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Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks, or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural, though it might be also non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

The horror genre has ancient origins with roots in folklore and religious traditions, focusing on death, the afterlife, evil, the demonic and the principle of the thing embodied in the person. These were manifested in stories of beings such as demons, witches, vampires, werewolves and ghosts. European horror fiction became established through works of the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans. The well-known 19th-century novel about Frankenstein was greatly influenced by the story of Hippolytus, where Asclepius revives him from death. Euripides wrote plays based on the story, Hippolytos Kalyptomenos and Hippolytus. Plutarch's "The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans": Cimon describes the spirit of a murderer, Damon, who himself was murdered in a bathhouse in Chaeronea.

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