Ghosts aren’t scary. This is.
If you’re not already feeling uneasy, then picture your bed for a minute. Reading this in bed? Even better. Comfy, crisp clean linen sheets, and… dust mites, most likely. Dust mites that like nothing better than to mate and defecate all over your sheets and inside your mattress. But unless you’ve got asthma or are allergic to them, they won’t trouble you. Still, you might want to wash your sheets once in a while.
Ahh, barnacles. Harmless, passive sea creatures, right? Not if you’re a female rhizocephalan barnacle. Having grown up on a rock, when a male crab passes them by they’ll shoot themselves inside their bellies and inject their own cells. They’ll feed off the the crab’s food, and, when the time is right, explode their eggs out of the crab’s bellies. Not only does this make the crab sterile, but the barnacle also alters the crab’s body and brain chemistry so much that the crab now thinks that it’s a female. The eggs attract a male rhizocephalan who fertilizes them, and the brainwashed crab continues to treat the eggs like its own offspring, caring for them and releasing them into the sea when the time is right, to go on an infect a whole new generation of crabs.
Let’s talk about anglerfish sex. *Gasp* you say, *sex isn’t meant to be scary!* Well, you probably wouldn’t want to be a male anglerfish. When they’re born, male anglerfish don’t have their own digestive systems. So they need to find a female anglerfish very quickly. When they meet, the male anglerfish bites the female, makes a hole in her body and burrows inside. The male then wastes away, becoming nothing more than a lump on the female containing sperm - so when the time is right, her eggs can be fertilised, making another generation full of male anglerfish destined to a life of servitude!
What about the end of the world? One day, other catastrophic astronomical events notwithstanding, our sun is going to die in a spectacular way, taking with it the Earth and the other planets in our solar system. So not only will you die one day, but so will every trace of you, human culture and civilisation over the entire course of human history. While that’s pretty macabre, keep in mind that if stars never exploded, or expanded into all-consuming red giants, we never would have existed in the first place.
And maybe there would still be some trace left of human civilization after our sun explodes. Even if humans never manage to explore and colonize other solar systems, we sent the Golden Record into space some 40 years ago and it has recently left the solar system. Maybe, one day, an alien civilization will stumble across it and spare us another thought. Well, think about the fact that someday, the entire universe is going to end. Whether it’ll happen with a big freeze, big bounce, big crunch or a big rip, physicists predict that absolutely everything we know (and don’t know) will eventually come to an end.