( When I was a kid, I was scared of everything - terrified. I was scared of dogs, of learning to swim, of riding my bicycle, and of course, horror movies. This all lasted until I was about ten years old. I caught the end of the original Friday the 13th. There was an all-day Friday the 13th marathon on USA, if I recall correctly. (Man, those were the days...) My babysitter at the time insisted I watch it. The moment young, moss-covered, misshapen Jason Voorhees leaps out of the water to grab the woman in the boat, I was hooked. I sat there and watched the rest of them that day. At that point, I think there were only 3 or 4 Friday movies, but that set me on the path. I turned into a horror movie junkie. All things horror - paranormal investigations, slashers in the woods, demonic possession. I wanted to learn about it all.
For those of you who have been paying attention, this is no big secret. I wrote the horror novel advertised over on the right of the page. I've written a couple of movies few have seen as of yet (but soon!). And my collection of horror and occult books has been described as "troubling".
That said, I was watching Friday the 13th: The Series last night with my wife. She's a huge fan, but I'd skipped it when it originally aired. I was incensed that they'd call something Friday the 13th but not have Jason in it. My mistake. The series is schlocky and fun and plays on some of the old 'be careful what you wish for' tropes often found in the original Twilight Zone series (another of my favorites). You can see how this would spook people back when it aired in the eighties. And I thought to myself, "Man, I wish I could still be scared like that."
I don't mean scared of cancer, or bills, or of losing your job. I mean being scared that the haunted piano is going to play the forbidden song that will open a giant maw in the floor from which will spew all manner of foul abomination.
It was with that spirit that we went and had a little 'camp out' at the new Modern Rogue World Headquarters. As with our ghost hunting episode from last Halloween, both of us went in skeptical, but really wanting to give ourselves over to the experience. We were trying to give ourselves permission to be scared. It didn't quite work, really, but it was a lot of fun. Shortly before midnight, we plunged into the untamed woods on the property - acres of them! It became clear that our biggest worries weren't homicidal hillbillies, ghosts, or demonic cults, but spiders, rattlesnakes, and squatters. Fortunately, we only encountered the spiders and my friend, let me tell you - the spiders own those woods. We could go fifteen feet without some Shelob monstrosity looming in the middle of the path. We did our best to respect and avoid them because all either of us want is to stumble into a brown recluse and have a damned arm rot off.
Later we retired into the building to, as our forefathers did before us, sit around the laptop and read CreepyPasta stories to the crowd on Twitch. That was fun! I actually got chills from reading the GoatMan story. Sure, it strains credibility, but as I've said many times before, the raw imagination that goes into those - and the lack of any formal grammar, punctuation, or any sort of prose chops - adds to the veracity. They're like the found footage of the written word. I guess you could also call them campfire tales. But a campfire would require us to go outside again and well . . . no thank you.