Of all the weirdest triggers, it was an episode of “That ’70s Show” I watched this past week that got me to thinking about my childhood fears. And, probably against my better judgment, I’ve decided to post about some of my childhood fears and what it was about them that scared me when I was a tiny tot between the ages of five and seven years old. So, at the cost of possible embarrassment and ridicule, here we go.
1. The band KISS
Probably like all males growing up in the 1970s, KISS was one of my favorite bands. Their album “Rock and Roll Over” was the first album I ever owned (got it for Christmas when I was eight years old) and the single with “Detroit Rock City” (A side) and “Beth” (B side) was the first 45 I ever owned. However, a few years before I began to appreciate and rock out to KISS’ music, they scared the hell out of me with their painted up faces. I can remember being particularly frightened of the Spirit of ’76 KISS tour poster when I was about four years old. And I can also remember one Halloween when I saw two guys dressed up like Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons (full costumes with painted faces), and how I was afraid to go near them – and this was at a time when I was starting to like their music! Maybe it was when I saw “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park” that I finally overcame my fear of the appearance of KISS because of how ridiculous they appeared in that movie.
2. The Haunted House Ride
At a local amusement park called Camden Park in Huntington, WV, there was (and still is to this day) this haunted house ride that I was scared to death to go on when I was about four or five years old. I’m not sure why I was afraid to ride it, but, once I did a few years later, I had to laugh at how silly my fear was because the “haunted house” consisted only of cheesy neon ghosts and monsters with the standard Halloween haunted house sounds cassette tape playing in the background. But thankfully, when I did finally ride it, my brave five-year-old son was by my side.
3. Flying Monkeys
No, it wasn’t the Wicked Witch of the West who scared me from “The Wizard of Oz” – it was the flying monkeys! Those little things were just so creepy, jumping up and down with excitement at the thought of performing evil deeds. And plus, they tore to shreds one of my favorite characters when I was little, the Scarecrow. But now, oh I just gotta love the evil little bastards and, as a horror writer, admire L. Frank Baum for creating them. And as a side note, my favorite scene from “The Wizard of Oz” is when the Wizard tells them to go and the Cowardly Lion takes off running down the hallway and jumps out the window. Funny stuff.
4. Toy Monkey with Cymbals
And this brings me to one of the things that terrorized me the most when I was younger – the toy monkey with the cymbals. And despite the seemingly related theme of monkeys in two of my childhood fears, I love monkeys today and enjoy watching them on the Nature Channel. However, when I was younger, my cousin had one of these toy monkeys, and it used to sit on top of his dresser. When I would spend the night over there, the creepy thing would stare down at me with its bugged-out eyes and fiendish grin. Needless to say, I never wanted nor owned one of these toy monkeys with the cymbals. And these toy monkeys left me so scarred from my childhood and terrified me so much that they make an appearance in my “The Jack-in-the-box” novel (there’s my shameless plug for this post).
So, those were some of my childhood fears that stand out in my mind. The others I have either forgotten or repressed, but I’m sure they were just as silly although they were frightening things to a six-year-old child. And now, it’s time for you readers to share:
What scared you when you were a little kid and why were you afraid of it?