9 Unintentionally Terrifying Old-Timey Children's Toys

#4. Snowman Eater

Frederick Pine

Frosty the Devourer of Worlds here is crouched in terrible hunger and desire, perpetually waiting for a snowball to be cranked into his gaping and monstrous maw. It's hard to say what's more disturbing about this scene: that the snowman is likely some sort of cannibal, that his mouth is lined with sideways black teeth, or that the squatting combined with the arrangement of the bowl in front of him sort of implies that he's endlessly consuming his own snow-feces.

Frederick Pine
It's no use trying to destroy it. He'll be back again someday.

This German toy (what? The shit-devouring sideways-mouthed living profanity is German? Who could have foretold!) also has a drawer "for surprises." If your gullible child actually makes the terrible mistake of looking in the drawer, she is immediately soul-swapped with the snowman and takes his place on the Throne of Infinite Foulness. Surprise!

#3. Jack-in-the-Box

Zydaco Antiques

Jack-in-the-boxes have been teaching children about the horrors of the uncanny valley since the 16th century. Even at the base conceptual level, jack-in-the-boxes are some heavy shit to lay on an infant. "Here, child, there is a tiny man imprisoned in this box. Operate the crank until he springs out at your face." When you couple that terrible premise with execution like this ...

Cashmere Junkie
Jack the Ripper was Victorian Chucky. Mystery solved.

... it's no wonder we learned to fear the unseen. Those cruel Victorian parents who gifted the early boxes knew exactly what they were doing. The one below bears the inscription "What wonder, Miss/May be in this?/Make me free/and you'll see."

Museum of Childhood
"And wonder why/My limbs spread wide? To muffle cries/When I stab eyes."

Jesus, that was printed on a children's toy? If you pitched that shit as the tagline for the next Hellraiser movie, the studio execs would either ask you to tone it way the hell down or skip to the inevitable and call security.

#2. Ondine Swimming Dolls



Fuck you, a child is not playing with that thing. Just showing it to a kid has to be some sort of crime, at least on par with flashing. It looks like the Thing is practicing its breaststroke. We're pretty sure we saw these in the background of Vincent D'Onofrio's mind in The Cell.

Why do these exist? Did somebody read the Book of Creation backward on the winter solstice? Not quite: Toymaker Elie Martin was terrified of water as a child, so in 1878 he created these wind-up dolls to spread a little of that terror around. Well, OK, his official explanation was that he hoped watching the doll flail around in a vague mockery of human movement would somehow make children more comfortable with water. But honestly, nobody builds that alien-flesh-crab-that-just-stole-a-human-face motherfucker down there and thinks "Yes, the kids will love this."

Worth Point
Yeah, the Valve interpretation is the less scary version.

If by some miracle Martin hadn't accidentally glimpsed the void and gone mad before crafting the Ondine swimming dolls, he sure as hell did afterward. Do you want to summon the Old Gods? Because this is how you summon the Old Gods.

#1. Little Miss No-Name


Haha, OK. Now we know that history is fucking with us.

You don't call a doll "little miss no-name" unless you want it to steal children's breath while they sleep. This 1965 Hasbro toy, designed in conjunction with Azezel, Who Rules Over Despair, came into being when someone realized that the most powerful marketing tool wasn't desire, but humanity's own overpowering desire to seek their own destruction.

Baby Booker eMuseum
Don't touch her hand. DON'T TOUCH HER HAND.

Dressed in burlap, with eyes that have seen through time, weeping for all the atrocities she must inflict upon you, Little Miss No-Name came complete with creepy little poem and presumably some very detailed goat-sacrifice instructions. For some reason, murderously staring dolls with no names used to be like Pokemon back in the day. Check out these little beauties from 1940:

Bebe Antiques
"Just kidding. Our names are Death, Destroyer of Childhood."

Yes, buy them and name them. There's no way that your material desire and the spark of human creativity will bring them to life so they can steal your blood. That would be ridiculous.

Ridiculously fun, right, kids?!

Tracy dedicates this and all her articles in memory of her brother. He is missed.

For old toys that need rebooting, check out 35 Updates to Classic Childhood Toys (Too Awesome to Exist).

Related Reading: There's a secret conspiracy hiding behind every 90s toy commercial. Discover it here. Oh hey, and did you know rich kids get to play with the BB-version of a goddamn minigun. And if you love crazy foreign versions of American toys, you'll love Robertcop.

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