Ghosts and goblins. Demonic possession and alien abduction. Another episode of Paris Hilton’s My New BFF and another disappointing loss from the Clemson Tigers. These things aren’t frightening in the least.

But brain-eating amoebas, flesh-eating bacteria, and rabies-carrying, bite-happy bats who long for nothing more than to sneak up on you while you sleep, nibble on your flesh, and then disappear completely unnoticed? Those things are spooky. And given the opportunity, I like nothing more than to spread the word about them, particularly when it comes to interns and other impressionable children. Truth be told, I’m a sadist. But I don’t want to watch the world burn. I want to see it shit its pants.

Which is why I found a recent report by Live 5 to be troubling.

Last week, WCSC reporter Nicole Johnson warned viewers about a scary sign on Highway 17 advertising Saw’s Scream Farm at Boone Hall Plantation. Evidently, the ad gave some kids the willies. Nightmares were had, beds may or may not have been wet, and a few concerned parents complained. Two local churches even went as far as to raise money to pay for a more Pampers-friendly sign. Ultimately, the folks at Boone Hall apparently agreed to take down the ad. The horror, the horror.

Here’s the thing: there’s more out there for little kids to be scared of than a billboard for a haunted house. Like the people of rural Ohio, for instance.

Case in point: a truly frightening video of folks at a McCain-Palin rally currently making the rounds. It’s the most chilling thing I’ve seen in a long time.

The clip features one pro-America American after another fitfully fretting over the possibility that a black man might become president.

There’s the enraged granny who says, “I don’t like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash, because we’re not!”

There’s the not-so-kindly old codger who states, “When you got a negra running for president, you need a first stringer. He’s definitely a second stringer.”

There’s the bespectacled gal who wonders, “Obama and his wife, I’m concerned that they could be anti-white, that he might hide that.”

And there’s the hysterical golden girl who shouts, “I’m afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”

Of course, this type of behavior isn’t limited to Ohio. It can be found on the Left Coast, too, in Riverside, Calif.

In that burg, a local GOP women’s group thought it was a swell idea to run an image in its October newsletter of “Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs, and a bucket of fried chicken,” according to The Press-Enterprise.

But nothing is quite as frightening as a video on the CBS News website of a Sarah Palin rally in Johnstown, Pa. In it, an apparent McCain-Palin supporter is holding a Curious George doll in his hands; an Obama bumper sticker is wrapped around the doll’s head like a fez. What’s particularly creepy about the video is not so much the man’s blatant racism, but the icky, hey-kid-want-some-candy smile he has on face when he hands the monkey doll — sans fez — to a child beside him. And then he walks off. According to CBS, the child’s parents had never met the man before.

On second thought, I might be afraid of ghosts after all. Particularly those in white hoods.

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