My contention is that at some level, humans actually LIKE to be scared. Fear is a primal instinct that kept us alive when our ancestors were just learning to fashion crude stone tools & to harness fire for things like cooking & lighting.
Fear still keeps us safe, healthy, whole & from doing overly irrational foolhardy things that risk life, health & limb ( s ).
Which doesn’t explain adrenaline junkies & the like…..
Halloween is mere weeks away—what better time to revisit Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories? In grade school, these collections were highly prized. I read and reread every story, marveling at the disturbing illustrations that were so different from every other book in our school library. (Here’s the scariest, in my opinion. Trigger warning: Spiders.) At Electric Lit, Matt Bell and Amy Valente analyze their favorite stories from each collection, reminiscing about their childhoods. The quotidian becomes terrifying, once more. Here, Bell meditates on the short story, “The Haunted House”:
Do you know that there are Youtube clips of teenagers playing Bloody Mary? Testing the thresholds of reality, Millennial-style. “The Haunted House” is a story that taps the same anxious vein, about a preacher who spends the night sitting up and reading his bible in a house “in his settlement” that has been “haunted for about ten years” … And…
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