Name That Trauma :: Kinderpal Senski of Heart in a Jar on Two Terrible PSA's

Hey friends...

Time to turn to the collective hive-mind that is the Kindertrauma fanbase to see who can track down a couple more PSA's that have stayed with me over the years, and I've love to see them again. Since the Monkey From Hell was unearthed, let's see if they can make it a hat trick...

1) This PSA aired during the late '60s-early '70s, and I recall it receiving a lot of play on sleepy Sunday mornings. It was a full minute in length, unfolding almost like a short film. Four teens carjack (?) a vehicle and go out for a raucous joyride. The accident that follows is swift and savage, with the car flying through the air to collapse in a heap. I remember the screams; the teens yelling for their lives, a cut to the car in midair, then back to the screaming kids, then the awful silence after the crash, implying that all had been killed. I don't recall if it was a message for seat belts, against unlicensed driving or carjacking; heck, it might have been a drunk driving spot. But after 40+ years, I still can hear those screams.

2) The second PSA I only saw once, but it left an indelible impression. This would be late '70s-early '80s, and it aired on CBS right before the 10pm news. It was all of ten or 15 seconds in length. Sunny day, camera in the trees, beginning a slow pan down and to the right. A radio announcer is carrying on about what a gorgeous day it is, ending with something along the lines of, " get outside and take a dip in that pool!" By then the camera has descended upon a swimming pool, with a long shot of a body lying face down in the water, motionless, presumably dead. The Voice of Doom then warns the audience about swimming alone or unattended. It was chilling to see a PSA with an actual body. I often wonder if it aired so infrequently because of viewer calls. It was as late as late could be and still fall within prime time.

So there you have it; hope someone can unearth this pair of portentous PSA's!


Steve Senski

UNK SEZ:: Thanks Senski! Here's hoping we can track these down! Kids, make sure you stop by Senski's awesome joint HEART IN A JAR and soon!

Name That Trauma :: Reader Rodrigo T. on a Town Turned Green

Good morning!

I was wondering if you know the title of a horror movie in the 1980s?

Description: There were a couple student classmates that were in love, but there is a problem. An evil woman that was obsessed with him, but he doesn't love her, so, the evil woman took in revenge against the girl -- killing her, stabbing a knife in her back in the car in front of her boyfriend.

There are more details about that movie. The town was under a curse because the people became greenish skin. The boy cursed her before her girlfriend had died. I remember when he said, "Damn you are!! Damn you are!!" Finally, she laughed with an evil laughing like this "Hahaahhaahah-haahhaahhahaha!!!!!!!!" and then he said, "Oh God someone help me."

Do you remember that movie? Yes/No?

Please tell me the title of that horror movie.

Also I am not sure but the evil woman was so cute; Caucasian, she had a long black hair, and she dressed in black.

Thanks again,

-- Rodrigo T.

Traumafessions :: Reader Chanter on Size Small

Hi Kindertrauma!

It's been a while since I last sent in a traumafession (though by the looks of the comments to that last, I may have inadvertently traumatized someone's kidlet - sorry!) so I thought I'd share another one.

As in my first two, sound played a significant role in this one as well. If any other readers were watching U.S. public television in the late 1980s or early 1990s, they probably saw more than a few Canadian children's television programs. I definitely did, and I'm the happier for it. Most of these were pretty warm and fuzzy, and the source of much enjoyment for tiny me. There was one SIZE SMALL snippet that I could never entirely enjoy, however.

I know it probably sounds ridiculous that Miss Helen's announcement of, "It's cookies in the kitchen time!" left me dismayed, but it routinely did. The music has a lot to do with it; something about that synthesizer note buzzing in the background just plain gets under my skin to this day. The lyrics are quite innocuous, and taken on their own, they're really rather cute. But, being a neurotic little girl (haven't changed much either, only now I'm a bit taller) with a fear of hot and burning things among others, kindergarten-ish me subconsciously took the idea of an ovenful of baking cookies and ran with it. Figures I'd get a nightmare from something so harmless. In it, the "Ooh they're bakin'" line was followed by "Ooh they're burnin'", a smoke alarm, continued menacing music, and a whole host of other things as time went on--yes, this nightmare stuck with me and expanded as I got older! Brrrrr! ... I'm only now realizing just how big my issues with fire were as a child.

Sorry, Miss Helen, if you're reading this. I know you didn't mean to traumatize anybody. One sketch does not an otherwise delightful viewing experience ruin, I assure you.

-- Chanter

Name That Trauma :: Reader Luke McG. on a Deadly Disappearing Act

Well, I'm not quite sure how I should introduce this, besides stating that I saw it as a child and it has since led to some pretty damn severe claustrophobia, and an intense distrust of disappearing acts...

I can't remember what the show was called, but I'm PRETTY sure it was one of those procedural cop shows (I wanna say BLUE HEELERS, but I've read the episode synopsis for every one, and I haven't found anything that caught my eye as being similar. So basically at the beginning of the show there's the "setup" for the investigation. In this case it was a magic show. Some man is called up and is put into a magic box, subsequently disappears and is never seen again, until the next morning where some kids throw a block of cement into a sewer drain and a waterlogged corpse is revealed to the camera. Turns out apparently the guy took a wrong turn in some sewer tunnels and got lost, got washed into the waters and drowned. That's all I know, hopefully it'll be enough to give someone a flashback and reveal what this gorram show is that's given me a lifelong fear!

-- Luke McG.

Name That Trauma :: Reader M. Nelson on a Mid-Century Cabin in the Woods

My last three submissions for Name that Trauma were answered quickly and my sanity was saved but now I have found another movie I'm going slightly mad over...

Relatively recent film, last 10 years I think but could be wrong and I seem to remember I watched it with subtitles so I'm gonna have to guess it was a non-English, European import. Film opens on the exposition for the plot and is set in the last days of WWII soldiers, (German maybe?), come across an abandoned cabin and set up camp for the night. After exploring they find a dead body in the very locked basement and start screwing around with it. Turns out the dead body isn't really "dead" dead and proceeds to eat everybody except one soldier who happens to be a doctor and manages to get the undead back into a box and trapped again in the basement. He will be an important character in the rest of the movie that is set in modern day when a group of friends stumble across the same cabin. That pretty much is all I remember, I do know it is not DEAD SNOW for I am watching that right now and that is what reminded me of this.

Help me Kindertrauma, you're my only hope and thanks in advance.

-- M.Nelson

Evansville, IN

Traumafessions :: Reader "Anonymous" on Puff the Magic Dragon and the Incredible Mr. Nobody

I love your site. I found it after reading Kris Straub's masterful creepypasta "Candle Cove" and finding your interview with him about it.

When I was little, I saw an animated TV movie, PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON AND THE INCREDIBLE MR. NOBODY. It's about a boy named Terry who has an imaginary friend, an anthropomorphic duck named Nobody. Terry's active imagination is met with scorn from parents, teachers, and kids. He makes some art for class using spaghetti, but it's so well done that the teacher doesn't believe that he made it himself, so eventually he starts attributing his art and talent to Nobody. I think I must have been too little (probably five or younger) to cope with the many surreal sequences in the movie. It also traumatized me because I also was very creative as a kid, and adults and kids treated me like that all the time!

There is a crack under Terry's window and he says he sees a path in it. Everyone thinks he's totally weird. The scene where the crack transforms into a path leading to a trippy sunset was really disturbing to me as a kid. It's probably the thing about the movie that traumatized me the most. I realize that it was supposed to be this kid's happy fantasy, but it just seemed awful to me that you could disappear into a wall and walk along a path that seemed to stretch on forever. That image haunted me, and I even remember being scared of an actual crack on the wall of my house.

Then when Terry gets fed up with being misunderstood, he tries to run away, but Puff the Magic Dragon transforms the crack in the wall into an actual path, and the two of them go to a surreal fantasy world together. All sorts of bizarre things happen. One of the most disturbing was when Puff shows Terry some kids who are being very mean and evil. They also look at a large version of Terry's pasta art that really creeped me out, especially the spider-like trees. And the surreal sequence of musical instruments floating through the sky scared me as well. They made me feel threatened, like they were swarms of monsters or something. These images were so embedded in my subconscious that they still seem creepy to me now, even though other people seem to think it's a cute, heartwarming movie.

Traumafessions :: Kinderpal Senski of Heart in a Jar on Tornado!

Tornado Awareness Week will soon be upon the state I call home, and since the latest two years have seen historic numbers of twisters, it is a not unimportant thing. Our high-tech Doppler radar can pinpoint storms right down to the street level, but such was not always the case. When I was growing up, a 1977 storm materialized within the space of an hour out of some innocuous showers over the western part of the state, nary a watch posted for our area. It culminated in the local CBS weatherman going live on camera, eyeglasses askew, literally shouting to viewers that a tornado was entering the city about 10 miles away from my tiny town - only to have the station knocked off the air by the twister. Scary as hell. But that's not the subject of my Traumafession.

On summer weekends that same CBS affiliate would frequently have time to kill before the local news came on at 5:30; sporting events could be unpredictable in their length. And so a frequent go-to was the 1967 educational film "Tornado!" with its 15 minute running time. It reinforced how a day which began in azure beauty could swiftly and savagely turn violent, with little one could do save cower and pray. It incorporated real tornado footage, difficult to come by at the time. And because such film was grainy and underexposed, it was as frightening as hell, a dark vision of chaos. The film makes much use of children, pets and toys as being particularly at risk. (I understand the admonition not to open windows in advance of the storm was later added when the film was acquired by The Weather Channel; in dreams I would madly race across my house, throwing open windowpanes, while my dog barked and the twister grew ever closer.) Warnings were issued for entire counties - a deceptively large area - and the tornado could strike anywhere in that zone at any time. It jangled the nerves.

I thought I grew out of that by the time I was in high school, but when that tornado of 1977 materialized out of seeming nowhere, I remembered that old film and felt a genuine chill. I'm grateful for the advancements made in storm prediction, but to this day, I respect an angry wind.

-- Senski

UNK SEZ: Thanks for the exemplary traumafession Senski! Kids, make sure you keep up with our favorite pal over at his home base HEART IN A JAR!

Traumafessions :: Reader Greg from Oakland on The Dark Tower Game & Madame Tussauds Chamber of Horrors

To the good people at Kindertrauma:

Assuming you're interested, this is a two part-episode Traumafession, connected only by my father and his Anglophilia. In hindsight, I realize that my dear old dad chose one of my Christmas gifts when I was eleven years old, a board game called The Dark Tower. The game featured a dark gray plastic fortress tower with crenelated edges and a black electronic display screen with buttons that, when pressed, would randomly determine your fate as you moved across the board. The object was to collect keys and conquer the tower, or something like that.

I remember two things about this weird remedial-Dungeons & Dragons board game with the mysterious revolving monolithic phallus (I was just about to enter puberty, so give me a break.) One was the playing card depicting enemies called the "brigands." (This has to appeal to my dad, so they can't be called "boogeymen" or "demons" or anything pedestrian like that.) These fiends were depicted as howling creatures bearing white soulless eyes, black thin bodies with sharp shoulders, fanged beaks, and gnarled goat horns on their heads. They freaked me out, but what was even worse, oddly enough, was encountering and slaying a dragon, a moment celebrated by the tower with an early electronic dragon-shrieking-as-it-dies sound. It gave me the willies, but of course, victory is always bittersweet. (Also jarring were the "plague," "lost," and "starvation" sounds, all of which can be heard HERE.)

The reason why I know my father decided to get this for me: I stumbled on a 1981 television commercial for this game with ORSON WELLES in dark cloak narrating a suitably histrionic tale of battle that one might enjoy in the process of playing Dark Tower. ORSON WELLES, of course, is American, not British, but my dad adored his Shakespearean gravitas, and he probably thought, "If it's good enough for ORSON, it's good enough for my son," possibly not realizing (or in denial about the fact) that poor penniless ORSON would whore himself out for frozen peas and cheap wine at this point. ORSON's enormous bulk takes up half the screen while the titular dark tower glows ominously in the background.

The following summer my dad treated me to a trip to England in order to follow my brother's rugby team on a short tour, during which the American teenagers would be repeatedly, methodically, and quite naturally annihilated by various English school boy teams (perhaps that dragon-slaying sound would be appropriate here). Anyhow, one of the London sites my dad and I visited was Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, including, of course, the notorious Chamber of Horrors. Keep in mind that my father would routinely take me to films that were not exactly... age-appropriate: I was nine during the legendary Summer of 1980, when he took me not only to see THE CHANGELING with GEORGE C. SCOTT, but also THE SHINING.

So here was the Chamber of Fricking Horrors at eleven: the Manson Family with shaved heads, some bespectacled freak named John Christie who dismembered women and secreted their body parts in various nooks and crannies of his home (you get a glimpse of these through a crack in the kitchen walls of the display), and on the staircase heading down to the chamber, there was a wax figure of Adolf Hitler encased in thick glass, probably because too many people would deface the bastard's image. Worst of all—for me, at least—was the display of Marat's body in a bathtub. He was the French revolutionary with a bad skin condition that required, for some reason, lots of baths; Charlotte Corday took advantage of his vulnerable position and stabbed him repeatedly with a knife. His body was immortalized by the French painter David, and this wax display was modeled after it. One had to mount several steps in order to look into the bathtub, as I recall, like walking ceremonially past an open coffin. Marat's head was swaddled in a towel, bearing a disturbingly peaceful look on his face, as if he were just napping and might bolt awake at any second.

Back at our hotel, the bathroom had a claw-foot bathtub that reminded me of the one in which Marat sat slumped in death. From my bedroom at night, I could see the dark form of the tub, and I imagined the silhouette of a toweled head slowly lifting above the edge. It was the first time in years that I joined my parents in their bed, and in the cold light of morning, I felt like a total wuss.

God bless the Internet, right?

Thanks for all your good work.


-- Greg from Oakland

Traumafessions :: Kinderpal Chuckles on '70s LP Covers

No single event can top the lasting trauma induced by my childhood viewing of THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, that film scared me so bad that it rearranged my chromosomes. However other events, smaller in individual scope but horribly disturbing in cumulative effect, deserve to be mentioned. Specifically, I confess my lasting, great fear of 1970's album covers.

In the ‘70s, album cover art was kind of a big deal. The cover for an LP was huge by today's standards and it presented a big canvas upon which the music and graphic artists could express themselves. In the race to make album covers memorable, the art quickly turned very weird. Parents would buy those albums and put them into their groovy record cabinets where they were inevitably discovered by curious tykes like me who would spend the next years trying to erase their psychedelic, grotesque and demonic images from our minds:

I have mentioned the first offender before: Queen's "News of the World." This one belonged to my aunt. Absolutely great album. Murderous cover. The interior fold-out was ten-times worse though, with its depiction of bug-eyed people fleeing the giant killer robot.

The Eagles - "Hotel California". Part of my parent's collection. This one is kinda controversial, because pretty much everyone denies that there is a screaming, illuminated face in the lower left-hand window of the "hotel" on the cover of this album. Whatever - I saw that screaming face right away the first time that inspected the album.The fact that no one else could apparently see it made everything that much worse.

Black Sabbath - "Black Sabbath." My uncle had this one. Ozzy and co. managed to scare the world into believing that Black Sabbath was in league with the Devil. This album cover convinced me that Ozzy WAS the Devil.

The Rolling Stones - "Goat's Head Soup." This was a fairly popular album and I'm surprised that more people don't recall being scared by the bizarre image of Mick Jagger's smiling head in a bag on the cover. This album made me consider the awful possibility that something called "goat's head soup" actually existed and that kids somewhere were being forced to eat it.

Funkadelic - "Maggot Brain."
My uncle's collection. Hmmm. Screaming woman buried up to her neck a la MOTEL HELL. That's nice. The back cover dispelled any hope that the poor woman got out of there alive. I would remain wary of funk for years.

Elton John - "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy." Not outright terrifying, but filled with lots of disturbing, freakish details. I was also intimidated when Elton John appeared on THE MUPPET SHOW. And on talk shows. Ok, Elton John just generally freaked me out.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but definitely hits many of the worst cases. I'll leave it to my fellow Traumaniacs to fill us in on any horrors from the record cabinet that I left out.

Name That Trauma :: Reader Josh K. on a Hacked-Off Hand or Fingernail

Hello there. It's Josh K. here again. First off I wanted to thank Kindertrauma for posting my Freddy's Nightmares trauma a while back. It was great to hear what all of you had to say!

However, this time I am going to FINALLY put this "Name that Trauma" out there. I have debated doing this for a very long time now, thinking that no one out there would possibly get it if I couldn't through the Internet, but I'm really hoping you guys can help me figure this one out, so here goes:

This time I was at my other Grandparents' house (what is it with Grandparents and traumas? Lol). It was either the very late '80s or early '90s. My Dad and my Grandpa were watching some movie. As far as I can remember, there was this Japanese or Chinese emperor looking guy who apparently was evil. My mind wants to say that this took place during some grand ceremony like a wedding. Anyway, the good guy comes in with some sort of weapon and either hacks off the evil guy's finger or one of his huge nails ( I can't remember which). However, then the good guy does it a couple more times and the emperor keeps looking at his fingers/nails each time and screams. My Dad and Grandpa thought this was hysterical, and I do remember it being more funny than traumatic now that I think about it.. But the mysteriousness of it has haunted me throughout the years and I would love to finally put the mystery to rest.

I am REALLY hoping someone can help me shed some light on this for me.


-- Josh K.