The ScreamWhile catching up on my blog reading I noticed I had been falling behind on all the latest from PJ Woodside on ThisOldBitchMakesHorrorFlicks. A recent post of hers titled "What Makes Scary" had me thinking about a theory I once studied involving "The Seven Basic Childhood Fears" and how they "play-into" the horror film genre. But then she asked for her readers to tell what has made them truly scared. After responding to her post with a tale from my own life I decided I would rework the reply into a post for BlogDogIt


You pose an interesting question PJ. What would be some of my scariest moments? What has happened in my life that has caused me to experience honest to goodness fear? ...

Being startled of things that happen “all of a sudden” and without warning is only natural and beyond my control. I think that is why my reaction – following such a start – is to find it humorous; that the gasping for air and the hair raising on the back of my neck only seems to be out of my control when in fact it is my subconscious “autopilot” doing its job. I worry about folks who were not jolted by that hand from the grave (at the end of Carrie.) They are lacking a basic mechanism for staying alive (as far as I’m concerned.)

The scariest moments in a persons life must truly come when their life is on the line. Thankfully as I reflect on my life there are not too many such times. There is however one incident that ranks as a genuine scary time...

In my younger days I was quite the spelunker – a big fan of cave exploring. Sometimes my party and I would become “misplaced” and that in itself was never so scary as it was inconvenient. Although there was one time that we had such a difficult time finding the exit that we exhausted every source of light except a candle and a Zippo lighter. Let me tell you that was certainly nerve-racking but pales when compared to the time that I found myself utterly stuck in a cave.

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While on a caving excursion to Buckner Cave with my high school's hiking club, I became trapped while attempting to ascend a rather tight passage that extended vertically from a low passage that contains a shallow stream to a large cavernous chamber (A.K.A. "The Volcano Room") where I had left my companions only minutes before. A friend and I “discovered” this passage and wanted to see where it leads to. In fact we knew where it went because we were in possession of a detailed map of this very popular cave system, but that would not deter us in our quest for adventure.

the hole thing This passage can best be imagined if you picture an inverted capital letter “Y” – one hole going down that splits into two diverging tunnels one too small to even think of traversing the other just big enough to allow snug passage. The whole experience was enhanced by the unceasing sound of flowing water. The very sound that lured us into this passageway to begin with. (The picture shown to the right was found on the internet and shows "Christina" exiting the infamous passage in the base of "Volcano Room.") After splashing around in the lower level for a few minutes we decided to return to our group. My friend went before me and I assisted by pushing him up by the boots whenever he asked for the help. Of course no one was behind me to push so the arrangement was that I could pull against those boots in my face anytime it would do any good. It really was a simple climb and I dare say hundreds if not thousands have passed this way prior to us. It was the fact that this has had much traffic that accounted for the slickness of the walls – which worked in our favor going down and proved to be the challenge going up. Just as I was entering the final section of that inverted “Y” passage my wet boots caused me to slip as I pushed myself up against the intersection… I slipped downward so that I had one leg extending down each of the available paths. It was in this position that I found myself to be “locked.” Calling for assistance from those above me, I was soon met with a rescuing hand that attempted pulling me out but it was to no avail because the position of my hips – due to the “splits” I was doing – made it impossible to be pulled upward. At the same time I found "down" also to be unavailable due to this huge chunk of planet between my legs.

I was scared. I was what you could call an experienced caver. I was not however, experienced in staring down my own mortality. I was in that predicament for far too many minutes to comfortably contemplate (even today.) It was a calming voice of reason from an adult supervisor that allowed me to triumph over the feeling that the Earth was literally swallowing me whole, no amount of pushing against those rocks would cause them to yield one iota. I was the subject of a puzzle. I needed to be convinced that there had to exist a solution. It was a classic case of mind over matter. Fortunately I discovered the one magical contortion which allowed me to escape my bonds. Houdini would have been proud.

Panic and fear are closely related. Panic will have you “duck!!” when that thing is hurling toward your head. If you have time to think you should ditch the panic and let fear take over. Fear is your body’s way of saying “now I’m counting on YOU!”



A Taste (think clay + dirt) of Buckner

I came across this video that will give you a glimpse of the joys of spelunking.

Source:matt and allison

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