The next installment of the State of Horror Anthologies from Charon Coin Press is the state of Missouri. State of Horror editor, Jerry E. Benns began accepting stories based on Missouri June 1, 2015.
Missouri, the Show-Me-State, is nestled in the heart of the Midwest. Its geography lends well to a horror story. Partially defined by rivers—the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers converge in Missouri—there is a long history of life on and around the rivers from flat boats used by French traders to riverboats like in a Mark Twain novel, and the constant worry about levees and floods, to today’s barge and casino traffic. In the small mountains of the Ozarks, can be found many stories with lakes, the New Madrid fault line (which has more earthquakes than San Andreas in California) and the town of Branson (the Las Vegas of the Midwest) to fuel the imagination. There are acres upon acres of farmland (especially soybeans and corn), and some very small isolated towns, which would make the perfect setting for a story. Additionally there are woods and wine country near Augusta and Hermann, making a nice scary setting. Missouri is part of Tornado Alley with fierce storms. The saying goes, “if you don’t like the weather just wait a bit.”—it’s a wild ride.
Missouri is known as the Gateway to the West. The Arch in St. Louis represents the pioneering spirit of those hearty souls setting off in covered wagons across the continent looking for a better life. Some found that better life while others found despair, disease and death. But St. Louis was also the land of opportunity for many with the entrepreneur spirit. Missouri has a rich history founded on many different cultures including French, Spanish, and Native American. On the eastern side of the state there are the strong influences from the French culture making it the sister city to New Orleans. St Louis is the major city found in the east. You can find any manner of ghost story there including the Exorcist based on a family in St. Louis. To the south of St. Louis, is Ste. Genevieve, the oldest French community in the US—known for wineries and calling off school if the clouds are too thick.
On the western side of the state there is more of a pioneer/western feel. Kansas City is the major city there. Barbeque, cattle are big in KC and the city gives a more western feel. Cattle drives used to catch the train in Kansas City. The Missouri side of Kansas City is the more metropolitan side of the split city. Going to towns on the western side of the state is like going to a completely different state with tons of lore for a terrifying story. In fact many wild tales of ghosts haunting exist in Kansas City as well as real stories that a scary story can be based on.
To the Southwest are college towns like Springfield, where the politics are conservative and the voices are loud, and there are still dry counties (that’s right no booze), but it is also the area that produced Brad Pitt. Meramec Caverns, which the outlaw Jesse James used as a hideout, can be found in the southwestern region of Missouri.
The middle of the state finds the capital Jefferson City and near that, the college town of Columbia. Columbia is the home of the Mizzou Tigers; there are rabid fans in black and gold as well as college kids making bad choices as fodder for a great story. Branson, Table Rock Lake, and outlet malls can all be found in the center of the state. Missing out on a good sale would be terrifying.
Missouri has great potential for any number of horrifying tales. Let it soak in and inspire you, but make it good after all Missouri is the Show-Me-State, so show a good scare.
Check out the guidelines for submission to State of Horror: Missouri.
Is Missouri your state of horror?