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    Go into the light

    It’s amazing what you can learn from American television.

    The Discovery Channel has a show called A Haunting. At first when I was flipping through the on-screen cable guide, I thought it was The Haunting , the wonderful ’60s horror movie based on the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House.

    It was not. Instead, it’s a running program in which couples relate how they were nearly driven from their dream houses by weird (in the original sense of the word) noises, apparitions, movements, and feelings of dread.

    This show makes me feel very inadequate. At the end, the victims always bring in some medium/paranormal investigator type who goes into the attic bedroom and senses the presence of souls trapped there, usually after some grisly death long ago. Imagine! I’m so dense I can’t even sense a mood of tension when I walk into a crowded room after an argument, and these people can pick up on the presence of invisible restless spirits.

    They also use sage a lot. They tie it in bunches and burn it and walk through the house because, apparently, sage has spiritual cleansing properties. Or maybe hostile spirits are calmer after some nice aromatherapy–I’m not sure. It makes me wonder, though: Suppose you don’t have sage on hand? Can you just substitute thyme and rosemary the way you do when you’re making chicken, or do the ghosts get all angry at being faked out?

    2 Responses to “Go into the light”

    1. Rondi says:

      1) The Haunting is a terrifying movie. What is great about it, is that the terror comes pretty much only from suggestion. No gore, no slashing, no ghosts.

      2) The TV show A Haunting: I am ashamed to admit I sometimes watch it. What strikes me is that people *stay* in these houses for months after some creepy ghost tells them to leave! I’d be gone two seconds after the first apparition, last month’s rent be damned!

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      (1) Totally. That movie is a real victory of the imagination. That last voice-over line is unforgettable.

      (2) Yeah, for people who are scared out of their gourd, they sure do take a lot of risks.

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