Rus Articles Journal

Children`s practice of visit of “terrible places“. Part II

the Beginning

Similar councils on the subject of how to see representatives of other, invisible world, we find in rules of children`s “callings“.“ Callings“ is the children`s magic practice which is transferred as folklore tradition from generation to generation of children.

by means of certain procedures children “call“ gnomes, the Queen of spades, chertik, etc. Sometimes it becomes to be convinced that they really exist and can appear, and sometimes - to place them at service to the interests (for example, they have to execute desire of the child). Anyway here crossing of border of two worlds takes place too. Usually about success of “calling“ children suggest to judge by indirect signs - on the marks left “caused“. But it is considered that they can be seen really if, performing magic operations, the child manages to look very quickly in the right place.

can remember many similar facts from the world of magic and folklore of adults Here. In particular, Carlos Castaneda is the student - the ethnographer studying ancient wisdom at the Mexican Indian - the magician of Don Juan, - in one of the famous books describes how Juan explained Don to him that each person at the left behind the back has his Death. Death which presence it is always necessary to remember, to consider it and it is obligatory to consult on it in situations of the vital choice. It can be seen as the flashed cloudlet or a shadow at small distance behind the back if you are not afraid unexpectedly and quickly to look back to the left.

we Will return to children. The children`s fears connected with apertures, cavities and receptacles in own house belong to the early period of life though can remain a long time. Usually they arise by itself, and the child does not know how to cope with them. He just is afraid of “terrible places“ and tries to avoid them. Absolutely new stage of communication of the child with what it is afraid, begins at the age of five - six years. These are group visits of “terrible places“ outdoors. Children go there to stand on border of the acquaintance and the rendered habitable day world and an entrance to the world other. What for? to experience existential horror. It is the first attempt of an active sovladaniye with it when the child, having united with others, does not avoid any more, and, on the contrary, looks for meetings with awful and it is ready to adjoin to it.

“Awful places“ begins to be passed gradually into the category of “scary interesting“. There go already not just to worry, and to investigate, that is purposefully to learn them. In parallel between six - seven and nine - ten years symbolical study of these fears begins children`s collective consciousness. It occurs when children tell each other traditional terrifying stories which are one of genres of children`s folklore. Transition from the first stage of communication of the child with “the terrible place“ to the second is quite precisely reflected in the certificate of the girl:

“When to me was six - seven years, together with children of our yard we often looked to the cellar of the house, but further, than on three meters which were lit, we did not come. The cellar was very big, with pipes, long - under all house with ten front doors.

Then someone got a small lamp, and all decided to survey this cellar. Other children were more senior than me on one - two years, and one boy was most senior for few years. They went down to the cellar and went deep into, and I am farther, than on three meters from an entrance, could not depart.

When I watched

forward, in this darkness with pipes, my legs grew to the earth. It seemed to me that there some abyss, a chasm that there the earth comes to an end. I felt small, weak and defenseless. When children returned, I envied their courage, but explained it with the fact that they are more senior than me and can, even should not be afraid. And I small, and me it is pardonable“.

there Passes a little more time, and for younger school students, especially boys, research of “the terrible place“ appears the group action having at once several psychological purposes. It becomes test of bravery and at the same time its training. It gives the chance to satisfy research instincts, and also desire of personal self-affirmation. It and a way of clarification of the status of each participant in group hierarchy because limits of opportunities of everyone are visually shown in where who stops.

“Outdoors aged from five till nine years terrible places for us. For their research we, boys, gathered big groups. Armed with sticks, stones, took more small lamps and went there. And the group accurately was divided at once by fear degree: the most courageous went ahead with lamps, average - slightly behind, and the pants - strongly behind and did not move away far from an entrance.

Turned out that the route of group on the cellar was accurately designated by boys with small lamps. Each of them could not move further any limit and, having reached it, remained on the place, but did not come back, to the usual world.

We investigated the cellar, hoping to find something interesting. And as many objects were of interest to us at this age, we had a production almost always. Still we frightened each other, especially less courageous, leaving their one in the dark“.

In this certificate the boy noted characteristic of children`s behavior - accurate feeling of the personal limit in a test situation. Whether the child participates in children`s tests of bravery whether he chooses on walk from what of ice slopes he will be able to move down whether climbs on a game design at a playground - in all these cases mentally healthy child intuitively feels where he should stop that to return to integrities back. Where the child is ready to go and where - no, serves for him as well as for his friends, an exponent of its personal force, psychological age and an opportunity to apply for a certain post in children`s group.

“To us was on seven - eight years. We with the girlfriend walked, and she came into the cellar to pee. Did not invite me. The door was open, and I guarded outside. I stood and thought: „ What it is courageous! ““

in the Summer at the dacha or in the village where there are many children of different age who are with each other well familiar, campaigns to “terrible places“ with a large number of participants and a difficult complex of tasks sometimes are arranged. Usually it turns out when there is a ringleader is more senior around which the kernel of the children`s company is grouped.

Such campaign I observed

in the Volga region village the Baryshsky Settlement in the summer of 1981. The girl of thirteen years who held unconditional authority with local children of all age was the organizer of all enterprise. Among them it had a reputation for the person wise, fair and “public“. In the children`s community Bar - Settlements it was that type of the righteous person, rare, but inexhaustible at us, which the Russian land keeps. It is very pleasant to me that now there is an opportunity to devote it several lines.

Quiet, beyond the years balanced and internally sedate, it was an unusual patriot of the village, quickly bezlyudevshy of - for departure of youth. She passionately loved everything here, well knew history of the village and the people living there. In thirteen years she already resolved to remain forever here in any quality, but in general dreamed to become the mail carrier - the person helping to establish relation between people. She understood it as mission and actually already carried out it: on own initiative helped several old women, at the same time adopting at them national tradition, and was engaged with children much.

As the major human value for this girl, she made very many efforts for merging of children`s street community because of the general games and the enterprises interesting by all. The campaign on a cemetery to tell there terrifying stories was one of such enterprises which practiced, according to local children, several years. Such campaigns were arranged only one - two times during the summer - and therefore that it had to be a rare and special event and therefore that business was troublesome and needed preparation.

Preparation consisted in that for several days to notify about coming all children`s lyud and to hide it from adults. As the village was quite big, in the appointed hour, in the evening, at the beginning of the eighth, the children`s crowd of people in thirty gathered. The bulk was made by children of nine - twelve years, but was among them and the person three small, years on five - six which were coordinated for elder brothers and sisters. Small took that they gave nobody to adults, but looked at them with doubt. The excited participants of march encouraged each other. Despite the determination, all of them were afraid because the cemetery was considered magically strong, really “the terrible place“ with which do not joke and all enterprise - daring. Girls came more, than boys. Several people reported that, as well as last year, the group of boys is going to make going an ambush in bushes: will be covered with sheets and will howl as ghosts (as occurred later).

At last the ill-matched children`s crowd moved on the road through the village, then went beyond a village fence and stretched through a meadow. Was still light-, but approach of evening was already felt: there were sounds more deafly, and air - is colder. Younger children by itself appeared at the end of procession.

Behind a village fence there passed the last houses and the road of the beginning to go down from a small hillock on a meadow, so, that, having looked back, it was possible to see only roofs of houses, the smallest became agitated and right there all together moved back. A bit later, as dampness of evening air was stronger felt and twilight amplified, slowly began to lag behind and some children are more senior. One by one they silently and unexpectedly separated from group going as though knew well that they cannot go further any invisible line, and went back, uniting on the way back small silent small groups. Going ahead, appear, did not notice lagged behind.

the structure of group completely was defined by

To the middle of the road when the cemetery was already nearby: these children together reached and together returned - about a half from initial quantity. Generally it was years on ten - twelve, but two girls of eight years courageously adjoined to them also. They obviously felt made a feat and very much were proud then that participated in such business on an equal basis with seniors.

Shortly before the end of the road all accepted test: boys howled and frightened from - for roadside bushes. Though their emergence was in advance known, all - they made the necessary impression, and then joined the company.

At last - is sent in addition. Ahead across there passed the wide road, and behind it there were big trees of the dark, already plunging at night cemetery. On that side of the road everything was so severe - majestically that one thought that there it is possible to go to tell foolish terrifying stories, seemed ridiculous and even blasphemous.

All began to look back, where to stop. It was felt that it is necessary to find some place and there to decide what to do farther. The big superficial hole surrounded with bushes became this place. Probably, there was once a base witness marks. Children settled down in it on cards. It was clear that nobody wants to go on a cemetery. There was a feeling that with arrival on this place the campaign body came to the end important and, maybe: those who did not grow, and became clear who can apply for membership in the main structure of the children`s community Bar - Settlements as “devoted“ were eliminated.

Does not know to

, children in this hole would remain to tell terrifying stories or soon would move home, having just sat there and having experienced proximity of a cemetery if with them we did not go - two students of folklore expedition and I. We razokhotit children the ardent desire a little to listen to terrifying stories, and story-tellers were quickly. After the third - the fourth history all suddenly and somehow at once was felt how we fit well and as fine everything occurs - “as it is necessary“: almost present night, nearby darkens the cemetery creating the concerning background, the wide light road accurately divides two worlds - otherworldly mysteriously - gloomy cemeterial and our where in the hole from all directions protected by bushes the honest company comfortably was arranged. All sit close, feel warmly each other, in turn tell by quiet voices tremendous stories and endure the increasing feeling of a heart-felt love to each other, interest, attention and a community.

these stories Lasted no more than one and a half hours, but it seemed what passed at half of the night. Back reached so quickly what was strange - why so slowly reached this cemetery in the beginning?

Next day and the next two weeks children`s talk was anyway connected by

with an evening campaign. All perfectly remembered who from where left also who “was together with us“. Of course, the campaign was group test: one confirmed the authoritative situation and the importance, others actually passed a dedication ceremony.


Besides, achieved the second objectives so important for the girl - the organizer: joint experience and overcoming of fear, the general strong impressions, and then and memories of events considerably rallied all company. The relations between the children participating in a campaign on a cemetery became closer, friendly and careful. And all this company gained special appeal to those children who were not together with them and dreamed now of how they will go there next year.

it was Also clearly visible to

that really taking place events the farther, the more become a reason for various improbable stories where the desirable was given for valid, all was strongly exaggerated, much imagined, - but none of real participants not only protested against it, and on the contrary - took the most active part in distribution of fantastic versions. The event turned into the group myth which was necessary to children.


It is interesting that most quicker all forgot that they did not reach a cemetery. Therefore this history appeared in further memoirs under the name “As We on a Cemetery Told Terrifying Stories“. Formal accuracy of transfer of concrete events of that evening really had no great psychological value - the truth of children`s sincere experiences was important, and here they were close to truth.

the Sketch of visits of “terrible places“ will be incomplete if not to mention the place which for many children is terrible, but where all children are several times in day. It is the bathroom.

If to speak about bathrooms which cause big or smaller fears practically in all children then it is traditional country and rural board houses with “point“ or the same bathrooms with many “seats“ in children`s summer camps.

With the “terrible places“ described in this work, such bathroom is made related by several characteristic features.

In - the first, all children (and many adults) are afraid to fail there and already never to be chosen. From the point of view of the adult, this fear has quite real reasons in view of a usual hlipkost of these constructions, disproportionately big holes and frightening prospect which is visible in these openings. But at the child natural fears of this sort are supported with deeper experiences of early age having almost magic force. The matter is that for younger children any bathroom, including the home water closet, is the place causing some tension and alarm. One of sources of this alarm - methods which parents accustomed the child to a pot. Another - is covered in features of children`s thinking.

When small children sit on a pot, they perceive result of the efforts as having separatedshuyusya part. Therefore to them what happens to it further is, as a rule, not indifferent. They vividly are interested in discharge of the water which is carrying away everything in a black hole of the sewerage. This process is endured by children as model of what can happen to them if they fall in a toilet bowl. At the same time the child does not realize discrepancy of the sizes - this fact for it does not matter. The child is bewitched by action.

Therefore the fear even before a toilet bowl quite often occurs at younger children, and it does not come within miles of a bathroom uzhasnost with “point“.

This fear, being typical, found the reflection and in children`s folklore. Among traditional terrifying stories there is a plot how black hands leaned out of a pot in the school bathroom and dragged away sitting in a hole. So many pupils of this school who were released one by one to the bathroom from a lesson were gone.


Not without reason, as well as it is necessary in relation to “the terrible place“, children prefer to go to the bathroom the company. Often this campaign has the code name in children`s language and represents the whole ritual.

In - the second, the rural bathroom is made related with others “terrible places“ by presence there of frightening, spontaneous and disgusting life which actively goes below: gurgle, stir of the vile beings inhabiting this chasm in the power of which the child so is afraid to appear.

B - the third, the bathroom is a place lonely, boundary, not lived by people, but noted by presence of terrible beings even in the cabin where the child enters: there it is possible to meet many the fat garden spiders who stretched the web, hard buzzing blue flies, the hornet`s nests stuck to a lintel. Where turn - everywhere you will face some small, but aggressive owner of this place, and the person who settled down in the bathroom is at some point absolutely defenseless.


In general makes impression that the increased unattractiveness of our bathrooms and abundance of frightening details of their internal device even in house rural nuzhnik where it is so easy to put everything in order, are caused not only low household culture of the population. It seems that they are connected also with other, than, for example, in the West, the symbolical relation to this institution. The general logic of this relation (by the way, reminding the nursery) looks approximately so: the place where low requirements go, on justice, has to correspond to them the look, that is similar connects to similar here.

All this

in total is also the reason of why children usually do not love and are afraid to go to the country bathroom and prefer to arrange at a fence or behind bushes own latrines which they prefer to visit in the company of friends of the floor.