Remember the first time you watched Disney's Dumbo and f first experienced the absolutely traumatizing terror that is the "Pink Elephants on Parade" song? How about the first time you saw the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence in Fantasia? It seems as the childhood is filled with traumatizing experiences doled out by deceptive media. Such experiences leave us a little les naive than we were before having the crap scared out of us.
While I'll admit to having been scared by many movies as a child, and I had my fair share of traumatizing moments, nothing can come close to the fateful day I was drawn to a book sitting on a shelf in my school library:
Any child of the 80s and 90s will remember this mother fetcher. Why my elementary school was okay with this book gracing its shelves will forever be beyond me. Seriously, who lets kids read stories about spider eggs incubating in young women's cheeks or corpses of brides rotting in trunks? I mean there was some seriously gruesome junk in this book. To date, this remains the only book which actually gave me nightmares.
As scary as the stories were, they had nothing on the illustrations drawn up by Stephen Gammell. Here's one of his illustrations to give you a taste of his insanity:
How in the world did this get past Scholastic? How did none of my school librarians not see this picture? That crap is like NOS for nightmares. It's like pure gasoline for the flames of fear. I look at this and so wonder how my ten-year-old self managed to sleep at all after seeing this. Even more alarming is how fond I am of the books that were the most effective laxatives in my childhood. The book has since be re-published with new art by Brett Helquist. It is so tame, it completely destroys the book's atmosphere.
Kids these days have it so much easier.