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- Geralt's dream in the prologue segues into this as the Wild Hunt assaults Kaer Morhen, leaving the witchers present frozen in place, trapped and unable to do anything but watch as Eredin motions one of his warriors to kill Ciri...Adult Fear at its best.
- The events on Fyke Isle in Velen is huge for two reasons - first is that the peasantry decided to Rape, Pillage, and Burn the place because the Lord and his family had fled there, but even worse is that the mage had given Annabelle, the daughter, a potion to drink if she were found. Rather than poison, it was a sleeping potion - but this kept her paralyzed as the rats devoured her alive.
- Which isn't to say the tower's inhabitants were entirely innocent. The mage Alexander conducted experiments with plague rats, then with live human subjects, while researching the Catriona plague, and the Lord was fully aware of this. So the peasants did deliver some sort of justice... for entirely the wrong reason.
- The Botchling, which is a thing straight from real-life fairy tales. A miscarried child which was abandoned without proper rites coming back from the dead to haunt the family which abandoned it.
- And 'haunting' translates to causing miscarriages or even murdering pregnant women and infants.
- The entire concept of the Ladies of the Wood. The all-seeing, all-hearing god-like entities who capture and eat children are like something out of the very darkest fairy-tales.
- The horrifying realization that you can't rescue the children you just met if you refuse to let an Eldritch Abomination out of a tree. If you do, it destroys a nearby village and can lead to the Bloody Baron's suicide, if you aren't careful in your dealings with him.
- The orphans in the swamp are handling their situation quite well. But you really should think twice about asking Johnny's friend what happened to his parents.
- What makes things arguably worse, is that the Ladies are the closest thing this region has to a Big Good, it is noted throughout the region NPCs chatter and dialogue, that the Ladies do keep their bargains and promises, although sometimes with a dash of Jackass Genie thrown in, all they ask in return is offerings usually of ''severed ears and children to consume.''
- The witch hunts in general but also what happens to Keira Metz in particular if you let her go seek amnesty from Radovid with Alexander's research. You later find her on the streets of Novigrad, her whole body impaled on a wooden pole with the tip sticking out of her mouth.
- Whoreson Junior's residence's upstairs which contains almost a dozen freshly-murdered prostitutes whose blood he's taken to bathe in.
- The scene where Yen uses forbidden, arcane black magic to reanimate a terrified, pain-wracked corpse in order to extract information from him on Ciri's whereabouts is chillingly disturbing — even Geralt is visibly shaken by the experience. Yennefer herself describes the experience as feeling like she had stuck wriggling cockroaches inside her mouth.
- Worse, Yennefer shoots down the attempt by Geralt to calm his wounded spirit. She doesn't believe it's really a person after all.
- The "Concerned Citizen" serial killer from the Carnal Sins sidequest in Novigrad tortures his victims in ways so brutal even Geralt, who is no stranger to horror and brutality, is visibly disgusted. Even in this Crapsack World, it still manages to be one of the darkest quests in the game.
- The killer's MO is to bind the victim, gouge out the eyes to replace with burning coals, their heart carved out and replaced with a salamander egg, and pouring formaldehyde down their throat. Rule of Symbolism is in full force as well, as the killer is on an extreme version of a Scare 'Em Straight campaign in the name of the Church of Eternal Fire. It bears mentioning that all of this is done while the victim is alive, with the killer taking pains to keep them that way until the torture is finished.
- The Red Herring in the form of the Obviously Evil former torturer church official is equally scary as a brutal sadist who enjoys torturing helpless women, claiming no higher purpose to it beyond his own pleasure and satisfaction. Made worse by the fact that if, after catching him red-handed torturing a prostitute, you leap to the obvious conclusion that he's the killer and kill him without talking to him, the actual killer may continue with his work.
- The worst part? Even after killing the actual murderer, other "Concerned Citizen" sermons can be found in Novigrad, indicating that he had, indeed, lit a spark.
- An extra layer of horror is added when you learn, in Blood & Wine, that higher vampires can't be truly killed except by another higher vampire. All it would take is another vampire like Detlaff to bring Hubert Rejk back to life.
- A Hym possesses people that have committed horrible crimes and forces them to hurt themselves. Even horribly mutilating themselves in the later stages. One might think that wouldn't be bad, but they only latch on to guilt. Meaning sociopaths, psychopaths, and people who honestly don't believe they're doing anything wrong won't attract it. It's highly likely that someone that would do anything to make up for their actions would be the most susceptible to possession.
- It's worse than that, even. You don't actually have to commit the crime, you just have to believe you did. While this comes in handy for tricking the Hym away from its victim (by making someone believe they've done something horrible, and then showing them the truth once the Hym's let the first victim go), it means the Hym's haunting isn't necessarily deserved. For Udalryk, his "crime" was failing to rescue his brother, because he couldn't hear Aki drowning until it was too late. The guilt over this accident made Udalryk the Hym's victim for years, causing him to eventually gouge out his own eye. It's basically PTSD in demon form, at least for some of its victims.
- We finally get an idea of what Geralt and the other Witchers went through in order to become Witchers, Yennefer uses only the first stage of the Trial of the Grasses, the Trial that allows their bodies to accept mutations to try and Cure Uma into his true form, The poor recipient of the potions used is in absolute agony for hours as their body essentially breaks down to become more malleable, and made even worse when you remember a few facts about Witchers. Firstly, over half to three quarters of the boys who underwent this died, and secondly most of them were barely teens to young adults when they went through it.
- After completing the mission 'Witcher Wannabe' if you go inside the small building with two angel statues on either side of the door you can find a small chest. Then, when you leave... the angel statues have moved to stare at you and are in the middle of the cementary. Walk past them and then rotate the camera to look at them; they have turned AGAIN to stare at you. Do it one more time and they are GONE. There are Weeping Angels in Velen.
Hearts of Stone
- Everything to do with Gaunter O'Dimm. The man is the closest equivalent to the ''Witcherverse'' version of the Devil.
- Seeing him steal Olgierd's soul by aging him and reducing him to ash before nonchalantly tossing about his skull is particularly chilling.
- Even people who don't make pacts with Gaunter can suffer terribly. The professor you meet has gone blind from simply learning about Gaunter and spent years inside a protective circle out of fear. When knocked out of the circle he immediately dies due to a misstep.
- Pay close attention when Geralt and the professor are talking. At certain points, Geralt will be distracted by the floor above them shaking and dust falling onto the professor's makeshift prison. We never find out what is up there, but one interpretation is that Gaunter secretly followed you, is in the house, and is upstairs, listening. It's very possible that Gaunter then killed the professor as punishment for revealing his secrets to Geralt.
- Just before you leave the room, extinguish the candles around the circle. The moment the lights are out, you hear the terrifying sounds of something escaping from inside the circle. Something that even as a witcher, Geralt cannot see but only hear.
- You can read the blind professor's memoirs which reveals something terrifying and tragic in equal measure: The professor was tormented by horrible nightmares, until he saw his daughter in his dreams - he didn't actually have a daughter in real life, but he came to believe he had one in his dreams. She was beautiful and intelligent and he loved her dearly, and over time he came to look forward to sleeping so he could enjoy watching her grow up. And then one day she caught a sickness, withered and died in his arms, filled with boils and pus. Even when Master Mirror has taken everything away from you, he can find ways to take even more.
- Another victim of Gaunters sinister Disproportionate Retribution: as Geralt arrives for a meeting at a tavern, ODimm waves him over from across the room. Before Geralt can approach, hes accosted by a very inebriated fellow who wants the Witcher to share (and presumably buy) a drink with him. Gaunter freezes time so the two can finally be free from harassment, but as soon as business is concluded, he walks over to he drunkard, chastises him for interrupting, and drives a spoon handle through the mans eye socket. Hes dead instantly as soon as time starts back up.
- If you choose to best him in a battle of wits, Gaunter decides to let the mask of human form slip off◊ partially, revealing his Hellish Pupils, his face crawling with Tainted Veins and is now babbling in Black Speech. And that otherworldly scream when he's banished, it only hammers in that Gaunter is something... wrong.
- In certain endings of the main game, the dwarves you meet on the Isle of Mists will discuss how they were hired to steal a chalice by a certain "Mister Mirrory." This can happen after you've finished Hearts of Stone, and if it does, Geralt will do an alarmed little double-take. Gaunter O'Dimm was right - he'll always be back.
- His Leitmotif is pretty creepy. The OST version has lyrics, for added enjoyment. Even better, they're sung like an Ironic Nursery Rhyme.
"His smile fair as spring, as towards him he draws you;
Gold, silver, jewels - he lays riches before you.
Dues need be repaid and he will come for you
All to reclaim, no smile to console you.
- Both scenes in which we learn about Olgierd's Complete Immortality. If Geralt choses to fight him to save the man he was about to have executed, Geralt ends the fight by slashing Olgierd's neck, nearly severing it and causing it to dangle at his back. Cue Olgierd applauding and complimenting Geralt's skill completely nonchalantly as his neck stump spews and gurgles blood before he reattaches his head.
- If, on the other hand, Geralt lets the execution go through, Olgierd is impaled with a sword by the daughter of the noble his men murdered. Olgierd simply has one of his men remove the sword, and his complete indifference can be chilling.
- In either case, Olgierd's men show no reaction whatsoever to the seemingly fatal wound. In fact, in the scenario where the noble's daughter attacks him, one of his men removes the sword for him completely straight faced.
- Everything about the Von Everec estate and the haunting atsmosphere that lingers around it.
- Right before you enter the estate, you encounter a thief. Moments later Geralt and the thief watch a hooded figure draw a corpse towards the backyard. Geralt follows the trail. After a run-in with a seemingly possessed cat and dog who warn you, you run into the figure. It appears to be digging graves with an absurdly large spade that doubles as blade. When Geralt gets closer, the figure removes its hood, revealing it to be what seems to be an animated, stitched together body with no face. The creature invokes the image of a certain smiling character...
- A particularly unnerving thing regarding the Caretaker is that Geralt, the pre-eminent witcher, who knows the traits of so many monsters both common and obscure with the bare minimum of information, has no idea what the creature is or where it came from. And all he is told is that it came from "very far away".
- The wraith of Iris which calls out to Geralt as he enters the building, occasionally popping out of Paintings to scream at him and has objects drop and fall in an attempt to hurt him as he explores the mansion. Then in one room the doors to a dim hallway open rather ominously on their own. Upon entering, all the lights go out, a green glow appears in the distance and the wraith appears to do battle.
- The world within Iris' dream, depicting the history she and Olgierd had together. Geralt has to solve some minor puzzles to piece together the various memories. As he does so, you discover the Sanity Slippage on Olgierd's part, ultimately culminating in him killing his father in law, locking Iris into the mansion with the haunted cat and dog and the Smiley expy, who serves as her caretaker. Finally, you face Iris' Nightmare: a collection of deranged and physically twisted manifestations of Olgierd, who ominously speak to you as you fight them - the personifications of what Olgierd has become under O' Dimm's pact.
- In one of the new areas unlocked by the DLC, Geralt comes across an abandoned old chapel haunted by a particularly vicious wraith. After dispatching the wraith, Geralt finds a journal on a nearby body that reveals the wraith was the wife of the dead men, who'd apparently been a great beauty in her youth, but slowly sank into jealousy of the couple's three daughters as her looks faded. The journal says that any mention that the girls had inherited their mother's looks was enough to set her off in a jealous rage. The penultimate entry states that the guy came home one night to find the bodies of his drowned and mutilated daughters in the chapel grounds and his wife standing on a stool under a tree with a noose around her neck, raging that the girls had taken her beauty, the one thing she cared about before jumping off the stool. The final entry (implied to have been written before the unfortunate husband's own suicide) reveals he'd sold everything he owned to the Church of the Eternal Fire in a desperate effort to gain his wife's forgiveness in the afterlife. A particularly scary quest for anyone who's seen or experienced the effects of postnatal depression.
- Another of the new areas in the DLC brings Geralt to an abandoned castle haunted by an ancient leshen. After dealing with the monster and exploring the ruins, Geralt discovers the castle belonged to an elderly count who tried to restore his diminished fortunes by taking the children of nearby nobles hostage and demanding a ransom. The last girl they kidnapped turned out to have been marked by a leshen, which proceeded to move into the forests around the castle and kill anyone it caught in the woods. When only a handful of people were left alive, the count heard killing a person marked by a leshen could destroy it, driving him to murder the girl in desperation...which did nothing because, as any witcher knows, killing one marked by a leshen doesn't destroy the monster, only allows it to be destroyed. Geralt finds the count's body amidst the ruins; it is implied that after killing the girl, he and his surviving staff left the castle, confident they were safe, only to be killed by the leshen irregardless.
Blood & Wine
- The spotted wight's curse is strongly hinted to be caused by Gaunter O'Dimm, as all she can remember of the vagrant she had slighted was "that he sold mirrors". Gaunter's spoon fixation is also an element of the curse placed upon her.
- Also, if Geralt removes the curse, Gaunter O'Dimm's theme song plays while he's telling the wight's story to Barnabas-Basil.
- Regis' Game Face is straight out of nightmares. The torture he forces himself to endure the first time he shows it in order to help Geralt and Dettlaff, doubly so.
- Seeing Regis and Dettlaff go through Dun Tynne in search of Rhena, they butcher the enemy like something out of a horror film. Fast, powerful, and unstoppable. And Regis is the one who views himself as a pacifistic humanitarian!
- Although Dettlaff isn't actively malicious, he is incredibly emotional and impulsive, and his anger is all but directionless, lashing at anyone in his vicinity. When he learns that the love of his life had used him as a pawn, he promptly declares war on Beuclair itself, swarming the city with lesser vampires in a massive temper tantrum, filling the streets with blood and death, just to force her to show herself one last time.
- The Unseen Elder is an ancient, extremely powerful vampire who is basically a demigod in terms of power and difficulty to kill. Even Regis, a higher vampire himself, is scared shitless of the Unseen Elder. Upon meeting him, he paralysis Regis and effortlessly knocks Geralt to the brink of death with a single strike. You then must find your way through his lair, an Eldritch Location where the laws of physics have been warped. When you finally convince him to speak with you by presenting him an offering, you only get one side question before requesting his help. Asking a second question will cause him to lose patience and kill Geralt. After he agrees to help you and allows Geralt and Regis to leave his lair, Regis comments that the meeting went better than he expected because the Unseen Elder didn't simply kill the two of them.
- The final confrontation with Detlaff is both awesome and terrifying. After damaging him enough, he will unleash his One-Winged Angel form and it is downright hideous, resembling a demon-like monstrosity with a very long neck and claws, no facial features besides a monstrous mouth, wings and hooked appendages. His attacks aren't anything to laugh at either, dealing massive damage. If pushed even further, he creates a dome of flesh, hiding in a core while attacking you with amorphous blobs of blood with his likeness, which he controls.
- When Sylvia Anna says that being told of the curse was a blessing to her parents as it gave them the excuse to abuse her. In a game that otherwise specializes in supernatural monsters, that bit of human psychological insight strikes much closer to home.
- If you let Syanna die in the finale, then during your subsequent imprisonment the guards arrange for you to witness a gruesome execution just to prove to Geralt that the prosecution is playing for keeps this time.
- The vampire prison of Tesham Mutna is a terrifying location, so much that Geralt senses evil hanging in the air. Originally built by vampires to trap an exceptionally Ax-Crazy member of their kind, it turned into a horrific torture chamber for humans as well. Human prisoners were left in cells and forcibly bled to let the disgraced vampire suffer as he could smell their blood, but never taste it. There's even a library filled with books that essentially talk about breeding and maintaining humans for vampire consumption. Regis finds the entire place disgraceful.