Tuesday, May 7, 2019


While creating some monsters for my latest book, I thought about what terrified me, and most of what did were monsters from childhood stories. Here are some classics that gave me the willies.

The Wheelers (Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
Half man, half bicycle, these nightmares make the flying monkeys look downright adorable in comparison. Watch the film Return to Oz if you have any desire to see these horrors in the flesh.

Princess Langwidere (Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
Yet another Oz creature, memorable because of her vain and psychotic desire to collect the heads of young girls to use as her own, a sort of mix-and-match. She kept the heads on shelves in her walk-in-closet. Like hats.

The Scissor Man (German nursery rhyme)
This vicious tailor is portrayed in some illustrated editions as an elongated, grinning fiend with scissor for hands. Beware, all thumbsuckers, Edward Scissorhands he is not.

Jadis, The White Witch (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis)
Seductive and icy (and played to perfection in the film by Tilda Swinton), this power-hungry witch is portrayed in one chilling illustration with a knife in one hand, preparing to stab Aslan the lion, bound and beaten and tied to a slab. I was nine when I opened this book for the first time to that illustration and hastily returned this book to the library shelf.

Tinkerbell (Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)
This tiny, pretty fairy terrifying? She was a murderous, treacherous bit of jealousy who tries to get the lost boys to kill Wendy and almost betrays Peter Pan. I always imagined her with sharp teeth.

Jabberwocky (Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll)
A nonsense poem about a monster read by Alice. John Tenniel's nightmarish illustration of this thing has it looking like a cross between a giant catfish and a frog, with big teeth and sharp claws. And it's wearing a vest.

It (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle)
Okay, not the clown. Described as a giant, muscular brain, It is an intellect that only wants to rule and, if you've read the story, I'm sure you still fell a bit of unease whenever you see an anatomical model of a brain.

The Sea Witch (The Little Mermaid by Hands Christian Andersen)
slimy polypi, grass snakes,toads, and large, swampy breasts are the terms used to describe this hideous witch of the sea, who cruelly fools a little mermaid into giving up her voice and eventually her life.

Shlamoofs (The Neverending Story by Michael Ende)
Butterfly clowns. Yes. Butterfly clowns. comical, yet terrifying, as is the case with most clowns, and adding butterfly wings doesn't making them any less skincrawly.

Gollum (The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)
Grotesque, vicious, pathetic, insane, he is the creep in the dark.

And that's it, boy sand girls. what do you remember as terrifying in your storybooks?