Photo by Y O N C A K A R A K A S.

The tempo of the heartbeat, those drops of pitter-patter sweat, and those eyes, open wide and clear, to all that is morbid, curious, peculiar and macabre… There are some things in this world that we do not wish to see but are drawn to nevertheless, like moths to a flame. Crime scene photographs, serial killers, horror movies, oddities, freaks— at first we shield our eyes in careful eagerness. We turn the page softly; we click delicately; we turn on the screen unhurriedly until the images flash in front of our eyes. Then comes that thrilling sense of premonition, the rush of adrenaline, that thumping urge of fight or flight — we choose to remain and look. We choose to look, to stare, and look and look until the images and the colors blend into a colorful cacophony of all that is mixed in twisted revulsion and fascination — of all that is sinister and chilling. We are daring the nightmare. We are riding on the oscillating wave propelling between right and wrong, between beauty and horror, between all we have ever known. And yet we can never stop. The repulsiveness of the macabre is a challenge. When we look past it, we feel a sense of strength. It is through our morbid curiosity to fulfill that validation, the need of knowing that the muscle has been torn through and can continue to tear and tear again. And with that knowledge of “making it through” comes catharsis — a release of buried emotions, of the skeletons in the closet. What the peculiar and horrid offer to us can be a strange sense of relief in that the unpleasantness of the unknown — the burning, engulfing curiosity within us all to know what is on the other side — trumps what we might see. The reality of the world is oftentimes more horrible than any of us will ever truly know. It is knowing that however terrible our current predicament is, we can see a lesser, poorer, more unfortunate soul, no matter how far we hit rock bottom. We choose to experience the macabre and morbid because we are exploring — we are stepping in the shoes of the victim, or the predator.  We imagine their fear, pain, and triumph, sick release. We seek strength through power, catharsis through release, reality through imagination, exploration through empathy, acceptance through the despicable, and perhaps the meaning of it all from what will happen to us all — the indiscriminate, cold hand of death. And when it does we’ll greet it like an old friend.

Story by Gabriella Foreman.