I lived in Minnesota throughout my childhood and I would often visit Chicago to see my mom’s side of the family. When I was about 6 years old or so, I went to my cousin’s house, (and mind you, all of my cousins were older than me by several years). All of my cousins were down in the basement watching a movie about dolls, or so I thought. Who doesn’t want to watch a movie about dolls as a small child, amirite??
Well, my cousins invited me to watch with them, so feeling really cool that I was finally being included with the big kids, I was excited to finally be a big kid too. Only, maybe about 5 minutes in to watching the movie did I realize that this so called “doll” was really a demon monster. That’s right, I’m talking about the movie “Child’s Play.”
So here I am, young, vulnerable, and impressionable. Of course I didn’t last very long in that basement with my cousins. I was too scared to be a big kid so you better believe that I ran my ass up those stairs straight to my mom probably. I believe she did her best to sooth and comfort me as a child, but none of that could have really prepared me for what was yet to come (mtbr).
After the initial exposure at my cousin’s house in Chicago, I went back to normal life as a child living in Minnesota. I had other cousins visiting me from California and New York, all of us were roughly the same age, about 4 years apart. I was the youngest of the group and tagged along with the second youngest one in the group.
The two older ones, whom I’ll call Michaelangelo and Raphael, would often prank me and my other cousin, Leonardo (by now I’m sure you’ve realized that these names come from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and of course I’d be Donatello). For instance, one time me and Leonardo received a letter in the mail that read “WATCH OUT” in lipstick. It was written backwards so that you could only read it looking through the mirror. Scary stuff, right?
Well, one summer evening, when they were visiting me from their respective states, Mikey and Raph invited Leo and myself (Donny) to join them in a slumber party. While those two slept in the queen size bed, they had made two floor sleeping areas on both sides of the bed for Leo and me. How sweet, I thought.
Ecstatic about the invite, Leo and I dressed in our best jammies and were ready to laugh and giggle and stay up until we passed out from exhaustion. But Mikey and Raph were up to no good. Call this intuition if you will, but something compelled me to lift the bed skirt and look underneath the bed. There, in the dark, I saw that one of my talking dolls had her hands taped together with a play dough knife sticking out. It was all roughed up looking and stared right at me with those blue, dead eyes.
Mikey and Raph laugh, I scream bloody murder, and Leo’s outta the loop.
Concerned, my mother rushed down the hall from her bedroom and busted through the door asking what happened. She sees me terrified and crying hysterically. She pulls me up from the floor by my shirt and inadvertently chokes me in the process. I don’t remember much of what happened after that commotion, but Raph consistently puts blame on Mikey for being the master mind while Mikey has yet to own up to pulling the prank in the first place. Leo still doesn’t have a clue.
Obviously I couldn’t see my doll the same way again. More to be revealed…
I remember telling my mother that I didn’t like the doll anymore because it scared me. She had spent a pretty dime on it because it was a talking doll, much like the one in the movie, or so I had originally thought. For instance, if you kissed its forehead, it would say “I love you,” and if you squeezed one of its hands, it would recite the first few letters of the alphabet (this video below gives a taste of what kinda doll I’m referring to but it’s not the exact doll I had growing up). It was a fuckin’ rad ass toy for a kid my age! So my mother kept it around for a couple years and it just lived in the basement among other rejected toys of my childhood. But every time I went into that basement to play, I was creeped out by the doll’s corrupted energy.
The aftermath effects from the initial exposure at my cousin’s house in Chicago and that fateful slumber party had lingered well past childhood and into my dreams. For about 10 years, I had recurrent nightmares about Chucky. It was a pretty twisted nightmare and each time I had it, it was the same exact dream. I couldn’t really make sense of it.
I’m 11-12 years old and I’m sleeping in my bedroom. The bedroom door leading out into the hall way is on the left and kitty-corner to the foot of my bed, while the bathroom door is to the left where I can see the toilet from the view on my pillow.
It’s quiet and still. The fan is not on because the temperature is comfortable enough, but I’m still sleeping with a fairly heavy blanket that had pastel flowers on it. There’s just enough light from the moon peeking in through the trees and into my window. I can see shadows of things against the wall, and I’m starting to feel that I’m not alone.
I look towards the bathroom and notice that the toilet seat is lifted. Thinking nothing of it, I turn my head back towards the foot of my bed. I am now strapped into my bed, as if I was held in restraints at an insane asylum, and one of my feet is sticking out from under the blanket. I look back over to the toilet to my left and see a small figure standing on a step stool dropping something into the toilet bowl. I squint my eyes and see that it’s Chucky whispering to and feeding my toilet sugar cubes.
Panicked and confused, I again turn my head back to the foot of my bed and try to wiggle myself free from the restraints. I am unsuccessful and am startled by what I see. Chucky is now biting my big toe.
Suddenly, I open my eyes in this dream and can feel my jaw locked open. I look above me and see Chucky… standing there… whispering to me… and feeding me sugar cubes.
I turned into the toilet.
I don’t know what to say, honestly. It’s comical reading it back, and I also feel a bit embarrassed that this was the recurring dream that I had for 10 years, like really. I mean, who wouldn’t have a dream about murderous dolls?
In my childhood, the nightmares were so severe that I was scared of the dark and of falling asleep. I remember laying awake at night, staring at my ceiling fan thinking about death. I wanted to crawl into my parent’s bed for comfort but they were trying to teach me about being “a big girl” so that I could learn how to sooth myself to sleep. Instead, I curled up with a blanket outside their bedroom door because somehow the proximity made me feel better knowing that my parents were just on the other side and could rescue or save me in case something happened.
The story continues…
I eventually convinced my mother to get rid of the doll. Relieved, she had given it away to a family friend. I can’t remember how long it had been, but the thought of the doll had left my mind and I felt comfortable enough to play in the basement again. Until one day, I was alone and rummaging through old toys when I stumbled upon this doll, staring at me the way it did when it was under the bed all those years ago.
I screamed again. My nervous system kicked in and I was running like a bat outta hell up those basement steps. Concerned that the doll had found its way back to the house, I begged my mother to take care of it. She dismissed my concerns but complied with my request because I suppose I was being “melo-dramatic” about it, but hello, who wouldn’t be freaked out by that!
So again, I felt free from the evil energy of this doll and safe enough to go back to living my youth.
Nope, the doll didn’t like that. It somehow found its way BACK to my basement. I really don’t know how, and I’ve asked my mother about this several times and she’s lost track of how all of this came to be. Luckily, this was just before our big move from Minnesota to California. I personally made sure that the doll stayed behind, and as far as I know, it has. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s under my bed right now and always will be (in memory).
These events were incredibly significant to my life. As a child, it taught me that innocent objects aren’t necessarily safe, and that loved ones aren’t necessarily trustworthy. It taught me that I am helpless and that I’m basically a giant toilet for people to shit in (I still really don’t understand why the toilet???).
But even after I moved from Minnesota to California, I was in my mid-teens and still being haunted by this nightmare. During this time I was also into art, and one day I decided to illustrate the scene of Chucky feeding my toilet sugar cubes with oil pastels. Interestingly enough, I haven’t had the nightmare since then (also, probably due to the traumatic nature of this whole thing, I must have gotten rid of the drawing to idk save my soul). I don’t have the same tension or hyper-vigilance about talking dolls like I had throughout the decade before, but I will still burn a ventriloquist’s dummy like there’s no tomorrow.
I don’t recall speaking about this with anyone until revealing the experience to one of my therapists in the early 2010s (I was between 26-27). He helped me realize that the sequence of events was actually quite traumatic. He also told me that there’s research out there suggesting that dream analysis and interpretation can be incredibly valuable with the help from an experienced therapist (read this if you’re interested in learning more about dream analysis in therapy), and that drawing or writing about things that scare us can help “tame the monsters” or create some distance from our fears and help us make more sense out of the experience so that we can cope with it and recover better.
So the idea of this doll feeding my toilet sugar cubes really stumps me, but what stumps me even more is why in the hell I turn into the goddamn toilet?? I mean, I’ll give myself credit for creativity, but really, I think this nightmare signified my fears of being helpless and overpowered by the unknown, and highlighted my anxiety about my insecurities and low self-confidence. I imagine that the toilet really represents the need to “flush out toxic waste” as a way to release negative emotions that I had been holding on to. But what does it mean to actually be the toilet? Well perhaps I felt degraded and disrespected by Mikey and Raph, but also, since there was no one I could talk to about this emotional scar, it’s likely that I became the toilet because I couldn’t quite eliminate the toxicity and so I had to reabsorb it (hence the recurrent nature of the nightmare).
What’s really surprising that even after all this I am still a huge fan of scary movies, and I’m actually really really excited about the new movie “Annabelle” coming out on August 11th, but FUCK ventriloquist dummies!!!
*Ahem* anyway, here’s the gif of Jason doin’ something that ruined my childhood road trips from Minnesota to Chicago:
Do you have any crazy stories like this or any scary movies that still haunt you? If so, drop a comment below!