I was quite a bookworm as a kid, so it’s no surprise that a lot of my Kindertrauma came from books. There are three that come immediately to mind – Two of them were from Dr. Seuss books; one was a short story – I think it was in the same book as “The Sneetches” – that involved this pair of sentient green pants with nobody inside them that followed the narrator around, basically stalking him! I read that book in the dentist’s office and it scared me for weeks afterward.
The other Dr. Seuss culprit was a single page in the middle of “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket,” which is basically a book that existed so Dr. Seuss could draw a bunch of fun creatures and name them, I think. Anyway, the page in question was a double-page spread that had this picture of just a giant lump under a rug in a darkened room, with the narrator peeking in very nervously. This was the Vug under the rug, and the worst part of this was that at that age, the usual response to being scared at night was to hide under the covers – but I wasn’t safe there! The Vug hid under rugs; what if it was hiding under the blanket WITH ME?
As for the other thing that jumps immediately to mind – when I was in the first grade, my family lived in Wales for a couple of months. In the U.K. they have this series of kids’ history books called “Horrible Histories” that basically give a bunch of weird and gruesome facts about different periods in history. I loved those books and devoured them; nothing in them fazed me in the least, except for this one ghost story.
It was a story about a guy who was staying as a guest in some palace, and he’s told he’s going to be put in the Brown Room. People apparently expect him to react to this, and he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about, until he sees a ghost. You know the drill. It was a really formulaic ghost story but supposedly true, and the illustration was really creepy to me at the time. (I can’t find it anywhere online, but I still have the book.) I remember that night not being able to sleep, and not even being able to MOVE for fear the ghost would get me.
I foresee several more of these submissions in my future!