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!