When I say scared I’m not talking about existential worries about global warming or being made redundant, valid as they are. No, I mean physical sensory fear when faced with the uncanny.
Some people are not afraid of ghosts, but I once knew a person who couldn’t sleep at night because he was convinced his wardrobe was some kind of paranormal hiding place.
My fear is not far off, to be honest. If I were to say I’ve never seen the Exorcist, you’d start to get an idea where I’m coming from. Supernatural activity in the home freaks me out more than anything.
The ghostly photographs that make me shiver are those you sometimes see of the family gathering in the dining room, and there in the background looking in from the hallway is the ghost of Aunty Irene. Domestic intrusion troubles me; the one safe haven we all have, our own home, becoming victim to danger, disturbance, uncanniness or simple unease.
It’s the familiarity; the possibility that ‘it could happen here.’ I don’t live in a castle or a monastery or a ruined Gothic pile. I can run away from something hiding in the woods (run home), but where do you run when your own house has a doppelganger or an evil spirit?
The iconic image of Father Karras standing outside the home of Chris MacNeil conjures a sense of dread, of unrest so appalling and made worse by the fact the disturbance is in a normal house inhabited by a normal family.
Having read pre-release interviews for Deliver Us From Evil I was apprehensive about the subject matter of that film: demonic possession and the real life cases that inspired the film. Eventually it turned out to be a disappointment. The Exorcist might be the same, but I’m not sure I want to take that chance.
When I was young there were all kinds of rumours surrounding the Exorcist. People driven insane was a popular myth. Over the years I’ve caught clips and snatches of the film, and the scenes of Linda Blair with her head rotating and scuttling down the stairs back to front look disgusting. Disgustingly worrying.
It could happen anywhere, to anyone, including me. I don’t want to think about it. I shouldn’t have written this post. I don’t know what’s waiting for me when I get home tonight.
What creeps you out?