The Grim Outdoors: Overview

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Breathe in that fresh air… pine needles and damp earth and — fresh blood? And why is that tree looking at us funny? Normal people embrace the Great Outdoors. For Normal People, Nature represents tranquility and peace – a place to get away from it all. It’s where one comes to commune with forests and rivers and squirrels – maybe make friends with a bear.

But horror fans know better.

Horror fans know that the hills are alive — with the sound of screaming.

Horror fans know that nature hates you.

The Grim Outdoors is home to madness and chaos and murder. Evil lives within the forest whether it takes the form of a demented masked killer, an angry mythical creature, or a simple leatherbound (well, human-skin-bound) book. The forest will punish your Yuppie arrogance and your Soccer Mom malaise and distant jungles will revenge itself on your colonialist intrusions.

And that speaks nothing of the myriad creative ways Nature has of tormenting you. That bubbling crystal spring may look like cool respite for a parched throat – or you might be swallowing a fresh eating virus. That raccoon that’s giving you the stink eye? Don’t turn your back – it remembers where you live. And for the love of Sasquatch – do not got hunting for mythical creatures — they do not care for your cameras and your night vision goggles.

So stay home — bask in the safety of your urban loft or your suburban colonial.

But that won’t keep you safe either. Even the sprawling concrete jungle has its demons. Those trees you plowed over to build your tanning parlor and that sacred ground you unearthed to build yet another Starbucks have terrifying ways of bringing the past to life. The rundown apartment complex – the one you want to tear down and turn into expensive condos – it’s got some ghosts that don’t do well with eviction notices.

As you have likely surmised, this Topic is all about the horror of our own environment. Forests, jungles, cities – neighborhoods rural and suburban – they all have their demons (quite literally most times). We will seed this topic with explorations of haunted forests and journeys through bedeviled cities. We will deep dive into the waters of cryptozoology and climb mountains of madness and despair. Pack light and bring a lunch and abandon all hope, all ye who walk through these woods.

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