NETHERWORLD Monster of the Month: May 2012 Scarecrows!

by on May.14, 2012, under Haunted Houses, Haunting Ideas, NETHERWORLD Haunted House

NETHERWORLD Monster of the Month: May 2012 Scarecrows!

“Listen to his body moan
make a wish and send us home
to spin the gold and silver stitches
we can turn his rags to riches…”

Scarecrow – Siouxsie and the Banshees

Alone, detached from the mortal realm, he stands faithful guard over a living field, ever diligent in his efforts to ward off harm. His sackcloth face is a mockery of man, mismatched buttons for eyes and crooked stitching for a mouth. He exhibits no temper, no lack of patience, no hunger or thirst or longing for companionship. He simply waits…

Scarecrows have long served us in our endeavor to keep vermin away from our crops. Hovering on a pole or perch, head and shoulders above us, they hang menacingly over the food they are charged with protecting, asking nothing in return. How effective they are is debatable – one wonders if they actually intimidate birds and rodents in the least. Yet there is something chilling about these silent sentinels, adorned (for lack of a better word) with cast-offs and hand-me-downs as they simply linger for our benefit. Stuffed full of dry straw, with inhuman proportions and random debris poking out at the seams, they almost seem to laugh at us, as if amused by the fact that this is how we see ourselves.

So, do these ragged non-men merely exist lifeless in the field, or is there something more sinister at work? Perhaps they do more than wear our discards -maybe they inhabit them, soaking in whatever life-force remains within the garments we toss aside? History is rife with tales of “living” scarecrows, animated in order to carry out some act of justice or revenge. Be they infused with a tortured soul, forever trapped in limbo, or resurrected by mystical means, the scarecrow has played a sizable role in the myths and legends of Americana.

As far back as 712 in Japan, the scarecrow has represented a silent watcher, knowing in the ways of the world around him yet unable to explore it himself. And while some accounts, such as the lovable protagonist of L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” stories, tell of scarecrows imbued with friendly human traits, more often than not this iconic character takes on a more diabolical role. Throughout the years, he has become a powerful vessel for exacting vengeance, his near-human appearance lending an air of dread as he carries out his sinister acts. Typically armed with a sickle or pitchfork he takes flight in the night to terrorize the object of his revenge. With no face to exhibit expression, he sets us on edge and it is nearly impossible to know his intentions until it is too late…

Such is the challenge as you wander throughout the halls of Netherworld Haunted House: is that lifeless face peering back at you truly devoid of life, or does it simply serve to disguise a more malevolent intent? Are those tattered clothes strewn over a human shape nothing but decoration, intended to chase away impending evil, or are they actually housing evil itself? How can one be sure what they are encountering is nothing more than a stuffed suit before it it’s altogether too late?

How indeed…

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