I try to touch on ghosts and hauntings at least once every Christmas week-let’s just say that I’m trying to get in touch with my inner Victoriana.
Have you ever had anything creepy happen to you around the holidays?
My most vivid horror/creepy memory related to Christmas was something that I did to myself. I take full responsibility for this one, and I’m not even going to attempt to suggest that it was supernatural, because I know full well that it wasn’t.
I am of the generation where one of my first, fundamental brushes with horror where the goddess forsaken pictures in The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books (books, which by the way, where a high demand item in my elementary library). If you’re not of a certain age, or if you’re one of ‘those’ people that is completely fine with the changed illustrations-let me tell you one thing: we scared ourselves @#$%less, we loved every minute of it, and we ended up fine. I can promise you that I ended up with a BA with honors, graduated with honors, a Masters with honors, and full time steady employment with a heavy drive towards charity work. We were not ruined by pictures of heads floating on severed spines.
Trust me, we all. loved. these. books. with a passion that only preteens can muster and rivaled only by our desire to consume as many Goosebumps short novels as we could. And maybe Christopher Pike.
Anyway, I remember that there was one Christmas where for whatever reason I had convinced my parents that I was sleeping downstairs. It might have just amounted to dude, I’m sleeping downstairs, deal with. The house that I grew up in certainly had its creepy aspects but the living room with its giant windows was generally pretty benign-unless it was after dark, you were alone, and you were living off of a solid diet of those books. The inside illustrations didn’t get any tamer than that cover.
It wasn’t Christmas Eve, but it was close enough that we watched one of those Hallmark Channel style Christmas movie (I believe it was the Christmas Box) and while I’m sure that the adult me would probably find it sickeningly oversentimental, there was something about the story that creeped out kid me. So I’m laying there on the couch with this creepy Christmas movie, these books, and knowing that even though there was no reason that I couldn’t go upstairs to bed I was stubborn enough to sleep in the Hall of Shadows that the living room would become once my parents went upstairs.
I eventually fell asleep, straight into nightmares-but even then I had a parasomnia so it took me awhile to catch on that not everyone has continual nightmares every night. So nightmares weren’t exactly anything for me to comment on. Except that in an almost comical combination of factors, my dad got up and turned the lights on, the snowplow came by, and for whatever reason the musical Christmas lights turned themselves on at the same time. I woke up out of a nightmare of heads floating around on severed spines to this blaze of lights and rumbling and O Come, All Ye Faithful.
I refused to sleep downstairs for close to two years after that.