Irrational Fear #5 – Shrunken Heads

Yes, I said #5 and no you didn’t miss the other four posts in the series. I’m doing this a la David Letterman and counting from my LEAST logical irrational fear to the one that’s actually the most likely to happen in real life. I’m limiting it to five because — hey, I have a life and I can’t go on about this forever.

The truth is, #5 is not even one of my own irrational fears. It’s my son’s. He will no doubt hate me for exposing him in this fashion, but being a teenager, he spends a lot of time hating me anyway. So what the hell, let’s go!

My son — we’ll call him Taz, shall we? Short for Tasmanian Devil, which he was as a toddler — used to love watching old reruns of The Addams Family on Netflix. He’d loved seeing the musical on Broadway, and he thought John Astin was hilariously maniacal and Lurch and Cousin Itt were “da bomb.” Does anyone still say “da bomb?” Okay, I guess he thought they were really “sick.”

Anyway, we were happily watching The Addams Family one night and then it happened. Grandma whipped out a shrunken head.


Taz just about went under the sofa at the sight of it. I mean, it was just a comical fake shrunken head. It looked a lot like one of those old Troll dolls. I loved Troll dolls

when I was a kid, so maybe that’s why Grandma’s shrunken head collection never disturbed me.

The Man and I had a laugh at our son’s expense and forgot about it. The next time Taz wanted to watch something on Netflix, he emphatically did NOT want to watch The Addams Family. And the next time and the next time after that. In fact, he has never ever watched The Addams Family since. He’s had nightmares about shrunken heads. He read an article about shrunken heads, and that only made it worse. To this day, if you want to make him scream like a girl, you just have to mention SHRUNKEN HEADS.

And then I was writing this post and I read the article about shrunken heads. Now they kind of freak me out a little bit too.

Do you know there were tribes in the Amazon that really did that?! Geez, I thought it was an urban legend. Well, not urban exactly. A rain forest legend? And holy crap, in case you weren’t sure about how thoroughly sick and disturbed the Nazis were — turns out shrunken heads were actually introduced as evidence against them at the Nuremberg trials.

And if you still aren’t totally freaked out about the thought of someone killing you and shrinking your head, watch this clip. Or maybe don’t watch it. I can’t decide what’s scarier — the kids with the shrunken heads, the hammy acting, or the cheesy special effects. But either way, I’m not showing it to Taz.

Author: Wordsmith Lynn

Lynn Reynolds’ published fiction includes chick lit, steamy romance, and a ghost story. RT Book Reviews called her debut novel THIRTY-NINE AGAIN, “a first-class mystery . . . and a first-class read.” A woman with a dangerously short attention span, Lynn has been a librarian, a journalist, a publicist, a computer programmer, an actress, and a stagehand. Her real ambition is to be a wench at The Renaissance Faire. Follow her on Instagram @wordsmithlynn or look for Wordsmith Lynn on Facebook. Her website is

4 thoughts on “Irrational Fear #5 – Shrunken Heads”

  1. Have you seen the trailer for “BULLY” the new documentary that is coming out about actual bullies and victims? Man I watched that and it really scared me/ stayed with me. I don’t need Shrunken Heads to do it.

    1. Of course, fearing bullies is a very rational fear. I don’t know if I can handle watching “Bully.” I’ve heard great things about it, but I think it’d be too real for me. Might give me grade school flashbacks or something. Prefer thinking about irrational fears precisely because they will probably never happen. I think. Although just wait til I get to the one about the world being taken over by zombies. Not as irrational as you might think!

  2. I expected the video to scare me, but it’s really silly. I have to admit I don’t give a lot of thought to shrunken heads. Can’t wait to see the rest of your fears countdown.

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