Why Are The 3:00 a.m. Creepy Crawlies so Horrible?

Ever know you shouldn’t do something…but do it anyway? This happened to me recently when I happened to walk by my son watching a spooky movie about a possessed, haunted doll.  I knew not to sit down.  I knew I’d remember that doll’s evil black eyes. Or the way she could make her rocking chair move at odd times. Or the sewing machine go off at 4:00 a.m.  But did I listen?  No.  And yes, I paid the price.

Did I mention I’m horrible at thrillers?  I watched “The Shining” and “The Sixth Sense” with a pillow over my face the entire film, peeking out when it felt safe, traumatized when it wasn’t. I’m the embarrassing one who screams out loud at those “gotcha” moments.  I’ve never seen one of these movies in a theater for a good reason. I’m disruptive. They’d probably ask me to leave.

But that’s not the worse part.  The worst part is what happens later in the wee hours of the night.

I get the creepy crawlies.  I wrote on this once before in a post about the show, “Long Island Medium.”  One viewing was enough.  I’ll never watch Theresa Caputo hobnob with the dead again.

The night of the weird doll movie I fell asleep fine, but around 3:00 a.m. my eyes opened and the hamster wheel began turning (by the way, a rusty, creepy hamster wheel).  An array of disturbing images started competing like barkers at a scary carnival.  “Worry over loved ones here!”  “Horrible diseases at this booth!”  “Get your fire, plane crashes and earthquakes!”

I ended up pulling the covers over my head like a six year old.

Some people call 3:00 a.m. the Witching Hour, the time when supernatural forces are strongest.  Human brains go from daytime rational to nighttime primal.  Fears magnify.  We become childlike, vulnerable and scared.  That night I could’ve sworn I heard the furious thrum of a sewing machine, even though we don’t own one.

I know people who watch crime shows every night and sleep like babies.  I envy them, but I’ve heard there’s a biological basis for all this.  Apparently scaredy-cat introverts (like me) react stronger to stimuli — physically and emotionally.  It doesn’t take much to tax our already over-charged imaginations and nervous systems.

Extroverts are chill.  They don’t sweat the small stuff, lucky them.

So what’s a faint-hearted girl to do?  Don’t look, as my father would say when I was little and freaking out over such classic horror films as “Bambi” and “Dumbo.”  Stay away from whatever fills your already-burgeoning imagination.  Avoid crime dramas, scary flicks, nightly news, and anything about the Long Island dead.

Fine, I thought.  No problem.

Except once in a while I slip.  I peek into that other world, the eerie world, the world of icky stuff everyone seems to love.  The world where strange dolls manipulate inanimate objects…like stereos that play slow, creepy tunes late at night… during a thunder storm…when the husband’s away… and the wife’s alone… and of course she has no car… and her bedroom door’s starting to creak slowly open…that’s it.

Goose bumps are starting.  Damn. I did it again.


Does anyone else get the creepy crawlies or is it just me? Comments are always welcome and if you like, please share. Thank you!


  1. I'm the worst with scary movies! I get nightmares for years 🙂 I remember being asked out on a date – not a regular occurrence for me – and I said yes, even though it was to a horror movie. I spent almost the entire time hiding in the bathroom!

  2. I used to love watching scary movies. My favorite of all time is the shining. I will still watch it if I see it while flipping through the channels. Would love to watch that with my daughter one day, although she has not seen many scary movies in here 14 years. Also enjoyed the Alien trilogy of movies. These days I don't do as well watching the scary movies. Haven't watched any of the newer ones in their entirety in the past 10 years. Makes me too jittery. I just find myself putting my hands over my eyes when I think something is going to happen. lol Of course I used to love riding the scariest amusement park rides all day long and I can't do that anymore either. Funny how we change over the years.
    This was a great piece Laurie.

  3. Thanks so much, Erik. Yes, "The Shining" still traumatizes me. I don't think I've been able to sit through the whole thing. I admire your earlier roller coaster bravery. Never been on one in my life!

  4. I love scary movies and books, and anything about zombies or the supernatural. My older son does, as well, and we both sleep like babies. I do wake up at 3 am and worry, about work, about the kids, my mom's health. Sometimes I'll remember that movie about the doll (I took my kid to the theater for that one, and had to sit five rows back while he watched it with his friends) and if I let myself, I could freak out about it, I suppose. But I've always been able to change the subject in my head. It's harder for me to keep from dwell on the everyday stuff at that time of night.

  5. I agree about the everyday stuff at 3:00 a.m. In the end, that's scarier than creepy dolls because it impacts our lives much more. Still, I admire your resilience when it comes to scary stuff.

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