Author Topic: friday fear  (Read 642 times)

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
friday fear
« on: 19 November, 2021, 12:45:42 pm »
For reasons, I was discussing fear this morning* and the things that used to scare us as children.

My mother told me there were sharks in the canal (this was to stop us swimming in it). While we all totally believed her, it just meant we went to look for sharks and dared each other to dive into the lock. She'd have done better by mentioning the outflow from the sewage works. So sharks were a bit of a meh-scare. But it was definitely possible you'd be eaten by a canal shark (the river wasn't deep enough for anything larger than a gudgeon).

Quicksand too, because that was in the clayhole. That was also more of a dare and entirely true, I once sank to my thighs in bright orange mud and it took three friends to wrench me out. When half of you is covered with bright orange mud there's really no lie that would cover 'you've been playing in the bloody clayhole again, haven't you?' Did every town in the 1980/90s have a clayhole (basically an abandoned quarry filled with water and mud) or were we special? They eventually filled it with landfill and it became The Tip, which was prime hunting ground for pram wheels and stuff, with the added thrill of killer seagulls.

They were modestly scary. I once completely freaked out after watching The Omen as a small child. I was lying there in bed about three am and suddenly it occurred to me what if I'm the antichrist? than I became increasing convinced that I was in fact the antichrist. Fortunately, the following morning I checked my scalp and couldn't find the 666 birthmark so I think I'm mostly good. I still check periodically, just in case.

Whirlpools and deep-water where I can't see my feet, that's genuine. Clowns are a cliche, but I always check wardrobes and the back seat of any car when I get in, just in case a homicidal clown is lurking. Why take the chance otherwise? One day you might have cause to thank me.

My biggest childhood fear though was spontaneous human combustion. I was sure it would happen if I thought about it too much and the peril of trying not to think about anything is that it's all you think about and the heat starts to build inside. All that would be left would be a single foot and boy-sized patch of seared kitchen lino which would have made my mum furious.

That and nuclear war, which I think hung over the heads of every 70/80s child as a very reasonable fear. I remember to this day discussing it with by best friend and our main concern would be how we'd all fit in the bath if the four-minute warning triggered (avocado-coloured baths being the only place you'd be safe from a thermonuclear blast). We discussed this a lot, there were ten people in his family and his mum was pretty large. More concerning, my family didn't have a bath, so we'd probably have to share theirs, which meant fourteen people for one bath and, like I said, his mum was pretty big so you didn't want to be at the bottom.

Anyway, I'm voting for SHC as my primary childhood fear, on account that I never thought that homicidal shark clowns might be hiding at the bottom of whirlpools.

*one of my subdeck minions is doing a PhD in Japanese scary movies, like that's an actual thing. Actually, I think it's Japanese cinema in general, she's just specializing in the scary.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

T42

  • Hat needs a wash
Re: friday fear
« Reply #1 on: 19 November, 2021, 01:35:36 pm »
One day, when I was in primary school, we had a feckless student teacher who told us all about the spine and the spinal cord, dwelling on how thin and fragile the latter was and how, should it break, we would instantly DIE.  I had a sore neck for a week from holding my head as close to motionless as possible to avoid breaking it. During that time I developed a tic whereby I would push my head forwards while titling it slightly backwards, just to see if everything was still in place.  Almost 70 years later I still do it, but not for the same reasons: now and then it just needs to be done.

T'other abiding one was when an older childhood chum sneaked into a showing of Dracula, then recounted the story to me over the garden gate, making much of the sound effects when the Count bit a chunk of someone's neck out and "sucked the blood out of all the tubes and things, slurp".  I was 6, and vampire flicks still made me shiver 10 years later.  It's like de Loyola with his "give me the boy until he is seven" etc.  Different implications that has these days, though.
But they never got to Carcassonne.

Beardy

  • What’s this do?
  • I’ve always wondered where this was
Re: friday fear
« Reply #2 on: 19 November, 2021, 01:42:15 pm »
Nuclear War was my main childhood fear and it stayed with me well into my 20s because it was still a real threat. Other fears I tended to deal with by taking them head on which is why I spent my late teens and early 20s variously climbing, caving, skydiving, gliding, wilderness camping, scuba diving… My mother once told me that the only way she could cope was not to think about what I was up to on any given weekend.
Sorting my life out, one shed at a time.

Re: friday fear
« Reply #3 on: 19 November, 2021, 03:06:21 pm »
At a very young age I learnt that all animals used up oxygen as they breathed. I didn't know that plants converted CO2 back to oxygen.
So for a year or so I was really worried that the world would run out of oxygen. I was sure it would happen, just not when. Wondered how adults could go about not being concerned, and came the conclusion that they must just be ignorant.


My school showed a video on the dangers of choking; it had actors choking to death on a chunk of sausage, or a fishbone. Put me off fish for years and I became really, really diligent about chewing my food.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Cudzoziemiec

  • Моя планета голубая, я люблю тебя и обнимаю
Re: friday fear
« Reply #4 on: 19 November, 2021, 03:16:47 pm »
Alien invasions was one that scared me. I didn't imagine that the aliens would want to eat us or kill us or do anything nasty to us, just the fact that somewhere out in the galaxy were alien beings, 10 feet tall, with metallic silver skin, and that they could land on earth and... well, I don't know what then except that they would probably land very near our house. That was enough.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

SoreTween

  • Most of me survived the Pennine Bridleway.
Re: friday fear
« Reply #5 on: 19 November, 2021, 03:37:01 pm »
Nuclear war never terrified me, I lived near Gatwick airport & very early on realised I'd be one of the lucky ones instantly vaporised.

Canals otoh did scare the wotsits out of me. Relatives we visited every Christmas were a few hundred meters from the top of Caen Hill flight. Back then it was a long drop many times my height to smelly mud with prams & other spikey rusty metal things poking out. I'd always beg for our boxing day walk to be to Christmas pudding hill1 in order to avoid it being the canal walk.

1Approach Roundway Down from the right direction with a child eyes & it's a huge pudding rising out of a field.
2020 targets: None
There is only one infinite resource in this universe; human stupidity.

Re: friday fear
« Reply #6 on: 19 November, 2021, 03:47:50 pm »
Rabies and bombs under cars that went off when you set off were mine.

T42

  • Hat needs a wash
Re: friday fear
« Reply #7 on: 19 November, 2021, 03:52:12 pm »
Nuclear War was my main childhood fear and it stayed with me well into my 20s because it was still a real threat. Other fears I tended to deal with by taking them head on which is why I spent my late teens and early 20s variously climbing, caving, skydiving, gliding, wilderness camping, scuba diving… My mother once told me that the only way she could cope was not to think about what I was up to on any given weekend.

When I was 8 I heard a report on the radio to the effect that Russia would have the H-Bomb in 4 years. I remember thinking "well, I'll be 12 by then, that's not a bad life-span to have had".
But they never got to Carcassonne.

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: friday fear
« Reply #8 on: 19 November, 2021, 03:58:47 pm »
Alien invasions was one that scared me. I didn't imagine that the aliens would want to eat us or kill us or do anything nasty to us, just the fact that somewhere out in the galaxy were alien beings, 10 feet tall, with metallic silver skin, and that they could land on earth and... well, I don't know what then except that they would probably land very near our house. That was enough.

I created a school panic based about an alien invasion. Our infant (I think I must have been about seven) and junior school was on a hill and one day I saw flashing lights in the trees on the other side of the town. I wasn't scared of aliens, I was too young and not Catholic enough to know about butt probing, they were cool and around about the time of Close Encounters. Anyway, I told my friends and before long everyone was standing on the wall and looking at the constellation of distant lights in horror. By the end of playtime, it was chaos. One boy pissed himself (but he was famed for doing that at the slightest provocation).

In an attempt to defuse the panic, our teachers claimed the lights were merely bin lorries at the council depot. To this day, I smell a coverup, but then we always knew teachers had been bodysnatched.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Re: friday fear
« Reply #9 on: 19 November, 2021, 04:03:54 pm »
Alien invasions was one that scared me. I didn't imagine that the aliens would want to eat us or kill us or do anything nasty to us.

There’s a Chinese science fiction book I read early in the Pandemic.  In it aliens land on Earth and the first thing they do is pick up one of the Earth dignitaries and eat him like a snack.   Turns out they aren’t really aliens but descendants of the dinosaurs that went into space to avoid the big meteor impact 65 million years ago.

Why wouldn’t an alien necessarily see humans as food?

Re: friday fear
« Reply #10 on: 19 November, 2021, 04:33:54 pm »
I'm pretty sure you've posted all of this before, Ian, so I'd proffer that your greatest fear should in fact be dementia.

Anyway, we all had the same fear and we knew where it originated...


ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: friday fear
« Reply #11 on: 19 November, 2021, 04:40:47 pm »
It's quite possible, but I am concerned by SHC, and yes the foot, oh god, the foot. I think there was one with an entire leg.

It was all down to my collection of the The Unexplained, which I know I've talked about, but really it had a big thing about SHC, aliens, the Knights Templar, and that kind of fun stuff which is why, today, I'll believe anything and everything.

I also got a free set of ESP cards which I'd sort out in a known order and get people to test me.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: friday fear
« Reply #12 on: 19 November, 2021, 05:17:04 pm »
The outflow funnel at Ladybower reservoir.  Someone I follow on instagram occasionally posts pics of it, and it gives me the shivers, and I have to fight off visions of slipping inexorably down it.  I've never seen it in reality, and I don't want to, either.

Also, nuclear war did terrify me as a child/teenager, as it was indeed a real threat.  My view was either to head right towards it in the hope of vapourisation, or hope to eke out a living off scraps in some ravaged wasteland, until we all died.
Wombat

Mr Larrington

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Re: friday fear
« Reply #13 on: 19 November, 2021, 06:11:39 pm »
Is it time for the Lake Berryessa overflow again?

(click to show/hide)


In 2016, when there wasn’t much water in the lake by Mr Larrington, on Flickr
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ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: friday fear
« Reply #14 on: 19 November, 2021, 08:41:26 pm »
Yeah, those things are fucking mental. Portals! Of the worst kind.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Beardy

  • What’s this do?
  • I’ve always wondered where this was
Re: friday fear
« Reply #15 on: 19 November, 2021, 08:59:02 pm »
I can kind of cope with those surface overflows because you can see them. I have on occasion sailed dinghies on reservoirs and the knowledge that there is some take off pipe somewhere under water but not knowing exactly where, now that did freak me out, especially if we capsized anywhere near the wall.
Sorting my life out, one shed at a time.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: friday fear
« Reply #16 on: 19 November, 2021, 09:10:59 pm »
My school showed a video on the dangers of choking; it had actors choking to death on a chunk of sausage, or a fishbone. Put me off fish for years and I became really, really diligent about chewing my food.

I had to go to hospital when I was about 7, I think, because I had a fish bone lodged in my throat. From smoked haddock, iirc. I've never really got over that - I still have a psychological problem with food that contains bones or gristle.

Many years later, my gran - who I was convinced was invincible and would outlive even the cockroaches - died from choking on a piece of steak. The doctors reckoned it was down to her failing eyesight meaning she didn't realise how big a piece of meat she was shoving in her gob.

Deeply upsetting at the time, but borderline comical when I think about it now. The saddest thing about it is that living on her own, she had no one at hand to help her in her moment of difficulty. A neighbour later reported seeing her coming out of her front door, looking very flustered, but then she went back indoors. I guess we'll never know why she didn't make more effort to ask a passer-by for help. Probably didn't want to be seen as being difficult.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: friday fear
« Reply #17 on: 19 November, 2021, 09:18:27 pm »
The outflow funnel at Ladybower reservoir.

The bit in the Butlins swimming pool (Bognor or maybe Ramsgate) where the water was sucked out of the pool to be recirculated.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: friday fear
« Reply #18 on: 19 November, 2021, 09:22:15 pm »
Is it time for the Lake Berryessa overflow again?

(click to show/hide)


In 2016, when there wasn’t much water in the lake by Mr Larrington, on Flickr
I was about to post that too!
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: friday fear
« Reply #19 on: 19 November, 2021, 09:24:15 pm »
I ejected a chewed half-frozen brussel sprout across the table and hit my mother on the forehead on a day trip at Butlins. I was scared of sprouts for years.

You might ask who goes on a day trip to Butlins in Skegness to eat sprouts, but really, that's my childhood summarized.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Re: friday fear
« Reply #20 on: 19 November, 2021, 09:27:25 pm »

Anyway, I'm voting for SHC as my primary childhood fear, on account that I never thought that homicidal shark clowns might be hiding at the bottom of whirlpools.

*one of my subdeck minions is doing a PhD in Japanese scary movies, like that's an actual thing. Actually, I think it's Japanese cinema in general, she's just specializing in the scary.


Viewers of "Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World" and the 1979 classic "The Omega Factor" had more reasons than most to be scared of SHC.  Even Mary Whitehouse complained.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBWu8xxnULY


Then there were the public information films about all the awful ways people could be killed in domestic fires & by careless use of machinery.  That plus youthful exposure to Sir John Hackett's "Third World War"* made me the well adjusted chap I am today.


*Nuking Birmingham maybe the highlight of the book....
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ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: friday fear
« Reply #21 on: 19 November, 2021, 09:47:01 pm »
I read a scary story once – basically the world got copied and the other copy was out of phase but not entirely, so if you met your 'shadow' from the out of phase world you'd get vaporized, so everyone in both worlds was terrified of encountering their shadow. That troubled me for a while.

If anyone can tell me what that story was, I'll be impressed, because I've no idea, but it's stuck with me.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: friday fear
« Reply #22 on: 19 November, 2021, 11:35:12 pm »
Pubic hairs in the school dinners.
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