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Is Carrie Based On A True Story?

One of the greatest literary minds of our time is Stephen King, the man behind such chilling classics as "It," "The Shining," and "Misery." Whether he's writing about supernatural entities, heinous murders, or obsessed fans, King has kept readers coming back for more ever since 1974, when his first published novel, "Carrie," was released.

"Carrie," which was adapted for the big screen in 1976 (starring Sissy Spacek) and 2013 (featuring Chloë Grace Moretz), tells the tale of high schooler Carrie White, who lives quite the miserable life. She is bullied by her classmates, lives with her extremely religious mother, Margaret, and to top it all off, must come to terms with her telekinetic abilities to make objects move without touching them. Carrie's troubles come to a climax at her school's prom, where she uses her powers to seek revenge on the popular teens, who drop a bucket of pig's blood on her as a prank.

Many people have wondered where King got the idea for such a unique concept. It couldn't be based on a true story, right? Think again.

Stephen King drew from real life to create Carrie

Though Stephen King may not personally know anybody with telekinetic powers, "Carrie" was actually inspired by two young girls from the author's past, both of whom died.

The first, whom he called "Tina White" in an interview with The Guardian, attended Durham Elementary School with King, who said she was relentlessly bullied "because she wore the same clothes to school every day." The other, "Sandra Irving," lived near King's childhood home. While at the Irving residence helping move furniture, he noticed a crucifix on the wall. "If such a gigantic icon had fallen when the two of them were watching TV, the person it fell on would almost certainly have been killed," said King. His interactions with both of these girls eventually fed into the origins of Carrie and her mother. 

As for the troubling opening scene, which shows a terrified Carrie getting her first period in the locker room shower as her classmates torment her, King drew from his experience serving as a janitor at Brunswick High, where the girls' showers had "chrome U-rings with pink plastic curtains attached." King said, "I started seeing the opening scene of a story: girls showering in a locker room where there were no U-rings, pink plastic curtains, or privacy."

Regarding Carrie's telekinetic abilities, King remembered a LIFE magazine article that discussed telekinesis and suggested that some adolescent girls can possess this power around the time of their first period. "POW! Two unrelated ideas, adolescent cruelty and telekinesis, came together and I had an idea," said King (via The Guardian).