Wicked Wacky Wednesdays: My Irrational Fear of The Exorcist

When I was nine (I realize I started to develop all of my unusual tendencies and likes when I was around nine or ten) I started hanging around the part of the library at my school that probably shouldn’t have existed, considering the school ran from grades 2 through 12.  The library had a fairly well-stocked section of books on witchcraft, the Occult, the history of Halloween, and general spooky things that third graders probably shouldn’t read.

This is totally appropriate reading for a nine-year old.

I learned a lot of general factoids about the Salem Witch Trials and the history of witchcraft and random Occult-y facts that year, and I also found a lot of random stone pendants and wore them on long chains, because I was cool and stones had spirit energy and all that.

Near this witchcraft and Occult section of my public school library was an equally odd section on horror and science fiction films.  One of the books was about horror film makeup, and since I was nine I naturally thought that this was cool.  I picked it up and started flipping through it, and read about all these old films like Dracula and Phantom of the Opera and Frankenstein and how they did the monster makeup.

And then I turned to a full-page spread of this:

That, my friends, is Linda Blair from The Exorcist, and when my nine-year old eyes beheld this image I promptly shrieked, dropped the book, and fled the stacks.

I’d like to say that my school library was creepy and musty and old, but in the third grade my school moved from its old location in Sarasota to a brand new, state of the art, fancypants campus about twenty minutes away in Osprey.  Therefore our library was enormous, clean, and white, with high ceilings, tons of windows, and lots of natural light.  Not exactly a place to strike fear in one’s heart, but I was full of fear that day, after encountering this horrifically made-up Linda Blair.

One of the boys in my class saw my reaction to the book and, being a boy and nine years old as well, decided to grab the book and chase me around with it.  Which is why my teacher found me hunkered down in the elementary school section of the library (lower stacks, books with more pictures, no material on the Occult), with my hands over my eyes repeating “No no no no no no no.”  All the nos in the world couldn’t save me, however: that image of the possessed Linda Blair was seared into my mind.

I prided myself on being a pretty brave kid.  I’d been sleeping without a night-light since I was six, and I was generally pretty rational.  But this picture terrified me and I ended up sleeping in my parents’ room off and on over the next few weeks.  Eventually my all-consuming horror dissipated into more of a slow-burn dread, and over the years that picture of Linda Blair has ceased to frighten me.

One thing has never changed, however: I refuse to watch The Exorcist.

I remember going to the movies with a bunch of high school friends when I was a sophomore or a junior.  Everyone went to go see the re-release of The Exorcist, save for myself and one other timid soul.  We went to see Bring it On despite having already seen it once.  Okay I lied we’d seen it twice, but whatever, nothing could convince us to sit through three hours of terrifying possessed Linda Blair.

Absolutely not.

I refuse to watch The Exorcist even to this day, although I have to admit that my curiosity is starting to get the best of me.  I mean, how horribly terrifying can it be?  I’m a grown woman now.  And so what if I can’t sleep after watching The Walking Dead because the idea of a zombie apocalypse seems perfectly plausible to me?  This film was made in the 70s.  I mean, Linda Blair looks like this now:

See? Not scary.

So should I watch The Exorcist?  It is the season for that sort of thing.  What movies terrify you?  Are there any scary movies you refuse to watch?   Or am I just totally crazy?  Let me know!

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