Baron's Blitz: Our greatest fear

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Baron's Blitz: Our greatest fear

Postby Baron von Gosu » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:06 pm

I think one of the most frequent questions posed to me in my time doing Dead Air/Ghost in the Podcast has always been what scares me most. On the show there are always the jokes of my fears of the eight legged spawns of Satan who are not-so-secretly attempting to devour my very soul (All hail Arachnos!), but the thing is in reality I can handle myself somewhat gracefully when dealing with my arch-nemeses. Even as they (deliberately) build their webs at perfect eye level. The reality, however, is that I've never discussed what really scares me on the show. The truth of my deepest fear isn't something as entertaining as spider orbs, their real life brethren, or those tense moments walking down a long hallway in Amnesia as I run dangerously low on kerosene for my lamp. As much as those things scare me, as discussed on the show, there is a difference between 'safe' fear and 'real' fear. What I want to tell you about here is my 'real' fear.

Several years ago I had a dream about my niece and I spending time together at a local mall. She was around six at the time and for most of her childhood she and I were very close. Taking her to the mall or out for ice cream or just out to the park was not an uncommon activity for us in the waking world so of course I thought nothing of what was about to happen in the next several minutes. At one point in the dream I bent down to pick my fork up off the floor and when I came back up she was gone.

I searched the food court, ran through the halls screaming her name, searched every store I came across knocking displays over as my panic built to a crescendo my sleeping mind couldn't take. I awoke in a cold sweat with my face buried in my hands sobbing uncontrollably. I spent the rest of the night lying awake on my niece's floor as she slept blissfully ignorant of my presence. The next morning I was gone before she awoke, and any time I was put into a position to take her somewhere I would have mini panic attacks before leaving the house. To this day I have never experienced a fear as brutal and honest as I did that night while I dreamed. It makes the nights worrying about Freddy, Jason, or the monsters under my bed waiting to pounce look pathetically weak by comparison. I'd take on all he imaginary monsters lurking in the dark if it meant never having to face that fear again.

HP Lovecraft once wrote that mankind's greatest fear is fear of the unknown. While I agree this is pertinent to the tenants of good horror, I believe there is a much greater fear buried deep within our souls that we spend the majority of our lives hiding from. There is no lamp bright enough to pierce this darkness. No Lemerchand Cube as precise a puzzle to hide away the demons clawing at the edges of our sanity. Humankind's greatest fear, in my humble opinion, is Truth.
Tonight I was again forced to face my 'real' fear.

A few years ago I got hooked on a show called 'Disappeared,' which airs on the Discovery Channel. The show is a series documentary about people who disappeared from their lives and the ensuing investigations trying to uncover what happened to these individuals. Baroness often wonders why I enjoy shows like these and to be honest I've never had a good reason to give her. I think it stems from the very same part of me that enjoys talking about Real Life Horror stories on the show despite obvious listener dislike of the topic. Regardless, there was one person's story that stuck out most for me...

On a cold October night in 2009 a beautiful young woman dressed to the nines in a black Pantera t-shirt, matching mini-skirt, and knee high black boots disappeared from a Metallica concert in Charlottesville, Virginia. This girl's name is Morgan Harrington, a twenty year old Virginia Tech student with a smile brilliant enough to melt the blue ice of her eyes while also making them gleam as if reflecting sunlight. In the ensuing hours she is separated from her friends at the concert and disappears. In January the following year her skeletonized body was found in a field ten miles away from the concert venue where she disappeared. The autopsy reveals she was murdered.

In my life I have known many people personally and professionally who've been through atrocities only my deepest fears could imagine. A few of these even inspired one of my many books that I am hoping to publish someday. I've hugged the sobbing friend, kissed the tormented girlfriend, and listened with quiet empathy to the stories told to me behind closed doors. Yet as angry and fearful as these situations were, they were still nothing compared to that dream. And much like that dream, Morgan's story is something I have agonized over for years, only my interest in her isn't nearly as obvious as it was with that dream. Tonight I figured out why I am so interested. It's time for me to face my worst fear: the truth.

My worst fear is being a father. As much as I look forward to one day being one, I don't believe there is ever a situation as terrifying, as powerless, or as haunting as what it really means to be a parent. Think about it for a second: everything you do from that point on is for the benefit of a another human being. You created a human being out of virtually nothing. Is there anything closer to God or nature than that?

As much as I empathize with Morgan, what drives my interest more are the blog letters posted by her parents on http://www.findmorgan.com. There is such heartache in those posts, such powerlessness to do much of anything. Their child is gone. The only time they'll hear her voice again is through old family videos. Her gorgeous smile will never age another day. They'll never grow old and have their relationship with their daughter blossom. I think of all that and my dream and I am paralyzed with fear. I don't know what I would do if what happened to Morgan happened to a life I helped bring into this world. I pray I'll never have to find out.

I think I have a better understanding now of why people dislike the real life horror topic portion of the show and my posts. Sure it's part of that 'safe' and 'real' fear mentioned earlier, but I think it's more being forced to face truth. The truth of living is that sometimes shit happens. Bad things happen to good people. Bad people sometimes get away with doing bad things. Horror as a genre has been very successful in creating fictitious fear for entertainment, but when it works at its best there are lessons to be learned about the nature of fear, how it works, how it grows, how it consumes, and if lucky, how we ultimately overcome it. In therapy we refer to this as 'building insight.' I hope this article built some insight for you, dear reader. I know it did for me.

I faced my fears and survived.


****NOTE***** After five long years Foxnews.com is reporting there has been a break in the Morgan Harrington case. If the DNA evidence holds true, I hope they nail the sonuvabitch to the wall. Her family deserves peace.
"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light."
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