February 22nd, 2005


The Moai of Easter Island are huge statues, with elongated faces, jutting chins, heavy brows and ski jump noses. They look a bit like Richard Nixon and a bit like the Frankenstein monster.

There is nothing like them anywhere else in the world. These days we know something of the culture that produced them, but back in the 1950s no-one had a clue. I decided they were supernatural. Perhaps they came alive and stomped around their island when the sun went down.

They were just about the scariest thing I knew. As scary as ghosts. As scary as the very tall half-woman half-rabbit person I once saw in a dream.

I was afraid of them turning up in my bedroom. But that was bearable. I had a strategy all worked out. Obviously they could only appear on the left hand side of the bed. If I lay on my right I wouldn't see them.

Perhaps they were already there, looming up behind me. But that was bearable because it was seeing them that would do the damage. I didn't try to imagine what would happen after. Seeing them would be enough. One glimpse of those craggy, eyeless faces and I would dissolve in terror and cease to exist.