I’ve been reading about sinkholes lately. How terrifying are they?! The ground suddenly and unexpectedly opening up to swallow houses, cars, people, whole. It got me thinking about other things that I find terrifying. Things that give me the shivers just thinking about them, yet fascinate me.
Submarines. The idea of being in a situation where there is no escape if something goes terribly wrong terrifies me. The possibility of being helpless in the face of certain doom, and being aware of it? Totally freaky. Space travel freaks me out for the same reason.
Mount Everest. Reaching the peak of Mount Everest is an amazing achievement. It is also horrifying. Not only are you at the mercy of the elements, in danger of losing your mind or your life to altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation, but if you collapse and cannot go on, chances are they will leave you to die and your body will not be recovered. It’s hard enough to drag your own body to the top of the mountain and back down; using that limited energy to try to rescue someone else may well result in two corpses instead of one, and retrieving a body is right out. Because of this, there are about 150 bodies of failed climbers up there right now, their bodies out in the open for people heading for the summit to see as they walk past. Some bodies are even used as landmarks!
Cave diving. Caves in general are a little creepy, but underwater caves are off the charts freaky, because there are so many things that can go wrong and result in catastrophe. Go too deep? You die. Misjudge how much oxygen you have left? You die. Get separated from your companions and lost? You die. Lose the line that will lead you back out? You die. I get that the people who do these sorts of things probably are attracted to it in part because of the adrenaline rush of flirting with death. But thinking of getting lost in the dark and drowning or suffocating to death creeps me out something terrible.
Plane crashes. What gets me about these is that in cases where there are no survivors, there’s often no way to know exactly what went on. What caused the crash, what the last moments were like. There’s just a large number of people dead, in pieces along with the fragments of the plane, and, if we’re lucky, a recording of the last moments of the pilots. A mystery where a solution can be arrived at but never be quite adequate in the face of the carnage.
How about you, dear reader? What freaks you out, and why?