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pepperlandgirl
04-24-2001, 03:35 PM
My younger sister is doing a big project for her Honors English class. The book she chose to do it on is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I haven't read this book for 6 years, but offering her suggestions, giving feedback, and proof-reading as brought back some surprising memories.

When I was in 6th grade, I read the book, having never heard of it before. At that point, I was too young to recgonize foreshadowing, and I really didn't understand that sometimes the bad guys win. When the lead character (just blanked on his name) died, I was absolutely shocked. I completely didn't see that coming. I was horrified! I still think about it to this day, and I can apply logic to it. (It's pretty obvious now). But I will never forget the total disappointment and revulsion I felt when he was wheeled into his room after his lobotomy. I have refused to read the book since then, and last week my sister was watching the movie, I couldn't even watch with them.

Maybe one day I'll be able to read it again, or at least watch it, but I don't think that'll happen for awhile.
So, which book were you totally blindsided by when you were younger, before you understood foreshadowing/symbolism/unhappy endings? Does it still affect you on any level?

jayjay
04-24-2001, 04:12 PM
I read Sister Carrie when I was in my teens and hated it. It was the first Realist novel that I'd ever read and I kept expecting some kind of decisive, logical ending, but everybody just kept going from either innocent to cynical to being a total user (Carrie) or from intelligent to stupid to insane (all the men, apparently). And then it just ends. Like some sort of surrealist vignette...everybody's miserable: the end. Gawd...I still hate the thing...

jayjay

AHunter3
04-24-2001, 04:36 PM
Orwell's 1984 gave me the bone-deep creeps when I read it as a young teenager in the early 1970s.

Nacho4Sara
04-24-2001, 04:39 PM
I read Sophie's Choice by William Styron when I was 14. I wasn't familiar with the Meryl Streep movie, and only later did I realize that the flashback to the Nazi camp (I won't spoil it; if you've read the book or seen the movie, you know exactly what I'm talking about) is a famous literary/film moment.

It was a hard book to read, but I couldn't put it down. I read it in like four days. By the time I got to the ending, I thought I was numb, but, well, wow. Reading that scene was like having my heart torn out. It was the most horrific thing I ever read in my life. Afterward, I cried for hours and then I couldn't pick up another book (those days I was reading five books a week) for over a month. I didn't want to read anything. I was in book shock.

I picked up the book a few weeks ago and tried reading it, but I couldn't. Instead, I just skipped to that end scene and tried to read that, but I couldn't do that either. The words on the page were so intimately connected to this huge pain I remember feeling, but they didn't have the same effect 6 years later. I can't really explain why I didn't want to read it again; just that I wanted to preserve how I felt when I read it the first time, because it affected me so hugely.

Johanna
04-24-2001, 05:55 PM
Oh, thanks. You just reminded me of my most traumatic literary moment in my youth. When I was 13 I read Zorba the Greek and was completely unprepared for the scene where a guy whips out a pocketknife and beheads the widow all of a sudden. I was so sickened and horrified by this that I never read any more Kazantzakis. I now understand that this novel had depths of meaning I couldn't possibly have grasped at that age, and I won't really know what was in it unless I go back and read it as an adult. (Wasn't Zorba promoted as a life-affirming, joyous tale?) But there are a lot of other books higher on my list if I ever get the chance to read them.

Yumanite
04-24-2001, 06:05 PM
This is not a book, but it is certainly my first disturbing reading disturbance -- I read Hans Cristian Andersen's "The Litte Mermaid" when I was about 5. It was most certainly the first tragic ending I had ever encountered. I remember crying.

I did recover pretty quickly, though. It caused me to brood on the story for a week or so, and as a result I learned a lot about what makes fairy tales what they are, and why a person might favor the unhappy, 'life is not fair' ending. It became a favorite for me, although I didn't read it again until the evil Disney movie came out.

GilaB
04-24-2001, 06:19 PM
This has less literary cachet than most of the things posted, but here goes...
I read Michael Chrichton's Andromeda Strain when I was in fourth or fifth grade, and it gave me the willies for weeks. I couldn't go to sleep without imagining some evil mutant outer space virus coming and killing us all without warning. Bio-based things are still the way to make me freak out about a book (like The Hot Zone), because now I know how possible it all is, but when I went back and read Andromeda last year, it seemed kind of silly.

Crunchy Frog
04-24-2001, 07:24 PM
pepperlandgirl - the character's name is RP MacMurphy. I'm dead sure his initials are RP, but I'm only marginally sure that the R stands for Randall.

Along the lines of disturbing, one of the first real novels I remember reading was Stephen King's The Shining. I was 11 or 12 I think. Before reading that book, I had never had my emotions stirred by written words. It amazed me that a book of all things could scare the hell out of me like that.

More along the lines of the OP, I was completely blindsided when, at the age of 13, I read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Tom Robinson wasn't supposed to die! He was innocent, why wasn't he allowed to be free? However, unlike pepperlandgirl aversion to the story in question, this twist from the norm only got me more interested in the story and I've read it many times since.

Rosebud
04-24-2001, 07:40 PM
As often happens I'm drawing a blank as far as my own experiences go, so I'm going to borrow one from my brother.

When I was in the 10th grade, and he was 10 years old, I had to read "Of Mice and Men" for my English class. He got hold of it when I brought it home, and read it straight through in about a day. He was clearly very much affected by Lenny's death-- it's one of those things that reminds me of how proud I am of him, that he read this classic at 10 when I hadn't touched it 'til I was 15, and that it touched him so.

Mauvaise
04-24-2001, 07:47 PM
When I was about 10 or 11 my mother decided that I should spend the summer reading some "classics", so she put together a list. I had just finished a book and wanted something light, I wasn't in the best of moods and didn't feel like thinking hard or being depressed so I asked my mom for a suggestion.

She told me I should read Animal Farm. "It's cute. The animals talk." :rolleyes: (In her defense it had been years since she read the book, and she never was the best of students.)

I remember throwing the book across the room in tears when I finished it. I was depressed the rest of the afternoon and pissed at my mother for weeks. I still haven't been able to bring myself to reread this book.

PlanMan
04-24-2001, 09:02 PM
In my early teens (or likely before) I read Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon which takes place in (pre-Disnney) central Florida, from just before a nuclear war through the aftermath. An assortment of residents of small town near Orlando survive - too far from the Air Force bases in Tampa and Cape Canaveral, altho' they saw glows on the horizon. One of them is the town banker who is concerned, of course, about money. He wants to call the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta (don't remember if he started by trying to reach DC), the Operator (no Direct Dial Long Distance way back then) tells him no calls are going out of state. So he remembers there is a branch of the Fed. Reserve in Jacksonville, so he asks the Operator to try it, the Operator says, "I'm sorry sir, Jacksonville doesn't seem to be there any more."
I was sitting in Jacksonville (still am) reading those words, not all that long after the Cuban Missle Crisis. Big Time Creepy. I just got a "creepy" up my back typing this.

A Friend of the Devil
04-24-2001, 10:01 PM
When I was a kid, I read some books that were definitely not kid books:

On the Beach by Neville Shute

Fail-Safe - don't remember the author

1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell

While I'd like my own boy to raed these for himself (along with a ton of other classics), I'd rather it be when he's a little older and we can talk them over.

MentalGuy
04-24-2001, 10:10 PM
I have to give another nod to 1984. I don't remember my age but I was in high school so probably 14 or 15. The final line sent chills through me. I also still have a greater than normal fear of rats from reading that book.

Snooooopy
04-24-2001, 10:26 PM
Originally posted by A Friend of the Devil
When I was a kid, I read some books that were definitely not kid books:

On the Beach by Neville Shute

Fail-Safe - don't remember the author


Gaah! You sure did have a thirst for nuclear destruction!

I read "Fail-Safe" in high school. Quite a shocking ending.

Rosebud
04-24-2001, 10:35 PM
Ok, remembered one of my own. When I was a pre-teen, my mom used to pick up bags and bags of used paperbacks at thrift shops. She was and is an avid reader. She stored her finds in our laundry room (only place there was enough space) and I'd frequently raid them.

When I was about 11, I got hold of a copy of "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" via the laundry room stash. I knew just enough about sex to have some idea of what was going on. I don't think I read the entire book, but the last line has stuck with me for 18 years. I was extremely disturbed by it and had long discussions with an older (13, I think) friend of mine about it. Yet it never crossed my mind to ask my mom about it.

"Animal Farm" has been mentioned several times in this thread and I think that's interesting-- I also read it when I was 11. For some reason there were a number of copies of it sitting in my 6th grade class room. We also had some freaky collections of science fiction stories in our library and reading rooms, but I'm just remembering I went on about those in another thread a while back...

AwSnappity
04-24-2001, 10:44 PM
I read Carrie and Cujo when I was about 11 years old. They didn't really scare me, but I could certainly recognize the popular people in Carrie. The mother freaked me out, though.

Balance
04-24-2001, 11:08 PM
I think I overloaded all of my shock circuits so quickly that it didn't really register.

I remember reading Shield of Three Lions when I was six. There was a little introductory material, a little scene-setting, then everyone around the protagonist (a young girl) was slaughtered, her home was sacked, and she witnessed a brutal rape and murder. That stands out in my memory in part because I read it while sitting in my first grade reading class, while kids around me were still struggling with the little "cat/dog/boy/girl" story we were assigned. My teacher--foolish creature that she was--didn't believe that I could actually read the book, and made me read aloud from it. By chance, she pointed out that passage to read, and I took a certain grim satisfaction in watching her go pale and frantically shush me. Then she asked if I understood it, so I explained it to her in considerable clinical detail until she shushed me again.

The first time I read that passage was an eye-opener. I was sure the girl had gotten away clean then, suddenly, horrible nastiness happened right in front of her. In later years I was sometimes depressed and often disgusted by books (Lord of the Flies, anyone?--what a piece of tripe), but I was never shocked again.

Kyla
04-25-2001, 02:50 AM
In seventh grade, I had one of those English textbooks with many short stories and novellas. One of them was a story by (I think) Ray Bradbury. I can't remember the title, but it took place on Venus. On Venus, it rains constantly, but every eleven years, it stops for one hour. It's that day, and all the kids are eagerly anticipating seeing the sunshine for the first time. But in the morning, the class bullies lock up a more unfortunate girl in a closet. The rain stops, and everyone is delighted, they run outside for an hour. The rain starts again, they come back in, and realize that the girl is still locked up. She's missed the entire thing.

I can't remember the title, but the fact that I can recall all those details proves how much that story shocked me (I do not have the greatest memory for such things). It was such a short, simple story, but the idea of missing the only hour of sunshine for eleven years horrified me.

Dr.Pinky
04-25-2001, 03:02 AM
I read Naked Lunch around 16. Almost got physically ill. Read it 5 years later, and found all the black humor I'd missed the 1st time.

HeyHomie
04-25-2001, 07:58 AM
I read The Catcher in the Rye my junior year in high school. I got physically ill at one point, because I so identified with the main character. It was the scene where Holden was remembering playing checkers with a (female) friend of his, and it comes out that she was being molested by her stepfather. It turned my stomach, in part because I knew a couple of girls who were going through the same thing.

In 7th grade we read Flowers for Algernon, and I was brought to tears.

I'm also reading a disturbing book right now. She Said YES: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall. It's teaching me how wildly out of touch I am with today's teens; and I was a teen just a 15 years ago :eek:. Ugh. And the youth minister asked me to help out with the youth group at our church. Double ugh.

Hamadryad
04-25-2001, 08:02 AM
"R.P." stands for "Randall Patrick."

When I was in 2nd grade our teacher read a short story to us. It was from a short book of horror stories. It was about a little boy who was afraid to go in the basement and his dad forces him to spend the night down there and in the morning the father discovers "The ripped and torn, bloodied body of his only son."

I was 7. That freaked me the heck out. It's the only thing I've been read aloud which I remember. I wasn't hip on the basement and the closet and under my bed ANYHOW...that story about paralyzed me. In retrospect I've wondered more than once what the hell my teacher was thinking.

(standard "I was an early reader" blah blah because heaven forbid anyone should NOT call attention to what little geniuses they were :rolleyes: )

Tansu
04-25-2001, 08:21 AM
This is going to mark me out as an ultra-wuss.

I found parts of The NeverEnding Story disturbing. I started to suffer from insomnia while I was reading the part of the book where Bastian loses touch with his real identity. I've always been scared of the idea of going mad or losing the self.

Ukulele Ike
04-25-2001, 08:27 AM
Hamadryad:

That story is "The Thing in the Cellar" by David H. Keller. Just in case you want to go back and read it again (snicker). It's in about a jillion different anthologies.

Keller was a physician and psychiatrist who spent most of his life in the military. He wrote dozens of contes cruels for Weird Tales and other pulp magazines through the 1930s and 1940s, and died in 1966. Some other of his REALLY ghastly stories you might "enjoy" are "The Dead Woman," "Tiger Cat," "The Doorbell," and "The Revolt of the Pedestrians."

Keller's work isn't thought much of these days by SF/Horror aficionados and critics...but EVERYBODY remembers when they first read "The Thing in the Cellar" !



Dr. Pinky beat me to my entry for the OP: I tried Naked Lunch when I was going through my teenage beatnik phase, and those scenes of homosexual rape during the hanging were just too much for me...couldn't finish the novel until after I got through college.

...Also my first experience with an underground comic, back around 1969 or 1970...Kim Deitch's SUNSHINE GIRL. Sunshine Girl was a big fat woman with a flower for a head, and there was a splash panel of her being crucified. Freaked me right out.

John Corrado
04-25-2001, 08:43 AM
This'll mark me as a wuss (and a slow reader in comparison, I'm sure), but:

When I was in third grade, I ordered a book of horror stories from the Scholastic Reader (or whatever that little pamphlet was that got passed out with a good two dozen books you could order through the schools).

In retrospect, it wasn't a very *good* book; upon reading it again years later, I recognized most of the stories as old urban legends and tales oft-told (The Hook, The Girl Who Had Spiders in Her Hair-Do, The Ghost Hitch-hiker, etc.).

But at the time, the first story of the anthology scared the wildest beejezus out of me. I still remember the ending lines: "Her sister came back into bed, and in relief, she reached up and felt the fur collar that her sister always wore... and then felt the bloody stump of her neck where her head used to be." Yep, pathetic, overwrought, and kept me awake in absolute, stark terror for the next three nights. It was *years* before I worked up the nerve to read any of the other stories in that book.

Bottle of Smoke
04-25-2001, 08:56 AM
I don't recall any particular book that disturbed me in the way some of the previous posts have mentioned, but I do remember reading The Wolfen when I was about 13 years old.

I thought it sounded cool, like it was going to be about regular wolves or something (it came on the tail end of me reading Call of the Wild in school). Jesus, I don't think I slept for a month after I read it.

Suo Na
04-25-2001, 09:36 AM
Sybil really creeped me out. How could so many people be sharing the same mind? Of course, now I know it was a hoax but when you're 11....

The other book that disturbed me was Wisconsin Death Trip. For some reason my high school library had it, and it was my first encounter with photos of dead people.

belladonna
04-25-2001, 09:50 AM
I can remember reading Black Beauty when I was around eight and crying for hours when Beauty's horse friend Ginger was beaten/worked to death and then carted off by the knacker.
Bridge to Tarabithia (sp?) was another one--our fouth grade teacher read that one aloud to us and when I realized that the girl actually died I came undone.
More recently--my sis recommended 'Go Ask Alice'--a short little diary of a teenager type book that I read in about an hour. When I got to the end I just felt empty. I still haven't forgiven my sister for doing that to me.

Poysyn
04-25-2001, 10:00 AM
I am a very easily disturbed person, obviously

-When I was young, around 4 or 5, I read "The Little Match Girl", I was horrified by the fact that a lead character would die in a fairy tale, my first "non-happy ending" story.

-When I was older I read "Lord of the Flies" I was disguted and horrified by the murders and the brutal slaying of the wild pig.

-Just last year I read a book called "Hush", it was a "suspenseful thriller", I cried for an hour over this book. It bothered me that much.

Balance
04-25-2001, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by Hamadryad
(standard "I was an early reader" blah blah because heaven forbid anyone should NOT call attention to what little geniuses they were :rolleyes: )

Sorry, Hamadarling, didn't mean to brag (given the percentage of early readers here, there's not much point). That's just the way it happened. To balance it out, I'll point out that I was such a twisted little $&@% that I enjoyed the book, even if it did scar me for life.

Tansu, don't feel bad--that part always creeped me out, too, for much the same reasons.

Olentzero
04-25-2001, 10:20 AM
Wasn't so much a book as Joyce Carol Oates' A Good Man is Hard to Find. All that senseless violence at the end just drained me. Even now, I can't go back and read the damn thing; I just go flat emotionally and won't continue.

Oddly enough, one of my favorite short stories is Oates' Journey (IIR the title C).

Haven't read Fail-Safe, have read On the Beach, will definitely have to see if I can locate Alas, Babylon. I get such a frisson from reading about a man-made Armageddon. It's sick.

yojimbo
04-25-2001, 10:30 AM
As a kid I picked up "The Amityville Horror" and read it in one night as I was too frightened to sleep. It scared the bejesus out of me and I got scared if I was in a house on my own for quite a while afterwards.

1984 blew my mind but it didn't really scare me it just made me look at things differently.

Zoff
04-25-2001, 10:39 AM
I read that Bradbury story years ago and I still think about it. I can't remember the name of the story, either, but I'm pretty sure the girl's name is Margaret. My recollection is that the sun comes out in such a long interval that Margaret would never live to see the sun. I could be wrong, though. I still think about the heartbreak of Margaret when she misses the sun.

gold1
04-25-2001, 10:42 AM
When I was about 10, I read "diary of a mad housewife" (my parents let me read whatever I wanted), and I remember being struck by the absolute deadness and horror of being an adult, particularly a married female. Though I'm now one myself, I think that book really scared me to the point of complete paranoia when I find my life being "invaded" by my husband, and I continue to highly value my freedom.

Zsofia
04-25-2001, 10:52 AM
I read The Shining in middle school, and although it certainly wasn't the first horror book I'd ever read, or the first Stephen King book with bits that affected me, the part with the dead woman in the bathtub had me sleeping with the light on for a whole month. I still can't go into people's bathrooms with the shower curtain closed - even if I'm just there to wash my hands, I have to open the curtain and check before I'm irrevocably committed to that bathroom. Because I can't think of any more awful way to die than on the toilet with your pants down while the dead woman in the bathtub gets you.

The Man Who
04-25-2001, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by Zoff
I read that Bradbury story years ago and I still think about it. I can't remember the name of the story, either, but I'm pretty sure the girl's name is Margaret. My recollection is that the sun comes out in such a long interval that Margaret would never live to see the sun. I could be wrong, though. I still think about the heartbreak of Margaret when she misses the sun.

The title appears to be "All Summer in a Day."

I'll put in another vote for "Flowers for Algernon." Boy , that one stuck with me for a long time.

-Myron

Kakkerlak
04-25-2001, 10:57 AM
The Bradbury story about the Venusian hour of sunlight is called All Summer in a Day.

A few hours before my mother died I read her the opening chapter of Ray Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine" there in the hospital. My recollection of how sad it was is pretty mushed up now with my recollection of that night.

My Side of the Mountain: You mean you can actually say NO to grown-ups?

The Godfather: What the hell, he's screwing the bride ! I had never considered that people wrote about sex (the violence and betrayal parts didn't faze me).

Those old fifties sci-fi anthologies sustained me as a kid. The only one that ever really creeped me out was a short story called An Egg a Month from All Over.

Zappo
04-25-2001, 11:07 AM
When I was about 13 or so, I read a book by James Kuneteka and Whitley Streiber called Warday. It dealt with two journalists who journeyed across what was left of the US after a nuclear war between the US and the USSR (they were still The Evil Empire back then) decimated both countries and turned Europe back into a colonial power. This was back in 1983 or so when a lot of folks thought the world was going to end in a nuclear fireball, and here this book predicted that we'd all go boom in 1987.

Fortunately we didn't, but the book disturbed the heck out of me.

Another handy Zappo hint: Don't read Stephen King's The Stand when you and your family are all suffering from severe colds. I did, and I was freaked out for weeks.

Yer pal,

Zappo

Soda
04-25-2001, 11:21 AM
I started reading Stephen King at a young age, and although most of them scared the crap out of me, I kept on reading. Animal Farm was also really scary, as was Lord of the Flies.

One recent read that troubled me to no end was The Collector by John Fowles. It is a fantastic book but I still hated it, if you know what I mean. It was just so disturbing. I can't say why without completely spoiling it for anyone who wants to read it, so I won't.

I also read Waterland by Graham Swift. There is one scene where the narrator's wife has completely lost her mind and kidnapped a baby, and while the narrator is trying to convince her to give the baby to him, their dog thinks their arguing is a game and wants to play with them. The man is so frustrated with the situation and the dog that he finally kicks the dog, in the head. The worst part is how he describes the sound as the dog's jaw breaks. I just started crying. It was terrible.

I just realized this is slightly off-topic. Oh well...

Gundy
04-25-2001, 11:25 AM
When I was about 9, I read the short story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. I thought it was terrifying, the way the little kids were stoning their mother to death. And then...everyone goes on with their lives. Freaked me right out.

I love Shirley Jackson, by the way. I've got a couple of her anthologies, and some of her stories still shock me.

jayjay
04-25-2001, 12:15 PM
A massively disturbing Bradbury story is "The October Game". It's online at this site (http://www.kulichki.com/moshkow/INOFANT/BRADBURY/october.txt). I have to warn you, it's not truly gory or explicit, but it's very disturbing.

jayjay

egkelly
04-25-2001, 12:22 PM
My vote: as a young lad of 11, I was once at my grandfather's house. While there I came upon an old edition of the works of E.A. Poe. I started reading "The Premature Burial"-and it creeped me out for years! I still don't like that story-full of coffins, morbid Victorian funerals, and people getting buried alive!

pluto
04-25-2001, 12:22 PM
Joining the many wussies here, I was a nervous youth and never read anything scary, as in horror stories, when I was very young. Scariest ones I recall as a slightly older youth were H.P. Lovecraft. In particular there was one about some "thing" that was of an unearthly color.

If "disturbed" includes "emotionally charged" then I'd have to vote for the ending of The Grapes of Wrath. And I threw Jude the Obscure across the room once. NEVER read Thomas Hardy if you're already depressed. (Although that's a good way to get depressed, if that's your goal.)

gobear
04-25-2001, 12:24 PM
Wasn't so much a book as Joyce Carol Oates' A Good Man is Hard to Find

Erm, that's by Flannery O'Connor.

Gosh, I must be really twisted because I can't recall ever
being shocked by anything I read as a child, including Dracula when I was 9. (With apologies to Hamadryad for having been an early reader)

Olentzero
04-25-2001, 12:35 PM
Not only do I get the author wrong, it totally knocks the irony out of my other post.

As if that weren't enough, merely reading Soda's description of the dog scene in Waterland put me into a blue funk for a good half-hour.

I knew I shouldn't have opened this thread. :(

Medievalist2
04-25-2001, 12:37 PM
I had to read John Steinbeck's The Red Pony and The Pearl and Marjorie Rawlings' The Yearling in eighth grade.
I never forgave my eighth-grade English teacher for inflicting those awful books on us. I hate stories about dead animals and dead babies. We read The Red Pony first, then The Pearl right after that, and right after we finished with John Steinbeck, we had to read The Yearling. How depressing - three morbid books in a row. My English teacher said that we needed to read those books because they were about "learning to face reality." The only thing those books did for me was to make me dread English class, which I usually loved. As soon as we were finished with those books, I gave my copies of them away to my best friend, because she was a year younger than I was and she would probably have to read them the next year. In spite of my depressing experience in eighth-grade English, I eventually decided to be an English major.

Jadis
04-25-2001, 12:42 PM
Originally posted by Kyla
In seventh grade, I had one of those English textbooks with many short stories and novellas. One of them was a story by (I think) Ray Bradbury. I can't remember the title, but it took place on Venus. On Venus, it rains constantly, but every eleven years, it stops for one hour. It's that day, and all the kids are eagerly anticipating seeing the sunshine for the first time. But in the morning, the class bullies lock up a more unfortunate girl in a closet. The rain stops, and everyone is delighted, they run outside for an hour. The rain starts again, they come back in, and realize that the girl is still locked up. She's missed the entire thing.

Wow! I remember reading this, I think it was in my 6th grade English text. I remember being crushed that the one girl misses the hour of sunshine.

The one book that leaps to mind is Stephen King's (writing as Richard Bachman at the time) novella "The Long Walk". Our library in elementary school had a special section of books for 7th grade only (we had no middle school, our elementary went from K-7, HS went from 8-12), but if you were in the gifted program, you could read any book, even the ones from the 7th grade only section.

God knows how this book made it past the librarian's eyes for grade-school children, but I picked it up in 5th grade. For those of you who haven't read it, it's basically sort of a post-apocalyptic story of an annual competition where 100 young boys (ages 12-17?) were selected to compete in The Long Walk....which was basically that you started walking, and you had to keep a minimum pace of 4 mph. If you fell below that, you got warned. If you walked for an hour with no additional warnings, one warning would be taken away (this allowed for activities like public peeing, etc. without being eliminated). If you accumulated 3 warnings, you got what they referred to as "buying your ticket"....you didn't realize that this was a euphamism for being shot to death until about a third of the way through the story when the first kid is graphically slaughtered. The contest goes on until 1 kid is left.

That was some scary stuff to a 5th grader....in fact, the concept *still* creeps me out to this day.

Sublight
04-25-2001, 12:59 PM
Stephen King's short stories scared the crap out of me when I was in elementary school, but I don't remember any books that really shocked me...

Until I read The World According to Garp in my freshman year of college. To this day, I still can't receive oral sex in a parked car. :eek:

--sublight.

Soda
04-25-2001, 04:05 PM
You know what the most disturbing part about this thread is? Not the fact that kids read stuff which scare them to death, but the fact that I want to go to the library right now and get all of these books. I'm a truly disturbed person sometimes.

And Olentzero? Just writing about that made me physically ill. I'd love to read that book again, because it was interesting and complicated (to say the least) but I don't think I'll ever work up the nerve to do it, because of that poor dog. It's even worse when the poor guy describes how hard he works to gain the dog's trust again, and the dog just won't trust him anymore. I cried.

I remember reading "The Lottery" freshman year of uni. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

romansperson
04-25-2001, 04:23 PM
I think books that are nonfiction or are based on a nonfiction event are what creeped me out most when I was a kid. I remember reading this book (can't remember the name) that was about a woman who was kidnapped and buried underground in a coffin-like box while her kidnappers negotiated a ransom. At least the woman was found and the kidnappers arrested. More recently, The Hot Zone was both thoroughly revolting and ultimately terrifying to me.

The Grapes of Wrath depressed me enough that I wanted to slit my own wrists for about a week. And to think John Steinbeck also wrote Travels With Charley. Why couldn't we have read that one instead?

The only totally nonfiction book I can remember reading that gave me the willies was The Stepford Wives.

Ukulele Ike
04-25-2001, 04:46 PM
The Stepford Wives was nonfiction?

Hot DAMN! Sign ME up for one of them robots!

shelbo
04-25-2001, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by Jadis

The one book that leaps to mind is Stephen King's (writing as Richard Bachman at the time) novella "The Long Walk".

Ooooh. I remember that one, and yes, I still think about it also. The other Steven King story that's stuck with me is called "Survivor Type" about the doctor that gets stranded on a deserted island with a kilo or two of heroine. He is imobilzed by a bad foot injury. His foot begins to decay, so he snorts a bunch of heroin and amputates his own foot. He's also starving, so, after a while, on the verge of madness, he eats his foot. Its downhill from there, with the doctor continuing to snort heroin and amputating parts of himself when he gets hungry, until he's a full fledged heroin addict, with no limbs, chewing on his fingers of his one remaining hand.

How does he think this stuff up?

A Friend of the Devil
04-25-2001, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by Snooooopy
Originally posted by A Friend of the Devil
When I was a kid, I read some books that were definitely not kid books:

On the Beach by Neville Shute

Fail-Safe - don't remember the author


Gaah! You sure did have a thirst for nuclear destruction!

I read "Fail-Safe" in high school. Quite a shocking ending.


I see someone else mentioned Flowers for Algernon, I'd forgotten about that one.

Snooooopy - if you can find it, pick up a copy of A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter Miller. Another nuke book but with twists, very good read, not quite as depressing as the other two.

donnie rotten
04-25-2001, 10:38 PM
When I was in grade six or seven, my English teacher loaned me a copy of Johnny got his Gun by Dalton Trumbo. That book scared the bejeezus out of me.

PlanMan
04-25-2001, 10:41 PM
Just thought of another one. I was (am) a big Arthur C. Clarke fan - long before Kubrick did 2001 - and in one of his short story collections I read "The Nine Billion Names of God." Can't give too much of the plot without being a Spoiler - but it's about a group of computer programmers who trek to Tibet, set up a computer (this is when they were building-size) to help the monks list all of the names of God. The ending really creeped me out.


and in honor of Mr. Clarke, I violate my rule, and repeat my sig in the same thread

Ben
04-26-2001, 12:44 AM
Originally posted by donnie rotten
When I was in grade six or seven, my English teacher loaned me a copy of Johnny got his Gun by Dalton Trumbo. That book scared the bejeezus out of me.

Yikes! I remember when I was in high school and a friend showed me the Metallica video which had clips from the movie version of JGHG. I actually tried to explain it to my wife recently. Can anyone come up with a more disturbing scenario than some guy who gets his arms, legs, and face blown off, gets lobotomized, and ends up trapped in the hell of his own, inescapable world of hallucinations?

You know what really, really scared me as a kid? Let's put it this way: what is little Ben scared of most? Hmmm... there's the Devil, and there's dogs. I know- let's make a movie called _Devil Dog, Hound of Hell_ and air it on TV!

And speaking of the Devil, as a teenage fundie I loved to read the Elric books, but was a little... disturbed by the hero's religious lifestyle. That, and the fact that I thought anyone killed by Stormbringer went to hell. At least there were no dogs involved.

-Ben

pesch
04-26-2001, 12:55 AM
Apparently, a lot of teachers were using the same reading list. I went through the "Red Pony" "The Pearl" stories in junior high school in Charlotte, NC. Depressing.

"Animal Farm" was the one that did a number on me, and it gave me the first hint that any authority should be viewed with suspicion, regardless of political orientation.

I also read a lot of pseudo-nonfiction, too, particular in the UFO/strange tales line. I remember one about a premature burial in which the family opened the coffin and saw the body of their daughter horribly contorted, and the scratch marks on the inside of the lid where she tried to get out. The old Barney/Betty Hill alien abduction case in New Hampshire I remember vividly, especially the parts about the "scientific" experiments performed on them.

What also freaked me out reading the report on the Chicago riots of '68 when I was 9. Not so much reading it but looking at the pictures of teens with blood streaming down their face, cops beating protesters. (Of course, at the same time I was reading Sgt. Rock "BUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDA" so I don't know what overall effect it had.)

What really freaked me was reading "Helter Skelter." Not just the words, which were bad enough, but the photos, where the bodies had been whited out (although they didn't white out the fork that had been left in the flesh of one of the victims.) Years later, another version of the story reprinted the photos in full, and they didn't look as bad as I expected they would be.

But what REALLY sent me down the road into the realm of the gruesome was a film they showed us in kindergarten, back in 1966 in Warren, Ohio. I don't know the reason why, but there was a big "stranger danger" drive going on at the time, which people putting stop-sign shaped signs in their windows telling kids they can knock on the door of anyone "bothers" them.

I can still remember seeing the film in the gym, about these two girls who were kidnapped by this weirdo. At the end, they escape. The weirdo grabs one of them. The other girl crawls into a drainage pipe. The guy walks down the hill with one girl and the last image shows the girl in the drainpipe, looking up at the man and SCREAMING!

....then the teacher put her hand over the lens while the narrator goes on to tell us that the girls were found dead later. What scared me most of all was not the fear of strangers -- it was a small town and we thought nothing of going into people's back yards, climbing their trees, even knocking on doors if we needed something -- but that last scene. What was soooo traumatic that they couldn't show us? Huh? It must have been REALLY BAD!

"Wisconsin Death Trip" is pretty bad, but there's a new book out from a small press that reprints an L.A. homicide detective's scrapbook of murder scenes. He had been on the force during the '30s and '40s, maybe longer, and, for reasons unknown, decided to collect the photos taken from cases he worked on, and sometimes from those other detectives worked on. I can't tell you the title off hand (something like "A Homicide Detective's Scrapbook"), but I flipped through a couple of the pages, and, ulp, I mean, *gasp*, severed torsos, ::hulp!::, shotgun to the face. ::gak:: [pause]runs off to find bathro

Ben
04-26-2001, 01:37 AM
Actually, this thread reminded me of what really freaked me out most of all as a kid...

I was a kid back in the 1970's, when the big news items were Jim Jones, Cambodia, etc. I remember flipping channels and seeing a few minutes of a TV movie about Jim Jones. Imagine that you're a 6 year old child, seeing people on TV being told to drink poisoned Kool-Aid, followed by shots of the jungle full of piles and piles of bodies. And what with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, "Missing Persons" was a big catchphrase of the day, since so many journalists and suchlike were disappearing in lands controlled by totalitarian governments. (Come to think of it, before Star Wars, the late 60's- early 70's were the era of paranoia. Think of _The Conversation_, _Blow Out_, _The Parallax View,_ etc.)

In the end, I ended up having a vague and pervasive phobia that one day the Secret Police would either a) make me disappear, or b) round everyone up and make us drink poisoned Kool-Aid. I remember seeing _Sleeper_ when it first came out in theaters, and I was scared witless by the sight of Woody Allen being chased by faceless Stormtroopers who were chasing him across the countryside. Mind you, I didn't lose sleep over this or anything, but it certainly colored my reactions to a lot of things.

-Ben

RM Mentock
04-26-2001, 06:11 AM
Originally posted by Roachman
The Godfather: What the hell, he's screwing the bride !

OK, it has been awhile since I read the book, and Godfather I and Godfather II both came from parts of the original book, but remind me--which part is this?

Hamadryad
04-26-2001, 08:39 AM
[momentary hijack]
There are probably a large number of early readers on here. That's swell. But saying, "When I read _The Grapes of Wrath_ at age 9" doesn't have the same underlying ego-strokes as, "I enjoyed _Flowers in the Attic_ even though I was reading grown-up books by the time I was 5." So sue me and quit apologizing, people, unless you honestly think my opinion should matter one bit when you're posting.
[/momentary hijack]

There's a book I read in 5th grade which told about creepy discoveries. One involved a very deep well with treasure at the bottom, and supposedly a pirate's severed hand was down there as well. There was a very graining black and white photograph printed on the cheap Scholastic Books paper.

I was a child very open to suggestion. Seeing that graining hand lying at the bottom of the grainy well....you want embarassment? For three YEARS I had to inspect the shower very carefully for fear that - get this - a hand would leap from the drain and "get" me.

I still sometimes leap from the doorway to the bed so my feet won't get too close to the underneath where the monsters are.

And I'm a huge King, Bradbury and Matheson fan. Who'd a' thot it?

And thank you, Uncle Bill (I believe) for pointing out that the story I had nightmares about for years is actually ubiquitous. Can't be too blase (don't know how to do high ASCII, sorry) about it, though, because it really did scare the living shhhhhhinola out of me.

Ukulele Ike
04-26-2001, 09:52 AM
Jesus, two years of being confused with UncleBeer, and now I got to worry about UncleBill as well. I'm changing my screenname to "Ralph."

It wasn't meant as a putdown, Ham..."The Thing in the Cellar" scared the crap out of me, too. I read it in an anthology called MONSTER FESTIVAL, edited by Eric Protter and published by the Vanguard Press in 1965, which featured extremely creepy full-page illustrations by Edward Gorey.

The one he did for this story was of a REALLY BIG open door, at the head of a REALLY BIG flight of stairs, and a LITTLE TINY child sitting at the top and peering fearfully over his shoulder at whatever lived down there. Shades of the "Gashlycrumb Tinies" !

Hamadryad
04-26-2001, 11:15 AM
[blatant hijack]
Ukelele Ike, I apologize. I plead long and faithful service, youth and inexperience, and a complete lack of coffee this morning.

(And I would have taken this to email, but he doesn't have it displayed.)
[/blatant hijack]

Hometownboy
04-26-2001, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by RM Mentock
Originally posted by Roachman
The Godfather: What the hell, he's screwing the bride !

OK, it has been awhile since I read the book, and Godfather I and Godfather II both came from parts of the original book, but remind me--which part is this?

I suspect the reference is to one of the opening scenes of the book (and the first movie), the big wedding of the Corleone sister. After the wedding, when the guests are enjoying the food and entertainment, Sonny Corleone slips upstairs and is shagging the bridesmaid Lucy.

OxyMoron
04-26-2001, 03:28 PM
Another vote for Bridge to Terabithia. Some friends and I were discussing a similar point - What was the first book you remember reading in which one of the main characters died? Everyone was settling on Lord of the Flies, which I hadn't read because I was in another school district that year. So I mentioned Terabithia, and my friend Lisa looked at me wide-eyed and said "Oh, my god...I completely forgot about that one. Wow. I cried for two days."

Some other disturbances: Since we're on a Bradbury kick, howzabout his short story "The Veldt"? The virtual reality system that comes to life?

Here's one that I doubt anyone will have read - my rather eccentric 10th-grade English teacher assigned it: The Execution of Mayor Yin, and Other Stories from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. It's still available (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0253202310/qid%3D988316390/107-4750188-7347731), I'm happy to see. IIRC, the author (Chen Jo-Hsi) had emigrated from China, but actually returned to the mainland during the Cultural Revoluiton in a fit of patriotic fervor. In '75 or '76 she narrowly escaped to HK, and from there went to Canada.

Her stories are an odd mixture of grotesque, horrifying, and occasionally funny. One, "Chairman Mao Is A Rotten Egg," details the inquisition that results when a four-year-old boy yells the title phrase in school. Another, whose title I forget, portrays a neighborhood rumored to be on the motorcade route for Nixon's visit. The authorities forbid the neighborhood from hanging their wash, since that might give Nixon the (correct) impression that Chinese people were too poor to have clothes dryers.

Falcon
04-26-2001, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by jayjay
A massively disturbing Bradbury story is "The October Game". It's online at this site (http://www.kulichki.com/moshkow/INOFANT/BRADBURY/october.txt). I have to warn you, it's not truly gory or explicit, but it's very disturbing.

jayjay

GAH! Okay, I'm going to be creeped out for the next half hour....thanks a LOT, jayjay!

Yumanite
04-26-2001, 04:04 PM
I just remembered -- I was pretty disturbed when I read Robinson Jeffer's "The Roan Stallion". It's a long poem about a woman who sort of falls in love with a horse -- I haven't read it in a long time, even though I really love Jeffers. It's probably time to reread it.

Ben
04-26-2001, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by xtnjohnson

Her stories are an odd mixture of grotesque, horrifying, and occasionally funny. One, "Chairman Mao Is A Rotten Egg," details the inquisition that results when a four-year-old boy yells the title phrase in school.


Crikey- I'm glad I found out about this book now rather than when I was six...

BTW, let me rehash an old "ID this book" thread:

When I was about 10-12 or so (1980) I got a book of horror stories for children. This was a collection, not an anthology (IIRC,) although I think it was one of those children's books where the author isn't actually named. I found it to be enormously disturbing. Some of the stories:

- a patchwork monkey comes to life, and anyone injured by it slowly turns into a patchwork monkey

- a boy meets an old man in his neighborhood who owns a box containing a cockatrice, which they unleash. (Yeah, THAT was a good idea...)

- a guy invents a machine that gives you the ability to fly, and he and his son or nephew go flying around in the clouds at night, only to find a floating squid monster that lives in the clouds

- a girl opens her neighbor's mail and finds a tiny, embryonic creature which she throws away in disgust. Light makes the creature grow larger, so it ends up chasing her around the house getting bigger and bigger.

- I also have vague memories of a picture of a big Bush-baby like creature with huge eyes, but I don't remember the story associated with it.

This book really, really scared me as a child, and I'd like to try to find it again, but I can't remember the title to save my life. Has anyone heard of it?

-Ben

blanx
04-26-2001, 04:13 PM
another vote for All Summer in a Day here...

I remember reading it on a gloomy February day in Michigan, just before we had the "draw the sun from memory" contest in my elementary school, and having a momentary thought of "what happens if the sun never comes back?"

jayjay
04-26-2001, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by Falcon

GAH! Okay, I'm going to be creeped out for the next half hour....thanks a LOT, jayjay!

I warned you...

I have to admit that I've read that story once. I have never more than glanced at the pages/websites since. Even when I went to find the URL, I no more than read the first paragraph to validate that it was, in fact, the correct story.

This story is... *shudder*

jayjay

Fionn
04-26-2001, 05:15 PM
I got the three volumes of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series in elementary school. I'm really glad-they were a good introduction to folktales and urban legends. The only story that really scared me was a generic vampire-creeps-through-the-window with frightening illustrations. The illustrations are positively disturbing.

jsc1953
04-26-2001, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by jayjay
A massively disturbing Bradbury story is "The October Game". It's online at this site (http://www.kulichki.com/moshkow/INOFANT/BRADBURY/october.txt). I have to warn you, it's not truly gory or explicit, but it's very disturbing.

jayjay

Eeewwwwww.....thanks for the link, I guess.

Crusoe
04-26-2001, 05:44 PM
Two things spring to mind:

Domain by James Herbert. Better-than-usual-quality shlock horror; modern day London gets destroyed in a surprise nuclear attack, and the few survivors find that the local rat population has some nasty human-flesh-eating ideas. The multiple PoV storytelling is very disturbing, since you know that half of the people are going to end up (with their families) as so much irradiated rat meat.

Pig's Dinner was a short story by another shlock horror writer, Graham Masterton (generally a clinically revolting writer!), from a collection called Flights of Fear. It's about a farm worker who witnesses a friend accidentally chewed up by some kind of immense farm machinery (a grinder/slicer/dicer animal feed funnel kind of thing). The friend, as he's slowly chopped up, claims to feel no pain. Later, the narrator is attacked by one of the boars he tends, and is horrifically wounded. Rather than live the rest of his life without a leg and genitals, he decides to take the painless way out his friend recommended -- but discovers that the grinder is not nearly as pleasant (or quick) an experience as he'd been led to believe.

Utterly repellent.

Katisha
04-26-2001, 05:51 PM
I remember "The October Game" -- I had a choral director who read it to us in class every year on Halloween. Of course, it's not all that effective when you know the ending, and those of us who were four-year choir students (like me) ended up hearing it several times.

(As a side note, I was in The Sound of Music my junior year of high school, and aforementioned choral director was (of course) always the music director for the spring musical. At the end of the first number [first in the stage version, anyway], when all the nuns are supposed to call out "Maria! Where's Maria?" and so forth, he once cracked everyone up at one rehearsal by ominiously intoning the final line of "The October Game." :D)

Anyway...

Not a freak-out, exactly, but I had Dandelion Wine inflicted on me in sixth grade. Soured me on Bradbury for good (though I'll admit to enjoying The Martian Chronicles).

(Of course, Bradbury is probably responsible for all sorts of trauma. I also remember being freaked out by "The Veldt," and that one story in The Martian Chronicles about the automatic house still gives me the willies.)

I remember being quite depressed by My Brother Sam is Dead -- can't remember the author's name. Sure, we saw it coming, but still...

I was also freaked out by Asimov's rather obscure short story "Rain, Rain, Go Away" (it's in Buy Jupiter). I'll blow the ending because really, it's not all that good a story: the Sakkaro family moves in next door to our protagonists, and they seem to be a perfectly normal family, except that they're afraid of water. Protagonists find out why when they get caught in the rain after an outing at an amusement park -- they're made of sugar. The image of melting people (outside of the Wicked Witch of the West, I guess) really disturbed me, though (unlike a lot of this stuff) I don't get creeped out thinking about it anymore.

Medievalist2 -- I also hated junior high English but went on to major in it...in fact, I'll be studying it in grad school next year. And I too had to suffer through "The Pearl" in seventh grade.

Also, I must second the recommendation of A Canticle for Leibowitz -- one of my favorites. :)

Creaky
04-26-2001, 11:24 PM
When I was nine, I read a fictional children's book about a young Confederate soldier's adventures during the War Between the States called (appropriately) Johnny Reb, by Merritt Parmalee Allen.

There was a spectacularly gory bit depicting the goings-on in a field hospital after a battle. Piles of fly-blown, freshly-amputated limbs figured largely in that chapter. I was also, however, fascinated. Didn't stop me from finishing the book, but I had to take time out to go throw up.

Una Persson
04-26-2001, 11:43 PM
Hey Pepper!

A book of some of the most horrifying H.P. Lovecraft stories, given to me when I was in 4th grade.

Think about it - a 4th grader reading The Haunter of the Dark and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. :eek:

Oh yes - The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson. Another book guaranteed to make a 4th-grader wake up at night screaming, because the pig-monsters are coming up through the basement... (shudder)

pepperlandgirl
04-27-2001, 12:12 AM
Hi Pepper!
Ahh!!! SHE LIVES!!!!! :p

I have to agree about "Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark". One story in particular gave me the creeps. It was about the guy who was dragged by something until his he burned up, and then later the protagonist goes back to that place where the other guy got dragged away. And the protagonist sees the guy, only it's a pile of ashes!
Yeah, yeah, I know. Not very scary, but I was in 2nd grade at the time.
Anyway, I came across that book in BestBuy a few months ago, and I had to buy it, just for old times sake. The stories are silly, but the pictures are still very disturbing

I've read a lot of the stories and books mentioned in this thread, many before I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and none of them really bothered me at all. Weird...

dzray
04-27-2001, 10:46 AM
When I was about 10-12 or so (1980) I got a book of horror stories for children. This was a collection, not an anthology (IIRC,) although I think it was one of those children's books where the author isn't actually named. I found it to be enormously disturbing.

"Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures" by Andre Norton.

This one scared me so bad as a young lad that I threw the book away! I found it again a few years ago at my local library, and it still packs quite a punch even for an adult reader. The "patchwork monkey" story has a killer ending.

shell
04-27-2001, 11:33 AM
When I was about nine I read a (long) short story called The Willows..... nothing like being in broad daylight with several people nearby and still having the liver scared out of me. Around the same time I managed to get my hands on Medea and a couple of books featuring the work of Frieda Khalo and H. Bosch, both of which I suspect of not only scarring me for life but also seriously twisting my appreciation for art.

Around the age of 12 I started reading a lot of non-fiction and science fiction. To this day I still can't finish Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, way too disturbing. John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up, Stand On Zanzibar, and The Shockwave Rider managed to insidiously weird me out.

PublicBlast
04-27-2001, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by Ballybay
I got the three volumes of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series in elementary school. [snip] The illustrations are positively disturbing.



Aiiiiiiiiieeeeeee--you had to go and remind me.
The stories ranged from vaguely creepy to silly, but the pictures in those books. They still give me the shivers. Remember the story "The Thing"? Dumb story--but the corpse-like charcoal sketch that went with it...eeeugh.

Ukulele Ike
04-27-2001, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by AkashJ
but the pictures in those books

Yeah, by Stephen Gammell. He's great.

If you want to see him doing something less grisly, try Cynthia Rylant's THE RELATIVES CAME, a Caldecott Honor book from 1985. Charming.

Jake
04-27-2001, 12:36 PM
The two books that got to me when I was younger were The Ox Bow Incidentby Walter Van Tilburg Clark and Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce.
Don't know exactly why, they were just depressing I suppose.

eulalia
04-27-2001, 01:28 PM
Not horror, but more in line with the OP, I cried for hours over Old Yeller. I couldn't believe they couldn't find some way to save him.

Podkayne
04-27-2001, 02:04 PM
Return to Oz was disturbing as hell. I think I read a story book based on the movie which was based on Frank Baum's work.

After her return to Kansas, Dorothy's insistence that Oz is real prompts Auntie Em to sign her up for shock treatments. Eventually, Dorothy returns to Oz (well, duh) and finds it even more sick and twisted than before. Flying monkeys got nothin' on the stuff in that movie.

jsc1953
04-27-2001, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by Jake
The two books that got to me when I was younger were The Ox Bow Incidentby Walter Van Tilburg Clark and Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce.
Don't know exactly why, they were just depressing I suppose.



Hmmm...hangings figure prominently in both stories, and that would be enough to peg my creep-o-meter.

I was seriously creeped out by a single photograph as a kid: in a collection of photos from WWII, I came across one (you've probably seen it) taken in a Japanese POW camp, of a POW about to be executed by samurai sword. That picture's been branded in my brain for a few decades now.

Katisha
04-27-2001, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by Podkayne
After her return to Kansas, Dorothy's insistence that Oz is real prompts Auntie Em to sign her up for shock treatments. Eventually, Dorothy returns to Oz (well, duh) and finds it even more sick and twisted than before. Flying monkeys got nothin' on the stuff in that movie.

Oh, yeah! The part that sticks in my mind was the lady with the head collection. That scared the hell out of me.

Also, in my original post I forgot to mention Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death." And, in a different vein (no pun intended), Jack London's "To Build a Fire."

Cervaise
04-27-2001, 06:55 PM
I'm one of Hamadryad's Dreaded Early Readers (HaDER™). ;) Seriously, my mother taught me to read really early, drilling me and my brother with blocks, cards, you name it.

I read many of the mentioned books at an early age -- Animal Farm, Flowers for Algernon, Lord of the Flies, Bradbury, 1984, Shirley Jackson, Of Mice and Men, and so on. I had started Stephen King in grade school and was most of the way through Lovecraft by the time I started junior high.

And just like pepperlandgirl said, none of them really bothered me. Maybe I'm warped, but I distinctly remember an incident from when I was four. A family member came to visit, and they left their copy of Peter Benchley's Jaws on the coffeetable. (FWIW, I know I can peg it to when I was four, because (1) this was in California, before we moved, and (2) the book, which I still have someplace, is the pre-movie edition.) Anyway, I found the book and had read the first dozen or so pages, where the shark's jaws crush that swimming woman to "jelly," before my mother noticed and took it away. Made no negative impression on me at all; I recall enjoying it in a vague way, even if I didn't get a lot of the words. Maybe that's why.

There are, however, three noteworty exceptions. I specifically remember three things that successfully freaked me out.

The first is just a subject; as mentioned by pesch, I loved the UFO abduction stuff, even though it gave me the willies. I remember the first time I read about Barney and Betty Hill; I lay awake, staring out the window by my bed, unable to tear my eyes away from the dark and hugely oppressive sky, expecting something evil to come barreling down for me at any moment.

Exception two: The White Mountains, by John Christopher. Don't get me wrong, I loved this (and the sequels). But for some reason, the thing about the Caps really got under my skin. I can recall the whole thing with that one girl, the ceremony, and lifting the bonnet to show the fresh Cap dug into her skull... <shudder>

Exception three: The Atlantic Abomination by John Brunner. Came across it used; I had read Stand on Zanzibar (at like the age of 10 or 11), liked it, looked for more by the same author. The whole premise of dredging up this huge, bloated, ancient creature from the bottom of the ocean, and then he turns out to have awful malevolent mind-control powers, plus the images of people being "mentally whipped" to work until their hands are literally nothing but bloody bone... that one stuck with me for quite a while. Yeah, it's pulpy schlock, but it's powerful pulpy schlock.

Albert Rose
04-27-2001, 09:34 PM
I read Halloween in middle school (wasn't allowed to see the movie...), and had to check the closet right before bedtime every night for about a year afterwards. Then I finally saw the movie on video, and got creeped out even more.

That folk song also gave me the willies. You know, "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly..." I hated that lady.

Kaitlyn
04-27-2001, 10:34 PM
You can find An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge here (http://eserver.org/fiction/occurrence-at-owl-creek.html).

fierra
04-28-2001, 09:03 AM
I really didn't like The Monkey's Paw by MRJames..that really creeped me out (at about age 8). In addition, I hated The Omen & stopped reading it for several hours but went back & finished it (age 12), and I once threw a book by Charles Platt across a room at the wall it was so bad (ugh, vomit inducing seriously nasty type of bad, but that was at about 18, so probably doesn't count) and I really, really like books - unless I've read a book about 20 times, you can't usually tell it's been read its' in such good condition.

That's about it, most horror stories don't bother me - much to my mom's relief, given the large amount of them I read when I was little. None of the nightmares that she was dreading.

fierra
04-28-2001, 09:06 AM
Originally posted by fierra
I really didn't like The Monkey's Paw by MRJames..
so much so that I typed the wrong name...WWJacobs...sigh. I typed it right yesterday when the board locked up on me... honest

PublicBlast
04-28-2001, 01:15 PM
Originally posted by Cervaise

Exception two: The White Mountains, by John Christopher. Don't get me wrong, I loved this (and the sequels). But for some reason, the thing about the Caps really got under my skin. I can recall the whole thing with that one girl, the ceremony, and lifting the bonnet to show the fresh Cap dug into her skull... <shudder>

Wow! Finally, someone else who's read that trilogy. I thought the second book was the most disturbing: the hero had to infiltrate an alien city, and he was constantly in fear of what could happen to him while at the same time bewildered by the technology of the Masters.

For those who haven't read these books: the setting seems generally post-WWII era, and aliens have essentially subdued the Earth. Whenever a person reaches their mid-teens, all human cultures have a coming-of-age ceremony, and then a mysterious alien tripod-vehicle appears, grabs the person into its depths, and fits them with a somewhat lobotomizing cap. The hero is terrified by this, and as he flees his own Capping ceremony he discovers a human resistance movement struggling to understand and defeat the invaders.

Like Cervaise said: there's a part where the hero makes friends with a sweet girl (always wearing bonnets or hats), but one day discovers that she's been Capped. Creepy enough, but what the aliens do to her in Book 2---eeeeugh.

Baker
04-28-2001, 02:05 PM
Most of the works mentioned so far seem to be fictional, but it was two non-fiction books that weirded me out.

As a third grader I checked out a book about cats.The first section was about the history of how people have regarded cats. Besides sometimes being revered they were as often hated, and when I came to the part about medieval archers using them for target practise I was so hysterical(unheard of for me) that I couldn't eat supper. Nothing had ever put me off my food before.

Then as a seventh grader I got a copy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex. I was a late bloomer, and had only recently learned what INTERCOURSE was.(You mean, Mom and Dad, they......? Eeeeewwww!) So the mental images from EYAWTKAS were REAL mindblowers. You mean, people kiss each other's what? They put their hands on WHAT? Double Eeeeeeewwwwwww!

But it sure did explain a few passages I hadn't understood in adult books I had already read.

AuntiePam
04-28-2001, 07:34 PM
I wasn't all that young when I read it, but The Painted Bird taught me a valuable lesson: Be careful what you put in your head cuz you can't get it out later. There should have been a warning label on that book. I probably would have read it anyway, but still . . .

Brynda
04-28-2001, 07:50 PM
I read Last Tango in Paris when I was about 10 or so. Really not the best idea. The book that really weirded me out, though, was a book about alien abductions that I read when I was about 14. Yikes. Locked doors, weapons, nothing can save you if they want you. I don't believe in them now and didn't really believe in them then, but I guess I believed just enough to get seriously frightened.

Nacho4Sara
04-28-2001, 09:17 PM
Oh, scary books deserve another post altogether. When I was young, I was all about those school Book Fairs, and I always bought the nonfiction short stories about killers and mysterious disappearences, etc. I don't even want to think about those stories. I think I was 8 when I learned about Son of Sam and the Zodiac Killer.

But the all time scariest book ever was An Encyclopedia of Serial Killers and Mass Murderers. How did I come across this book, you ask? When I was twelve, my brother's 14-year-old best friend gave it to me as a present to show me that he had a crush on me! Eww! I never finished it.

Great, now I'm all creeped out and alone in the house. Thanks a lot, people!

Lamia
04-29-2001, 09:44 AM
Originally posted by AuntiePam
I wasn't all that young when I read it, but The Painted Bird taught me a valuable lesson: Be careful what you put in your head cuz you can't get it out later. There should have been a warning label on that book. I probably would have read it anyway, but still . . .


I didn't read that book until my freshman year in high school, but it still upset me. When I finished it I thought, "Well, at least it's just a novel. It's not like all these terrible things really happened to a real kid." Then I read the "About the Author" note and learned that the book is based on his actual experiences...

A friend of mine read the same book when she was quite young, nine I think. She says she was traumatized by the scene where they killed the rabbit.

berdollos
04-29-2001, 10:39 AM
all the sexual scenes and illustrations in my parents' copy of the Decameron.

the rat eating face scene of 1984

Sublight
04-29-2001, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by dzray
"Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures" by Andre Norton.

This one scared me so bad as a young lad that I threw the book away! I found it again a few years ago at my local library, and it still packs quite a punch even for an adult reader. The "patchwork monkey" story has a killer ending.

Thanks for reminding me of this repressed childhood trauma. I remember checking it out of the school library when I was about 10 and being scared silly for the next few weeks. Especially because of that damn patchwork monkey.

--sublight.

Nocturne
04-29-2001, 01:31 PM
I read Flowers for Algernon when I was young, but didn't remember it until I was in a production of it this past fall. I played Charlie's mother...I came out of most of my scenes shaking, near tears.

Those Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark illustrations haunted me. I can still remember some of them and shiver.

The first time I read Fall of the House of Usher, The Monkey's Paw, The Tell-Tale Heart, and the Dunwich Horror, I was frightened out of my mind.

RickQ
04-29-2001, 03:34 PM
There was one book I read when I was about 10 years old. I don't remember the title, but it was about Dracula (prolly just called Count Dracula or something). The main problem was that I did not finish the book because I was on holiday at the time and another kid I met there let me borrow it to read and when we both went home he took it back with him. I had nightmares about it afterwards and it took me ages to recover from that.


Rick

OxyMoron
04-30-2001, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by AkashJ
Originally posted by Cervaise

Exception two: The White Mountains, by John Christopher. Don't get me wrong, I loved this (and the sequels). But for some reason, the thing about the Caps really got under my skin. I can recall the whole thing with that one girl, the ceremony, and lifting the bonnet to show the fresh Cap dug into her skull... <shudder>

Wow! Finally, someone else who's read that trilogy.

AMEN! I'd almost included this in my post above but I didn't have time. I remember being really distressed the entire time, but thrilled as well. I think there were four books in the series, each of them fantastic.

When I was younger my dad gave me a picture-book of fairy tales (and fairy-tale satires), by Tomi Ungerer. The illustrations creeped me out so badly that I left it on my shelf for years, only to discover that the stories are incredibly funny.

Guinastasia
04-30-2001, 08:27 PM
Oh shit, I remember reading this story about a young girl, Laura Brigman or something like that-and like Helen Keller, she was blind, deaf and mute. Well, at one part it talked about how when she was little she accidentally squeezed a bunny to death. WAAAAh. THEN, she accidentally threw a family cat into the fire at age two. I was hysterical, and didn't want to finish, even though I had to for school.


And speaking of school, I remember refusing to open my science textbook in 2nd grade, because of the snake pictures. I HATE snakes. I still hate snake pictures. Mean teachers. :(

Badtz Maru
05-01-2001, 02:26 AM
I read this story when I was very young, no more than 7, about this rat (told from his point of view) who was owned by a deranged kid who did various cruel experiments on his pets - I remember in one he taped the paws of some kittens to a cookie sheet and put them in an oven to see how long they would live. That one really bothered me, as I've always had a lot of empathy for animals. I can't remember the name of the story though.

Bubble Girl
05-01-2001, 07:37 PM
I believe the name of the book was Go ask Alice. It was about a teenage girl who runs away from home and gets involved with drugs if I remember correctly. I was in junior high when I read it and remember being shocked at some of the things she went through to survive.

jp5105
05-01-2001, 09:11 PM
Does anyone here remember reading a book about a boy whose family moves into a new house, and he discovers this whole other family living in an unused secret wing of the house? At the end, he resists the family's urging to "join them". Turns out that the family only exists in his own mind. I read this in the 6th grade, and it freaked me out for months. I would love to read it again though!

Tenar
05-01-2001, 10:45 PM
Man, am I boring. Earliest trauma: "Charlotte's Web." Cut to close up of me crying hysterically on Christmas morning when I finished the book. Also, "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" and "The Fir Tree," both by Hans Christian Anderson, I think. (The soldier gets melted, the tree gets burned up.) In sixth grade, that old favorite, "Lord of the Flies." Most recently disturbing book (although my youth is a distant memory) was "Hannibal." Seeing Clarice Starling reduced to eating brains, playing with her father's skeleton and (presumably) becoming Hannibal Lecter's lover had me depressed for weeks. So much for great female characters in popular fiction.

Speaking of great female characters: Jadis, I love your name!

Milossarian
05-01-2001, 11:32 PM
I read a book called "Bloodletters and Badmen" at a very early age, all about famous gangsters and criminals. It included many very graphic photos of carnage that really affected me.

I was also among those creeped by Stephen King and "The Amityville Horror" at an early age.

And I used to read scary magazines like Creep (Creepy?) and Vampirella and others of that ilk, which occasionally had stories that would really mess me up.

Gr8Kat
05-02-2001, 07:16 PM
When I was a kid, we had a book called (IIRC) "Our Mysterious Planet" that seriously creeped me out. It was about supposed unsolved mysteries involving UFO's, mysterious monsters, hauntings, etc. I'm a grown-up skeptic now, but I still recall the sense of dread most of the stories filled me with; especially one night when my dad decided we should have an "encourage the kids to read and stop rotting their brains with TV" kind of night (as if we didn't already spend most of our childhood with our noses buried in books). It seems like the TV was on more than off in our house (still is) and I'm used to always having it as background noise, plus it helps illuminate the room :p, so to spend an evening in an unusually dark and eerily quiet room reading that book--shudder.

I think by now most of the stories in that book have been debunked (I've come across quite a few of them on Snopes and the Skeptic's Dictionary), but one that still gives me pause was about vaguely humanish but mostly monsterish creatures that washed up on a beach somewhere a few months (or years?) apart. One was pinkish in color, the other I thinks was brownish red. And I think one only had a head with eyes, a body and legs, while the other had more facial features and maybe arms. The book wondered if these were primitive ancestors of man, aliens, or sea monsters, and was there a whole race of them out there, somewhere. The book didn't have photographs, just cartoony (but still disconcerting) drawings. I'd love to find out if this mystery has ever been resolved. Were they just badly decomposed humans, apes, or some other non-cryptozoological creature that tricked the True Believers who wanted to believe they were something else (like Kent Hovind's "dinosaurs")? Or was the whole story a fabrication? Or... ???

In the same vein, we had another book called (again, IIRC) "Beware! This House is Haunted" about supposedly true hauntings. The stories about British castles were especially effective and the "I'm skeptical but still oh-so-curious" imp inside of me would love to spend the night in a Scottish castle just to see if I really would hear the sounds of bodies rolling down the stairs or blood-curdling screams and sobs. Sounds spine-tingley-dingley :)

Hmm... that reminds me, there were some "Scholastics Books" type ghost story anthologies that used to scare my sister and I as children, but I've forgotten what they were called. I also had a text-book that had two or three ghost stories right in the beginning of it that used to chill me to the bone; especially the illustrations of ghosts with sad, empty eyes and gaping, wailing maws... I learned I could creep myself out just by copying these pictures. Funny thing, it seems like these simple stories were more disturbing and/or scarier than anything I've read by Stephen King ("Pet Sematary" excepted; that one still makes me feeling very vaguely nauseated. Not scared, just... ill. And scared).

While some books have given me the creeps, like the ones mentioned above, and many, many have moved me to tears ("Where the Red Fern Grows," "Ol' Yeller," and the part of "On the Shores of Silver Lake" where Jack the bulldog dies stand out as three of the earliest--what is it with authors killing off sweet doggies?), I have a hard time recalling any book disturbing me to the point where I felt traumatized. And, yes, I have read a few of the books on this list, while a schoolgirl, even. Maybe I'm just numb (from the neck up)?

Ok, I take it back, "Where the Read Fern Grows" was pretty brutal. Even worse than "Ol' Yeller" because two doggies died :(

Mofo Rising
05-03-2001, 02:05 AM
The October Game, which has gotten so much press, thanks to that link, was made into a story in an issue of Tales From The Crypt. You can find it in the massive Tales From The Crypt coffee book, which you can probably find at your local library.

I also second the disturbing quality of the Scary Stories illustrations. Something about the realistic quality of the faces twisted in the eeriest of ways. . . However, if you want to read a psychologically disturbing story, check out the second book of the series for a story called, "The Drum". It's about two children who meet a gypsy girl who promises to give them a toy drum if they can be very, very bad. The story is also known under the alternate title "The New Mother".

On my part, I was so inundated with horror as a child that I find it hard to pinpoint actual origin points of disturbance. I can name quite a few movies, but not many books.

One of my favorite authors wrote some of the most terrifying stories I have ever read as a child. His name was John Bellairs. The first book I read of him was The Figure in the Shadows. There's one point where the hero of the story, a pudgy boy, has being seeing a robed figure in the periphery of his vision, in the shadows. Late one night a note is pushed through his mail slots with only the latin word for "I Come" printed on it. But for truly terrifying, try reading The Eyes of the Killer Robot late at night. There is a scene where the hero is the stands of a local baseball field late at night. In the alien atmosphere that this familar place presents during the night he hears a voice cry softly from the back of the stands, "They took my eyes!"

I read all those Stephen King books and the rest, but John Bellairs was the first true horror author I've ever read, and still the most vivid.

Ben
05-03-2001, 02:45 AM
Originally posted by Mofo Rising
The story is also known under the alternate title "The New Mother".

You know, I meant to mention this one. It's one of the freakiest children's stories I've ever read- the sort of thing someone would come up with if, as a joke, they wanted to write the most inappropriate children's story possible.

Scary factoid: "the New Mother" was written for the author's children, and the names of the two girls in the story are actually the author's nicknames for her daughters. It's like "Winnie the Pooh" for sadists...

-Ben

City Gent
05-03-2001, 10:55 AM
The most disturbing book I've ever read was definitely Jude the Obscure by Hardy (If you've ever read it or seen the movie, you know which scene I'm talking about.) I was upset for weeks. I was only 31 years old when I read it.

Ukulele Ike
05-03-2001, 11:42 AM
Ah, yesssssss...."The New Mother." Utterly and viscerally terrifying, combining the themes of mother-abandonment AND scary monsters.

By Lucy Clifford, from her 1882 collection Anyhow Stories, Moral and Otherwise. Currently available in David Hartwell's superb anthology The Dark Descent (Tor, 1987), which every good little horror fan should own.

I couldn't list this story, because I didn't read it until I was a big grown-up with children of my own. And I certainly made a point of reading it to THEM, for their moral edification, y'know. SO what if they didn't sleep for a month?




"If we were very, very, very naughty, and wouldn't be good, what then?"

"Then," said the mother sadly -- and while she spoke her eyes filled with tears, and a sob almost choked her -- "then," she said, "I should have to go away and leave you, and to send home a New Mother, with glass eyes and a wooden tail."


...and she DOES IT, too. Yumpin' Yiminy!

Kent4mmy
05-03-2001, 11:55 AM
I remember reading a short story called "The Last Round" when I was probably 10 or 11. Don't remember the author but I think it was written by a woman.

The story revolved around two rival gang members who were picked to settle a "turf" dispute by playing Russian Roulette with each other. At first, they were cold and unfeeling as they sat across from each other in an abandoned building, taking turns putting the gun to their head and pulling the trigger.

During the course of the game they begin conversing with each other and unknowingly start to identify with each others individuality. They discover that they have a lot in common and, in their short period of time together, develop a suprisingly strong bond of friendship (the writer sets this up wonderfully).

They decide that their new friendship is more valuable to them than their gang ties, and promise each other that they will break those ties and hang with each other, maybe go back to school and graduate.

They agree on one more round of RR before they call it quits and start their new lives together.

Well, the feel good ending should have been that they finished the game and went on to completely turn their lives around and lived happily ever after...but there was not a happy ending. Shocked the shit out of me.

pepperlandgirl
05-03-2001, 06:23 PM
Hey, Ukulele Ike could you possibly email me?

Ack! I tried to forget "Where The Red Fern Grows". It made me cry, both times I read it. God, did I cry. I bet if I re-read it now, I'd probably cry again. That book didn't shock, or disturb me. But it touched me in away that was heart-wrenching, yet oddly pleasant. Hmmm, maybe it was the first time I felt empathy, or could relate to a character in a book.

Freudian Slit
05-03-2001, 06:55 PM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
"If we were very, very, very naughty, and wouldn't be good, what then?"

"Then," said the mother sadly -- and while she spoke her eyes filled with tears, and a sob almost choked her -- "then," she said, "I should have to go away and leave you, and to send home a New Mother, with glass eyes and a wooden tail."


...and she DOES IT, too. Yumpin' Yiminy!

I read it as "The Drum" too...god, it's sending chills all over me just reading this excerpt.

Scares the hell out of me...I was reasonably young when I read the Scary Story collection...8 or 9, I think. I don't know that I realized how psychologically damaging it was for a mother to dangle such an evil threat over her kids (and whatever happened to unconditional love, man?) and then make good on it. I do remember praying for the two girls to be good, for god's sake be good. Maybe it's better though. I mean, think of the two girls in adolescence with her for a mother...yuck...

I too was a bit disturbed by all those Scary Stories- not so much the actual tales- but those pictures. Vivid stuff. Well if corpse pics can be vivid.

Oh- but I do remember one of those Scary Stories in particular standing out as a really scary experience for me.

I don't remember the name but it was about poltergeists, those ghosts who make mischief, etc.? The story in and of itself was pretty bland stuff...a poltergeist basically breaks plates and bottles, causes a lot of trouble. It's written in sort of an Amytville-Horror type...as though its supposed to have happened. The problem was that it was preceded by a note from the author saying that indeed, this story was scary because it could actually happen to you. As in, poltergeists were common to teenagers- and when under a lot of stress things, weird things would manifest themselves. (Think a toned-down Carrie.)

Alright, NOW I know that was bull...but back then I was horrified. I was nine or so back then and just waiting to see poltergeists come from out of the woodwork when I turned the big 1-3. Thankfully I forgot the story years later and its not as if I thought of it every day, but still. Kind of freaks me out thinking about it. And hey...I'm sixteen now. Not quite yet out of the woods...

Flora Poste
05-03-2001, 07:41 PM
Originally posted by Kyla
In seventh grade, I had one of those English textbooks with many short stories and novellas. One of them was a story by (I think) Ray Bradbury. I can't remember the title, but it took place on Venus. On Venus, it rains constantly, but every eleven years, it stops for one hour. It's that day, and all the kids are eagerly anticipating seeing the sunshine for the first time. But in the morning, the class bullies lock up a more unfortunate girl in a closet. The rain stops, and everyone is delighted, they run outside for an hour. The rain starts again, they come back in, and realize that the girl is still locked up. She's missed the entire thing.

I can't remember the title, but the fact that I can recall all those details proves how much that story shocked me (I do not have the greatest memory for such things). It was such a short, simple story, but the idea of missing the only hour of sunshine for eleven years horrified me.

We read that in 4th grade- anybody else forced to endure the "Great Books" public school reading program? It upset me so much... but wasn't the thing that made it so bad that the girl had grown up on Earth and had had trouble adjusting to a sunless world? She was bullied because she was from Earth, and the one day of sunlight was what she had been looking forward to ever since they moved? Or was that just from my depressed memory... Terrible story, though.

AwSnappity
05-03-2001, 09:55 PM
Originally posted by Mofo Rising
One of my favorite authors wrote some of the most terrifying stories I have ever read as a child. His name was John Bellairs. The first book I read of him was The Figure in the Shadows. There's one point where the hero of the story, a pudgy boy, has being seeing a robed figure in the periphery of his vision, in the shadows. Late one night a note is pushed through his mail slots with only the latin word for "I Come" printed on it.
<snip>
I read all those Stephen King books and the rest, but John Bellairs was the first true horror author I've ever read, and still the most vivid.

I remember reading all of John Bellairs' books when I was little. Just for old times' sake, I got them from the library last year and they still creeped me out. I had horrible nightmares for a few weeks. Stephen King didn't scare me nearly as much, either.

elfkin477
05-03-2001, 11:00 PM
What? Am I the only one who read Animal Farm as a young kid and liked it?

The only stories I can remember really disturbing me as a kid were:
-Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. My 5th grade teacher had us read it, and I was so upset about the dogs. That's the same year I got a puppy, so I couldn't imagine something that awful happening to her.
- The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst. I read it in 3rd or 4th grade, and the image of the coffin(gathering dust in the barn)that they built for his brother who'd been expected to die at birth haunts me as much as the end. Such a tragic story for little kids to read!
-I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier. Let's just say the whole mental illness thing brought up bad childhood memories of someone I know.

Now, as an adult, I read scores of horror novels, and I don't think they're particularly scary. I even write horror myself. I'd thought myself "scare-proof" when it came to books...until a couple of months ago when I read Passing Strange: True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors
by Joseph A. Citro. Reading all those stories that happened in places I've visited or even lived scared the crap out of me! Who'd of thought it would take more or less true stories to scare me?

Katisha
05-03-2001, 11:00 PM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
Ah, yesssssss...."The New Mother." Utterly and viscerally terrifying, combining the themes of mother-abandonment AND scary monsters.


Ah, thanks for reviving old traumas, everyone... :eek: ;)

(Really. I've got a serious case of the willies now.)

The story from "Scary Stories" that got to me the most, though, was the one about the bride who hides in a chest or something, and they find her dead body later. Damn claustrophobia...

Oh, and I remember having one of those "Great Books" as an English text in sixth grade -- a lot of the stuff I've mentioned in my posts were in there. ("The Veldt," for instance, and "To Build a Fire.")

capacitor
05-04-2001, 12:18 AM
I read stephen King's book The Running Man after watching the movie. It disturbed me that the film industry had the most perfect plot of the movie, a canned cross-country manhunt, and reduced it to a neighborhood-sized game show. I lost faith in Hollywood that day.

SuperNova
05-04-2001, 07:00 PM
A few new ones.

The story "The Raft" from Stephen King's Skeleton Crew. God this freaked me out a lot! More then "Survivor Type" also from that book, which someone already mentioned. It's about these kids who go out on a raft in the middle of an abandoned lake. There they find what looks like an oil slick. After that it gets pretty disgusting.

"A Clockwork Orange" freaked me out. I read it at way too young an age. A friend told me it was a story about the future, and I was really into futuristic stuff. I don't think when I read it I really understood it well, but I got a good enough idea of what was going on.

"Hiroshima" was required reading for me in 7th grade. One image, of a person's skin coming off like a glove, just sticks out in my memory till this day.

Another Bradbury story I feel deserves a mention, since so many people talked about "All Summer in a Day." Didn't freak me out, but it disturbed me greatly. I believe it's called "And There Will Come Soft Rains." It's about an automated house running by itself, in an empty post-apocalyptic world.

Katisha
05-04-2001, 08:29 PM
"There Will Come Soft Rains" -- that's the name of it! I mentioned it before but couldn't remember the title. Still gives me the creeps...

Medievalist2
05-04-2001, 09:05 PM
I hated "The Scarlet Ibis." I didn't like it that the older brother forced the younger brother to learn to walk. The message was, "You can do anything if you try hard enough and if you work hard enough." I have a minor physical disability, and throughout my childhood my classmates and some of my teachers badgered me about how "You could overcome your problems and become a good athlete if you would only try hard enough. You're just not trying!" I WAS trying as hard as I could! We read this story in my ninth-grade English class, and after that, my classmates' harassment of me escalated.

The part I hated the most, though, was at the end, when the younger brother bled to death from his nose after going for a long walk with his older brother. What an awful story!

[QUOTE]Originally posted by elfkin477
[B]What? Am I the only one who read Animal Farm as a young kid and liked it?

- The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst. I read it in 3rd or 4th grade, and the image of the coffin(gathering dust in the barn)that they built for his brother who'd been expected to die at birth haunts me as much as the end. Such a tragic story for little kids to read!

Mahaloth
08-08-2001, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by Zsofia
I can't think of any more awful way to die than on the toilet with your pants down while the dead woman in the bathtub gets you.

Great Line, Zsofia

By the way the story that freaked me out is The Last Question by Isaac Asimov. You can read it at this web page. Warning, though, don't read the last line until you've read the story. It's a massive spoiler.

http://www.kenobi.com.ar/question.htm

gallows fodder
08-08-2001, 11:04 AM
I was a sensitive child and many books disturbed me. Unfortunately, I am a forgetful (young) adult, and these are the only titles I remember:

After the First Death by Robert Cormier - it's about a group of young terrorists who hijack a bus full of pre-schoolers and their young teacher. The scene that disturbed me (I must have been about 10 at the time) involved the teacher losing control of her bladder and changing out of her wet jeans while being ogled by one of the terrorists. Icky.

The Red King by Victor Kelleher - a children's fantasy novel about an acrobat enslaved by a tinker who go on a quest for the cure for the plague. The disturbing thing was the fact that the tinker was alternately mean and kind to the acrobat, he kept her collared and chained to their wagon, and she chose to remain with him after he offered to let her go free at the end. WTF? It was like a Domination/Submission story for kids.

Saturday, the Twelfth of October by Norma Fox Mazer - a fantasy about a girl who goes back in time or something, but the really icky thing was this girl really, really wanted to get her first period. I absolutely did not want to ever experience such a thing, so this grossed me out to the max. (So did Are You There God..., for that matter.) I seem to recall the book being disturbing for other reasons, but I can't remember the details.

Of Mice and Men disturbed me, too, for obvious reasons.


Norma Fox Mazer has a more recently-published book called When She Was Good (not to be confused with the Philip Roth novel of the same name) that I read while in college. I loved it, but I'm glad I read it at age 20 and not 12. It's about a girl whose parents die/abandon her and has to live with her abusive older sister, who dies early in the book, and then she struggles with all kinds of mental and physical suffering as she tries to take care of herself. Still disturbing, but now I can read it without wanting to throw the book across the room (which I did to Margaret Atwood's Bodily Harm - icky!).

enPhantBlanc
08-08-2001, 02:56 PM
Hey! It was Flannery wrote it not no Joyce Carol Oates, and the violence is not senseless. The misfit had them killed A. because per him it's no pleasure in life but meanness and B. because the grandmother spoke before she thought. None of it would have happened if Bailey had listened to his mamma like a decent man, but he didn't, so she had to smuggle Pitty Sing into the car in her hatbox, or whatever it was, and that led to all the trouble. If you "go flat emotionally and won't continue" with that story you'll likely go flat with all Flannery O'Connor's stuff because it is all as strong as black coffee. I was mystified until I read her letters, which gave me a better idea what she's up to in the stories. It helped me quite a bit. Being a late reader myself, I would almost always prefer to gorge on predictable pap than read anything challenging. But it gets to be like so much fast food after a while: sometimes you need to eat something with substance, even if you don't entirely like it. Flannery has more substance than anybody.

Originally posted by Olentzero
Wasn't so much a book as Joyce Carol Oates' A Good Man is Hard to Find. All that senseless violence at the end just drained me. Even now, I can't go back and read the damn thing; I just go flat emotionally and won't continue.

Oddly enough, one of my favorite short stories is Oates' Journey (IIR the title C).

Haven't read Fail-Safe, have read On the Beach, will definitely have to see if I can locate Alas, Babylon. I get such a frisson from reading about a man-made Armageddon. It's sick.

jcg20
08-08-2001, 03:40 PM
I am not, nor will I ever be, the fifth child. But The Fifth Child freaked me way out. May the 8th grade english teacher who assigned us that rot.

Fionn
08-08-2001, 04:08 PM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
Ah, yesssssss...."The New Mother." Utterly and viscerally terrifying, combining the themes of mother-abandonment AND scary monsters.


Eek, I had totally forgotten about this story. I'm disturbed all over again remembering it, but since I'm the one who brought up the Scary Story books I shouldn't complain.
I have a large anthology of short horror stories, titled something along the lines of 100 Horrible Little Horror Stories, that had some pretty disturbing stories in it. The one that stands out for me right now, and whose title I can't recall, was about a little boy whose mouth was mutilated when he ate Halloween candy with a razor blade in it. To get some kind of revenge, he goes up and down a street slipping razored candy into other peoples' bowls. Freaky.
I wasn't very young when I read it-seventeen or eighteen-but We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson has a disturbing, surprising twist ending. I would love to mention it, but I won't because I recommend the book to anyone who likes twist endings.

Opengrave
08-08-2001, 04:13 PM
1984 & Brave New World - government thought control and genetic engineering / conditioning seem so.......NOW.

Go Ask Alice was shocking as well.

NP:Six Feet Under - True Carnage

WordMan
08-08-2001, 04:16 PM
I see a lot of the books I would offer up for my nominees as a kid - the Lottery, 1984, etc.

As a young man, John Fowles' The Magus did a number on my brain - I really identified with the main character, only to be shown the need to grow up - it's kind of like the anti-Catcher in the Rye, in a way...

As an adult, one short story literally knocked me out of my chair: Hemingway's The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. If you haven't read it - do so. True, a lot of Hem's writing is misogynist and rascist, but some is truly brilliant and I would nominate this story as one of the best ever written. The basic premise is the Macomber is an effete upper-class cad on a hunting safari in Africa with his socially-perfect wife and a British guide who reminds me of Quint from Jaws. Macomber goes spineless when confronted with the opportunity to shoot a lion, but finds a way to find his inner Man - then things get interesting. I can't recommend it enough.

Ffperson
08-08-2001, 05:06 PM
can't believe nobody mentioned this book... it was super disturbing and a bestseller too.... no, not "Flowers in the Attic"

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

I read it in Jr High and couldn't sleep for a couple nights.

Rossarian
08-08-2001, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by AkashJ
Originally posted by Cervaise

Exception two: The White Mountains, by John Christopher. Don't get me wrong, I loved this (and the sequels). But for some reason, the thing about the Caps really got under my skin. I can recall the whole thing with that one girl, the ceremony, and lifting the bonnet to show the fresh Cap dug into her skull... <shudder>

Wow! Finally, someone else who's read that trilogy. I thought the second book was the most disturbing: the hero had to infiltrate an alien city, and he was constantly in fear of what could happen to him while at the same time bewildered by the technology of the Masters.

Amazing. I thought of John Christopher immediately, and here all these other people did too. In my case, though it was the last book of his Sword of the Spirits trilogy. I remember finishing it in the car on the way back home from the beach. When I got done, I was so angry and frustrated, and I didn't know why exactly. A book had never done that to me. The main character ends up screwing up things due to his bad temper, loses his kingdom and his betrothed, and forever alienates everyone who cared about him. And it ends with a terribly depressing sentence. I was miserable for the rest of the ride home.

Tyklfe
08-08-2001, 07:23 PM
Carrie by Stephen King - I couldn't sleep for a week.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - I felt pain for Ender, and by the end of the book I just really wanted for him to be able to live a normal life.

Zach Lee
08-08-2001, 07:54 PM
I read the Exorcist in Junior High School, I remember the Librarian made me get special permission from my Mother.

But the one that got me far more than that was Hell House, by Richard Matheson. There's a scene in there where an old psychiatrist is sitting in the dark, holding hands and talking with his wife next to him- except it's really just her severed hand, and he's talking to...the ghost? her ghost? you have to figure it out.

Now I'll probably have nightmares tonight.

BTW, the childhood media event that had the greates impact on me, with no contenders even close, has got to be the airing of The Birds on TV. I know you were asking for books, but this is the one that got me. I must have been 5 or 6, and my parents sent me to bed when it started. However, the stairs were at one end of the living room, and the TV was at the other. so I went part way up the steps and watched through the bannisters, quiet as a mouse. Until nearly the end, when my parents saw me and sent me to bed more firmly.

But even now, 35 years later, I can't walk past any large number of birds sitting on power lines, etc., without a severe case of the nerves. Especially gulls. And if they take off, well, I'm ready to duck and run, too. Thanks a lot, Mr. Hitchcock, I hope you're happy now.

And even the parody scene in High Anxiety didn't help.

Lsura
08-08-2001, 08:28 PM
Originally posted by SuperNova
"Hiroshima" was required reading for me in 7th grade. One image, of a person's skin coming off like a glove, just sticks out in my memory till this day.



That stuck with me for a [i[long[/i] time as well. I went through a stage in the early 80s when I had a huge fear of nuclear war-not entirely irrational, I suppose. I began reading fiction about nuclear war then. Alas, Babylon didn't shock me too much, becuase it didn't have those images. Warday was another nuke novel that got to me. That one stuck with me for a while.

The book that scared me more than anything was The Amityville Horror, that I read when I was in 9th grade. I wouldn't even leave it in my house after I finished it. Totally creeped me out and scared me beyond words.

orion007
08-08-2001, 08:37 PM
Originally posted by Bubble Girl
I believe the name of the book was Go ask Alice. It was about a teenage girl who runs away from home and gets involved with drugs if I remember correctly. I was in junior high when I read it and remember being shocked at some of the things she went through to survive.

I took that book out from the library in sixth grade and I almost returned it when I was halfway through because some parts sickened me so much. I'd never read anything like that before. I did finish it though and I'm glad because it's a great book.

Anyway, another book that's been mentioned here already is Where the Red Fern Grows. It was required reading for fourth grade. That part where the ax gets stuck in the kid's stomach and the dog's intestines are hanging out... :(

igloorex
08-08-2001, 09:45 PM
Originally posted by orion007
Anyway, another book that's been mentioned here already is Where the Red Fern Grows. It was required reading for fourth grade. That part where the ax gets stuck in the kid's stomach and the dog's intestines are hanging out... :(

I agree. The OP talked about books that "totally blindsided you" when you were young. I have no idea when I read it for the first time (2nd or 3rd grade maybe), but boy oh boy - I still get choked up thinking about Old Dan and Little Ann.

(btw - I hadn't seen WTRFG mentioned in this thread before your post. I was all fired up to be the first to mention it.)

okielady
08-08-2001, 10:09 PM
Originally posted by Suo Na
Sybil really creeped me out. How could so many people be sharing the same mind? Of course, now I know it was a hoax but when you're 11....

I didn't read that book, but I was probably around the same age when I first saw the movie. Scared the living daylights out of me! Especially the nightmare about the cat! *shiver*

I also remember a Tears for Fears song called "The Big Chair" which used sound clips from the movie and some really eerie sound effects. The song creeped me out. Now I need to find it on Morpheus so I can remember what exactly it was that spooked me.

DooWahDiddy
08-08-2001, 10:13 PM
What about A Dog Called Kitty? Anyone ever read that? That's probably the earliest memory I have of a book making me cry.

As far as a book scaring the hell out of me, I'd have to put in another vote for The Shining.

jaspast
08-08-2001, 10:33 PM
Man, someone way earlier mentioned Flowers for Algernon. That story really touched me, although I didn't cry. I read it one day in 6th grade Englich, b/c I was reading ahead o(ur class never got to it.) I assumed it was just some crap story (albeit a good one) to fill up space in our textbook, and proceeded to later forget the name and I believed I would never find it again. Fortunately a couple of year later someone was talking about it with me, and they knew the name. That's a very powerful story, esp. the part about "pulling a Charlie".

Wendell Wagner
08-08-2001, 10:38 PM
rastahomie wrote:

> I'm also reading a disturbing book right now. She Said
> YES: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall. It's
> teaching me how wildly out of touch I am with today's
> teens; and I was a teen just a 15 years ago . Ugh. And
> the youth minister asked me to help out with the youth
> group at our church. Double ugh.

This book is highly inaccurate. See the following:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/1999/09/30/bernall/index.html

toshirodragon
08-08-2001, 11:36 PM
I remember literally threatening my high school English teacher if she EVER assigned me another John Steinbeck book! Twenty years later I still can't read his books. Joyce Carol Oates is another one I can't read. She just drains me with her hopelessness. I think I read The Shining to late: I thought it was stupid and boring. And twisted little s**t that I am/was I ENJOYED Sybil! Went around pretending to have mulitiple personalities for years.......
The one that threw me for a loop recently was The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh.. I totally didn't see the suicide or the shooting coming...

Larry Mudd
08-09-2001, 01:02 AM
Originally posted by Mauvaise
She told me I should read Animal Farm. "It's cute. The animals talk." :rolleyes: (In her defense it had been years since she read the book, and she never was the best of students.)

I had a similar experience with Watership Down.
Aaaaaaagh.

Badtz Maru
08-09-2001, 01:20 AM
When I was 7 or 8 I read this story (I believe it was a novel, but not sure) about this rat who was owned by a sadistic teenage boy who tortured various animals in unusual ways. It was told from the rat's point of view, he was the only animal the boy didn't kill. I remember a part where it describes the boy taping the paws of several young kittens to a cookie sheet and baking them alive in the oven to see which lived longer. The rat was a bit deranged too, he talked about how the boy every now and then put a female rat in his cage and he knew the boy wanted them to mate, but the narrator rat would always kill and eat the female rat instead. I'd like to know the name of this book if anyone remembers it, but I haven't had any luck and I have asked around a lot. There is a somewhat similar book that people occasionally think is it, but it's not, it's about lab animals and is more surreal. Anyway, it freaked me out a bit.

I also read a comic book when I was really little where there is a plague from outer space that is killing of humanity. When people got infected they would quickly grow this purple stuff over their body and then crumble away. There was this beautiful and brilliant female scientist who was trying to find a cure but she had no luck. She says something about how she would sell her soul for a cure, and the Devil shows up to take her up on the offer, but there was a catch, he would give her the cure but then IMMEDIATELY take her to Hell, so she wouldn't be able to implement the cure. She tells him to come back later and she would take him up on the offer. The Devil comes back, gives her the cure and then tells her she's gotta come with him now. The scientist then reveals she has a clone, who I guess overheard the cure too (I can't remember all the details, it doesn't make much sense now) and the Devil can take one of them, but not both, and one of them will use the cure to get rid of the plague. Anyway, after reading that I had nightmares about catching that plague and watching my arm turn into freaky bubbly gunk and then crumbling away, and I was also EXTREMELY afraid that I would accidentally make a deal with the Devil, thinking that even if I thought the words to the agreement he could take me.

croaker67
08-09-2001, 08:44 AM
If anyone wants a good read, please pick up "The Deathbird Stories" by Harlan Ellison. The man is a true master. You've got to respect a book that tells you not to read it alone. Any other favorites??????

Clothahump
08-09-2001, 09:13 AM
My father taught me to read at a *very* early age. I took to it like a duck takes to water. He never discouraged me from reading anything; at most, he would simply ask, "Are you sure? That might be a little advanced for you?" And of course, I then absolutely had to read whatever it was.

He just smiled when I picked up _The Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James_ at about age 5. I had the shakes and the drizzling shits for a week, but I read that book from cover to cover. There was one story (I can't remember the title) about a guy who comes to stay in a castle, goes down to the library and sits down reading a book. The dog comes in and lies down next to his chair and he absentmindly dangles one hand over and starts petting the dog for a while until it gets up and leaves. He then finds out that the castle doesn't have a dog - something keeps killing them...Aaarrgghhh...still gives me the shivers.

And let's not forget the absolute best horror short story in the English language, The Monkey's Paw. That one really sent me to bed in a cold sweat.

Legomancer
08-09-2001, 09:25 AM
Ones I remember were actually kids (or young adults) books:

A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle. I loved 'A Wrinkle in Time' and it was very creepy, but the scene in AWITD with the fake Mr. Jenkins turning into an Echtroi and screaming into some tear in the sky gave me the heebiest of all possible jeebies.

Just a Dog - author unknown. The adventures of a dog, and it was pleasant enough, but eventually got into some incredibly sad and awful parts with terrible owners and the threat of euthanasia. Pretty unsettling for a kid.

sford
08-09-2001, 10:33 AM
Wuss time - there is a young child's book (perhaps by Dr. Suess?) about a green pair of pants that could walk on its own. Although I only vaguely remember it, my mother used to tell me that it absolutely terrified me. I'm guessing that I must have been 3 or 4.

I can't believe that nobody else has mentioned "The Child Buyer" by Hersey! Come *ON* now! It didn't scare me like a horror book, but it was very disturbing for a geek.

Legomancer
08-09-2001, 10:40 AM
Originally posted by sford
Wuss time - there is a young child's book (perhaps by Dr. Suess?) about a green pair of pants that could walk on its own. Although I only vaguely remember it, my mother used to tell me that it absolutely terrified me. I'm guessing that I must have been 3 or 4.

OH GOD YES! I had that book and it did creep me the hell out. As did a Dr. Seuss book no one but me has ever heard of, "I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew".

PookahMacPhellimey
08-09-2001, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by Legomancer
[QUOTE]Originally posted by sford
[B]W , "I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew".

Were they never had troubles, at least very few.....

Do know that one, but it did not scare me.

I agree with a few books already mentioned...1984 and definetely every book written by Robert Cormier. They used to terrify me, but somehow I would always take the next one out the library as well. Apart from being frightening they were also very good.

One I read as a child, I forgot the title, but I think it was written by Robert Swindells. It was classified for the 14-16 age group, I was about 12. It was about a post-nuclear world kind of story. Basically a group of survivors are trying to hold onto at least a semblance of civilisation. Their hopes are re-kindled by one of the women getting pregnant. Then the brother of the main character who is a little kid says " look at this butterfly". Do to nuclear fall out it has three wings...,No need to even describe what happened to the baby of the pregnant woman. I will never forget that very ominous butterfly.

One I read more recently and managed to thouroughly rattle me is "Blindness" by Portugese writer Saramago. Recommended, but utterly grim.

KSO
08-09-2001, 12:11 PM
I was freaked out by 'Salem's Lot--the description of how the vampires would scratch on the window to be let in really really stuck with me. Ugh.

MaceMan
08-09-2001, 12:12 PM
Three books that come to mind are the Bible, particularly the more gruesome tales in the Old Testament, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Of Mice and Men.

Zach Lee
08-09-2001, 12:41 PM
Here's another particularly grim one that's tough to forget, and was especially disturbing during the more fractious times of the Cold War:

Level 7 by Mordecai Lee.

Level 7 is, of course, the deepest of the various subrterranean shelters to protect an unidentified nation's populace from the nuclear inferno. It is reserved for the offensive arm of the nation's military. So early in the book, you have the humbling pleasure of realizing where in the hierarchy you will fall, and what type of shelter you get. Ouch.

Then, Not only do you get to enjoy accompanying the narrator during the final fatal nuclear showdown (and he is even the one that gets to PUSH The Button), but you also tag along while he enters a dysfunctional relationship, has a nervous breakdown, and THEN, just for laughs, follow along on the radio as the upper levels, one by one, die off. From lack of food, lack of oxygen, radiation, or just terminal heebie-jeebies? The Narrator DOESN"T EVEN CARE!

Finally, follow along as the Narrator makes his last, incoherent journal entries, misspellings and all. Then...silence.

Tough medicine, even for the incurably pessimistic.

Snickers
08-09-2001, 01:57 PM
Wow - Solla Sollew. I'd forgotten. "Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me!" Kinda dark for a 4 year old. And I too was freaked out by the green pants. I just re-read that lately - my mom was cleaning out her closets and had ran across all the Seuss we used to read. It's still a little unsettling.

My biggie - Pet Sematary. The part where the girl mentions the dead hospital worker (is his name Ray?) being discorporated.....oooh {shivers}. Freaky book. None of the other King books have messed with me that much. Maybe my second reading of The Shining comes close.

All these others you've mentioned sound good...Gotta run to the library!

Snicks

Purd Werfect
08-09-2001, 02:21 PM
I wasn't so young when I chanced upon this one, but I nominate the Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. I actually only read about three quarters of it before putting it down for good. Well-written and grotesquely fascinating and I don't recommend it at all.

ebroeren
08-09-2001, 02:23 PM
Last book that freaked me out was "House of Leaves". It's a book about a guy writing a book that's a movie about a family who finds their house has "grown" a closet. And the closet keeps growing. The story was really good, but what freaked me out was the way the story kept jumping around, even on the same page, and when I got to the end and decided to re-read it, I found chapters I must have missed the first time.....either that, or the book is growing <AARRGGHH>

gallows fodder
08-09-2001, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by PookahMacPhellimey

One I read more recently and managed to thouroughly rattle me is "Blindness" by Portugese writer [Jose] Saramago. Recommended, but utterly grim.

I just finished this book, and I found myself struggling to find the will to continue with it as I read the middle bits about the 'barter' system that the blind men had engineered. The end was uplifting, though, and was well worth the effort of reaching it, I thought.

Felicia's Journey (warning: spoiler) and most other books written from the point of view of murdererers (except for Crime and Punishment) disconcert me, mostly because I don't like having those kind of thoughts in my head, even if they're not my own.

unwashed brain
08-09-2001, 03:08 PM
Sometime around the 6th grade, in the midst of my AD&D phase, I read Hobgoblin by John Coyne. In the book, a young boy is playing a D&D-type game, but he slowly gets suspicious that the monsters in his game are real and present in his own world. I had nightmares about that book for a month.

Also in the 6th grade, I attempted to read both of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson. I made it halfway throught The One Tree, when Covenant's utter despair got the best of me and my lack of emotional intelligence couldn't take it anymore. Incidentally, I reread the series later in life and again 2 years ago and consider it a landmark in the realm of Fantasy writing, so much of which is pure crap nowadays. (don't ge me started on terry goodkind, please. barf.)

Lionors
08-09-2001, 07:31 PM
Well, there is one thing comforting about this thread -- at least I've got company in being squicked on some of these stories/books. I haven't seen one yet mentioned that didn't make me cringe in reminiscence, so rather than relist, I'll just add a vote overall. I note that most of mine really clobbered me in adolescence, though, not as a young child -- not sure why, except maybe senility is setting in early.

The Chocolate War stands out as one I read as an adolescent that bothered me terribly, for much the same reason that Cuckoo's Nest bothered others. (What, you mean the bad guys are going to win?!) I also recall reading Gone With the Wind at 13 and having to pay a library fine because I got so mad at the ending I hurled the book across the room and broke the spine (which just isn't something I do.)

There was also the Bradbury tale about a married Martian woman who dreamed so vividly of a man from Earth that her clod of a Martian husband found and killed the guy when he landed. Honorable mentions also go for A Rose for Emily and The Cask of Amontillado. (Try touring catacombs with THAT one in your brain.)

But for sucker punches to the psyche, I'd have to nominate Atlas Shrugged and Brave New World. While I *still* want to be Dagny Taggart when I grow up, the degradation of society as portrayed in the book still gives me chills today (not to mention the incessant wondering if I would have been lucky enough to get picked to go with Galt). As far as Brave New World goes, I think it hit me harder than 1984 because the strength of that police state in 1984 implied that there were still humans who *could* think for themselves; Brave New World was the first time I ran up against the idea that people could actually never learn how to think for themselves to begin with. Yike.

P.S. Legomancer, just tell me something. Did you also totally disgrace yourself by bursting into tears in the middle of silent reading class after reading the beginning of Just a Dog...?

purrmews
08-09-2001, 08:01 PM
When I was about seven or eight, I read a book called "Mr God this is Anna" By Fynn. This little orphan girl is adopted by a young man and his mom, and she goes on to teach him all kind of things and it's all lovely and then she died impaled on a spiked fence trying to save a cat. Nice.

That one bothered me for ages.

The Snows of Kilamanjaro, while a classic and all that, is not the stuff for an eight year old, either, and it really bothered me. I read all of my parents old literature books before I was ten, and came across some grisly stuff. Poe was just too much to take and kept me awake some nights.

Funny, but the story that makes me shudder to this day was about this little boy who goes on vacation and meets this sweet little girl and her dad. The little girl wears a ribbon around her neck, and the dad a tie. They spend a whole summer together, and then the boy goes back the next summer and knocks on the door, and a woman answers. When he asks for the little girl, the womand has a screaming fit and tells him that five years ago she accidentally decapitated her husband and daughter. It's weird, but I don't remember exactly how the feat was accomplished. It was really stupid, but it's stuck with me.

It's amazing how grizzly readers can be. I remember a story in my fith grade one about this woman who drowned. A poor sailor found the body, and discovered a fabulous ring on her hand. It described in detail how her dead cold hand had swollen, and the sailor ran to his shed to fetch his saw and sawed the finger with the ring on it right off. They said, forever after the beach was haunted by a white ghost who "waved her bloody stump, wailing "bloody finger, bloody finger." My little brother and I read that and used to jump at each other in the night and howl "Blooooody fiiiinger!!!" Then we'd giggle like crazy because we were just about scared enough to wet our pants.

I didn't understand the monkey's paw the first time I read it at nine or so. I read it again when I was 14, and it slowly dawned on me, and I got sick.

Salieri2
08-10-2001, 12:10 AM
Thank you, unwashed brain, for this: Also in the 6th grade, I attempted to read both of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson. ...and consider it a landmark in the realm of Fantasy writing, so much of which is pure crap nowadays

I agree.

As a young lass working my way through the Newbury Awards list, I was really bothered by Jacob Have I Loved, by [I think] Katherine Paterson. A story of twins, one elder, hardworking, practical, & underappreciated--one younger, lovely and adored & spoiled by all. Elder girl is the narrator, growing up in her sister's shadow. The title is a Bible quote that bothers her because it ends, IIRC, "Esau have I hated," which seems to her to exemplify her whole community's attitude towards her versus her sister; she has no idea why, and it was particularly horrifying to her when she realizes the speaker is God. Her character was incredibly complex; there were no easy answers; the whole book was dark and difficult, and I thought about it for weeks.

I read it when I was old enough to understand the gloom but too young to see the hopeful parts, and so it depressed the shit out of me. Incredible book; I guess I need to go back & read it again. What a great thread!!

Digression into Where the Red Fern Grows:I work for a children's theater; we did a production of that two years ago and are remounting it this year. I would not have believed I could get misty over a PUPPET's death, but the woman we had as Little Ann got me every single time I watched her lie down on Old Dan's grave and die of grief.

Primaflora
08-10-2001, 12:17 AM
If you liked _Jacob have I loved_ try and get hold of katherine Paterson's book of essays about writing for children _The Spying heart_. It's excellent and gives a lot of insight into her writing.

I wasn't really disturbed by any books growing up. Obsessed yes, but not scared.

psychogumby
08-10-2001, 12:44 AM
The most disturbing book I read when I was growing up was 'American Psycho' by Bret Easton Ellis. This was back when I was about 15.

The knife in the eye socket and all the other grisly shit the main character did wasn't the disturbing part. The TRULY disturbing part was how obsessed with consumerism late 1980's yuppie types were.

Rilchiam
08-13-2001, 02:26 AM
Originally posted by Salieri2
As a young lass working my way through the Newbury Awards list, I was really bothered by Jacob Have I Loved, by [I think] Katherine Paterson. A story of twins, one elder, hardworking, practical, & underappreciated--one younger, lovely and adored & spoiled by all. Elder girl is the narrator, growing up in her sister's shadow. The title is a Bible quote that bothers her because it ends, IIRC, "Esau have I hated," which seems to her to exemplify her whole community's attitude towards her versus her sister; she has no idea why, and it was particularly horrifying to her when she realizes the speaker is God. Her character was incredibly complex; there were no easy answers; the whole book was dark and difficult, and I thought about it for weeks.

I read it when I was old enough to understand the gloom but too young to see the hopeful parts, and so it depressed the shit out of me. Incredible book; I guess I need to go back & read it again. What a great thread!!

Yeah, but what uplifting parts? The worst of it, for me, was the last chapter. Louise (the neglected one; Caroline is Miss Thing) is grown and married, working as a midwife in some mountain hamlet. She's called to the birth of twins, eerily like her own birth. The first baby is born easily, as was she. Then the second turns out to be breech, and needs immediate care when she's finally out, exactly like Caroline.

Early on, Louise describes her childhood up to the point that the narrative begins. The rejection that hurts more than all the others is that, while everyone was frantically trying to preserve Caroline, she was lying in her basket, forlorn. Grandma washed her and put a diaper on her, but no cuddling or anything.

So here she is, presiding over the same situation: she puts the healthy baby in his basket, then brings his sister back from the brink, and even nurses her (she was still nursing her own son). On the way out, she remembers Baby One, and tells the father, "You should hold him. Hold him as much as you can. Or have his mother hold him."

Okay, so she remembered. But goddamn it, that's not enough! Nurse him, too, since you have so much to go around! SIT there with dad, and watch the joy on his face as he meets his first-born son! Bring him to mom; get the message across immediately that she has TWO children! Sorry, I'm too agitated to use code. I wanted to SEE someone cuddle that baby. None of this "oh, by the way" crap!

Grrr!

I also didn't like it that that addled old coot gave Caroline a scholarship instead of Louise! "Well, I knew you'd find a way to educate yourself..." Go suck on a barnacle. Ambition withers up pretty quick when you know no one gives a damn.

G. Nome
08-13-2001, 06:18 AM
My father had a copy of what I think was called "Knights of the Bushido" hidden away - supposedly because it was too gruesome to go on the bookshelf. It was about Japanese methods of torture during World War 2 and was full of illustrations of curiously childlike figures both carrying out torture and being tortured. I'm not sure about the title to be honest because I was quite young at the time. I suppose my father had a legitimate reason for having the book - he was in the Pacific in World War 2. I used to read it in secret. When people become parents they really do lose a shocking amount of privacy.

Rockford
08-13-2001, 05:02 PM
One story I remember creeping me out when I was probably about five is "The Old Woman and the Willy-Nilly Man." This old woman is unable to sleep because at night her shoes become possessed and dance around by themselves. I always thought that was kind of evil. The only person who can help her is the Willy-Nilly Man, this grotesque looking hillbilly/witch doctor who lives in a shack in the woods. He has this very long beard that is apparantly sewn to his knees and is infested with spiders and bugs. The W-N man also lives in a broken down shack in his own filth with many rats and various bones scattered about. (The illustrations of these things were also suitably creepy.) Of course when the old women goes to see the W-N man, he tries to intimidate and terrify her. I forget what happens after that, but I think in the end he agrees to exorcise her shoes.

king of spain
08-13-2001, 06:51 PM
When I was eight years old, someone made the mistake of giving me the Great Illustrated Classics version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

*shudder* "Good-bye, Dr. Jekyll, good-bye..." I haven't touched the book since that day, and I can still quote that last line. Walked around in a daze for the rest of the day. For years I lived in fear that I would one day be assigned that book for school.

a35362
08-13-2001, 07:16 PM
When I was 12 or so, I started reading a lot of pop culture horror fiction, written as if it were non-fiction memoirs: Sybil, The Amityville Horror, and Audrey Rose (reincarnation). I also read some book about supposedly haunted places - there was a section of photos, with a picture of what is supposed to be a ghost on a stairway that frightened me for days. I wish today that someone had seen those books and taken them away from me - they messed me up for a while.

We got something called Read magazine that once had an article about Egyptian mummies, describing in detail the whole mummification process, which upset me quite a bit for a long time to come.

I remember reading "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" as well and being dismayed by the sad ending. Many of the Grimm fairy tales are quite violent and dark.

When I was about 14 I read The Martian Chronicles. Many of the stories, IIRC, involve humans vandalizing the beautiful ruined Martian cities, just because they can, and just generally having no respect for Martian history and culture. I was so depressed that it was more than a week before I picked it up again.

I didn't read 1984 until I was 22 or so. I wasn't bothered by the Memory Hole. I wasn't bothered by Big Brother, or the neighbor children being indoctrinated into betraying their own parents. I wasn't bothered by Winston and Julia's stolen hours. I wasn't bothered by their capture and the whole business with the rats and his forced betrayal. I wasn't even bothered by the thing with "how many fingers?". What gave me the willies was the very end, when Winston painfully sits up, weak and sick, and takes a little slate, and begins re-educating himself. By the time I got to the last line of the book, I left my room and went to the kitchen where my roommate was entertaining her friends. I explained to them that I had just finished reading 1984, and I needed a hug. One of her friends had read the book and knew exactly what I meant and he held me for a long moment. :)

Oh, and The War of the Worlds was way spooky, too. I generally frown on movie adaptations, but I would love to see a really classy, literary adaptation of this movie. Not as a booga-booga "sci-fi" monster movie, but more about how "people panic and society crumbles within days" type of movie.

Legomancer
08-13-2001, 09:29 PM
I read a book a long time ago, like 20 years ago, that I got from the library. I don't remember the title or author, but it concerned a small town where things had gone missing - someone had stolen them. But they were things like a stream, a shadow or something - they were things you really couldn't steal. Unfortunately that's all I remember and it's really not a lot to go on. It doesn't ring a bell for anyone else. Anyway, it was a bit creepy, I recall.

There was also, at my library in the childrens section, a book of horror stories. One was called "Precious Bodily Fluids" and one (maybe the same one) involved some kind of were-frog thing. That one also gave me the creeps.

And then there was D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, which I loved and wish I had a copy of, but the drawings of the creatures in Pandora's Box and such kind of spooked me.

Katisha
08-13-2001, 10:47 PM
I still have my copy of D'Aulaire's! But yeah, I know the one you're talking about, and it used to freak me out, too.

Cosmopolitan
08-13-2001, 11:26 PM
jayjay;

Maybe I'm just a sicko, but I just read the Bradbury story you mentioned, and it did nothing to me. Do I need more therapy? Maybe less? ;)

Cosmopolitan
08-13-2001, 11:28 PM
Oh, and btw...I remember getting the D'Aulaires book for Christmas when I was...Five, maybe six. I was *so* thrilled to have gotten a book (was I a dork? ;)). My sister and I read that thing about a thousand times. I might just go look at it now.

Hazel
08-14-2001, 12:35 AM
Originally posted by Flora Poste (re the Bradbury story, "All Summmer in a Day"
We read that in 4th grade- anybody else forced to endure the "Great Books" public school reading program? It upset me so much... but wasn't the thing that made it so bad that the girl had grown up on Earth and had had trouble adjusting to a sunless world? She was bullied because she was from Earth, and the one day of sunlight was what she had been looking forward to ever since they moved? Or was that just from my depressed memory... Terrible story, though. [/B]

Yes, you're right. The kids were 7, and, as the sun only came out once every 7 years, none of the Venus-born kids had any memory of sunshine. The girl who was locked in the closet had come from earth about two years earlier, was unpopular, and was miserable on Venus.

frock75
08-14-2001, 01:33 AM
I stopped reading Steven King's "IT" right after the little kid gets beaten to death with his own dismembered arm. A mental image I did not need in 6th grade.

I read "Catcher in the Rye" while I was at Valley Forge Military Academy, the same school Salinger attended. For some reason, it was spooky to think parts of the story took place in the same school. I know that doesn't make sense, but the idea that the same types of characters that I was dealing with every day, where similar to the ones J. D. Salinger was inspired to write about, was a wierd thing to get around. Oh well, guess you had to be there.

OpalCat
08-14-2001, 01:45 AM
Lord of the Flies permanently grossed me out.

SteveSteve
08-14-2001, 08:06 PM
Originally posted by Ben

Crikey- I'm glad I found out about this book now rather than when I was six...

BTW, let me rehash an old "ID this book" thread:

When I was about 10-12 or so (1980) I got a book of horror stories for children. This was a collection, not an anthology (IIRC,) although I think it was one of those children's books where the author isn't actually named. I found it to be enormously disturbing. Some of the stories:

- a patchwork monkey comes to life, and anyone injured by it slowly turns into a patchwork monkey

- a boy meets an old man in his neighborhood who owns a box containing a cockatrice, which they unleash. (Yeah, THAT was a good idea...)

- a guy invents a machine that gives you the ability to fly, and he and his son or nephew go flying around in the clouds at night, only to find a floating squid monster that lives in the clouds

- a girl opens her neighbor's mail and finds a tiny, embryonic creature which she throws away in disgust. Light makes the creature grow larger, so it ends up chasing her around the house getting bigger and bigger.

- I also have vague memories of a picture of a big Bush-baby like creature with huge eyes, but I don't remember the story associated with it.

This book really, really scared me as a child, and I'd like to try to find it again, but I can't remember the title to save my life. Has anyone heard of it?

-Ben [/B]
I read that same book, the edition I had was illustrated. In the story of the girl who lets the monster out of the neighbors mail there was a picture of her standing in this dark attic, seemingly alone, until you noticed the hulking beast standing just in the shadows....crap, I am getting the shakes just thinking about it. This is my first post to any thread ever so if I did something wrong, hunt me down and kill me.

Katisha
08-14-2001, 08:34 PM
Hi there, SteveSteve. You haven't done anything particularly wrong, though you don't need to quote the entire post. Nonetheless, there's no need for anyone to hunt you down... ;)

Oh, and stuff about the plague (text and creepy medieval illustrations) has always given me the creeping willies...doesn't help that I come from a long line of hypochondriacs. Danse macabre imagery used to freak me out, too, although one of my favorite Shakespeare speeches uses it as a theme (namely Richard II's "sad stories of the death of kings").

Monkey toys are inherently evil. Except for sock monkeys, which are OK, generally. (Anyone see "Merlin's Shop of Magical Wonders" on MST3K?)

And I think there should be a Bradbury support group. ;)

SteveSteve
08-14-2001, 09:04 PM
Right, I saw the "don't quote the whole thread" thing on a thread making fun of people who do stupid things on threads about 45 seconds after I posted, thanks for your patience.

I don't know if there needs to be a Bradbury support group, maybe just a discussion forum where people have a chance to talk about books that scared/disturbed them when they were young. You know something where lots of different people could express their opinions about the subject....if only something like that was available, oh well.

I remember reading "The Lottery" when I was about 13 (I was NOT precocious in any way) and realizing that I had seen a low budget film of that story in someone's basement when I was like 5. When I look back on my childhood I think "Who let me do/see/eat/drink/wear that?!" and "Why were they allowed to care for children?!"

Ben
08-14-2001, 09:06 PM
Originally posted by Katisha
Hi there, SteveSteve. You haven't done anything particularly wrong, though you don't need to quote the entire post. Nonetheless, there's no need for anyone to hunt you down... ;)

But of course not. Sooner or later, I'm sure he'll go into the attic...

On a different note, D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths is one of the best children's books ever!

-Ben

SteveSteve
08-14-2001, 09:44 PM
So Ben was your edition illustrated? Did you see the attic picture? You are the first person I have ever met who has read that same book. Than again I am the only person I know who has yet learned how to read....

One of the first things I can remember reading was "A Wrinkle in Time" and being terrified of the two dimensional univererse, the idea of being so wrong, so out of place that you have too many dimensions really screwed with my slow to develop brain.

Caricci
08-15-2001, 01:44 PM
Originally posted by psychogumby
The most disturbing book I read when I was growing up was 'American Psycho' by Bret Easton Ellis. This was back when I was about 15.

The knife in the eye socket and all the other grisly shit the main character did wasn't the disturbing part. The TRULY disturbing part was how obsessed with consumerism late 1980's yuppie types were.


Oddly, I didn't find this book the least bit disturbing. Annoying yes, disturbing no.

Many posts back someone mentioned the Stephen King story where the guy amputates and eats his own parts to live. THAT was disturbing.

Ellen Cherry
08-15-2001, 02:16 PM
Originally posted by a35362
When I was 12 or so, I started reading a lot of pop culture horror fiction, written as if it were non-fiction memoirs: Sybil, The Amityville Horror, and Audrey Rose (reincarnation).

As far as I know (and Amazon seems to back me up), Sybil (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446359408/qid%3D997902497/104-4927169-8836754) actually is non-fiction.

I was so petrified by The Shining as a teenager that I couldn't go into a bathroom for years without first casting a nervous glace at the bathtub. I was sure a rotting woman would someday greet me there. Later, when I was in my 20s, I read It. I couldn't stand to be alone in the house while I was reading it, so I often would sit outside within the sound of neighbors and traffic. See, then I'd be safe ...

Outrider
08-15-2001, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by Bubble Girl
I believe the name of the book was Go ask Alice. It was about a teenage girl who runs away from home and gets involved with drugs if I remember correctly. I was in junior high when I read it and remember being shocked at some of the things she went through to survive.

I'll second Go Ask Alice - read it in 5th grade, and I still haven't tried any drugs entering my freshman year of college. Take note all you moms and dads with preteens..

Another one that freaked me out in middle school: The House of Stairs by William Sleator. From the cover you think it's a teen adventure book, and it turns out to be a horrific, sadistic, and cruel psychological drama.

Yet another one that has already been mentioned is After the First Death by Robert Cormier.

But the MOST disturbing book I have ever read was one that I came across in Russia, when I was maybe four or five years old. It was about a young boy named Matheius (or something like that) who inherits a kingdom. The worst part is that in the end, Matheius is SHOT with POISON ARROWS and DIES. That was definitely the first time I had ever been introduced to the concept that a character who you like and care for can be killed. I don't think I ever really got over that one. Anyone know more about this book? I don't think the original language is Russian, I must have read a translation.

Skywatcher
08-15-2001, 02:48 PM
When I was in high school, I picked up The Demonologist (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0131983334/qid=997904572/sr=1-1/ref=sc_b_1/107-9494523-1991741) from the local Jefferson Parish Public Library branch. That was the only book that ever gave me nightmares!

Legomancer
08-15-2001, 03:22 PM
Originally posted by Jeff Olsen
When I was in high school, I picked up The Demonologist (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0131983334/qid=997904572/sr=1-1/ref=sc_b_1/107-9494523-1991741) from the local Jefferson Parish Public Library branch. That was the only book that ever gave me nightmares!

First:
The National Enquirer ran excerpts from that book that I read when I was a kid. It terrified me for months. There was a bit about "The Lady" that scared the bejesus out of me.

Second:
Where in Jefferson Parish? I grew up in River Ridge.

Ben
08-15-2001, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by SteveSteve
So Ben was your edition illustrated? Did you see the attic picture? You are the first person I have ever met who has read that same book. Than again I am the only person I know who has yet learned how to read....

Yes, it was illustrated, and I remember the attic picture! I would love to be able to read it again, but a copy goes for $150 or so now. The funny thing is that I've never heard anyone say, "That book? Yeah, I read it. It was ok." Instead they say things like, "What kind of sadist could write such a scary book for children?!? It took me years to get over that book!"

By any chance do you remember the story about the big bushbaby thing? The only stories I remember are the ones I mentioned earlier, and the bushbaby picture stands out in my mind, but I don't remember the accompanying story. For that matter, do you remember any of the other stories?


-Ben

pldennison
08-15-2001, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by Ellen
As far as I know (and Amazon seems to back me up), Sybil (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446359408/qid%3D997902497/104-4927169-8836754) actually is non-fiction.

That one kind of falls under the category of "Yes, but . . ." The woman on wom the book was based died in 1998, and in recent years, there has arisen a great deal of controversy over just how accurate the MPD diagnosis was, and how much of the book was fact. There's a good link here (http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/s/d/sdq/book.html#DID).

gallows fodder: If you haven't already seen it, Felicia's Journey was made into an excellent movie by Atom Egoyan starring Bob Hoskins.

As far as books that disturbed me, I first rea Helter Skelter in the 7th grade and it freaked the hell out of me. A few years earlier, in Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, for some reason it always got under my skin when Fudge swallowed Peter's turtle.

LateComer
08-15-2001, 11:52 PM
All this talk about "The October Game" reminds me of the time I first read it. It was late at night I remember. I found the story in a link posted in a Straight Dope Thread I was reading at the time about disturbing books and stories. It disturbed me so badly that I still aren't sure if I'll ever go to sleep again.


There is an old anthology book with many wonderful stories called "Stories to be read with the Lights on." It is an "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" book. There is one story in particular called, I believe, "Hello Down there."

It's about a family living on a farm who find a giant hollow place in the Earth when digging a well. They lower a flashlight down to see how deep it is, and discover a race of "people" living down there. They learn to communicate with them (by lowering a dictionary among other things) and start a trade with them by lowering things down and bringing things back up. The "people" refer to the flashlights as "Death Rays" and want many of them. They also would like to try some of this "Turkey" they have heard about.

It sounds corny, but it is a nice, well written story. The ending disturbed me and I still think about the story from time to time. I don't know who wrote it (I'd have to dig up the book). The anthology has a few good, memorable stories.

I can't think of anything else that was disturbing.

racinchikki
08-16-2001, 12:20 AM
LateComer, i've read that book. i thought that story was disturbing, too.

Johanna
08-16-2001, 03:17 PM
I read Bradbury's "October Game" from the link posted in this thread. Frankly, I could see the shocker ending coming a mile off. That lessened the impact a lot. Instead of willing suspension of disbelief, my mind instead picked up the writer's craftiness in trying to shock the reader.

lieu
08-16-2001, 03:43 PM
Lord of the Flies was pretty disturbing as a youth because of it's apparent attempt to make me realize I had that kind of uncivilized behavior surpressed beneath a falsely manageable exterior.

The Story of O just bummed me because I was too young to be getting any.

I'm curious what some of my old buddies would choose. I mean, for christ sakes my nickname was Red because I was the only one who ever finished a book.

diamud
08-16-2001, 04:05 PM
I agree with psychogumby about "American Psycho." I was bothered by the graphic violence/sex in the book (at one point the psychopath has sex with a freshly dead skull). The Yuppie-ish portions of the book did not bother me, I read it as this horrible creatures attempts to be a human, by modeling himself after his yuppie friends. I was very sorry I had read this piece of junk.

SteveSteve
08-16-2001, 10:13 PM
Originally posted by Ben
my mind, but I don't remember the accompanying story. For that matter, do you remember any of the other stories?


-Ben [/B]

Vaguely, the image of being trapped in an attic with a beast you are not aware of, you think it is safe because it is dark, the monster can't grow in the dark, but you are too late, the monster has already grown, and it is right behind you........but check this out, it's called "Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures" and these are the story titles
The Patchwork Monkey
The Yamadan
Monster Blood
Tigger
The Spell of Spirit Stones
The Night Creature
To Face a Monster
You Are What You Eat
Nightmare in a Box

The patchwork monkey is obvious, but i couldn't remember if nightmare in a box is the cockatrice or the girl and the neighbor's mail...see if you can match up titles with plots. Also I was serious about this being my first thread ever so if I am being a complete nob please let me know.

Outrider
08-16-2001, 10:48 PM
Originally posted by Jomo Mojo
I read Bradbury's "October Game" from the link posted in this thread. Frankly, I could see the shocker ending coming a mile off. That lessened the impact a lot. Instead of willing suspension of disbelief, my mind instead picked up the writer's craftiness in trying to shock the reader.

I agree. I also followed the link and was disappointed. I thought the build-up was rather skillfully done, but the ending was nothing special. Maybe reading it off a computer screen at work is not the same as reading it under the bedsheets with a flashlight, but I thought the ending wasn't nearly as frightening as the father himself.

By the way...

<October game spoiler>





When the hell did he have time to kill his daughter and cut her up when his house was full of people? Didn't she scream or anything?

Maybe I just misunderstood the events of the story?





</October game spoiler>

SteveSteve
08-16-2001, 11:51 PM
Originally posted by Outrider


By the way...

<October game spoiler>





When the hell did he have time to kill his daughter and cut her up when his house was full of people? Didn't she scream or anything?

Maybe I just misunderstood the events of the story?





</October game spoiler> [/B]




I think the idea was that she was very very very very quiet, Bradbury kept making a point of that. And in addition

<October game spoiler>



he could have broken her neck and then cut her up while everyone was shuffling around in the dark in the basement, (he makes apoint baout how long it takes for everyone to get settled) with a big very very very very sharp knife, or even a sturdy pair of kitchen shears (well maybe not)...
I was totally freaked the first time I read it, I was totally screaming along with the mother, NO NO NO NO, don't turn on the light! don't turn on the light! I don't want to see my daughters slaughtered body in pieces all over the room, people holding her entrails in their arms, some kid with his hand in her severed head, thinking it is a pumpkin. Can you imagine the look on his face? Everyone looks at him and then he looks down, into the little girls lifeless eyes, uheehulllh...gives me the shivers just thinking about it, but I am easily scared.



<October game spoiler>


I was not dissapointed, but I could see how maybe the suspension of disbelief was too much.

Skywatcher
08-18-2001, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by Legomancer
Second:
Where in Jefferson Parish? I grew up in River Ridge. [/B]

Spent a year in Kenner (6/83 to 6/84) and four more in Harahan (6/84 to 7/88). Had summer school in John Curtis once and graduated from Riverdale (Class of '86).

G. Nome
08-19-2001, 12:30 AM
I read and understood the stuff in Blackwell's Medical Dictionary on menstruation before I had any "Facts of Life" talks from my parents. I think I must have been about six or seven. I went into denial.

JohnT
08-19-2001, 01:03 AM
When I was a wee lad, I was depressed for weeks after reading H.C. Anderson's The Little Match Girl. But the creepiest book I read as a kid (one that I probably won't read again for quite awhile as it deals with the death of your children and we have a little 'un on the way) is Steven King's Pet Semetary. 15 years later and I can still remember the final line in the novel:

"Darling."

:eek:

Gala Matrix Fire
09-01-2001, 06:48 PM
I'm trying to think back as far as I can now. When my brother and I were either pre-literate or semi-literate, my mom read to us a lot and one story thought was a big treat was called "Benjy." It's really a fairy tale for grown ups, and little kids just don't understand irony. Mom gave us way too much credit for being sophisticated enough to understand it. Anyway, it's about this very good little boy who loves his mother, and in the end he gets carried off by some giant bird! Mom always acted like we were supposed to think that was cool. I've reread it recently as an adult, but man, my brother and I cringed when she'd bring out "Benjy."

invisibleOLDlady
09-01-2001, 07:58 PM
when I was four or five...maybe younger...I decided I wanted to be just like mommy and read me a novel. So I grabbed one off her shelf. It had a bloody ax on a tree-stump on the cover. I read about ten pages and threw the book on her bed, then ran away screaming with tears in my eyes. I guess I was sensitive or something, but people getting decapitated and brutally maimed wasn't suitable for my then very young brain. I didn't pick up another "grown-up" book again until I was nine. The first Stephen King book I ever read was given to me then by my mom just to shut me up. "The Dead Zone". He's been my favorite author ever since.

riserius1
09-01-2001, 11:43 PM
Having learned to read at age four, and having a mother and aunt who were into Hitchcock, the first stories I read were his children's collections. Most of these were "One-minute Mysteries" and therefore, not scary at all.
Then when I was about 6 or 7, I picked up a collection not by Hitchcock,called "Stories Not For the Nervous".I remember it had a green cover with a pair of disembodied, ominous-looking eyes.
In it there is a story called "Don't Look Behind You". The author narrates in the first-person, and explains that, as a bet, he has written this story and inserted it into this book; he then watched to see who would buy it from the bookstore, so he could follow them home and KILL THEM! He keeps taunting the reader, telling him/her that it's just a story, keep reading.
The final line?
"Don't look behind you...until you feel the knife!"
Literally didn't sleep for about two days.

Anybody know or remember the author on this one?

Chris W.

Czarcasm
09-02-2001, 09:52 AM
This looks like an excellent candidate for our new forum, Cafe Society.
See you there!

That Girl
09-04-2001, 10:09 PM
I was pretty upset after reading a book called "You Are All Sanpaku", which means in Japanese that you have whites showing below your irises. He made out like it was a sign of major illness, and recommended massive changes in your diet, like eating nearly all brown rice for a few months. When I discussed it with someone, though, they quickly pointed out that he was describing Western eyes as sicklier than Japanese because they were more open. So basically, he was just using racial stereotyping.

Tenebras
09-06-2001, 05:05 PM
Haven't seen this one up yet, but The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. I used to read a lot of science fiction when I was a kid, and Heinlein is king. Also the two short stories The Man Who Sold the Moon and Requiem.

And isn't Requiem a cool word?

Ben

pantom
09-06-2001, 09:57 PM
Along the same lines as The Exorcist and other such scary stuff is The Other, a very strange book with a surprise ending.
But the ones that disturbed me the most were about war, because unlike the horror stuff, this can and has happened to millions and millions. Hiroshima was right up there, but the most disturbing to me was All Quiet on the Western Front which, for those who haven't read it yet, is a German soldier's story of World War One.
Mind bending. You get done with it and you get sick at the mere mention of the word war. The other thing is: was Hitler really in the same war and of the same blood as the author of this novel, Erich Maria Remarque? Doesn't seem possible.

DarkPrince
09-07-2001, 12:51 AM
I remember reading a bunch of John Bellairs(sp?) books sometime during elementry school. I forget the name of the book, but I couldn't sleep for days after reading this part where this monster/thing in a hooded robe with tentacles instead of arms grabs a dog and sucks all the meat and flesh from its head. You never really find out how, it just put the dogs head up under its hood...

brrrrrrr...

John487
09-09-2001, 03:56 AM
one book that grosses me out until this day is the "book of morman." what a world-class piece-of-trash that is.

TroubleAgain
09-09-2001, 01:13 PM
Originally posted by invisibleOLDlady
The first Stephen King book I ever read was given to me then by my mom just to shut me up. "The Dead Zone". He's been my favorite author ever since.

I am not a huge King fan, but that's my favorite book of his. However, I was [i]horribly[/] disturbed by the scene where the guy kicks the dog to death. I still can't read that part and will skip over it every time I re-read the story. I can't stand stories of cruelty to animals (somehow, I have no problem reading serial killer novels, etc...?)

I was very disturbed as a child by MOST of the Bradbury I read, and I HATED the fact that The Lottery was set on my birthday! :eek: I'd have to second many of the stories I've seen here.

TroubleAgain
09-09-2001, 01:27 PM
(*&^%$())_&%$ coding error! Shows how disturbed I am thinking about all these stories!

Waldo666
03-28-2002, 05:35 PM
Anyone ever seen "Requiem for a Dream?" I know it's a movie, but it's also a book and the two are exactly the same. Anyway, it is about four people: A guy named Harry in his early 20s, his best friend Tyrone, his girlfriend Marion, and his mom Sara. Harry and his best friend are drug dealers. In the end, Harry gets his arm amputated because it was terribly infected from his heroin needle, his girlfriend is emotionally scarred because she performed in a violent sex show for more crack, Tyrone gets beat up in jail because he's black, Sara gets a closed skull labotomy. There are no heroes or "good guys" in this movie. It sucked. I don't know how people like my mom or my brother can sit around and watch something like that. Now my brother is in some kind of cult where he and his friends just sit around and watch Requiem for a Dream with the door closed and the lights off. I also think that he's addicted to heroin.:mad:

Catamount
03-28-2002, 06:04 PM
Originally posted by John Corrado
This'll mark me as a wuss (and a slow reader in comparison, I'm sure), but:

When I was in third grade, I ordered a book of horror stories from the Scholastic Reader (or whatever that little pamphlet was that got passed out with a good two dozen books you could order through the schools).

In retrospect, it wasn't a very *good* book; upon reading it again years later, I recognized most of the stories as old urban legends and tales oft-told (The Hook, The Girl Who Had Spiders in Her Hair-Do, The Ghost Hitch-hiker, etc.).

But at the time, the first story of the anthology scared the wildest beejezus out of me. I still remember the ending lines: "Her sister came back into bed, and in relief, she reached up and felt the fur collar that her sister always wore... and then felt the bloody stump of her neck where her head used to be." Yep, pathetic, overwrought, and kept me awake in absolute, stark terror for the next three nights. It was *years* before I worked up the nerve to read any of the other stories in that book.

I used to have that book. Tales for the Midnight Hour by J.B. Stamper. The one that bothered me the most was the story about the woman whose who had a black dog that died on the same day as her husband. She had the dog stuffed and once a year she would take the dog to her husband's grave on the anniversary of their deaths "so they could all be together again." One year she has her grandson come over to help her carry the dog since she's not able to pick it up anymore. The grandson hates the dog and at one point tries to burn it with a match. The next day he's found dead in the exact same way as the grandfather years before and the dog had bloody saliva on its mouth.

When I read that, my sister had a black dog. I never liked that dog so you can imagine how scared I was of it after that story entered my head.

Joesus
03-28-2002, 07:34 PM
I am unsure if I missed it (after first two pages I just skimmed for titles) but I would like to Nominate A Farewell To Arms by Hemmingway. Definately depressed the hell out of me when i read it

Daoloth
03-28-2002, 08:24 PM
Originally posted by rastahomie
I read The Catcher in the Rye my junior year in high school. I got physically ill at one point, because I so identified with the main character. It was the scene where Holden was remembering playing checkers with a (female) friend of his, and it comes out that she was being molested by her stepfather. It turned my stomach, in part because I knew a couple of girls who were going through the same thing.

In 7th grade we read Flowers for Algernon, and I was brought to tears.

I'm also reading a disturbing book right now. She Said YES: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall. It's teaching me how wildly out of touch I am with today's teens; and I was a teen just a 15 years ago :eek:. Ugh. And the youth minister asked me to help out with the youth group at our church. Double ugh.

Just FYI, the Cassie Bernall story is largely fiction. According to witnesses of her murder, she never mentioned anything about face, and neither did her killer. Her killer (can't recall which one killed her) simply said "Peekabo" and then shot her before she could respond.

However, Eric Harris did ask a girl named Valeen Schnurr if she believed in God, and she said yes. He then asked "why?" and procedeed to shoot her. She survived.

</hijack>

Right now I can't think of any books that disturbed me, but I'm sure there was one.

MickNickMaggies
03-29-2002, 12:44 AM
Originally posted by TroubleAgain
I was very disturbed as a child by MOST of the Bradbury I read, and I HATED the fact that The Lottery was set on my birthday! :eek: I'd have to second many of the stories I've seen here.

Shirley Jackson was asked to change the date- when the story was accepted, the only thing the magazine asked of her was to change the date to the date of the issue itself. She had no problem, so it was changed.

There's a delightful little essay about this and all the hate mail she recieved in a fiction anthology edited by (the late) Charles Boehner.

Other than that, my disturbing book was Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I picked that one early. And I still can't get the "Hellfire" sermon out of my mind when I go to sleep at night.

Cyn

Bryan Ekers
03-29-2002, 01:10 AM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
The Stepford Wives was nonfiction?

Hot DAMN! Sign ME up for one of them robots!
Just be aware that breaking the seal will void your warranty.

(I've waited several years to use that joke.)

luckyloo
03-29-2002, 06:00 AM
I read Bio of a Space Tyrant part 1 by Piers Anthony. I'd read most of his Xanth and Blue Adept series so I wasn't prepared for this really depressing story. To make it worse, I read it in one sitting. An all nighter at 12 or 13, I think.

IIRC, the basic story is about a space ship full of desperate immigrant types. Pirates attack. They kill the men and rape the women. Pirates attack again. They kill the women and rape the children. The main character is forced to cut open his dead girlfriend by the pirates to look for some message hidden inside her. Children set up defenses and enjoy watching animal porn that they find on the ship. Pirates attack again. Kill most of the children. Main character finds sanctuary on a planet. He discovers that the first planet they stopped at would have welcomed them since the immigrants were all bi-lingual (spanish/english). The immigrants just didn't consider their ability to speak Spanish as a "skill" when they were asked whether or not they had any usefull skills. There's a lot more that I've since forgot (blocked out is more like it ;)), but most of it is just as depressing.

Needless to say... I didn't read any of the rest of the series. I did screw up and read the entire works (at that time) of Clive Barker two summers later. :eek: :eek: :eek: Don't be fooled boys and girls... Steven King is a boyscout.

booklover
03-29-2002, 12:36 PM
I actually love Bradbury's slightly disturbing sense of humor, so it's interesting to see how many people he creeps out!

One of my worst has to be Sounder, which my second grade teacher read aloud to the class---the graphic description of the dog's ghost coming back with its face half blown off by the shotgun blast, ohmygod, that gave me nightmares.

I also was grossed out by The Chocolate War, mainly because of all the throwing-up that goes on in the book (hey, I was nine).

Three nameless books that will stick with me forever:

-the gory mystery I read that involves Druids/necrophilia where this dead naked woman creeps into bed with this teenage boy

-a novel about children surviving nuclear holocaust, complete with graphic descriptions of radiation-induced illnesses

-ghost story book about guys living in a house where a man murdered his wife. They know the wife's ghost is around because she was diabetic and the insulin left over in the fridge is being gradually used up.

As an adult, Pet Sematary totally creeped me out.

Judith Prietht
03-29-2002, 12:56 PM
God, this very thread has creeped me out. There's been ample mention of Where the Red Fern Grows, but it deserves another. I think, like others, it was required reading. I sobbed for hours after reading it, the kind of crying where you can't barely breathe and keep gulping for air but it just makes the crying hurt even more. My mom asked me what was wrong and I remember being slumped by the side of the bathroom incoherently babbling, "and . . . then . . . the dog . . . is sad . . ." Utterly devastating. And then there was a Wilbur Smith book one of my parents was reading where a guy stepped on a puppy to torture someone else. :(
Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark was the shizznat. I still love it. I had a creepy book called Always Room For One More that had something to do with an elevator that crashed and killed everyone on it.
There was also the coat hanger abortion scene in Sidney Sheldon's The Other Side of Midnight.
Lois Duncan's young adult series were sometimes a little too adult for me: Down a Dark Hall, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Killing Mr. Griffin were scaaaary.
There was also a really young kids' book called The Tailypo about some guy who cuts the creature's tail off and maybe eats it and then the Tailypo comes looking for its tail, wandering around the cabin saying "Tailypooo . . . Tailypooo . . . I want my Tailypoooo . . . " I loved it, Mom borrowed it, and to this day I can hear her voice doing the Tailypo's voice (shudder).
I'll also never forget the oft-neglected Judy Blume book Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself as one of my first exposures to the Nazis and the Holocaust. When Sally has all her little play-fantasies about being back in those days, and she mentions the lampshades in the room, uuuuugggghh.

Largo62
03-29-2002, 01:44 PM
Another vote here for George Orwell's 1949 novel 1984. I read it in about 1959 when I was 17. The whole bleak picture stayed with me for a long time, but the book within the book that described how it all came to be was fascinating.

The most disturbing things in it for me were the rat scene, and the last four words of the book. The rat scene disturbed me, not so much for the horror of rats gnawing on someone's face, but the ultimate betrayal when Winston screams, "Do it to her! I tried to tell myself that no horror would be so great as to make me betray someone I loved, but the thought that I might be weak enough to do that really bothered me.

Then ending the book with "He loved Big Brother," left me feeling utterly helpless. Even someone with the courage of Winston Smith could be beaten.

Another thing that disturbed me was a short story called The Lottery. Some person was selected by lottery to be stoned to death by the whole village. It seemed so senseless, which is why it was so horrible. I don't remember the name of the author. Anybody?

Short stories by Poe, like The Telltale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum were disturbing, too, but I read them at a fairly young age.


"Hello, I must be going." --Groucho Marx

RiverRunner
03-29-2002, 01:48 PM
Books already mentioned:

The Cask of Amontillado -- For the love of God, Montresor. For the love of God! Yow!

'Salem's Lot -- The child vampires.

the Bradbury story about Venus -- I thought I was the only one in the world who remembered that story!

Flowers for Algernon -- Facing the disintegration of intellect -- like perhaps with Alzheimer's or something -- has always been my greatest fear. That story tore me apart.

1984 -- Rats on face. 'Nuff said.

The Birds -- One of the few movies ever to give me the willies. Psycho was another.

The Monkey's Paw -- Yow, again.

Of Mice & Men -- My seventh grade Social Studies teacher actually read this aloud to us at the end of class every day, unless someone did something bad enough for him to punish us by skipping it that day. (You didn't want to be the one to make him do that.) He edited the language, of course, but that didn't make the ending any easier to take. We were stunned. It was probably one of the best experiences I had in school, though. And I liked school.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier -- Sob! even now.

The Lottery -- complete willies

The Hot Zone -- read as a grown-up. Very frightening.

"It" from some Hitchcock book -- There was only part of this book still whole when I started reading it, but this story was in it. I think "it" accreted around a skeletong and came to life in a swamp or something.

And, am I the only one who freaked on the tale about the little goblins in the forest who stared at the light? You know, where the woodsman took them home and then later took them back out into the woods at night . . .



"the heebiest of all possible jeebies." -- Legomancer, that was a most excellent phrase.


RR

Largo62
03-29-2002, 01:53 PM
Oops! The Lottery is by Shirley Jackson. That's what I get for not reading the entire thread before I posted. I got thru about page 3.

shagadelicmysteryman
03-29-2002, 04:32 PM
Well, I'm closer to childhood than some of the people in here, actually very close. I've read disturbing books and sad books. But some of the most disturbing ones were, "The Giver" by Louis Lowry, which was just unsettling for some reason or another. Then there was "1984" by Orwell which I read for AP English this year. I did think though that it had a rather dark humorous ending...

what I mean is that the ending can be interpreted two different ways. 1)that Big Brother got him or 2)Winston was the classic example of the tough cookie. He just wanted Big Brother to think that he had won...Perhaps a hidden message from Orwell? No matter how bad it gets, you're always free in your own mind...


Those books were unsettling to me. Two depressing books were Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises", and Stephen King's "Hearts in Atlantis". And if you want to read a book that plays mind games on you, but you can still laugh hilariously at, I would reccommend Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five". That book is odd, to say the least...:rolleyes:

Lissla Lissar
03-29-2002, 06:52 PM
DarkPrince , you read John Bellairs too? He still kind of scares me...

On the reading shelf in my 7th grade classroom (which was stocked by a psycho) were:
Nineteen Eighty-Four (yes, another mention)
Animal Farm
Brave New World
The Female Eunuch

Being a readaholic, I read all of them. I'm not sure that I ever recovered...

rowrrbazzle
03-29-2002, 09:42 PM
When I was a teenager and still a devout Catholic, I came across James Blish's story "Faust Aleph-Null" which originally appeared as a serial in a sci-fi magazine. (It was renamed "Black Easter" when published as a novel.)

At the time, it scared the hell out of me. The reason was the very end of the story (spoiler, highlight to read):

The final battle between good and evil occurs. Satan wins! His final words: "God is dead!"

RiverRunner
03-29-2002, 10:06 PM
Re: John Bellairs

One of my all-time favorite books is his Face in the Frost.

Just thought I'd throw that out, since I've never met anybody else who's read it.


RR

Eats_Crayons
03-29-2002, 10:47 PM
Okay, so already mentioned: The Fall of the House of Usher I read it when I was about 11 (and I read in in French) and it freaked me out. But one of the only stories that really freaked me out was Stephen King's The Jaunt. I think it was in The Skeleton Crew anthology, I'm not sure.

As I was reading the sotry I kept thinking to myself "Gee, if I was that character I just know that I would do such-and-such." THAT is exactly how the story ended. Brrrrrrrr!

I used to really enjoy ghost stories and the like as a kid. Very little scares me or seriously creeps me out.

Recently, I was reading a Latin American anthology. There was a tale that kind of creeped me out. The general idea was that this very, very old man owned about a gazillion clocks. All of them had a different time. He used this to cheat death because no "time of death" could ever be established. Therefore he would live forever.

Soul Brother Number Two
03-29-2002, 11:51 PM
my first experience with the idea that the good guys can die was 'the last battle', the last narnia book, when i was five or so.

i have such a vivid memory of the shock and pain i felt when the good animals died at war.

i reread the narnia books every year til i was 18 or so and i *never* read 'the last battle* ever again, til i forced myself to in my mid-twenties.

another vote for that john christopher trilogy. the tripods, the cap, ooohh that was scary.

im very surprised no one's mentioned 'i have no mouth but i must scream' by harlan ellison. jesus god that's a creepy story.

finally, 'pet sematary' scared the everlivin shit outta me as an adult.

haardvark
03-30-2002, 10:45 AM
when I was in grade school in the late 70's our school library had crates full of new books from a (British?) publ. firm called "Usborne" that had a little red hot-air ballon as its printer's mark. Lots of brightly coloured illustrations and callouts and sidebars and different kinds of formatting etc. Come to think of it, very 90's in their layout, lots of jumpcuts and "islands of content".
They had craft activity books and history and how to's and how-does-it-work type stuff, standard pre-teen fodder. We had so many of them in the library I can only assume that the school got some sort of a bulk deal.

They ALSO had a mittful of "factual" books on ghosts, monsters, legends, vampires etc. Some of these had fairly grotesque illustrations (which 20 years on I can still see vividly) and graphic tales reported as thogh they were all perfectly true. The ghost photo image in one of the earlier posts was also in one of these books. In hindsight a number of the stories were rehashings of urban legends or plain old fabricated rip-offs (one of the illustrations, I realised later, was just a face shot of Lon Chaney in the original Phantom of the Opera.)

The authoritative nature of these books, and the fact that they were in the non-fiction section of the library, used to creep the hell out of me. I was totally a believer! However, I used to repeatedly check them out, read them all (during daylight hours when the contents couldn't hurt me), suffer about 3 weeks worth of utterly disrupted and terrified sleep, and forget about it just enough to check them all out again! and no, I wasn't in "special class"...........

Anyone else have experiences like this with "fact" books in their school library? Seems like we had tons of 'em, not the greatest thing for the mental development of the wee 'un, hm? :rolleyes:

haardvark
03-30-2002, 10:48 AM
oooh, ooh, and I just remembered another one (gradeschool level book):

"The Red Room Riddle" by Scott Corbett(?) Two boys in the 20's exploring an empty house with some hidden secrets. Twists, turns, and tension!! Again, I read it over and over again, scared myself witless, forgot the fear, and read it again!

Sheesh. What a dopey kid.

The only John Bellairs I ever read as a kid was "the house with a clock in its walls" I did not know he had written more. Are they the same characters (Lewis and uncle whatever and mrs whoozerface?)

KarlGrenze
03-30-2002, 11:02 AM
Originally posted by MickNickMaggies


Shirley Jackson was asked to change the date- when the story was accepted, the only thing the magazine asked of her was to change the date to the date of the issue itself. She had no problem, so it was changed.

There's a delightful little essay about this and all the hate mail she recieved in a fiction anthology edited by (the late) Charles Boehner.

Why was she asked to change the date?

KarlGrenze
03-30-2002, 11:09 AM
To those who said the movie The Birds scared you as a child, read the story. At least, I think the movie has a happy(sort of happy) ending. The story ends ina depressing mode.

A farmer and his family appear to be the only people alive in the area(and probably the rest of the country, UK). They are trapped in their home, facing an uncertain future.

Deadly Nightlight
03-30-2002, 02:52 PM
There was this book i read which i thought was called farenhieght 51- about these aliens that come to the planet and take over the children and stop th adults from ever being able to have children again so the human race would die out, which was slighty freaky-but then it describes the eyes growing a green fuzz
ewwwwwwwwwww

Wendell Wagner
03-30-2002, 04:45 PM
Deadly Nightshade writes:

> There was this book i read which i thought was called
> farenhieght 51- about these aliens that come to the planet and
> take over the children and stop th adults from ever being able
> to have children again so the human race would die out, which
> was slighty freaky-but then it describes the eyes growing a
> green fuzz

Boy, you're really confused. _Fahrenheit 451_ is a novel by Ray Bradbury. You're thinking of the 1950 short story "Green Patches" by Isaac Asimov, which was called "Misbegotten Missionary" in some of its appearances. Here's a website where you can find all the appearances in anthologies of this story:

http://www.sfsite.com/isfdb-bin/exact_author.cgi?Isaac_Asimov

Page down to Short Fiction. The stories are listed in chronological order. It has a separate page for the two different titles for this story.

Cartooniverse
03-30-2002, 07:26 PM
There is one title that truly addresses the Original Poster Question.

When I was in the 7th grade, the book Go Ask Alice was out. It was given to us to read in English Class.

The level of upset was so profound that for more than a month- and I remember this very clearly- I would sneak downstairs after I was supposed to go to bed, and stand at the top of the basement stairs. Looking at my father. Unable to ask him if things like that really happen to girls. To ANYONE.

I couldn't speak to him. I'd stand there. Then, go back up and lay in bed, unable to sleep out of fear. Out of feeling so sickened by it. By the idea of any of it.

I was so badly frightened by her life, and her experiences. In many ways, it molded my feelings towards girls and how to treat them. I was so horrified at it.....and still am. I can't even imagine re-reading it now.

It was not appropriate fare for 12 year olds.

Cartooniverse

MickNickMaggies
03-30-2002, 07:44 PM
Originally posted by KarlGrenze


Why was she asked to change the date?

To make it more immediate, I would suppose. She doesn't explain their reasoning, just the fact that she was happy to sell a story.


Cyn

KarlGrenze
03-30-2002, 08:33 PM
Can someone give me a synopsis of Go Ask Alice , since it seems to have disturbed some of you, and it does not appear to be a horror story?

Deadly Nightlight
03-31-2002, 02:09 AM
Whoa guess it wasn't farenheight 451- But I don't recall it being by asimov either- I am on my way to look it up- The title Yesterdays children comes to mind- The book I read was at least 150 pages long-maybe longer- ormaybe it wasn't. LOL- all i remember for sure was the green furry eyes that started growing on mice and then to their children at the end of the book, In the mean time I am going to check out that link you posted, thanks

Wendell Wagner
03-31-2002, 04:50 AM
Sorry, but you're still confused. _Yesterday's Children_ is a novel by David Gerrold. It's a sort of alternate Star Trek novel. It started as a Star Trek script that was rejected, so Gerrold rewrote it to be the first novel in his own series set on a ship called the Star Wolf. Here's the only webpage I can find that describes it:

http://www.anotheruniverse.com/tv/features/starwolf.html

I think you've confused the basic idea of "Green Patches" with part of the framework of the novel _Yesterday's Children_ and have slapped the title of another novel (_Fahrenheit 451_) on it.

Wendell Wagner
03-31-2002, 05:16 AM
And I'm a little confused myself. I'm sorry that I called you Deadly Nightshade instead of Deadly Nightlight in the first post.

Deadly Nightlight
03-31-2002, 10:07 AM
Its ok- I derived my user name from the deadly nightshade, actually i am surpised someone made the connection ;)

You are right yet again-I am sure you are right, but, I Honestly don't remember the stroy being called Green patches. was it named anything else aside of misbegotten missionary? Hopefully next book thread i can keep my books straight:eek:

DeadlyAccurate
03-31-2002, 07:55 PM
Originally posted by KarlGrenze
Can someone give me a synopsis of Go Ask Alice , since it seems to have disturbed some of you, and it does not appear to be a horror story?

When I heard about it from a thread, I went to Amazon and read the exerpt.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0689817851/qid=1017625980/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_67_1/002-4476125-4463249

It's a diary of a young girl that chronicles her descent into drugs.

It interested me enough to buy it. Reading it for the first time at the age of 28, I wasn't shocked or disturbed, just saddened, but it's easy to see how children would find it so.

ageless6
04-01-2002, 11:55 AM
Sublight:

I'm confused. Do you mean that you can only GIVE oral sex in a parked car, or can only receive it in a speeding car, or just that though you've begged and pleaded, no one so far has been willing to do it for you in a parked car and the book notwithstanding, this makes you very sad.

That reminds me of the serial dude in American Psycho, where he walks around the apartment with his latest "girlfriend's" head hanging from his perky erection. 2 heads up for that cheery image. I recommend this book for all the early readers who like their fashion splashed with innovative gore.

gallows fodder
04-01-2002, 12:42 PM
Originally posted by haardvark
when I was in grade school in the late 70's our school library had crates full of new books from a (British?) publ. firm called "Usborne" that had a little red hot-air ballon as its printer's mark. Lots of brightly coloured illustrations and callouts and sidebars and different kinds of formatting etc.

<snip>

They ALSO had a mittful of "factual" books on ghosts, monsters, legends, vampires etc. Some of these had fairly grotesque illustrations (which 20 years on I can still see vividly) and graphic tales reported as thogh they were all perfectly true.


YES!! I had the book from this series about ghosts. There's a 2-page "article" that detailed all the typical signs and symptoms of a haunted house, and one of the illustrations was of a human skull with huge eye sockets. That image terrified me.

I was also horrified to read in one of the stories (a detailed map of a town called Plumley, IIRC) that one particular ghost was known to appear at 4 in the afternoon. Up until then, it had been inconceivable to me that scary (supernatural) things could occur during the daytime. What a blow that was. :p


The whole book was frightening. I remember crying on some nights, unable to sleep and cursing myself for having read it too soon before bed.

booklover
04-01-2002, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by haardvark
when I was in grade school in the late 70's our school library had crates full of new books from a (British?) publ. firm called "Usborne" that had a little red hot-air ballon as its printer's mark. Lots of brightly coloured illustrations and callouts and sidebars and different kinds of formatting etc. Come to think of it, very 90's in their layout, lots of jumpcuts and "islands of content".
They had craft activity books and history and how to's and how-does-it-work type stuff, standard pre-teen fodder. We had so many of them in the library I can only assume that the school got some sort of a bulk deal.


Yeah, Usborne is a large publishing firm specializing in pricy factual children's books---I would bet schools get good bulk rates from purchasing the series.

I work for a children's literacy org where we get some odd books donated. We found one gruesome book in the library here: Rabies, complete with a color photo of a skunk's (decapitated) head. We looked this author up on Amazon---her name's Elaine Landau and she has written such charming titles as "Air Crashes", "Black Market Adoption and the Sale of Children" (yes, that's a children's book), "Nazi War Criminals" and "Stalking".

RiverRunner
04-02-2002, 10:38 AM
"Black Market Adoption and the Sale of Children" (yes, that's a children's book)


What is the rationale behind writing a children's book about that? Did you see anything where the author explained her reasoning?


RR

Nora Charles
04-12-2002, 08:56 AM
Originally posted by booklover

Three nameless books that will stick with me forever:

-a novel about children surviving nuclear holocaust, complete with graphic descriptions of radiation-induced illnesses



I think this might be Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence. It totally creeped me out when I read it in the sixth grade, because unlike other "scary" sci-fi YA novels it was very matter of fact and mundane, with characters and a setting I could easily identify with. I had nightmares about it years after reading it.

I've meant to reread it in English (I read it translated into Danish) for some time, but just now when I went to amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060237392/) to make sure of the author name I saw to my great surprise that two of the three reviewers found it "optimistic" and that it gave them "a calm sense of peace".

Hmm. The book ends on a somewhat hopeful note. The nuclear holocaust might not be the end of the Human race after all. I would hate to ruin one of my all time favorite reading experiences by rereading it and finding it wasn't really that tragic and deep, or that it had an allegorical feel rather than the stark reality I always thought it did.

Has anyone else read it, and did it make you brood for weeks too?

FriendRob
04-12-2002, 12:08 PM
A lot of the creepiest stories I read (and I loved them - sought them out) were actually assigned reading for school, most have already been mentioned:

-The Lottery
-All Summer in a Day
-Lord of the Flies

Not yet mentioned:

-A Separate Peace
-The Veldt (I don't think this one was assigned, tho)


Also, a story about a little boy who was born with freakish powers, the extent of which only become clear gradually as the story progresses. Including the ability to read minds, so everyone around him has to be incredibly careful what they think around him, or they'll just .... disappear. And when interference from the outside world became a worry, he did something to remove the town, or possibly the outside world, so that there is now a place on the outskirts of town where the world just ends....

Personally, I'm grateful to those teachers for helping me learn what a powerful thing a book can be. But from the resonses here, I'm wondering... maybe too powerful for some?

Can't help mentioning Deathbird Stories again. Also the collection Dangerous Visions - including the ultimate Philip K. Dick story, "God of Our Fathers", which asks the question "what if God really exists... and is evil?"

I'll second The Magus as the most disturbing story I've read as an adult.

jsc1953
04-12-2002, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by FriendRob
Also, a story about a little boy who was born with freakish powers, the extent of which only become clear gradually as the story progresses. Including the ability to read minds, so everyone around him has to be incredibly careful what they think around him, or they'll just .... disappear. And when interference from the outside world became a worry, he did something to remove the town, or possibly the outside world, so that there is now a place on the outskirts of town where the world just ends....



It's a short story, called, I think, "It's a Good Day". Adapted for The Twilight Zone (with Billy Mumy as the boy).

Parodied in the Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror, with Bart as the boy.

MagicEyes
04-12-2002, 01:04 PM
The most disturbing story I've ever read was Franz Kafka's In the Penal Colony. *shiver* Don't read this unless you have a very high tolerance for creepiness. It's much, much worse than "The October Game."

I don't read Kafka anymore.

ME

Rilchiam
04-13-2002, 03:06 AM
Originally posted by jsc1953


It's a short story, called, I think, "It's a Good Day". Adapted for The Twilight Zone (with Billy Mumy as the boy).



It's a Good Life, by Jerome Bixby.

lucifee
04-13-2002, 04:41 PM
I thought the Tailypo story was called the Tailywailywo and this is the first time I've ever met anyone who's read it. That really scared me when I was little.

All you lot who are frightened by Stephen King are crackers. He is rubbish .

A Farewell to Arms and The Catcher in the Rye get my vote. American Psycho gave me nightmares for six months, no exaggeration. A book by Irvine Walsh (who is not a good writer) called Maribou Stork Nightmares made me physically vomit.

Lord of the Flies is horrible but genius - what about that bit when one of the twins says: "he sharpened a stick at both ends" and we never get to find out why.

Anyone ever read Too Late the Phalarope? Now that is a heart-wringing novel. Or you could try Tender is the Night. And I know we're not supposed to be doing poetry, but what about that bit in Anthony and Cleopatra when Anthony dies in Cleo's arms and she has that speech beginning "Noblest of lords, woo't die?" Never fails to have me sobbing by the end.

Also my recommendation of the year is a novel called Mr Phillips by John Lanchester.