Out of fear, of a man born on Friday the 13th | News, Sports, Jobs
“Mankind’s oldest and strongest emotion is fear, and the oldest and strongest type of fear is fear of the unknown.” – HP Lovecraft
As the family legend says, my parents were all set to call me Jason until I was born on Friday the 13th.
When I got out that day, they came back to “The Big Book of Baby Names”. They couldn’t call me after the main villain of the popular horror movie franchise “Friday the 13th” when I was born on title day.
I believe my birth that day – under the deep darkness of a waning crescent moon – gave me a great love of scary movies, scary stories, and scary books.
The first time my birthday fell again on a Friday, in 1991, I was only 6 years old. movie marathons from the “Halloween”, “Nightmare on Elm Street” and, of course, “Friday the 13th” franchises.
In my younger years, no one in my family had any money, so few of us could afford cable TV or frequent trips to a video rental location.
So we – my mom, her sisters, my cousins, my mom’s cousins - mostly just sat and played cards and board games and talked…
… And told scary stories.
My mother and her sisters were excellent. They insisted that every story was not only true, but that it had happened to them, that they had witnessed it firsthand and could thus swear to its authenticity. I loved sitting there listening as a kid, I was so scared I jumped on the shadows and had to watch a few cartoons before bed just to calm myself down enough to fall asleep.
All these years later, it’s hard – even despite my years of trained journalistic skepticism – not to believe in my bones that all of these things actually happened:
Little girls, my mother and one of her sisters broke into a long abandoned old house to explore its dusty rooms. The house would have belonged to a mad doctor whose ghost still haunted the premises. Throughout the house, my mom and aunt found strange hidden doors that opened up secret closets, crawl spaces, and attics (that’s at least a little believable, as Battle Creek was a major stop on the railroad. underground, and many houses at the time had secret compartments for storing runaway slaves).
Through one of those hidden doors, mom and sister found a room with many ancient glass jars filled with formaldehyde-preserving rat tails, opossum heads, and many other strange animal parts, as well as what my mother always insisted on had to be a human ear.
Another night when my mom was a girl she woke up from a nightmare and then heard a knock on their front door. From the landing to the top of the stairs, she saw her uncle open the door to a bloodied man who asked to use the phone because he and his friend had just crashed on a motorbike right outside my mother’s house.
Unbeknownst to my young mother, her mother was in the hospital at the time, suffering from a severe asthma attack.
The doctors had just pronounced the death of my grandmother.
A second later, while mom’s uncle was on the phone with the paramedics, this biker friend died there on the street.
At the same time, the doctors resuscitated my grandmother.
Years later, my mom and dad, as teenage couples, went out after dark to explore one of Battle Creek’s ancient cemeteries – the one with the mythological statue of the Weeping Virgin Mary supposedly at midnight – and came across torn and bloody clothes. hanging from a tree. Under the tree was a rolled up rug that appeared to have something bulky inside.
As my parents moved over to the rug to examine it in more detail, they heard a doom moan behind them and leaves rustling, as if something big was moving very quickly towards them. They got him out of there.
A few years later my aunt was driving late at night on a country road, tall stalks of corn on either side of the road. She passed a man wearing what looked like an orange prison jumpsuit, walking slowly, limping.
As my aunt walked past, the man stared at her with blank eyes in a pale, ghostly face.
My aunt accelerated, hoping to put as much distance as possible between her and the spectral figure, and saw him disappear in the distance in her rearview mirror.
But, three miles down the country road and only a few minutes later, she passed the same man again, staring at her with the same grim gaze, still limping.
I have to wait until 2024 for another Friday the 13th anniversary, but I also like to meditate on these stories every October, as Fright Night approaches…
Justin A. Hinkley can be reached at 989-354-3112 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JustinHinkley.