For a long, long time, I could give myself the willies by picturing the ending to The Blair Witch Project. I came home from that movie, and checked all the doors and windows, twice. I saw it with my husband who was then my boyfriend, and we both had to get up in the morning, so we didn’t spend the night together after the movie, after spending three or four nights in a row together. A couple of times, I actually went and picked up the phone to call him and ask him to come over, but I decided I didn’t want him to think of me as an hysterical woman, and toughed it out. I took an Ambien, and curled up in a little ball on the couch, instead on sleeping on my bed, because my bed was a loft, and my dog couldn’t sleep with me. My dog got up on the couch with me. My 80lb. Pit Bull/GSD cross would defend me against all comers, natural and supernatural.
The other thing I cannot do without seriously freaking myself out, is reading books about Jack the Ripper, after dark. I love stuff about serial killers, and I love stuff about unsolved mysteries, so Jack the Ripper is tailor-made for me, and I have several books about the crime. But I cannot read any of them after dark, at least not when I am alone-- and by that, I mean alone in a room; there can be other people in the house, but they don’t help if I’m in a bedroom by myself. During the day, I can read all about the case I want, and read three books about it when I was pregnant and not working, and alone in the house without a car all day (and a little crazy). But not after dark. After dark, my mind races.
Oddly, other cases don’t freak me out like the Jack the Ripper case. I don’t know why. It’s not because he wasn’t caught, or because I was or wasn’t in his demographic. I’ve never been a broke, casual prostitute wandering the streets at night, so really, I’m not in his demographic. Reading about other uncaught serial killers in whose demographic I could actually have been, such as the New Orleans Axe-Man, or the Zodiac, doesn’t freak me out as much as reading about Jack the Ripper. It’s probably a childhood thing. I learned about Jack the Ripper when I was only maybe 8 or 9-- he was the first serial killer I was ever aware of, and at first, I didn’t know if what I was reading was true or not, it seemed so hard to believe. So I looked up more, and got seriously freaked out for a couple of days.
Other serial killers I did not know about until I was much older. Wait, no-- Son of Sam and the Atlanta Child Murderer I was aware of, because I actually followed those stories in the news. They must have been two and three for me. Those stories should have frightened me more than they did, especially Son of Sam. It was happening very close to where we lived, but I didn’t know that, and we were staying with my grandmother at the time for a reason that I now suspect my parents of completely inventing, and the real reason was actually the murders.
Another thing from the media that used to scare me for a long time if I just thought about it, although it’s pretty much worn off now, is picturing the scene from Twin Peaks where Killer Bob is crouching at the foot of Laura Palmer’s bed, and the camera is showing him from Laura’s viewpoint.
Twin Peaks on the whole had me pretty freaked on when it was first on back in the early 90s. The night the new episodes were on, before I went to bed, I’d check all closets, and double check the locks on the doors and windows. I knew the sequel wasn’t going to measure up to the original, when, after the first episode, I went to bed with no need whatsoever to check any locks or closets.