Thursday, 26 October 2017

Creepy Countdown Day 4 - Moving Shadows

We're almost at Halloween and we all know how that get's the mind turning. It's often just the idea of ghoulies and ghosties and long legged beasties that make us hide under the covers, or run for the light switch, so from now until the big day I thought it would be fun to talk about ordinary things that scare us when the mood is right. These are the kind of thing good horror movies love to twist to get us going.

Moving Shadows

Light coming through a window and curtains and creating shadows on a wall can be incredibly beautiful. It can also be inordinately creepy.

If I can't sleep I sometimes enjoy looking at the shadows on the wall as cars pass. Our bedroom doesn't face the road and it's far enough away that the light isn't intrusive, but when cars come up the road lights come past the house next door and throw interesting patterns sometimes. This is fine most of the time, in fact it's interesting.

However ...

Waking up in the middle of the night just when a car goes past can be really freaky.

That moment between waking and sleeping when our brains remain confused, that's the time when moving shadows are at their worst. When there is no conscious connect between source and what is appearing on the wall.

Shadows, but their very nature can make the most amazing shapes. For example, the one below is actually a leaf being held in bright sunlight, but I cropped it, added a couple of gradients and a Halloween raven and bam, it's a freaky hand reaching out.

Our brains are very good at making shapes into things. We pattern match all the time and come to conclusions, it's how we can process large amounts of information so fast. In the dead of night, just waking up, it's the whole flight of fight reflex that often kicks in, especially if the threat is moving.

It has been many years since I have ended up in the hallway thanks to thinking something will get me, but moving shadows still make my heart pound.

Shadows can be used so effectively in fiction as well. The visual media has used them so well, like in the famous scene from Nosferatu and all through films like Darkness Falls. Also, more than one scene I've read in books makes sinister shadows so very creepy. Horror is a genre that often takes the small things and makes them seem huge in our minds. Shadows should not be allowed to hurt us, but every horror fan knows, we can never trust the darkness.

When you think moving shadows, do any films or TV series immediately jump to mind? Did you ever have a personal creepy experience with shadows in your life?

Coming October 31st
FREE for 1 day only for All Hallows Read

Possession is Nine Tenths of the Law
by Natasha Duncan-Drake and Sophie Duncan

Two spooky stories to give you chills.
Check back on Halloween for details of how to download.
poster by blablover5


  1. Once, in our church, which is a 13th Century huge old building, stone walls, large monuments, odd carvings up in the eaves, we were locking up in the evening, it was twilight and we were getting ready to turn the lights off, which involves walking down to the back of the church. I was up the front sorting out something in the vestry when my father calls me with the famous words, 'Come and see the ghost'. He was standing in the middle of the centre aisle and I walked up beside him, and there, indeed, behind the pews on the right at the back of the church was a wispy monk-like figure, dark against the wall behind him.

    Then my father tells me to step forward a couple of paces - he disappeared - I stepped back - there he was. We could not find out how the shadow was being created just for that viewpoint, but, even though I knew from walking back and forward several times, that it was a trick of shadows and light, it still gave me a shiver down my spine!

    1. You never told me this one before! That would so have freaked me out too :D


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