Children's brains are not machines of logic. Children's brains are fueled by the imagination, and my five year old imagination was pretty powerful. That open closet door became a hungry maw of darkness with tendrils of shadow snaking out to snatch a sleeping child's foot. I would end up screaming for my parents. If my mom came in, she would just shut the closet door and my problem would be solved. If my dad came in, he would decide that I needed to toughen up, and he would leave the closet door open. There was no way that I would even briefly consider climbing from the safety of my bed and shutting the closet myself. The second that I put my foot on the floor, the Monster Under the Bed would be grabbing at my ankle, and who needed that sort of excitement? My only alternative was to cover my entire body with my blankets, except my face, and watch the darkness of the open closet door for movement. At least until I fell asleep again.
As I got older, I got better at closing my closet door before I went to sleep. If I had watched a particularly scary movie prior to sleep, I would put a chair in front of the closet as an additional warning system. The night my mother and I watched The Exorcist on television, there were two chairs in front of my closet. In my late teens, before I graduated from high school, I started to think that perhaps I was being a little silly with my closet concerns. Perhaps there really wasn't a reason to be afraid. Maybe it was just all in my head.
And then I saw the movie Poltergeist. Have you seen that movie? Do you know what that closet does to that poor family? I decided that I wasn't quite as insane as I thought, to be so concerned about closets. After all, there was a decent chance that there might be a portal underneath my dresses.
And then I read the Stephen King short story, The Boogeyman. Stephen King basically confirmed everything about closets that I had ever been afraid of in that story. It was almost as if HE were afraid of open closets too! (He also said that he didn't like to let his foot hang over the edge of the bed, either, "just in case"!) If the Master of Horror is scared of closets, maybe there's a good reason?
As if all that weren't enough, my son and I were just watching his current favorite show My Ghost Story: Caught on Camera. There was a segment about a little girl and her room. The paranormal team was asking what was in the closet, and they got an EVP of a voice saying "It's a monster."
Am I still afraid of closets? Yep. I have to have all of the closets in the house closed up tight before I go to sleep. That's not so bad, right? There are probably worse things to be afraid of. Like cockroaches.
3.) Something that scared you when you were young…are you still afraid?