Ever been on an investigation and scared yourself silly just because you let your imagination get out of control? I think most of us have at some point. Usually on lone vigils and when faced with a personal fear (ie heights, the dark, spiders etc). It isn't just our conscious mind that plays these tricks on us though. The other night I had a dream, or rather nightmare, that woke me up in such a state of fear that I could move even enough to wake my other half sleeping calmly next to me.
The dream itself was not the hollywood horror of gore that passes for a scary movie these days, but instead was akin to the horrors of yesteryear, where suspense was created off stage. A noise, a movement in the shadows; the thumping heart of 'not knowing'.
In the dream it was night and I was in a bedroom, not unlike my own. It was dark and I sensed something in the shadows, moving only enough to allow me to doubt it. It was so quiet I was sure I could hear my heart beat, a rhythm that became louder and louder with every passing moment. As I tried to sink lower in the bed, pretending not to have seen 'it', my covers seemed to be resisting my subtle attempts to bring them up to my head. I pulled harder, but there was something pulling back. With a rush of fear to my stomach I realised that 'it' was trying to pull the covers from me and I would no longer be able to pretend. That scared me even more. I was sure that once I admitted it was there it would be free to attack. What form this 'attack' would take didn't come into my mind; all I knew was that I couldn't escape.
Then it hit me. I was alone in a dark room, with a real ghost and I couldn't leave....
Blood was rushing in my ears, my body was frozen and my heart was beating so hard I felt I was about to stop breathing. I was in the middle of my nightmare and I couldn't wake up - but then I did. My blood was rushing in my ear, my body was so frozen in terror that I couldn't move any of my limbs and my heart felt as though it was about to bounce out of my chest as I lay there. The dream had been so real to me that it was some time before I got the use of my body back and even longer before I slept again.
It may not sound frightening in the cold light of day, but for me it haunts me. Not because the dream was violent or bloody, but because it cut to the heart of my fears. When I go into a haunted house it is not seeing a ghost or hearing a bang from another room that sends a shiver down my spine. Its the thought of being alone in a room with something I can't understand - and not being able to raise the alarm or get myself out. That it may interact with me and I will be powerless to stop it.