The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

2010.11.24 Scarred for life by rats and bats

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

So, that’s why bats and rats give me the complete and utter creeps!

Through a mere newspaper article I have traced my irrational fear of bats and rats to unsupervised childhood TV watching.

Well, I was supervised—by my older sister Linda—but she carried a lot of weight when it came to what got watched when. And Linda was really hooked on “Dark Shadows,” the gothic soap opera that aired in the late 60s to early 70s.

I couldn’t stand to watch “Dark Shadows,” but with one TV, one tough sister, and “nothing else to do,” I saw more werewolves, ghosts, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, vampires—and bats—than any child ought to.

And I barely even watched it. I hung out on the periphery of the room, ready to bolt when a bat flew out or Barnabas bared his teeth. Even now, just hearing the names “Barnabas” and “Quentin” makes me shiver.

I think my total lack of interest in Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series has everything to do with the impact of Dark Shadows’ vampires on my psyche.

I just don’t like being scared. I jump out of my skin on a regular basis in daily life. Adding to it, self-imposed, through books and movies—it’s just way too much excitement for me. How much grayer can my hair get?

“Scared for life by movies: Primitive part of brain holds onto fear” is the story the Detroit Free Press ran just before Halloween. I think it’s more like scarred for life.

They cite a 1999 study by the universities of Michigan and Wisconsin that found one in four college students surveyed were haunted by something they’d seen on film or TV.

Two parts of the brain handle fear memories in different ways, the article says. “The conscious reasoning brain evaluates and remembers the fear and controls your thoughts about it,” and the amygdala is responsible for your physical reaction to those fears.

“Both levels of the brain are somewhat independent, which is why someone who is scared can try to think rationally about not being afraid while their body maintains a reaction to the fear,” says the article.

That explains why, even though I tell myself bats are wonderful creatures that help control the mosquito population, I run screaming out of the basement when I encounter one.

And the rats? Oy, that scene from “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” where crazy evil Bette Davis serves her crippled sister Joan Crawford dinner and it’s a rat in a covered dish? That just does me in.

We didn’t have a TV in the house for most of my kids growing-up years (Ben reminded me that he was 18 when we finally got one), but I emailed my kids and their spouses to see if they had a “media moment” that still sticks with them.

Maddie responded immediately:

“Beginning of “Urban Legend” at the gas station at night and then the guy chops her head off.”

She thinks she watched it in elementary school at a friend’s house, but probably left the room so she only saw that part.

Ben’s wife, Sarah, said, “When I was little we used to watch Unsolved Mysteries, and the ones about ghosts freaked me out.”

So now when she’s watching TV and sees commercials for paranormal activity or other ghost shows, she either changes the channel or covers her ears and closes her eyes. Wise move–I use that technique all the time for violent or scary parts of movies.

Rosie thinks she watched a scary movie in middle school at a sleep-over. “Someone who was killed was put on a shelf in a closet and fell out when they opened the door, so for awhile I hated opening that closet in my room and pulling the light cord.”

And, Ben, ever the sardonic Green, said  “how ironic that I can't help your column because you deprived me of watching TV.”

Scarred for life, but at least he’s not afraid of rats and bats.

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