Memory is a tricky thing, especially when you’re remembering things from your early childhood. SALEM’S LOT aired on CBS from November 17th through November 24th, 1979. That would have been local channel 19 for me, back when there were only three networks and three television channels. That would put me in the third grade, eight years of age. In my memory I recall being younger, six or seven. I think we can chalk that one up to childhood rather than the Mandela Effect. The point is, I was young, probably too young to be watching SALEM’S LOT. In my parents’ defense, though, I had watched scary movies before without any ill effect. DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW. HALLOWEEN. And dozens of old monster movies.
Blame the tabloid, whichever one it was. After watching SALEM’S LOT on TV the night before, we’d gone to the grocery store, and right there on the cover, in all capital letters, was the headline VAMPIRES ARE REAL!!! Three exclamation points for emphasis. And I was too young to understand the difference between a newspaper and a tabloid. All I knew was, if it was in the papers, it was TRUE.
Weeks, not days, of nightmares followed. Sleeping with the parents. Wanting to hang crucifixes on all the walls and garlic around the windows. (My parents were okay with the crucifixes that I fashioned out of cardboard and masking tape; not so much the garlic.) I kid you not, I carved a wooden stake and slept with it under my pillow. In hindsight I probably could have done with some therapy. That miniseries, combined with that damn tabloid and my undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, my Borderline Personality, my borderline autism and an overactive imagination, messed me up. Big time. But with the passage of the years, my absolute terror of vampires metamorphosed into fascination, then ultimately adulation. In a lot of ways, SALEM’S LOT started it all.
I wouldn’t give up those nightmare-filled nights for anything.