December 22, 2023 | Henry Gomes

Disturbing Facts That Will Ruin Any Childhood

Part of growing up is saying goodbye to treasured moments from your childhood. Another part of growing up is realizing the truth about many of those treasured moments. In this list of facts that may ruin your childhood, we uncover many sad realities, unfortunate truths, and clear up some misremembered moments. Prepare to have your minds blown! Here are 43 disturbing facts that’ll ruin your childhood.

43. Mood Ring Blues

Mood rings, the popular fashion item from the 1970s, tend to change color depending on the wearer’s mood. In actuality, the color changes due to changes in temperature. This is caused by the special liquid crystals they contain. However, those liquid crystals are often made with poisonous materials like mercury and arsenic. If that were to leak, you might be in a different mood altogether!

Ruined Childhood

42. Bidding Adieu to Dunk-a-roos

Dunk-a-roos, that delightful treat of crisp cookies and sugary frosting, were the highlight of every lunchbox. However, if you were thinking of taking your taste buds on a trip down memory lane, we are sad to inform you that they have been discontinued in the United States since 2012 and were discontinued in Canada in early 2018. However, they were recently relaunched in the US only. Sorry, Canada!

Facts That Will Ruin You ChildhoodWikipedia

41. The Real Pocahontas

The real-life Pocahontas had a life that was very different from the one depicted in the eponymous Disney movie that was released in 1995. In reality, Pocahontas’ real life was far more tragic. While she would eventually make it to England with her Englishman husband John Rolfe, she sadly passed from illness when she was only 21.

Pocahontas FactsWikimedia Commons

40. Nobody Puts Baby Carrots in a Corner

One of the few vegetables I was okay with eating as a kid were baby carrots, especially if they were provided with some savory ranch dressing. If you were thinking of maybe planting your own baby carrots in the back garden, you should know that baby carrots aren’t a specialized variety of carrots. Baby carrots are simply cut and processed from regular carrots.

Ruining Childhood FactsPxfuel

39. The End of the Original Elmo

Kevin Clash was the longtime puppeteer and voice behind beloved Sesame Street character Elmo. However, he resigned from the post after allegations of improper adult conduct were made against him. The subsequent litigation did not proceed as the statute of limitations in the cases had expired.

Ruining Childhood FactsWikimedia Commons

38. The R-Rated Little Red Riding Hood

Original versions of the popular children’s story “Little Red Riding Hood” did not have a hunky woodcutter or hunter arriving at the right time to save the day. These versions often ended tragically, with the wolf swallowing the grandmother whole and then subsequently eating Little Red Riding Hood. In some traditional versions, the wolf then takes a post-meal nap, and that’s where the tale gets really gruesome. That's when the woodcutter or hunter arrives, finds the sleeping wolf, and cuts open his stomach to free Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. 

Banned Books FactsWikimedia Commons

37. The Truth About the Cowardly Lion’s Costume

The Wizard of Oz had many iconic costumes, from Dorothy’s dress and ruby red slippers to the garments worn by the witches. However, the most interesting and somewhat disturbing costume in the film was the one for the Cowardly Lion, which was actually made from real lion hides.

Judy Garland FactsFlickr

36. Hope You Held Onto Those Toys

There was perhaps no better childhood treat than a Happy Meal from McDonald’s. A juicy burger, crispy fries, a thirst-quenching drink, and a toy in a delightful cardboard box are always sure to put a smile on a kid’s face. But, keeping track of those small toys was a challenge. Who knows how many of them you lost or left behind at your grandparents’ place? If you did hold onto them, you may have been able to flip them for a nice chunk of change. Many Happy Meal toys, especially full sets, fetch decent returns at auctions.

Ruining Childhood FactsUnsplash

35. Dark Side of Walt Disney

Despite being a revered children’s entertainer, Walt Disney had a dark side. His early films were filled with ugly prejudiced stereotypes, often lampooning African-Americans and Jewish people. He was also known to deny women the opportunity to have creative positions in his company or be admitted into his animation training school. He only changed this policy following onset of World WII, with men being conscripted to army service, when he needed all the help he could get.

Walt Disney FactsGetty Images

34. The Jiggle in Gelatin

What makes Jell-O jiggle is the gelatin. But what exactly is gelatin? Gelatin is derived from collagen extracted from a variety of animal bones and cartilage. Gelatin is largely flavorless and odorless, so maybe that’s why your bowl of watermelon Jell-O doesn’t taste like a rack of barbecued ribs.

Ruining Childhood FactsWikimedia Commons

33. Cinderella’s Stepsisters Were Really Sinister

In the Brothers Grimm version of the classic fairy tale Cinderella, the evil stepsisters go to the extreme of cutting off some of their toes and parts of their heel to fit into the glass slipper found by the prince. In the end, their evil ways are punished when birds gouge their eyes out. That’s one twisted happy ending!

Ruining Childhood FactsWikimedia Commons

32. E.T. Phones the Acting Union

In the scene when the title character in Steven Spielberg’s movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial appears inebriated and stumbles over in the kitchen, the actor in the costume was 12-year-old Matthew De Merrit, who was born without legs. De Merit stood on his hands and had to carry E.T.’s heavy and cumbersome radio-controlled head on his shoulders throughout the scene.

Acclaimed Movies factsWikimedia Commons

31. Not So Innocent Fashion Accessories

Snap bracelet  were a symbol of cool high school fashion throughout the ‘80s and into the ‘90s—despite many weird urban legends about snap bracelet-related injuries. Although they are not as popular as they were in their heyday, they are still around with many companies making their own unauthorized versions. In 2011, a Florida school had ordered a large shipment of snap bracelets for the school’s fundraising efforts. Much to the horror of parents, the knockoff version purchased by the school contained images depicting uncovered images. Stuart Anders, the inventor of the original bracelet, stepped in and donated replacement bracelets.

90s kid FactsGetty Images

30. The Sad Tale of Little Mermaid

As is usually the case, the Disney version of The Little Mermaid differs heavily from its source material. In the original Hans Christian Andersen story, the Little Mermaid does not end up marrying the prince. Instead, it ends with the Little Mermaid contemplating ending the prince, in order to regain her mermaid identity, before deciding to take her own life in order to obtain immortality.

Disney CharactersThe Little Mermaid (1989) - Walt Disney Pictures

29. Helmets Help

We’ve all probably ridden our bikes without a helmet as kids. It looked cooler and you weren’t stuck without carrying an unwieldy helmet with you everywhere. However, helmets do make a difference. The vast majority of cyclists demise in the United States since 1994 were found not to have been wearing helmets.

Ruining Childhood FactsPixnio

28. Beep Beep!

There are perhaps only three guarantees in life: demise, taxes, and the Road Runner outsmarting and outpacing Wile E. Coyote. However, contrary to what was depicted in the cartoons, coyotes are actually faster than roadrunners. A coyote can reach speeds of up to 43 miles per hour, while roadrunners top out around 20 miles per hour.

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27. Eating Before Hitting the Pool

Despite what your parents used to tell you, there is no actual evidence that swimming immediately after eating causes any harm. The widely held belief was that a full stomach would take up valuable oxygen needed for other muscles in the body to properly swim. However, the body has more than enough oxygen to support a full stomach and to maintain a consistent swimming stroke. So, yes, you could have had that extra pack of Dunk-a-roos!

Ruining Childhood FactsUnsplash

26. Mirror Mirror on the Wall, What’s the Correct Line After All?

Despite the name of the spin-off live-action film being called Mirror, Mirror, in the original 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the evil queen actually utters the line “Magic Mirror, on the wall—who is the fairest one of all?” We might not remember it as “Magic mirror,” because in subsequent picture books, merchandise, and other media produced by Disney, the line does appear as “Mirror mirror".

Disney Villains FactsFlickr

25. The Forbidden Fruit

An apple a day is thought to keep the doctor away. But you do have to be careful, as apple seeds do contain trace amounts of cyanide, which of course is poisonous. Luckily, you would have to eat a whole bunch of apple seeds to suffer from the effects of cyanide intaking. So maybe it’s best to stick to just one apple a day and to not eat  any seeds.

Ruining Childhood FactsPixabay

24. Lilo & The Ring

Two of the biggest movies of 2002 were the Disney animated film Lilo & Stitch and the ultra-scary horror movie The Ring. They seemed to occupy two polar opposite sides of the cinematic spectrum—one was for a family movie night, while the other was more the type of movie you would watch at a sleepover after your parents went to bed. And yet despite their differences, they share a connection. Daveigh Chase has a prominent role in both movies; she served as the voice for the sweet-natured Lilo in Lilo & Stitch and was also the actress who played the evil and creepy Samara in The Ring.

Horror Movies factsThe Ring, DreamWorks

23. Angry About the Birds

Early Disney films are filled with prejudiced caricatures. Perhaps the most obvious example is the depiction of the crows in Dumbo. The crows seem to be a replication of the minstrel shows that were popular throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, which were performed by white actors and cruelly poked fun at African-Americans. Even worse, the leader of the crows was named Jim Crow—a reference to the segregation laws of the same name that denied African-Americans many basic rights.

Human Evolution factsFlickr

22. The Blowing on Your Cartridge Trick

Sorry to burst your bubble, but blowing on your video game cartridges didn’t do anything to help them work better. In fact, they probably made things worse, because the tiny particles of spittle produced by blowing could lead to parts of the cartridge to rust and lead to further malfunctioning.

Ruining Childhood FactsWikimedia Commons

21. The Dye was a Lie

When you first started swimming, you were probably told that if you were to go “number one” in the pool the urine would change colors due to a dye added to the water and thus, everyone would know about your indiscretion. However, no such dye has ever existed! Having said, you should probably not pee in the pool, because, dye or no dye, it’s still pretty gross.

Something is Wrong factsPixabay

20. Pop Rocks and Soda

Mixing pop rock and soda is a recipe for disaster and possibly even demise. After all, that was the supposed cause of demise of the young actor that played Mikey in the Life cereal commercials. All of this is actually not true and the story of Mikey is an urban legend. Though seeing as they are both primarily made out of sugar, they probably aren’t the healthiest pairing of food and drink.

Ruining Childhood FactsFlickr

19. Christopher Robin Hates Pooh

Contrary to the depictions in the books and various film adaptations, the real-life Christopher Robin, son of author A.A. Milne, was not a fan of Winnie the Pooh. Christopher Robin did not have a great relationship with his father, who was absent from the household for long periods of time. The popularity of the books also led to some unwanted attention from the school tormentors , who tormented young Christopher Robin.

Ruining Childhood FactsFlickr, Jared Enos

18. Wax On, Wax Off

What do gummy bears and the family minivan have in common? No, this isn’t a trick question or a dumb dad joke. The truth is that gummy bears are finished with a shiny coating known as carnauba wax that is also used in waxing automobiles. If you’re concerned about ingesting car wax, the amount of carnauba wax used in gummy bears is nowhere near unhealthy levels.

Childish Behavior From Adults factsPixabay

17. Teletubbies Set

What was once home to Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa, and Po, the original Teletubbies set has been completely altered. The once hill-strewn terrain is now the site of a large pond, virtually unrecognizable from what was depicted on the wildly popular and delightfully strange children’s show that was originally produced from 1997 to 2001.

Ruining Childhood FactsFlickr

16. What’s That Noise?

Hold onto your butts for this strange Jurassic Park production fact. In the original 1993 movie, the velociraptors are depicted speaking in their own language. The supposed velociraptor language was actually the sound of tortoises mating. The crew also used sounds of horses breathing and geese hissing to bring the prehistoric creatures to life.

Jurassic Park FactsFlickr

15. The Sad End of Flipper

It is widely thought that Kathy, one of the dolphins that portrayed Flipper, took her own life. Her former trainer Ric O’Barry believed that in the last stages of her life Kathy was the victim of depression, perhaps triggered by living in isolation. She apparently swam into the arms of O’Barry, took one last breath, and allowed herself to drown.

Ruining Childhood FactsGetty Images

14. The Sad Truth About Ducky

Judith Barsi was a young actress who amongst other credits provided the voice for the character Ducky in the 1988 animated film The Land Before Time. Unfortunately, she passed before the film was released. She was the victim of a horrific double liquidation, in which she and her mother were both liquidated by her father, who would then take his own life. Barsi was only 10 years old when she passed.

Dark Side of Cartoons FactsWikimedia Commons, Kociak

13. The “Secret” Ingredient

What makes jellybeans so addictive? Is it the wide array of flavors? The bite-sized shape? Or maybe it’s the shellac coating, which is actually derived from the secretions of the female lac bug.

Water FactsShutterstock

12. So About The Color of Your Drink…

In 2012, Starbucks admitted that many of their strawberry-flavored beverages were actually colored red through the use of cochineal dyes, which are derived from crushed parasitic beetles. In fact, these dyes are commonly used in a variety of manufactured food products. I mean, I guess it is a “natural” food coloring, right?

Ruining Childhood FactsShutterstock

11. Simba and Nala

The 1994 Disney classic The Lion King gave us one of the all-time great love stories in the romance between Simba and Nala. However, as some Internet sleuths have pointed out, there seems to be evidence that Simba and Nala were half-siblings, making their relationship incestuous. This belief comes from the fact that lion prides are usually only presided over by one or two male lions. The assumption is that Mufasa is the father of both Simba and Nala. The other possibility is that Scar is Nala’s father, making Simba and Nala cousins. It should be said that while incestuous relationships between lions are a little out there for Disney movies, they are pretty much the norm in the animal kingdom.

Lion King factsThe Lion King, Walt Disney Pictures

10. A “Stain”-ed Childhood Memory

Did you grow up reading the Berenstein Bears books? Well, you actually didn’t, because the titular family was actually called the Berenstain Bears, with an “a". The false memory may be the result of the prevalence of surnames ending with the suffix “-stein". The books were named after the creators Stan and Jan Berenstain.

History's Secret Dark Side FactsFlickr

9. Luke, I Am Your Father?

One of the most exciting moments in cinematic history is when Darth Vader reveals to Luke Skywalker that he is his father at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, the sequel to the original Star Wars film. Most people remember Darth Vader’s line as “Luke, I am your father". However, the actual line Darth Vader says to Luke is “No. I am your father".

Darth Vader FactsStar Wars: Rogue One,Lucasfilm Ltd.

8. What’s Your Favorite Flavor?

You’ve probably debated with your friends or siblings over what your favorite flavor of Froot Loops. Do you prefer the lime green, the cherry red, or the grape purple? The truth is that there are no color-coded Froot Loops flavors, as no matter the pigment, all Froot Loops are flavored the same!

Absurd FactsWikimedia Commons

7. The Tale of the Tail

We tend to misremember a lot of aspects of our childhood. Take the example of Curious George. Everyone seems to remember the inquisitive little monkey with a banana in his hand and hanging off tree branches by his tail. Except, he never had a tail and according to some sources, he wasn’t even a monkey. His tailless depiction is perhaps the result of George actually being a chimpanzee.

Ruining Childhood FactsFlickr

6. Bambi Killer

The hunter who kills Bambi’s mother was originally credited simply as “Man,” but an early draft of Who Framed Roger Rabbit was going to reveal that her killer was in fact none other than Judge Doom!

Hollywood Villains FactsWho Framed Roger Rabbit, Touchstone Pictures

5. This v. The

If you grew up with Mister Rogers, then you are probably familiar with most of his songs and on occasion, you’ll probably still sing one of his songs…incorrectly. Although you might think that the hooks from the song played at the start of each episode was “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” the lyric is actually “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood".

Mister Rogers factsGetty Images

4. Roald Dahl’s Troubling Views

While he’s mostly known for his children’s books, Dahl spent his writing career writing mature stories as well. These were featured in Ladies Home Journal, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and even Play Boy! The topics of these stories would include “wife-swapping, promiscuity, taking their own lives, and adultery". He was also known for making many anti-Semitic comments throughout his life, most notably in 1983 when he remarked that Jewish people provoked Adolf H. into carrying out the Holocaust. Yikes.

Spies FactsGetty Images

3. Little Piggy’s Fateful Trip to the Market

You might think that Little Piggy of nursery rhyme fame went to the market to do the weekly groceries, but if you read the words a little closer, a darker story unfolds. Little Piggy wasn’t at the market to shop, but most likely be purchased by a hungry shopper.

Bad roommatesUnsplash

2. Just Say No…to Gak!

The Nickelodeon game show Double Dare was a ‘90s favorite. Apart from being a contestant yourself, the next best thing to bring the game show to life was to purchase some Gak, the tie-in product that mimicked the show’s infamous slime. Despite it being marketed to children, the name “gak” has some inappropriate origins. The name is actually street slang for the drug and was devised by a group of the show’s crewmembers.

Ruining Childhood FactsFlickr

1. A Sad Fact About Caillou

Jaclyn Linetsky was the second actor to provide the voice for the title character of the popular children’s series Caillou. Unfortunately, her stint was cut short after she passed in a car accident in Quebec at the young age of 17. At the time of the accident, she was on her way to film scenes for her other television show, the live-action tennis-themed teen drama 15/Love.

Dark Side of Cartoons FactsFlickr

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45


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