Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who Knows Why?

Who Knows Why?

There is an old covered bridge that spans a loud, rushing creek not very far from my house. Straight off the pages of a ghost story, it rattles and moans when you cross it, one car at a time, and once inside it is dark and dank, with unseen terrors that lurk, without question, in its sinister, cobwebby shadows - terrors that follow your progress as you slowly pass through like the eyes in an ancestral portrait.  The journey across causes the adult imagination to spark uncontrollably and it doesn’t take much to work out what it might do to that of a child.

I was that child and when I was little and October came round, my father would often, under intense and vociferous pressure, load up the family car with me and my little girlfriends and we would drive to that bridge to listen in rapt, shivering attention as he told us the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Lord, how we loved it.  Sitting huddled together, giggling nervously, we half expected poor, frightened Ichabod Crane to come careening out of the darkness, with the horrid Headless Horseman in menacing pursuit.  I never cross over that bridge today without smiling.  But I still keep my eyes straight ahead.

Why do we love to be scared?  The Songwriter has an enormous collection of classic ghost stories - M. R. James and Le Fanu, Poe and Wharton - and he relishes pulling them out to reread on these windy fall nights.  I myself love nothing better than those old black and white movies with haunted houses and keening ghosts - I tend to pop them in this time of year as well.  I hasten to state that I’m not talking about the slasher movie or ultra gory tale.  Those I tend to regard as rather sick, devoid of wit, and not worth my time.   Horror?  No.  But spooky?  Oh my, yes!  Give me a good, old-fashioned scary story on a black, moonless night - like The Uninvited, or The Others, even the original Wolfman - and I am guaranteed a most enjoyable evening.

As costumed children on long ago Halloweens, from our vantage points behind our plastic masks, the world, once so ordinary, now seemed strange and delightfully different. There was a delicious sort of fear in the air that we absolutely loved.  Even now, who among us hasn’t felt that same fearful thrill once or twice when we've groped for a light switch around a darkened doorway, wondering if our hand might perhaps meet another, one clammy and cold, just waiting to clasp ours inside the empty room beyond? 
 Doesn’t our pace quicken a bit when we pass by the grey abandoned house, the one with the broken windows and the porch swing that rocks, back and forth, back in forth, in the wind?  And don’t we laugh a bit nervously when we’re safely on the other side?

So yes, once again, I’ve chosen my witch hat, the one with the extravagant pheasant feather.  I have bowls of candy at the ready, and candles waiting to be lit.  Greig and Mussorgsky play softly, but distinctly, in the background and The Songwriter is out putting the finishing touches on his frightful tableau for the garden.  Soon our street will fill with wee little goblins of every mysterious shape and size. 
Who knows why we love it.
But we do.
Happy Halloween to All!


  1. I don't know why I savor a good case of goosebumps so much. Did you happen to see "Dead of Night", 1945, with Michael Redgrave, on TCM last night? It fit the bill very nicely.

  2. enjoy your blogging and love the artwork,Thank you for alittle Oct. chill.

  3. I could not agree with you more, love classic ghost stories, in fact Sleepy Hollow is on the TV as I am writing this, though the candy has been replaced by red wine!

  4. What a great post. I really enjoyed reading it. I wish that Halloween could be enjoyed the same as when we were kids.


  5. I am so agreeable with you on this subject.
    Here's to an enchanting evening with Edward to tow....
    Happiest of All Hallows Eve....

  6. Ah, brilliant post, Pamela! Yes, nothing like that delicious thrill of being rightly spooked!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Love the spooky bridge. There is one like it in nearby West Virginia that I love to go across. The board "floor" rattles, groans and flops as the car goes by. Love the spooky "am I going to make it" feeling. Thanks for a great halloween tale.

  8. For once it feels halloweenish in the southern hemisphere as well although there are no dressed up children to come calling here.
    Still we will light our candles in sand weighted ghoulishly reticulated paper bags and have them flickering all around the garden . . . there is a suitable Scotch mist for accompaniment and the temperatures have helpfully dropped 10 degrees. We will dress up and pretend and with suitable theatre makeup and a fire in the grate, make a good go at celebrating as we listen to the wind howling around the corners and watch the cats arching their backs with all their fur up ended.

    Happy Halloween, I hope you get a wee fright or two.

  9. Happy Halloween to you too Pamela! We love Halloween at our house too. The weather this year is perfect, and we will have the pumpkins and treats ready too! Have a great weekend. ;)

  10. I love spooky movies too...not slasher. I love "The Uninvited". A favorite of my Mother's and Grandmothers. We had the book the movie was made from and all read it. I read it as a child. I love "The Others" too.

    Have you seen "The Orphanage" - a must will love it.

    I think I'll watch "Sleepy Hollow" tonight.

    How lucky you were to have a father that added to the magic of the season.

    My Dad stayed in the den...usually coming out to make an appearance only once or twice to see the very littlest spooks. He always got a kick out of them. At the time, I was sorry he was not more I am thankful he wasn't...because it's the only holiday that isn't painful for me since his death.

  11. The same to you ! But I don't like to be afraid.


  12. I am with you on that bridge....
    And I can see the songwriter' tableau in my mind!
    Do share some pictures...

    Happy Halloween!


  13. Happy Halloween, Pamela & Edward. I've got goosebumps after reading your wonderful post - brings back some fun childhood memories. Thanks for sharing your talent -

  14. Hi Pamela,
    Well, because we celebrate Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot on November 5th, we don't really celebrate Hallowe'en. It is becoming more and more popular over here but, my heart isn't in it, as it isn't a tradition over here (although, I do believe we started it in Pagen times !!).
    I know that it is a well celebrated festival in your country and I wish you a fun and scary weekend. XXXX

  15. It's lovely to be back in bloggyland and reading your blog again!

    Hallowe'en sounds like a wonderful tradition, I'm sure we giraffes would love it!

  16. Wish I could trick or treat at your place...

  17. Oooh that image Pamela!! I think that is why I do love thrillers and mysteries, just not these latest gory ones....

    Art by Karena

  18. Dear Pamela, Spooky, a teeny bit scary and very silly....that is exactly the recipe for a wonderful Hallowe'en. Enjoy!

  19. Ah yes, something spooky and mysterious, Edgar Allen Poe style,like an old Vincent Price film or the black and white version of "The House on Haunted Hill" with Julie Harris. Even an old Alfred Hitchcock flick. But I am with you,no blood and gore, thank you very much.

  20. Dearest Pamela,

    Thank you for the lovely tale. You made me remember the Halloween I loved as a child.

    You are such a beautiful writer.


  21. A well described tale of fright! I wish I was your friend back then because I would have been all too happy to go along!
    Happy Halloween!!!

  22. The Others is a brilliantly scary movie...and beautiful too! The mansion is "to die for"! ;)

    I've always wondered why being're description of being scared, is so enticing sometimes...not to get to scientific but I think our adrenal glands like to have a serious kick in the pants once in a while...and also, it's such a temporary escape from reality...a fun one.

    Happy Halloween...and I wish I was coming by *your* house to trick or treat! What's Edward dressing up as? xo J~

  23. I enjoy your blog, you are a great story teller. Thanks!!!

  24. Such a wonderful evocation of the spirit of the season........
    October is very transitional --we really do wave goodbye to summer!

  25. Such a lovely post Pamela. I couldn't agree more about the movies you sited...and your dad sounds delightful. Great artwork too!

    Happy Halloween to you, the Songwriter & Edward!


  26. Happy Samhain..I just love it spooks as well
    Hugs Lynn xxx

  27. This is such a delicious post. I love that your father told you the story of Sleepy Hollow. Happy Samhain to you!

  28. what a great story - I can add a little witch on her trip to Valencia/Spain

    see my flickr pic here:

    greetings from Germany


  29. I bet that children love coming to your door and have Edward greet them. I'd love to see a picture of your porch.
    My French Country Home

  30. Do you see what time it is!! I gave Poltergeist a go, and had to turn it off. I used to hold my brother by his hair during Twilight zone, but I crossed the line. I'm glad your there. I'm a grown up spooked lady!

  31. Beautiful Pamela..I hope you had a wonderful evening :)

    Jeanne xx


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