WHY ARE YOU AFRAID OF THAT? The Origin of Our Fears

Not just any fears, but yours. What are you afraid of?


There are irrational fears, of course, things that just make us quiver for no reason at all.

Then…then there are those real life things that have affected us. A snake bite causes a fear of snakes. A fall creates a fear of heights.

Then there are the things that never would have crossed our minds to fear…until we saw it in a movie or read it in a book. That big tree outside your window was fine, until you watched POLTERGEIST. No reason to fear your dreams, until Freddy. Summer camp? No big deal, until you start looking for Jason in the woods. You’ll never look at a mirror the same after reading MARY: THE SUMMONING by Hillary Monahan. Hedge animals seem sinister after reading THE SHINING by Stephen King.

Many of these books and movies have sparked new fears for me. After watching THE GATE, I jumped into my bed for months to avoid the demon hands that would certainly grab me.

Let me tell you a story of the newest fear.

Last month, I watched the 2016 movie LIGHTS OUT, I live-tweeted it. That movie scared me. Most disturb me or intrigue me, but this one hold-my-breath-oh-dear-sweet-baby-Jesus scared me.

Late last night, I woke up and rolled out of bed to use the bathroom. A regular thing. No big deal. I shine my Fitbit light on the floor to make sure I don’t step on a cat, cause that happens, but otherwise wander to the hall without any incidents. Familiar. Normal. Safe.

Ready to go back to bed, I stood with my hand on the light switch and stared out the open door.

All those scenes from the movie rushed through my brain. The figure in the dark. The one with long claw-like fingers who waits to kill…me. Kill me!

Yup. Her. She was waiting. From the movie Lights Out found on Google Images

I couldn’t move. If I turned out the light, I’d be a goner.

The logical part of my brain kicked into high gear. STOP BEING STUPID AND MOVE!

Of course my imagination already had the murderous shadow-woman standing outside the doorway.

Closer and closer…LOOK AT THOSE EYES!
From Lights Out


I turned off the light and entered the dark. I didn’t look behind me. I kept my pace even and calm. I held in the nervous twittery scream that fluttered in my chest.

And I got into bed as nicely as I could, because heaven forbid I wake up my husband and have to explain why I’m jumping into bed as if running from the boogey man…ONLY CAUSE I WAS RUNNING FROM THE BOOGEY MAN!

I settled under the covers and chuckled at myself. I marveled at how I would never have imagined that dark figure chasing me if I hadn’t seen that movie. At how a movie, a piece of fiction, can change me, stay with me, haunt me…probably forever.

But there’s no way I’m stopping reading horror books and watching scary movies. So I guess I’ll keep adding new fears to my list.

What are you afraid of? And what are the origins of your fears?

  • Rita (R. A. Slone)
    December 16, 2016

    Hi Kathy!! Great post 🙂

    I have some fears. Snakes and spiders for sure. I get really creeped out by pictures of snakes or if they’re in a movie. I hate seeing them even in pet stores. I seriously had a hard time when Dean was sitting on the couch and that big white boa constrictor started slithering around him!! Which episode? Yellow fever? Growing up, I was scared to death of vampires. I think Lost Boys made it even worse. I still sleep with the blankets around my neck to protect it! Lol

    • Kathy Palm
      Rita (R. A. Slone)
      December 16, 2016

      Those blankets will certainly stop vampires. Yup. And, dude, you’re just like Indiana Jones!

  • kirabutler
    December 17, 2016

    OMG that photo.

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