Most of us live lives of relative conformity. A nine-to-five life. We go to work, come home at night, park our cars in the driveway, watch a little TV, go out to the movies occasionally, attend PTA meetings. All relatively routine. This four-walled existence is what most of us choose to call reality. And we seldom think of what goes on outside those four self-imposed walls.

One of the most frequent questions a nine-to-fiver asks a writer is: Where do you get your ideas? They have a vague idea of Snoopy sitting at his typewriter pounding the keys, usually starting with “It was a dark and stormy night.” But I submit for your consideration that actually ideas for stories, especially ideas for horror stories, don’t necessarily always come from a writer’s feverish imagination. Sometimes they come from outside those four walls. Ideas for stories, especially horror stories, are all around us. From that Big Dark out there beyond the comforting lights of your living room.

I present Exhibit A:

A news item in the British paper, The Independent. A British citizen, Chow Hok Kuen, 28, was arrested in Bangkok when six roasted fetuses were found in his luggage. The fetuses were wrapped in gold leaf, and police believe the man was attempting to smuggle them into Taiwan. The report said that wealthy clients would pay up to six times the 200,000 baht Kuen paid. The corpses would be used in black magic rituals and sold through a black magic services website.

People thought the Joe Pesci flick, “Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag” was a little too extreme. Too unbelievable.

Yes. It is unbelievable. Out there in the Big Dark. Out there beyond Snoopy’s dog house, where he sits on the roof tapping the keys. Beyond the four walls of your existence, there are things out there. Unbelievable things are going on all around us.

Try not to think about it. Unless you’re a writer. And if you are a writer, forget about trying to write a story based on this idea. I guarantee there are twenty other writers already at work on it.