(Male) The dream took place after a small scale uprising of zombies. Yeah, yeah, I know exactly where the dream came from. I was watching a stupid zombie movie the day before I had this dream. But the zombie uprising was very localized and contained. Even though there were zombies stumbling around, it really hadn’t disrupted society too much. At the most, the zombie attacks had thinned things out so the town had a slightly under populated, slightly run down feel. Oh, and everyone carried rifles with them where ever they went, just casually slung over their shoulders. In the dream it was the middle of the night and for some reason I needed some cash, so I ask everyone in my house if they want to go for a ride up to the bank. (Cash machines still worked. Heck, money still had value so it wasn’t a ful-scale zombie apocalypse at all.) Everyone in the house was still up even though it was the middle of the night. I didn’t get the sense that they were keeping watch, in fact, I think my son was playing video games. My daughter agreed to ride along with me. It was a nice summer night, not yet too hot. There were a few people out on the streets and heck, there were a few zombies out on the streets too. Just a good night for a walk… though all things being equal, I’m glad I was driving a car. There were no street lights though, now I think about it. The only illumination was from advertising, or signs in shop windows. I drive in the bank parking lot and it’s pretty safe because there’s a large parking lot and it’s entirely empty. I get some cash out of the money machine but as I’m getting back to the car, I see a zombie shambling toward me across the parking lot. It’s no big thing. I take my rifle off my shoulder, steady it against the hood of the car, take aim… and miss. Miss completely. I shoot again, very carefully lining up the shot. Again a miss. It’s getting closer and this shouldn’t be a big thing. It’s a rifle and the creature is maybe 20 feet away. I miss again and I’m scared because I’ve let the thing get so close I don’t think I can get in the car and drive off before it attacks. I’m afraid for my little girl because she’s in the car with the window rolled down and likely the zombie will get her first. Just then I woke up.
(Male) In the dream it was morning. My mother and I had taken refuge for the night in the basement of a house. We were now waking up and then securing the house room by room in case something had gotten in during the night. By “something,” I of course mean vampires which seem to have over-run our small town. There was nothing in the kitchen, nothing in the living room or dining room. It was an old but not particularly spectacular farmhouse, high ceilings, painted wood work, drab flower wallpaper. Mom started making breakfast.
…I opened a small bedroom there were three vampires in there: a mom, a daughter and a son….
I continued searching the first floor and when I opened a small bedroom there were three vampires in there: a mom, a daughter and a son. I knew I couldn’t kill them all at once so I tried to let only one of them out. I succeeded in keeping the son-vampire locked in the room. I should note that the son-vampire looked like that kid from The Munsters only that he was a bit older, maybe high school aged. He looked VERY angry and vicious, with deep black rings around his eyes, but then again he was wearing the shorts and Little Lord Fauntleroy shirt of the Munster kid’s costume, so he was both ludicrous and terrifying. The mom-vampire looked about 50 and had wispy blond hair. The daughter was a little girl, maybe 6 or so. So they are flying around the room in a semi-human/semi-bat state. Yup, blond bats. Weird. I yell to my Mom for a little help but she says she’s in the middle of cooking the eggs or something and they’ll be ruined if she leaves them right then. So I’m trying not to get bit and in fact, I’m doing well enough fighting these things that I try to find something to stab them. All I can find is a foot long ruler. Like the kind you’d used to use in school. I snapped it in half to try to make it sharp on one end but it splintered, if anything making it even less sharp. All the while I’m fighting the two blond vampires. There’s sunlight streaming in the windows but it doesn’t seem to faze them. I give up on trying to kill them and resort to just swatting them away but I even get tired by doing this. The mom-vampire swoops in for the kill and I try to make a stand with that splintered ruler and just then, I wake up.
Everyday for a whole year, a different skull appears on this wonderfully creative blog. Some are pieces of jewelry, some are actual skulls, some are pieces of origami, one was a computer typeface, another was a desktop pattern… you get the idea. All over the map in their media and let’s be frank, the quality of their execution but every post is a skull of some sort or another. It’s all free; it’s all fun. It’s likely the kind of thing that would appeal to someone who likes to read about nightmares and fear. The site has spawned a legion of similar projects but Skull-a-Day, as far as I can tell, was nearly the first.
Given my love of weird papercraft, one of my favorite entries is this one for a papercraft skull complete with an articulated jaw.
There are cool limited edition t-shirt to support the site, ones with the logo “Nevermore” and a bird (my guess is that it’s a raven) and, you guessed it, a skull.
(Male) I was in prison but a weird prison, an ancient European kind of prison, dark, inhumane. It was a tower that was partially submerged in the ground. Prisoners entered through the top, through a door in the roof and walked down a spiral staircase to their cell. The cells were all wedge-shaped because the tower itself was circular. The walls were stone, thick, dirty stone with a very small window slot cut about eye level that let in air. The place must have been built when people were shorter because my head grazed the ceiling of my cell.
But none of this was the really terrifying. There were no other prisoners, at least none that I could see but as I walked down the stairs I heard the sounds of others in the cells. Furthermore, the cells didn’t lock at least not at night. This was to allow prisoners a chance to shuffle down to the very bottom of the prison to where the bathroom was. As I descended there, I found it harder and harder to breathe. There were no windows because this floor was underground. Down there was also the warden’s office, a thick wooden door with the word “Comando” carved in it. The sense very much was if you offended the other prisoners then they would be the ones who punished you. I told myself never to use the washrooms in the middle of the night but even then I realized that nothing would stop the other prisoners – who let’s face it were ghosts – that nothing would stop them from coming into my cell whenever they wanted and brutalizing me however they wished.
(Male) This wasn’t as much a nightmare as just a strange, strange dream despite its subject matter. I was attending my own funeral. It was being held in this little rural chapel, one maybe 20′ by 20′ in dimensions. The walls were bright white, the pews too, even my coffin was white. Bright summer sunlight gleamed in the windows. There was a crowd of maybe two dozen people and everyone was milling around acting so happy. I was milling through the crowd too and people were shaking my hand, smiling, as if they were congratulating me. I think some people were even smoking cigars, like I had had a baby or something. There was also a large sheet cake with a thick layer of that sugary white frosting usually found on wedding cakes. I was cutting it into pieces and handing it out to people when I realized that this wouldn’t be a very good lunch. I left the funeral and went to a small diner next door and ordered up a gallon of soup and some sandwiches to go. When it came time to pay, I seemed to have coupons in my wallet for a free gallon of soup and a free box of sandwiches which meant that all I had to pay was the tax. As I was leaving, I invited the guy behind the counter to come to my funeral, that we’d have plenty of cake.
(Female, 40′s) This dream was something like a movie set in the 16th century. Everyone was dressed in period costumes, the women wearing long heavy dresses with velvet and brocade and the men in suits. The rooms were lit with candlelight and each had a fireplace or two. The walls were stone and very tall and shadowy. The whole house was drafty and dark.
…The house belonged to a crazy uncle who was a retired general and his wife…
I had been invited to this huge, old house in the countryside to be the companion to a cousin. We were both teenage girls in a household of older people. The house itself belonged to a crazy uncle who was a retired general and his wife. With them also lived several elderly aunts, another uncle, his mother and father, and his sister, who didn’t like children. That aunt made a point of casting disapproving looks at my cousin and me on every possible occasion. If she didn’t like the way we sat at the table, the speed at which we knitted, or the amount we talked, she’d glare at us. She was frightening.
My uncle was frightening as well, in an unhinged sort of way. We were called down to supper, which was set up in the kitchen at my uncle’s insistence. Usually we ate in the dining room but tonight he wanted to sit in where he could watch the food being prepared. The cook had made, among other things, Steak Tartar. My uncle explained to the cook that he couldn’t eat Steak Tartar because it reminded him of meals in the army. Unfortunately, the cook spoke only French, so he didn’t understand my uncle nor did my uncle understand him. My uncle insisted that the dish had to be removed from the table and thrown out. The cook insisted that the food was good and that there were many other dishes on the table to eat. Finally my uncle stood up and took the dish of Steak Tartar and began the smear it all over the front of the cook’s white apron, handfuls at a time. The cook stood there, shocked. The family also sat in horror as my uncle emptied all the plates of food onto the front of the cook’s apron.
Did I mention that the house was haunted as well? In the evening, my cousin and I were in our room. The aunt that disliked us came in to scold us about something. She left the door to the room open and stood talking loudly and firmly to us. Then through the door came a very tall and wispy ghost, at least 12 feet tall. She was constantly moving, her arms and the drapes of her dress swaying like they were blowing about in a gentle breeze. Her appearance wasn’t as frightening as it was ominous. She’d come to warn us about something but we couldn’t understand what. My aunt was surprised into silence, but after the ghost disappeared, she said, “See? That is what will happen is you disobey.” But we didn’t understand what she meant by that either.
(Male) I used to live in the old sprawling farmhouse that happened to located right next to a pretty busy road. The house had been broken up into apartments. Prior to the time I lived there, two of the former occupants, both older women, in totally separate incidents had been struck and killed by automobiles while trying to cross the road. All that really happened.
In the dream, I am laying down on a couch in the living room of the apartment. A woman who I don’t recognize shakes my shoulder, trying to get me to wake up. I open my eyes a little. She says “Go for a walk with me.” I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep. The woman is more insistent. “You must come for a walk with me. Now. Come.” I’m not certain about this next part because it’s hard to describe but it almost felt as if she was trying to push her arms into my body, to make me move from inside, almost as if she was trying to get inside my body to make me move. But I stayed on the couch and eventually she went away.
It wasn’t until I woke up that I remembered the women who had been killed going for a walk just outside. It still gives me shivers to tell this story.
This week’s Friday Night Movie is a rib-tickling, er, I mean CHILLING series from across the pond, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place. The set up is that a famous horror novelist Garth Marenghi, created a television series about a haunted hospital back in the 80′s that only now is getting aired. It’s an enjoyable, self-aware satire with all the trimmings: wooden acting, not-so-special effects, self-important narrator and a slew of humorous continuity errors. There are only a half dozen episodes and they were collected on DVD in 2006 but alas, that disc is in the European format PAL. Watch them now before they get yanked from Youtube.
And if they have already been yanked, as least check out the official Garth Marenghi website: http://www.garthmarenghi.com/
Or read about ALL the details on wikipedia:
Watch ‘em while they’re there:
Episode One Part One
Episode One Part Two
Episode One Part Three
The funny thing about fear is that it isn’t that funny when you’re experiencing it. Perhaps that’s why a little comedy is so useful in scary movies as a counterpoint for rising tension. While collecting the nightmares found on this site, I’ve encountered a common reaction that people laugh while trying to tell me a dream that obviously was quite disturbing to them. Overlooking whatever Freud had to say about laughter, fear and the unconscious, what these people often say they’re laughing at is the inability to make the story sound as scary as it was to them in the dream. In some cases, even THEY aren’t convinced that one should be afraid of the dreams as they’re retelling them.
It’s just not easy to make others really understand the same things that scared you. Maybe that’s why we get some delight — IF we get some delight — from well-told scary stories.
I have also collected a small number of discarded fears, things that people said they were afraid of once but that they are no longer fear. These stories were always surrounded by laughter, that embarrassed laughter that means on one level “I can’t believe I used to be afraid of something so LAME as this.” On another level perhaps this reaction means “I was so naive then to find THAT scary. NOW I’m older and more mature and now I know what’s REALLY scary.” It’s a fun list that I’ll certainly add to over time. In nearly all cases, they’re images from movies that they probably shouldn’t have been watching at that age, but then again, who am I to say?
(Female, 40′s) Birds especially large groups of them, after seeing Hitchcock’s “The Birds” as an elementary school child. Walking home from school was sometimes a problem, especially in the late fall as birds massed in the trees getting ready to migrate south.
(Male, 40′s) The Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz.” Especially the scene where she appears suddenly on top of a roof and hurls a fireball at the Scarecrow.
(Male, 30′s) The Ghostly Librarian from “Ghostbusters.” He says what was so scary to him was that she appeared to be friendly at first but then turned terrifying.
(Male, 30′s) The Robot named Maximillian from Disney’s “The Black Hole” (Look it up on IMDB! It was a relatively early attempt to use digital imagery, I think) The whole design of the robot is a little scary plus he was depicted as being nearly invincible.
(Female, 30′s) A ghost that mysteriously appears in the back seat of a car as someone is driving at night. “I’m sure it came from a movie–probably LOTS of them– but I just can think of which one.”
Needless to say, send in your childhood fears! To grimgnome (a) dailynightmare.com
(Male, 30) I was in a living room with my brother-in-law. There was a large stone fireplace, similar to the fireplace in my own house but this wasn’t my house. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace that my brother-in-law had started. He was busy doing something with the fire. I moved close to see what he was doing. He had just finished burning a large collection of my belongings and he was now moving on to burn the belongings of my daughter. Just that moment in fact, he was stuffing a huge gnome hat into the fire. (?) I was furious with him but I couldn’t stop him. My stuff was already all gone!
…I was furious with him but I couldn’t stop him…
I think I know what is going on a little bit with the dream. The most recent time I’d seen my brother-in-law was around his birthday. He’s not very into things but he had received a large number of gifts. He was trying to find people to take away some of this stuff. The idea might have come up as a dream because my wife and I are considering selling the house where we live, which means we’ll have to pack and move all the stuff we have, including all the new stuff we’ve gotten since we’ve had our toddler. Moving: now THAT’S a REAL-LIFE nightmare!
Up until yesterday, everything I knew about grave robbing I learned from The Bodysnatcher (1945) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037549/ (an enjoyable thriller that was the last movie to feature both Karloff and Lugosi)Then I read Scott Carney’s work on the Bone Trade from India.
The guy really did his research, from the bizarrely fascinating process used to create world-class medical skeletons, to the (post)colonial economics of the business to the laws that supposedly limit the trade today. He wore out shoe leather, knocked on doors and saw and touched stuff that I suppose I’d rather not see or touch. This is journalism at its best, vital but not lurid though slightly off-beat, focused on the humans involved. The centuries old traffic in human skeletons was finally banned in India after one dealer started selling child skeletons in great quantities, quantities that could only have been acquired by murder. Understandably, folks got upset, VERY upset even attacking foreigners suspected of being involved. But wouldn’t the existing laws against murder have been enough to address this problem? Was it primarily people from the other castes upset at the financial boon?
What the reaction suggests to me is an underlying set of values and fears related to human remains. If I understand correctly, Hinduism considers dead bodies to be unclean, hence their disposal is relegated to the lowest castes. Christianity by contrast with its insistence on some form of bodily resurrection has tended to nearly venerate human remains, lest there not be enough “left” to be resurrected. (I have heard that the decay of remains is enough of a theological problem that at least one sect determined the minimum requirements for bodily resurrection were that the skull and both femurs be in tact. Allegedly, this determination somehow related to the skull and crossed bones of pirate and Masonic symbology.) Bones are also used, I think, by some forms of Buddhism to indicate the transient, illusory essence of reality. But the contrasting value system posed in these articles is the enlightened practices of Western medicine and education. And of course, good old fashioned economic value. The black market nature of this economy has helped prices rise greatly.
The final thing that I was left wondering about was how many folks die in India during any given year. It surely has to be enough to supply all the medical schools that want them, doesn’t it? Perhaps I’m naive as to the real scope of this market. The industry also sounds like a mature one, where a fully manufactured product is exported, in contrast to a more colonial system where raw materials are exported to be refined in foreign factories with the products re-imported. The only way the ban makes secular sense to me is if India wants to stock its medical schools first before supplying the rest of the world.
Anything that can spark such trains of thought is definitely worth reading, especially you’re intrigued by the idea of grave robbing.