One need not be a chamber to be haunted

One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

Far safer, of a midnight meeting External ghost,
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.

Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one’s own self encounter
In lonesome place.

Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror’s least.

The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O’erlooking a superior spectre
More near.

~Emily Dickinson
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I have very little to say about this one. It’s perfect, really, and completely true. We are the most terrifying spectres we will ever meet. Humans can be haunted by the past, by the undone, by the unrealized. Our minds are more expansive than any construction, and so are vastly more capable of housing ghosts. The lines about encountering oneself in a lonesome place on a moonless night are especially vivid. We hide our true selves behind our external selves, and what we carry inside us should concern us more than any outer threat.

Though I doubt Dickinson was thinking specifically about writing and scary stories with this one, it also works on that kind of meta-level–we carry within us all the scary stories we are capable of creating.