Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Again with the basics.

Hello, loyal S&Patrons (like how I did that?).

Looking at the big old grandfather clock in the foyer, I see it's a bit of a late night for your humble pubkeep, which isn't unusual -- if Autumn People aren't generally night people, I'm  a vermicious knid -- but it is a little annoying.

I suppose I shouldn't be all that bothered by being awake. I don't often get to bed much earlier than this.

But the reason I am currently awake and not sleepy is mostly because of a week's worth of an annoying warm-weather cold (oh my! the irritation at that one, ruined all kinds of plans) and because of the recurrence of a nightmare with which I've had a love-hate relationship since I was a very little pubkeep.

OH, I'm not awake from fear. Not really.

I am up with my mind running through other old nightmares, just for the nostalgic fun of reliving them.

Haven't you ever done that?

I have no hang ups about such things. I enjoy talking about what scared me as a kid (isn't that most of what we're all doing with our Hallowe'en Lovin' Ways anyway?), and I'd like to admit a few to all of you.

I'll exact payment for your ridicule when I'm finished...

First up, the very dream I had for the first time in years, but one I've had off and on since early childhood.

There's no real story to this. It's just a sort of mental loop, a perpetual animation of a creepy old thing walking through a long, dimly green decrepit hallway like this...

... and he just keeps opening these doors every twenty paces or so, fumbling through a giant key ring with his bony fingers, opening and closing (with ungodly echoes and creaks) each door, while he cackles and grumbles about something troubling him.

He looks, to the best of my late-night graphics tabletability, a little like this:

I've tried to create this nameless creep many times since childhood, and he never comes out looking like he really looks in the dream. Here, he's nearly cute, an odd little mix of a Mystic from The Dark Crystal and one of the little buggers from Critters. He has gnashing, spiky teeth, wrinkless all over, and wiry hair all shocked out and sweaty. His voice alternates between a high-pitched, creaky whine and a low, gutteral sort of belch.

For some reason, this vision haunted me in a dream when I was little and I not only never forgot it but keep seeing it every once in a great while. Just following this freak as if I were a camera to his lower right, as he walks, gnashes, opens, walks, gnashes, opens... It's dim, dark, echo-ey and very disturbing. Who in Hell is he? What's he doing? Where is it? Will it ever end? Total terror for little me.

But I think there are a few other concepts that can make me shudder just as I did as a kid, and this is only the most personal (and internal -- I have no idea where it came from but the actual dream doesn't look like anything I've ever seen before).

Another of these notions is the zombie.

No, I loves me my zombies, as you all know very well.

But I always think, in real, real life, if I suddenly stumbled onto this horror one quiet, breezy night...

... I'd really just be frozen with real terror. No music, no sound but the wind. They're just walking, not even making noise. And they're dead. And they want to eat me.


Another concept I've previously mentioned as being terrifying to me is Possessed Girl. I addressed it better and more completely in the post I just linked, so you may visit it more fully at your leisure. But the concept still manages to unnerve me.

I have also found, even though it's kind of a rare image, the notion of a headless woman.

I don't know why, but the idea of a woman being headless but still in a dress or walking, or otherwise full of life, just freaks me out just as it did when I was a kid. I remember having a hot, sweaty Summer nightmare about a headless woman in my closet rocking side to side, waiting for me to open the door. Shiver!

Then that October, I saw an episode of Happy Days called 'Haunted' where just such a nightmarish vision comes downstairs to frighten Hallowe'en revelers...

TERR - IF - IED me! Even when it turned out to be some kid having fun pranking his pals on Hallowe'en night, I was just shuddering at how creepy this was, and how it was so like my nightmare some months before.

Now, I'm not saying I spend any meaningful amount of time or energy on these notions at any given moment. They're just there, under the surface, whenever I consider being truly frightened of anything that isn't real.

Not real. I mean, all of us feel real terror about how the world can be, the horrendous things life throws at us, throws us into, makes us do and takes from us. Any of us can name any number of horrible realities we'd just as soon never think about that keep us awake and sweating in the lonely watches of the night, those dark moments as parents when we think of all the things that can go wrong for no other reason but that things go wrong... but that sort of terror is not at all what I'm referring to here.

No, these are the things that have little logical basis, no real weight, no basis in reality. Things like one of my friends being terrified for some of her early years by a moving ball of yarn and needle, or the giant hands that would come out of the ceiling to grab another of my friends on a fairly regular basis.

They just scare me, and can still scare me like they did when I was a kid.

And oh, don't get me started on her...

Pure terror. Lady Elaine would somehow kidnap me, take me away from my parents, and make me live with her in her Museum-Go-Round subsisting (I always suspected) on things like corn nuts and asparagus, making me cut my hair and wear false lashes and rouge on my nose.

So, after you've all had a laugh, I demand reparation.

Any serious childhood 'scaries' you still feel? Or can at least remember?

Now, I don't mean the movie(s) or book(s) that scared you (like they were supposed to), or common phobias like clowns or spiders (I'm lookin' at you, Frog Queen!) or even favorite monsters. I don't mean grown-up fears either. I think we've covered some of those in our other 'Fear For Thought' discussions.

I mean the lifelong, illogical, no-one-else-would-possibly-find-it-scary secrets you've kept since you were first terrified by whatever it was/is?

I challenge you all for stories, pictures if possible but at least some comments and stories of the crazy thing or things that drove you to your parent's bedroom when you were young.

C'mon... I know you each have at least one thing that can still bring you to your childhood knees in abject terror, even if you can't possibly explain, even to yourself, just why.

Free drinks all around for every story.

Get crackin', get dreamin'...



  1. Oh my goodness! So it was just not me who was afraid of Lady Elaine! She creeped me out.

    Going to catholic school and seeing The Exorcist as a kid was the earliest and so far the last time I was really frightened by something that is made up.

    I remember the time I leaned against a post in the barn of an old house we lived in and several baby black widow spiders came crawling down my head and all over me. Definitely the reason that I am afraid of spiders today.

    From that point on it was the real things...people and crawly things that scared me. A little sad I guess....must mean that I have lost a bit of my imagination....along with the rest of my brain.

    Thanks for sharing, as always, your blog posts are some of my favorites.


  2. Things that were in my dreams AND in real life: Carol Channing (or does that fall into the "clowns and spiders" category?). Gloria Swanson (but there's a good reason for that). Silent Movies that weren't Laurel and Hardy. The "bingbong" of "It's 10 o'clock, do you know where your child is?" I obviously was at home, watching that, but I shivered every time- up too late, and what if I WAS out in the scary post-curfew timezone? But my scariest, periodically in my nightmares thing was/is a dead body made to look as if it's moving. Like propped up, dancing, like a puppet. Sometimes with the eyes opened. Not a Zombie, but a delusional maniac animating a dead person (usually someone they killed) to make them "alive" again...something between Norman Bates' Mother idea, and Debbie Reynolds in "What's the Matter With Helen?". (SHUDDER)