Meet Wizbit, a magical talking wizard's hat from space with a shrill, buzzing voice and eyes that stare off in conflicting directions as if they are locked in magnetic opposition. It is unclear whether Wizbit is supposed to be a boy hat or a girl hat, but what is painfully clear is that this is a question the universe never intended for us to ask.
Wizbit lives in a house with the desaturated color palette of a 1960s cigarette ad alongside a gloomy rabbit-man named Wooly who spends the majority of every episode muttering inaudibly like a sociopath trying to do an impression of Art Carney. Wizbit, meanwhile, wags his eyebrows like a silent film comedian and dares children not to weep in terrified confusion, as if they have any choice in the matter.
There is no stopping the tears. Or the fears.
In one episode, the nefarious Professor Doom steals all of the color in Wizbit's village. They take great pains to stress how evil Professor Doom is, despite the fact that he looks about as menacing as a birthday magician and as such is much less horrifying than the two heroes of the program.
We're ruling whatever he does a clear-cut case of self-defense.
Wizbit turns the world back to color, prompting Wooly to shuffle awkwardly outside like he is struggling to choke back the biggest shit in anal-clenching history to marvel at the space hat's handiwork. He then does the same gloomy wallflower dance we assume he did when he went stag to prom. The dance goes on for an uncomfortably long time while Wizbit just stands there and stares off into the middle distance.
This is like a deleted scene from The Wicker Man.
#2. The Greedy
In Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (the Toy Story of the 1970s), Raggedy Ann and Andy are two stalwart dolls who embark on a mission to save one of their fellow toys from a villainous pirate named the Captain, who, to be clear, is also a toy. They hitch a ride on a camel with an inexplicable Southern accent who ends up leading them directly into the Taffy Pit, at which point they meet the Greedy and every child in the theater starts crying.
If nightmares were money, this episode would be the world's fourth largest economy.
At first, Raggedy Ann and Andy (who, with their patchwork faces and unblinking eyes, are both unsettling enough in their own right) think they've merely landed in a giant subterranean river of taffy, and they immediately begin eating the Greedy's body without any hesitation whatsoever. As they take bites of his tasty flesh, the Greedy's horrifying face rises out of the sticky ocean like the T-1000 and engages the two dolls in polite conversation.
"Terribly sorry, but I couldn't help but notice that you're chewing lustily on my sugary taint."
He begins to sing a depressing song about his loneliness and how he longs to find a "sweetheart" to ease his suffering and put an end to his compulsive eating. As he sings, his face is constantly melting and shifting in an endless surreal food sludge sculpture, like something you would find in Salvador Dali's toilet bowl.
However, things don't get really dark until Raggedy Ann lets it slip that she has a heart made of candy (for some reason) -- a literal "sweet heart." That's when the Greedy loses his damn mind.
Because he clearly had such a tight rein on things to begin with.
He suddenly pulls out a pair of scissors and lunges for Raggedy Ann with the intention of cutting her heart out and eating it in a G-rated musical adventure for children.
The valuable message being "The things you love will literally devour your heart."
Then he ejaculates vanilla ice cream at them as they make their escape, and no parent with any respect for their child's mental health should be far behind them.
"You kids enjoy the candy sperm monster show. Mommy and Daddy have coke to do."
#1. The Blue Thing
Courage the Cowardly Dog is about a senile old couple and their haunted dog Courage who is regularly terrorized by phantasms that only he ever seems to notice. Most of the monsters that appear on the show aren't any more frightening than a standard Scooby-Doo villain. However, in one episode, Courage accidentally breaks his master's bugle and goes to bed tormenting himself with enough guilt to trigger a nightmare, which the animators used as an excuse to settle some inexplicable vendetta they had against the young viewers of their television show.
A blue Tim Burton sculpture with a pale death mask of regret and disappointment is unleashed on Courage fans, apropos of nothing, for nine horrible seconds. Seriously, Courage blinks a few times and then suddenly that fucking thing comes wailing on screen like a sad banshee.
"Wait, what's happen- NOOOO AAAAAAH!"
A dissonant orchestral arrangement oozes from the speakers as the Blue Thing (the character has no official name, but Courage fans have christened him thusly) slowly rolls his head around on his shoulders like a dead psychic, bulges his eyes out, and whispers, "You're not perfect." And then it ends, as quickly and with as little explanation as it began. It's as if somebody randomly spliced a David Lynch dream sequence into the middle of a children's cartoon.
Apparently, the Blue Thing is supposed to be the broken bugle, reaffirming Courage's feelings of inadequacy, despite the fact that it looks more like a mad scientist's experimental fetus clone and precisely nothing at all like a bugle. Incidentally, this was the last episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog ever produced, so maybe terrifying children with a naysaying doom specter was a way for the animators to express their feelings over the loss of both their jobs and their creative outlet.
"Children exist to be terrified. Why can't the network understand that?!"
Jonathan Wojcik regularly frightens and confuses children on bogleech.com. You can follow Amanda on Twitter or read more at Mannafesto, where she regularly reveals the holy secrets of the ancient Sassypants tribe.
For more nightmare fuel in children's entertainment, check out The 13 Most Unintentionally Disturbing Children's Toys and The 6 Most Baffling Serial Crimes.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 4 Stupid Ways the Government is Embracing the Internet .
And stop by LinkSTORM to cleanse your mind of the horrifying things you just saw.
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Extra Credit: Keep the nightmares flowing with terrifying old-timey hobbies like public morgue visits and serial killer action figures. If that fear high starts to fade, this list of real life sea monsters will ensure your bed gets no break from the wetting. Still not scared enough? Check out the worst prehistory has to offer and drift off into uneasy dreams of forty foot wide murderbirds.