Fear is a peculiar thing; it comes in all shapes and sizes. It could be something like a giant menacing humanoid figure with octopus tentacles and dragon-shaped wings straight out of a Lovecraft story, or the 0.0 that pops up in your report card a few days before Christmas day. It could be a product of the mind, like darkness leaving you wondering about the possible horrors that lurk beyond your senses. It also doesn’t matter who you are. Big and strong, short and frail, there’s bound to be something that gets you to wet your pants.
This month, we wanted to know what sort of ghastly ghouls and unspeakable horrors plagued Lasallian nightmares. So we ask you students, what are you most afraid of? What do you do to face and conquer your fears?
The most commonly cited fear is not much bigger than your thumb (or at least we hope so), being none other than the notorious cockroach or it’s more dreaded variant, the ‘flying ipis’. What makes this common Filipino pest send even the grown men screaming is hard to pinpoint actually, since it only takes a whack of a daily newspaper to send it back to kingdom come. Still, many students take extreme measures during tough encounters with a cockroach. Henry* (III-LGL) counts to ten while taking deep breaths if it still hasn’t run away yet. Meanwhile, Ysa (II, HUM-BIO) claims that, “there’s no other way but to run.” But if this fails, “then close your eyes and count all the sheep that you see.”
Cramped and dark places
Certain places can elicit fear especially if you’re all alone and the lights are out. People naturally feel defenseless during these situations and sometimes assume that bad things will occur even if the possibility is absolute zero. For example, Curt* (III, CAM-MKT) dreads long and narrow hallways because it reminds him of “movies like The Shining, Carrie, and It”. Matt (II, MKT) gets similar feelings with coffins where one can get locked up and eventually suffocate to death. He emphasizes that “the idea of being trapped in a small space for a long period of time and barely being able to move” is horrifying. Denise* (II, HUM-BIO) shares that it helps to close one’s eyes and imagine yourself in a different place. Curt adds that “singing and making noises to distract oneself and turning on all the lights” make getting through these places less anxious.
Even everyday objects can be a cause of fear. Think about it. The paper you’re reading could be giving you paper cuts at this very moment. That computer screen could explode on your face, leaving you scarred for life. Megan* (II, AB-CAM) explains that what makes them scary is “their ability to fool you into thinking that they are harmless until they kill you.” When faced with such objects, she resorts to either “screaming and locking myself in a panic room or fighting back like a boss”. Additionally, Hank* (V, CS-ST) shares that the threat from “exploding objects like aircons and fans” come from the possibility of “getting shocked and possibly injured.” “However, it’s a different story when your everyday innocuous objects get possessed and levitate by themselves,” Gab* (III, CAM- MKT) says.
Demons and ghosts
Perhaps it’s because of the slew of 20th and 21st century films relating to exorcisms or the innumerable references in the bible, literature, and other media that demons are among the high-ranking contenders in the scare charts. The army of ghosts, white ladies, and decaying corpses were also popular (in a bad way) among students. The possibility of being possessed by these supernatural beings in particular is one cause of fear. Lasallians could only imagine fainting, crying, praying, screaming, and urinating as courses of action. Landon* (IV, MEE), on the subject of demons and exorcisms, says, ‘It’s hard to imagine what I’d do or will happen if it does occur. I’d probably only know when the moment arises.” As to why they’re scary, he emphasizes “the fact that it is possible or real.”
People have the tendency to be afraid of the glorious creation called film, more specifically horror films. Take Whitney* (IV, FIN) as an example of one who is mostly terrified of true ghost stories, some that penetrate into the medium of film. She shares that when she is met by something that resembles anything from a horror film, her instinct is to just run as far away as possible for the appearances are too grotesque and horrifying. However, some Lasallians feel that Japanese horror flicks trump real-life ghost stories. Myla* (IV, AB-OCM) believes that while American horror films don’t necessarily give her a quake in the boots, Japanese horror flicks like The Ring and The Grudge made her restless when she was a kid. Nowadays, she isn’t affected anymore but the trauma still persists until now.
It’s ironic that some people are known to feel squeamish or faint at the sight of blood even though the human body is filled with liters of it. Ralph* (III, LGL) explains that blood is directly associated with pain, injury, or even death, hence the nauseating feeling. It doesn’t help that television shows and movies love to spill buckets of blood to present the audience gory images which will be imprinted in their minds for a long time. Even horror directors are hematophobics themselves. After all, there’s no point in filling the set with things which they don’t consider scary, right?
Some fears can take a more realistic form. Cathy* (Alumni, BS-PSYC) shares that the sound of drums when she was a kid left her traumatized of the traditional Chinese Lion Dance. Meanwhile, Sue* (III, AE- ADV) fears worn out condoms that would bring unwanted pregnancy. In these cases, the reasons for the fear are easier to trace.
Most people are scared of things that they have not even seen or experienced yet. People like to fill in the gaps in their knowledge about the unknown with their own theories. Their imagination often goes beyond the borders of reality to the extent that everything that they are afraid of become mere illusions in their mind. Some let the media or theoretical fears get the best of them, but they help themselves eventually.
The fact of the matter is, fear is an essential aspect of human experience. Whether the objects of your fear are real or not is of little consequence because the feeling of dread is unquestionably real. Not to say that the objects themselves aren’t real. The possibility of creepy crawlies exploring your gaping mouth as you sleep isn’t unrealistic. Thinking that alien spacecrafts are lurking outside your window doesn’t make you crazy. And who knows? That strange lady in white standing behind you could be very real.