Irrational fears: Ghosts and Sharks (and a little snake too)

We’re all afraid of something, right? Some are afraid of heights, others fear flying, my husband is TERRIFIED of snakes.


Yes, he’s even afraid of snakes this small. You may proceed to make fun of him.
(Courtesy TonyAlter via Flickr)

Some of these fears are rational and others aren’t. I personally have a few irrational fears. At the top of my list: sharks. I’m 100% sure this stemmed from the movie Jaws–thanks a lot Spielberg.


Courtesy Steve Garner via Flickr

Swimming in the pool, the ominous music plays in my head (you know what I’m talking about) and I wonder if one could be lurking behind me. In a dark, Colorado reservoir I’m sure one is circling below. Any moment the fin of death will show itself and I’ll be a goner.

Snorkeling off the coast of Mexico, I cursed my husband’s choppy swimming style. His legs thrashed and kicked the water, splashing around like a dying fish. Was he trying to lure them to us??? Doesn’t he know they can sense erratic movements?!?

Needless to say, we survived, only to face another one of my irrational fears: ghosts.

We drove through the vine-covered gates and down the oak-canopied driveway.

vine gates


Decomposing white shacks flanked the road. These were the old slave quarters. Up ahead, the mansion stood proud with secondary buildings on either side. There were sleeping quarters in the main house, the converted kitchen and the schoolhouse.

The innkeeper menacingly informed us that there was just one other couple staying the night. (I’m just kidding; she was very sweet and obviously harmless… at first glance)

We dropped our bags and headed off to explore the former rice plantation, established in 1718.

Slave quarters

Weaving through the rotting buildings, we contemplated whether it was right to be staying on land that once enslaved hundreds. It was then that the kernel of fear was planted. My husband reflected on how many people were probably buried there, in unmarked graves.

Sleep wouldn’t come that night. I positioned myself in the center of the bed, pressed against my husband (because they can only get you if you’re near the edge, right?).


This is what I pictured was happening outside our room.
(Courtesy of Johnxfire via Flickr)

Around four in the morning I had to pee. Every time I opened my eyes I expected to see someone standing there. I held it until morning. Even my husband admitted he was freaked out.

At breakfast the other couple made the requisite chitchat. But soon the conversation turned to the ghosts. The other couple sensed them as well!

He started going on about the guest book and how the innkeeper said no one had stayed over the last week. But someone had signed the book just yesterday. She told of how at lunch in the nearby town, a local asked where they were staying. When she said the name of the place, the local had never heard of it.

Did it even exist? Were we lured there like in a scary movie?

The innkeeper served the main course, informing us that she had checked her husband out of some sort of facility and he was living in one of the refurbished slave quarters. But we weren’t to worry, he never left the bedroom. Uh, anyone see the movie Skeleton Key?

her house

Where the innkeeper and her, uh, husband lived.

We asked if we could see the other rooms of the inn (most B&Bs let you do this). She said the other rooms weren’t clean. Sure… we thought. All these other rooms and none of them were clean? That must be where the bodies are kept.

The other couple talked about checking out. We pondered the same thing. But, it was agreed that we would all stay and meet by the fire pit that night–in the scary movie world, this would have sealed our doom.

It was dark when we returned. We turned off the highway and found the first gate closed, but not locked. That’s strange. The innkeeper said the gate was never closed. The other couple wasn’t back yet and we feared they wouldn’t return. An hour later they showed. We had a few drinks, shared our fears and finally went to bed.

our room light

The door leading into our room.

our room

The first picture wasn’t scary enough, so I did as much editing as I know how to make it look creepy. Are you scared now?

Of course, I couldn’t sleep. I sensed them–the ghosts. They were definitely there and going to get us. For what, I don’t know.

The next morning we told the innkeeper about the first gate being closed. Her eyes opened wide and she stuttered. It was strange she kept saying. She didn’t close the gate. Who would close the gate?

The girl from the other couple was a wreck. They were on their honeymoon and thinking of cutting it short. We parted ways, never to see them again.

Looking back this was the most scared of ghosts I have ever been, save my haunted college house and the ghosts that haunted me after watching Paranormal Activity.

People ask me why I’m so afraid of ghosts and not, say a burglar. Well it’s quite obvious and rational, I think. A burglar I can fight. I have a chance. With a ghost, what am I going to do? Call Ghostbusters?

Just like with a shark. I’m more afraid of them than, say a mountain lion. Why? Because I feel like I can try to fight a mountain lion. I could even use bear spray. With a shark, what am I going to do? Out-swim it? Pretend I’m a bigger, scary shark? I doubt it.

And now, to add to my irrational fear of sharks, there is the sharknado…


Really? Now I have to worry about this?
I do live in an area that gets tornadoes…
(courtesy of ZennieAbraham via Flickr)

What are your irrational fears? Are you afraid of ghosts, snakes or public speaking? Are you permanently traumatized from a movie or book you read? Did you watch the movie Sharknado?

23 thoughts on “Irrational fears: Ghosts and Sharks (and a little snake too)

  1. MissTiffany says:

    Oooh…just reading this gave me the chills! I believe in ghosts, but I don’t think they can hurt the living, just make us uneasy. I’m scared of snakes, but not as much as my mom. I don’t like spiders, but I’m not frozen with terror when I see one. No, the thing that freaks me out are mice (and don’t get me started on rats). Thing is, I think mice are kind of cute, but for some reason I have this irrational fear of them. I’ve seen a couple in the basement before and I have this fear that one is going to crawl into the couch I’m sitting on and make a nest in there and then a whole bunch of them will just crawl out while I’m sitting there. Totally not going to happen, but it is, as I said, irrational.
    Also, I don’t like vampires. There was this movie my mom told me not to watch when I was in third grade, but I did any way and consequently had nightmares about vampires for a month. That has stayed with me.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Mice! I have a couple of friends who are afraid of mice. I never understood it. They are so cute and furry. Maybe if they “attacked” me from the couch I would think differently.

      And I’ve never really been afraid of vampires. Maybe it’s because the first vampire movie I saw was Interview with the Vampire. I pitied them more than I feared them 🙂

      • MissTiffany says:

        That’s just it – I think mice are cute. One of my favorite books is the Tale of Despereaux – but still, I see on scurrying along the wall in the basement and I get freaked out.

        I don’t know that I am afraid of them anymore, but I definitely don’t like them.

  2. Vera Mark says:

    Love this post! And I think the tiny snake is really cute. (Wouldn’t like them much bigger than that, though.) Spiders I had to learn to live with in my last student’s flat. Not that I particularly like them even now.

    I don’t believe in ghosts specifically, but I do believe that there are “more things between heaven and earth … than are dreamt of in our philosophy” (and science, for that matter). Hey, I’ve connected to the universe a couple of times! No, really. And it was a great feeling. I also dimly recall feeling an odd, ghostly sort of a presence in a room in a hotel (why is it always in a hotel?) many years ago, but it can’t have been very impressive else I would remember it better!

    • jennifer Windram says:

      It’s called the Mansfield Plantation and it’s just outside of Georgetown, SC. It’s a bit north of Charleston.

      It really was a cool place, and even though I was really scared, I would still recommend it as a cool place to stay!

  3. suzjones says:

    Great story. I have seen ghosts and yes they scared me. I could share a few ghost stories but I won’t. The thing that really stops my heart are spiders. Not the little ones, they don’t bother me. Anything bigger than a fifty cent piece though and I will run a mile. Spider stories… yep have them too.
    And I never swim in the ocean for the same reason as you.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      It’s funny how a lot of us are afraid of, or at least squeamish about similar things: spiders, snakes, sharks, ghosts. But my two biggest fears are definitely sharks and ghosts, and I’ve never actually seen a ghost before–that must have been something!

      • suzjones says:

        Two of the ghosts I saw looked like normal people that disappeared when I screamed and threw a pillow. The other one lived in the house I lived in as a teen. We heard it, we caught it out of the corner of our eye and there were other occurrences. My brother saw it as white thing at the end of his bed one night. Unfortunately, it was evil.
        I’ve seen sharks too lol 🙂 (in aquariums).

        • jennifer Windram says:

          I’ve never actually seen a ghost, but I’ve felt a presence before in my bedroom and living room. I’m pretty sure one of the houses I lived in in college was haunted. Everyone who lived there reported having strange feelings or wakening up either seeing or sensing something in the room. One of our roommates reported this after she’d just moved in. We’d never told her we thought there were ghosts, so that made it even scarier. And of course the dog always acted strangely in certain parts of the house–just to freak us out more 🙂

  4. crumbsoffthetable says:

    That story itself scared the bejesus out of me. I believe in ghosts, but have yet to see one, and would probably faint if I did.

    I get nervous at aquariums because of how nervous about sharks I am.

    sheesh – I have shivers.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      I would probably faint if I actually saw a ghost too! Hopefully, it will never come to that.

      I’m okay in aquariums because I feel like they’re contained and I’m not in the water. It’s something about having your legs dangling down there and not being able to see what’s coming. Or is it scarier to see? I don’t know.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Ugh. Cockroaches. I hate those things. We don’t have the really nasty ones here in Colorado (but what does that matter? we don’t have sharks in Colorado either), but I have seen them when I’ve traveled to the south–and yuck. Thinking of those things crawling around my house would probably keep up at night. It’s worse than the spiders and earwigs I’ve seen hanging around my nightstand.

      Thanks for coming by and sharing!

  5. Marcy says:

    I agree with cockroaches, all sizes and types but those big ones that fly and always aim straight for your hair in the south are the wost. Bedbugs are starting to overtake cockroaches though in my fear factor scale of horror.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Yeah, cockroaches shouldn’t be allowed to fly. Anything that gross should be land-bound. And bed bugs, those things can wreak havoc if they get in your house. They’re practically invincible…. Always inspect your hotel room is all I have to say.

  6. geanieroake says:

    Cockroaches. We lived in Texas for several years and the creepy little things scare the stuffing out of me. They’re fast, and they scuttle around making a clicking sound. When you actually manage to swat one, they squish all over and make a big mess. Eeeew. Glad we moved.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      It seems cockroaches might be the big winner here. Everyone hates them! But I guess you’d have to be a little different to really like them. Although, I have heard of people keeping them as pets.

      Oh and that clicking sound, what is that about?

    • jennifer Windram says:

      I know, there is something super creepy about bugs (arachnids included). Especially when they are in your house or one gets on you. Even if it’s a ladybug I always jump when I first notice it. I do have to say, I like ladybugs and pill bugs. And of course, butterflies.

  7. girlseule says:

    I’m scared of sharks, I never swim in deep water in the ocean! Ghosts freak me out too, even if I’m not sure I believe in them, I’d still be scared in a creepy old house.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Not to scare you more, but the sharks can get you in shallow water too 🙂

      Not sure if I believe in ghosts or not, but I’ve had experiences in certain places that make think there could be something creepy lurking, even if you can’t see it.

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