You only have to listen to children play for a couple of minutes to realise what strong imaginations they have – something that tends to fade as we grow to adulthood, apart from in novelists, artists and people who describe the advantages of Brexit. Writer Dana Schwartz had a question for Twitter that tapped straight into the child’s innate ability to conjure up something from nothing.
What was your weirdest irrational fear as a child? For a period I was TERRIFIED that someone would sneak a pill into my food that would make me seem dead temporarily, and then I would be buried alive.
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) February 17, 2019
It seemed pretty much everybody could recall scaring themselves silly for no good reason, so we collected our 23 favourites, which may include one or two that are horribly familiar.
My parents moving house while I was at school and forgetting to tell me about it. I’d go home to an empty house and have to live there as best I could. Until the new family moved in.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) February 18, 2019
I was afraid I’d die in the night in a Vesuvius-like event. I needed all my stuffed animals to touch me so I could take them with me into the afterlife. https://t.co/QZsvjfeAoX
— noadventureshere ⛾✒ (@HoltzTrudy) February 18, 2019
An axe wielding murderer would chop my head off while I slept. For about a year I created a fake head out of a towel above my head and slept under the covers that way his first strike would miss me and give me a chance to react. #imasurvivor https://t.co/Z0JN5rJph1
— Micah (@MicahR_) February 18, 2019
There being an earthquake and falling through a crack in the ground hundreds of feet into the earth. Zero concern about buildings falling on me, only the crack.
Also I lived in upstate NY.
— MehGyver (@AndrewNadeau0) February 18, 2019
Someone in primary school told me if you say the ‘Our Father’ prayer backwards in front of a mirror, it brings the Devil to life. I did it, of course, and became convinced the Devil was haunting me
— Declan Cashin (@Tweet_Dec) February 17, 2019
That I would fall down the stairs in my elementary school gym and my head would smash open like a watermelon. I was so petrified that my teacher put “hold Kirt’s hand on the gym stairs” on our chore chart
— Kirt Ethridge (@WriterKirt) February 17, 2019
I had a room in the basement where it was quite dark. I always had a fear that if I sneezed at night while I was alone, I would hear a mysterious voice say “bless you”
— Maddi (@MaddiB_) February 17, 2019
I used to cry whenever I saw the moon. Like, terrified screams. I called it “mooma”. Just me, in the back of my parents car screaming “mooma! mooma!” They thought it was hilarious
— anthony sirageueseueeuseseusueuseeiereseieisuse (@anthonysiraguse) February 17, 2019
That robbers would sneak into my room at night, see me hugging my favorite stuffed animal, and steal him out of spite. I went through a phase of carefully placing him in a non-favored spot at bedtime as misdirection.
— Ruth Graham (@publicroad) February 18, 2019
I thought the dump truck was going to take my dog away. I had a very intense fear of dog catchers and very little idea of what a dog catcher was
— Noelle Stevenson (@Gingerhazing) February 17, 2019
I had this fear that Osama Bin Laden was hiding in the shed in my backyard. I think bc ppl were like oh we have no idea where he could be and i thought WELL why not our shed?
— jo (@bigfanofathouse) February 17, 2019
Being kidnapped. And I’m just realizing how neurotic I was about it because I can remember making it a point to pull out strands of hair and leaving them in places other people knew I was at that day, so genetic testing could track me.
I had very little understanding of CSI obvs.
— Jenn #JKGAMES [PG][TK] (@JellicleKitten) February 18, 2019