

Author Robert Bloch penned the novel Psycho in 1959 which was later turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. Its deranged, mother-obsessed protagonist, Norman Bates, is based on Gein. On July 26, 1984, Edward Gein died in a state mental institution. Gein's case stole the headlines when police went to his farmhouse to investigate the disappearance of local hardware store clerk Bernice Worden. Officers were horrified to find Worden's corpse hanging in the barn--along with a collection of household items and a suit made out of human skin, and bowls made from human skulls. In the end, Gein was connected to two murders. He admitted to exhuming the bodies of women who reminded him of his mother.

                                                       Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Gein's story was again borrowed by 
Thomas Harris for his classic thriller, Silence of the Lambs, in which the serial killer Buffalo Bill kidnaps and murders women to make a suit out of human skin. 

                                                                         Dracula by Bram Stoker

This story is based on the fifteenth-century Hungarian prince Vlad III. He was called Dracula because he was the son of Vlad II Dracul. But after Vlad's death, he acquired a much more grisly nickname: Vlad the Impaler. Vlad briefly assumed the throne after his father and brothers were assassinated. But he soon went into hiding due to the Ottoman invasion. When Vlad returned to his realm, he found the kingdom in tatters. He vowed revenge and began the first round of executions--impalements, which would soon become his favorite form of capital punishment. Vlad's temper made him infamous; he would maim or kill anyone who offended him. There are certain misconceptions about Vlad III. For instance, there's no evidence that Vlad ever drank his victims' blood, but this misconception persists thanks to Bram Stoker's novel.

                                                                         Jaws by Peter Benchley

Peter Benchley embellished on the story in Jaws, making his fictional beast both larger and more man-hungry that in real-life. The sensational story and the subsequent film both fascinated and terrified the public. Nevertheless, what remains true is that when fishermen pulled a massive great white shark from the water on July 14, 1916, it measured ten feet long and weighed some 300 pounds. The crew claimed that when they cut the shark open, they found fifteen pounds of human flesh of bone in the shark's stomach!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley conceived of Frankenstein during a "scary story" contest at the villa of legendary author Lord Byron. The nineteen-year-old had plenty of real-life inspiration; four different scientists of the era all contributed to the character of Shelley's own mad scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Italian physicist Luigi Galvini conducted experiments where he sent electrical currents through the bodies of dead frogs and noted that it caused the frogs' muscles to twitch post-mortem. Galvini's nephew Giovanni Aldini used the same process to reanimate human limbs. Scottish surgeon Andrew Ure conducted similar experiments on executed criminals, where he went a step further than Galvini and Aldini, arguing that an electrical current to the phrenic nerve could actually reanimate a corpse following death by strangulation, drowning, or suffocation. An eighteenth-century alchemist, Johann Konrad Dippel performed his experiments at Castle Frankenstein, where he stole bodies from the castle graveyard and tried to bring them back to life with his potions and concoctions. Wacky is NOT the word for these scientists!

           Well, hope you enjoyed this post! Do share with us some of your own choices, or tell us which horror novel is your favorite.

Oh, and hey! Did you check out our Spooky October Giveaway?


  1. Based on true stories? There is no way I'm reading any of these books xD
    My parents have been jokingly trying to get me to watch The Silence of the Lambs forever, but I just know that it is not for me!

    1. IKR? I really try hard to keep my distance from horror stories- especially ones that seem REALLY terrifying, so no way am I reading books like Silence of the Lambs after knowing they are based on TRUE STORIES, much less watch their movie adaptations! You're right in not watching it. Of course. :D

  2. I remember being terrified by The Amityville Horror as a child. And The Shining still creeps me out... both the book and the movie. (Those twins saying "Come play with us, Danny" - OMG, that freaks me out!) I was just watching a take on Dracula on TV yesterday. Dracula Untold, I think it was. Not so scary but still good!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    1. I've heard so many things about The Shining being one of Stephen King's most terrifying novels, so I doubt I'll ever read that one OR watch the movie :P The Amytville Horror sounds horrible too- so not my cup of tea, thank you very much! I agree, Dracula isn't scary- I'd say it's creepy I guess.

  3. I'm not even think about reading any of these save Frankenstein because Mary Shelley is considered the mother of modern sci-fi and it looks amazing. The only other fromm the list I've read was Dracula and it wasn't the spectacular read I was expecting it to be. Quite underwhelming actually. But I'm positive as hell I won't read any other. Real stories and horror? Thanks but no hahaha

    1. Frankenstein isn't that scary- coming from me, it's a big thing, you know? :D I must admit Dracula kind of let me down too, it was just creepy and nothing else. The others do sound awful, especially after knowing they are based on true stories *shudders*


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