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The History of Scary Stories

— by Sleep Outfitters on Oct 25, 2023

With Halloween right around the corner, our minds are on everything ghoulish. To help get in the spirit, many people look to scary stories to set the mood. While ghost stories aren't just for this spooky time of year, there’s certainly something special about reciting these tales on a night when many believe the worlds of the living and dead collide. And while Halloween started as a celebration of Samhain by the Celts over 2,000 years ago, ghost stories have an even longer history.

Night time image of a full moon.

The belief that ghosts or spirits live among us is a trait shared throughout ancient cultures. You can find ghost stories with similar themes in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, India, and the Celtic lands of Ireland and Scotland. The common cross-cultural thread is that of a human soul going to another place and needing additional sustenance to survive in the afterlife. The passage from living to the afterlife took different forms, with funeral traditions and burial rites. Still, many believed that the deceased’s soul stayed among the living if something went wrong with these rituals. In such stories, an encounter with a ghost is rarely pleasant.

Regardless of your thoughts on ghosts and their existence, the tradition of telling ghost stories is a part of every culture and has evolved in the ways and reasons told. Stories that involve supernatural forces were historically used to explain the unexplainable and are occasionally used for entertainment today. Horror movies collected nearly $902 million in gross income in 2023.* This is for certain: things that go bump in the night are universally intriguing and our curiosity helps carry on the tradition of telling ghost stories.

However, even if you enjoy getting into the season's spirit, we recommend not partaking too close to bedtime... so your dreams stay sweet!

*According to data pulled from https://www.the-numbers.com/market/2023/genre/Horror

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