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'I'll Never Have a Clown in My House!' Frightening Movies and Enduring Emotional Memory
Unformatted Document Text:  Frightening Movies 2 "I’ll Never Have a Clown in My House" – Frightening Movies and Enduring Emotional Memory When I was nine years old I fell ill of typhoid fever, & lay for weeks at the point of death. … During my convalescence, my one prayer was to be allowed to read, & among the books given me was one of the detestable "children's books" which poison the youthful mind when they do not hopelessly weaken it. …To an unimaginative child the tale would no doubt have been harmless; but it was a "robber story," & with my intense Celtic sense of the super-natural, tales of robbers & ghosts were perilous reading. This one brought on a serious relapse, & again my life was in danger; & when I came to myself, it was to enter a world haunted by formless horrors. I had been naturally a fearless child; now I lived in a state of chronic fear. Fear of what? I cannot say – & even at the time, I was never able to formulate my terror. It was like some dark undefinable menace, forever dogging my steps, lurking, & threatening; I was conscious of it wherever I went by day, & at night it made sleep impossible, unless a light & a nurse-maid were in the room. But, whatever it was, it was most formidable & pressing when I was returning from my daily walk (which I always took with a maid or governess, or with my father.) During the last few yards, & while I waited on the door-step for the door to be opened, I could feel it behind me, upon me; & if there was any delay in the opening of the door I was seized by a choking agony of terror. It did not matter who was with me, for no one could protect me; but, oh, the rapture of relief if my companion had a latch-key & we could get in at once, before it caught me!

Authors: Cantor, Joanne.
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Frightening Movies
2
"I’ll Never Have a Clown in My House"
Frightening Movies and Enduring Emotional Memory
When I was nine years old I fell ill of typhoid fever, & lay for weeks at the point of death.
… During my convalescence, my one prayer was to be allowed to read, & among the
books given me was one of the detestable "children's books" which poison the youthful
mind when they do not hopelessly weaken it. …To an unimaginative child the tale would
no doubt have been harmless; but it was a "robber story," & with my intense Celtic sense
of the super-natural, tales of robbers & ghosts were perilous reading. This one brought
on a serious relapse, & again my life was in danger; & when I came to myself, it was to
enter a world haunted by formless horrors. I had been naturally a fearless child; now I
lived in a state of chronic fear. Fear of what? I cannot say – & even at the time, I was
never able to formulate my terror. It was like some dark undefinable menace, forever
dogging my steps, lurking, & threatening; I was conscious of it wherever I went by day,
& at night it made sleep impossible, unless a light & a nurse-maid were in the room. But,
whatever it was, it was most formidable & pressing when I was returning from my daily
walk (which I always took with a maid or governess, or with my father.) During the last
few yards, & while I waited on the door-step for the door to be opened, I could feel it
behind me, upon me; & if there was any delay in the opening of the door I was seized by
a choking agony of terror. It did not matter who was with me, for no one could protect
me; but, oh, the rapture of relief if my companion had a latch-key & we could get in at
once, before it caught me!


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