As a former bat-hater, I really appreciated this story, Louis. My fear was not born of vampire or Dracula movies - never watched either - but of the old wives' tale that a bat can get in your hair and can't get out, forcing you to whack off all your hair to release it. As a young girl proud of her long locks, I was fearful that a bat would take up residence there.
I overcame my fear because of my vet. She is a bat-lover and rescuer. When responsible for raising abandoned baby bats, she and her staff would each attach a baby bat under the lapel of their lab jackets, where the baby would sleep in safety and darkness. Needing to feed their charges every hour, syringes of bat formula were carried in pockets. Each hour, baby bats would be moved from lapels and feed. Since they only took a drop or two at a time, the feeding was very quick.
Knowing of my fear, my vet allowed me to touch and then, feed the babies. Although never allowed to touch adult bats in rehab, they were in a special habitat in a quiet spot of the lobby where I could observe them. Fear gone!
My vet also has a small bat house on her clinic property, and our local university has two huge bat houses. Pre-Corona days, both locations are open to the public at dusk, so people can see the bats emerge in a dark cloud to go on their nightly insect hunts. What an amazing sight that is!!
As with most fears, once you face them, they are so scary after all. In fact, bats are really quite cute.