Your Childhood Fears

I was going to post this in “Creepy Random Stuff” or “Very Vaguely Creepy, The Sequel.” But it’s more than vaguely creepy, it was downright terrifying. I thought real raw naked fear deserved a thread of its own.

I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. It was the mid-1960s. There was a public information campaign warning kids away from blasting caps found at construction sites. (Does anyone remember that? Didn’t anyone ask the nincompoop construction workers why they went home at the end of the day leaving blasting caps lying around for kids to find?)

There were TV “spots” (commercials) like the one with Flipper, thrashing himself up onto the end of his tail in the water going “Ook! Ook!” or whatever Flipper used to say. A couple of kids poking around a construction site looked up. The announcer says, “That’s right, kids! Listen to Flipper! He’s warning you away from the BLASTING CAPS!”

There were full-page ads in the newspapers with pictures of blasting caps, saying “Kids, if you see one of these, don’t pick it up! You’ll blow your fingers off, you’ll blow your eyes out,” etc. I think even the hosts of kids’ TV shows got in on the campaign.

I don’t know if this was widespread, or just in Ohio where I lived.

Anyway, you can imagine the impact of this concentrated barrage of dire warnings on my wee mind. I couldn’t sleep at night for fear the blasting caps would get me as I lay in bed. I stayed some nights in constant terror that at any moment I’d be suddenly maimed for life. Or killed. The blasting cap menace lurked around every corner for all I knew. Maybe they’re under my bed!

This OP reminds me of the time I was dead afraid of Shmoo.

Whatever happened to Shmoo anyway?

What’s “Shmoo”? I just vaguely remember a bloblike creature invented by Al Capp called a Shmoo. That probably isn’t what you mean.

Wasn’t Schmoo that annoying tiny spaceman on the Flintstones? He was sort of the Scrappy Doo of the show (ie he took an irritating show and made it even more so).

But I digress…

One of my childhood fears was that the house would burn down and all my stuffed animals would burn with it (I was quite attached to them).

Another one dealt with a crime that happened in my hometown. A guy with an ax (who became known as “The Guy With The Ax”) walked into a hardware store and killed a couple of people (maybe he injured a couple of people and killed one - details are fuzzy now). He has yet to be caught. I can remember sleeping with my legs doubled-up underneath me for years because I feared that he’d break into the house and try to chop off my legs at the knees. Little would he suspect that I had cleverly tucked up my legs! Ha! HA!

The green alien on the Flintstones was the Great Gazoo. Harvey Korman did the voice. I hated that character.

One of the fears of my childhood was the immense, hairy thing that lived in my grandmother’s basement.

I think it’s still there.

I love kid logic. I remember doing the same sort fo thing, but I can’t remember any specific instances.

Remember, kiddos, Gramps is as afraid of you as you are of him…
I can’t remember my childhood, so I can’t recall any specific fears, but I would have been overjoyed to find some blasting caps, then or now.

I was always afraid to walk up stair ways that didn’t have enclosed stairs. You know, the ones that are just steps held up like shelves and you can see between the gaps to the bottom. I was always afraid I would slip and fall between the steps and plummet to my death. Instead, I just fell down them the normal way.

I was terrified of the dark, so much so I slept with my bedroom light on up until the seventh grade (boy, do I feel like a yuts now). I remember seeing a commercial for an episode of Tales from the Dark Side in which this woman was alone in the house with this creepy little green ghoulie. There’s a shot of her feet by the bed, and as she lifts them up, you see it’s little clawed hands reach out and just miss her. From that night onward, I always had to check under the bed before I could sleep.

And not our basement, but my cousin Barbara’s basement was creepy as hell. When you walk down the stairs, there’s a little den type area to your left, but to the right was an open doorway with a sheet across it that led to the laundry room. It was huge, concrete floor, shit everywhere, and dark as all Hell. Unfortunately, the basement was the only place I could watch nudey shows on cable without my parents catching on. Puberty in New York was a tough time for me.

When I was about five years old, we went to visit my father’s family in northern Wisconsin. We’re talking serious Little House in the Big Woods country here. I loved going up there because there was so much space to run around in and get dirty. But this year a problem presented itself. We were to sleep in the basement of my great-aunt and -uncle’s “cabin”. On the wall, right above where my bed was set up, there was a black bearskin. Uncle Budd told me that he had shot the bear. I now think he was probably pulling my leg, but at the time I believed it absolutely. This was the full bearskin, with the head and claws, and some sadist had put in glass eyes that were remarkably lifelike to a little girl.

Somehow my childish logic went like this:

  1. The spirit of the bear was still in that bearskin.
  2. The spirit of the bear was not very happy about being shot.
  3. Uncle Budd shot the bear.
  4. The spirit of the bear is going to go after Uncle Budd.
  5. That means the bearskin is going to come to life and get revenge on Uncle Budd.
  6. But I’m the one closest to the bearskin! What if it gets confused and attacks me instead?

Can’t sleep. Bear will eat me. Can’t sleep. Bear will eat me… :eek::eek::eek::eek:

when i was like, 5-8, i would have a reoccuring dream, every night almost, of the wolf man, coming after me, like u know the video from way back when about the wolfman, asnd that guy, its from like the 50s or 60s,god i cant remember his name, but ya, anyways i had this bookshelf with dolls on top, and i always slept with my door open with my lil nightlight, after i had this dream, i would wake up, and outside my door is the a wall, so id wake up, and there on that wall, was a shadow that seemed to resemble the wolfman in full, 6’foot something hieght on my wall, i remember screaming bloody murder for nights on end thinking the shadow was him standing in my window, and this went on like everynight for like 3 years, curse my father for letting me watch that movie with him!
even now when i see a picture of the actor from that movie, i wanna scream

That’s right. Well who the heck is Shmoo then?

I feared looking at the window and seeing little beady red pig eyes (aka the devil) staring at me.

Blame the Amityville Horror. When I figured out as an adult that the Amityville dude made up the whole story to make a buck, I seriously considered suing him for emotional distress. Bastard.

Well, the OP mentioned Flipper. So perhaps Skijumper was talking about Shamu, the killer whale.

And as far as I know, Shamu is alive and well in Seaworld.