The Vatican, in 1235 passed an order for re-establishment of the orthodoxy of faith, unorthodoxy charges were interwoven indivisibly with witchcraft allegations. Literature got obsessed with witchcraft themes and prevailed till the seventeenth century. Literature works on the theme of horror were greatly connected with religious beliefs and values. Jakob Sprenger and Henry Kramer codified witchcraft belief in their book “Malleus Maleficarum” which was republished through Europe 14 times after its first appearance in 1486. The book contributed to the obsession with witchcraft till the next couple of centuries.

Another prototype of horror appeared on the London stage in 1580 with the gruesome plays series “The Spanish Tragedy” of Thomas Kyd, which also contributed to the theme “Titus Andronicus”, “Hamlet” and “Macbeth” of Shakespeare in the last decade of the 1500s and first decade of 1600s. However, the English stage did not play any death and horror scenes after “The Duchess of Malfi” in 1613 until 1730’s “Hernani.”

Gothic Novelty

Gothic novelty emerged contributing to the horror theme with the works of “Graveyard Poets”, a group of some pre-romantic poets who were immensely preoccupied with death and mortality, among these were William Cowper, Olive Goldsmith, Thomas Chatterson, Robert Blair, and James MacPherson. An incident in Austria occurred sixteen years later to works of graveyard poets.

Medvegja, a village in Australia got under a mass hysteria in 1731, when a local Arnold Paole before his death intimated villagers that a vampire bit him when he used to live in Gassaway in Turk Serbia, he told folks that the reverse of the curse is -only possible when he smears himself with grave mud of vampire and its blood.

According to locals, the deceased rose from the grave and killed four people in the town. As a solution the villagers disinterred Paole’s dead body from the grave and found it less decayed than normal, however, they stabbed the dead body through the heart and burned it, the four dead bodies supposedly victimized by Paole’s ghost.

Austrian government passed orders to investigate the incident and the investigator Johannes Fluckinger developed a report verifying the claims of the villagers. Throughout the continent, the story spread like wildfire and entered journals, art, and folklore.

Also, scholars from the disciplines of philosophy and science were also attracted by the tale. The modern-day horror themes sprung from this mysterious and unusual story.

The Castle of Otranto

Another book “The Castle of Otranto” published in 1765 is said to be the first Gothic novel and supposedly has an apparent contribution to the emergence of the Horror Genre. “Mysteries of Udolpho” by Anne Radcliffe’ is the next contributor to Gothic novelty which influenced the works of Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, and numerous other writers.

Legends like Charles Brickden and Matthew Lewis also made their part in the emergence of Gothic novels as a genre of literature. Authors working on the genre of horror criticized each other’s works. Radcliffe who inspired Matthew Lewis’s anonymous “The Monk” was surprised by the vividness of the novel and came up with a counter “The Italian”.

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