When I was growing up, I couldn’t help but notice that some of the other children around me had a range of phobias, including snakes, getting any report card grade less than an A, zombie movies, fish, and lightning, just to name a few. I was a pretty fearless kid who wasn’t creeped out by movie monsters and creepy crawlies, but according to all of the people who shared their stories below, I might be the odd one out:
Do you think they saw the remake?
Aman Anand wrote: “I watched the adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It’ when I was around eight, and it put me off clowns for life.”
“Even when I see harmless Cameron in ‘Modern Family’ don his clown suit, it still makes shudder ever so slightly.”
Extremely sad, but I’ll bet this is a common one…
“As a child,” Neha Jha said: “I thought that it was my fault that my parents fought, and I believed that I did something wrong to get beaten up. Also, if I would tell it to anyone else, I will be laughed at.”
“When I grew up, I learnt that it is called domestic violence and you are not supposed to keep quiet.”
Dan Birchfield wrote about how a classic movie monster creeped him out since childhood:
“What scared and terrified me the most as a child was ‘The Frankenstein Monster.’ Horrifying, is he not? He is from the 1931 movie starring Boris Karloff as the monster, an adaptation loosely based on the 1818 novel by Mary Shelley.”
“I watched the movie on TV with my older brother during a ‘Friday Night Frights’ thing,” Birchfield wrote. “I was probably around 7 or 8. The movie gave me nightmares. I dreamed I was on our front porch when the Frankenstein monster came shuffling down the sidewalk in his slow, ambling gait, with his arms outstretched before him.”
Dan continued: “He stopped in front of the house, turned, and looked right at me. He raised a gnarled hand and menacingly pointed his finger at me. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.”
“My heart rose up hammering into my chest. I couldn’t breathe, and woke up shrieking in mortal terror. He raised a gnarled hand and menacingly pointed his finger at me. Nearly 50 years later that nightmare still haunts me.”
It’s hiding in the closet!
Elias Fredericks shared her unusual fear of, well…
“Mops. Yes, you read that correctly. I had a huge fear of mops,” she said. “I had such a fear of these, that in preschool, they had to tape over a page in a book we read, just because there was a picture of a mop in it. I would break down into a total temper tantrum/panic attack thing over the sight of the simple household mop.”
“After some quick googling, I found that I was not alone in this fear.”
“Sfoungaristraphobia: The Fear of Mops. The internet does many things, good and bad, but will always be able to assure you that no matter how weird you are, you are not alone in that weirdness.”
Is it politically correct to discriminate against mollusks?
“When I was about three or so,” Henry Apfel, wrote, “me and my family went to the aquarium. It wasn’t the biggest aquarium- no Shamu, for instance, but it DID have an octopus. Specifically, a giant Pacific octopus; Enteroctopus dofleini.”
“I walked up, and the octopus – a highly intelligent creature – decided that it wanted to scare a kid @*&#less that day, and at great speed, it flattened itself against the glass of the tank.”
“When I got home, I had one of my sisters make a sign for my door. It read as follows: ‘No Octopusses Allowed.’”
To be fair, “water needles” sound terrifying.
“I used to be really scared of bridges,” Aya Kitajima said. “So when we absolutely must had to cross it, I would run across as fast as possible. I think I was scared of it falling down while I was on it. Especially those old, creaky looking ones.”
“I was also scared of showers when I was a younger child. I would always take baths instead because I’m pretty sure I thought showers would hurt. Like little water needles coming down upon tiny little me.”
Keeping an eye on the skies.
Alex Coffman shared a story about how bad weather spooked him as a kid, and I’m sure many people around the world would relate:
“Thunderstorms. I live in Georgia where the summer heat can churn up some nasty weather. We can also get the remnants of tropical storms from the Gulf and the Atlantic, and storm systems that rip through the Midwest.”
“When I was a child, I assumed every thunderstorm would produce a tornado that would kill me and everyone I loved. To my defense, I’ve had several scary close calls with severe weather as a child. To this day, I’m an avid radar watcher.”
Please don’t tell her about mattress tags…
Lauren Thompson wrote: “One time, while my sister and I were at an ‘open house’ sort of event for the elementary school she was going to attend that year (my sister was 5 or 6 years old and I was 4 or 5) we were sitting next to each other coloring in coloring books with crayons. The crayon that I was using was worn down to the paper wrapper, so I proceeded peeling a strip of the wrapper away so that I could continue my coloring with the crayon.”
“My sister saw this and told me in a low voice: ‘If you peel the paper off crayons, you will go to jail.’ I was horrified. I knew that I had already peeled the paper off of more crayons than I could count.”
Hmm… I can’t think of anything that instilled any sort of ongoing fear in me when I was a kid, but I distinctly remember having a recurring dream of being on the beach right as a massive monster tsunami was about to slam down upon me. Luckily, I’d always wake up just in time to survive it! Was there anything that kept you up at night when you were little? Whether it was the creature under your bed, earthquakes, spiders, or something truly bizarre, I hope you share your “terrifying” story in the comments below!