wings and things

Ghost train

on November 4, 2012

Last night Ming and I watched one of those poltergeisty movies and we were so terrified throughout that it became funny and I couldn’t stop laughing! It reminded me of the ghost train incident of many years ago.

The memory still sits in my gut, raw, un-relinquished – a regret that I can’t rewind and delete. I comfort myself with the thought that all parents do heaps of things unthinkingly, unwisely – don’t they?

Tentatively, I reminded Ming about the ghost train the other day, and he giggled. Momentarily relieved, I assumed he was over it. But I couldn’t help noticing that his giggle was accompanied by a slight frown, a slight blanching of the complexion, even a slight stiffening of the limbs.

He was around three years old at the time. We were having a holiday in Adelaide, when we decided, on impulse, to go to the Adelaide Show.

Ming was terribly excited by the crowds, the fairy floss and the ghost train billboard advertisements. He kept pointing to these and saying, “Ming wanna go on that thing, Mummy – pweese!” He was fascinated by the pictures of ghosts, skeletons and monsters.

So I bought us tickets, told Anthony we’d meet him in the closest coffee shop and Ming and I waited in the queue. This is when I had my first tiny qualm. Children much older than Ming were coming out of the ghost train ride looking a little worse for wear and I got a bit nervous. Then, all of a sudden, it was our turn and we were strapped into the tiny cart and off we went.

Just before those horrible black doors opened and we were whooshed into the 2-minute nightmare, I whispered to Ming, “None of this is real, darling – it’s all pretend.” Why, oh why, didn’t I say this to him earlier?

At the halfway point, he was so terrified that, seeing a tiny crack in the wall to the outside – a sliver of light, a glimpse of another queue – he screamed, “Ming wanna go back!” But it was too late. Our cart was thrust, once again, through another set of black doors, and red eyes, ghostly hands and skeletal breath seemed to touch us as we progressed, surrounded by the bloodcurdling screams of those behind and in front of us.

I held Ming close as he began to cry. His fear was so potent that my own heart started to race with remembered childhood nightmares of spooks, of bogeymen – the dark fear of the unknown.

Then, whoosh, we were back in daylight. It was over. I picked Ming up and hoisted him into my arms. He was trembling. I hated myself.

In the car, on the way back to the motel, Ming remained silent while I told Anthony about the ride, how scary it was and how badly I felt. But Anthony just laughed and said, “I’m sure Ming’ll survive, Jules – you worry too much.”

Then, from the back of the car, came a querulous voice. “Andony?  Mummy and me neeely got gobbled up by the monsters, but we surbived.”

I made my decision then and there: no more ghost trains. Ever!

27 responses to “Ghost train

  1. Those things scare me – I won’t go in!

  2. bulldogsturf says:

    Hated those things when small… one ride was enough to cure me of them ever again… and I was close to my teens…. every time something jumped out I tried my best to hit it… never again…

  3. camsgranny says:

    have only been on one and that was enough for me, I can’t even watch scary movies, I’m to much of a wus. Besides it’s hard to watch scary movies with your hands over your eyes….

  4. elizabeth says:

    Very scary stuff for little ones. So glad you two surbived 🙂

  5. janechese says:

    once was enough for me-and i was 14., big chicken.Just not my thing.

  6. oldsunbird says:

    I think all mothers have regrets. None of us are perfect. You sound like a wonderfully, loving supportive mother and children are resilient. I wouldn’t be surprised if you imagined Ming’s reaction to the memory because of your own feelings. That was a lovely story. I enjoyed reading it.

  7. Susan says:

    Parental guilt is the worst! But don’t be too hard on yourself…some parents abandon their kids, starve them, burn them with cigarettes…all you did was give yours an experience he wanted!

  8. Ingrid says:

    I have never mustered the courage to go on one of those things and I’m not likely too now, but recently when in London, went to the London Bridge Experience and Tombs which is SUPER SCARY – probably worse than the ghost train I reckon. Kids under the age of 11 are offered a guardian Angel to accompany them through the scariest part of it – I felt like I needed one too!

  9. viveka says:

    Once I went on a scary train and it have been enough through the rest of my life, was a teen.
    Never again, but I don’t like anything scary or horror, maybe I can blame that train ride for that.

    At least Ming – felt proud over that you both had survived the ordeal. I don’t understand why we think kids will find any joy in horror and evil, today I think kids a feed on it. Love your story.

  10. Even though I know they are pretend – you still wouldn’t get me on a ghost train now! I went on them a few times as a child/teenager and several years ago went to a horror night at a theme park and went into a ‘horror house’. Oh dear.. too scary for me!

  11. No ghost trains for me. I don’t like being scared.

  12. eof737 says:

    Poor thing… I’m a big baby with such things too…

  13. Jo-Anne says:

    I love how I can imagine Ming’s little 3yr old voice just by the way you write………………..I remember when my girls were little there was a few times I had to be strong and say NO you can’t go on that ride you will be scared, of course they didn’t think they would be but I trusted I knew better but something like the ghost train often seems tame when it is not it is bloody scary………….lol

  14. Ok were did my comment go……………………I will try again and if you get two of them feel free to delete one………

    I love how I can imagine little Ming’s 3yr old voice just by the way you write, now Ghost trains they seem so tame and they are not, I also remember when my girls were little I had to be strong and say NO they couldn’t go on certain rides because they would get scared and of course the girls thought they would be fine but I said I was mum and I knew better………

  15. That sounds like exactly the kind of ride for me. I love stuff like that. And the rest of my family decidedly does not.

  16. Poor kid! I don’t like the scary stuff either so I wouldn’t push my kids to go on such a ride. 🙂

  17. terry1954 says:

    Oh my , poor little Ming, how frightened he must have been, but he had his mommy right beside him holding him close. those type of memories never leave completely, but thankfully most of them! great story Julie

  18. Judith Post says:

    What a wonderful story!

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