Three Essays to Fear this Halloween

Photo by: Jay Dusard, from the Autumn 2019 Table of Contents

This Halloween, we asked Orion staff to name some of the eeriest, most skin-crawling articles from the past three decades of archives. From rabid bats to radical bicycle gangs and snake hallucinations, here are three staff favorites guaranteed to leave a mark. Subscribe by November 5 and start your subscription with the Autumn 2019 issue.

  Send in the Clowns” by Marc Svenvold (January 2008) 
I AWOKE TO BIRD SONG and slant January light cutting through the brush that surrounded our hut — a circular, thatched roof on poles, no walls, concrete floor, modeled after the traditional palapa of northeastern Mexico. Across from me, Pete the Feral Boy snoozed away in his bag. His tall bike — two bike frames welded on top of one another in a high-riding style popular among alternative bicycle youth culture — was loaded with Indian clubs and ukuleles and, dangling from the frame, assorted articles of clothing that Pete had found on the side of the road or in dumpsters.
  Fear Itself” by Melanie Challenger (Spring 2018)
I DON’T BELIEVE I was truly fearful until I became a mother, which was seven years ago now. There is experiencing fear for yourself, which is really an acute category of loneliness, when you become suddenly aware of your vulnerability and of your entrapment in your single, unique body. Then there is fear for your children, which, loosed from the confines of one body to worry about, magnifies and outstretches both time and specifics. I suspect that many parents are towed by an invisible thread of fear for their children pretty much their whole lives.
  The Rabies Principle” by Sandra Steingraber (Fall 2007) 
THE FINEST DESCRIPTION of the precautionary principle that I’ve ever heard came from David Gee of the European Environment Agency in a speech before a convocation of environmental ministers in Belgium. After arguing that benefit of the doubt should be granted to public health rather than to the things that threaten it, Gee said that precaution helps us avoid, during times of uncertainty, the construction of “pipelines of unstoppable consequences.” Gee’s remarks were met with stout applause.

This is a collection of Orion Staff contributions.