Scary Book Moments

Ramses the Great alive. I can’t bring myself to post a pic of his dead face…

Two events stand out as the scariest book moments I ever experienced. I wish I could tell you the works that frightened me were by famous horror writers, but one of them was a children’s book. The other was a history text, and the scare was unintended.

Runner-up for the scariest moment I ever experienced while reading a book comes from grade school, when I was fascinated with ancient Egypt. I  was sitting down with a big 8″ by 11″ tome. I turned the page and suddenly discovered a life-sized image of the shriveled-up face of Ramses the Great.

I recoiled in fear and dropped the book. It was a helluva creepy thing to come upon. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking ancient Egypt is sure to have pictures of mummies, right? Well, maybe, but I’d never seen a picture of one unwrapped before, and I wasn’t even reading about mummies. I was reading about the conquests of Ramses the Great. One minute I was thinking about chariot battles, then, suddenly I was eye to empty eye socket with his long-dead face.

But that was just the runner-up to my scariest book moment. First place and grand prize goes to those scary green pants with nobody inside them. Thanks, Dr. Seuss. I know you fully intended that story to be about overcoming fear and prejudice, but your story scared the bejeezus out of me. Those ghostly pants freaked me out so bad that I was actually afraid to touch the Sneeches book in which the story was found. I loved that Sneeches story, though, and I thought the one after the Sneeches, about the Zaxx, was pretty good, so I’d read those two, but I was always afraid I’d accidentally turn the page too far and see those damned pants. I wasn’t one of those kids who got a secret thrill from being scared. I never “accidentally” took a glimpse to get my blood racing. I HATED those things. The funny thing is, most people I’ve talked to didn’t have any problems with them, including my own son. When I realized my wife had been reading him that traumatizing story, I nearly tore out my hair. But it never phased him at all, as he mentioned over breakfast this morning.

Wish I could say the scariest thing I ever read was “Pigeons from Hell,” or The Shining, but nothing tops those moments. I hope nothing else ever does.  How about you? What’s the scariest book moment? And what did YOU think of those pale green pants?