I’ve always loved scary things. Movies, video games, stories, you name it. It was no surprise that I found inspiration in BuzzFeed’s, Two Sentence Scary Stories. I read them all, one at a time, loving the chill it gave me up my spine. As I continued on, I read something about a father seeing double of his son- one of them being under the bed. This was what really drew me in. When I was younger, I indeed had my father look under the bed. Well one night, I asked my dad to look under the bed and when he looked under the bed skirt, he froze. I immediately got up to my knees and looked over the edge toward where my father’s gaze was, but there was nothing. I couldn’t see my dad’s face. “Dad?” I questioned and as he looked at me, his face was covered in a character mask from the Tales from the Crypt comic book/tv show. It scared me half to death, which is what this two-sentence story reminded me of and what inspired me. Continue reading →
When I arose this morning,
I could not see my face.
The mirror showed the tiled wall
but nothing in my place.
Squinted, stretched, squirmed;
Still an empty space.
I would have puzzled forever
but I had not the time to waste.
The following post is by Morgan Blair, an undergraduate from the University of Louisville, and it deals with the concept of the uncanny as it is utilized by writer Georg Heym and director Robert Wiene. The uncanny itself is an important facet to consider when studying the paranormal, particularly ghosts and hauntings. Morgan’s post provides an intriguing look at Freud’s theory and presents an understanding that merits further consideration.
If you were asked to picture a ghost it would more than likely be a white creation that looks like a bedsheet with eyes cut out. When Charlie Brown needed some dorky costume in his Halloween special, he tossed a sheet over his head and cut out 17 eyeholes too many. The idea of a white bed sheet being a ghost is rooted in our cultural consciousness as the most simple portrayal of something spectral.
Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) was written almost a century ago, but it still inspires fascination for romantics. The tragic storyline is a cautionary tale that tells us that dreams are unsubstantial, and must not be held too long. The story is still powerful because people in the modern era are not haunted solely by ghosts and spirits, but by their own failings and dashed dreams as well.
Gatsby is haunted by his desire for a life with Daisy, so he attempts to recreate the past. “Can’t repeat the past? …Why of course you can!” he says to Nick (124). But his attempts to attract Daisy are not purely the result of love—they stem from the deeper sense of self that Gatsby lost when he allowed himself to fall in love with her. “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never again romp like the mind of God” (125). He is haunted, not because Daisy fails to meet his gilded expectations of her, but because he spent his years and striving on a dream that had stretched too far, at the cost of his potential for greatness, for all the things that a mind like the “mind of God” can achieve.
Gatsby is nothing more than a tragic striving, haunted by the very past that he claims can be repeated, and subsequently overcome. Modern life moves forward, “material without being real” (179), so we assign less importance to spirits of the dead, and instead focus on our desires and motivations, allowing our regrets more room to haunt us.
F. Scott Fitzgerald. “The Great Gatsby.” New York: Scribner. 2011. Electronic Book.
How far can a vengeful wish reach? In Griffin Dunne’s film Practical Magic (1998), revenge can be carried on beyond the grave itself. This manifests itself in two distinct manners that are intertwined by the end of the film: in a family curse, and in the ghost of a murdered boyfriend who haunts the film’s main characters.