A Tingler in the Forest

Maybe most of us, when feeling an unusual fear, have heard, at one time or another, most often in our childhood, most often from someone close…you’re just imagining it–there’s nothing there, nothing to be worried about, nothing to be scared of–it’s just your imagination.

I certainly did, and most likely it was before I saw the 1959 William Castle horror-thriller movie with Vincent Price called, The Tingler. In that movie, Vincent Price, playing a doctor, theorizes and proves that the tingling feeling in your spine when you experience fear can be relieved by screaming. And if you don’t scream, the tingle grows and morphs into an organism that gradually because of its size and strength will kill you. Fear needs to be released via screaming–that is how they sold the movie to the public.

This is not about the movie–but rather about the actual reality of mentally building up a fear into spine tingling without actually seeing anything in real life to substantiate it.

The movie tingler is an imaginary embodiment of fear as a growing organism on your spine. My interest is that real life feeling on your spine—that tingling—that strange wind blowing across your presence when you first realize fear has become on your being.

What is that? It is not clearly defined by our currently accepted theories of science or psychology. What does that mean? It means there is something out there that we sense, but for which no one has an explanation that yields replicable results.

Sometimes when I am taking a walk in a strange forest, a large forest nowhere near any towns; and it is a cloudy day near sunset. The day ends more quickly. The darkness arrives earlier. I don’t know exactly where I am. I don’t know the topography—of course I can trace my way back—but I know if I keep going forward on this path I will come in contact with known landscape before too long.

Then that strange breeze—very dry, very quiet, emanating from somewhere else, somewhere in the oncoming dark from the unknown forest–beckons my awareness. My spine comes briefly alive, alert. And there I have the choice—to dismiss as my imagination…or explore, examine it intellectually, inwardly and maybe, just maybe let my mind run without control, let that tingle grow.

The tingle comes, the tingle goes and I am still alive, still sane, still wrapped in an internal mystery that might have an external connection. The landscape is not always my friend. But I know this crossroad. I am almost home.


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