Sunday, October 9, 2011

Scary Books

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
            - H. P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

It’s nearing Halloween and time once again to curl up with a scary book. You know the ones I’m talking about. Those special books that struck a macabre chord with you. The ones you keep for yourself and never loan to friends.
The books that remind you of graveyards. The ones that whisper to you in the dark.
Here there are demons and monsters and strange spirits. You covet them. The ghosts are like family. You share an affinity with the monsters, those poor misguided brutes with malevolent souls.
It’s all here: the putrid scent of death, the presence of pure evil, the phantasms of the mind that infest your dreams like maggots on a slice of decaying meat.
The paperbacks and comic books and limited editions and chapbooks and short stories. Vampires, werewolves, monsters, witches and ghouls all parading before you, a regiment of Satanic relatives arriving unannounced for a long visit. Aren’t you lucky?
Can you name the fallen angels? Their names are written in these forbidden tomes and when you speak their names they may answer you. Make no mistake about what I am telling you. They are listening. And they dwell in those place just beyond the shadows.
The lonesome places that August Derleth wrote about. Places that are darker than dark. Places where the evil sucks the breath from your lungs without warning. Suddenly you’re on your knees gasping for breath, a spinning cyclone of black stars bursting under your eyelids.
And you say to yourself: This is fine. This is what I wanted. Something oozing with primordial, ancient evil whispering obscenities into my Calvinistic ear. I promise not to tell! And the darkness engulfs you.
Pray tell, traveler in cyberspace. Have your wanderings along the digital highway always taken you to cemeteries? Do you sometimes lie down among the headstones when the sun is still sending its golden shafts through the treetops only to fall asleep and awaken when the shadows have begun to lengthen? Of course.
Now find a scary book and turn the page. Smell the musty scent of pulp paper – and something else. Something that’s neither alive nor dead. It thrives there in the gloom, watching, listening, and waiting to take you someplace else. Someplace dark, someplace that isn’t so easy to return from....

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