Traumafesssion: Dustin in Minnesota on Jack and Jill and Gas Masks

Greetings trauma fans!

In these days of COVID-19 and mask-wearing, I was reminded of a childhood trauma I read in Jack and Jill magazine when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old.

For those unfamiliar, Jack and Jill was a children’s literary magazine aimed at elementary school-aged children. The 1970s being what they were, some of their stories focused on ecology and the environment, including one (whose title escapes me) that was somewhat terrifying.

It took place during a time when air pollution had reached an unprecedented high and children were required to carry World War II-style gas masks with them. When the alert sounded, they had to put on their masks. One little boy forgot (and I don’t recall whether it was by accident or on purpose) his mask one day and went to play baseball after school with his friends. The alert sounded and all the kids scrambled to put on their masks and get home to safety.

The little boy rode his bike home, only to find the doors all locked. Nobody was home, and he could only look through the window in fear and despair at the gas mask he left on the kitchen table.

After that point, the story shifted gears and mentioned the importance of combatting air pollution, but the reader was left wondering in horror what happened to the little boy.

Dustin in Minnesota

The Uncanny (1977) By Mickster

Like everyone else, I am spending more time at home watching movies (in between e-learning with my students). So over the weekend, my husband and I were looking at all the choices on Amazon Prime, and we found The Uncanny. I love a good anthology horror film, but when that anthology features Peter Cushing AND cats, it is even better.

Wilbur Gray (Peter Cushing) wants Frank Richards (Ray Milland) to believe that he has evidence that cats have control over humans, but I argue the evidence shows humans committing some of the seven deadly sins and paying the ultimate price via feline angels of death. After examining the evidence, I think you will agree the cats are completely justified in their actions.

Story one “London 1912” is about the backlash of unbridled greed.

Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood) has cut her greedy nephew out of her will and replaced him with her clowder of cats. Unbeknownst to Miss Malkin, her maid, Janet (Susan Penhaligon), is in cahoots with her nefarious nephew, Michael (Simon Williams). Janet destroys the lawyer’s copy of the new will and plots with Michael to nab Miss Malkin’s copy in her bedroom safe. What Janet fails to realize is Miss Malkin’s kitties are constantly watching her every move. When Janet suffocates Miss Malkin after she catches her red-handed raiding her safe, the cats take vengeful action. 

Story two “Quebec Province 1975” is about the perilous path of envy.

Poor Lucy (Katrina Holden) has lost both parents and is forced to go live with her uncaring aunt and nasty, jealous cousin, Angela (Chloe Franks). Her one saving grace is her loyal cat, Wellington and some interesting books on witchcraft. Well, Angela is jealous that Wellington wants nothing to do with her and Angela’s father (Donald Pilon) shows kindness to the orphaned child, so she starts blaming things on Wellington as well as Lucy in order to make her mother, who already hates the cat, take Wellington away. Her underhanded scheme works and Wellington is carted off. To make things even worse, Lucy’s aunt (Alexandra Stewart) burns her books, except for one that Lucy saved. Too bad for Angela, the book Lucy saved is just the thing she needs, along with Wellington making his way back, to take revenge on her bratty cousin.

Story three “Hollywood 1936” is about the negative repercussions of lust.

The aptly named Valentine De’ath (Donald Pleasence) is tired of his actress wife and co-star, Madeleine (Catherine Begin), so he sets up an on the set “accident” which kills her quite gruesomely, think “The Pit and the Pendulum” style. He then has his mistress, Edina (Samantha Eggar), take his deceased wife’s place in the film. When Valentine so rudely brings Edina home to fool around, Madeleine’s cat is not happy. Even more horrifying, Valentine murders the cat’s kittens by flushing them down the toilet (Um, that really pissed me off). Well, it turns out that hell hath no fury like a kitty scorned. Kitties can orchestrate “accidents” too!

As the film wraps up, Wilbur Gray leaves his evidence with Frank Richards before making his way home with numerous cats following closely behind. Now, I still assert the people in those stories got what was coming to them. The cats were completely justified in their actions. Let’s just call it kitty karma.

Name That Trauma:: Glenn B. on a Bad Trip TV Special

I was born in 1961, so was a fresh, damp and impressionable target for some of the upsetting TV material of the 1960s and early 1970s. One of my more vivid memories is of a television special clearly intended to scare the audience away from ever experimenting with illegal drugs — and from LSD in particular.

In my jumbled recall, this program is linked with radio/television personality Art Linkletter, whose daughter Diane committed suicide by jumping out a window in 1969. The story bruited about (and encouraged by the Linkletter family) was that Diane had been tripping at the time, and jumped believing she could fly. According to, this was not the case, but Art Linkletter became a prominent anti-drug figure.

Anyway, I have a couple of distinct (well, distinct-ish) memories of this show — which had the intended effect on me at the time because it frightened the shit out of me. I have thought about these again and again in the intervening years, though the memories got blurrier and no doubt less reliable.

Memory 1: there was at least one simulated ‘bad trip’ sequence. The specific bit I recall was a vision of what looked like skinny Giacometti-like sculptures, but made out of glass — and they were vomiting copious streams of glassy puke (not animated, though the sculptures might have been on rotating bases or something like that).

Memory 2: the worst memory I have of this delightful program was of it showing photos of the horribly deformed faces of the children you would have if you ever dropped acid. The layout of the shot I recall was multiple-row, like a page of a school yearbook from hell: I recall one-eyed faces, faces with trunk-like appendages proceeding from foreheads, real monsters. The photos had a somewhat blurred, distressed and artifacted look, which made them even worse.

I’ve searched for the film on Youtube, and while there are a number of examples of this *kind* of thing there, most of them are films that would have been shown in the classroom and I definitely remember this one being on TV.

Note: a number of people have asked me if I was remembering the movie Go Ask Alice, from 1973. I have watched it, and although there are frightening things in it (e.g. Shatner with a moustache, waka-jawaka music, the oily colors of the 70s) they are of a different nature.

Traumafession:: Robstercraws on The Ramones’ Psycho Therapy Video

Hi, Unk!  I’ve got another Traumafession for you that, like my Three Dog Nightmare, is related to music.  Funny how many traumatic images come to mind that have to do with album covers, music videos, and music in general as opposed to what one would expect from scary movies and such.

Back when I was a young tween in the early ’80s, I used to spend summers with my dad in Fort Collins, Colorado.  After dad would go to bed on weekdays, I’d stay up late and catch this hour-long alternative video show called FM TV (later to be called Teletunes) out of Broomfield, Colorado..  FM TV would play music videos from all kinds of bands that MTV refused to play from The Art of Noise, Romeo Void, Ministry, The The, and Devo, to name just a few.  I’d look forward to this hour every night when I could see videos by all these bands I’d never heard of before.  It really broadened my musical horizons and was a great alternative to the big acts that MTV broadcast.

Anyhow, one night they broadcast the video for The Ramones’ ‘Psychotherapy’, a song (and band) I grew to love, but the video itself was CRAZY TRAUMATIC!  For such a short song, they really packed all kinds of scary images into the video including:  
-The members of the band in a lunatic asylum with all kinds of realistically crazy-looking people cavorting about!
-A therapist and hospital surgeons turning into scary-looking skeletons!
-An inmate having a “mini-me” burst out of his own face!
Being the early 80’s, I never saw this video again until the advent of YouTube, but the memory of it was seared into my brain for a good 20 years!  I was 13 or so when I saw it and past the age of most Traumatizers, but when I saw this video late at night, by myself, on an old tv, on a music video show that seemed almost underground….the experience gave me a nightmare or two!  So,
HERE is the video (now a favorite, of course!).  Thanks for reading! 

Name That Trauma:: Paul K. on a Tortured Family and a Television Trap

This happened when I was living in northern Minnesota during the ’70s to the early ’80s. We had 4 tv stations to choose from. I turned the channel to PBS and watched something strange. A dad, mom, boy and girl sat like crash-test dummies unmoving at a table. The room they sat in (maybe a kitchen) had very little in it. A prompt would come up saying something like “wind”. A giant wind storm would blow through the room as the family just sat there and took it.  Another prompt would come up like “quake”. The room would reset itself as if the wind storm never happened. The quake would shake everything out of place but when the next prompt came up everything would be back in its place. This would go on for many prompts. The only time the room didn’t reset was after the prompt “sand”. A foot of sand blew into the room and stayed there even after other prompts. It was almost like I was watching an immobile family subjected to various torturous conditions that were removed after each testing except for the sand.  This might have been from 30 to 60 minutes long.  That is all I know.

I also remember something on PBS during the same time period where a young good guy gets transmitted inside a TV by a young bad guy. The good guy pounds on the TV’s glass screen. The good guy’s girlfriend risks getting stuck inside the TV trying to save him but is able to get the good guy out. She traps the bad guy in the TV and they leave him in there fearfully pounding on the glass screen.  It isn’t John Ritter’s film “STAY TUNED“. That too is all I know.

I hope my memory is correct and I hope you can help.  The bad guy stuck in the TV had extreme fear and made the good guys look amoral.