It’s the scariest time of the year, and so we asked the Deadspin staff to get in the spirit and share their worst fears. Most of us are afraid of normal stuff like death and Bad Internet, but it turns out that we’re all babies who are also scared of very weird, very specific things, too. Please feel free to clown us in the comments. Happy Halloween.
Metal Things: I do not like metal things touching me. This is especially true of sharp metal things, but I don’t like round metal things like spoons much, either. Especially in my mouth, which is especially inconvenient for, uh, spoons. Or forks, which are both sharp and go in my mouth. *shivers* - Tim Burke
Small Round Foods: Blueberries are objectively great. They taste good and they’re good for your organs, and yet I can’t bring myself to eat them, despite full knowledge of their benefit in deoxidizing your blood and making your cardiac muscles age backwards or some shit. This is because of their shape. I fear small round foods. Peas, grapes, capers, blueberries—throw them in the trash. Somehow, quinoa is okay, as are tortellini. Writing this paragraph is making me gag and I am going to eat some focaccia to achieve geometric equilibrium. Oh, and I hate needles too, because I am a shape idiot. - Patrick Redford
Being Buried Alive: When I was kid there was this horror movie that came out called The Serpent & The Rainbow. Now I never saw that movie, and it’s not exactly like it’s a classic, but the ads scared me to death because they featured the voice of a character pleading... ‘Don’t let them bury me... I’m not dead.’ Completely freaked me the fuck out. Any time someone is buried alive in movies like The Vanishing or Kill Bill 2 or Casino, I can picture myself underground somewhere in some airtight coffin, clawing to get out and screaming for help and realizing that no one can hear me and it scares me SHITLESS. There are bugs down there, man. The bugs are gonna get me. This is why I wanna be cremated. I am taking NO chances. - Drew Magary
Moths: Moths! Moths are fucking bullshit and they scare me a lot. If you took the scary speed zombies from 28 Days Later and turned them into insects, they would basically be moths. Just ugly-ass pieces of crap that aimlessly zip around the world with reckless abandon.
A moth will just fly into your face for no goddamn reason. They’ll fly right the fuck into a ceiling fan, get batted across the room, and then just get right back up and continue terrorizing people. Having a moth in your house is like being around a menacing drunk guy who refuses to go to put down the kitchen knife and just go to sleep already.
Sometimes they will literally lodge themselves in your ear and try to lay eggs. That’s bad. - Tom Ley
Bridges And Tunnels: When I was a kid, my parents took me to see Daylight for my birthday. I was 10, the movie was PG-13, and I resent them to this day for bending the rules for me. You see, the movie is about a group of strangers who get trapped inside a tunnel in New York City after explosions render both exits useless. The tunnel starts to flood at one point, there are multiple fires, and several electrical scares, and an even more suffocating sense of claustrophobia than you already feel sharing the confines of a narrow space filled with cars and other mouth-breathers. I left the theater that day knowing how I was going to die.
That was nearly 20 years ago, and I am still stricken with overwhelming panic whenever I’m sitting in traffic in a tunnel. (Though, my fear has matured with time and grown to include bridges, ie. just another claustrophobic space filled with cars.) Being stuck above or below solid ground, where I have an easily identifiable exit route, is the one thing that will prompt me to start silently chanting “be cool, be cool, be cool” to myself. If we’re moving along, everything’s just fine. Put me on a boat or plane and we’re good. But once I hear the squeal of brakes or see a jam of cars ahead, I am sure that it’s all going to end for me right then and there. This will be the day the bridge collapses! This will be the day that terrorists strike! What was the last thing I Tweeted?! Oh, we’re moving again. Phew. -Puja Patel
Stairs: I hate stairs. The down part is easy. It’s the ascension that really trips me up. Maybe it’s because I have the grace and elegance of a newborn giraffe taking its first steps, but I hate climbing fucking stairs. Literally, every time, I envision myself tripping and biting it, face first, on the edge of the stairs, knocking out all of my teeth and breaking my jaw. I’m cringing just writing this. Luckily, I live in NYC, so I get to face my fear, head on, every... single...day.
It’s only a matter of time, really. - Tara Jacoby
The New Jersey Turnpike: I’ve probably made the drive from DC to NYC more than 100 times in my life. But for as long as I can remember, all I can think about between Wilmington and the George Washington Bridge is how I’m going to pop a tire, pull over, and get mashed by an 18-wheeler. I fear the shoulder-less, two-lane portions of the Turnpike way more than I do ISIS or cholesterol. I’ve long figured it’ll all end for me somewhere near Metuchen, a place that I know nothing about but I’ve seen its name on signs while dwelling my demise. I might not make that drive again, now that I think about it. -Dave McKenna
Songs That Fade In Really Slowly: I was a weird, skittish kid, and music only made me weirder and skittish-er. This song, absent any other stimuli, scared the crap out of me; so did this one; so did a couple dozen others. There’s no obvious link among them, but now, as a weird, skittish adult, I’ve uncovered a few notable patterns.
I refer you now to the Feelies’ “The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness.”
Does the first 60 seconds of this song not give you an anxious, ominous, terrifying feeling? Like a vicious tidal wave, or a horde of Mongols, or a plague of locusts are slowly advancing or descending or whatever, covering a great distance at incredible speed? Don’t you feel vulnerable and helpless and alone? They’re coming for you, and there’s nowhere to hide. Are you reading this from the fetal position?
No? Hahahahaha, yeah, me neither. - Rob Harvilla
Cupboards: One of my first New York apartments had a longstanding roach infestation—the really nasty German fuckers who live under the sink and come up the drain in the tub. You don’t know panic until you’re taking an evening dump and catch one of those big, burly motherfuckers in the corner of your eye, doing a 40-yard dash across the bathroom tiles. It was bad enough that my roommate and I would alternate taking off work for the last Tuesday of the month, which was when the exterminator did his rounds. Obviously, roaches are no good, but you usually have a good sense of where and when they’ll turn up—except for the little fuckers who, for whatever reason, don’t live in the wet places, and post up in the fucking cupboards. In my entire 18 months living in that shit hole, I never once opened a cupboard without seeing multiple roaches bolt behind the Target dinner plates. We eventually just stopped going in there. They owned the place. And that’s why, to this day, I still get a little psychic shock every time I open a cupboard. -Kyle Wagner
Snakes: Unlike Indiana Jones, I have no compelling reason for being afraid of snakes. I’ve never fallen into a pit of them, I’ve never been bitten by one (they bite, right?), and I quite doubt I’ve ever seen a poisonous one outside of a zoo. My fear isn’t even unique; it’s because they’re so goddamn slithery. When I see a cold-blooded and scaley snake slither, it triggers some ancient response buried deep in my brain and I can’t get away fast enough.
I get through 95% of scary situations in life by, essentially, calculating odds. There were a couple of shark attacks this summer within 25 miles of the beach I’m going to? I’m still much more likely to die driving there, so dive right in. But even though I know a garter snake is absolutely harmless and I’m in more danger from my dishwasher, my heart starts palpitating if I get within 10 feet of one. All rationality goes out the window when one of those little motherfuckers starts throwing his body back-and-forth to move. - Kevin Draper
Birds: Imagine you wake up and there’s a small bird trapped underneath your covers. Picture yourself trapped in a standup shower with an angry, hungry goose. I’m scared of birds. I have imagined some terrifying bird-based scenarios, too. Like the one where you’ve been dipped in glue, then dipped in bird seed, then locked inside a covered hot tub that’s been filled with swallows. Or the one where you’re driving a tiny Mazda in rush hour traffic and you adjust the rear view mirror to a family of turkeys staring back to you. These things may never happen, but I always hit the deck when a pigeon flies too close to me. If given the chance, a bird will peck the eyes out of your head. I will never see the movie The Birds. -Leslie Horn
Funerals: Funerals are the worst and scariest things that have ever been conceived. There’s a dead fucking body, just laying there. That ghost of that dead body is somewhere in the cut, judging you. Everyone’s wearing black. Everyone’s crying, or thinking sad thoughts. It always seems to be raining. There’s a cloud of misery over everything.
I’ve always been deathly afraid of funerals. My godmother, who was my dad’s best friend, died when I was a teenager. I hid in my room the entire day before the funeral, feigning being sick. On the morning of the funeral, I refused to come out of my room, and eventually my family left without me. I don’t know if I’ve ever made my dad more disappointed in my life. He never mentioned it again, and that was pretty scary, too. - Greg Howard
Literally Everything: I’m scared of disclosing my fear to the internet, because they could use it against me. -Samer Kalaf
Illustration by Jim Cooke.