While recently home in Texas, I found myself completely unable to go to sleep at night unless I went through the following "safety" ritual.
Check under my bed, check my closet, face the one doll I had as a child away from me, and make sure the hall light light was turned off. (I know this last one seems a bit odd in light of my fear of well, everything, but if the hall light is off then I am less likely to see shadows under the door, am I right? LOGIC.)
Along with this pre-sleep ritual, I dreaded standing in my family home's bathroom to wash my face at night. One night, after watching too many episodes of "Celebrity Ghost Stories," I washed my face in the kitchen with my mom's cats keeping guard, just so I wouldn't have to deal with the bathroom.
What's so bad about the bathroom? Well first off, it's really long and skinny. It's one of those bathrooms that connects two rooms, so if you're facing the mirror, there are doors on either side of you. Doors through which the BTK Killer and Annabelle the Doll can both come at me while the Candyman grabs me through the mirror.
Not to mention that the mirror is a little warped, so looking into it at certain angles makes your reflection, and the reflection of any undead standing behind you, look like it's melting.
So yeah, I hate washing my face at night, and I undoubtedly get soap in my eyes when I open them to catch any advancing murderers in the act.
I am a grown-up, a married woman with a credit score and a patch of gray hair threatening to take over my head. And yet, no matter how many times I try and laugh off my spooky fears, the floor creaks or the lights flicker and I'm sweating under the covers in 90 degree weather again.
Maybe there's something really wrong with me, maybe I'm the template for some really wretched horror movie -- the dark tale of a woman so afraid of everything that goes bump in the night that dark spirits decide to invade her home and REALLY mess around with her fears. (Oh, did I just a whole new level to your paranoia? You're welcome.)
But I don't think I'm the only one. From sheepishly sharing my late night jitters with friends and reading your comments here, I've concluded that a big reason so many of us grown-up women (and men) get a kick out of ghost stories is BECAUSE a small part of us never grew out of checking under the bed for evil demon ghost clowns.
We all do weird things like I just described above. Maybe it's not a regular thing for you like it is for me, but are you going to sit there and tell me you've never done something like leaving the lights on for comfort, or pulling your blanket up over your head for protection?
I'm more than happy to admit and elaborate on the ways I'm convinced the ghosts and goblins, serial killers and demonically possessed dolls are going to get me. All for your creepy pleasure.
1. Shower Slaying
It comes on without warning. I'll be happily taking a shower, singing old-timey standards in the style of Bjork meets Louis Armstrong (try it, you'll like it), when all of a sudden, eyes closed, hair full of shampoo, I feel like I'm being watched.
I hurriedly rinse my hair out, and peek an eye open through the suds. There is nobody or no THING standing dark and blurry on the other side of the shower curtain, but I live in terror that if I'm not careful and keep my eyes open AT ALL TIMES IN THE SHOWER that there will be next time.
It's not even a "Psycho" stabby thing that scares me most. It's the idea that somebody is watching me in one of the most vulnerable places in my home. He/she/it waited for me to be in the shower, practically defenseless, THEN came out. If the toilet had a curtain around it, I don't know what I would do.
2. Creeper From the Closet
Always keep the closet door shut. Haven't ALL the horror movies taught you that?
When I used to stay over at friends' or boyfriends' homes, and they'd leave the closet door open at night, I'd either have to shut it immediately or, if I was trying to not seem like a weirdo, lie tensely looking into the void waiting for the ghost of the grudge-holding boy-child to come and get me.
The closet is where things that don't want to be seen (yet) hide. Shadowy shapes wafting from the cracked open closet door, glowing eyes blinking from the dark, stray arms reaching through hung clothing, the driven mad co-ed trapped in the closet gnawing on the hand of her murdered roommate -- all of this is in my head, and because of that I will never, ever leave the closet door open.
3. What's Under the Bed?
I know it's so cliche to fret about what's under the bed, but watch pretty much any horror movie involving a child, a bed, and the dark, and you'll have that iconic moment of the kid peering under their bed to see...?
"Pet Cemetery," "The Sixth Sense," "The Conjuring," hell, that scary "freaky things my kids say" thread on Reddit -- all things that make me give the darkened underbelly of my bed a wide berth when passing. And remember that "EVERYTHING IS SCARY ALL THE TIME" email that circulated a while ago? About always checking under your motel or hotel bed because a serial killer might be lying in wait? That ruined me.
Catch me on an especially spooky night, and there's no way my feet will even come close to dangling over the edge. Something is waiting to grab my toes, I just know it.
4. Who's Outside Your Window?
It's a classic horror movie trope.
The frightened victim slowly edges toward the drawn curtains, hand outstretched to pull them aside, fearful of who might be staring back at them from the other side of the glass. I always double-check my bedroom windows before I sleep.
I once woke up at around 3 am, after falling asleep on my couch, to see my neighbor (whom I suspect to be "unbalanced") standing outside my living room window looking at me. The expletives that tumbled out of mouth upon seeing her did little to frighten her off. WTF, right?
Something of a more sinister nature, happened to a friend of mine in Dallas. One night while getting ready for bed, she cracked her curtains as she does every night to let a little moonlight in. As she opened the curtains, she saw a man standing outside her window staring at her. She screamed and called the police, but they didn't find anybody. The same thing happened the next night When she called the police again, they told her there was a weirdo wandering around her neighborhood, "watching" people from their windows, sometimes knocking, sometimes just "looking."
She never slept with the curtains open again. And neither did I.
And lastly there's...
5. The Effing Bathroom Mirror
I never really like washing my face at night. As I'm usually up late into the night (often watching some dumb ghost show), I'm the only one awake, and my imagination gets the best of me.
If I'm really creeped out, I lather up my face with my eyes open, keeping my eyes on the mirror. But then I have to rinse, and I almost always get the eerie sensation that I'm being watched. I'll wash around my eyes as quickly as I can so I can open them and glance in the mirror or around me. I'm sure that THIS TIME I'll see it -- a figure behind me, a face in the mirror, something darting just out of sight.
Don't even get me started on what I'm afraid will be written in the steamy mirror after a hot shower.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? What are the things you are consistently freaked out by at night? I admit it's a little silly to tiptoe around your own home, checking every nook and cranny for the bogeyman. But if you're like me -- and I'm guessing your are, Creepy Corneristas -- you've done it, and you'll do it again.
Tell me how you freak yourself out!
And to get your "Creepy Corner" juices flowing, I leave you with this video. Nighty night.