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Name That Trauma:: Stephen P. on a Skeletal Prostitute PSA

January 26th, 2015 · No Comments

Hi, longtime listener, first time caller. Love, love, LOVE this site! But to save time, I’m gonna cut to the chase (sort of).

I was rarely bothered by scary movies as a lad, but some commercials and PSA’s haunt me to this day. I remember when the National Enquirer used to run TV ads with their tagline, “Enquiring minds wanna know!” One of those had a photo of Marilyn Monroe that the special effects folks animated, so she said, “Murder.” Still gives me the creeps.

Anyway, I’m writing about a PSA from the 80’s. I lived in Florida, so I don’t know if it was a local or nationwide ad, but I remember it clearly…

A man picks up a lady in his car. I do not know for sure, but I believe she was supposed to be a prostitute. In any case, after some banter, she gets in the car and, as it pulls away, we see that the lady/possible prostitute is now a rotting, skeletal corpse that shouts one word: “AIDS!”

Well, I don’t know if that helped discourage prostitution or encourage abstinence or safe sex practices at all, but I DO know it gave me nightmares. I didn’t really understand what AIDS was, exactly, but I doubt ads like this generated much sympathy for the unfortunate victims of that condition. I actively avoided that commercial from then on. And prostitutes.

I have looked online for this PSA, because I think seeing it now, as a middle aged man, would lessen its impact and render it harmless.

Can anyone else find this trauma?

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Name That Trauma:: Joe G. on a NYC Train Safety PSA

January 21st, 2015 · No Comments

Hello Kindertrauma!

Long time, first time. Since you and your readers have such success in tracking down traumas, I was hoping that you could help me with mine. It must have been a PSA from the mid-seventies, and was probably exclusive to the New York City area, given the content. A grave-sounding narrator described the action as it happened – a man with a rocking 70’s-‘stache is reading a newspaper on a subway platform. He drops it to the tracks, and leaps down to retrieve it. You know were this is going – the train comes, and the PSA ends with the sound of a train breaking, and a series of still images of the guy holding his hand in front of his face, eyes wide, the train’s headlights brighter and brighter on him, each still closer and closer to his face.

My father took the train to work and read the paper every day. This so traumatized me that I remember standing in our kitchen pleading with him to leave his newspaper if he ever dropped it. I’ve been unsuccessful in finding it online – searching for “70’s NY subway PSA” yields only the “New York – let’s clean up New York” litter PSA. I’d be most grateful if your readers could help me pick off this almost-40-year-old scab!


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Name That Trauma:: Ashley M. on an Animatronic Arcade Rat

January 20th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Hey there, love your blog. I was hoping somebody could help me out. There was an arcade game that I remember from my childhood (early ’90s) that terrified me. I don’t remember the objective of the game or how it was played, but there was an animatronic, anthropomorphic rat that was the size of a small adult. It was in a glass box, and it may have been wearing a suit, but like a tattered hobo suit (it might have also been wearing no clothing and had really grody/tattered looking fur). Playing the game made it rattle around or animate somehow I think, but it may have just blinked and made a noise (I think it was a creepy, cackle laugh). Something about the rat was really crusty-looking, like it wasn’t cute or friendly looking I think it was deliberately supposed to look sort of gross/scary.

The one I remember was located in a Chuck E. Cheese on Long Island (although I’ve had friends tell me they remember the game from similar establishments). It had nothing to do with any of the franchise characters, and the one by my house was (I believe) removed when they removed the ball pits and replaced them with the toddler area. It was by the ball-pit in the one close to my house, sort of toward the back of everything, and every now and then if I got disoriented in the ball pit I would find myself too close to it. I’m really hoping, with all the birthdays that have been held in those kind of places, that somebody would have a picture with that freaky rat in it/remember the name of the game.

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Name That Trauma:: TK on a Terrorizing Chimney Witch Story Record

January 15th, 2015 · 1 Comment

I love your site and I’m hoping you guys can help me track down a story/record I had when I was a kid. I had a bunch of 45 records growing up (in the late 70’s early 80’s) and on one of these records there was this cool story about a witch that came down the chimney of a house and terrorized some kids. Unfortunately, that’s all I can remember about the story but I remember that scene scaring the hell out of me. I think the story of Peter and the Wolf was on the other side of this record. Any help you guys can give would be appreciated, keep up the great work.

UNK SEZ: Thanks TK! Hopefully one of our knowledgable readers will remember this one! In the meantime, you gave me the idea to listen to BORIS KARLOFF narrate PETER AND THE WOLF while we wait…

UNK ALSO SEZ: For some reason this NTT made me think of the old board game WHICH WITCH? Let’s check out this TV commercial too…

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Name That Trauma:: Chris on Kids, Matches and Fire Safety

January 10th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Every time I’ve tried to search Youtube for this, I’ve come up with either the famous PIF where a camera is slowly gliding through a burnt-out house with dubbed on shrieks, or the other one where a kid ends up burning down his home because he was too careless lighting the fire in the living room and was more interested in reading the Dandy or whatever. This isn’t either of those. Instead, this is something that I saw once, and only once, during the always-unsaleable ad-break time of around about 5:45 am during an edition of the ITN Early Morning News in 1996.

The PIF began with two kids playing with matches in a blacked-out room – I think they were meant to be sister and brother. The older girl inevitably dropped one and a conflagration started. Which was nasty enough, but then the soundtrack went insane, ultra-heavy delay being applied to the girl screaming “MUM, MUM, MUM, MUM, MUM -” and then there was a massive film splice and the sound cut out and the action froze, the girl’s face remaining on screen mid-scream.

No word of a lie, my blood genuinely ran cold. I was rooted to the spot with fear. I have never been so glad as I was when it was faded out and part 2 of the bulletin began. The fact that there seems to be absolutely no mention of this PIF anywhere on the net, and all my searches for “PIF matches kids fire” or variations thereof all come up with the other two PIFs I mentioned earlier, makes me wonder if it was actually some terrifying broadcast from another dimension that only I could see.


UNK SEZ: Chris, I think I may have found it! I just googled “playing with matches PSA” looking for an image to illustrate your NTT and it popped up! Can this really be it? It seems so much like what you described….

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Tags: Name That Trauma! · Traumafessions

Name That Trauma:: Randall on a Haunted Reality Show

December 31st, 2014 · 1 Comment

Hello, my name is Randall.

I was hoping you could identify a massive childhood trauma for me. It was a reality TV show (supposedly anyway) that ran in the UK although I’m not sure of its origin, might have been American. A team of contestants were brought together for a series, and then one by one they were eliminated, though I’m not entirely sure how. It centered on visiting ‘haunted’ locations, and each night a new contestant would have to visit a creepy location.

They all were together in a house and I remember the location of the next haunt was revealed by someone posting Polaroids and scrawled creepy messages on a large glass window at night. One location that really stuck with me was a supposed underground missile silo or bunker or something. The contestant was walking down a hall and out of nowhere a dummy on a rolling chair came hurtling towards him! Obviously these locations had all been made creepy with set design and everything.

It sounds like it would be easy to find but I have had zero luck on it. Most think it is the MTV series ‘FEAR,’ but I am pretty sure it is not. This was much creepier and disturbing and I’m fairly sure it was British, looking back on it. Similar concept to FEAR, but it was not FEAR.

Thanks if your readers could help me on this guys!

UNK SEZ: Randall, you may be thinking of SCARIEST PLACES ON EARTH which aired around the same time as FEAR premiering in 2000. The show was hosted by the legendary LINDA BLAIR, narrated by the lovely ZELDA RUBINSTEIN and the onsite correspondent was a UK DJ named ALAN ROBINSON which might explain your memory of it being a British production. You can find a list of episodes HERE and it looks like most, if not all, are on YouTube! This is my best guess but if readers have any other suggestions, please share!

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Name That Trauma:: Anita C. on a Baleful Box in a Bike Basket

December 13th, 2014 · No Comments

Hello! Scott M. from Dearly Departed Tours in Hollywood recommended I write to you after he didn’t have an answer to my movie query. I hope you can help me.

In 1959, my babysitter took me to a theatre to see two movies. The first movie was Wasp Woman, and I was terrified. The second movie began with a little boy happily riding his bike with a box in his bikes’ basket. Something from inside the box began piercing the box and two holes appeared. That was it. My 9 year old brain couldn’t handle another scary movie, so we thankfully left the theatre. In hindsight, the bike riding might have happened farther into the movie, but that’s all I can remember.

Thank you in advance!



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Trauma Solved:: RatSawGod on The Little Match Girl

December 11th, 2014 · 4 Comments

Finally. I finally found it. It took almost six years, but I finally found my Little Match Girl.

In December of 2008 you published my original Name That Trauma involving my early 1970’s viewing of an animated version of The Little Match Girl that seriously wrecked my frail childhood psyche. With you published post I got a few helpful suggestions that, unfortunately, all came to dead ends. A few years of poking around the Internet proved fruitless. I was ready to give up the search.

I finally, FINALLY had a solid lead when someone uploaded an incomplete clip to YouTube that featured an animated The Little Match Girl with narration. The narrative sounded like it was another girl telling the tale, but at the end of the clip you see the narrator speaking… and it was a little boy. The clip abruptly ended there. I was floored! A boy! Could this be the version I had been seeking?!

I went back to Amazon.com and redid my movie search. Mercifully, I was able to find a DVD with the exact same boy narrator on the cover. The movie was The World of Hans Christian Andersen from 1971, which was a Japanese animated feature that had been dubbed and re-released here in the states. I ordered the DVD on the spot.

When it finally arrived I sat through the whole damn thing on the edge of my seat (though in truth the movie wound up being pretty terrible), then at the end of the movie came the telling of The Little Match Girl. It seems I had not gotten some of the details right; he’s actually telling the story to a cat and a crying child on the steps of an opera house (hey, I was a few years shy of ten when I originally saw this so give me some credit.) Still, this SEEMED like the version I saw. But I knew I could only be certain if the story ended with the reveal that the boy’s story had captured the attention of a huge crowd on the street.

The tale ended. It cut back to the boy telling the tale. But in this version it is thunderous applause that pulls the boy out of his reverie. And yes, YES YES that applause is revealed to be an enormous crowd on the street that had been listening. Like the intro to the tale I had gotten some of the minor details wrong about the tales conclusion, but I knew, then and there, that THIS was the version I saw as a child.

I actually exploded in tears. I had found it. At long last, I got to see it again.

Despite the fact the whole movie was pretty bad, they actually did a stellar job on The Little Match Girl story itself. It definitely holds up… turns out I also had good taste as a child. Who knew? Heh-heh! Anyway, I uploaded the whole clip to YouTube, which can be viewed HERE. See for yourself.

I wanted to thank Kindertrauma for getting me actively thinking about traumas from my childhood, which had made me more consciously aware of this formative moment from my youth. Even though The Little Match Girl seriously messed childhood self up, its message was so important and formative in making me the man I am today.

Very Appreciatively,


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Tags: Name That Trauma! · Traumafessions

Name That Trauma:: FunkyPhD. on Slimy Goo in the Center of the Earth

December 4th, 2014 · 3 Comments

I remember being terribly frightened by a movie in which people went to the center of the earth, only to be inundated with a slimy, white goo coming down from the walls and the ceilings. It’s not the 1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth, for I saw that a few years back and there was no slimy goo. Can your readers help me?


UNK SEZ: Thanks for writing, FunkyPhD! If it’s not JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, my second guess would be 1976’s AT THE EARTH’s CORE. Check out the trailer below to see if it rings any bells.

Hmmmm, I just did a quick scan of the DVD and didn’t see much in the way of slimy goo so if any of our readers have another idea, please share it!

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Name That Trauma:: Chris B. on a Blood Dripping Pipe Slasher Death

December 3rd, 2014 · 4 Comments

Hey Kindertrauma!

I need some help finding a crummy slasher movie.

I saw it on TV in the late ’80s or early ’90s, probably on USA Saturday Nightmares or Commander USA’s Groovy Movies.

The only bit that really stuck with me was a stalking chase sequence along a row of bushes or hedges. I think the victim (not sure if it’s a boy or a girl) was hiding up against the bush when the killer stabs them with a long pole all the way through both the bush and the victim’s body. Then there’s a nice closeup of blood dripping out of the pipe – that’s the part I REALLY remember.

Sorry I don’t have any more to work with. And Thanks!

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