In the spook of things

My love of all things spooky — within reason — has become a topic of conversation recently.

Jason and I love to watch scary movies, from slashers to movies about the supernatural. It’s fun to get the little prickles on your arms while occasionally telling somebody on the screen “bad move” or “no thank you.”

That was brought up last weekend in a discussion by friends last weekend. One of my dear friends couldn’t believe we enjoyed such things. It’s a big “no thank you” for her.

We added to that over the weekend by attending the Mayhem Haunted House out at the Expo grounds. We had to wait in line for a bit, but that was eased by watching “Poltergeist” play on the wall. There was no sound, but we’ve seen the movie enough to know what was going on.

When it was our turn to enter, I was ready. We went through with another couple to make the line move faster. The men were at the front and the back of the group with us ladies in the middle.

Having been through a preliminary tour of the haunted house to take photos of the magazine didn’t tamper anything for me, though. There were a couple of spots I knew something was going to happen that totally freaked out my counterparts, but the addition of the special effects and the actors made it a totally new experience.

After we returned home, we spent some time watching college football; then we decided to watch a couple of movies, falling asleep to “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” with the opening credits “introducing Johnny Depp.”

Our love of creepy things got to Colin the other night. At bedtime, Jason turned on a show about some of the most haunted places in America. He fell asleep shortly into it after a long day of work and activities for the kids, but I continued watching. My interest was piqued by a teaser on a section on Lizzie Borden. I wanted to watch to see what it had to say about that.

Unfortunately, Colin walked into the room at that point, wanting to read before he headed to bed. He heard a part of the tale and an eerie background chant of the “40 Whacks” poem. It was enough to creep him out enough to beg to sleep in our room. I told him it was a school night and he needed to sleep in his own room. He managed to sneak in after I fell asleep. He was on the floor next to me when I woke up.

One place I’m intrigued by and would love to visit sometime, as I discussed with a coworker the other day, is the Villisca Axe Murder House. It’s not too far away, and if I took a back route to visit my brother sometime, it would be right on the way.

I’m not sure what drives my love for such things. Maybe it’s the rush of adrenaline you get, or maybe it’s just a fascination with the unexplainable.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s born out of 13 years of growing up in an old house that used to be a funeral home.

— Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.

Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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