Scary Stories

Wicked Wednesday: Isolation and ghost stories

At the start of lockdown all those weeks ago, I really thought I’d have the motivation to be productive. I was going to watch loads of movies for this blog. I was going to come up with lots of fun ideas for content. I’d have SO much time to do everything I wanted!

Well, turns out anxiety disorder and being locked in a tiny flat isn’t a good combination. One that does not yield productivity, but does lend itself to lying in bed aimlessly for hours listening to audiobooks alone. So that’s something.

My nights are increasingly getting longer and longer as I stay up later and later. This aimlessness can be blamed on several things: daylight savings, how little energy I expend, and my newest hobby – watching supernatural mystery and cold case videos on YouTube.

I have always loved scaring myself. It is a favourite pastime.

Growing up, my family loved to tell scary stories in attempts to scare one another. We still do if the summer night is particularly hot or stormy. Being the youngest and most gullible, I was always an easiest target. My dad is the master of deadpan delivery, feeding me stories of men with hooks for hands and gangs of people trying to kidnap him from the farm as a child. Not a bit of it was true…right?

I’ve tried cultivating his skills as I grow older. I practise on my nephews, feeding ghost stories to their young minds. They can’t escape it: scary stories are in their blood.

With the current global situation, I won’t be going home this summer. It hurts to think about not seeing my family for so long. I won’t be in my room listening to the crickets outside, wondering if someone is looking through the widow, plotting to kill me. The sense of paranoia is real when you live in a place where “no one can hear you scream”.

So without being able to go home I thought: why not get scared shitless by myself!

It all started a couple weeks ago when I learned about the Max Headroom incident. I tend to see the sinister side to everything, which of course explains the love of horror movies. So when I first saw these clips of this set of famous signal hijackings, I didn’t laugh – I was unsettled.

Desperate to learn more, I fell down a rabbit hole of strange and unusual topics on YouTube. The driving force behind most of it has been the channel Top5s. The creators behind the channel make videos about the natural and supernatural world. Videos full of the unexplained. I soon found it unbearable to get out of bed in the middle of the night, terrified of the shadows. A safe, but satisfactory way of feeling afraid.

I’m getting to the point where I feel like I’m running out of content to watch. So I went into an even deeper dive and jumped onto the cold case bandwagon. This is not as ‘fun’. It feels too concrete in many ways. There are too many facts. Give me the unexplained! Plus many of the videos I’ve watched since do not have narrators as soothing as the kid from Top5s.

I also recommend watching old episodes of Unsolved Mysteries. Alone, if possible, just to drive home that feeling that someone is watching you. It’s long been a favourite of mine. The late 80s/early 90s was certainly a bizarre time, but it made for excellent television. Hell, it’s worth a gander even for that famous theme song. My best friend recommended Forensic Files years ago, and I still have yet to make it through all the seasons, but it’s good.

They say that we have to get through this pandemic sane. I guess that even includes winding yourself up on purpose.

Hope everyone is staying safe out there. Wash your hands. Stay inside if you can. Lock your doors…and look behind you.