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The Creepiest Nursery Rhymes That Shouldn't Be Read to Kids

Updated August 14, 2020 16.7k votes 2.5k voters 152.0k views18 items

List RulesVote up the nursery rhymes that still give you nightmares

The sound of children singing alone can be quite scary (see the Poltergeist main theme, or the "1-2 Freddy's coming for you" song from A Nightmare on Elm Street), but when coupled with certain weird and creepy nursery rhymes, the shudder factor rises exponentially. Let's take a closer look at some of these disturbing nursery rhymes, and perhaps you'll think twice before teaching them to your kids.

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  • 9

    Jack and Jill

    A boy falls down a hill and splits his head open. His sister, or possible his friend, tumbles after him, presumably falling toward the same fate. What fun!
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  • Among other theories, it is believed this beloved nursery rhyme and children's sing-along alludes to human sacrifice - the "watchman" in the extended lyrics serving as a living person walled into the bridge's supports  in order to ensure a sturdy, long-lasting structure."

    "Set a man to watch all night,
    Watch all night, watch all night,
    Set a man to watch all night,
    My fair lady."
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  • 11

    Solomon Grundy

    Solomon Grundy
    Photo: DC Comics

    If the lyrics are taken literally, this poor guy basically has the lifespan of a housefly. Born on Monday, christened on Tuesday, married on Wednesday, got sick on Thursday and even sicker on Friday, died on Saturday, and buried on Sunday.

    What of Mr. Grundy's widow? Was she stuck with the funeral and burial expenses? Why did he get married in the first place? Surely he was aware of his rapid aging disease by Wednesday? Unless Grundy wasn't aging at all, which would mean some poor woman married a baby.
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  • 12

    Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

    More a prayer than a nursery rhyme proper, "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" is nonetheless popular among children, and its a rather catchy reminder of our own mortality, and the need to plea for one's own soul to an omnipotent god.  

    Which means, you get to decide why this rhyme is creepy: because it's an acknowledgement of the inevitability of death that children chant, or because it promotes the notion that a child's soul might not inherently be pure and innocent enough to gain entry into heaven. Discuss.
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