"Don't you laugh when the hearse goes by!"

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“Don't you laugh when the hearse goes by or you will be the next to die!

They wrap you up in bloody sheets and then they bury you six feet deep!”

                                                                                                  -Anonymous

Pleasant… right? Well chances are, if you’re a horror junkie like the rest of us…you probably giggled a little when you read that.  Sure it’s gruesome, and morbid, but it’s also catchy and well…kind of cool.  And while we are on the topic of creepy, catchy, songs… check this one out! It’s my favorite! à Cannibal corpse lounge music

But on a more serious note, I really got a lot out of Katherine Ramsland’s article “The Psychology of Horror and Fantasy Fiction.”  In a way, it’s like everything clicked to me as to why I love this genre. I felt a connection with her when she wrote “As I grew up, I continued to feed this attraction by reading about vampires  (<3 )and witches, by sneaking out at night to play in the graveyard, or by sitting alone in the basement late at night to watch hair-raising movies about psychopathic killers.”  When I was younger, none of my friends liked scary movies or frankly, just being afraid… so I normally was on my own when it came to feeding my horror addiction.  I loved taking walks at night, and I still do. There is just something about the darkness and the light of the moon that just calms me down and lets me think. I also always ended up watching movies by myself because I was sick of people screaming and covering their eyes throughout the entire film, ha-ha!  I understood that not everyone could appreciate the genre, but I just couldn’t understand why.

There was one part in particularly that I wanted to comment on, as it revolves around a personal experience of mine.  Ramsland writes, “Her statement reveals a clue to a more subtle function of dark fantasy than just that of scaring ourselves: horror fiction springs from the urge to preserve ourselves from the social dynamics of uniformity and security, which can eclipse who we are as individuals just as surely as can the vampire who visits us in the night to suck the life out of us.  For many of us, horror is a means by which we can keep our fingers on the pulse of our own humanity.”

Now that quote was really relatable to me because of an experience I had about three years ago.  Here is my story: One day, I heard that the historical society was looking for tour guides up in Brownsville, and I decided to go check it out.  Long story, short… it was for a tour guide at Nemocolin Castle…which if you don’t know… is HaUnTeD! Needless to say, I took the job showing people around the house at night, and telling ghost stories by candlelight.  I honestly cannot even describe this experience, because it was that amazing.  Every night I was there something crazy would happen.  I have been locked in rooms, had doors slam behind my back, my candles all blown out when no windows/drafts were present.  I was part of a séance, and took pictures of orbs all throughout the house, and even took place in several actual ghost hunts while I was there.  And then every night when I walked down the cobblestone street to my car, heart racing and drenched in a cold sweat, I would ask myself… Why the hell do I put myself through this?  The answer obviously, was because I absolutely LOVED being afraid and having that adrenaline rush.  To me…getting stuck in the attic of the castle wasn’t that bad, as long as I got to experience something!I’m sure some people ‘will think me mad’ (ha-ha gotta throw some Poe in there), but as Ramsland states… “It is part of [my] nature to subject [myself] to horror.”

If anyone wants a full story about my experiences there...leave me a comment and I'll be more than happy to share! Happy hauntings!

nemocolin castle.jpg

1 Comments

Mike Arnzen said:

Nice response, Steph. I like that quotation from Ramsland -- about "the urge to preserve ourselves from the social dynamics of uniformity and security" -- and I want to hear more about what that phrase really means to you. Is Ramsland really just talking about being an "outsider" or a "rebel" through the vicarious experience of art?

I like your fun chatty style and your references to all the dark things you enjoy, by the way. This blog is an enjoyable browse (and I like that photo!). I think it does support Ramsland's point about "subjecting yourself" to horror. But how about how you do so through your horror writing? That seems to be the main idea of her claim.

You might say more about this article on the boards in GriffinGate, if you're still excited by it.

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