Traumafessions :: Reader Mike on Sesame Street’s Nosy Shapeshifter

As someone who was scared of EVERYTHING as a kid and is trying to pick up the pieces of his broken psyche as an adult, your site makes me feel not so alone. Serious time-suck, but oh so worth it.

I didn’t like to be scared as a kid. I hated roller-coasters and as for scary movies, their trailers (the usual suspects: BEYOND THE DOOR, MAGIC, PROPHECY) were traumatic enough. Naturally, not being exposed to the hard stuff let scares sneak in via seemingly innocuous carriers. Like SESAME STREET.

What is it about SESAME STREET? Parents of kids of my age used it as the ultimate babysitter and yet, there seem to be an endless store of stories of kids who were terrified by something they saw on this “explicitly for kids” show. For me, it happened one day when I was watching the T.V. alone (thankfully; if my older sister ever found out I would have been doubly traumatized, triply so if she told my cousins who LOVED to torment me with dumb stuff I was afraid of). All of a sudden this weird animated filler comes on. A woman’s head appears in profile. Her nose starts changing shape. This is accompanied by a LOUD and SHRILL squeaking sound every time her nose changes shape. I think that was it, as I bolted from the living room and cowered in my bedroom, my undeveloped brain unable to process what I had just seen.

I got kind of reactionary regarding SESAME STREET after that. I remember after that seeing my sister watching it and dismissing it as “for babies!” I think she knew something on the show had scared me, though.

For the longest time, I thought this was some weird hallucination until I posted about it on an Internet messageboard. A woman who had also been frightened by the clip confirmed seeing it as a kid, and again on Youtube. She said it was taken down and was glad because she still found it disturbing. I, however, am disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to see this again, having faced so many other childhood fears. It does leave me wondering why they dropped this random bit of randomness into a nominally educational show. What was it supposed to teach kids?

As for me nowadays, I realize most of the scary movies from when I was a kid…really aren’t all that scary. I still hate roller-coasters, though.


UNK SEZ:: Thanks Mike! I wish I could find the clip you speak of but I guess your friend was right when they said it was taken down! I did find the animated SESAME STREET clip below though, I hope it will do for now. Let us know if that shapeshifting nose clip ever appears again!

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11 years ago

I haven’t found it but I know exactly what you’re talking about.  I found that little bit creepy as well.  Now I’m thinking to myself “What the hell does this creepy thing have to do with children’s educational programing???”

11 years ago

The more I see things like this, the more I think it’s a good thing mom made me watch a lot of Elvira as a kid. While zombie movies creep me out – most horror movies don’t scare me. (Okay, I’ll admit I really hate the Jeepers Creepers movies. Something about them made me uneasy. I found out later they were written & directed by convicted child molester Victor Salva – so I can’t help but think his unnatural lust for little boys tainted those movies.)

That being said, I don’t remember the shape shifter – though I do remember the clip shown. However, there was a SS thing that still sends chills down my spines the way nails on a chalkboard do.

Those colors. Those colors constantly joining together while people vocalized in the background. Until they formed that multi-colored flower. *shudder* Oh God the color wheel as it spun while those odd voices continued to vocalize!


11 years ago

Thank you for posting, and thanks to Father Of Tears for proving I haven’t totally lost it and that it actually does exist. Somewhere. I still have yet to find it.
Oh, and thank you—and by “thank you” I really mean DAMN YOU! (shakes fist)—for posting that picture of the “rabbit trick” from Twilight Zone: The Movie. Again! I still find that image pretty disturbing!

11 years ago

I can’t recall if this was an Electric Company or a Sesame Street clip, but there was one little animated song about three girls and one of them sang a note so long she started turning blue and trembling. Very traumatic. Plus those strangely plaintive tunes about the Capital I and the Lower Case N. And the scribbly ones about what would happen if everyone littered like Willie Wimple did.

10 years ago

I love this clip – far out! The sound of the frightened yelp brought me 35 years back in time in an instant!

5 years ago

BTW, the face morph clip is on YouTube! There’s one with a male and another with a female. Just so you know!!!

Good Lord, Asat, I remember that clip. Now I have to do a Traumafession. on it. Thanks.