I’m not much for the spooky stuff, to tell you the truth.
I grew up believing that the Devil was a very real and frightening entity. None of that Halloween or cartoon silliness with the horns and the tail and the pitchfork for me. Oh no. He was presented in full power mode: fallen angel, dragon, the darkest forces of evil in one malevolent and powerful being. The only entity stronger was God, and as a child I was never quite sure whether God would choose to protect me or not, due to my many and varied faults and failings.
Tales were told of possessions and exorcisms. People I knew claimed to have been present – to have heard demon voices speaking from human throats, to have witnessed humans harming themselves because of a demon within. A demon could choke you in your sleep, take over your body and your mind. Maybe even kill you, or make you kill somebody else. It didn’t take much to open the door to the forces of evil – a small sin, a lack of trust in the All Powerful God – and you were at risk. To make it even more fun, the Devil could show up in his Angel of Light persona too, anytime, tempting you with his beauty and mellifluous voice. Danger was ever present, protection at the whim of a God who loved me but apparently had no qualms about allowing me to learn from my mistakes.
Although I no longer lie awake and quivering in the dark for fear that something evil is headed my way, I’m not crazy about horror movies and books. To this day I won’t watch movies that play out possession stories – Rosemary’s Baby, Damien, The Exorcist. I accidentally watched Christine once and was freaked out for days. Yes, I know the concept of a possessed car is OUT THERE, but the images wouldn’t leave me alone. Dean Koontz is my favorite horror writer because in his books the right side always wins out in the end.
Maybe this is why Halloween – watered down, candy-crazed celebration that is has become – makes me a little uneasy. People took it more seriously once upon a time, when it was All Hallows Eve and everybody knew what that meant. Spirits walked the earth on that night. Carved pumpkins and turnips with a candle inside were meant to keep the evil at bay. It wasn’t a festival for children; it was serious business.
I tend to light candles at Halloween, as light against the dark. The fabric of reality seems thin to me, and I still wonder what is on the other side and whether -something- might break through. I laugh at myself for this, but do it all the same.
However, since I recognize that most people like to be scared, and in the spirit of Halloween, my gift to you is a classic spooky story in video form. I will warn you that some people are truly freaked out by this little clip and it truly is not for the faint of heart. Now that you have been duly warned, I present to you The Cat with the Hands. You are welcome.
What about you? Do you like the spooky scary stuff, or is it a little too real for you? Any movies or books that TOTALLY freaked you out and kept you from sleeping?