Wednesday, 30 October 2013

#CoffinHop Day 7: Inhuman

We are taking a break from the creepy world of fairies today and trekking back to the world of monsters, human or otherwise, with a guest post by fellow Xchyler Publishing author, (and fellow Canadian), R. M. Ridley. Here’s his take on the things that give us shivers…

Inhuman – a phrase used often in horror. A term which can be used to convey so much, in only one word. It evokes a visceral reaction without providing any details. What is it about that one word which makes us flinch? Why does it sum up horror itself?
I believe that word holds power, in part, because it gives no particulars. By saying ‘What he saw beyond that door was inhuman’ allows the readers to envision any, and all, possibilities. ‘Inhuman’ may call to mind an amorphous blob waving tentacles to one and a chitinous tube with a gaping mouth to another.
The vagueness of ‘inhuman’ conjures the primal fear buried deep within the reader. It is fun to write the thing you see in your own head. It is natural to want to convey the wrongness of your own imagining to your audience. However, there is purity in the works of those authors like Lovecraft, who leave the horror to the readers own worst nightmares.
‘Inhuman’ can strike a different note of fear as well. When used not to describe a creature from some dark dimension but the behavior and actions of one that is, in all other ways, all too human, such as the fascination with the individuals and characters that are killers – serial killers being a prime example.
These incarnations of the term ‘inhuman’ fascinate and scare because not only do they blend in - seem like one of us - but because in their apparent humanity, their inhuman actions become even more horrorific.
A demon from hell eating the neighbor is understandable to us because they are not human. These creatures that we create to scare us are expected to be heartless killers. We understand that, because that’s why we imagine them. But, when it is one of our own – when it is a person – it becomes harder to understand, to figure out the why.
This fear goes far beyond that it will be our own neighbor who ‘seemed so nice’ but then ate the mailman. It is, in fact, the fear that within each of us there is the possibility to be ‘inhuman’.
Tapping into that fear, making each reader question their own interior darkness, is something I have yet to achieve - but I strive for it. I want to write that story that makes each and every reader shiver in fear as they touch their own inner ‘inhuman’.

R. M. Ridley lives with his wife on a small homestead in Canada, raising chickens and sheep. He has been writing stories, both long and short, for three decades, the themes of which range from the gruesome to the fantastical. As an individual who suffers from severe Bi-polar disorder, R. M. Ridley is a strong believer in being open about mental health issues and uses his writing to escape, when his thoughts become too wild.

R. M. Ridley’s ‘The Cost of Custody’, a paranormal P.I. story about a kidnapped child, magic, and a father’s love, is one of nine short stories in ‘Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology’ – available now:

And in honour of today’s post, one lucky person who leaves a comment will win a free copy of Death by Drive-In, the Coffin Hop Anthology.

You can find out more about the book at the Coffin Hop website
All profits from the anthology will be donated to, a  non-profit organization supporting child literacy and social improvement the world over.

Plus, don't forget to scroll on down for the list of more Coffin Hoppers to visit, and enter the Rafflecopter contest.


Unknown said...

Excellent expression of thought. Love the topic.

James Garcia Jr said...

Thanks for sharing, you two. Happy Wednesday, and Happy Hopping.
It's good to meet you, R.M. Thanks, A.F.
Hmm? What's with all the initials? ;)


A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lori.

A. F. Stewart said...

The initials must be a Canadian thing, James.

michael said...

Humans acting inhuman is always scarier than any monster.

A. F. Stewart said...

Very true.

Aspen deLainey said...


A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks for stopping by, Aspen.

R. M. Ridley said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone. I'm glad I got to be a part of this.
The initials, James, is the only way we Canadian can feel mysterious - the rest of the time we're too polite ;)

Popple said...

I gotta agree - human killers are the scariest - like the man who kidnapped the three girls and tortured them for 15 years. Somewhere, his brain threw a neuron, and what makes it particularly scary is that it could happen to any of us. ~ Barbara

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

I like the word inhuman. It makes for a convenient excuse.

DarcNina said...

This sounds terrific! I have not been disappointing once visiting your blog during Coffin Hop, AF. Thank you!!!

A. F. Stewart said...

I just started reading Shades and Shadows myself, and it's a winner. The launch party is going on at the moment on Facebook:

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