Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why Are We In Love With the Paranormal World?

Fear of the dark: Ghosts, full moons, dark forests, sleeping at night.
Fear of wild animals: Werewolves, vampires, bats.
Fear of sexuality: Incubus, Succubus.
Fear of death: Ghosts, Frankenstein's monster, demons, zombies.
Fear of tight spaces: Being buried alive, coffins, mausoleums.

All our basic fears are played out in every paranormal theme. It might be assumed that if we had a fear of money there would be some horror movies and novels based on winning the lottery.

Why, then do we expose ourselves to the very things we fear? Sometimes, an easier way to accept death is to see it in the context of fiction instead of in the real world where a loved one passes on. It's admittedly better something happens to someone else instead of ourselves. If we study a ghost, we are looking at our future, but it is with a stranger so there is no sense of loss for us personally.

Another thing we often find is that people expose themselves to things they fear, immersing themselves in a make believe world hoping that they build up a tolerance. Experts might call this "counterphobic" behavior. A foray into the woods in search of Bigfoot is also a way to expose oneself all at once with every creature that could harm him and even the most feared thing; a creature with unknown attitude.

Still another reason behind the love of paranormal is practice. Every time you watch an episode of "Halloween," you work out in your mind how you would handle the situation, as well as zombie and end-of-world scenarios. Whenever you sit inside of a haunted location and witness something amazing, you think ahead, prepare and sharpen your coping skills and mastery.

There is an exciting rush that occurs when something jumps out unexpectedly. That thrill in our belly is akin to the first hill on a rollercoaster without the physical threat. It's arousing in the body, like sexual tension. In fact, sex and horror go together ideally. At first, we gasp and then we chuckled nervously and then we want to experience it again and again.

Not knowing what will happen next is a feeling of abandon without any personal danger. This tension and release are really addictive. In fact, sometimes it takes something a bit harder and rougher with viewing over time to get the same stimulation. This is a phenomena you see in pornography watchers, as well. I have known a lot of people who started out being scared by "The Haunting" and then "The Omen" satisifed and ultimately they needed the "Saw" series. This is something that many people in society fear, that those who like horror need more and more to get the same bodily reaction. This may be true, but there comes a time in any movie-goers life where they decide the best way to advance their arousal buttons is to move to a side genre. They leap from ghost themes to serial killers genre and then off to zombie-land.

There are a lot of assumptions that those into the paranormal are dark, gothic, suicidal and troubled. Anyone who knows me would laugh at the concept. I'm about the most happy perky and goofy silly person one could meet, but I also cannot get enough of dark places, scary situations and danger. There is no category for those who love the paranormal. Many are driven by an experience that was unexplained and a quest for answers. Others, like myself, find it comforting having grown up in a big scary old haunted house with lots of gothic antiques, flocked wallpaper, Waterford crystal chandeliers and velvet curtains. To me, it is coming home. Some might be not particularly danger-seeking people in their regularly day-to-day life, but those moments of seeking the "dark side," they feel suddenly more alert, more alive, as if their lives are more exciting than they really are.

The next time you seek out blogs such as this and other paranormal-themed ones, ask yourself where your motivation comes from. I'm curious to hear your findings.

**Be sure to be online Friday December 10th. A bunch of us bloggers are having a blogger zombie walk. What is that? We're posting about zombies and leaving a list of links to other blogs posting about zombies that day. Get your creep-on during this holiday season.**


  1. Zombie walk? I'm in. As far as your theories go, I feel like they all hold water. And also some people (like myself) think that these monster can actually exist.

  2. Hey, I would love to live in a world with vampires and werewolves myself. Seems it would make the humans a bit more edgy and stop bipartisan bickering and petty fueds. Hey, I'm an optimist, what can I say? Glad you're in on the zombie walk. I'm planning something wicked for my blog and a giveaway too.

  3. I often watch movies where zombies and other creatures exist and wondered how it would be to live in that world. I would either become a bad-ass mother f-er and kick some creature's ass or become one of them. (a vampire or werewolf) I am leaning towards a werewolf because the thought of sleeping in a coffin gives me the heebie jeebies, lol.

  4. I like how most people in life see themselves as being the one in the film kicking the monster's ass when in reality they're really the first ones panicking and the least prepared in the event of a real emergency. And I really don't remember the last time I watched a horror movie to get a rise. I just really, really love the LOOK of the monsters. SFX is an awesome thing (if done right) and the creativity involved in coming up with something real, original, and awesome enough to flaunt is mostly what I get from watching horror. The only horror show in recent memory I was actually able to put myself into that got me thinking was "The Walking Dead". If more horror was like this, realist and strategic rather than being all about shock and gore I'd probably get more out of them. Everything else just feels old hat.

  5. JD;
    You're totally right about that!! I admit that where I grew up was a huge influence on me for horror. Imagine a house like Dark Shadows and a big estate with orchards and arbors and boxwood mazes and woods surrounding it. That romantic love of atmosphere and mood is a heady thing. I go into an abandoned site or a really old building and I feel "at home." Some of my favorite movies were all about the atmosphere and mood. I want a world that I'd like to dip into if I could, like "Silent Hill" or even the new remake of "The Wolfman."

  6. Julie;
    I'm with you-I'd want to kick ass in the woods, although I do like the idea of sinking my teeth into a man's neck at just the right moment when his blood is really pumping, if you know what I mean...

  7. How the hell did I forget "Silent Hill"? Yeah, that's another one I'd include on my favorite's list. I don't care what anyone says. I loved it.

  8. JD;
    I gotta admit, I thought it was a total snooze and a real downer, but if you put aside the plotting and lack of dialogue, the world that was created kicked serious ass! I want to go there. I want to investigate. Maybe even get lost there in that dimension....

  9. My bloods pumping Autumforest; where do I sign up ;)
    Like the pic.

  10. I love the paranormal world because the normal world is boring. Paranormal offers something that at least interests me.

  11. CTN;
    Don't you know! I also think the paranormal world is a helluva lot more sexy than the real one.

  12. I don't make a living off of being a film critic. I liked it. That's all that matters to me. The monsters were amazing. Loved the makeup done on the janitor in the bathroom as well as the nurses at the end and the overall atmosphere was creepy as shit, which is more than I can say for some movies.

  13. JD;
    Yeah, I have to admit that I had trouble sitting through the movie out of sheer boredom, but when they did have those cool scenes, they got my attention. That crazy creature with the long head and the sharp blades and the nurses and the way the building would turn into a peeling abandoned place... way cool! I think of any movie I've ever seen, I most wanted to jump into that world.

  14. If that movie bored you I'm anxious to see what's on your list of films that didn't. Whatever they are, I'm gonna clench my jaw 'til my teeth crack if you say the Saw franchise.

  15. I saw three of the Saw movies. Were there more? God, please, tell me there weren't! There was something about "Silent Hill" that dragged. So much of it had no dialogue and a lot of mood and music, but not a lot of shit happening. When it did happen, it was good, but I felt by the end of the movie that I was being lulled to sleep. Even the climax didn't feel very climactic. The only other one that bored me even more was "The Other."

  16. There are two kinds of horror. You have your more gore, blood and guts stuff - which is cool, but I saw plenty of blood, guts, et. al. while embalming. Then there are the horror flicks that play with your mind! NOW THOSE ARE THE SHIT! Throw in a bit of blood and gore, but not too much, and insert a "this could possibly really happen" story and you've got my full attention!

  17. Tara-Dear;
    So you're saying something like "Cabin Fever"?

  18. That particular movie SUCKED! LOL...what the HELL is "PANCAKES" all about?

    Actually I think more along the lines of "Wrong Turn" or even "Saw" series. Sue me, I love SAW. LOL

  19. I'm with everybody else - the real world can be either boring or at other times tragic. Give me a world where the monsters take the form of vampires and ghouls, rather than child molesters and terrorists. I'd least then they would be easy to identify. One of the reasons I like to do the whole "Home Haunt" thing is that, for just a few minutes, I can let people enter a strange new world, where monsters are literal, and are always vanquished. Ah, if only...

  20. HN;
    We are kindred spirits. Yes, I so love having a Halloween party because no one is his usual self, everyone in costume. I wrote a short story once about a crazy party on Halloween in a cemetery and all the party goers became who they were dressed as it was total mayhem. I would love to make it into a screenplay some day. I love the idea of having an evening in a place that feels like a castle or cemetery and people are all dressed scary and it's an alternate world. Jeez, I'd love to just do role-playing in regular life except I'm not the LARP'er type and definitely not a furry! Hee hee



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