Ghosts: Horror’s Modern Fixation with a Haunting Past

Alliana Avancena
Staff Writer

PC: Alliana Avancena

What is it about horror and fear that intrigues people? Is it the adrenaline rush, or is it something to keep viewers up at night when things go bump in the dark? Ghost stories have been around for longer than most people would expect, and yet their popularity is ongoing.

The ghost stories of Japan and their origins are becoming seemingly hinted at and are more apparent in the pop culture of today than ever before. The insights of old-school VHS tapes and wall-crawlers have a newfound influence on film today. Western audiences can see this definite trend in movies in the theaters, such as ‘Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark’ or ‘The Nun’. In AMC’s new season premier, a historical anthology series called ‘The Terror’ takes viewers to see the inside of a Japanese-American internment camp. The paranormality can be traced back to Kaidan, entertainment with a moral message. Fans of paranormal activity conspire around the idea that  vampires and wolves tell the tales of history through their own mannerisms, similar to why the focus of pop culture loves mystery and thrill all in one. The romanticized aspects even place the psychological aspect to affect the plot in a larger way as well.

Death and the afterlife have an impact on the tales of terror as well. There is this understood connection between religious traditions and people’s ideas of the dead and afterlife.  The Japanese ancestral worship follows the foundation of the idea of Yurei. Yurei is a deep foundational belief that the human race carries supernatural power and honors those who praise and worship the spirits, and may curse those who abandon the idea. The spirit may manifest its powers on any specific person during the time after death. Yokai is a larger idea that encompasses all strange events and may present conflicting versions of a story. The legend of Otsuyu incorporates the idea of a man being horrified after he falling in love with a woman who has been a ghost this whole time. 

The Yurei’s concept flows into the tether of the living. The purpose can terrorize an example of even the old mansions to the abandoned farmhouse. The onryo is a powerful being that causes wrath at these places at random. The angry spirits place more death into situations that occur at a place of highly manifesting evil areas. ‘The Grudge’ is an exact movie example of Yurei appearing to those of the living. Lurking around within the white noise of televisions and in the murky waters of creatures that are somehow found dead the next day. 

The allure to these animated spirits feature post-modernist writers. There is fascination shining around the topic of ghosts. Ghosts tell the audience of what death and other worlds feel like, which can be something eerily beautiful. 



Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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