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As a child I used to believe that people can swim into the lava while it comes out of the volcano. I also had the image of a man diving into the lava.
When I was a kid I believed that if there was a crack in the dirt, (like where a mud puddle or pond used to be,) it meant that if there was an earthquake then that was where the earth was going to open up and swallow people.
When I was little, we passed through an area in Florida that had just had a lot of hurricane damage. A tall building had a lot of broken windows replaced, and each new window had an "X" across it. (I still don't know why). At the time, when I asked my dad, he said the hurricane did that. He meant the hurricane broke out the windows and they had to be replaced, but I thought he meant that the hurricane had a big crayon that marked an X on each window as it passed. How stupid of me.........
In Kindergarten, I thought that every fire drill, tornado drill, ect. was real. I always screamed and cried because I thought we'd all die, and I'd never get to see my grandparents again.
I used to think that fires were random and they could happen anywhere at any time. I used to be afraid of a fire happening under me because I would get burned.
I live in Las Vegas, where the only natural 'disaster' that happens is ocassional flooding. About two years ago (I was 15) after-shock tremors of an earthquake in California shook our home, and I woke up and my bed was moving. I was absolutely convinced it was Gremlins trying to carry my bed away. I called absolutely terrified to my dad who was in the hallway, and he opened the door and I jumped from the end of my bed into the hallway.
About a month later a house on our block blew up (literally) I never even woke up. And apparently it was a whole lot worse than the aftershock that scared me half to death.
When I was about four years old, I remember my family was always talking about hurricanes coming, because a few years before, hurricane Hugo had hit us and they were waiting for the next big one. I didn't remember Hugo because I was little then, but when hurricane season came and they showed the satelite views of the hurricanes on the news, I thought that when a hurricane came, I could look at the window and see the exact same round, white image from the TV rolling down the street, and that it would be about ten feet high and harmless. So, to everybody's shock, I always kept repeating that I wanted a hurricane to come so that I could see it. It wasn't until a few years later, when hurricane George hit Puerto Rico straight on, that I stopped believing that, realizing that a hurricane was much worst than I thought and why everybody in the island is so affraid of them.
As a child I once went to Atlantic City with my parents. I didn't speak English very well back then but I liked to watch the news with them at night. The news were constantly referring to this Bob Hurricane, whom I assumed was the U.S.'most famous reporter. I was quite annoyed that they were always talking about that guy. The next day, the hurricane arrived and I understood at last :)
My parents had a science background, and gave us lots of kiddie science books, so I knew pretty well how the world worked. However, I was scared of things that really COULD happen but didn't understand they were unlikely. For example, when mom would take us to see kid's plays at the local performing arts complex, I was convinced that the platform in the ceiling where the huge speakers and stage lights were was going to fall and flatten us. I was also convinced that when we drove through a canyon on the way to go camping that a huge rock would fall from above and crush our car (I was not scared of a flood or landslide, both of which happen in canyons, but just a huge random boulder).
I used to believe the side railings in public (handicapped) restroom stalls were there just in case of an earthquake. Wanting to be careful, if I wasn't allowed to use that particular stall, I would 'go' really, really fast - in fear that a quake would hit while I was indesposed. (Point to note: I grew up in East Tennessee - and have never felt an earthquake.)
When I first saw film footage of an earthquake, I believed that the earth split apart right around the world and people and cars fell in to the centre of the earth before it closed again.
I used to imagine falling into the crack and not being able to climb back out before it closed on me.
It'd not MY fear, but my moms.She told me when people said a "tornado" was comeing she thought the Hamburgler would come and kidnap her!!
I'm not sure where this thought originated--if I misconstrued something someone said, or if my cousin babysitter hinted at it. I used to believe that tornadoes were huge, muscled black men with sleeveless white t-shirts and khaki-colored pants that were either rolled or cuffed to their knees. Whenever our part of the country experienced tornado weather, I thought these men were responsible for carrying our houses and cars away. Thankfully, I am grown and ashamed of this childish visual.
Chain link fences were called Cyclone fences when I was a kid (or maybe that was a brand name). I used to wonder how cyclone fences kept cyclones out and why we didn't have one to protect us.
When my son was about 4 a tornado hit our area. He said, "Mom, I know why it's called a 'tornado'--- because it 'tore' everything up!"
When I was in elementary school, I thought that tornados came out of storm drains. I walked to school in the middle of the street so that the tornados wouldn't suck me down into the storm drains. This was especially weird since I grew up in California, and we don't have tornados. I guess I watched The Wizard of Oz too much.
when i was growing up, my best friends name was allison, which coincidentally is also on the hurricane name list. allison once went out of town, and a hurricane hit the east coast, also named "Allison", and the news reporters would always say her name and sounded very concerned. i would cry for hours in front of the television, hoping to see her and see if she was okay, because i somehow was convinced that she had a really bad cold and was in dire need of help.
When I was a kid my mom told me that tornados didn't come at night in the dark. I suppose it was the best way to get me to go to bed during tornado season!
When I was young, I thought every time there was a thunder storm, there was automatically a tornado. I used to grab all of my favorite stuffed animals and my pillow and go sleep in the basement every time it rained, and I would get upset with my parents for not letting me bring my dog in the basement. When I would wake up, I was astonished to see the roof still on the house. After this happened about 10 times, I finally realized there wasn't always going to be a tornado.
There was a relatively short period of time in my childhood where I was very paranoid about quicksand. I would avoid light spots in black pavement (small rocks, presumably) in order to not be sucked into quicksand!