Friday, June 8, 2012

Spooky Places and Megalophobia

There is a place in the East of Australia that doesn't feel right. Warranted, the first time I drove across it was on a stressful occasion, on a rainy night. The fact the place felt ominous I merely put down to the ambience and my state of mind that night. A year later I again traversed this natural basin in the landscape, this time in bright sunshine. It is an expanse of land void of trees or shrubbery but covered in short grasslike foliage. There are a smattering of properties scattered across its foreboding length. These homesteads are only obvious because of barbed wired fences and the occasional gate, with a tall house behind them set back from the road, jutting from the flat landscape. The first homestead you pass as you enter the plain is called Hells Gate and it gets worse from there.

I suffer from a weird phobia that has haunted me my entire life. It's called Megalophobia. Basically it's a fear of large and looming objects. Mine seems to be specific to huge ships in the water looming above me and large spouts of water or high fountains. Even as a baby I apparently screamed if a ship was shadowing above me in any way, even in a picture a book, such an image would make me cry. I recall a Disney book with people jumping to the safety of the water, from a burning ship, and being terrified of the image. I remember an incident as a small child of sitting playing in the shallow water, my back to the sea, and unbeknownst to me a catamaran gliding silently into the shore behind me. I was frozen with fear. Even the scene in the recent movie Cowboys and Aliens, with the overturned paddle steamer in the desert, made my palms sweet and my heart rate increase.

What has the plain and my weird fear got in common. On about my third trip across this foreboding piece of land, sitting low in my seat because the landscape makes me so uncomfortable. I jokingly said to my travel companions
"You know what would make this place really freak me out?"
Knowing of my fear they laughed when I explained that a huge ship traversing the flat landscape outside the window of the car would terrify me. Just as we laughed and I turned to look to my left...three huge ships, placed inexplicably in a landlocked paddock, amidst that flat and barren landscape appeared.
I could barely breathe and I was overcome by dizzying nausea.
Perhaps some farmer had bought these three ships and transported them to this place with some grand design in mind but instead ended up leaving them to rot in the fields just beyond his house. I could see no rational explanation at all and nothing about their presence there helped calm my fears about this spooky plain.

Some random images of abandoned ships..... 0.0