No-one does creepy quite so well as children. In truly scary horror films, the antagonist is more often than not a terrifying child, spewing bile and imitating an owl in their incredible head-turning abilities (see Regan in The Exorcist) or proving the devil incarnate in the guise of a little boy who drives maids to their deaths and owns a lethal tricycle (the eerily well-presented Damien from The Omen).
At least the children in these films are more-or-less fictional, give or take the odd very, very loose basis on a true story. However, real-life kids can be just as unnerving from time to time. A 2013 thread on Reddit asking parents to disclose the creepiest thing their child has ever said wielded some truly disturbing results. Choice selections from the site include “My 3 year old daughter stood next to her newborn brother and looked at him for awhile then turned and looked at me and said, ‘Daddy it’s a monster…we should bury it'”, “A friend of mine’s child told him “Daddy, I love you so much that I want to cut your head off and carry it around so I can see your face whenever I want”, and the token visiting demon recount: “My 5 year old at the time had night terrors and would scream in her sleep. One night I said ‘mama’s here, it’s okay’. She looked right at me still asleep and screamed “mama? But who is that behind you?'”
No doubt about it, children can be terrifying. But is it any wonder, really, considering the dark origins of some of the fairy tales, legends and nursery rhymes that are blithely recounted to kids throughout their most influential years? This article numbers five of the most unnerving events to have inspired nursery rhymes, thus ensuring generation after generation of downright creepy kids and creeped out adults…
5. Three Blind Mice
Beginning the list is a well-known classic, the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice. The rhyme can be both recited and sung, presumably much to the joy of long-suffering parents, and is fairly violent even when read with no ulterior meaning: the entire text details blind rodents whose unfortunate circumstances are worsened by the brutal severing of their tails. Only slightly more horrifyingly, the rhyme is said to be based on the ruthless rulings of Queen Mary I of England, also known as “Bloody Mary”. The Queen was a Catholic, and the three blind mice of the poem refer to three Protestant noblemen who were accused of plotting against her, and subsequently burnt at the stake (no prizes for guessing who the farmer’s wife represents).
Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?