August 22, 2004

My Subconscious

Stupid, maybe, but true.
I suspect there’s some sort of control room in the deep recesses of the lump of grey goo I occasionally use for thinking which could present reasons to justify why it happens, but sometimes I scare myself.
Perhaps in that control room a very small man with a moustache is supervising the operation of my body. A sub-lackey (maybe concerned with the observation and maintenance of minor tissues) might point out that, not being a daredevil, regular bungee jumper, hang-glider or Asda shopping trolley destruction derby enthusiast, my average day to day contains very little to get me going. It is more than likely that my adrenal glands look a little rusty around the edges.
At this point the tiny man with a moustache will order the dark and impish controlmen of my subconscious to wheel out the heebie-jeebies. That way the adrenalin production centres of the body can get an airing, so to speak, without all that messing around with hang-gliders, shopping trolleys, elastic ropes and so on, where there is the real possibility of the glands getting an airing through physically leaving the body.
It can be a thought out of nowhere, but the real speciality, in this (mostly) rational atheistic boy, is to wait until I’m here, at home on the Isle of Wight, in this section of a big old converted Victorian school and awake, thirsty, at 3am, in the dark. At the moment I leave my room for the bathroom, running my hand along the still darkened corridor wall to avoid the painfully bright lights, the man with a moustache hands a message to my mostly still sleeping front brain, consisting of the words ‘ooooh, this would be just the time to see a ghost’.
At which point I wake up, faster and with more of a paranoiac edge than any Monday morning could ever hope to achieve. I get the water quickly and use all the lights I possibly can on the way back to bed. I know that I’m being completely irrational and stupid, and that there’s no reason to suggest that our house is haunted…er…beyond that mysterious trouble with the plumbing a few years back. I know that all rational scientific thought points to the nonexistence of supernatural entities…but maybe the ghosts don’t know that.
Silly. I said silly. I told you silly.
But I’ve lived in this old house since I was five, and at 3am my five year old fears are closer to the fore than my twenty-four year old rationalising.


10 thoughts on “My Subconscious

  1. I lived in an old house with long cold corridors as a child, and that five-year-old chill of fear follows me from house to house, however often I move. One of my assessment criteria for how much I feel at home somewhere, is the extent to which the stairs and the bathroom are free of potential ghosts and suchlike, in the small hours of the morning.
    It’s not a completely debilitating thing; it doesn’t happen very often, and it’s much worse when I’ve recently seen a scary film. Unfortunately for me, my scary-film threshold is very low…

    Karen on August 23, 2004
  2. In the particular house to which you refer I used to stand at the top of the stairs in front of the tall window imagining a witch flying by on a broomstick. The witch was an amalgam of the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz and granny without her teeth in.
    At our next home I used to imagine a translucent Pope-like figure ascending the stairs, the top of which I could see from my open bedroom door. However, as long as you were in your room I wasn’t scared, because I felt sure that he would only devour the first soul he came to.
    If it’s any consolation I was terrified when you went to Australia.

  3. That’s ok, I was always assured by the fact that any ghoul or monster coming in through the window would get you first, when we shared a room at the earlier house. I also subscribe to the view that it would be satisfied with one soul.
    I didn’t need to imagine witches, either; I was scared enough by the owls.
    I can offer an alternative to Stuart’s system of putting the lights on: I find that, if you learn the way with your eyes closed, you don’t need the lights. Lights will not protect you, but not being able to see the evil critters will.

    Karen on August 23, 2004
  4. Until they grab your ankle with their cold damp hands. Like the creature that lived under my bed at the latter of the two houses under discussion. Come to think of it, I was more preoccupied by ghouls at that modern terrace house than I ever recall having been in the big old slate floored home (despite the witches).

  5. And yet neither of these houses were actually haunted by cold patches and uncomfortable feelings, like the one at the top of Cliff Road was.

    Karen on August 23, 2004
  6. the kitchen in ‘the sixth sense’ looked exactly like the one in my apartment – i couldn’t go in there at night for a week.

  7. Oh yes, and much as I loved Sixth Sense, it was full of those images that are instantly branded into your subconscious, waiting for you to walk past a stairwell and glance upwards. So that should be added to the list, along with From Dusk ‘Til Dawn.

    Karen on August 26, 2004
  8. Both terrifying and bad. And then terrifying some more. I hate anything with vampires, zombies, or vampire-zombies in it.

    Karen on August 26, 2004

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