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What is your gothic escape from the zombie-like daily routine that can make you feel dead inside at best and at worst wonder why you should even go on with your meaningless purposeless life? It’s important to find a healthy outlet (that’s legal and no one gets hurt) that makes us feel alive with wonder, mystery and suspense and drives us to move forward if for no other reason than to relive the experience. Many people achieve that spark of life from participating and/or watching sports while others engage in social events or community service. Some people can achieve this feeling with devotion to church and prayer. There’s also a psychology of gratitude that’s become prevalent in the last decade or so, which I must admit, has been tremendously helpful to me when I’m really feeling down and out. Personally, my soul’s curiosity was awakened around puberty when I arrived home from school one day to find my mother watching an episode of the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows on TV. The mystery! The suspense! The paranormal! The costumes! Suddenly, life’s dismal daily grind had a bright spot, something to look forward to each day.
Although the show developed frightening, suspenseful stories based on classic gothic horror fiction like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and others including werewolves and ghosts and more, my favorite was the vampire story lines and the ongoing struggle for power between Barnabus and Angelique. There’s certain physical power and strength in being a vampire that can’t compare to being human. Plus, the whole idea of immortality was very attractive to my pre-teen sensibilities. After a depressing day of being picked on by bullies over my overbite,taped-up broken glasses and hand-made clothes or simply trying to avoid being noticed by the bullies in the first place, it was momentarily empowering to dream of being a vampire with supernatural powers of mind manipulation, physical strength and immortality. Except for the constant fear of being discovered and having a stake driven through my heart as I rested during the day, my problems would be solved!
Yes, dreaming about the mysteries and romance of gothic horror was the beginning of my love and fascination with everything gothic, from the cold stony architecture to the horrifying fixation on death and what lies beyond it began with that ground breaking afternoon soap. What attracted you to the gothic world?