Shadows seem to dart around and morph into strange images in my peripheral vision. Every gust of wind outside my window, every creak of the house settling, is the potential harbinger of my doom.

So I was going to write about my hunt for the Northern Lights, but that’s taken a back seat to the terror I feel at this moment. So what, I hear you asking, could possibly reduce me, half-man half-bear and all hunk, to a whimpering schoolgirl curled up in the fetal position in the corner of my room? Well allow me to drag you, kicking and screaming, into the depths of horror known as the Marble Hornets.

I found this little youtube phenomenon after some guy on a forum I frequented did a small review of it complete with the phrase “Don’t watch this if you’re easily scared.” Well when you put it like that you’re practically daring me to watch it, and let’s face it, everytime someone prefaces a statement with a phrase “Don’t” our immediate response is to “Do”. But, for the sake of not freaking anyone out, I’ll not say anything specific about the program itself. Rather, I’ll concentrate on the importance of fear.

Fear is what kept our caveman ancestors alive, what kept them from stupidly crawling into the mouth of a sabretooth tiger or falling off the edge of cliffs like a line of lemmings. Fear is still an important part of our lives today, and what keeps us from driving our cars off the edges of cliffs like lemmings and, to drag this back on point, what keeps me from trusting my life to a possibly drunk pilot flying a complex piece of machinery built from parts of the cheapest bidder and bought by bankrupt airlines. But while I have to take powerful, and delicious, sedatives to get on a flight without causing an incident that results in the airport being locked down, to be afraid of the preposterous and impossible can indeed be fun.

Not giggling fun of course, not any kind of fun that I can explain but if you get a thrill on rollercoasters (which, just for the record, I hate) you know the kind of fun I’m talking about. To be afraid of monsters is, perhaps, the most primal of our fears. It’s why we are wary of dark alleyways, and flinch at unexpected sounds. The logical fear says there might be a potential mass murderer in that dark alleyway, or that odd sound might be an intruder in the house. But in the primitive center of our brains, a holdover from eons past, we imagine beasts in the dark. That dark alleyway now becomes the home of slithering creatures waiting to feast upon you as soon as you leave the safety of the light, and that strange noise the clicking of a zombie’s jaw as it dangles uselessly from a few pieces of rotten flesh. It makes the heart pound and the mind race.

Yet for all the unpleasantness of fear, it provides an experience that no other emotion can provide. Your senses never feel so keen as when you fear the dark, you can hear every creak of the house and every rustle of the wind. Your eyes see everything and nothing at the same time as your wild imagination makes various images appear against the blank canvas of the dark. So don’t fear the dark, embrace it and allow yourself to see the impossible, and to fear the unknowable.

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Written by John Stevenson

I'm a freelance writer based out of Seattle, Washington.

2 comments

  1. Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed being scared for fun. Whether that was going to a haunted house, watching a scary movie, or doing something that normally people don’t do. But I am curious to know if this is something that actually has benefits to it. I like how you pointed out that being afraid is great because it helps provide an experience that no other emotion can, and that people need to embrace it and allow themselves to see the impossible.

    1. Hey, thanks for the great comment. It’s good to know people still enjoy some of my old articles. It’s also been a while since I’ve reviewed anything scary, and this makes me want to change this.

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