Psychic Abilities Horror

What is the Psychic Abilities Horror Subgenre?

Also known as paranormal horror, psychic abilities horror is a subgenre where typically human characters display powerful supernatural or psychic abilities. These gifts can include the ability to see the past or future, the ability to communicate with one's mind, the ability to move objects with one's mind, or even the ability to set objects on fire with one's mind. Often, this subgenre shares crossover properties with science fiction as the supernatural powers may be given a scientific explanation as opposed to an otherworldly explanation. In the science fiction genre, however, these abilities are often explored and used as a force for good, but in horror, psychic powers are a source of terror. In many examples of psychic abilities horror, the protagonist is a child or teenager who is cursed with these powers that they have no way of understanding or controlling. In this case, it is the human character that is the protagonist and the powers themselves that are the antagonist.

Other examples of psychic abilities horror are more closely related to supernatural horror. In these types of stories, the character possessing psychic abilities, the antagonist is in full control of their powers. In this type of horror, the antagonist may be a human or may be a supernatural creature whose psychic abilities are part of their powers. Often, this subgenre will contain a mix of the two plot elements.

Psychic Abilities Horror Characteristics

Level of Plot: Plot level varies in this subgenre depending on how closely the work aligns with its source material.Some types ofPsychic Abilities Horror draw elements from myths and legends, while others are retellings of a particular myth or legend. Generally, however, plot levels will be low.


Level of Characterization: Characterization will be low to moderate in mythic fiction horror as the aim of the subgenre is to draw parallels to plots and characters in already familiar myths and legends.


Level of Supernatural: Using folklore and myth for source material means that a high level of supernatural will be found in this subgenre.


Level of Scary: Because Psychic Abilities Horror consciously incorporates familiar myths and legends, the scares will be moderate to low for those familiar with the source material.


Level of Violence; Violence inPsychic Abilities Horror is variable, depending on the level of violence in the source material.


Typical Setting: The typical setting ofPsychic Abilities Horror is the human world, often during modern times. Some works may be set in the past when a particular myth or legend has taken place.

Related Horror Subgenres

Supernatural horror is the most closely related subgenre to paranormal horror. In fact, the two are often confused for one another. This is because of the presence of supernatural powers in the paranormal subgenre. Another subgenre that is easily related to psychic abilities horror is cross-genre horror, particularly when the genre crossed is science fiction. This is because of the often scientific explanations given for a character's psychic abilities.

Don't ReadPsychic Abilities Horror If You Dislike…

Violence against children. Often the main characters in this subgenre are children or teenages with supernatural abilities, and these characters are often subjected to violence as a result of these abilities. If this is something that bothers you, this may not be the subgenre for you.

Carrie by Stephen King- A tormented high school outcast discovers that she has telekinetic and telepathic powers that she struggles to control in the midst of the abuse that she suffers both at home and at school.


The Bad Place by Dean Koontz- Frank Pollard knows only his name and his desperate desire to escape his mysterious pursuer. Unable to recall even his own nighttime escapades, Frank seeks help uncovering his memories and his past, but some secrets are better left buried.


Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons- Simmons reinvents vampires as monsters who can psychically manipulate humans from afar and use these abilities for violent amusements.


A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson- Tom Wallace's psychic abilities are awakened as a side effect of a party trick of hypnosis performed by his brother-in-law. Tom discovers that he can read other's thoughts. At times this is a boon at others it is a nuisance. When Tom begins receiving messages from beyond the grave, his gift becomes terrifying.


Audrey Rose by Frank De Felitta- Ivy Templeton has terrible night terrors that could be connected to the death of a little girl named Audrey Rose whose father stalks the Templetons in an attempt to soothe his daughter's tormented soul.


Horns by Joe Hill- Ig Parrish's already messed up life changes forever when after a night of drinking and doing terrible things that he can't remember, he wakes up to find that he is growing horns. Desperate to be rid of the things, Ig searches for answers and discovers that the horns have a terrible power to make people admit their darkest secrets, but to Ig, this power may be a blessing rather than a curse.


Firestarter by Stephen King- Charlie McGee is a seven year old girl with a frightening power, pyrokinesis. The subjects of a top secret government experiment, her parents have tried to help her live a normal life and hide her growing powers, but the government wants Charlie back, and they'll stop at nothing to get her.


The Other by Thomas Tryon- Twins, Niles and Holland are so close that they can read each other's thoughts, but they are as different as night and day. After their father's untimely  passing, and their mother's self-imposed isolation, their gifted grandmother teaches the twins a game, hoping to bring them some solace. Instead, she unleashes a nightmare.


The Vision by Dean Koontz- Mary Bergen is a psychic who helps police with murder investigations. When helping with a series of brutal murders, Mary is stumped. The victims seem familiar, and she never glimpses the killer's face. To make matters worse, the trauma of her past has begun to haunt her.


Afterlife by Douglass Clegg- Julie struggles to piece together her husband's violent and mysterious death as well as the strange nightmares and hallucinations that have plagued her since. As she investigates, she uncovers terrifying family secrets, including her husband's involvement in a school that performed experiments on children with ESP.

If you like the story. Share it!