Daily Prompt: Fright Night

Do you like being scared by books, films, and surprises? Describe the sensation of being scared, and why you love it — or don’t.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FRIGHTENING.

Funnel Spider in garden

It is amazing what a little bit of photo shopping can do to a photo of a normal funnel spider just living his life in his cosy little funnel, not caring about eating humans, just hoping that a small innocent unsuspecting insect might cross his funnel path. Was I frightened? I was just a little frightened that he might disappear before I did this Pulitzer award suspecting photo, but he stayed, so here he is waving one of his many legs in a hello gesture.

Scared by a book or film? Those were the days when my mind still found a prickly nagging haunt after seeing it all on the TV. I remember one of the first ever horror films to be shown was called “The Face at the Window”. I think every time it was on the TV I had reserved my place behind the chair, just in case. It was a gruesome face they showed. I had a look in Internet and found the film. I think today it would probably credit a belly laugh. I watched an English TV series known as Quatermass, they even made a cinema film. It was OK, but these things get so quickly out of date. There was a company making the so-called Hammer Horror Films. They had Draculas, monsters, lots of artificial blood and specially designed pointed white incising teeth made of plastic. I was a teenager and just loved those films. It was in, the thing to do. I think Christopher Lee was immortalised in these films.

Reality is always more scary.

I grew up in a very old house with no modern conveniences. Toilet in the garden where you shared it with a population of very big spiders, hoping they would not move at the wrong moment, whilst sitting on a very old wooden throne. I had a bedroom to myself. The old gas fittings for lamps, before the days of electricity, were still present on the wall. Central heating did not exist. Originally there were places for lighting an open fire, burning coal. Dad had closed them all in as electric plug-in fires became popular: no longer hard work preparing a layer of paper, then wood and eventually coal. At night in the bedroom you had no heating, just 2-3 blankets and an eiderdown, so you buried yourself into the depths and fell asleep: lying in bed listening to perhaps raindrops outside, noise from a nearby TV.

Then you hear a scratching noise: a light regular scratching noise. It would stop from time to time and you kept your fingers crossed under the bedcovers hoping it would go away. It can make a frightening impression on a 10 year old, even on a 12 year old. I cannot remember how old I was. In the morning I awoke and everything was in its place, I had survived. The next evening I was put to bed, just dropping off to sleep and the scratching began again.

What to do? Tell mum, tell dad. When you live with a slightly neurotic mother and a dad that worked day and night shift you learnt to keep quiet about some things. No good making more excitement than necessary. Eventually I gave in to fear and told mum and dad, something was scratching behind the boards in front of the fire place.

“No chance, it is your imagination, forget it”. I did my best to forget it. As I grew older I discovered what it probably was, or could be. Was it an unknown ghost of an earlier inhabitant of the house buried under the floorboards, perhaps a vampirical descendent that only appeared on moonlitnights. No, it was most probably, definitely, a mouse. My mother had a hysterical fear of mice. Tell her you see a mouse somewhere and you are lucky if she does not faint, so you then have two problems: the mouse and mum. I eventually decided that the mouse was the least of my worries and so I kept quiet about it. I did tell dad, and he also agreed about it being a mouse family, but said there was not very much he could do. He could remove the boards from the old fire place which lead to a chimney, probably causing an avalanche of soot to descend, so we left it.

With time I either got used to the scratching noises, or the mouse family died, peraps moved to better pastures: One of the memories of a childhood long gone. Am I frightened of mice? No, I never have been, just things that go scratch in the night.

Daily Prompt: Fright Night

Frightening Pingbacks

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15 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Fright Night

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Fright Night | Eccentric Lady

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  3. Pingback: Daily Prompt; Fright Night | terry1954

  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt – Fright Night | imexcited

  5. Pingback: Scare-raising: it’s not just for anyone anymore! | Rob's Surf Report

  6. The old house I grew up in wasn’t quite that bad, but close. We did have indoor plumbing and when I’ve been someplace where the outhouse was the only facility, I really dreaded those spiders. I am AFRAID of spiders. Irrationally terrified. I remember huddling under all the blankets and it was still cold. I was always cold in the winter, could barely breathe it was so hot in the summer! Better with real heat and air conditioning. MUCH better.

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  7. Pingback: Yes, that is frightening! | Processing the life

  8. I grew up in the 80s my dad used to tape the hamer horrors on a Friday night for my sisters and I to watch while my mom was outing shopping on a Saturday I loved them. The first film I think that scared me was a 70s film called the fogs, I still shudder when I think about it. Great post btw.

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    • I remember the Hammer Horror films quite well, although I had then already moved to Switzerland and saw them on the TV in German. I remember the film called The Fog, but that was not a Hammer, something different. There was also a book called The Fog by James Herbdert which I read.

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  9. What if the scratching noise was made by rats? That happened to me once, because a building site near our house seemed to move those animals from their former living place to our building. It was frightening. And because I was the only one noticing the noise at night nobody believed me for a while until it was obvious we had a big problem. Thanks God we had a cat and everybody believed the cat who had a fixation for certain whole on the wall…

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    • It could have been rats, the author James Herbert based his horror fiction book The Rats on the area where I grew up. The cellars of some bombed building ruins from the war were still existing and the rats moved in – I would see them in the morning when walking to school, hundreds of them. I think it was mice, as our cat often found one or two. I am sure they were behind the panelling blocking the old fire place.

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  10. Pingback: Too much memories | Life is great

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