Traumafessions :: Reader Taylor on Indiana Jones & the Missing Head

When I was a really little kid in the early 80s and was too young to go see the coolest movies, my parents would get these “read-along” storybook versions of movies for my brother and me. They were very short picture booklets that came with tapes of someone (usually not the original actor) in character telling you what happens in the story as you flip through the book…You’d know to turn the page when you heard a chime. I remember that we had them for the STAR WARS movies, and E.T. (I specifically remember young DREW BARRYMORE as Gertie really hamming it up on the tape struggling to pronounce “extra-terrestrial”).

To my trauma: In the booklet for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, there was a still from the movie of the part where Indiana Jones is leaping from a horse onto the side of a truck. To my mind, because of the position of Indy’s body and his arms, it looked like he was missing his head. This was utterly terrifying to me…I’d always shut my eyes whenever I’d get to that page in the book, then open them again when we got to the next page (I couldn’t really flip ahead, not without the chime allowing me too, for God’s sake!). I guess I was really too young to follow the story very carefully, even being totally spoon-fed the dumbed-down version, because I saw it as: “Indy’s having adventures, having adventures, LOOK OUT FOR THE HEADLESS MONSTER-MAN, having adventures…”

I couldn’t find the actual still, but I grabbed it from the scene on Youtube for you. I’m at work, so I don’t have the DVD to get it…But I think the Youtube-quality makes it even eerier…

UNK SEZ: Taylor, this traumafession cracks me up! I love it! It just goes to show you, no matter how hard we try to shield our kids from kindertrauma, kindertrauma can be found in just about anything! I guess it’s just a natural and necessary part of growing up and of learning the difference between real and imagined dangers. I also should congratulate you on your bravery and sense of duty for patiently waiting for the record to chime before turning the offending page! I found the below image on eBay, is this the diabolical record that stands accused?

AFTERTHOUGHT: Taylor I can’t stop thinking about your traumafession! I would like to share one of my own personal bogey monsters. A creature that crawled out of the mists of my not fully formed brain and whose creation can only be blamed on me. Her name was MARY WOLF and I was quite sure she had committed herself to my destruction. Her name was derived from my misunderstanding of an overheard conversation about the comic MARY WORTH. (Why someone should be discussing MARY WORTH and not APARTMENT 3-G I’ll never know!) At first she was an actual wolf, but later I remember there was a picture on the cover of an old children’s encyclopedia of an African mud mask with straw hair that I was convinced was the demon’s true image captured. In any case, she didn’t come from an R-rated movie, she did not spawn from a creepy commercial or song or from anything that I was exposed to that I should not have been. MARY WOLF (or is it MERRY WOLF?) came from me. When cars drove past our house at night they’d shoot squares of light across my bedroom ceiling. I imagined all of those blocks of light were road signs and warnings that read “BEWARE OF MARY WOLF!” and “GO BACK NOW!” I just wanted you to know that she has lived in an iron cage in the back of my brain until headless Indy sprung her free early this morning. I hope they are not planning to team up!

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Amanda By Night
14 years ago

I used to get this Alfred Hitchcock record from the library where there is this ongoing story that plays between each stand-alone story which basically ends with Hitch drowning! There’s this kind of underwater gurgling sound. Anyway, I’d listen to the Monkey’s Paw or whatever and be fine and then I’d hear that god-forsaken gurgling and I’d be done for! In fact, I think I used to listen to the record all the time without listening to the end, and then when I finally got to the drowning, I never checked it out again!

14 years ago

That is indeed the offending record!  That might as well be a picture of my brother and me on the back, except that I don’t remember having owned that ringer tee, and my brother wasn’t a little girl.
Your “Mary Wolf” story reminds me of stories I’ve heard about my mother’s imaginary friends that she had as a kid, Judy Blossom and Eggrits.  Judy Blossom was the nice one, and Eggrits was the evil one (so named because my mother liked neither eggs nor grits).  I’m told that she would make my grandparents set a place at dinner for Judy Blossom, but absolutely not for Eggrits…I don’t know what that guy (girl?) ever did to my mom to make her so angry and scared, but I’ve often wondered if the unrevealed twist was that Eggrits was actually Judy Blossom’s secret alternate personality!!!!  [cue dramatic music.]  I’d ask my mom if the thinks that could be possible, but I don’t want to freak her out and have her flash back to all of the times where Judy Blossom and Eggrits were conveniently never in the same room at the same time…