By Tracy Chesney

I don’t know if she was supposed to be Bloody Mary or the Wicked Witch of the North, South, East or West, but whoever she was, she used to scare the living daylights out of me.

When I was a little girl, ghost stories were popular tales to tell as girls huddled together at slumber parties telling the creepiest stories imaginable. One story in particular stuck in my mind for years on end.

I can’t remember quite how the story went; but supposedly if you were to look in a mirror at night, then you’d see some ghostly looking woman looking back at you. Apparently, the story scared me so much that I avoided looking into a mirror at night until I was in my mid 30s in fear of seeing some scary looking woman looking back at me. Of course, by the time I got the nerve to look into a mirror at night, I finally realized that the scary looking woman looking back at me was me.

As Halloween approaches, old, scary movies start popping up all over the television stations, but I have to avoid scary movies like the plague because they scare me so much that I’ll have nightmares. If I do watch a scary movie, I’m the type who hides my eyes under my sweater and take an occasional peak at the movie to see what’s going on.

After watching the first episode of Halloween in the theater (way back in the prehistoric days), I came home that night and had the worst nightmare of my life. I dreamed that my friends and I were approaching my car in a darkened mall parking lot, and I saw the car door open before I got to it. I just knew it had to be Jack the Ripper or Frankenstein’s monster waiting in the back seat of my car to slash my throat.

So while I was having this nightmare, I was screaming bloody murder in my sleep for about 10 minutes before I could wake up. Once I finally woke up, I had to keep the lights on for the rest of the night because I just knew Dracula was going to come swooping in my window in the middle of the night to suck all my blood away and turn me into a little vampire.

Before the Halloween and Friday the 13th movies came along, Alfred Hitchock’s early 1960’s movies “Psycho” and “The Birds” were considered some of the scariest movies around. For those of you old enough to remember “The Birds,” a flock of birds went psycho and attacked a town. Seeing how I was a small girl at the time the movie came out, it’s no wonder that that movie made quite an impression on me and gave me numerous nightmares.

Trying to explain the horror of “The Birds” to someone who had never seen it before is kind of like trying to explain the birds and the bees to your child as they look at you with this “you got to be kidding” look.

Then who can forget the scene in “Psycho” when a woman is stabbed to death while taking a shower to that gory-sounding music. No wonder some women back in that era might have been afraid to take a shower.

Speaking of “Psycho,” the movie is listed in the top scariest movies of all times on most Web sites. According to from Entertainment weekly, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Steven King’s novel, “The Shining,” topped the list as the Top 20 scariest movies.

Second on the list was “The Exorcist,” followed by “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Jaws,” “Halloween,” “Psycho,” “Seven,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” then “Poltergeist.”

Number 11 on the list was “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” followed by “The Thing,” “The Evil Dead,” “Carrie, “Night of the Living Dead,” “The Omen,” “An American Werewolf in London,” “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” “The Hitcher,” then the “Lost Highway.”

Since my nickname is Pumpkin, I much prefer to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” where Charlie Brown anxiously awaits the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. So before midnight comes around and I turn back into a fat, orange pumpkin, I better quit writing about such scary things, because I’m way past deadline, and I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and look in the mirror and scare myself to death.

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