by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground e-Magazine
I have a friend who grew up in a house where strange, strange things happened constantly. Her mother still lives there. When you ask her, she will tell you that she grew up in a haunted house.
Inevitably, the first thing people say to her is, “Wow – a haunted house! Wasn’t that scary?”
Remember the haunted houses we used to go to on Halloween as kids? You know the ones. Monsters jumped out at you. There was a scary dude in a hockey mask who chased you with a chainsaw through a room with a strobe light. Around every corner, something jumped out at you. It was downright scary.
Here’s a true story of fear from when I was a kid – not that you asked. When I was about six or seven, I went to one such “haunted” house at Halloween. It was run by a local radio station. Six or seven is apparently to young for such trauma. I LOVED it. I ate it up. For about 30 seconds, until the first ghoul jumped in my face from behind something. Then I screamed. And screamed. And sobbed. I still had to make it through the haunted house. There was no way out. I clung to my older sister. I probably embarrassed the crap out of her. But I put one foot in front of the other, screaming and sobbing whenever a monster would jump out in front of me.
The last obstacle was the strobe light room. It was disorienting. I knew there was something in there, but I couldn’t get my bearings. I was in hysterics, living in a place of pure fear and horror. Especially when I got separated from my older sister. The poor guy in the mask. I’m guessing that he was trying to help me to find my way out of the room, but of course, he was wearing a mask and carrying a chainsaw, so when he tried to get close to me, I would scream and run away. Finally, somehow, I made it out of that awful room.
The man with the chainsaw followed me. He turned off the chainsaw, squatted down in front of me and removed his mask. He told me how sorry he was he had frightened me so much. He told me he was just a person – a man in a mask and that it would be okay. And then he took me by the hand and led me outside to my waiting mother.
It was a truly terrifying experience in my young life. So much so that I can see it clearly today. I can feel that fear palpably, even though I can now look back from a place of lofty adulthood and see the experience for what it truly was.
I have felt terror like that in my life since, but never about the paranormal. Sure, I’ve had a few experiences that have given me a start. When something unseen used to whisper, “I love you” in my ear and brush my cheek, I certainly was a little freaked out by it. If aliens landed on my front lawn, I’m guessing I’d be a little apprehensive. I’m not saying that paranormal experiences can’t be unsettling. But flat out terror – that comes from other places for me.
What do I fear? Losing those I love. Hurting my family. Being helpless, hopeless or voiceless. Being unintentionally cruel. Pain – emotional, spiritual or physical.
I’m not afraid of dying, and I’m not afraid of the dead.
Here’s the thing about fear. Ultimately, fear is a place we come from inside of ourselves when we operate in the absence of light. We fear the unknown, and there is nothing more unknown than darkness. It takes tremendous courage to peer into the darkness to see what is hiding there. And yet, it is in that darkness where our fears lie, and it is by looking into that darkness that we can finally free ourselves of them.
What would happen if you walked into whatever dark and scary place held your fears and came face to face with the monster in the mask hidden there? What would you discover? More importantly, would you still be afraid once you knew what was there? It just might happen that the monster hiding in the darkness really wants to help lead you out of it. And when he gets you into the light, he’ll squat in front of you, take off his mask and allow you to see that there was really nothing to fear all along.