Things I Used to Be Afraid Of
1. Spontaneous combustion - not just the sudden conflagration of a pile of newspapers in the closet but of my own body. As a kid of maybe 8 years old, I was seriously worried I might spontaneously burst into flames. I must have seen this on an episode of "Wonder Woman" or "Six Million Dollar Man."
2. Getting stuck in purgatory - I was a good Catholic kid so naturally I was concerned I would go to Hell if I was bad (forget about Santa not giving me presents, I feared the Devil). Worse was learning about purgatory or limbo. To assuage my worries, my mother assured me that would not happen to me since I had been baptized. So naturally, I became worried for all of those babies who had not been baptized.
3. Botulism - in the 70s there were some outbreaks of botulism linked to canned mushrooms which marked my psyche forever. To this day, I still examine every centimeter of a can of anything and refuse to purchase or use a can that has even the slightest indentation. So technically, this is one thing I am still afraid of.
4. Dolls coming to life - not to terrorize me a la "Chucky," nor for adventures a la "Toy Story," but to chastise me for not taking them into bed with me. For this reason, I would tuck all of my stuffed animals and dolls under the covers each night and make sure that they each had a turn to be next to me.