posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 09:24 AM
I'm not familiar with the books in the OP, but I understand what the original-poster means, I think.
When my children were young, I bought a game for them that had a US patent (we're in Australia). The game was all the rage at the time -- widely
advertised on tv ---and looked like harmless fun to me. I can't remember it in detail but the game consisted of maybe a dozen or dozen and a half
faces -- different hair do's, colouring, male and female. They were drawings, not photos. I think they had professions .. for example, 'Betty the
Nurse'. They popped up when you pressed something and I think you had to team up the faces into pairs, based either on their appearance or
profession. None of the faces looked 'threatening' .. at least not to an adult.
My daughter had really wanted the game. However, shortly after receiving it, she ceased to play with it. I assumed she'd grown tired of it or
whatever. She was about six or seven at the time.
Only when she was say, twelve or so years old, did she reveal that she'd found the faces disturbing, unsettling, uncomfortable, depressed. ' I
hated the feeling they gave me ' she said, explaining that at first glance, the faces looked like harmless little cartoon-type things. But, she
said, they had an effect on the mind and the longer you stared at them (when trying to complete the game) the more sinister they grew.
The children also had a small selection of cassettes especially made for children. These included compilations of nursery-rhymes and popular
kiddies' songs, a Robin Hood story complete with read-along book, another about Cinderella, etc. A couple of the cassette tapes broke, so I was
always on the lookout for replacements or something new for them.
One day, in a supermarket, I bought a no-name Mother Goose type compilation. I'd pass by their room and they'd be in there with friends, the
cassette-player playing in the background as the kids chatted and played. And I remember a couple of times thinking something sounded weird (with one
of the tapes I mean), but it didn't bother me to a great extent .. I just thought it sounded a bit 'gloomy and 'off' .. probably because it had
been cheap, cheaply made.
It was only when she was older and we were throwing unwanted items away, that my daughter included one of the tapes I'd bought a couple of years
earlier. It was the cheap replacement one. At first I thought she was throwing it out because she'd outgrown that sort of thing now, but she told
me that she just wanted it out of the house. Then she told me that she and her brother had always hated that tape and explained that it began like
all the other kids' tapes -- but several minutes into the songs and stories, etc. 'other' voices joined in. She said they made her feel dizzy and
afraid and the music became eerie .. not the way kids' tapes were 'supposed to sound'. Then she reminded me of an incident which had occurred a
few years earlier. While all the kids were together playing, one of them had found that particular tape and played it. My daughter had screamed, '
Turn it off ! Turn it off ! '
I'd heard the commotion and had run into the room to find my daughter looking very tense and anxious. The child who'd put the cassette in the
player was looking very wounded and confused. I'd thought at the time my daughter was being a bit 'precious' and had sorted the situation out.
My daughter, older now, reminded me of the incident and said the offending tape had been the disturbing one. She could still remember the ' bad
feeling' she experienced from the tape. We've discussed it briefly a few times since then and if I had those years to live over again, I'd be much
more vigilant and would make sure to vet any toy, book or recording etc. that claimed to be suitable for children, before exposing my children to
them. I was too trusting back then and regret it.