The veil between life and death is thin at Halloween, and as it splits there comes forth a soul in shrieking haste, with frightful power over the living.
To ward off our fear we carve scary faces into pumpkins and we dress up as ghouls and monsters. We hope to panic that soul back to the realm of those who have lived and lost. But what are we doing by making these plans? At the end of the day, we are resolving to frighten our future self. Oh dear!
Here are a few of the things that you could write about if you want to scare the bejeezus out of yourself:
- Unknown. Things that go ba-da-bump in the dark prey on our minds when we need to pee and yet dare not venture from the safety of our beds. We are also terrified of what the future might send to knock at our doors. Strangers, (aliens of all shapes and sizes) give us the shivers – what could they want with us – what will they do to us?! Rapine, pillage, insemination, experimentation – all are things to fear of a stranger.
- Loss. Who, having experienced happiness in the arms of a loved one, has not thought of what would happen should they be taken from us by accident, economic circumstance, or that randy piece of work from number 46? Fear of losing a cushy job is also at the top of the list of losses for many, along with that nice car, plush apartment and those cute matching chihuahuas that go along with it.
- Evil. I reckon that the root of all evil is the fear of being made to do things that we don’t want to do. There’s more to evil than morality and the Prince of Darkness. It’s all about doing contrary things, and the forces that make us do those things. Take David Cameron for instance – do you think he wanted to give the British people the opportunity to vote to leave the EU? Heck no – the forces of evil made him do it!
- Dying. Fear of death is rather like fear of the unknown, except it’s kind of worse than that – it’s fear of the unknowable. At least when it’s unknown, you can make some investigation – you can peek under the bed (and get your face ripped off by a fanged beast in the process) but with death – there really is no investigation you can undertake that will make living with it any easier.
- Beyond. This is all about ghosts, spirits, departed souls etc. Alongside fear of dying, which is fear of the unknowable, there lives the expectation of what is to be found beyond the pale veil, just over the purple river. Fearing the coming of souls from beyond at the time of Halloween is bad enough, but what we imagine these souls want with us is even worse, which brings us to …
- Possession. This is a fear of loss of control of the self and this is closely related to evil, but there are other things apart from demons and possessive souls that can take us over. A domineering mother, wife or father can be just as scary as any supernatural creature. Who hasn’t spilled something on the rug, or accidentally burned a hole in the refrigerator and then waited in growing terror as the parents start moving around upstairs, ready to come downstairs for their early morning cup of tea! Oh, the horror!
- Nature. I’m thinking here of things like giant rabid dogs, sharks with a taste for human flesh and sub-human creatures like zombies. If you’re not scared by these things then you really need to get our more. Just walk around any 24hr supermarket at midnight and you will see sights that will freeze the blood in your veins.
- Magic. There are, it seems, two kinds of magic – and they have been conveniently colour coded for ease of identification. There are loads of conflicting definitions, so I’m just going to make up my own – white magic is that which is done for the advancement of the spirit and black is done for the benefit of the carnal body. Of the two – black is the scary one because, whereas true spiritual advancement helps everyone by virtue of the spiderwebby way in which we are connected, bodily advancement (money, power, sex) only helps the few over the many (due to the short supply of material things).
- Suddenness. Here’s a tip for you – never sneak upstairs and grab your partner’s ankle while they are passing by unawares. That kind of thing never quite turns out to be as funny as you thought it would. And apart from that – hearing that screaming going on and on, and then hearing it again in your dreams is not a good outcome. Plus – you are never going to be forgiven. Ever. Sooner or later, the tables will be turned.
If you can think of any other scary things to write about; something that you think I have missed, then please let me know. I welcome all feedback.