Monday, 22 June 2015

Monster Mondays - The Monster in the Closet

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I don't know about you, but when I was a child I always had to have the door of any wardrobe, or closet closed tight, or that slit of shadow would take control of my attention, drawing me back to it over and over again. Even with a nightlight, the thought of what was behind that door, hidden in the darkness, waiting to silently ease open its cage caught my imagination every time. And, even when it isn't dark, when there is just a closed door that I have to open, I still catch myself wondering what grim thing could be hiding in the small space behind.

Closet doors, attic hatches, crawl spaces, all of them give me the creeps, and not just because of the spiders. To be honest, I don't even like walking into a darkened room, I always reach round and fumble for the light switch before I'll look into the void. Maybe I've watched far too many horror movies! ;P A good one about the hidden monster in the closet is Boogeyman (2005), where a young man returns to his childhood home to deal with a trauma linked to a monster in the closet that has affected his whole life.

Still, it's that fear of the unknown, what the shadows can be hiding that is the key to the closet monster. From the childish fear of gruesome monsters to the adult one of a burglar, or worse, there is something innate about our fear of unknown spaces, even when our logical brain tells us that is where we hung up our clothes only minutes ago.

I know from American movies that a lot of larger US closets have lights in them. In the houses I've lived in in the UK, we had no such luxury. Those little spaces were dark and full of menace when the room light was shadowed out by my own body. I'd like to blame the fact that I tend to leave clothes lying on the backs of chairs at night on that small terror, but that could just be because I'm lazy!

And, in the middle of the night, what's worse than the closet monster? I'll tell you - the bathroom beast! When I was a child, in the rectory I lived in, the loo was at the diametrically opposite end of the top floor to the bedroom I shared with my twin, Tasha. On a chilly winter night, when there was a wind rustling the trees outside, that could be an awfully long walk, and opening the door at the other end - well - that's where I learned to turn on lights before going into the room.

It's a primeval fear of the dark, of enclosed spaces, of things we don't understand. All of them come together in our fear of the closet monster!

Were/are you scared of the closet monster?

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  1. Closet monsters never bothered me, but monsters under the bed was another story. Even to this day I don't like to dangle my arms or legs over the side of the bed. I know nothing is under there, but the idea of something reaching up and grabbing me freaks me out.

    1. I feel your pain - although with 'under the bed' I was looking for the alien pod people ;P. Maybe that's why I now own a divan - there is no space under the bed for a monster, or a pod!

  2. I was like Patricia. Monster under the bed = bad news. I did grow out of not being able to let my arms and legs dangle over the side of the bed. I still need a snuggle pillow though (from when I used to sleep with a teddy bear). That, I still haven't gotten over. ;)

    1. Awww - a snuggle pillow - that sounds so cute :).


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