Kids are adorable, but kinda confused about the way the world works. Most of us believed some really wacky things when we were little, and some of us even held onto those wacky beliefs well into adulthood. Here are the most adorable/hilarious/mildly alarming things we believed when we were young.
Alaina, Staff Writer
I was convinced for a very long time that there was a nursery inside my mom’s uterus that kept me snug and safe until I was born. Like, I knew I was incubated inside of her, but I figured I was just always a full grown baby, but miniature, and I had a nanny who took care of me for nine months and a crib and a playroom and toys. I don’t remember when I figured out that wasn’t how pregnancy worked, which makes me think that I maybe quietly believed this to be true until 6th or 7th grade!
Creatrix Tiara, Staff Writer
I was very adamant that I was supposed to have an identical twin sister, or that I had one and she disappeared somehow, maybe through adoption or a baby switch or something. My mother swears she only gave birth to one of me and my (extremely logical) elder sister still doesn’t understand why I’m so insistent. I have been obsessed with twins from a young age and still feel a massive hole in my heart, like I was missing someone important. I read stories about twins reunited in adulthood and I cry out of envy. I still feel somehow that I was meant to have a twin – did I absorb her in utero? Did I have a twin in a past life? Was I a changeling and my twin is a faerie? WERE MY CHILDHOOD CONSPIRACY THEORIES CORRECT? We may never know (unless someone wants to sponsor a genetic test…)
Mey, Staff Writer
As a child I thought the supervillain Lex Luther was Black, because of how he was drawn in the Superman and Justice League cartoons. I learned that he wasn’t in high school For an actually embarrassing thing, until about three or four years ago I thought canyons were big holes in the ground. Like, since the Grand Canyon is 6,000 ft deep, I thought that meant that the bottom was 6,000 ft below sea level. Also I assumed that speed the river got when it was going downhill to the bottom of the canyon was enough to push it back uphill at the end of the canyon. Science.
Laura M, Staff Writer
I definitely thought the deacon in my church was God as a little kid. I don’t know how I originally came to this conclusion, but the man never spoke and everyone acted, like, reverent and deferential in his presence. It took Catholic elementary school for me to replace that particular false belief with another!
A.E. Osworth, Staff Writer
I value knowledge above all else, so when I learn something I tend to forget ever not having known it? But luckily I am currently sitting in my mother’s house and she said I logically arrived at the conclusion that my Uncle Artie was Santa Clause because he had no children and could go out at night and stay out all night.
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Staff Writer
I thought that in order for a someone to become pregnant, all they had to do was sit down with a partner and basically fill out a bunch of paperwork? And then BOOM: baby. I don’t know how to explain it any way other than that! This was before I had any kind of knowledge of sex, obviously, but also like basic human anatomy? What kind of paperwork did I imagine? Who did potential parents submit said paperwork to? A doctor? A council? GOD? I cannot remember how thoroughly thought out my pregnancy paperwork theory was. But I do remember that I was watching Friends with a friend when we were probably too young to be watching Friends, and she either knew nothing about sex like me or was taught to believe that premarital sex was an impossibility, because she was very confused as to how Rachel could be pregnant with Ross’ baby if they were not married, and I very calmly explained to her that marriage was not a requisite for pregnancy, a fact that I knew because of the existence of my half-brother, and then I proceeded to calmly explain that in order to have a baby, two adults just have to sit down and sign some forms. I’m pretty sure she was like… don’t think so, Kayla. But it’s what I believed! And I can’t remember how I eventually found out I was wrong! And yet… I can’t help but think that when the day comes for me to have a baby — something I very much want — I’m probably going to have to, like, fill out a bunch of paperwork! SO WAS I REALLY TOTALLY WRONG?
Heather Hogan, Senior Editor
My mom was always trying to scare me into not doing stuff by telling me if I did this or that thing I was going to die, which absolutely worked on me because I had terrible anxiety and always thought I was dying anyway. One of the things she told me was not to open plastic Happy Meal toy bags with my teeth because if I swallowed plastic I was a dead dead dead. One day when I was opening one of those bags on the sly, in the backseat of the car, I accidentally did swallow a small piece of plastic. I was like, “Oh dang, I’m a goner.” I didn’t want my family to be traumatized by watching me die, so I was like, “I love you. I love you all so much.” And then I laid my head down and went to sleep, hoping to pass away peacefully, and they’d just figure it out when we arrived at our destination. However, I did not die. The worst part is, when we pulled into my great-grandma’s driveway like an hour later and I woke up from my nap, it didn’t occur to me that my mom was building a kingdom of deception in my little mind; I thought Jesus had performed a miracle on me and brought me back to life.
My sister says I also believed all TV show were live and the actors had to figure out what to do next during the commercial breaks.
Molly Priddy, Staff Writer
Growing up in Montana, we have a lot of mountains around, and on top of the mountains are usually blinking red lights to show aircraft that hey, mountain here. But when I was a kid, I was pretty convinced those red lights were vampire holds at the top of the peaks, lit up at night when the vampires were partying and awake and ready to slaughter. (I… had a lot of anxiety issues as a kid. And as an adult.)
Valerie Anne, Staff Writer
Catholic school is not known for its sex education, and my parents weren’t about to offer up any information I didn’t ask for, so I knew little to nothing about the mechanics of sex. Apparently the only question I had asked my mother is how babies are born, and she told me some women have surgery to get the baby out of their tummies and I was like, “Great, thanks,” my curiosity satiated. Though I watched shows I probably shouldn’t have at a young age, and definitely was reading books too mature for my age, so I gleaned some things, for better or worse.
One time when I was probably around 10, I was over my cousins’ house, my favorite place to be, as it was notoriously looser on the rules than my own. We rented the movie Speed, even though it was Rated R and I was super not allowed to watch Rated R movies. When my mom found out, she was FURIOUS; my response was, “Don’t worry, mom! The whole movie took place outside, so there couldn’t be any sex!” My mother relaxed a bit then, knowing her daughter wasn’t wholly corrupted yet, since I was sure that sex could only happen in beds. I imagine Buffy is where I learned that wasn’t true, since Buffy is where I learned most things.
Erin, Staff Writer
This is sad but as a very, very young child I didn’t think parents could die. Like I understood that people died, but I didn’t realize it happened to, say, your own parents. When my mom told me that her dad died when she was young, that’s when it clicked, and it clicked like a leaf blower to face. I still remember where I was and how I was sitting! Instantly I became the most worried child on planet earth. For years after that moment most of my waking thoughts revolved around the various ways in which my parents could die, and I did not like for them to leave my side lest they fall into these death traps. :/
Stef, Vapid Fluff Editor
I didn’t necessarily believe that my stuffed animals came alive and played out dramatic scenes in my room whenever I left or went to sleep, but I didn’t not believe it. When I got a toy camera, I used to take very detailed photos of where everything was to see if my things were all in the same place later (but you know, back then you had to get photos developed and godknows what they got up to in the meantime). I was similarly skeptical of the tooth fairy and used to leave notes requesting handwriting samples with my discarded teeth. It may surprise you to learn that I grew up with severe trust issues which have not entirely dissipated.
Raquel, Staff Writer
I had a lot of strange anxieties and guilts as a child (big surprise), and one of the biggest ones was a sense that I was always being surveilled. I think some part of that must have trickled down from being told that God SLASH Santa was always watching and judging, or something. (As were demons, waiting to trip you up — I read the Screwtape Letters far too young to really get anything out of it besides the idea that there was a whole cohort of evil beings out to trick me into sinning.) I got a lot of ideas out of books, including the idea to pull out strands of my hair and weave them onto my doorknobs and shelves so I’d know whether someone had tried to open them (ignoring the fact that there was nothing in them to see, and I hid my diaries inside my yearbooks). It’s not what you expect to mess a kid up when they watch a crime show, but when I learned about two-sided I was convinced that my parents had cameras behind all the mirrors in the house, and could see if I was being bad or doing anything gross or weird. I spent years covering myself in a towel while still in the tub and speeding past the bathroom mirror to a corner of my room to get dressed. I almost never, ever got in trouble but I was terrified of it. Thank god Elf on a Shelf was before my time or I might never have recovered.
My great-grandmother was the first person in my family to die when I was conscious enough to know what death was, and I thought she died because of being so mean to my Mom and honestly to everybody. I thought you could die of being mean, like G-d would just be done with you if you were too mean. Sadly, this is not the case.
Carolyn, NSFW Editor and Literary Editor
As a child I thought that fairies existed and also totally wanted to be our friends, and actually I’m not sure that this applies because fairies are totally real, obvs.
Alexis, Staff Writer
I completely believed my teacher when she said the gingerbread men we made the day before got up and ran away. I thought the Alicia Keys poster on my wall could see me, which I think had something to do with internalized homophobia. I thought my dad’s father was a white man and that we just kept up the picture of my grandma marrying another man for shits and giggles, but then one day he stayed out in the sun and I realized he was black (his eyes changed colors so I thought he was a vampire too). There was a picture of my dad as a kid in his old bedroom that looked like he didn’t have a left leg and I kept trying to figure out how he had a prosthetic that looked so much like his other leg, but then was told that it was a shadow in the picture hiding his leg. There was a long time where I held my breath when we went through lights because I thought it kept us from getting into car accidents.
Natalie, Staff Writer
My mom knew that any mention of liver — one of her favorite dishes — to her children would elicit groans and strong refusals to even touch our dinner. Eventually, we figured that she’d given up the fight as she never mentioned us having liver again. Turns out, as I’d discover some years later, she kept making liver for dinner… only she sliced it thin, pounded it out and called it cube steak.
Vanessa, Community Editor
Okay, this is very, very weird, so bear with me… I, uh, thought that maybe we were all living in a dinosaurs stomach. NOT DEFINITELY OKAY, JUST MAYBE. Like maybe the stories were true, dinosaurs had roamed the earth and then become extinct and then a long time later humans arrived, but uh maybe we were kind of wrong about the timeline of it all and humans arrived and dinosaurs just pretended to be extinct and then when we were least expecting it they ate us, but not like in a terrifying way where we died, just kind of swallowed us whole, and then we were allowed to keep living our lives in a dino’s stomach! I DON’T KNOW, OKAY. The belief had some flaws, for sure – I often imaged the dinosaur having swallowed the entire globe, so like ALL OF EARTH was chilling out in a brontosaurus’s belly, but of course that doesn’t really line up with the part where dinosaurs also needed a globe to exist on… do you see what I mean about the spotty logic? Also, okay, and don’t judge me, but after I saw the movie Titanic this idea kind of got a little bit garbled and then I thought maybe we were all on a huuuuuuuge sinking ship, like we were all living life on this giant wooden boat that was, unfortunately, slowly sinking, and we would definitely all die, sooner than later, and it was terrifying but also not really the biggest deal because you know, the ship was HUGE, so if you didn’t think about it too hard it’s almost like it made no sense at all and definitely wasn’t happening. You know?
Reneice, Staff Writer
There was a year, I think I was about 6 or 7, that I was CONVINCED that the way boobs happen is they grow a teeny tiny bit every day until your 16th birthday and then that’s when they’d be full grown. Almost daily I would look in the mirror at my chest and convince myself that it had grown just a little, then I’d run up to my older brother and flash him and shout “THEY GREW!!” He was always traumatized and I thought it was so funny and silly that he reacted so intensely. Then I grew up and understood the gravity of what I was saying/doing and that so did my at the time teenage brother and now I’m the one that’s traumatized from embarrassment.
KaeLyn, Staff Writer
When I was little, like 3 or 4, I really truly believed there was a Belly Button Monster that lived in my belly button and would bite my finger if I put it in there. I don’t know why my dad told me this particular lie, but I imagine it was because I wouldn’t keep my fingers out of my belly button. I think I eventually came to the conclusion that this was not, in fact, logical or maybe my dad got tired of keeping up the charade. I also don’t know why I was so into my belly button, but my 16 months old daughter loves to put her fingers in my belly button every time she catches me with my shirt up, so maybe it’s biological.
Laneia, Executive Editor
I 100% thought that unicorns were real. I found out they weren’t from a book and I remember just putting it down and needing a minute. It was so disappointing. I thought the ground under my house would eventually open up and that about 8 feet down was molten lava and my bed would fall into it while I was sleeping. I would go to sleep hoping that night wasn’t the night when the ground broke. I also thought that you didn’t breathe when you slept, so I would hold my breath when I pretended to be taking a nap, which was really difficult!
Abeni, Staff Writer
I thought that space heaters were like, celestial? Like “OUTER space.” I thought they were being marketed as having some kind of galactic technology or something, like they harnessed the sun? I was really embarrassed when I realized (like, in my 20s probably) they, you know, heated a particular space in your house, like one room. I’m really glad I never spoke of my space heater (lack of) understanding to anyone, I might’ve died.
Yvonne, Senior Editor
I grew up in a small 2-bedroom home. When I was about five or six, my parents and my younger brother slept in one room and I slept in another room with my older sister. My sister, who is ten years older than me, would always stay up way later than my bedtime because she was doing homework in the living room. I was terrified of going to bed without her but of course, my mom made me go to sleep. While I was waiting for my sister to finish her homework, I lay awake terrified that bigfoot or a UFO would come through the wall facing the street and take me with them. We lived far away from city limits that I thought bigfoot roamed the area and that an alien would land in the empty field behind my house and take me with them. I’m not sure why I truly thought this and I mean, they would have to knock down a wall and surely my family would hear it and try to save me. I also thought that when people said someone “disappeared” as in went missing, that they had actually dematerialized into particles and disappeared like the Wicked Witch. I think I might have watched too many episodes of Unsolved Mysteries .