I was talking with my editor today about childhood fears that influenced me, particularly when it comes to horror. Here are the main ones:
Dolls. When I was a child, I believed dolls could come to life. Stuffed animals were fine but dolls? Couldn't stand them, especially at night. Instead, I turned them to face the wall before I went to bed. In case you're wondering, did I ever get over my fear? Yes and no. I finally managed to watch "The Doll" Night Gallery episode (still creepy after all these years) and I've collected some of the Series 1 Bleeding Edge Goth dolls. (I had to buy another set for my daughter.) But dolls still manage to instill in me that sense of uneasiness. I would also recommend Serena Valentino's Nightmares and Fairytales, in which a doll named Annabelle narrates some tragic and horrifying stories involving her owners.
Clowns. Not surprising, I suppose, given coulrophobia is supposed to be wide-spread. Interesting little article here. Can't attest to its accuracy but yes, clowns still creep me out. I was at a circus and one of the clowns used the loudspeaker which scared the hell out of me. So I guess I associated that loud noise with clowns. However, I'm not afraid of them any more even if some still come across as creepy.
8-Legged Creatures. I can't even say the word. Trust me. If I do, one will appear. I can't look at them on TV or in books, no where. That started when I was about two or three and touched what I thought was a crack. When it moved, I almost ended up in the next county, screaming my head off. The irony? I had touched a daddy long legs which is not a member of that family. Go figure.
Decapitation. Believe it or not, I know someone who saw a body decapitated by a logging truck. I'm better at being able to watch beheadings in movies like Sleepy Hollow. I know it's special effects. But in real life what bothers me is the supposed idea the head can live on its own, depending on how long oxygen remains in the brain.Not a very humane means of execution.
I haven't written any stories involving these fears. I think it's simply that I'm not quite ready to and I have other story ideas I want to write first. But as I venture more into writing macabre, no doubt one or more of these "influences" will be at the forefront of my mind.