Until very recently, I had a gripping fear of ghosts. With few exceptions (the Sixth Sense comes to mind), I never watch scary movies. I have a fascination with them though, and in the past, was guilty of reading the movie spoilers for some of them. The images from scary movie commercials were enough to fill me with terror.
The Visions of Fear
When laying in bed, the image that creeps up is from Paranormal Activity, a movie I have never seen. This bedraggled woman is standing over the bed, unsteady, and you see from the video timestamp that she continues to do that for hours. This thought has haunted me many times in the past.
The one for when I'm in the shower is from The Grudge, another movie I've never watched. Sarah Michelle Gellar is in the shower and as she's washing her hair, you see the hair separate on the back of her head and these clasped fingers emerge. Then when I'm brushing my teeth, it's this generic fear that when I look up from spitting, or when I open and close the medicine cabinet, I'll see a menacing figure behind me in the mirror.
Tracing It Back to Childhood
I was haunted by these fears for years. And it never really occurred to me that it was unusual to be an adult who was so scared of ghosts, until my husband commented on it. Something about what he said embedded itself in my brain and I started to wonder and work on unraveling this puzzle. A few months ago, it dawned on me.
When I was a young child, multiple adults in my family would warn me that if I misbehaved, "the ghosts" would come get me. I finally made the connection when I was feeling the fear one night, and realized it was accompanied by a feeling of guilt. I had done something during the day, I don't remember what, that I felt bad about. And that was followed by feelings of fear at night.
So it was as convoluted and as simple as that. I could just as easily not made the connection, but I'm so grateful that it did occur to me eventually. Armed with this knowledge, I am able to talk to myself logically about what's going on and calm myself down. I also try to live my life so that I don't engage in actions or behaviors that would make me feel guilty or bad later. I'm still not 100% over my fear, as I do have my kids sleep in my bed with me when my husband is traveling. It's been a relief to find the source of my irrational fear of ghosts though and in a future post, I'll share another recent aha moment.