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Five Memorable Creepy Bird Appearances in Literature

Written by Jeremy Hepler

 

Throughout history, humans have often feared birds, labeling them as demons, making sacrifices to them, and creating cautionary tales about them. Today there is even a medical term for the persistent fear of birds: ornithophobia. Here's a list of five pieces of literature with creepy birds that gave me the chills.

 

The Birds by Daphne du Maurier

After a sudden cold snap in Daphne du Maurier's The Birds, the local birds start crowding around houses, pecking at windows and doors, forcing their way inside and attacking people. Soon, birds are massing all over Britain, and an emergency is declared on BBC Radio just before the radio goes silent. People are told not to leave their homes, creating a terrifying sense of entrapment. In the end, I love how no explanation is given for the bird's kamikaze behavior.

 

The Dark Half by Stephen King

In Stephen King's The Dark Half, our first introduction to the sparrows is in the prologue, when thousands of them chitter and flap their wings just before a lightning storm erupts in Thad's head, causing him to have a seizure. Throughout the rest of the novel the birds are always present, lurking around, waiting, and we learn that they are actually the carriers of the souls of the dead. My favorite part is the end when they finish off George Stark, and then eerily part to allow Thad to walk through.

 

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

I first read Edgar Allen Poe's classic, The Raven, in the seventh grade. Along with Poe's ominous writing style, the fact that the raven never changed answers, or moved for that matter, and the narrator continued to ask questions and emotionally downward spiral, gave me a creepy feeling. Even back then, the narrator's final statement that his soul was trapped beneath the raven's shadow gave me the impression that he would never recover from the loss of Lenore.

 

Antigone by Sophocles

The main thing I remember from high school about Sophocles' Antigone is the creepy feeling the birds gave me. I thought it was eerie how the birds often surrounded Teiresias, a master of augury, and through tweets and chirps revealed everyone's doomed future to him. But the most disturbing part for me was when Teiresias learned how a group of carrion birds hauled chunks of Polyneices' rotting body through the air, and how they were "gorging on fat and blood."

 

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

The birds in Josh Malerman's Bird Box aren't creepy themselves, but their role in the story and the impact they have on the main characters is. The birds are used as a warning signal, in particular, put in a box on the porch to warn those in the house of approaching danger. One of my favorite quotes from the book that exemplifies their impact is: "The voices of the birds rise in a grotesque wave, nearly symphonic, shrieking. It sounds like there are too many for the trees to hold. Like they make up the entire sky.They sound mad. They sound mad. Oh my God they sound mad."

HorrorTalk would like to thank Jeremy Hepler for popping in to share this with us! You can follow along with his tour with these hashtags: #TheBoulevardMonster #bluebirds #birdsofhorror #BloodshotBooks

Native to the Texas Panhandle, Jeremy Hepler now lives in a small rural community in central Texas with his wife Tricia and son Noah. Throughout his life, he has worked jobs ranging from welder's hand to health care assistant, but writing has always been his passion.


Jeremy is a member of the Horror Writer's Association (HWA) and is currently working on his second novel, Demigod Dreams. In the last five years, he has had twenty-four short stories published in various small and professional markets, and in 2014, he placed second in the Panhandle Professional Writers Short Story Competition. You can contact him via Facebook or Twitter (@jeremyhepler) where you will find links to his blog and Amazon author page.


The Boulevard Monster, Synopsis:


I KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT ME


You say that I am a madman. You say that I am dangerous. You say that I am the one who has been abducting women, slaughtering them, and burying their corpses all around this city for years. You are wrong, because only part of that statement is true...


I AM NOT A KILLER


I know that you probably won't believe me. Not now. Not after all that has happened, but I need to tell my side of the story. You need to know how this all began. You need to hear about the birds, but most of all, you need to understand...



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