Admittedly, I don’t need anymore nightmare fuel than what my brain already supplies. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT I DON’T CONTINUALLY FIND MORE THINGS TO BE SCARED OF!

Nightmare Fuel: What's Been Keeping Me up at Night

Original photo by Jack Cain

I’ve always been a horror movie fan. I love to be scared, and I don’t know why. For my eleventh birthday, my mom took me and my friends to a haunted forest trail (one of the perks of being an October baby is all the Halloween birthday activities) and then we came back to my house and watched Halloween. When I was even younger, I read ALL of the Mary Downing Hahn and Peg Kehret books the school library had. When I got older, I rented scary movies. Now, I spend so much time reading creepy stories in subreddits, or obsessing over Candle Cove.

What can I say? I like nightmare fuel.

What can I say? I like nightmare fuel. Click To Tweet

So, I thought maybe some of my readers might like to be as scared as I am about stupid stuff too. So, without further ado, I present to you a list of 10 things that have been my most recent nightmare fuel.

001: Reading the Dear David tweets.
Somehow, I’d missed these until Mari Farthing sent me a text about them. Then, naturally, I went through every last one. Basically, some dude has a creepy boy ghost with a smashed-in head haunting his apartment, and the ghost wants him dead because the dude asked too many questions. (If this doesn’t make sense, head on over to the Storify of those tweets.) And while I enjoy a good scare during the day, I’ve managed to find myself only reading these tweets just before bed.

Nightmare Fuel

002: Remembering that scene in The Exorcist where Regan crab walks backwards down the stairs.
Fun fact: Since I was born in the ’80s, I didn’t see The Exorcist in theaters. And unbeknownst to me, the version I rented at the Hollywood Video (RIP video stores) on Santa Fe and 15th in 2002 was the director’s cut. So, I got all manner of additional scary things that, while cinematically problematic, were HELLA TERRIFYING. One of those things is the scene where Regan comes down the stairs, crab walking backwards in her nightgown. It’s kind of a throwaway scene, just because there’s no shots of other characters reacting to it, and it cuts away super fast and isn’t mentioned again. But it’s still scary, and not a great thing to think about just as you’re dozing off at night.

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Nightmare Fuel

003: Walking my dog in my historic, tree-filled neighborhood after dark.
Sometimes, I’ll go out at night, and when I get home, I have to walk Rosie one more time. This wouldn’t be necessary, but SOMEBODY refuses to poop in the backyard and MUST do so in the yards of neighbors. (I’m not a monster — I bag it up.) Anyway, this means that I find myself walking the dog along dark sidewalks and under the branches of trees that have been around for at least a hundred years. And this means I see things hiding behind those trees. Sure, Rosie would probably alert me if something was going on, but she’s also kind of a jerk who would probably befriend the Slenderman-like entity who is following us all around the district.

(Side note: Slenderman probably lives in Norman, Oklahoma. Slenderman probably enrolled at OU, but dropped out after a couple of years. He’s probably a townie now that lives in that old neighborhood behind Griffin Memorial Hospital, and he DEFINITELY shops at the Walmart on 12th and drinks at Opie’s. And he follows me and Rosie around on our walks.)

004: Google searching for pictures of ghosts.
I don’t know why I do this, but I do it a lot. I just want to see if any new ones come up, because I’m pretty sure we’re real close to the point where the camera on your smart phone has like eleventy-billion megapixels, and can totally pick up ghosts.

If you’re the type of person who is easily frightened, I don’t recommend you do this. Those pictures are hella scary, and at least 85% of them are fake. So, not only do you wind up terrified, but you don’t get the real pictures you’re looking for.

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005: Assuming the drunken revelry of my college-age neighbors is actually supernatural entities.
There is nothing quite so terrifying as being torn from a dead sleep by the sound that is the banshee cackle/crying of a drunk college girl. My college-age neighbors like to hang out in their driveway at night, which just happens to be eight feet from my bedroom window. And apparently they like to drink Skinny Girl Margaritas, if I’m reading the garbage pile beneath my bedroom window correctly. They drink, they laugh and cry, and I wake up. And when I do wake up, it’s with a pulse of 180 because I’M TERRIFIED BY THAT SOUND. This pretty much guarantees that when I do fall back asleep, I have a nightmare that includes the sound of their shrieks.

nightmare fuel


006: Seeing the Avery White Rascal beer label.
This has always scared me, but I just remembered about it because someone sent me a snap of it with the caption that it was his nickname in high school. Just look at that devil and tell me you won’t see it dancing in the corners of your room when you’re trying to sleep.

ghost pictures

007: Washing my face.
Yeah. So, remember my real life ghost pictures? It’s still an issue.

Nightmare Fuel

008: Thinking about how the demon from Paranormal Activity followed that woman her whole life and didn’t just haunt one particular house.
Sure, I live in fear that the 90-year-old home I’m renting is haunted by the first owners. But I live in more fear of the idea that an evil ghost/demon could JUST FOLLOW ME WHEREVER I WENT. That’s not something you should think about as you’re shutting your brain down at the end of the day, but well, I do it anyway.

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009: My dog being a creepo.
So, Rosie and I share a bedroom, which is generally pretty cool. I like having her nearby, and if she can see me, she’s not so anxious. The only times that it sucks to keep your dog’s bed near your bed are when you wake up to find your dog staring at you, or when your dog makes terrible genital licking sounds that integrate into your dreams. Basically, Rosie either wakes up in the middle of the night and just stares at me until I wake up. Or, she makes a sound that my brain will conjure up creepy images to — like intestines being squished into a tree trunk. (I literally dreamt that the last time she went on a midnight lick-bender.)

010: Watching Snapchats and Insta Stories that are too much like found footage horror films.
Okay. So, I follow this YouTube makeup vlogger on Snapchat because she leads the sort of life that I never will. (You know, wears makeup that you can’t get at CVS, jets around to fancy events in New York for Sephora, and washes her hair more than once every two weeks.) Anyway, she posted a snap of her attempting to catch a plane at LAX, and it was of her running through the airport. But it was so much like a found footage horror movie (á la Blair Witch) that I started to worry about what I’d get a glimpse of just in the corner of the frame. And I went to bed that night imagining that scenario.

Nightmare fuel guaranteed to keep you up all night! Click To Tweet

Real talk: Even though I’ve just admitted all the things that scare me, I’m about to start binge watching past seasons of American Horror Story, and I’m definitely going to see IT in theaters very soon. So, I guess get ready for more blog posts about nightmare fuel!

What sort of self-defeating things do you do when it’s time for bed? What scares you? What’s your nightmare fuel?

6 Responses

  1. Gurrrl, you gotta stop watching that scary stuff!
    I stay away from all that foolishness, mostly because I’m easily
    frightened. And I have a “I wish a motherfucker would” attitude. Fuck evil ghost and clowns. Watch a nice cooking video before bed instead! I love Mary Berry.

    1. Hahaha! I love GBBO! But I have to say, the anxiety of wondering how people will fair in that show has led to some pretty epic nightmares too.

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