Here’s a strange fact about me: I love horror fiction. Three entire shelves in my bookcase are filled with Stephen King novels. I read a really good zombie anthology a few years ago that I might add to my Amazon wish list for Christmas. Occasionally a story or novel will get to me if I read it before bedtime (like the time I finished ‘Salem’s Lot in high school and had vampire nightmares all night long), but generally I can read this kind of fiction with no problem.
Movies, however, are a completely different story. I have an extremely low threshold for horror movies. I can barely stand to watch American Horror Story, and I usually watch it with my hand in front of my face, peeking between my fingers. If I watch a scary movie, I am freaked the fuck out for WEEKS. I don’t even need to actually watch the movie to be terrified of it: Rob (who absolutely LOVES horror movies) saw Paranormal Activity in the theater, and described the attic scene to me. Although I’ve still never seen this movie, I’m haunted by his description of that scene. Remember, I’VE NEVER SEEN THE GODDAMN MOVIE. That’s how far the crazy extends: I am afraid of movie scenes that I have created in my own head based purely on second-hand accounts. Sometimes, I’ll hear about a horror movie that actually sounds interesting, but I know I can’t watch it, so I look it up on Wikipedia and read the plot summary. Why? Because I am the president, vice president, and recording secretary of the Super Wussy Baby Club.
I recently discovered that I cannot handle (nor resist) “true” creepy stories. Each year, Jezebel asks readers to post “real” scary stories that have happened to them or their family. I’m sure not every single post is legit, but the idea that hundreds of people have had experiences with ghosts/murderers/evil spirits scares the shit out of me. Even the ones that sound exaggerated still creep me the fuck out. Did this stop me from spending two days reading every single story posted? No, it did not. Am I paying for it dearly by being too scared to go to the fucking bathroom in the dark? Yes, yes I am.
So, as a lifelong wuss, here’s a list of things that my fellow wussies and I do to protect ourselves from the ghosts and monsters that suddenly live in our house when we binge on too many scary stories/movies:
Check behind the shower curtain at least five times: It’s a well-known fact that evil things like to wait just outside the curtain while you shower. Making sure the bathroom is clear is critical.
Avoid looking at windows at night: If you look out the window for too long, a scary face is just going to suddenly appear, or you’ll see the face that’s been staring at you the entire time. Side note: my husband’s best friend thought it would be hilarious one summer evening to go outside to smoke, and then just patiently stare into our window, waiting for me to notice him staring at me. IT WAS NOT.
Look behind you while sprinting upstairs: Sometimes Michael Meyers will try to chase you up the basement stairs if you don’t go quickly enough. You need to check behind you to make sure you’re running fast enough.
Pause the TV fifty times an hour when you hear ghosts banging around your house: Your rational mind might try to convince you that the noises are, in fact, the hamster chewing on her new wood blocks you bought her, or the dishwasher that you loaded and set to run on a delay finally kicking on. Don’t believe these lies. It’s better to spend your energy trying to figure out the gender of the ghost knocking around your house.
At bedtime, leave a trail of lights: This is key. Being caught in a dark room is a big mistake. That’s how the monsters get you. Instead, at bedtime, turn on all the lights in the house. Then, starting in the room farthest from your final destination, begin turning off the lights. This will ensure that the dark rooms are behind you, and you are always in a well-lit (read: non-ghost-having) room.
Abandon anything you need that was left behind: If you get into bed after turning off all the lights just to realize you left your phone charger downstairs, or, even worse, in the basement, you know what? Fuck that charger. You’ll just have to wake up to a dead cell phone. Better than catching the girl from The Ring off-guard after she just crept up from the basement to hang out in your TV room while you sleep. Look at it this way: would you rather have your phone at 1% in the morning, or end up with a melty face? I rest my case.
Replay every scary movie/story/anecdote when frightened: If you do become spooked, be sure to start reviewing every possible scary thing you’ve ever seen or read that scares the holy hell out of you. Start with the major ones, like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason, etc. You can then move on to the second-string players, like that fucked-up doll from that new movie, zombies, a real-life axe murderer, etc. That way, your mind and body will stay sharp so you can quickly identify which monster is hiding in your hallway when you have to get up to comfort a crying child in the pitch dark at 3:00 a.m.
Your blanket is a protective shield: When you can finally (attempt to) sleep, make sure every part of your body is covered with your blanket. Your feet have GOT to be covered, because this is how demons grab you and drag you under the bed and on to Hell. You must, however, create a hole for your face to stick out and let you breathe. For some reasons, evil spirits respect the face hole and leave it alone.
There are a few more that I think go without saying to most seasoned wussies, like “stay out of the basement” and “keep all lights on, all the time.” So this Halloween season (and, let’s be honest, all year round), you can feel free to watch the freakiest movies you can find and read the creepiest of the creepy pasta online, and still be able to function in your house by yourself at night when necessary.
Except that Annabelle movie. Fuck that movie.
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