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Five things that are scarier than ghosts

By Isabelle Laureta

Halloween is right around the corner and you know what comes with it? Well, heavy traffic, yes, but also, ghost stories! Like riding the MRT at 7 p.m. on a Friday night, ghost stories are the bane of my existence. I always regret hearing them—whether from my cousins and uncles back in the province about a levitating coffin, or from Noli de Castro’s Magandang Gabi Bayan Halloween specials back in the day.

I’m still irrationally terrified of ghosts. I still run a little bit faster when I’m left alone downstairs and had to turn off the lights before going up to my room. But as I grow older, I constantly discover that there are things scarier than a white lady visiting me at 3 a.m. Let me share with you the things that scare the living crap out of Millennials like you and me.

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1. Phone calls

Especially if it’s from an unlisted number. Who could it possibly be? What’s so important that one cannot send you a text message first to introduce oneself? What’s so important that they just had to call? Is the less awkward, more economically convenient option, which is texting, just a thing of the past now? But you know what’s the most blood curdling? Phone calls that come from your mother, especially if you’ve missed about 50 of them.

2. Missing out

So your friend invites you to a party, but because you’re such a grandma and already cozied up with a cup of tea and a book, you say no. Everything’s fine, until you start checking social media. And that’s where you see photos and videos uploaded from that party you were invited to, and you start questioning everything. They’re having fun. Without you. What are you doing being anti-social when you could be getting hammered right now? What are you doing with your youth? Yup, FOMO (fear of missing out) is real and is always there to haunt us when we think we’re perfectly fine by ourselves.

3. Commitment and responsibilities

Ah, the joys of growing up. Facing tons of responsibilities in the form of bills, work-related stuff, more bills, and more work-related stuff makes you miss the time when the only thing you’re horrified of is the monster underneath your bed. Unlike ghosts, responsibilities aren’t something that may or may not be real. It’s not something you can ignore until you’re finally desensitized with the fear. Oh, it’s real, alright, and you can’t simply push it at the back of your head and hope it goes away. It’s out there to get you, and only the strongest will survive. *Evil laugh*

4. Regrets

This is probably one of my greatest fears, aside from 50 missed calls from my mother—to lie on my deathbed and think, “I should have done that thing I so desperately wanted to do but didn’t because I let certain things talk me out of it.” Regrets may be less chilling compared to adult responsibilities, but it’s one that will haunt you for a long time, even when you’re not in your 20s anymore. It’s like a creepy, haunted curse, except there’s no way to break it, no Prince Charmings to kiss you awake, and you only have yourself to blame for it.

5. The living

One time, when I was a kid, I got too scared of going to the bathroom alone (it was the height of that sinister doll Chuckie’s fame) so I asked my mom to accompany me. She didn’t laugh at me. She didn’t tell me ghosts weren’t real. Instead, she told me something way more important, although not reassuring at the very least. “Why do you fear the dead?” she said. “Fear the living, they do even more horrifying things.” Think about it. Is an urban legend about an old woman dressed in white scarier than the fact that the Nazis killed millions of Jews? Or that some homophobe decided to gun down queer people at a gay bar? Or that there are some people who think Kim Kardashian deserved to be held at gunpoint? Or that we have politicians who think it would help to watch a senator’s alleged sex video at a hearing? Or that Donald Trump called a woman a pig just because she doesn’t fit the society’s stupid portrayal of what’s “sexy” and now it’s possible for him to be the president of the United States?

The living is scarier. Save yourself before you turn into one of the scary ones.

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