I’ve always known that I have a terrible fear of spiders, but can you remember that one thing in life that truly terrified you?
I’m not talking about some irrational fear, but something that was deep-seated from your childhood, something that occasionally rears its ugly head in random nightmares…
Being back in Chicago, my childhood fear popped back into my subconscious the other night, prompting me to ask you all this very question.
As young as I can remember I was mortified of ventriloquist dummies. I’m not anymore, but I still have a reoccurring nightmare I’ve been having since I was 8 years old.
The earliest recollection of the fear I have is of the below 1984 McDonald’s commercial featuring Willie Tyler and his ventriloquist dummy, Lester. Any time that commercial would pop on I would be in my parents’ bed that night – and I want to go as far as to say my parents were so annoyed they mailed letters of complaint to McDonald’s (like that does any good).
While Tyler is my earliest memory, the one that haunted me the most was spawned by Paul Winchell, who has his own variety show called “The Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney Show.” Jerry Mahoney, pictured above left, was the scariest looking doll I had ever seen – so scary to a child that he would haunt my nightmares for 30 years. I’m not exactly sure how I saw this 1950’s show in the 80’s, but clearly, it had a profound impact on me.
Ever since I can remember I’ve been having these lucid dreams where I walk out of my room, look to my left, and see Jerry Mahoney starring at me in the blackest of the corner with beaming red eyes. I begin to run and end up being chased through London-esque streets with layered brick as roads. It’s always the same nightmare, and I always wake up with my heart racing. As an adult, I think it’s hilarious and awesome, but holy crap did it scare the shit out of my when I was younger.
What scared you? I mean, what realllllly scared you? Tyler and Lester wanna hear from you below.