Once upon a time there was a little girl who thought her father spoke only very serious truths. She listened to him with rapt ears and unwavering attention, taking careful note of each story and fable he fed her. She swallowed the morals like sweet, small chocolates. She was naive.
This girl is me.
When I was a little girl, my father used to tell me stories. Some of these were to teach me things like “clean your room” and “eat your dinner”. Others were for fun. And some were meant to scare me. For whatever reason, I latched on to the ghost stories and let them bury themselves in my heart. I was fantastically inclined. I wanted to believe in faeries, dragons, princesses and towers. Why not ghosts? So when I sat beside my father in the famous “house of a thousand haunts”, I was utterly terrified.
I was thrilled to be in Disney World. I wanted to go on Space Mountain. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was awesome. I did not want to go into the Haunted Mansion. As a popular ride, the wait was long and my father had spent much of it filling my head with fantastical stories about sitting still and being quiet or the ghosts would get you. Be nice to your brother or the ghosts will take you away. Be perfectly behaved or they’ll turn you into a ghost, too. I don’t remember being particularly bad, but I do remember that the ghosts were almost definitely going to get me.
I didn’t want to be haunted or spooked.
So by the time I climbed into the doom buggy, just me and my father in that one, I was a bundled of mortified eight-year-old. I was almost definitely going to die in this house, and it would absorb my soul, and then it would be the house of a thousand and one haunts.
“Look there,” my father pointed at a group of dancing ghosts.
I looked, then whimpered and looked away. Ghosts were real. He wasn’t lying. What if there was a ghost sitting next to me right now?
We passed a mirror. There was a ghost.
“There’s a ghost sitting next to you,” my father said. I suppose his eyes were laughing, but I was frozen in fear.
I closed my eyes. This was what I did when I had nightmares. Close my eyes and tell the evil things to go away. They can’t hurt me. There’s no such thing as ghosts.
If there’s no such thing as ghosts, why are there ghosts?!
Eight-year-olds are not the cleverest of creatures, no matter how smart they think they are.
For the duration of the ride, my father delighted in showing me all the ghosts and describing what they were doing. What they were haunting. Who they were going to haunt next (me). When the doom buggy stopped and we got off, I ran to my mother and buried myself in her hug.
“What did you do?” she demanded of my father.
Laughing, he said, “I just spooked her a little.”
I imagine my mother must have given him a dirty look, but I didn’t see it.
This was neither the first or last time my father twisted my tendency to believe the fantastic in order to scare me.
When The Sixth Sense came out, he allowed me to stay up late to watch it. My imagination took care of the rest. The little girl who died of poisoning haunted my dreams for a month, my own personal ghost.
Even though I was a child, the laced edge of fear of things that go bump in the night still remain. It’s ridiculous – I am an adult and I know there isn’t vampires or ghosts or zombies or any of that…
What if there is?
So, to this day, for my own peace of heart and mind, I don’t do horror movies.
This week’s Book Blogger Hop topic was:
Off the book topic – What is your favorite scary movie?
My short answer is, clearly, none make them stop nonono.
As an adult, I’ve gone on the Haunted Mansion ride and enjoyed it very much. I have not watched The Sixth Sense again.
For those who’ve never been to Disney for Christmas, you must see the makeover they do for the Haunted Mansion!