Part one, which explains why I was afraid in the first place, is here.
So once I realized I couldn't go back to sleep I picked up my rosary and started saying it. I keep a loaded pistol with a tac-light on the floor by the head of my bed (there are no women or children in the apartment) and a large, razor sharp kukri knife strapped to the head board (no, it’s not paranoia. It’s just a convenient place to keep these things.) And I always have my rosary hanging from the handle of the knife. I say it to fall asleep, or if I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. If I’m awake I may as well be doing something useful, right? Ten decades later (this went on for a bit) I’m feeling a little better. I’ve thought it through pretty well. It’s kind of fun to think about fear as an intellectual exercise while you’re in the middle of. I’ve done that an awful lot and I was doing it this morning. I knew, of course, that this was not a fear with an object. There was no dangerous thing presented to my senses. It was just a fear of the diabolical. I presented the scenario to myself, “What would I do if I did open my eyes and the demon lady was standing there?” Well, honestly I think that would have been less frightening. Sort of a, “Finally. I wondered when you were going to do something,” sort of feeling. It’s always easier when you finally look your enemy in the face and dare him (or her) to do the worst.
I would have reached for the knife probably. I wouldn’t have used the pistol as a first option, because first, it probably wouldn’t accomplish anything, and second, I would be firing in the direction of my roommate’s room. Even with hollow points, I wouldn’t want to bet on the wall stopping my hollow points. On the other hand a knife stirs up a fierce warrior spirit which lessens fear. I realized that if some sort of incorporeal visitor did show up, the primary threat is simply fear. If I can’t hurt it physically, it probably can’t hurt me physically. All it can do is terrorize (this seemed crystal clear to me at the time.) Fear is a painful emotion. It feels toxic, like a burning in my throat, a jittery, unsettled feeling. I control it by long habit, but it is not pleasant. Even jumping out of an airplane is exactly the same. The fear is the primary threat, not the jump. I am consciously aware of this, especially when I am in the middle of some frightening situation, and it allows me to shove the fear off to the side and evaluate it objectively. Eventually I can force my nerves and muscles to respond to my will, despite their reluctance to do so. Breaking out of that freeze is the hard part, after that doing nearly anything can’t be worse than doing nothing at all.
After about an hour of this I finally decided to go and turn on the AC. I did stick the pistol in the back waistband of my shorts. Not that I thought it would do any good, but it is primarily a “just in case” thing anyway. Once I had a clear line of fire, i.e. with no roommate’s room in the background, if something had appeared I probably would have put a couple of rounds right in the center of where it would have had mass, if it were a mass-having type of creature. Purely on the principle of the matter, you understand.
It’s remarkable, though, how much difference it makes having the temperature right. Once the AC was going and the temp started getting down into the sixties, I was able to get comfortable and fall asleep in about one more decade.
I don’t mind not sleeping that much. When I woke up at 0345 I knew that it was likely I wouldn’t get back to sleep again, but I had already gotten about five hours and that would be more than enough to get me through the day. A night or two of poor or no sleep is not something I worry about. Eventually I will get tired and go to sleep. I don’t even really mind the fear. It isn’t so much something I feel as something I look at. It is an inconvenience that will go away eventually.
What I really mind is people who make movies like that and stick previews of them in front of quite a different kind of movie. I don’t like horror movies like that, the supernatural evil type films. I take supernatural evil quite seriously. There really is a devil, he really does hate you and he really can terrorize people. I know some people who have experienced minor levels of it in real life. I know he exists, and that he is stronger than I am, and that if he could he would like nothing better than to terrorize every living person until they went mad from fear. This is not funny. It is not a joking matter.
It does not worry me. He may be stronger than I am, but God is stronger than he is, and I am confident that God will never allow me any trial I cannot bear. To put it another way, no matter what trial He allows me, He will also give me the strength to bear it. That’s what the rosary is about in situations like that, reminding yourself of His faithfulness and trying to pass that on to whoever you’re praying for. But I have to ask, why would you think that’s a good thing to make a movie about? It’s not like jumping out of an airplane or off a bridge into a river for a thrill. This is something evil and ugly you are deliberately exposing your mind to. Why would you want to watch it or encourage those who make it? When it comes right down to it, why would you want to feel afraid? I expect I’ve done my share of frightening things, and when it comes right down to it I’m usually able to gut through it, by the grace of God. Why anyone would want to feel it for its own sake is a mystery to me. Fear sucks. Live without it when you can, face it when you have to. Filling your mind with artificial, pointless human suffering, fictional as it may be, and dosing up on the real fear it produces is a toxic, soul numbing, stupid thing to do.
That’s just my opinion. Does anyone reading this like horror movies? What is your experience of them? Why do you like them?