Nostalgic Nightmares: Remembering Childhood Fears of the 1970s

By Sophia Maddox | March 1, 2024

The Oil Crisis

Ladies and gentlemen, step into our time machine, because we're taking a groovy journey back to the 1970s, a decade filled with bell bottoms, disco fever, and some downright peculiar fears! Join us as we uncover the quirkiest, spookiest, and downright bizarre things that sent shivers down the spines of people in the '70s.

From the infamous Red M&Ms that mysteriously vanished to the hair-raising tales of devilish encounters and flammable Halloween costumes, this collection of retro fears will have you chuckling and reminiscing about the good old days. So, what are you waiting for? Keep reading, and let's explore the fascinating anxieties of the 1970s!

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The 1970s oil crisis all kicked off when a handful of nations, led by Arab nations through OPEC, got real miffed about America and a few others supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War. In a crushing move they quadrupled oil prices practically overnight. That's right, quadrupled! This sent shockwaves through the American way of life. Gas stations ran dry, with 20% of them completely sold out in 1974.

Government-enforced rationing became a reality, where your license plate determined when you could fuel up, leading to incidents of violence and sheer panic. Truckers, who rely on fuel to make a living, weren't too thrilled either and went on strike. Suddenly, gas-guzzling cars were out, and economy cars were in. The speed limit was reduced to a dreaded 55 mph, earning the nickname "double nickel" among truckers. And just when folks were starting to adapt, 1979 rolled in with the infamous Ayatollah Khomeini causing a whole new wave of panic by reducing oil production in Iran.

Cue hours-long gas lines, soaring prices, and an ever-present belief that this whole crisis was just a hoax cooked up by the oil companies. Tensions were at an all-time high, and the 1970s became a time of significant change, not just in American car culture but in the way we all lived our lives.

Stranger Danger

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Stranger danger, a term that became a buzzword in the 1970s, left people wary of those they didn't know. So, why did the '70s see this surge in apprehension towards strangers? Well, it was a time when various high-profile cases of child abductions and crimes against children were making headlines. Stories like the disappearance of Etan Patz and the crimes of serial killers like John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.

Parents, in particular, were urged to educate their children about the dangers of talking to strangers and to take extra precautions to keep them safe. This collective anxiety gave rise to public service announcements, educational programs, and a cultural shift towards caution when it came to interacting with unfamiliar faces.