Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Irrational Childhood Fears Ranked

Have you ever encountered real quicksand?

Most all children have an amazing imagination, but it isn’t always for the best. In a time growing up with fewer iPads than now, my deepest fears were created in the back of my mind while left alone with my thoughts. Eventually, the flip switches in every person’s mind as they make their way to adolescence and realize that most giant fears we had as children are really not rational. Some things are scary to think about, whether it’s actually dangerous or not, but as we grow up and our brains develop a little more, everyone begins to feel a little more secure while sitting in the creepy darkness of their childhood bedroom. For this article, I have decided to rank the top most common and somewhat irrational childhood fears based on how dangerous they actually are in the real world, not imaginary world.

13. Swallowing a watermelon seedl'argent est attirรฉ par moi on X: "This is what I thought would happen to me after swallowing a watermelon seed as a kid" / X

The most irrational and least dangerous fear on this list is swallowing a seed and growing a tree in your stomach. I think my mom is the one that told me this fib, but it was years later until I realized that I will not actually grow a watermelon in my stomach after accidentally swallowing a tiny black watermelon seed. I was also scared that I would look pregnant with the full-grown watermelon in my stomach.

12. Getting swallowed by a whalePinocchio (Disney, 1940), for World Oceans Day

I couldn’t remember why this was a fear of mine when I was little until Alexa Conlon (12) pointed out that Pinocchio got swallowed by a whale while searching for his father. I think what makes this fear scarier is the fever dream-ish vibe of the cartoon version of the movie. Although it is fully possible to be swallowed by a whale, considering they have huge mouths and harmless teeth (if any), it is very unlikely to happen unless you are deep sea fishing somewhere with whales and decide to go swimming.

11. Monsters under the bedMonster Under the Bed: Helping Your Kids - Sleep and Cognition

A classic. Every little kid hears a scary story at some point about monsters that hide under beds, or maybe the imagination plays tricks and convinces you that something is going to grab your leg from under the bed. While there is nothing to save you other than pulling your covers over your head, the fear is ultimately harmless. The only thing you would have to worry about is if there are any humans or animals hiding under your bed, not monsters. This irrational fear usually subsides within only a couple years, so it’s nothing to worry about.

10. Fear of dollsR.L. Stine's the Haunting Hour" Really You: Part 1 (TV Episode 2010) - IMDb

I wish I could put this higher on the list because dolls can be so creepy, but they really can’t come to life, steal your life, turn you into a doll, and kill you (shout out to that one episode of R.L. Stine’s the Haunting Hour). This is a very valid childhood fear because it is so common and completely understandable, but as long as it’s daytime and you are not outnumbered by dolls, you will be fine.

9. WhirlpoolsThe BIGGEST Whirlpools Of All Time - YouTube

While whirlpools are a real phenomenon, it is not a very concerning thought as you grow older. A whirlpool is a body of rotating water produced by opposing currents or a current running into an obstacle. Big whirlpools have the ability to pull things under water with intense force, but it is possible to survive when remaining calm.

8. Alligators or Sharks at the bottom of a swimming poolThis was probably the most irrational childhood fear that I had : r/thalassophobia

This is a very possible situation, but easily avoidable. You can see the bottom of a pool especially if there is a giant gray or green animal at the bottom. The only situation where you would need to be worried is if you decided to jump in an algae-filled green pool in Florida, so stay clear.

7. Quicksand/Black TarHow to Escape Quicksand and What Never to Do if You're Stuck

This is a very popular childhood fear that is quickly forgotten because of how rare it is to be caught in quicksand. I knew exactly how to escape the sinking terror at 6 years old and I have yet to come across the situation. The closest encounter I have had is being stuck in pluff mud, but that just comes with living in the low country.

6. The Bermuda TriangleWatch The Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters Season 1 Episode 1 | HISTORY Channel

The Bermuda Triangle is a region in the North Atlantic Ocean also known as the Devil’s Triangle. It is known for the disappearance of ships and water vessels, but most ships pass through without a problem. The idea of the Bermuda Triangle is so terrifying because no one really knows what causes the disappearances and where the lost ships go. There are many different theories revolving around extraterrestrial activity which is very ambiguous and spooky to a little kid. Since the Bermuda Triangle is a real place, it is not entirely an irrational fear, but it is not higher on the list because it is not something to really worry about while living on land.

5. Bloody MaryMonstrum | How Bloody Mary Turns Fear Into Fun | Season 5 | Episode 2 | PBS

I wish I could put this higher on the list. Bloody Mary is an old urban legend of a woman named Mary who experienced a traumatic death or was a murderer. People would lock themselves in the bathroom (or get locked), turn off the lights, light a few candles, and repeat the words “Bloody Mary” three times with their eyes closed. The legend states that when you open your eyes, Bloody Mary will appear behind you and come for you. I never dared to say those words when I was younger, but I have done it before and nothing happened. While it is a scary adrenaline rush, there is no real evidence that Bloody Mary exists.

4. 20122012 Apocalypse FAQ: Why the World Won't End | Space

The idea that the world was going to end or that there would be a huge apocalyptic event on December 21st, 2012 was a huge concern for me. It was spread around that the world would end because the Mayan calendar was interpreted to mean that the end of a major cycle was on December 21st, 2012, signifying the end of the world. Everyone waited anxiously and the day passed by like every other. This is a valid fear considering the end of the world is a terrifying thought.

3. Someone hiding behind a shower curtainShadowy Figure Scary Shower Curtain

This fear is pretty basic, yet valid considering that it is very possible that a person could be hiding behind your shower curtain. It is not very likely, but breaking and entering does happen and a person can fit behind a shower curtain. This could end up being very dangerous, but most of the time, no one is really there.

2. MoMoThe Momo Challenge Is Not Real - The Atlantic

I can’t even look at that picture. MoMo is a character that was spread all over the internet and forms of social media in 2016. It is a shockingly terrifying creature that has been known to manipulate children and teens into harming themselves and others through the screen. People say different things about what MoMo does, but either way it is still intimidating if not just creepy.

“It’s like really scary. One time I threw my phone across the room when Momo popped up.” -Charlie Zaifert (12)

1. Snake or Spider in the toiletWet Weather Has Led To A Rise In Toilet Snakes Across Australia And Honestly I'll Just Hold It

This fear is at the top of the list because it is the most rational and still dangerous childhood fear. Imagine being attacked by a venomous snake or spider when you least expect it. The spider or snake could hide perfectly on the side of the toilet bowl and bite you in the worst possible places. If you survive the bite, the PTSD would be terrible and you could probably never use a toilet again.


Honorable mentions:

  • Volcanoes
  • Tsunamis
  • Clowns
  • Sinkholes
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