Saturday, November 13, 2021

What Happened to the Quicksand? by Jenn McKinlay

 JENN McKINLAY: Recently, I saw what was to me a fantastically  hilarious meme...


Why was this so funny? Because as a child of the seventies and eighties, the Bermuda Triangle was a very big deal. It was an urban legend before we knew what urban legends were. 

I mean the potential to inadvertently fly over or sail through the 
B-Triangle, disappear, and never be seen again captured our imaginations and by that I mean it completely freaked us out in the best possible way. And then, it just sort of fizzled. You didn't hear about people disappearing anymore. 

Of course, quicksand was a major concern in my childhood, too. It seemed that on every television show, the heroes inevitably ended up in quicksand and someone had to throw them a rope and drag them out. My brother and I spent hours "rescuing" each other from make believe quicksand pits just so that we were prepared for that eventuality which never manifested.



Others childhood fears that turned out to be a bit of a let down:
  •  swallowing my gum
  • spontaneous human combustion
  • being kidnapped
  • amnesia
  • my permanent record.

So, how about you, Reds and Readers, what were the urban legends the saturated your childhood in baseless fear and worry?





49 comments:

  1. Like many “scary” urban legends, threats of the appearance of the Jersey Devil [who supposedly stalks the Pine Barrens and delights in terrorizing the local residents] could strike fear into the heart of a child. And, much like quicksand and the Bermuda Triangle, the beast is legendary, but apparently not much to worry about . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my, that is a terrifying one! Monsters would definitely make me tow the line!

      Delete
  2. JENN: That is so true about the Bermuda Triangle disappearances being hyped up in the 1970s/1980s and now it's not mentioned much at all. Don't remember the quicksand danger as much, though.

    Maybe not urban legends, but Bigfoot/Sasquatch sightings and searching for the elusive Ogopogo in Okanagan Lake (Canada's version of the Loch Ness Monster) were big monsters from my childhood.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A recent Ogopogo video:
      https://globalnews.ca/video/5401099/alleged-ogopogo-sighting-caught-on-camera-2

      Delete
    2. I had no idea you all had your own Nessie! Fascinating!

      Delete
    3. Yup! When I went to Kelowna BC for a workshop, I was able to buy an Ogopogo plush toy to add to my collection.

      Delete
  3. Oh, yes. Quicksand. I think Timmy was stuck in it and Lassie had to go get help. A huge worry!

    What about Mom myths: Don't cross your eyes or they'll get stuck that way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How about those big cramps you were supposed to get if you swam after eating? Love the quicksand, Jenn, that is perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucy , are you telling me that we were waiting an hour for nothing before going back in the river ? Gosh :)

      Delete
    2. Too funny. My cousins and I were totally cracking up over that very thing last summer.

      Delete
    3. Wait! We only had to wait thirty minutes.

      Delete
    4. That's up there with Edith's mom myths!

      Delete
    5. We just went back to swimming right away, no waiting.

      Delete
  5. Oh my! Quicksand. How much water was toted and how many holes dug and how much sand shoved in and mixed in the hope that we could create a trap for the “mean big kids”. Ah, being 5 in a neighborhood of 8 year olds. Thanks for the memory, Jenn.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Irwin and I are in stitches here! He wants you to know that although it isn't an urban legend, he still looks under the bed for The Creature From The Black Lagoon. He was obviously too young when he watched that movie!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Quicksand, especially while I was hermit crab hunting in the salt water marsh. Venomous snakes. Pythons in the toilet (which is true--they climb the scaly old pipes). The axe murderer in the woods (summer camp). Watermelon seeds taking root and growing in my stomach. And all the Mom myths.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The watermelon seeds!!!! I forgot about that gem.

      Delete
  8. Jenn, I didn’t fear quicksands here in Quebec but how many adventure films did I watch with the hero helping someone or being himself trapped in quicksand .

    We had “ le bonhomme sept heures “ who caught children if we got out of our terrain at night.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So true about the Bermuda Triangle! I bet all those people who got lost there are embarrassed now. I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying and plotting how to survive being marooned on a desert island. And how to have enough to read for however long it took to be rescued.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! Yes, reading material on the deserted island was a big concern.

      Delete
  10. Charlie Peck - our only cop. Every kid in town over generations was terrified of him. The 9pm curfew would blow (it was the fire whistle and you could hear it all over town), and every kid had to be home or Charlie Peck would get you and take you home to your parents where who knows what would happen. The sound of the siren was followed by the quiet rustle of running through the back yards as everyone scrambled for home. There is not a person who I have ever spoken with who was not either terrified of that whistle, or had a wonderful tale to tell of escaping the curfew – bonding over the generations. Sadly, both the whistle, Charlie, and that sense of the town settling down for the night is naught but memory.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my! I don't recall being too worried about quicksand and the Bermuda Triangle really wasn't on my radar when I was young enough to worry. But that stupid prayer had me terrified - "if I should die before I wake." OMG, I did not know that was possible, although I do realize now that back a hundred years ago and longer it was something that did happen, more often than not with all those terrible diseases. But I was freaked out and spent many sleepless nights trying not to die. The worst was when I spent the week at my aunt and uncle's house. He was an undertaker and I had a very active imagination! If you are wondering if I ever said anything about this to an adult, of course I didn't. It didn't even occur to me to do that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hugs, Judy. Childhood was so different back in the day. Someone once made the mistake of saying "don't let the bed bugs bite" and I didn't sleep for a week.

      Delete
  12. Trichinosis! Eating even slightly uncooked pork could give it to you and then you'd swallow your tongue. I have no idea if there's even a scintilla of truth in this, but these days no one worries about pink pork

    Three people on a match? Step on a crack? Walk under a ladder? Maybe on a dare. Am I the only one who thought I wouldn't go to hell if I lied with my fingers crossed?

    If I'd had an uncle who was an undertaker that would have done me in. Judi, did he "work" out of the house?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HALLIE: I never knew that was why they wanted us to overcook the pork to 180F!
      Glad to eat pink pork that's cooked to 160-165F now without fears of getting sick.

      Delete
    2. Swallow your tongue? Ack! That would have freaked me out!

      Delete
  13. I didn't have a prayer of being anywhere near the Bermuda Triangle so it didn't scare me. Growing up in the middle of the USA in the middle of the 20th century was incredibly benign-- except for the (valid) fears of polio (you could wind up in an iron lung!) or the atom bomb. Until the Salk vaccine, we never got overtired or chilled ("Get out of the lake. Your lips are turning blue. You'll get polio!"), and-- the equivalent of staying within our pod-- did not play with "strange children"! (I'm pretty sure they meant people from outside your neighborhood, rather than odd kids, but maybe not.)

    But the school janitor? Mr. Groda struck fear in our hearts! I think I might have had to take a note to him from my teacher in third or fourth grade. I have a memory of the vast plains of hell existing in his domain beneath our school, though I never actually went past the doorway. Maybe that's why I could so relate to the first few years of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Of course there were hellmouths under neighborhood schools; I'm certain there was one under Fifty Third Street School!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - terrifying! What does lie under the school? Ack!

      Delete
  14. Tornadoes. Definitely tornadoes. I had PTSD from the Wizard of Oz. As a little kid, I would sit in the way back of our station wagon, and set myself the task of making sure there were no tornadoes coming. I was very successful at it, because no tornadoes ever hurt us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ever the vigilant reporter, Hank! I can see this so clearly!

      Delete
  15. Recently there have been new theories about the Bermuda Triangle.
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bermuda-triangle-waves_n_5b628966e4b0b15aba9faaa4
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/357045.The_Bermuda_Triangle_Mystery_Solved

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oooh, the permanent record. The threat of that was held over our heads for years. I'll bet as soon as we graduated it went into the trash. Mom made me paranoid about eating fish for years. She made such a big deal about choking on bones that I chewed the fish to absolute mush before swallowing. It took me YEARS to get over that! I was also fearful of the undertow whenever we went to the beach. Mom (again!) would warn us about it. I thought the undertow was an eel-like creature that would grab you around the ankles and pull you out to sea. When I was in college I would fly home for the holidays, Austin to New Orleans and back. I always hoped we did not have a side trip to Cuba as hijacking was popular for a while. I could just see it happening if I were in a particular rush to get back to whatever was planned. As for the Bermuda Triangle, do you think it was a victim of the Bermuda Triangle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot one of the biggest threats of all time: Santa knows what you've been up to.

      Delete
    2. I asked my son and his reply was WW3. His teachers were convinced the U.S. and the U.S.S.R would go to war.
      And I remembered one more fear: bats. My big brother and I had to wait outside the hospital when my next sister was born. No kids allowed. So, there we were, parked under a street light, and Dad said to watch out for bats. They might be rabid and bite. Thank you, Dad!

      Delete
    3. Yes! Absolutely a constant worry!

      Delete
  17. Okay, I grew up in New Jersey - during the time of alien abductions. We also had a guy running around in the make-out spots in the Garret Mountains - he had one good hand and a hook for the other. We know about the hook because that's how he held the rope while he suspended the guys from trees. Upside down. Only the girlfriends hunkering on the floorboards of the cars survived. They never saw the hook-handed man! There was also a robot in the basement of Iviswold Castle that had been misprogramed and had a taste for killing kids who played hooky. Need I go on :).

    I have wondered about the Bermuda Triangle. Why it seems to have closed for business. I attended the University of Miami in the early 1970s. Flew through it regularly, sailed in it, boated in it, dove in it. We'd heard the stories, everyone knew someone, and probably the entire population of Florida was present at the take-off of Flight 19, but darn, I missed the opening of the Bermuda Triangle portal and always came home. Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! You're giving me a million story ideas, Kait.

      Delete
  18. This is wonderful, Jenn! I hadn't thought about the Bermuda Triangle in years. Or at least not since LOST:-) My cousin Geoff and I spent many happy hours helping each other escape from the quicksand. Of course there was always quicksand. What about stepping on cracks and breaking your mother's back? I still subconsciously avoid them.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Quicksand and Bermuda Triangles. Definitely some big fears from my childhood as well.

    ReplyDelete