Go Into The Light, Carol Anne…I’ll Just Stay Here, Thanks.
I’m not much of a scary movie aficionado. It’s not that I don’t like them – I do. It’s just that I’m a massive chicken shit, and I really don’t want to spend the next 2 weeks afterwards sleeping with the covers up over my head and urinating a smidge whenever I hear what sounds like someone walking around upstairs in our 100-YEAR OLD HOUSE when I know I’m home alone, and holy shit I need to stop because I’m scaring myself right now.
Great. Now my fucking teddy bear is haunted and pissing the bed too.
I’m pretty sure my exaggerated reaction to scary movies is a product of my overactive imagination, my generally anxious nature, and the fact that when I was 7 years old, the adults in my life figured that it was just fine and dandy to let me watch “Poltergeist,” even though I still hid behind the recliner whenever those flying monkeys came onscreen during “The Wizard of Oz.”
“You think I’M scary? Bitch, you just wait.”
I don’t care who you are, “Poltergeist” is a scary fucking movie. Those weird blue flying monkeys in fabulous vests lost their ability to scare me once I got past 3rd grade (OK, once I got past my junior year. Of college.) but “Poltergeist” has always proven to be just as scary each time I watch it. The staticky television, the tree outside the window, the kitchen chairs all floating in the air like that? SHUDDER. Of course, scariest of all was that damn clown doll coming to life, which cemented my fear of all things Emmett Kelly.
Bone-chilling fear permanently etched in mind of 7-year-old? Check.
Of course, being the trusting soul I was, in 4th grade I told my good friend Amy about my fear of clown dolls during a sleepover at her house as we sat in her bedroom – a bedroom, I might mention, that was in the very furthest corner of her very big house, totally isolated from everyone who might have been able to thwart a potential clown doll attack. Explaining that she needed to use the restroom, Amy excused herself, leaving me all alone in the unnerving quiet of her bedroom. After about 5 minutes alone, a clown doll – much like the absolutely fucking terrifying one above – came hurtling towards me from the darkened doorway.
I screamed. I flailed. I wondered if I had brought a change of underwear.
And Amy laaaaaaaughed and laughed as she emerged from the doorway. Ha.
Now, Amy was actually a very sweet and wonderful friend – albeit with a sick sense of humor – and today she is a brilliant doctor who saves lives on a daily basis, so I have no desire to seek revenge by, oh, I don’t know, revealing to the internet that she harbored a red-hot crush on Patrick Swayze for years and years.
So, yeah, it took me a while to get over that. But to be honest, I never had any other-worldly experiences that couldn’t be explained away by my sadistic imagination or certain Johnny-Castle-loving friends.
Except…this one time. Which I can only write about while I’m here in my cubicle, with the sun streaming in my window and hundreds of other real, live people around me. So, sorry, Company That Pays Me – I would blog at home about this, but I am a total vagina who scares herself with her own stories, so I’m doing this one on the company dime. I’ll consider it payback for the countless hours of my life you consume on a daily basis, ‘kay?
So, this one time. I was about 9 years old, and my sister and I were spending the night at my grandmother’s house. My grandmother’s bedroom was on the first floor of her early-20th-century rowhouse, and my sister and I always slept in the upstairs bedrooms. I preferred the tiny bedroom that used to be my Dad’s when he was little, and my favorite piece of furniture in the room was a chair with shiny red faux-leather cushions fastened to the frame with large brass furniture tacks. The chair sat to the left of my bed, facing the same direction, so that if I was laying on my back I only had to look slightly over my left shoulder to see the chair. It was close enough for me to reach out and touch if I stretched out my left arm.
In the middle of the night, we had a thunderstorm and the lights went out. It didn’t make much difference in my room, since everything was pretty well-lit by a street light right outside my window, but my sister’s room was much darker, so she came in and sat on my bed, waiting for the power to restore so her nightlight would come back on. With my sister sitting on the edge of my bed, I drifted back to sleep.
Then, I woke up. The storm had passed, and I guessed the power was back on because my sister was gone. I turned over my left shoulder to look out the window that was behind my bed and the red chair, and – hoo boy, here’s where my throat starts getting tight – sitting upright in the chair was a baby. It was very still, and it was looking at me. Well, I guess it was facing me, not looking at me, because it had no eyes…just dark, empty holes where the eyes should be. Its face had the blank, expressionless look of a china doll. The best likeness I could find is this – it wasn’t wearing any clothes and it definitely wasn’t sporting any blush or lipstick or hair, but this picture totally captures the stoic expression and terrifying empty eyes:
Holy mother of FUCK.
I remember staring at it for a few seconds, trying to make sense of what was going on, and then I managed to process that CREEPY EMPTY-EYED BABY SITTING STARING AT ME OH MY JESUS, so I balled up under the covers, shaking and barely able to breathe. I was certain it was only a matter of time before it tried to “get” me, so I braced myself for the attack, but nothing happened. I remember making a small gap in the covers to let in some fresh air after a while, and somehow (probably due to the lack of oxygen) I fell back asleep.
When I woke up in the morning, it was, of course, gone. I never told my sister or my grandmother or my parents. I knew they’d never believe me.
Eeeek. That shit happened 21 YEARS AGO, and it still scares me breathless and makes my heart race. Also not helping: that large coffee I just drank. I may also have to poop.
Anyway, fast-forward to the present day, in which I am currently a cast member of a production being staged in the abandoned swimming pool of a 115-year-old library (apparently libraries came with pools back then). It’s all very avant-garde and cool and what have you, but our dressing rooms are quite a distance from the performance space, which requires us to travel along a very creepy corridor and up some very creepy staircases. In period costume. While performing a play about murder and the inescapable presence of the dead. We might as well be holding a fucking seance. You can imagine how amusing it is for me to travel – ALONE and IN DIM LIGHT – from the backstage area to the dressing rooms, trying not to break into a full-on run on the staircase that looks pretty much like this:
“Don’t mind me – just here to renew a book AND STEAL YOUR SOUL.”
So, it’s going to be somewhat of a struggle for me not to freak myself out during the run of the show (and I guess this blog post isn’t exactly helping). I’ll just have to keep myself distracted [read: drunk] and thinking about things that have nothing to do with my surroundings. Kind of like this picture, apropos of nothing, which I found during my image search for the Scary Hole-Eyed Ghost Baby:
Scary, but in a different way. Also reminiscent of a particularly interesting party I attended in college.
Entry filed under: And you KNOW THIS!.