Everyday Horror

By: Serena Sana

It was 10 pm on a Wednesday night not too long ago. Gina once asked us what our favorite scary movie/book was; mine was The Strangers. I was sitting in my parent’s house watching TV when the doorbell rings at 10 pm. Without giving much away, that doorbell reminded me of the beginning of the movie and naturally I begin to panic. My mom goes to answer the door, checks the peephole and proclaims no one is there. Great, now we have a ghost serial killer. She then notices a package is left on the porch. I see this immediately as a trap and inform my mother that under no circumstances is she to open that door. Turns out, our neighborhood has a tradition of “Booing.” (Booing is when someone in your neighborhood leaves a gift, typically food or something small related to the holiday, rings the doorbell and runs away so you do not see them. You then put up the paper ghost in your window so that someone does not come to your house again and you proceed to Boo someone new.) Crisis averted?

Halloween 2012, I was home writing a paper and my roommates had all gone out to celebrate the holiday. I heard sounds downstairs and knew something wasn’t right. I carefully walked down the stairs to see what was happening (bad idea), only to find Cookie Monster standing in my dining room. My flight or fight response that night was flight and I headed out the door and returned soon with backup. Thankfully, he was gone. I learned that when everyone left, they didn’t close the back door; we still don’t know who was in the costume.

Our water meter is in our basement and you can get to the basement without going through the house (again, who thought this was a good idea). I come home after class one day to 4 of my roommates huddled in a corner saying there were people in our basement. I go downstairs and the two guys look up at me and tell me there are here to fix our broken water meter. I stand there for the duration of their repairs and then walk them out. All the while, I could not help but think about how bad guys use uniforms to deceive their victims into trusting them.

Each of those stories is just an example of all the little things that happen in my life that I somehow turn horrifying. Luckily, most of the time I do not read into every situation but sometimes the there is one tiny element that just reminds me of that one scary movie I saw years ago or something Gina mentioned in class that turns a normal day to day occurrence into my biggest nightmare. I do not go looking for ways to turn drinking water into a scary ordeal; my brain does it for me. Rather than me relating my life to horrifying situations, I think horror is based on real life events. Is everyone’s lives filled with experiences that can be turned scary in a heartbeat? Do you think it has anything to do with how popular horror is?

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10 thoughts on “Everyday Horror

  1. YOU DIDN’T TELL ME YOU STAYED DOWN THERE WITH THEM! This happens to me often, and it’s happened this year more than ever. I live extremely far away from campus, and I have to cross the railroad tracks twice a day (once going to class and once coming home), there’s a lot of abandoned buildings around the area and anytime a leaf so much as rustles the hair on the back of my neck stands up. I also have a neighbor who likes to wander the hall whistling and it echoes up and down, he sometimes walks around the parking lot whistling, and there is nothing scarier than the sound of a lone whistler floating through an open window.

  2. I would be terrified of the cookie monster, since you didn’t know who he was. I wouldn’t feel safe for a long time. Although your neighborhood “booing” thing is quite cute. As for me, I have an overactive imagination, so I have a slew of stupid things that scared me. I believe bigfoot exists, so when I was younger, I had my mom put a towel over the bathroom window because I didn’t want to see him late at night (we live in the woods). Another time, I heard banging, and I thought it was someone trying to break into our house. I was so terrified that I couldn’t move, and I was wondering why no one else heard this banging. It took me a good few minutes to realize it was my sister’s rabbit. She had moved it into her room for the night and it was just kicking its cage. One time, I was talking to my mom on the phone and looking outside waiting for my younger siblings to come home from school, when I saw the back end of an animal walk into the woods. It was much larger than a dog and was really stocky, but I knew it wasn’t a bear or anything either, so I freaked out. I ended up yelling at my siblings to run to the house just in case. Just last year, my sister heard rustling outside her window and she called me. I figured it was just an animal since nocturnal animals come near our house a lot, but It was really loud and we thought maybe it was a person outside of our house late at night. It started moving to the opposite side of the house so we grabbed some “weapons” and a flashlight and followed the noise across the house. We looked outside and it ended up being an opossum. My sister was looking to the right of our porch but the opossum came from the left and scared the crap out of her. It was really funny in the end, but still kind of scary. Living in the woods definitely doesn’t help me feel safe.

  3. I am the same way – I am always turning trivial, everyday events into my own personal horror story. I think I do this because I believe that much of the horror in the world is just the result of going about your everyday activities. People get attacked while walking home at night or sleeping in their own homes. I can’t walk to my car in a parking garage at night without my heart beating like crazy and checking my backseat before I drive away. In fact, while writing this I am now convinced that somebody could break into the door behind me at any second. Just thinking about horror makes a situation quickly evolve into a horrifying one itself. You’re not weird to doing this – I think many of us do!

  4. This reminds me of a story from when I was younger. It was late at night, and I was at home by myself for one of the first times ever. My parents were out, my siblings were sleeping at friends’ houses, and I was completely alone. I put myself to bed around 10:00 and quickly fell asleep. At 1:30, however I woke up after hearing a strange noise coming from the wall behind my bed, where my pillow was. It was a scratching, buzzing sound and it was loud and insistent. In my half-asleep state, I immediately attributed it to something supernatural. My entire body froze and I broke out in a cold sweat. I lay staring at the ceiling for a good five minutes before gathering the courage to run away and jump into my parents’ bed. The next morning, my dad went with me to investigate the sound, which was happening again. After knocking and tapping and listening, he deduced that the source of the noise was carpenter ants, which had somehow gotten into the wall. To this day, I still feel unbelievably foolish when I think of the time I thought I was going to die because of a bunch of tiny insects.

  5. I 100% agree that horror is based on real life events and that our lives are filled with experiences that can be turned into frightening events. After watching a scary movie, I am always afraid to go to sleep in absolute darkness. Instead, I put a timer on my TV and fall asleep when it is still on. Although I love scary movies, I am terrified that something horrible will happen to me in real life. When I was younger, around 7, I used to think I saw kidnappers walking up the stairs in my house. My room is diagonal from the stairs and I slept with my door open. I actually believed I saw black, shadowy figures walking up my steps. I was so terrified that, once I fell asleep, I would sleepwalk into my parent’s bed. Thankfully, I stopped seeing the figures and learned to sleep in my own bed throughout the whole night. No, however, I always always always sleep with my door closed.

  6. I completely agree with you that in everyday life, natural things can turn horrifying in the matter of a second. I think it happens more often to people that enjoy horror because then horror tends to be on their minds more often. I freak myself out all the time when I am baby-sitting because I always hear horror stories about babysitting and I always used to watch all of the horror movies about babysitting. I’m always checking closets and locking every single door and window. Sometimes I even turn on all of the lights in the whole house because I’m convinced that someone will hide in a dark room and I will never know. Also, I loved how you used the “booing” example because my neighborhood at home used to do that too and it would scare me!

  7. I think that everyday things can become horrifying if the right spin is put on them. We saw this first hand when we watched The Sound of Music trailer made into a horror film teaser. Even the most innocent and benign people or ideas can be made horrific with the right amount of inspiration and imagination. This exact idea is what made the movie “The Strangers” so scary for me. SPOILER ALERT: The end of the movie Liv Tyler asks the scary murderers in the creepy porcelain masks why they did what they did, and their response is simply “because you were home.” There is no plot to the movie, there is no purpose behind the horrific events that take place. This makes the movie so much scarier for me because it is so open for viewer interpretation, and therefore the actions in the movie become all too realistic and apt to happen in real life.

  8. I have seen probably hundreds of scary movies in my life (I LOVE scary movies) and none of them scared me except for The Strangers. The strangers came out when I was in the 8th grade, and until this day this is still the only horror movie that really scares me. After I saw it, I was afraid to sleep for the next few days, and sometimes a scene from that movie still randomly pops up in my head at night. I can definitely understand you being afraid of that movie. My life hasn’t been filled with too many scary experiences, but I do have one story that happened on Halloween in relation to what happen to you. Except in my story, there was someone that was about 6’5 feet tall knocking on my door on Halloween night. I’m fairly average is size. about 5’2 125 pounds, so I’m pretty sure you can imagine me being a little afraid when there is someone about twice my size knocking at my front door on Halloween night. This happened when I was about 10 years old, so I was even smaller than what I am now. Because I was too afraid to open the door by myself and give whomever was hiding behind that mask standing at 6’5 feet tall some Halloween candy (all alone), I started running around my housing looking for my aunt, cousin, sister, mother and grandmother (all of which were in my house) but for some reason I couldn’t find them when the person was knocking at the door. He/she saw me and stood there at the front door (with only the old screen door keeping the monster out) waiting for me to open the door, and did not leave until he or she received a treat. Considering that my house is not a very huge home, I don’t know where the rest of my family could have gone, but I guarantee you for those few horrifying minutes they had to have completely disappeared or something. Turns out my grandmother was at the front door giving the 6’5 foot tall monster candy by the time I had made my fifth round in the house looking for the rest of my family. Other than that night, my life hasn’t really been filled with experiences that can be turned scary, but I definitely think that the fact that events in one’s life can turn scary has everything to do with how popular horror is.

  9. Life is indeed scary. People hurt other people everyday. I have a had a few very scary things really happen to me in real life because of real life human monsters. It is ok to be on guard , some people call it paranoia, I call it being aware. Many people think I have a morbid, doom and gloom way of thinking. Believe it or not I have not always been this way but certain kinds of : people, experiences, and life in general have a way of changing a persons perspective. Trust me when I say it is ok to be apprehensive about certain people or scenarios. Plus that movie the Strangers is really messed up. Creepy!!!!!

  10. That cookie monster thing seems really scary granted that no one seemed to know who it was in the suit. Something like what you were saying actually happened to me today. I was walking to my lab this morning, when there is usually no one in the building because it is a Sunday morning, and I could see ahead of me that the hallway was completely dark, no lights on whatsoever. Of course I found myself thinking of The Grudge and the scene in the hospital where the lights are going out while the monster is getting closer to you/the camera. I fast walked/ran down the hallway until I came into the safety of light. I do find myself turning every day situations into horrifying situations, as you do, and I do think that it has to do with how popular horror is today. Some horror movies and books just seem to stay in the back of your head forever no matter how hard you try to forget them. Horror is everywhere these days, with a scary movie coming out what seems like every other week.

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