Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Origin of My Protectors

When I was a child, I had decided that almost any fear, any threat, any possible monster lurking in the darkness could be conquered by following a set of rules to invoke the protection of the something good and greater.

There was a late-night weekend show called Chiller Theater that aired throughout my childhood. It was a double feature (though for a few years it was a TRIPLE feature I believe!)  of old classic and otherwise mostly B grade monster and occult films every Saturday night starting at 11:30pm.

The host of the show, Chilly Bill Cardille, was best known to the world for his role as the news reporter in the original "Night of the Living Dead". ( I also lived quite near the cemetery from that movie and had friends who lived directly across the street from it. . . such fodder for over-active, young imaginations!!!)

The whole production of Chiller Theater was a real camp-affair! In-studio skits between commercial breaks and films took place on a castle inspired set and included Cardille as well as a host of characters with names like like Terminal Stare, Georgette the Fudgemaker and Stefan the Castle Prankster. 

But even with the levity of those breaks, the movies were often quite scary to me (as with all the classic Karloff, Lugosi, Price films!)  So began the practice of pulling myself fully up on the reclining chair in the dim, flickering tv light and covering myself with one of my grandmother's hand crocheted afghans. In my mind, as long as all my extremities were covered completely, I was safe.

On occasion, like getting a snack in the kitchen during a commercial break, or in the heat of summer, I needed more active safety measures. What I concocted was a series of little internal "tests" which, if passed, allowed me the same measure of safety outside of the protective afghans. 

These tests were things like; holding my breath through a commercial break, staring at a digital clock til it changed the minutes, having my snack and being back in my chair by the movie's return, and sometimes I just repeated certain phrases in my head when moving from one chair to a couch or to the kitchen or to my bedroom. Those are too silly to repeat here but they were all for the result of an invoked protection.

Basically, little, internal talismans and rituals.

And those old movies were really the least of my fears. There were even scarier "modern" horror shows like Night Gallery or Sixth Sense. My childhood bedroom, ages 4 thru 11 was a frightful place. Nightmares, pitch black darkness, strange things. . . too many to mention. But my grandparents house where I spent most of my time while my mother worked and where we lived from 11 yrs old onward was nothing of the sort. It was the epitome of the word "sanctuary". And, despite and/or due to the extraordinary circumstances of several life changing events that happened there thru the years of my childhood, my belief in the unseen and protective, grew and never wavered. 

So it should be no wonder that upon reading and learning about the pantheon of ancient Egypt somewhere around the age of 11, I immediately took up the idea of amulets, protective symbols,  animal deities and rituals! That's a love that continues to this day and never loses interest for me.

My crafty kid-self went mad for the little amulets and statues. I spent countless hours at the library researching anything I could find about the pyramids and ancient civilizations, one leading to another and so on.  So there was that, coupled with my already strong belief in the unseen and "other" worlds of the fae and the such. All of it making a very strong impression that formed the foundation of so much in those early years

It's why, all these years later, after so many years of struggling so intensely to find my creative place in the world, I have come to create items like these: 

Now, of course, between ancient deities and fairy inspired works, I feel like I am sending these little protective creations into the world for others to invest themselves in. I cannot imagine anything more pleasing than to be putting so much of my early self into what I do as an adult and sharing it. 

It keeps those days and beginnings close and reminds me of them constantly.  The good and the bad. But mostly good. 

I often think of those days now, building blanket forts, cardboard space ships, tree-houses and crows nests, invoking protective measures in my internal world in countless ways. Childhood is, after all, a very uncertain and overwhelming place. I am so grateful to have had so many outlets then. . . 

It's always interesting to follow the thread that runs from the very beginning of things. To see where the here and now came from and to  understand, for myself at least, that the journey is a constant. So all of it matters. Especially those little details. . . especially now.

Thank for reading and for sharing in this journey, and this inner world, with me. :)


PS: I find it very amusing that upon searching the internet for Chiller Theater, I came across a site that lists every weekly showing over 20+ years and the films that were played for each and every Saturday night from the beginning! Are you kidding me?  Man I love the internet!


  1. Nicolas, great read! It's so true, you never know, what you did as a child, might turn into something you are doing as an adult! My brother use to watch Tales from the Crypt! Actually, my entire family has loved creepy things! I still do! I love watching Supernatural! Your creations are amazing!

    1. Thank you Stacy! I know! As a child I could not avoid the creepy it seems! I was usually scared out of my wits but still, I'd be watching. . . thru one eye sometimes! lol I have been thinking of these things since I began writing longer stories for a future (hopefully) book project. Filling the characters with little bits of my own experiences and rituals like I wrote about above. . .

  2. So interesting. It makes me want to reply in such a long fashion i may have to send an email....

    1. Thank you for dropping by Andrea! I will reply in kind!

  3. Timely post, as usual Nicolas. Wonderful. I resonate much with it. I had miniature things all the time, and loved to create with my hands but always thought it was just 'playtime' and not 'serious'. Funny isn't it, how these little joys manifest much later. Life is a circle :)