Why I Still Believe in Ghosts, and Undead Things Hiding Under my Bed
Do you remember when you stopped being afraid of the dark? When you no longer needed to check underneath your bed for a dead, creeping thing rotting alongside the dust bunnies and missing Monopoly game pieces?
Do you recall that darkness, the pungent energy punctuating the unknown? That feeling of foreboding in the thundering silence out of which you're certain you can hear the crackle of leaves or the bemoaning floorboards under the weight of something supernatural. Ghosts. Ghouls. The undead hands that reach for us at midnight - the witching hour...They whisper in the dark, to the rapt audience of a child's ears.
I used to pull the covers up over my ears, so I wouldn't have to hear them coming for me through the shadows, chanting silently so they wouldn't find me, "It's only make believe. It's not real. It's not real. It's not real..."
At some point along the path to adulthood, most of us leave that behind. The putrefying corpse dragging its loosening limbs toward us in the velvet blackness of our bedrooms truly does cease to be real because, much like the story lines in the movies, we stop believing, and in retracting our belief in our monsters, we also take their life, their energy, their power to frighten us.
But, what happens if we can't altogether put the monsters of our youth to rest? What of the ones who carry those monsters with them to adulthood?
Watch a film that scared you into your parents' bed when you were a child. Does it seem silly now? Cheesy? Hokey? In the light of the civilized afternoon I can claim the same.
...But the truth is, after dark, or when the sun hides behind storm clouds, when it's just me and the silence, the monsters inch their sunken heads around the corners, out of the shadows, running eyes panning the dark for me.
I've tried to leave them in the past, take away their power and let them fade into their places in my memory, and most of the time I feel like I've succeeded. That is, until I sit down in the darkened theater to watch one of my old Hollywood tormentors, or the television in my living room turns on by itself at 3:14 am. Just a power surge, right...? Perhaps a neighbor is on the same frequency. Or the batteries in the remote are dying. That must be it...
Come see me at www.princessburlap.com to read the whole tale of why a 31 year old woman is still afraid of the dark. And yes, I still insist on clear shower curtains in my house. Because in my parents' house, ghosts were real. We were forbidden to play with Ouija boards. We all believed, in the same way that most children are brought up with faith in religion, so, too, were we brought up with faith... faith in the unseen, faith in the unexplained, and faith in monsters under our beds.