There is a moment in most horror films
when the young waif like heroine goes down the steps into the
abandoned basement, and you sit watching it thinking, “Don’t do
it… Don’t go in there!” In she goes, and of course that’s the
last set of stairs she ever walks down.
That moment of intuition, the certain
knowledge that she will meet an unpleasant end, is something we’ve
learned to anticipate, as a result of many years of happy horror
movie viewing. It touches several aspects of our primal sense of fear
and survival, aspects that are very interesting to anyone fascinated
by psychology and hypnosis.
I should say here that anyone stupid
enough to start walking down that darkened set of stairs while a
cello shivers a deep resonant note in the background certainly
shouldn’t be encouraged to procreate, and probably should be taken
out of the gene pool at the earliest opportunity – and generally
is, in horror movies if not the world at large.
However in our observation of this
familiar scene there are things we can notice about ourselves. This
instilled feeling of anticipation, the quickened pulse and the racing
mind all contribute to the effect created by the inevitable scream
followed by thrill of a nice juicy thud as something disgusting ends
that innocent if moronic young life.
I realise this is a highly contrived
scene, however it does illustrate rather well our ability to project
forward events from a specific set of stimuli. Our mind is literally
preloaded with an outcome, having seen the familiar set up. On the
screen this is very clear and obvious, but we are also doing the very
same thing multiple times a day in our everyday lives.
If we do a job which involves us
interacting with people regularly with the same set of stresses and
circumstances, likely we become used to the way outcomes will play
out. The longer we do the job, the more experience we gather and
become highly intuitive about how situations will play out. I will
give you an example from my former life as a press photographer.
We were often required to hang around
outside court after a court case to photograph the accused leaving
court. Most of the time these people were not keen to be
photographed. From time to timegrapher. they’d be very angry and
even take a swing at the photographer. Now, while this sounds a
little dangerous, the reality of the situation was that we did this
everyday and got very good at ducking a swing. The photographers that
didn’t pretty soon learned. For the person being photographed, this
rather unpleasant experience was unfamiliar and they acted just the
same as most of the other people we had to photograph. They didn’t
really know what they were doing. The result of all this was that it
was very rare anyone actually got hurt.
With a few years perspective I am not
really very proud of what we were doing at the time, but that was the
way the world was in those days. With the benefit of hindsight I
might have done things rather differently. That said, the intuition
that came with experience kept me safe.
In some situations, then, it’s as
though we have a special radar. It picks up on signals and it
interprets them. Being human, we also play that scene forward. With
the same irresistible certainty we have when we hear that shivering
cello and see the girl stepping down the stairs into the basement, we
play forward the results of our intuition and develop a sixth sense
about how some situations will play out. These can be positive or
negative. And we attach interpretation to this intuitively acquired
knowledge. We may even call it a sixth sense – and better than
that, it is very often absolutely right.
Here’s a rather sad and pathetic
confession. I can hardly bare to be in a second hand clothing store
because of the way it makes me feel. I find the people, the clothes
and the situation generally absolutely horrible. It would be possible
to interpret this as a result of all the negative feelings associated
with the clothes, even to the point of crediting the feelings to the
‘negative energy’ of the situation. Perhaps there really is something
to this. However, likely it is something rather different –
something of an echo of my own past.
When I was young I was thrown out of
the house. From 16 I was on my own and some of the time I was a very
frightened young man. However, I learned to get by, and one aspect of
that time was that even though absolutely broke I did try to present
myself well, and often bought perfectly good clothes from second hand
stores. This was the early eighties in Maggie’s Britain. I was one of
three million unemployed, and my accent alone was enough to guarantee
me a good beating in the wrong part of town.
Eventually my circumstances changed
quite substantially. I worked in the financial centre of The City Of
London, and got to a point where I’d feel quite happy buying a pair
of Churchers shoes for six hundred pounds, in Jermyn Street in the
West End. I am now inclined to think this a ridiculous amount of
money to spend on shoes, but all the same it seemed OK at the time.
While my circumstances have changed
radically, I find that today second hand clothes stores fill me with
a completely irrational feeling of anxiety and loathing. I can only
put it down to an intuitive revulsion and fear of returning to what
were the very difficult times of my early adult life. Like all
irrational fears these things cannot be easily wished away.
Understanding where it comes from doesn’t do much to help. It’s
certainly something I should address in hypnosis, as it is a value
held at a deep subconscious level.
I don’t need to shop in second hand
stores today. I absolutely abhor the idea of second hand clothes. I
feel that to wear another mans shoes is almost too squalid to
contemplate – not from a sanitary perspective, but a spiritual one.
Yet there was a time when the choice was that or going barefoot.
Whether it’s the energy or the associated experience I really
Now, here’s the biggest irony of all. I
love antiques, old coins, cameras, cars, planes and ships. I think
Source: Rob Hadley