Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Paranormal prophylaxis

As you may have gathered from my previous post, ghosts scare me silly.  When I was a kid, my Older Brother had a book in his room called Monsters, Ghosts and UFOs.  I used to sneak into his room, take the book from his cupboard, read it, then put it back again without him suspecting, because if he caught me in his room he would do something unpleasant to me like The Typewriter or The Tickle Torture or perhaps simply punch me in the arm if he was feeling uninspired.

The UFO section was awesome, but it wasn't scary, so I didn't dwell on it.  The monster section was also awesome, but only had a few scary things in it, such as the picture of the werewolf with the blood dripping from his claws and mouth.  The rest of the monsters were mythical beasts and so forth which weren't scary.  The ghost section, however, was terrifying.

Among the highlights were: the photograph of the church altar which when developed showed a nine-foot-tall cowled monk that couldn't be seen with the naked eye, the disembodied hand that strangled the poor girl in the hall in the dark, the stones in New Guinea which suck out your soul if your shadow falls upon them and the poltergeist stories where furniture moved around and stones were flung at the house.

Because of these stories, I developed an unhealthy sense of paranoia about the supernatural.  As a way of protecting myself I came up with defensive measures which I used in common threatening scenarios.  They were very successful, as proved by the fact that I am here talking to you today.  If you are scared of ghosts, try these out:
  1. Never make eye contact with yourself in a mirror.  If you do, and then eye contact is broken by the reflection, you'll be in some serious doo-doo.
  2. In fact, try to avoid mirrors in general.  They create two problems.  First, what if you see someone in the mirror but when you turn around they aren't there?  Second, what if you don't see someone in the mirror but when you turn around there they are?  Big problem.
  3. Never reach your hand into a dark room and grope around for a light-switch.   Someone will grab your arm for sure.
  4. Don't stand too close the edge of a bed.  Someone will reach out from underneath and grab your ankle.
  5. Don't look out windows in the dark.  You may see some glowing eyes, plus there is the whole reflection problem again.  Plus, never look out of a second story window in the dark.  There may be a wizened old man hovering  outside in mid-air staring back at you.  And his eyes might glow too.
  6. Never appear frightened.  Once you look frightened, it's open season and you're the prey.  You should appear completely nonchalant for as long as you can.  Once your nerve breaks you need to run as fast as you possibly can.  Don't look back.
  7. Always open the toilet door before flushing the toilet.  When they hear the toilet flush they'll know where you are so you'll need to run like hell.
  8. Always cover your face completely when you sleep.  If you start to overheat it is acceptable to make a small tunnel to breath through but you should never look out this tunnel in case something is looking back at you.  Similarly, never let any of your limbs casually dangle from beneath the bedclothes.
  9. Doors should be kept closed so they can't eerily swing open "in the breeze".
  10. When passing through doors, they should be flung violently open so you can tell if anything is behind them, including malicious and unsympathetic siblings.
  11. If you have to get up in the night to go to the loo, it's best to keep your eyes half shut.  Not only will this make it less likely that you'll see the ghostly floating ladies in the hall, it also means that your eyes will adjust faster when you turn off the toilet light when you're done so you'll avoid running headlong into a wall and stunning yourself.
  12. If possible, always be accompanied by an animal.  Cats will hiss at empty chairs that ghosts are sitting in. Dogs will bark at doors that ghosts are hiding behind.  Then they'll run away and leave you in the lurch, but at least you've been warned.  (Fish and birds are not so useful but if you're desperate...) 
  13. Finally, never accept a challenge to spend the night locked in the haunted room at the top of the belfry in the old MacGillicuddy place in the middle of the woods.  This one never came up actually, but it's best to be prepared.
Any tips from readers on how to avoid dire supernatural horrors?


Anonymous said...

14. Never ever cross the streams.

PTR said...

That's urinals, not ghosts. Who ever heard of a haunted urinal?

Anonymous said...

WHAT? An elder brother?

I was sure you were an only child!

You blog like an only child
(is that the title of a Bob Dylan song just waiting to be written?)

PTR said...

How perceptive of you. For all practical purposes I was an only child. You see, my siblings were cruel and aloof people, like Babylonian kings, so my life was spent evading them and seeking quiet contemplation of the truth. That is why I am so wise.

Rugile Rarelyte said...

So, child, have you already buy podoscope and baby scales? Do you already use a medical tongue depressor as a chewing toy? Well, little boy, you'll have to grow up! :D