Saturday, 9 May 2009

Reflections on a fear of mirrors

Eisoptrophobia: a fear of mirrors. I have met many people over the years who have this fear. As one gets older, of course, a fear of mirrors is perhaps understandable. I think you know what I mean, ladies. And gentlemen.

This fear of mirrors seems to be a dread that the certainty of reflection will be subverted in some way; that the mirror will ad-lib, so to speak. There is a story in the Tales of Terror collection that addresses this fear, but I cannot tell you which it is without ruining the denouement.

The photograph above is from a favourite motion picture of mine called The Dead of Night. A mirror reflects not the room in which it hangs, but another room in another time and the scene of ghastly crime. The Dead of Night is an example of the 'portmanteau movie' - a collection of stories held together by another. Mr Priestley has 'borrowed' this device for his Tales of Terror books.

Let us be kind and call it an homage.

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