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What Was The Deal With… Scaring Kids About Quicksand?

July 1, 2021

When I was six, I received a copy of The Answer Book for Christmas. I liked The Answer Book. It had answers to a lot of questions that I never asked.

I asked stuff like this (keep in mind this was the early 1970s):

  • Who would win in a fight between Hulk and Superman?
  • Was professional wrestling fake?
  • Why did people think that Fonzi was cool?
  • Why were afternoon cartoons always preempted by Watergate hearings?

Instead, The Answer Book answered science-related questions. Pffft… science.

While flipping through The Answer Book book recently, I discovered the answer to the question “What Is Quicksand?”:

Because of this book and a few movies, I believed for a long time that the dangers of quicksand were real. But according to several sources on the internet, there aren’t any documented cases of anybody sinking into quicksand and disappearing forever.

I don’t know who to believe, the book from the 1970s or the internet of today. The book said it can happen; it doesn’t say that it actually has happened. That’s a sneaky word trick to play on a kid. I don’t blame movies for trying to scare kids with quicksand. Movies are supposed to scare people. But a science book should know better.

Haha! Of course a young woman would get stuck. Haha!

Even if quicksand is/was technically dangerous, it’s statistically never hurts/kills any kids who read The Answer Book. There are scientific things that are way more dangerous for kids than quicksand. The fear of quicksand seems kind of manufactured to me and unnecessary.

If they did know that quicksand wasn’t statistically dangerous (and they probably knew), why would they legitimize this urban legend?

I still like this copy of The Answer Book. I just wish it had a section on Bigfoot!

  1. summer with monika permalink

    the quicksand of a waning past, of loneliness … stuff like that is real and dangerous

  2. The book itself gives helpful information how to get our of quicksand based on the image you gave. However, you are right about it being a girl. I dunno, it being a girl, the red dress, “Princess Bride” popped into my head 😂

    • This is one of the few times (maybe the only time) I’ve seen somebody reference The Princess Bride without throwing in a direct quote from the movie. Good job!

      • I could quote the whole movie, but that wasn’t the point. It was the image in the photo that triggered it. Although, to make it complete. You should draw a bubble over her head with a quote from the movie… or even just calling out “oh, Farm-boy! 😂 A bubble over one of the guys saying “inconceivable! How did she get stuck in quick sand after surviving the fire swamp?” Not a direct quote, something hinting to it🤣😂

      • No quote?! Inconceivable!

  3. Marilyn Kriete permalink

    I haven’t thought about quicksand in decades…since I was a kid! But your post reminds me of how much we heard and thought about it back then, like getting sucked into the earth was a very real and present danger! I always wanted to see some, but not by stepping in it….Thanks for the morning chuckle!

  4. According to the terrible movie, “Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” you must hold still, never panic, and find a python to toss to the victim to use as a rope. I trust that this movie is accurate and will fight anyone that says otherwise.

  5. Lisa permalink

    I was just telling my husband about this book and how it really made me believe I’d have much more encounters with quicksand than I actually have had (zero, to be exact). I even described the drawing of the woman in the quicksand and how I would always skip past that page when looking in the book. So frightening as a child. Thanks for sharing!

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