Deep-Seated Fears

This poster is currently all over London Underground, advertising a new exhibition at the London Science Museum. And it gives me the creeps every time I see it.

Why? Because since childhood, images of distorted or featureless faces have freaked me out. My favourite programme, as a child, was the original “Bionic Woman” series, with Lindsay Wagner (anyone remember that?). But one of the bionic woman’s recurring foes were the Fembots – female robots who looked human until their face masks came off, and there was nothing behind the face but a pair of eyeballs and a bunch of wires. I was so scared by those scenes, I had nightmares for weeks. In fact, my mother got so dismayed by my waking up screaming in the night, for a while she banned me from watching the show altogether.

I must have improved because this poster isn’t giving me nightmares, but it still gives me the creeps. And here I am sharing it with you. I am attempting to demonstrate that what is probably a perfectly innocuous image to you stirs some deep-seated fear in my psyche, for no obvious reason. Am I completely potty? Probably. But perhaps there’s some perfectly innocent everyday object that scares you, too.

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4 comments so far

  1. ralfast on

    Who am I?

    One of those ageless questions we think we know the answer too.

    We rely so heavily on visual cues from other people’s faces that the “faceless” scares us, in part because of what they say about us.

  2. Rosie Quigley on

    Do you remember when we went to Longleat with Nanama and Grandpa, and there was an exhibition of medieval fashions? They were displayed on mannequins with no faces, just white ‘heads’ and you were so freaked out that you and I went outside to wait for the others to finish looking around?
    Do you also remember my ‘wig head’ that also had a blank ‘face’? I had to paint some features on it…..strange that you have always been disturbed by this kind of image.
    I think that poster is a bit freaky though, even as small kids we notice people’s faces first, and it features as always the biggest thing drawn in kid’s pictures………to see no face on someone is difficult to compute.

    • sayssara on

      Mum – strangely, I don’t remember Longleat. Maybe I was so traumatised I blocked it from memory.

      I do, however, remember the wig head…

  3. Clair Dickson on

    Well, I don’t have any innocent, every day object… more of a general situation. See, I’m not afraid of the dark, per se, but this active imagination of mine that is great for writing is totally maladaptive when wondering around at night time. I can imagine all sorts of mostly-plausible things lurking in the dark (from ghosts to people who managed to break into my house.) I’m almost thirty, but I still sleep with a nightlight. =)


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