The history of the tale of terror is as old as the history of
man. Myths were created in the early days of the race to account
for sunrise and sunset, storm-winds and thunder, the origin of
the earth and of mankind. The tales men told in the face of these
mysteries were naturally inspired by awe and fear. The universal
myth of a great flood is perhaps the earliest tale of terror.
During the excavation of Nineveh in 1872, a Babylonian version of
the story, which forms part of the Gilgamesh epic, was discovered
in the library of King Ashurbanipal (668-626 B.C.); and there are
records of a much earlier version, belonging to the year 1966
B.C. The story of the Flood, as related on the eleventh tablet of
the Gilgamesh epic, abounds in supernatural terror.