I really enjoyed hearing from so many of you about the horror movies that had made an impact/scarred you for life and I started ruminating on just why it is many of us purposely scare ourselves, whether by bungee jumping, riding terrifying carnival rides (I still remember (The Bullet,) or reading murder mysteries.
Then I thought -- we even scare our children with nursery rhymes:
Rock a bye, baby, in the tree top,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.
One of the first games we play with babies is Peek A Boo -- and, for the most part, babies love it -- once they realize that no one's really disappeared.
"I'm going to eat you up!" I remember this being a term of endearment -- usually some elderly aunt pretending to gobble up the baby's fingers or toes -- and again, once the baby realized it was just a silly game, it was fun.
And then, when the baby is a child, we read them stories like Hansel and Gretel where the parents really have gone away and the wicked witch really is going to eat the children up.
But the story ends with the children outsmarting the witch and putting things right. I think of The Wizard of Oz and that witch and her flying monkeys -- overcome at last by a little girl.
And perhaps that's the point of the scary stuff -- testing ourselves in preparation for the real scary stuff that life may fling at us.
And telling us that Evil can be defeated if we take a stand.