Traumafessions :: Reader Carly on Dr. Suess & Horrible Histories

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!


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mamamiasweetpeaches (@mamamiasweetpeaches)
11 years ago

I remember being freaked out by the green pants too. Anything can be scary when used in the right context: Dont believe me? Read Stephen King!

Its funny, the other day we rented WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and it brought back memories of me reading that book (or even before I could read just looking at the pictures) and the monsters in it sort of scared me. But in a ‘good’ way, cuz I read the book a lot! I seem to remember (I could be wrong about this) that maybe towards the end of the story theres a two page picture of the monsters  with no text and for some reason that bothered me (didnt wanna dwell on monsters too long) and I used to try to skip that part when I’d read the book.

Chuckles72 (@chuckles72)
11 years ago

Hmmm.  That last one about the Brown Room is ringing some bells.  Maybe related to the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall?
This suddenly reminded me of a major kindertrauma of mine involving a book of “true” ghost stories and so forth.  Must investigate further…

lottie_of_millhaven (@lottie_of_millhaven)
11 years ago

I have my own Dr. Seuss trauma.  For me it was “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins”.  If you’re looking for a reason why I’m such a rebel, look no further.  The ruling class has never been so scary. 

rifframone (@rifframone)
11 years ago

Since I was a child I have always found Dr. Seuss books disturbing.  It’s not so much the stories or the art, it’s the writing style.  The sing-song rhythm, the made up words- something in all of that unsettles me.   As someone who has been into horror in one form or another since childhood- my first horror movie was The Exorcist when I was 4- I can’t explain it.  But geez, I can’t stand his books.

The G-Man
The G-Man (@garyb1966)
11 years ago

Damn, I had completely repressed the memory of that Seuss story about the green pants. Thanks for bringing that trauma rushing back into my conscience!

Penh (@penh)
11 years ago

Oh yeah, those pants freaked me way the hell out. Something all the cool blues and blacks of the nightscapes contrasting with the bright green of the pants made them way more threatening than you’d think a pair of pants could be. Plus, they were running. You’d think ghost pants would just float around, but no, these were actually running. What the hell were they up to? Were they cursed? Was some horrifying invisible thing wearing them? *shudder*

eclements (@eclements)
11 years ago

I think it was Hop On Pop that had the most traumatizing picture for me. It was about 2 kids finding a Clark in the park in the dark. Terrifying.

Brian Katcher
Brian Katcher (@bjkatcher)
10 years ago

It was actually ‘One Fish, Two Fish’ that had Clark in the dark.