In The Dark Earth: Taphophobia, Fear of Being Buried Alive

In The Dark Earth: Taphophobia, Fear of Being Buried Alive

When you ask people what scares them, there are some responses that are entirely too common. Spiders, snakes, clowns, and the dark readily come to mind. But there’s another, more specific fear that often comes up in conversations like this. It’s the fear of being buried alive. When you think about it, the fear is not entirely irrational. It would certainly be awful, lying in a coffin and knowing you’re at least  six feet from the sun and oxygen you need to survive. But it’s never happened to...

Cemeteries Are Final Resting Places for Our Dead

Cemeteries Are Final Resting Places for Our Dead

I tend to do a lot of driving. It’s a good way for me to get out of the house with the family. Generally, we don’t have any set destination. We cruise along the backroads of places like Pepperell and Dunstable, Groton and Tyngsboro. All of them hundreds of years old. Hidden away in these backroads are graveyards. Some large and others nothing more than a family burial plot from when the surrounding area was still under threat of attack by Native Americans. We were driving through these towns...

Bad Luck is Coming: Triskaidekaphobia, The Fear of 13

Bad Luck is Coming: Triskaidekaphobia, The Fear of 13

Some phobias make sense. Fear of spiders or of serial killers, for example. But there is a surprisingly high incidence of people who are afraid of a number. Thirteen, to be exact. Panic ensues whenever the 13th falls on a Friday, and many people are careful not to have thirteen people at their dinner table. There’s even a name for it – triskaidekaphobia. But why is it such a big deal? And why 13, of all numbers? The history of this fear is wrapped in mystery and misinformation.  ...

Deep Waters: Thalassophobia, Fear of The Sea

Deep Waters: Thalassophobia, Fear of The Sea

When you were a kid, did you ever get that weird feeling that there was a shark in the swimming pool? You’re not alone. Fear of the ocean and the creatures that live within its depths is very common. After all, the ocean is one of the least-explored features of our world, and there’s no telling what lives in those pitch-black depths. For some people, the anxiety is so great that it manifests into a phobia, that is, thalassophobia, or an intense and persistent fear of the sea.  ...

Not Only Wild Animals Can Be Found in Caves

Not Only Wild Animals Can Be Found in Caves

The original Bell Witch of Tennessee has been said to have done things that are a little, well... unconventional. A favorite of mine is how, after raining down horrors and 'living' in relative comfort in a nice house, she abruptly decided to relocate to a cave in the wilderness. Why? No one knows. The Witch simply set up shop in this cave (located on the Bell property) and there her spirit has remained to this day. But other than the Bell Witch, this book was also inspired by another deceased...

Atelophobia and Perfectionism: Fear of Not Being Good Enough

Atelophobia and Perfectionism: Fear of Not Being Good Enough

Everyone knows someone who has described themselves as a perfectionist. Maybe you’re talking about why they’re dissatisfied with a creative endeavor. Maybe you just wiped your perfect makeup off to start again. In any case, it’s often a relatively harmless personality trait, or perhaps even a blessing in some cases. But sometimes, perfectionism can spiral into a condition called atelophobia. It’s defined as “an exaggerated or irrational fear of imperfection.” Too much of a perfectionist? Let’s...

The Darkest Places Hide the Biggest Secrets

The Darkest Places Hide the Biggest Secrets

Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before. – The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe When I was little, and not particularly bright, I thought Poe’s The Raven was a cautionary tale about staying up too late reading. After all, it’s about a man who had spent hours poring over his books, alone, in a room where ‘each separate dying ember wrought its ghosts upon the floor’. It was for me to convince myself that he was reading something to send chills down his spine. A story so twisted that...

Lost in the Pacific: The Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Lost in the Pacific: The Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Nowadays, air travel is commonplace. You can get a flight to almost anywhere in the world with enough money and a little bit of notice. But in the ‘30s, air travel was just starting to be possible. And world records were just waiting to be set. Many of the world firsts in aviation were set by Amelia Earhart. To this day, she is the world’s most recognizable pilot. Her legacy has been immortalized in museums, literature, art, and film for decades. Most of this is because she was an incredible...

Always Knock Before You Enter

Always Knock Before You Enter

I’ve always imagined an author’s mind to be like a great, expansive vestibule with hundreds of closed doors lined side by side as well as in rows above each other. Every door leads to a story. And if you’re lucky enough to step into one of those rooms, you’re bound to find yourself in one hell of an adventure. Sometimes, though, we get greedy. We want to know what’s happening in every room. So we take the smallest of peeks. And that peek… that’s what short stories are to me. It’s as if someone...

The Missing Lifeboat: The Abandonment Of The Mary Celeste

The Missing Lifeboat: The Abandonment Of The Mary Celeste

When you think about seafaring in the 17th century, what do you see? Pirate ships? Wealthy merchants? Perhaps the beautiful and speedy vessels of the British Navy? Whatever you’re thinking, there’s probably a certain romanticism that you’re attributing to this period – salt on your skin, wind in your hair, and the call of adventure from beyond the horizon. Unfortunately, this period was also filled with incredible danger. Voyages on most ships took months, and this time was spent entirely...