I jumped. It was delicious! This was fun! I was three! By the time I got to grade school, I checked out of the library and read every single ghost story book the library had to offer. And wonderful person that I am, I shared all of them with my baby sister! I read to her bits and pieces from various books. Until the day I told her about Baba Yaga. It was in a book about various monsters- a page or two devoted to each spooky creature. Baba Yaga was in there, and I told my sister the story of the witch with the house on chicken legs that ate children. It didn't frighten me at all, I loved this stuff because it was so fun to get a little shiver. My sister, however, was terrified. She couldn't sleep, and was too scared to turn the lights off to go to bed. She cried. My frustrated mother turned on innocent little old ME, and forbade me to EVER bring another ghost story book into the house again.
Forbid. What a very strong and powerful word. It shook me up a little bit. She'd never used that word on me before, and I could tell she meant business. Not that I stopped reading ghost story books. I'd sit in the school library and read them instead. But, after that, some of the stories that I read began to get terrifying. I had only had fun with them, a happy shiver, in the past. Now, it was I who was leaving on the light, and suddenly afraid to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night for fear of what lurked in the hallway. I don't know that it was ALL from that one moment, but scary stories began to SCARE me.
That's when I read from a book a story of a box sold at an antique story. At night, out of the box came a long white arm, with one finger on the end of it, and a long black fingernail on the end of THAT. The fingernail would scratch at the lock, and the person purchasing the box would be hypnotized and get inside the box, and die. That one story caused more sleepless nights than I could tell you. That's because I retold the story at every sleepover and slumber party I ever attended, and managed to scare myself all over again.
I still love a good scary story. I love to get the shivers. I also still frighten myself to the point of wanting to have the light on. How appropriate that I now tell ghost stories to various audiences.