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...:::Traumafessions:::...

Traumafession:: Jeff C. on The Spider God

November 11th, 2019 · 2 Comments

When I was in Elementary School on Vancouver Island, BC Canada, I borrowed this book from the school library. The book was published in 1974 and as I was born in 1969 I would have probably been 7 to 9 years old when I read it. The illustrations inside were scratchy and creepy as hell! And the stories were all written by Charles A. Piddock. All the stories disturbed me, but the one that had the longest impact on me, the one that I remember to this day (more than 40 years later!) was the story called The Spider God. As I remembered it, it went like this:

 It was a Vietnam horror story I read as a child about a soldier who, before burning down a village, butts his cigarette in the eye of a spider god statue. Then 10 years later at home he’s upstairs and his kids are downstairs he hears a weird noise,   he goes down to investigate and finds 2 skeletons– bones picked clean–  then he turns to see a swarm of spiders descend upon him.

Then I found a blog, which documents the blogger’s own experience with the book (HERE). He writes the synopses of all the stories contained in the book and his synopsis of The Monster Fly is remarkably similar to my own recollection…

THE SPIDER GOD

Captain Billy Joe Smith is with some South Vietnamese soldiers checking out a village. A building is still standing and they chase a VC into it. A fight ensures and Billy sees it is some temple. Filled with cages of spiders and an idol of a giant spider. Billy puts out his cigar in the eyes of the idol offending the Spider God. Years later in Denver him and his little daughter are attacked by hordes of spiders. Back in the village the idols eyes then start to glow signaling that the god has been avenged.

He also writes:

So this was a book that I checked out of the school library when I was in second grade. It is written for young kids and has illustrations on every other page to show what the story is trying to convey. The illustrations by Richard Maccabe are crude but effective in visualizing the story. I still vividly remember the drilling to Hell and meeting the Devil and the human zoo. The stories were quite effective on a young mind that I still remembered them after all these years and decided to search out this book. An enjoyable nostalgic trip back to my childhood.

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Traumafession:: Derek B. on Kid Commercial Music

November 2nd, 2019 · 1 Comment

Thank you for all your hard work.  I have a kindertraumatic question.  It’s not about movies or tv shows; it’s about many, many commercials. In the seventies, commercials for local kid-oriented businesses would come on Southern Californian television.  Arcades, circuses, restaurants. Three songs would be used, over and over.  These songs were instrumental only and seemed to be part of a pack of musical accompaniment tracks every TV and Radio station owned.

One was a sort of wacky clownish theme, lots honking horns. “Come down to Pizza Piccolo Pete,” or whatever party clown occasion you were hoping to throw. Another was a simple tune played on what might have been a slide whistle, or a keyboard that sounded like it.  Slow tempo, something for wacky art-style toy commercials. The last one was a lot of synthesizers and horns.  You use it for your water park or skateboard joint.  

Your site and tireless research have saved so many before me.  Do you have any idea what I’m talking about here?  I suspect I am not crazy and hope it is true.

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Traumafession:: Carmen P. on Ghosts of the Old West

October 22nd, 2019 · 3 Comments

I read a book as a child about ghost stories from the old West. I have bought a copy of the same book I remember from my school library, but there is ONE PHOTO in it that I SWEAR has been changed in the updated edition. I am wondering if anyone can confirm this. The book in question is called Ghosts of the Old West, published in 1976. I bought a newer copy. There is a story about a gal who haunts a stagecoach station. The picture accompanying it was TERRIFYING. A transparent girl in a bonnet with piercing eyes. Honestly, they may have changed it because it was so terrifying. If anyone remembers this photo- and I know if someone saw it they would never forget- can you please let me know????
Thank you!

UPDATE: It looks like Katherine G. found the image!


Hi,
I have a collection of vintage books of ghost stories, among them 1976’s Ghosts of the WildWest by Bruce and Nancy Roberts. The illustrations are spooky black and white photographs, some with double exposures indicating ghosts. Included is one that matches the described illustration and it does accompany a story about a woman haunting a stagecoach. Maybe the right one?

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Traumafession:: Dave D. on a Bravestarr Drug Death

September 28th, 2019 · 1 Comment

I was born in 1977 which means the heyday of my youth was spent watching cartoons like Transformers, G.I. Joe, and He-Man. But there was another cartoon, one oft overlooked by children of my era: Bravestarr.

Bravestarr was produced by Filmation; the same company responsible for He-Man, She-Ra, Shazam, and The Ghostbusters (the one with the gorilla). And the premise, I thought, was pretty awesome: The Planet of ‘New Texas’ has been colonized to mine a type of fuel called ‘red ore’ and very quickly lawlessness spreads to this new space frontier. Enter Marshal Bravestarr who can channel the powers of four animals, hawk, wolf, puma, and bear, to perform superhuman feats. 

So, cool location, space western, super-powered lawman, what’s not to love? I’ll tell you what’s not to love, the episode called ‘The Price’ where a drug called Spin is putting people in the hospital or, in one little boy’s case, the morgue. That’s right. A child gets addicted to this space drug. Steals some red ore, and sneaks off to his ‘club house‘ where his lifeless body is found the next morning.

I was 10 at the time and was not prepared for how I felt watching a cartoon mother sob uncontrollably or watching this dead boy’s brother faint upon finding the body. There was no happy ending for this episode. Sure, the Spin factory was destroyed, but not before the horrors of drugs took a little boys life. But beyond the actual death, watching a child in the grip of drug addiction was pretty disturbing as well: slurred speech, vacant stares, limbs akimbo, it painted a pretty grim picture.

Here’s the episode in all it’s glory if you want to CHECK IT OUT.
 
Thanks for keeping it real, real traumatic!

Dave D.

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Traumafession:: Bigwig on an Egg Cellar Bottle Opener

September 19th, 2019 · 4 Comments

Hey Guys,

A long time ago as a kid we used to go weekly to my grandparent’s farm on the outskirts of Amish country. There wasn’t much to do inside; the majority of the afternoon adventures came from outside work or wandering outdoors or in the barns, chicken coops, sheds or fields along with the other cousins. In fact, over the years, we wound up knowing every inch of the place. 

Anyway, of the myriad of locations, there was an inherent creepiness to the “egg cellar” which was a moist dungeon of a place underneath the farmhouse accessed only from the outside and down a steep set of stone steps. It was perpetually cool like a Spring house, always had a few inches of water in it from flooding, and had to be traversed by walking on boards that sat on cinder blocks. This was where my grandfather would check and crate eggs and temporarily store them for a day or two before being sold. It was lit by a single low watt bulb dangling unceremoniously from the cord. Real “Silence of the Lambs” stuff…. But what made it a true fright fest to us little kids was this gem of a cast iron bottle opener mounted on the side wall all by itself for no apparent reason:

Lord knows where this thing came from, or what the company who made it was trying to accomplish…. but it certainly made a scary place all the scarier.  No weeked trip to The Farm was complete without at least a brief excursion to see him….and the four-eyed image would stay in my mind at nights. 

When my grandparents passed away, and the farm was eventually sold and the farmhouse razed, I managed to extract this ugly little thing beforehand, and it lives in my house today.

Bigwig

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Traumafession:: Unk on Helter Skelter (1976)

August 28th, 2019 · 9 Comments

It’s such a beautiful day outside, so I think I’ll stay in and watch HELTER SKELTER. Lunatic Charles Manson seems to be popping up everywhere lately thanks at least partly to Damon Herriman’s recent duo performances of the cult leader in the Netflix series MINDHUNTER (great show) and Quentin Tarantino’s latest flick ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (Maybe I’ll borrow it from the library someday?) Herriman has some big old giant shoes to fill because the incredible STEVE RAILSBACK truly brought an intense A-game to his unnerving take in the 1976 two-night event television miniseries. You’d think that what scared the hell out of me when I watched it as a kid would’ve involved one of the two savage home break-in multiple murders (the first so depraved it involves an eight-month pregnant Sharon Tate) but nah, crazily enough what gets under my skin takes place in a courtroom (which is especially nuts when you know that nothing puts me to sleep faster than a courtroom scene). The bit works as a kind of cliffhanger for the first night’s segment. Manson wildly enters the courtroom and takes a seat as GEORGE DiCENZO as prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (who authored the book) notices that his watch has inexplicably stopped and remarks, “It’s never done this before”. He then looks up to see Charles Manson smiling at him, the implication being that somehow the madman has OMEN-like telekinetic powers and is responsible. RAILSBACK’s smiling, whacked-out expression is the true epitome of insanity. It’s beyond uncanny and far scarier than any special effect could possibly offer. It absolutely terrified me as a kid because I knew that what I was watching was a TRUE STORY and it seemed that what was being suggested was that Manson indeed had supernatural powers and that idea chilled me to the bone.

I have no idea why my parents would think that HELTER SKELTER was an appropriate thing for me to watch.  Truth is though; I was already well aware of the appalling crime thanks to a visit to my cousin’s house where I had stumbled across the book and the gruesome photos inside. Still, I suppose nothing could prepare me for STEVE RAILSBACK’s hyper-convincing delirium and the way he almost seemed to look through the TV screen at me. In typical beat you over the head seventies-style subtly, the monstrous visage freeze frames for even more of an unsettling impact that nearly branded itself inside my head. Watching the movie again as an adult it becomes clear how much the musical score guided by mounting hysteria. It’s something I’m sure I wouldn’t even notice at the time but looking back I recognize so many of the era’s prerequisite musical jabs, nudges and cues. Having been raised on TV, it’s possible I’ve been trained to panic at these blunt obvious sounds like a nervous dog. Composer BILLY GOLDENBERG has a long list of television credits including DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973) and CIRCLE OF FEAR which explains a lot.

Note: When I finally did venture outside I stopped by my favorite thrift shop and randomly procured an album by The Brady Bunch entitled “Meet The Brady Bunch”. The record is mostly an assortment of covers of then (1972) popular mellow seventies songs; one of them being Don McLean’s “American Pie”. For some reason known only to them, the Brady kids jump ahead with the lyrics and start their version with “Helter Skelter in the summer swelter…” Yes, the Brady kids actually sing about the Manson murders (Somehow this is even more inappropriate than their cover of Bread’s “Baby I’m-a Want You”)! It’s crazy, right? It just goes to show you how ubiquitous and inescapable the Manson murders were (and apparently still are). Also, I would be remiss if I did not also point out that HELTER SKELTER sports an impressive performance by the late great horror icon MARILYN BURNS ( THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE ) as key witness Linda Kasabian. How she and RAILSBACK eluded Emmy awards is a mystery for the ages.

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Traumafession:: Dylan Donnie-Duke on Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz

August 13th, 2019 · 3 Comments

Hello Unk L, Aunt J, and assorted cats, bats, and belfries; I know that there have been more than several mentions of Wizard of Oz as a traumatizer on this site, and I figured that I would never have anything to add to the discussion. Then came the discovery of WoO with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on YouTube (HERE).

I had heard the lore, and even tried to do it once or twice in college, but lacked the patience/sobriety to continually flip the album.  Finding it with the music overdubbed made actually getting through it more of a possibility.  Because circumstance dictates that I am unable to currently deal with reality, I had a steady supply of jazz lettuce, the Devil’s coleslaw, reefer, see? on hand, and embarked on the journey most potheads only dream of. For the most part, it was a lot of fun. Certain coincidental peaks were scarily dead-on, while others required some allowance.  It was when our good green goddess of ghoulishness, The Wicked Witch of the West pops up in the crystal ball, mocking Dorothy’s tears.  The sudden PKTD (Post Kindertrauma Disorder) kicked in, and I was five years old again, watching this movie in a vintage movie house.  My parents had taken my sister and I to see a special showing, and that was our first time ever seeing it.  I was fairly stable until this moment, at which point I crawled under the movie theater seats to hide from her.  (And, being five, to no bout eat floor JuJuBes.)  I have watched this movie at least, no joke, 100 times since I was five, but not once have I so viscerally remembered this moment, which my mother loves to laugh and laugh about.  So, thanks for the recommendation stoners everywhere.  I’ll send you my therapy bills.

Best Regards, Dylan Donnie-Duke


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Traumafession:: Unk on Demon Seed (1977)

July 29th, 2019 · 11 Comments

In my tiny head, I think I can divide the types of movie scares that hit me hardest into three major categories. The first type of scare is PHYSICAL and it covers the fear of injury, violence, body damage and mutation. The second is SPIRITUAL and includes ghosts, demons, the supernatural and the unknown. The third is MENTAL which covers the fear of insanity head-trip movies and anything that’s just so dang weird that it leans toward madness. DEMON SEED covers all three of those bases but for me, it especially hits that last category really hard. DEMON SEED (especially its bonkers climax) freaks me out basically just because it’s so insistently bizarre.

I recently re-watched DEMON SEED to confirm the recollections that my accosted brain failed to bury after catching it on a local channel afternoon broadcast in the early eighties. It seems I remembered the insanity accurately as this movie makes me feel like CHARLES GRODIN trying to decipher MARTIN SHORT’s infuriating oddness in CLIFFORD (“Can you act like a real human boy for one minute here?”) DEMON SEED, which is somehow about a computerized house deciding to rape a woman and force her to have its impossible baby contains crazy 2001-style psychedelic strobe effects, an abundance of nutzo slow-mo dissolves and a truly bizarre score that sounds like a robot being tortured in hell. On second thought this movie is one of those rare birds that is actually more disturbing than I remember it.

I hate to spoil the ending but the crazy computer’s plan to create a hybrid robot/human baby is shockingly successful. Trapped victim Susan (the superb JULIE CHRISTIE), who has really been put through the wringer at this point, is not keen on welcoming the abomination into the world and tries to pull the plug but ultimately fails. The “baby” emerges from the machine covered in goo and insect-like metallic scales and looks a hell of a lot like the mask in the MR. ROBOTO video by STYX (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was an inspiration). But forget the molten lava Buddha bad looks- the awful screeching sounds it makes really get under the skin. I thought the robot’s nightmarish voice was bad enough but the newborn sounds like an animal getting run over by a car and I’m not here for it. Eventually, we’ll find that the monster has a kid under its shell that seems to be a perfectly engineered clone of the daughter poor Susan had lost but before you can get sentimental, it opens its mouth and starts talking like the computer! This leads to the camera going into a close-up of the child’s eye and more drugged-out strobe effects. It’s an ordeal, folks. DEMON SEED, I don’t need to watch you again for a couple more decades. We good. 

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Traumafession:: Amanda M. on Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

June 5th, 2019 · 2 Comments

Hi! It’s me again.  I’m currently watching “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town”.  It’s a movie about the murder of Jonbenet Ramsey.  I wanted to watch it again…well to be truthful, I wanted to watch the whole movie for the first time.  The first time I attempted to watch it was in 2008.  The scene where John Ramsey, her father, finds Jonbenet dead in the basement, he picks her up.  Her arms, which are tied over her head, do not move.  This was the first movie I’d ever seen where they actually depicted rigor mortis the right way, because the dead body was stiff as a board.  I mean, I knew intellectually at the time I saw the scene for the first time, that they used a dummy.  Still, though, it really disturbed me.  I’m pretty good at suspending my disbelief, so of course, I was pretending that it was really Jonbenet and I was watching the discovery of her body. 

I didn’t turn the movie off right away.  It wasn’t until they had a morgue scene where the body was displayed from toe up to the head.  Again, I knew it was a dummy, but it still disturbed me to see a little girl’s “body” on the slab.  I turned it off then and didn’t watch it again until just now. I used to live in Colorado, but it wasn’t Boulder.  It was Colorado Springs. 

Ironically 1996 was the year my family moved from Colorado back to Ohio, where I’d spent most of my life.  We moved back to Ohio just weeks before Jonbenet was murdered.  I was 14 and the news blew me away. 

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Traumafession:: Bigwig on Gumby and The Small Planets

June 4th, 2019 · 2 Comments

  I recently introduced this site to my parents.  Ma Bigwig found it particularly fascinating, and both enjoyed and remembered a great many of the subjects in my posts over the past decade. She brought up one that I hadn’t thought about for dozens of years, that I only vaguely remembered since I was no older than four or so, but Ma insisted it should be included on my trauma highlight reel. I researched based on what she remembered, and we watched it on the youtube, and yeah, I get it.

Gumby – The Small Planets.  Art Clokey must have read Le Petit Prince and decided there was plenty of room for a quick moralistic Gumby adventure in the same vein.  With little to no buildup, Gumby announces he’s fed up living like a slave, controlled by his parents, and sets out to find his own planet to live in peace. He’s made his choice and is already happy about it.  A reluctant Pokey is along for the ride, as they hop in a book, and a spaceship therein.

They visit three small worlds in their whirlwind odyssey, each inhabited by a child who (presumably) also got fed up and ran away from home. These kids demonstrate poor behavior, and Gumby decides his situation wasn’t so bad after all.

The first planet is the lair of Train Boy, a Davey and Goliath leftover puppet, who kicks them off rather than share his world and glorious train sets and fires a missile at them.

Second, we have a girl who delights in frightening our duo with a giant dinosaur mask, but then wonders upon their hasty egress why she has no playmates. (also a Davey and Goliath looking castaway)

And third, the clincher…they find a very intense Claymation boy unlike the previous two playing a piano. Pokey sneezes, which sets the kid off, pulling his hair and screaming that his “Beautiful Arpeggio” was ruined. If that wasn’t bad enough, he morphs into a lycanthropic demon hybrid to further hammer the point home that they are not welcome.

Mom says I hid under the kitchen table after watching this one. ( AKA – young Bigwig’s Fortress of Solitude)

So there you have it, kids, if you ever think you have it bad at home, take a look at what else is out there waiting for you….the selfish;  those who find delight in your fear, and bonafide psychotic monster children just waiting to tear your arms off for sneezing.

All the best,

Bigwig

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