By David Raether
October has not cornered the market on eerie nights. For my money, few things are eerier than a cool, quiet summer’s evening. You’re out for a walk and all you hear is the occasional random bark of a dog, a car driving by, and, maybe in the distance, an ambulance.
But that’s it. That and the whispering sound of some kind of supernatural creature shuttling through the cool night air, whisking past you as you walk alone in the moonlight. Your pace quickens and you start looking around. That dog stopped barking. Maybe they got him. Maybe I’ll just run home, you say to yourself. And so you do, sprinting all the way. You get to the front door, completely out of breath, and are relieved and a little embarrassed. What were you so scared of? Nothing! Nothing until… you look back at the street and there, by a tree, are two dark-clad figures just watching you. You quickly unlock the door and go into your house.
You rush into bed and pull the covers up and look around the dark room. Safe for now, you say to yourself. Although what were those black-clad creatures doing down there by the edge of your lawn?
The next morning everything is just fine. No one was troubled by disturbing dreams. You check the news. No reported incidents with werewolves or wraiths. Those two dark figures by the tree were low-hanging branches. What were you thinking? Just silly. I was just imagining things because it was a dark, quiet, eerie summer night.
There was, however, that one summer night when all my worst fears seemingly came true. The summer before my senior year in high school, I had a part-time job and my shift ended at 11 pm I was walking home. Alone, of course. On this one particular summer night, the sky was full of stars, the moon was full, and there was a light breeze that made the leaves rustle in the trees.
My route home was a simple one. I walked up to where 38th Street deadened into some railroad tracks. As usual, I climbed the railroad fence, jumped down, and then walked along the tracks for about a quarter mile. I then cut down through the weeds and climbed the other fence and jumped down.
And there it was. A dead body! And it was naked!
Right there, almost at my feet, by the hockey rink boards. I froze. What do I do? What do I do? It’s a dead body! I’ve come upon a dead body! My heart was racing. What do you say to a naked dead body? I didn’t know what to say, and yet I felt some sort of greeting was in order.
I decided to try a standard greeting. So I leaned down and said, “Excuse me.”
It was at that very moment I realized this was not a naked dead body, but two naked and very alive bodies. It was my friend Rick and his girlfriend April in the middle of some fun.
“Aw, man, Raether. Seriously?” he said.
“Oh, hey Rick. How are you doing? Obviously pretty good. Sorry to interrupt. Hey, April. Good to see you too.”
“Will you just shut up and leave?” Rick snarled.
“Oh, God,” said April. “This is so embarrassing.”
“Well,” I said. “I’m gonna head out. Talk to you guys later.”
I then very carefully stepped around them and headed home.
I more than headed home. I ran full speed for the remaining three blocks. Rick and April, you’re on your own on such an eerie night like this.
Summer nights are the perfect time to watch an eerie movie. Maybe not a horror movie, but something that sets your teeth on edge and makes you wonder about every random sound in your house. Here are my favorite eerie movies for a summer’s night.