Thought Catalog
March 10, 2017

41 Adults Share The One Thing That Mortally Terrified Them As A Kid

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1. Pet Alligators Fighting Bedroom Monsters

Like a lot of kids, I thought something lived under my bed that was only active when the lights were out. I had this whole thing made up in my head that I had imaginary pet alligators. When my lights were turned out I pretended my room filled with water and as long as I “fed” my gators they’d float around and protect me from the monsters.


2. ADHD Hallucinations

When I was younger like five, I took meds for ADHD and I had a couple hallucinations a child shouldn’t have, one time I was going to bed and I turn the lights off and run up my bed but later I noted a boar at floor level (bunk bed) so I ran down and it chased me to the light switch, another hallucination was in the middle of the night I wake up to tons of different spiders ranging from 1 cm to a foot tall and I ran out to the living room screaming bloody murder, I’m positive I terrified my dad that time because he was holding me and I was screaming don’t let them near me and what not.


3. The Beast Under The Bed

I thought Beast, from the live action show Beauty and the Beast, lived under my bed. I was always scared that I had somehow hurt that chick and he was going to kill me.


4. Dunnuh Dunnuh


A shout out to the black women in the bathroom who welcomed me in their prayer circle during the movie and hugged me because I was crying and so scared.


5. Tornados In Pennsylvania

Tornados. Fuckers scared the living shit out of me. The best part is, I didn’t even live in the great plains or midwest, I lived in southcentral Pennsylvania. We rarely get them.

Funny story though, we had a whole house vacuum installed. One of those you plug into the walls. Well, the company that installed it had a tornado on the side to indicate sucking power. I went outside, saw that, and as a 3-year-old went screaming into the house yelling to stop the man that he was going to install a tornado in our house and it would kill us all.

My parents still laugh about that. I’m 26.


6. Introspective Six-Year-Old


I told my mom I didn’t want to die when I was 6. She sat me down, looked me in the eyes and said, and I quote:

“You’re not going to die anytime soon. That’s not going to happen for a very long time”

I always appreciated that honesty. She didn’t lie about it and I know it was hard for her to tell her 6-year-old son he is going to die, but if she didn’t it would have been worse later.


7. Dad Traveling

My great-aunt passed away when I was around 5 years old and my dad went to the funeral which was in a different city. At home, I asked my mum when my dad will die and she said after I eat well, study well and grow up to be a big man. I stopped eating and doing my homework and my dad came homes couple of days later to find my teachers worried and my mother in tears.


8. Literally, Jesus

I had something similar happen when I was a little kid. I remember playing with a toy dinosaur alone in the living room. All of a sudden I felt overwhelming dread and burst into tears. When my mother rushed t my side, I told her “I don’t want Jesus to take me away”.

I’m not at all religious, and that was the only incident like that, other than one particular recurring dream.


9. Goofy


I have never been to Disney land, but I have a very specific memory of a goofy mascot grabbing me and squeezing the shit out of me while I screamed for help.


10. Chuck-E-Cheese

The Chuck-e-cheese mouse. That guy scared the living shit out of me. Him and all his goons.


11. Gushers

Gushers – yes, the fruit snack. The commercial made me think my head was going to turn into a giant watermelon and I would have no way of turning back to normal.


12. Alien Abduction

Alien abduction, too much X-Files at 9 years old.


13. The Attic

The locked closet in the attic.

My older brother told me a “monster” lurked inside there and to keep away from it. (I eventually learned that it was where Mom kept our Christmas presents throughout the year so we couldn’t discover them.)


14. The Terrifying Wig Stand

My aunt’s wig stand. I would walk past her bedroom with my hand over my eyes and when my mum asked me why I told her the “lady with no eyes wants to eat mine”

Gave me a fear of mannequins that lasted longer than I’m willing to admit.


15. The Face On The Basement Wall

My parents had a drawing hanging in their basement of an angry man’s face glaring out at the world. They also had a spectacularly ugly 70’s lamp down there. I was afraid of that drawing, I had this fear that the man would come after me and the lamp would come after me – if I was left alone in the basement I’d run up the stairs as quickly as I could, and always feel relief at the top.


16. Same


I, um… I still am.


17. Thomas The Tank Engine

My Nannan and Grandad took me to see a load of ‘real’ Thomas trains at the local heritage center, it was supposed to be a nice surprise for me. The only picture they of me was with the Fat Controller. All the train pictures are of just my Nannan, as I hid behind my Grandads legs.

I wasn’t fond of anything that was alive that shouldn’t be, Brum and Rosie and Jim were huge fears.


18. Rotating Fans

Rotating fans. The sound they made while slowly turning to face you, pausing, then turning away was bone chilling as a child.


19. Thunder Armor

Thunder. I used to think the Thunder could only get me if it could see my bare skin. So I would only go outside if I was wearing my dad’s motorcycle gear. Helmet, boots and all.


20. Michael Jackson

When Michael Jackson first turns into a werewolf in Thriller. That shit haunted me for years.


21. E.T.

E.T. I’m 21 and I still can’t watch it.


22. The Flushing Monster

Flushing. I’d run off as soon as I flush because I would think that after flushing, a monster would come out of the toilet and get my pantsless ass.


23. They Will Eat Your Feet


I had a breakdown at a mall when I was a kid because I didn’t wanna ride the escalator down to the next floor.


24. Fake Haunted Houses

Haunted houses, fake ones. I wouldn’t even walk on the same side of the street as the Tower of Terror. However, real haunted places are super cool and I love to explore them! You still can not get me into a haunted house though. Many have tried with the whole “Oh she’ll go with me, trust me! Its not scary!” Fuck you.


25. A Plan Against Vampires

Vampires – to the point that I couldn’t actually fall asleep without a small white towel wrapped around my neck, that I treated as some sort of unbeatable protection against their fangs. Well, I don’t recall being attacked by a vampire, so I guess it worked.


26. Nuclear War

War. Nuclear war in general. I was a child of the early 70’s and I use to have nightmares after watching the horrible news from Vietnam, that only deepened when I became acutely aware of the Nuclear threat as I got older. I remember waking up countless times screaming and freaking out over the complete destruction of all life.


27. Death In General

Dying or rather my parents dying. My parents say I was about 8 or 9 and I suddenly became really upset and bawled my eyes out freaking out about growing up, them dying, me being alone. I just remembered one day making the connection that people died and all those around me would one day die as well. The thought of what happened after dying terrified me. On one hand, there’s the concept of reincarnation (which meant I would forget my parents, which was awful) or there was heaven (which sounded pretty good but then I was plagued with worry that if they did not believe in heaven, they don’t get to go in, which was kinda worse).

Still horrified by death but now it’s mixed in with the worry that I will not have the chance to repay my parents before it’s too late.


28. Well, Are You?

The opening theme song for Are You Afraid of The Dark? That was nightmare fuel.


29. The MGM Lion

The MGM lion. Every episode of Stargate ended with it, and I watched the new episodes with my family every Friday night when I was little. But as soon as the show was over, I would sprint up to my room so I couldn’t see or hear the lion roaring.


30. Wet Cement

Wet cement. My grandma had told me that if you touch wet cement that it would dissolve your skin and I took her at face value. After followed many years of avoiding any kind of newly placed sidewalks and construction sites. I think I was probably in middle school before a friend pointed out the lack of logic. In retrospect, I believe my grandma told me that to keep me away from the new pool they were having installed and it worked.


31. The Murderous Pelican


I remember I was 4-5 and on a trip to Florida with my family, and I was all about animals, so naturally, I wanted to go see some pelicans. So we go down to the boardwalk and as we’re getting closer, I’m realizing that these things are not what I expected.

They’re fucking HUGE, first of all (especially to 4 year old me) and people are throwing them fish that they’re swallowing whole while making noises I would expect to come from a demon or some shit. So needless to say I was already mildly terrified, but then my parents offer to bring me up close to one. So now I’m like two feet away from a bird barely any shorter than me, staring at me with its beady, dead eye, and I’m struck by the fact that it could probably eat me if it wanted to. And in that moment it leans forward and snaps at me a bit, I scream bloody murder, and I’ve been freaked out by those things ever since.

Seriously man, fuck pelicans.


32. The Threat Of An Invisible Point Of Infinite Density

I really thought black holes would be a more pressing threat.


33. Pennywise

The clown from It. I actually just watched that movie a month ago for the first time in like 23 years and it’s not even scary. Some of it is down right funny. I can’t believe how much that movie terrified me as a kid.


34. Eating

I choked on a cheese stick and almost died. I was deathly afraid of eating for a while after that.

I also remember being terrified of open closets in dark rooms. I always felt like something would reach out and grab me.


35. Demonic “Bless Yous”

If I sneezed while I was alone, I would bless myself in fear that a deep, demonic voice would say “bless you” if I didn’t.


36. Dead. In A Box.

Being buried alive.

Waking up one morning in pitch blackness, only to realize that I’m lying in a wooden casket six feet under.

Thanks big bro for putting that fear in my head.


37. Vacuum Cleaners

The sound of vacuum cleaners. Not the vacuum cleaner itself. If it had been silent or quiet I would have been fine, but we had an ancient monstrosity of a vacuum cleaner that made a horrendously loud noise, and it made my skin crawl. The worst was when it would clunk against a closed door or the skirting board. Every time my dad was hoovering I’d shut myself in my bedroom with the door closed tightly and play loud music through headphones, but even that wasn’t enough to block it out entirely. It was always so nice when it stopped and all the tension would drop out of my shoulders again. And the ridiculous thing is this lasted well into my teens as well. I’ve mostly got over it now but I still avoid vacuum cleaners wherever possible…


38. The Mighty Tyrannosaurus

When I was a kid Jurassic Park made me think about how some stupid evil scientist was cloning dinosaurs like in the movie and that there would be now way to contain them if they learn to breed on their own (like in the movie). Four-year-old me couldn’t outrun a T-Rex or Raptor. Four-year-old me had nightmares for about a year involving running away from a T-Rex.


39. Toddler Waterboarding

Washing my hair.

My mom used to wash my hair and apparently I was screaming so loud several neighbors thought my parents were beating me.

The hot water made the air harder to breathe and the water all around me made my 6-year-old self feel like I’m drowning.


40. Unsolved Mysteries

The “Unsolved Mysteries” theme song. Don’t get me wrong, I love that show and am binge watching all the episodes on Amazon Prime, but as a kid you hear that creepy theme with stories of ghosts, paranormal, missing people, etc., with Robert Stack’s voice, and then its bedtime, it scared me many nights and kept me awake through the night.

Brings back many memories watching the show now.


41. Serial Killer Strategies

Serial killers. I knew monsters weren’t real, but people were, so killers terrified me. To combat this, I periodically changed bedrooms (we had a spare bedroom). Not a very clever plan, but it was all I had.

Some nights I would sing jingles from commercials to myself to help me sleep. Now I have so many commercials from the 70s and 80s memorized because of this.

clutchheimer TC mark

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