The Uphill Slide

There is always something.



My last visit to a scare house? Fake haunted house? Before this year? Never. A dull boring life! Hundred Acres Manor in Bethel Park is on one of those best of lists. What are the criteria for making the list of top haunted houses in the United States? 

I’m not a kid. I’m not scared of the unreal supernatural beings. The soft taps and brushing noises from the attic are mice. Not ghosts to steal my soul. I don’t leave the door open for a rapid escape as I watch vampires and werewolves on the screen. They’re not waiting to suck my blood. I’m not afraid to walk up an alley at night beside a cemetery. There are no ghosts of evil intent. Those things that scared me as a teen. There are no supernatural beings coming for me. No hordes of spiders. No den of snakes. No monsters with glowing red eyes. If they never came in my days of half-belief, why would they suddenly reveal themselves to the scoffing non-believer? That would be the best time. Fright of a lifetime. Monsters are real.

So why go? Just plain Halloween holiday fun. Machine fog on a cool dark October night. A woman in Victorian dress strolling through the fog tempting a Jack the Ripper sort. A decaying body lying uneasily in a coffin. And a huge sign-bearing mechanical twisting skeletal monster with horns and instruments of torture basking in red and green light. A winding maze of halls through the ‘haunted manor’, home to all the creatures in our nightmares. Body parts on gurney and tables. Blood and guts. Bodies in decay. Monsters with red eyes bouncing. Killer bacteria and extraterrestrials. Spiders and bats. Hanging hair-like tentacles brushing our faces. All sorts of things that scare us. The abnormally normal. Hoping for just one good fright. Someone jumping out from behind a curtain. The brush of an invisible hand. Alas! Laughing instead of crying.

As a rational adult, I don’t believe in vampires and werewolves. I do, however, believe in monsters. They don’t have fangs and grow hair all over their bodies and howl at the moon. They don’t have glowing red eyes that follow me. They are humans that look just like me. They blend into the crowd hiding their monstrosity. They are chameleon monsters that not all can see.

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