Thursday, June 14, 2007

Damn my overactive imagination!

I'm wide awake - freaky wide awake - at 12:35 at night, and it's my own damn fault.

Last night I watched the first episode of a goofy cable show called Destination Truth. I didn't know until tonight that it was an original series for the SciFi Channel, as I saw the premiere episode on USA (I think.)

In each episode, the host - a dude named Josh Gates - goes to funky places around the planet, looking into local myths and mysteries, like living dinosaurs, ghosts, sea serpents, and mermaids. Part of the show is travelogue (some of which I found absolutely hilarious) and part is hokey-scary stuff with night vision cameras, rustling trees and strange sounds. Last night, Josh and his "crack team" went to Papua New Guinea in search of a live iguanodon that villagers swear they've seen and mermaids rumored to be swimmin' around off the coast. (One guy said he found a dead mermaid washed up on the beach, whacked its head off and then buried the carcass in the sand. An attempt to unbury said remains was fruitless.) Like I said, it's goofy, but entertaining.

So, I find out there's a new episode on tonight. What the hell, I'll watch!

Big mistake.

Big, biiiiig mistake.

Have I ever mentioned that I get really creeped out by weird recordings? You know - like the ones where people claim to have the voices of the dead on Memorex? Don't like that stuff. No sir, not one bit.

Hell, I was so freaked out by the "weird recording" sequence of the John Carpenter movie "Prince of Darkness" that I can still be sent into a panic if a friend jokes around by repeating the dialogue from that scene. Notice I'm not mentioning what the dialogue is. I'm not going to get myself more wired than I already am at this point.

So, what happened in this goofball show tonight? Josh and his minions go to Thailand to visit a town with a ghost problem. The haunting is centered around a Buddhist cemetery with it's own wee crematorium. Josh & the crew set up camp in the cemetery for the night, and they even put a microphone inside the tiny crematorium chamber and seal the door.

You know where this is going, right?

Yep, they get some creepy-ass sounds recorded from inside the locked space. And when it's cleaned up by audio experts, it's a voice saying "GET OUT!" in Thai. (Nice to know that ghosts the world 'round go for the traditional angry spirit "screw you" phrase that pays.) But you see, they played the damn recording over and over again in the show, getting me more and more weirded out. Add to that all the night vision footage of the crematorium, and, voila - I'm gonna be up all damn night.

It's my own fault. As soon I saw what they were doing, I should have turned the channel. Watched "Top Chef." Turned the boob tube off. Read a book.

But, nooooo. Little Miss Love-a-Scare stayed put.

I'm an idiot. Now, I keep hearing noises everywhere. I need to go out on the balcony and rescue my poor plants that are soaking in pots filled by tonight's heavy rain. But I don't want to know what's out in the dark on the balcony along with the plants. I had to stop listening to iTunes on my headphones as I sit here now because my back is to my bedroom and the overhead light just blew. One must be able to clearly hear what's lurking in the dark - so thinks my paranoid mind. And right now, my bedroom is a dark room giving off all sorts of creaks and groans. When I took my headphones off just now, I realized the weird noise was just the upstairs neighbors having sex. {{shudder}} To keep my sanity, I've compromised and put the headphones back on -without music playing - so I muffle the neighbors, but still hear whatever's gonna creep up on me.

Silly, huh?

If I do sleep at all tonight, I will have to tuck in the sheets entirely around me, so nothing can grab me from beneath the bed. Go ahead, roll your eyes. But, you see, this is an improvement from my childhood, when I would sometimes get so scared of creatures in my closet, I would pull the sheets over my head, too. This frequent loss of oxygen might explain a great deal about me.

That strange habit started after my paternal grandmother's death when I was in third grade. At the funeral in Minneapolis, there was a tiny pillow in her coffin with a small scripted banner that read "From the grandchildren." Before they closed the lid, the undertaker handed the pillow to me, as a keepsake. WTF? Yeah, in retrospect, WTF? Let's give the little kid a casket pillow! Lemme tell you, I got home, put that freaky death pillow in the back of my closet and proceeded to have years of believing that both the bogeyman and my dead grandmother were in there, waiting for me. I had to make certain the closet doors were completely closed before hitting the sack every night because I was certain the monsters in the closet could slip through any small crack.

I actually blame my late brother Ed for a lot of that (thanks, Ed!) because he liked to terrify me for shits and grins. Everyone has to have a hobby, right?

I had a deep fear of our basement - which was your typical slightly dank, Midwestern flood plain ranch house crap - because of the times Ed would hide by the staircase, turn off the lights and grab my ankles as I ran screaming up to the light. He would laugh this loud, basso-profundo "BWAH HAH HAH HAH!" as I ran. It wasn't until college that I could handle that basement trek without doing things like walk backwards up the stairs, ever vigilant for the things that might lurk there.

Part of that fear, too, I think came from my sister Barb's stories of staying in her friend's theoretically haunted house in New Jersey. It was one of those pre-revolutionary structures that has a lot of history and death attached to it. As I recall it, people had been buried in the dirt floor of the basement during the Revolutionary War (later exhumed), a fire had taken the life of a child in an upstairs bedroom, and, when the house was used as a funeral parlor during the 1920s, the caretaker was killed there. (Lots of bad juju with the house.) Many people had seen and felt strange things there over the years. The beloved mother of Barb's friend - a homeowner with a wicked sense of humor - knew that my sister was scared of the house basement. She used to send Barb down to get a can of peas or some other mundane item and then turn out the lights and lock the door and giggle while Barb hyperventilated and waited for the ghosts to come.

We should both be in therapy, honest to god.

So, here I am. It's now past one in the morning. I really need some sleep, and I will try.

But I'm leaving a couple of lights on. And I may sleep on the sofa, as the neighbors are still going at it. Have I mentioned recently how much I loathe them? Last thing I need tonight is to picture them as the happy humpers. Ye gods, no!

Sweet dreams to you all, when you have them. Just make sure your sheets are all nicely tucked in. You never know what might be under your bed, waiting to nibble your toes and breath heavily in your ear.

Wait. That just made me think of the neighbors again. Ewww.

Shudderingly yours,



Cyn said...

Well, I'm the mean person who was laughing through most of this post. Couldn't help but think maybe that the neighbors' weird sex noises were actually "Get out!" in Thai.

I have achieved legendary status amongst my nieces and nephews for a prank I played to scare their dad when he was a grade schooler. (Those kids don't mess with their Aunt Cyn, let me tell you...)

And we three siblings would regularly hide from each other --jumping out of closets and from behind doors (this in our teens; very mature bunch of humans, as you can tell.)

But I think it was all done with a certain sense of humor. Okay, maybe a certain sense of sibling rivalry tinged with humor.

So - remember, your brother Ed only chose to terrify you because he loved you. (And because he could.)

Oh karmic punishment is that anytime I wake during the night I see (with my horrible vision) what appears to be swirling spirits surrounding my bed. Makes for sweet dreams. And yes, I am often found with head under comforter. Oxygen deprivation suits me, it seems.

ANYWAY, Destination Truth sounds fun. Must watch next week.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid of the dark, so I understand.

And ghosts can be creepy...but they can also be benevolent. I worked at a retreat centre one summer that had many ghosts - some nice, some not so nice. Although, none of them whispered GET OUT to me in Thai...