1. Mirrors in the dark.
“Mirrors in the dark. ‘Bloody Mary’ stories really scared me. I still get uncomfortable when I get up from bed to go pee.”
2. I was afraid that if I looked out the window at night, a terter would look back in.
“I could never look out the windows when it was night, as I was always afraid that I’d catch some monster looking back in.”
3. I thought I was pregnant for the entire year of grade 4. I’m a dude.
“I thought I was pregnant for the entire year of grade 4. I’m a dude…”
4. I thought that a helicopter would come by my house while I was swimming and drop sharks in it.
“I was always afraid of swimming in my backyard pool because I thought that a helicopter would come by my house while I was swimming and drop sharks in it. Looking back at it, I don’t know what the hell made me think that or where I even got it from.”
5. There’s a spider in my toilet and it’s gonna climb in my ass.
“There’s a spider in my toilet and it’s gonna climb in my ass.”
6. I thought if I swallowed seeds, a tree would sprout from my belly.
“That if I swallowed the seeds of any fruit (like oranges), it would germinate in my tummy and a tree would somehow sprout from my belly.”
7. I figured that if you stepped on bugs, they’d explode into a million little baby bugs.
“We had a hairy ass spider that was huge in our house.
My mom put a cup over it and slid a piece of paper under and dumped it into the toilet, and it exploded with a million little babies.
For like 10 years I never stepped on a bug because I just assumed they were ready to detonate little bastards all over me.”
8. I was afraid of the apostles of Christ showing up in my shower when I shut my eyes to wash my hair.
“You want irrational? I was afraid of the apostles of Christ showing up in my shower when I shut my eyes to wash my hair. I don’t know how I got this very specific fear, but I got a lot of soap in my eyes because of it.”
9. I thought white people wanted to steal my socks.
“I thought white people wanted to steal my socks.”
10. I was always afraid of the ghosts of the people that died on the Titanic coming up out of the toilet while I pooped.
“I was always afraid of the ghosts of the people that died on the Titanic coming up out of the toilet while I pooped.”
11. I thought that sesame seeds contained ants that would break out and punch me in the face.
“I was afraid of burger buns because my friend told me that an ant lived in each sesame seed and would break out and punch me in the face.”
12. I was deathly afraid of tomato soup.
“Tomato soup. I saw a crime show on TV where a guy died by eating poisoned tomato soup. It messed me up for a few years. My mom made tomato soup one day and I started crying because I didn’t want to be killed. She was all confused.”
13. If I lost my parents in a store, I’d become an orphan.
“That if I lost my parents in a store or something, that’s it. No more parents for me, I’m an orphan now.”
14. Snakes in the toilet.
“Snakes in the toilet.
More specifically, I was afraid there was a snake down the drain of the toilet, that was waiting for me to sit down and stop looking, so it could come up into the bowl and bite me. This led to me spending a lot of time hunched down, holding my guys out of the way so I could monitor the drain while I was pooping.
A side effect of this was that I realized that the reflection of the silhouette of my butt cheeks and the rim of the toilet looked like a cat’s mouth, and so I also spent time rocking forward to ‘open and close’ the ‘mouth,’ and thus I was able to have conversations with the toilet cat while I was on the lookout for toilet snakes.
15. If my parents got fired from their job, they’d actually be set on fire.
“That if my parents got fired from their job that they’d actually be set on fire.”
16. Our VCR could eat people.
“I had a VERY realistic dream my brother got eaten by our 1989 era VCR. I was pretty scared to put tapes in for a while. It flattened him in my dream :(”
17. A meteorite was going to crash through my ceiling and hit me while sleeping.
“I thought a meteorite was going to crash through my ceiling and hit me while sleeping. For this I blame my dad, who was once talking to my uncle about a woman in Alabama who’d been hit by one while sleeping. I overheard and asked “but that won’t happen to me tonight, will it?” My dad responded with ‘you never know, it might!’ My dad denies this to this very day, for the record.”
18. The Monster in the Long Hallway.
“The Monster in the Long Hallway. I had to turn off the lights at the beginning of the hallway and run to my room. That thing, I swore it was always behind me and I just always barely made it in. Then, I’d have to contend with the Closet Monster by making sure every inch of my body was covered in blanket. It was common knowledge the blanket was 100% safe.”
19. I thought seaweed was a giant sea spider.
“Seaweed. I saw it as a giant sea spider. Even just seeing a clump of washed up seaweed 10ft away was enough for me to start screaming. I refused to play in slightly murky water because if I stepped on the sea spiders I’d die. I still freak out if I feel seaweed brush against my leg.”
20. I was always afraid that the car door would open and I’d fall out.
“I was always afraid that the car door would open and I’d fall out.”
21. Angel sharks in swimming pools.
“Angel sharks in swimming pools. Any discoloration in the concrete at the bottom of the pool? Clearly the outline of a shark that has evolved to camouflage itself in chlorine filled pools to snack on unsuspecting six-year-olds.”
22. The second I turned the light off in the basement a murderer appeared and I had to sprint up the stairs.
“The second I turned the light off in the basement a murderer appeared and I had to sprint up the stairs. Still kind of have this occasionally.”
23. The Chuck E. Cheese mouse terrified me.
“Mascots. They terrified me. Especially the Chuck E. Cheese mouse.”
24. A tiger lived in the wall of the break room at my mom’s job.
“I was afraid of the break room at my mom’s job. I knew it made no sense, but I was convinced that a tiger lived in the walls of that room. I knew that tigers did not live in the American wild, and I certainly knew they didn’t live in urban furniture stores, but I KNEW there was a tiger in there. I knew that the tiger wouldn’t attack me, but whenever I lingered too long, it would start to growl its truly earth rumbling growl and I would high tail it out of there as fast as my little legs could carry me. I heard the tiger growling when adults were in there and they didn’t mind, but I figured that was because they were big but a small five year old probably didn’t stand a chance. I had all sorts of ideas about how I needed to respect the break room and show the tiger I knew I was on his turf, but most importantly I knew I needed to get in and out fast. Unfortunately, the break room was where the water cooler was (duh), so as the kid sitting around with nothing better to do I got sent for water refills whenever I was there. Of course I wanted to be the brave useful kid on the office, so I couldn’t tell the adults that I was afraid of the tiger and refuse these missions I was entrusted with, so I just got really good at not spilling water whole running.
My mom left that job when I was no more than 7, and I didn’t think about the tiger again for a few years. But then one day I was out somewhere and I heard the rumble again, and that same deep fear rose up for a second before I looked over and saw my foe: the water cooler. All those years, I had been running from the pleasant little rumble of bubbles that followed someone getting water from the cooler.”
25. I thought if I sat on the toilet too long, my body would become part of the toilet.
“If I sat on the toilet too long (like 5 minutes long) my body would grow onto the toilet and I would be attached on the toilet for the rest of my life.”
26. I had an overwhelming fear of cantaloupes.
“I had an overwhelming fear of cantaloupes. I found a box of them behind the garage and thought they were brains.”
27. I was afraid of Grandfather Clocks.
“I was afraid of Grandfather Clocks. For some reason I associated the clocks with scary movies, so whenever I saw one, I cried and placed myself as far away as I could and nowhere in sight.”
28. I was afraid that when we were driving down a long stretch of road in the middle of nowhere, a blue alien in the clouds would throw lightning bolts at our car.
“Oh god, where do I start?
I was afraid that when we were driving down a long stretch of road in the middle of nowhere, a blue alien in the clouds would throw lightning bolts at our car.
I was afraid that when the theft alarm accidentally went off in the store (our K-Mart had a faulty one), the police would be notified and our car would be chased down by SWAT cars and police helicopters.
I thought if my dog sat in a chair immediately after my grandma her head would turn into my grandma’s.
My cat scratched me the day we adopted her and I was afraid she’d chop my head off.
One time I used a toilet that flushed REALLY loudly, and then made a second noise a few seconds afterwards. Don’t know why it spooked me, but I forgot which toilet it was and just avoided using public bathrooms altogether.
I was afraid of the house flooding because I’d drown.”
29. I had an immense paranoia that all of my stuffed animals also had cameras in them…just watching me.
“I saw a movie or cartoon or something that showed a camera in a stuffed bear’s eye. For years I had an immense paranoia that all of my stuffed animals also had cameras in them…just watching me.”
30. Any inch of my body not covered by my blanket would be freely available to be consumed by the Monster Under The Bed.
“Any inch of my body not covered by my blanket would be freely available to be consumed by the Monster Under The Bed.”
31. I thought trains in the middle of the night had ghosts on them.
“Whenever I would hear trains in the middle of the night, I was convinced they were ghost trains and that all the ghosts were coming off the train and into my town. Luckily I would be safe if I slept with my body facing towards the wall/had my dog sleeping in the bed with me.”
32. The fear of infinity.
“The fear of infinity.
Jesus fucking Christ that concept was terrifying as a kid. I’d like awake all night every night with my mind just running over the thought that the universe is infinite and one day I’ll die and that nothing really means anything.
It’s really hard to even put into words. It was often accompanied by wondering about a complete emptiness before or after the universe, like, not even just pitch darkness, just absolutely nothing. I’d be scared of dying but at the same time be scared of living forever. I just didn’t want to experience any of that shit and it made zero sense to me. After thinking about ‘nothing’ for too long at a time, my head always started to hurt badly, as well.
I think that whole phase messed me up pretty badly; now I suffer from severe insomnia, which leads to other problems too. Eugh.”
33. Jaws was totally under my bed.
“Jaws was totally under my bed.”
34. I had and still have a fear of midgets.
“I had and still have a fear of midgets. I feel if I stand too close, they’ll feel like I’m purposely towering over them and then get mad and attack me. I feel if I stand too far from one, they will think I’m trying to stay away from them for being a midget and get mad. I have to try standing in that Goldilocks zone. My fear type isn’t flight so this midget that went to my high school got kicked for startling me (someone told him my fear of midgets and he thought it would be funny to run at me). Got suspended. Apparently fear of midgets isn’t a rational fear.”
35. I thought there was a gun under the floor that could go off at any moment.
“When I was a kid, I got a metal detector as a present. One day, my best friend and I ran it over all the floors in my house. It picked up something under the floorboards in my hallway. It was probably just a pipe or something, but my friend said, ‘What if there’s a GUN under the floor, pointing up at us, that could go off at any moment?!’
It sounded pretty stupid even at the time, but it scared me enough that I wouldn’t step on that little section of floor for years.”
36. I was afraid there was a triceratops in the house.
“Every time, without fail, my parents would have to clear the house before I walked in until I was about 7 years old. What were they looking for? A triceratops.”
37. I thought my light-up shoes would light on fire.
“That my light-up shoes would light on fire. Got them for my 5th birthday, dad told me ‘watch out, if you run too fast they might catch on fire!’ I immediately ripped them off and started hysterically crying. Refused to wear them again. Mom was pissed.”
38. I thought the newsreaders on TV could see me.
“The newsreaders on TV could see me, which seemed plausible as they did, after all, stare ‘out’ of the TV as they looked directly into the camera.
My Dad told me this. I believed him. And as such, when they were going about their business and reading the headlines I would behave impeccably. Turns out, Mum and Dad watched through the ajar door and stifle giggles as I sat still, daring not to do anything untoward.
Like hell I was going to be caught out by Michael Buerk or Moira Stuart.”
39. I thought quicksand was a real common thing that I’d have to deal with.
“I thought quicksand was a real common thing that I’d have to deal with.”
40. I thought that the sun would develop into a laughing baby Teletubby.
“Does anyone remember the sun from Teletubbies? The one with the baby face that would laugh. I had the fear that the sun in real life would develop the same laughing baby face.”
41. I thought that the Russian mafia wanted to kill me.
“That the Russian mafia was going to kill me in my sleep and chop up my body. I am not Russian, When I was younger I did not know any Russians. And most importantly I never did anything to the Russian mafia that would make them want to murder an 8-year-old.”
42. I thought that the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz lived behind my bedroom bookcase.
“I thought that the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz lived behind my bedroom bookcase. They had to move it out into the hall.”
43. I thought that moss would swallow me if I touched it.
“Moss. My older sister told me it would swallow me if I touched it.”
44. Black holes.
“Black holes. I saw a documentary about them when I was young, and I was terrified one would form right by earth and pull me in.”
45. I had an irrational fear of the character Tony the Tiger from Frosties cereal.
“I had an irrational fear of the character Tony the Tiger from Frosties cereal.
When I was young he would always turn up in my nightmares. He wouldn’t ever do anything bad in my nightmares, however every single one would have him there. It got really Pavlovian that I would dream and see him and know I am about to have a nightmare.
I still enjoyed the cereal, though.”