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12+ Adults Reflect on the Silly Things They Were Scared of As Children

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When you’re a kid, the world can be a pretty scary place — shadows, noises, and pretty much anything else you see and hear once your parents leave the room for the night. As adults, it’s always funny to look back at the things that frightened us so badly and how tame they seem now that we’re grown up.

…Except running up the basement steps before the monsters grab your heels. You never outgrow that.

And if I’m being really honest, many of these 15 childhood fears still sound pretty terrifying to me.

#15. I thought I was going to die

“Chucky Cheese. That giant rat used to scare the fuck out of me. Once he jumped into the ball pit and I thought I was going to die.”

#14. Bloody Mary

“Mirrors. That fucking bloody Mary thing, dude.”

#13. I freaked out every time

“My mother had a small metal turtle that’s legs wobbled when the wheels, under its belly began to roll. This would have been way before batteries, since she was born in 1918. Anyway, her German family had huge Christmas trees that were always decorated to the 9s. They even had under the tree Christmas scenes and little towns. One of the towns had a mirror lake, and this small turtle, maybe five inches long, obviously disproportional, would sit in the mirror pond. This turtle moved with my mom, when she married and became part of our family tradition. The turtle would be unpacked each Christmas, so it could repeat decades of mirror pond sitting. For some reason, my family members enjoyed rolling this turtle toward me, on kitchen floors, wherever. I freaked out every time. Even my maternal grandmother did this to me. I now have the turtle, but he’s beached, so to speak.”

#12. Into people’s cat flaps

“When I was about 4 I asked my dad why he was sealing up an old cat flap, I was to young to know the word ‘drafts’, so I spent about a year terrified there were bands of feral giraffes wandering around England sticking their heads randomly into people’s cat flaps.”

#11. As I fled

“My grandpa had one of those “Uncle Sam Wants YOU!” Recruitment posters. It hung up in his downstairs workshop, and nothing scared me like seeing that face and that finger pointing at me.

I would have nightmares of a dismembered torso chasing me through my childhood home, a grizzled war-ravaged bearded screaming “I WANT YOU!” As I fled.”

#10. Thanks, Mom!

“The dark, and it still does. Thanks mom!”

#9. I was terrified

“The movie Spirited Away. I was terriffied of Yubaba and No-Face. Also, the scene where Chihiro’s parents transform into pigs haunted me for years.”

#8. Grocery store milk coolers

“I used to be afraid of the workers behind the milk coolers in the grocery store. I can remember grabbing a milk for my mom, and seeing people walking around back there, and I was completely disturbed by it.”

#7. Everything would go dark

“Car washes.

Loud, claustrophobic, weird smells, everything would go dark… some scary shit right there.”

#6. Mind the gap

“The gaps between boards on a pier.”

#5. Letting it yell at me

“The drain in the bath tub.

I’d use my hand to make all the water drain quietly, instead of letting it yell at me.”

#4. To this day

“E.T. When he screamed after being found in the closet it really freaked me out. Then the scene where he turned ghostly white traumatized me. I still can’t watch E.T. to this day.”

#3. Extremely unsettled

“The X-files theme songs used to get to me..it was only until recently in adulthood that I was able to hear it and not get extremely unsettled.”

#2. That one scene…

“The scene in Pinnocio when he became a donkey.”

#1. The Devil

“Flushing the toilet. For some reason, I was convinced that the devil could come out while it was flushing.”