Phantasmagoria

Mia Lucero, Staff Writer

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Fear. The feeling that sinks down to the pit of your stomach and sits there as your heart beats faster and faster with the feeling of your inevitable and rapidly approaching doom. Fear is not relative. It is the only emotion that is apparent in most human beings because it is the driving force of survival. Fight vs. flight, live or die. This type of fear feels like it’s coming from the brain. It’s logical to be afraid of an obvious threat, whether it be a man with a gun or a bear coming at you, it makes sense to be scared of something that puts you in immediate danger. The unknown is what elicits anxiety from your gut, playing with your instincts only to have you ask yourself, “Why am I afraid, anyway?”

Ghosts are a common threat, and although it may seem juvenile, 45% of Americans admit to being fearful of them. A ghost, by definition, is an apparition of a dead person that is believed to appear or become a manifestation to the living. The intense fear of ghosts is Phasmaphobia, while Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns, which are thought to be scary because of the masks and intensive makeup they wear in order to hide the true emotions that may become apparent on their faces. The recurring theme is the element of the unknown. Phantasmagoria, as defined by Edgar Allen Poe, is a sequence of real or imaginary images like those seen in a dream. The ability to differentiate what’s real and imaginary helps to enable humans to gage the level of danger in a situation. With the paranormal, the line between the two becomes blurred, and we can no longer remember what really happened and what we imagined. It’s what throws us off that scares us most.

To seek out the paranormal is to waste time and energy. In most cases, it seems, odd images and sounds only go to those who don’t look for it. Demonologists (educated individuals who dedicate their lives to the study of occult religions, and demons) find that people who are emotionally conflicted or in a vulnerable state are the ones who experience things like demonic possession most often. Although it may seem, “kooky,” or weird, many, “average Joe,” civilians are avid believers in the paranormal. Kary King, a math teacher at Farmington High School spoke of instances he couldn’t explain. “Growing up there were several experiences with my mom. She has that, “sixth sense,” kinda thing. When we were kids, she would talk about speaking to my grandmother at night, even though she had long since been dead.” To be able to open your mind enough to believe, is a hard thing to do. It takes tolerance, empathy, and understanding. Trust in the people you love, and open your mind’s eye. “I don’t doubt my mom. I believe her.”

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Phantasmagoria