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.**