What scared you as a kid?

I didn’t have any apocalyptic scary religious stories to give me night terrors when I was a kid.  Even as a Christian adult they never seemed potentially real enough to me — gee, maybe I didn’t have enough faith.

But anyway, I had plenty of non-religious fears. Below are mine. What are yours?

  • Headless Hattie: a horrible ghost story by YMCA camp counselors
  • Russian Nuclear Bombs: the 50s and 60s were scary like that.
  • The Basement:  I always had to run up the basement stairs quickly looking behind myself, because that is when the basement monster would get you.
  • The Attic: we were told that if we went up to the attic at my friend’s house, we could fall through the floor to our deaths.
  • The Dark:  I slept with the light on for a long time.
  • The Pit: A black plastic dipping tank at my Dad’s factory.  He warned us that if we fell in it, we’d disappear to the bottom and suffocate.
  • The Portrait:  At grandma’s big, old house there was a huge head portrait of my dead great-great grandfather in the bedroom we had to sleep in.

I wonder what my kids are adding to their lists.


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16 responses to “What scared you as a kid?

  1. My list is very similar Sabio. Basement, check, attic, check, nuclear bombs, check. I didn’t have a pit in my childhood but we lived in a farmhouse and the outbuildings were pretty creepy.

    TV played a big role in shaping my imaginative world. Do you remember the TV special “The Day After”? That terrified me (I was about 8 at the time) and I was convinced for several weeks that everyone was going to die in a nuclear war. Luckily a few years later “Red Dawn” came out and gave us kids a more hopeful and fun version of World War 3.

  2. rburke202

    I’ll play. A few of my fears as a child, in no certain order.

    A room in my grandparents basement that had a head and shoulders portrait that looked like the villain from Ghostbusters 2

    Bloody Mary. For the longest time I hated walking into dark bathrooms.

    Vampires. The covers on my bed had to be pulled up to my chin no matter how hot it was in the room.

    I was a scared little kid.

  3. I didnt really need a bogeyman, My brother did a good enough job. 😦

  4. Hunger. My dad and his family taking us away from my mom. Hoping my mom wouldn’t get laid off from the factory. Spelling and Math.

    who needs to make stuff up?

  5. Cally


    If you define fear as that incredible ugly feeling you get when you watch something on a movie. Then I guess scary movies would be mine especially with guts, blood and killings.

    But, since that is my own feelings maybe it was just the thoughts I put in my own head…would that just be myself then, and maybe realizing that my thoughts were what I was scared me maybe the ugly feelings would go away and I could just realistically realize what I was afraid of wasn’t reality.

    Wow incredible thoughts can go a long way 🙂

  6. I have always been afraid of dogs with red eyes!

    But I was afraid of God. I was terrified of him. When I was six, I was afraid of thinking of God and imagining him with a face and a body, because of the 2nd commandment…In English, it reads clearly “Do not make yourself an image..” but in Spanish it says something like “do not imagine.”

    In the church we attended they believed that violating a command sent you straight to hell. So just seeing an image of God in mind, I thought, would send me straight to hell.

  7. Wow, lots here:
    * Other induced fears
    * Self imaginary fears
    * Fear of our daily lives

    Some of it funny, but a lot of it sad. I meant this to be a fun post. But I had a very good childhood — I forgot that many people have/had it rough. My scary times came as an adult, but I had a secure childhood and a fairly good mix of genes to help me weather through them. So, sorry to drag up the sad stuff. And best wishes as you escape their limitations. And thanks to those who shared funny embarrassing stuff.

  8. Luke

    Like Lorena, my entire childhood/adolescense was plagued by fundamentalist religious terror. First there was the fear of comitting the unpardonable sin described in Mark 3:28-29. I would worry because sometimes I would go to pray and “Satan” would interject with swearwords or bad prayers about others being harmed. There was fear of not witnessing to people and them going to hell (I worried that my grandmother, who was Catholic, had gone to hell because she was not “born again”). Then there was the fear of “drinking damnation unto my soul” by taking communion “unworthily” (1 Cor 11:29), whatever that means. At that same funeral, I almost refused to take communion because I feared taking communion in a “cultic” Catholic church could endanger my soul. This was when I was 12. There was always the fear that I myself was not really “saved.” Eventually I heard about Calvinism (predestination) and worried that I might not be one of the elect and so could be saved even if I wanted to – that had to be one of the worst – what a horrible belief system. I went to church camp where this maladjusted lady had God “speak to her” and tell her that she should spend the entire week talking about the Book of Reveleation. She told us, among other things, about the mark of the beast and how everyone who wouldn’t accept it had their heads cut off, but if you did accept it then you went to hell, wonderful stories for children. Finally, McDonald’s came out with the Arch Deluxe burger which they advertised as being only for adults. I of course concluded that they were part of the anti-christ conspiracy and were trying to kill off my parents’ generation so they could confuse the rest of us into following Satan. Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up.

  9. @ Luke

    Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up.

    Ouch ! How true. Your story is one of many examples of why people angrily declare religion a form of child abuse. Sure, all religion isn’t, but these examples make such generalizations tempting ! Thanx for sharing. (BTW, readers, we have 2 different Lukes commenting)

  10. (BTW, readers, we have 2 different Lukes commenting)



  11. Temaskian

    The dark. I was already a christian by then, so I just imagined, no, I knew, there were 3 angels watching over me. I envisioned them so clearly, it’s like they were there!

    My over-imaginative mind was also what led me to be fearful of the dark in the first place. I could twist dark shapes into faces of evil.

    It was ingenious of me, ahem, if I may say so, to turn that self-same imagination to imagining protective forces over me.

  12. I was scared of a lot of things generally as a kid. I grew up with a cousin 4.5 years older who LOVED to tell me scary stories. We lost touch as we became adults but a few years back we ended up taking a road trip and I asked her how a little kid like her knew all of those stories. She said she’d heard them from her mom. Dayum! Never seemed to affect her, but she seemed to get a real kick out of scaring me.

  13. P.S. I can see why you were scared of that pit with the liquid!

  14. @ Jade: Thanx for sharing. NetFlix is the new provider of scary stories, eh?

  15. I choose thrills rather than scares on netflix but drama or documentaries most. Laughs when I can find something funny. Were you serious about The Portrait?

  16. @ Jade: Yep, the eyes of my great grandfather seemed to follow me everywhere in the room. scary — also, for a kid, knowing he was dead added fear or at least spookiness.

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