I can remember my earliest nightmare, one from childhood from when I was about 5 years old and which could be made into a decent horror movie (actually..I’m going to register my nightmare so that I own the copyright to it! No films without my permission please!!) which involved me waking up to see a dark figure over my bed, I could vaguely see the outline of long hair so I assumed it was my mum. But then the nightmare started proper, the figure suddenly lunged towards me, and even though I ducked under the covers, the lady in the dark dragged me from under the covers by tickling my arms so I couldn’t hold onto my bed and picked me up. I never felt so frightened..I screamed but couldn’t hear myself (being deaf I don’t wear hearing aids in bed so my world is silent at night) and time seemed to slow down as she carried me out my room and into my parents bed room. I could see both my mum and dad asleep and although I was screaming for all my worth, they wouldn’t wake up and the lady instead kept carrying me towards a bright light which had appeared in the wall. I didn’t know what was on the other side, but I knew it wasn’t good, so I fought back, one hand on the wall the other pinching her and my feet kicking away while she tried in vain to push me through. I fought so hard that the figure suddenly gave in and flew me back to my bed. I remember panting and crying and hiding under the covers, taking ages to fall asleep again, eyes straining in the darkness for this horrible lady. Next morning I told me mum off for not helping me much to her bemusement, but that was probably my first night terror experience. You can tell how horrific it was from the fact I can remember it 30 years down the line!
You would have thought that this memory would put me off from scary things wouldn’t you? But I went cinema last night to see Lights Out, a great jump out your skin horror film, I won’t give the plot away or ending but suffice to say it touches upon my slight fear of the darkness!! Then I got thinking, why do I or any of us put ourselves through this? Why the need to go to horror films to scare ourselves silly? I know there are some thoughts that it is because for many we live safe happy lives (I hope) and that to distract ourselves from this, we crave the old adrenaline from the fight or flight mode from our early human origins. I think there must be something in that, there’s something primitive and base about being scared, feeling your heart start to beat heavily and the adrenaline course through your veins. For me personally, being deaf brings an added dimension to scares, because I don’t hear very well, whether I’m watching a film or walking about at night, I’m paranoid about people (or something!) jumping out at me. (Handy tip, if you know someone is deaf, try and approach them from the front, don’t just bang on their shoulders as you’re liable to elicit a loud scream!).
It’s not just films or walking in the dark either, I’ve done a number of activities over the year which has taken me out my comfort zone (ok, scared me silly!), as even though there is a part of me which wonders why the hell I’m putting myself through this experience, there is something addictive about the buzz I get from putting myself into scary positions, the adrenaline rush from still being alive at the end! I watch all these proper adrenaline freaks, those who post videos of themselves walking along the edge of cranes 100’s of feet high, those who go extreme sky diving and even though there is no way in hell you’d get me doing that, you know what, I do understand why they do it. Except their buzz at the end must be tenfold mine! I’d be interested to work out though how many of us put ourselves through this, and whether there would be any correlation in their overall lifestyles, the more “dull” your life, does that make you more likely to put yourself in scary situations? Or conversely, if you lead an exciting life, do you crave a quiet life or push yourself to ever extreme scares??
For me though I’ll be sticking to the scary movies and running round the countryside at night without my hearing aids for my fright needs! (If you do like horror films, I would definitely give Lights Out a go by the way!)