You know what?
Well, that’s what I’m here for.
I’ll tell you what.
There ain’t nothin like a good, old-fashion scary show to get your neck hairs primed and standing up.
Oh, I know there are a lot of other things that can get your neck hairs up.
Like when J.B. Carrico took me hunting and warned me about bears. But I soon was able to pat those hairs back down after J.B. assured me that even Davy Crockett killed him a bear when he was three. Of course, later I found out the bear was three and Davy Crockett was 47, but that’s another story. History was never J.B.’s strong point.
But none of that is like a scary show.
When I was a little kid I was drawn to scary movies like a skunk is to tires rolling down the highway.
That was a long time ago.
It was different then.
Now-a-days, kids have infinite sources of entertainment, whereas we had one. It was television and we had only three channels.
Good gosh, I shutter to think about it.
Anyway, I was about six-years-old and Channel 3 out of Louisville would come on the air right after school with some old movies that ran from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. I loved movies and would plant my half- inch-wide butt down on the floor to watch them all in glorious black-and-white.
One week around Halloween they had a whole series of movies featuring Dracula, the Werewolf, Frankenstein, and the Mummy, running a different one each day. They were good, but the one that made my knees knock together and teeth chatter was called “13 Ghosts.”
In the movie, a normal family inherits a house from a distant relation that happened to have been a mad scientist. They never did say what he was “mad” about. However, the man collected ghosts from around the world using some special invention he had and brought them back to that very house the family inherited. All the ghosts had a story behind them except the 13th ghost, which was a mystery. But a free house was a free house back then and, ghosts or no ghosts, the family decided to stay.
Yep, we were different in those days. It’d take more than a little supernatural annoyance to run out a stout 1950s family. We were tough. Insane, but tough.
Now the truth is, I can’t remember anything else about the movie except for one scene. All the beds in the house were old fashioned and had canopies over them. One of the family members is a murderer and the 13th ghost forces this guy onto a bed and the canopy suddenly lowers down, smothering him.
About that time my eyes were as big as manhole covers, not wanting to miss any of the details.
“Holey moley,” I thought. “I’m not going to sleep for a week. I don’t have a canopy on my bed and I haven’t murdered anyone, but who knows what some crazy ghost will do.”
I lived in a crowded house with my parents and eight other siblings. Any ghost wouldn’t have been able to sneak up on you and yell the required “Boo!” but that didn’t enter into my young, undeveloped mind. Also, I shared a bed, as is custom in large families, with my older brothers Tony and Johnny. Big brother protection, my foot! I was young, but I wasn’t stupid. Shoot, if a ghost came up there then I would be a sacrifice for the greater good.
That night we had an extra-heavy dose of darkness.
I carefully ensured that I went to the bathroom the traditional 40 times before bedtime. No way, once I hit the sheets, was I coming out of there until the sun was high in the sky.
I climbed into bed and nervously surveyed the surroundings with my manhole-cover eyes as the house slowly went into sleep mode. I proceeded to put my anti-ghost shields over me for the night. I could sense the presence of supernatural beings, but didn’t say anything.
Suddenly, my brothers confirmed my suspicions that something odd was a foot.
“Why is this bed shaking?” Johnny said with a look of concern.
“Yeah, and there’s a foul odor (edited for family newspaper) in the air,” said Tony.
They flicked on the lamp and looked at the middle of the bed to see a quivering, shaking bump in the blanket.
Tony whipped off the blanket and said, “I found where the foul odor is coming from. You need to go to the bathroom or what Kenny?”
“You idiot!” I yelled. You’ve pulled my anti-ghost shield off.”
I grabbed the blanket and started to pull it back over my head.
“I don’t want the ghost to smother me!”
“You won’t have to if you pull that blanket back over your head,” said Johnny. “You’ll do it on your own. Man, I wished I smoked. I need to clear my lungs out.”
Tony said, “If you smoked, we’d all go up in a ball of flames. Kenny, you need to get out of here if you’re going to do that all night. What’s wrong with you?”
“It makes my tummy hurt because I’m scared. I don’t want the ghost to get me!”
I looked up with a pitiful face that only a six-year-old wanting the protective care of his big brothers can do.
Johnny and Tony looked at me for a few seconds and gave me a warm, loving smile.
Then they tossed me out into the dark and locked the door behind me.
We were tough back then.
I got over my fear of the dark and ghosts that long night on the couch. If you beat off as many ghosts as I did that night, then you would have, too.
It’s been almost 50 years since that happened.
You know what?
I’m still plotting my revenge.