Children should be terrified: A child’s fear of being bitten under their beds can indicate that they have high creative potential, suggests Neil Gaiman.

  • Gaiman said he used to view his overactive imagination as his ‘big weakness’
  • On BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he said he found lots of things frightening 
  • He said that his father used the to pat him down when he found hidden books during family gatherings.

Author Neil Gaiman stated that children should be afraid of monsters because it may be an indicator they are creative as adults.

Gaiman, whose books include the dark children’s novella Coraline, said he used to view his overactive imagination as his ‘big weakness’ and did not realise it would become a ‘superpower’.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the writer said he found lots of things frightening as a child. 

Asked what he was afraid of, he said: ‘You name it, definitely the dark, shadows, witches, anything that really did exist and anything that didn’t. 

It's fine for children to be scared of monsters as it could be a sign they will grow up to be creative, author Neil Gaiman said

Neil Gaiman, an author, said that it’s okay for children to fear monsters. It could also be a sign that they will be creative.

‘I couldn’t switch that off and I thought of that as my big weakness and did not realise that one day I would grow up and that would be my superpower.’

Gaiman said that some of the darker aspects of Coraline were just a way to reassure his younger self.

‘I just wanted to be able to tell myself as a seven-year-old, terrified of the dark, it’s OK to be scared. Being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you’re scared and you do the right thing anyway.’

Gaiman revealed that his father would pat him on the back for hiding books during family gatherings, to discourage him from reading.

The second season of the Amazon Original fantasy comedy series is helmed by co-author Neil Gaiman and director Douglas Mackinnon

Douglas Mackinnon and Neil Gaiman, co-authors of Amazon Original’s fantasy comedy series, are the directors for season 2.

Recounting being frisked for contraband literature at family gatherings, he continued: ‘(It was) always my dad.

‘He would literally pat me down because I had been known to hide books under my jumper and he would lock them in the car.

‘It never really worked because wherever we were I could normally find something to read, it just wouldn’t have been what I wanted to read.

‘But I’d be at a family gathering and I’d be off in the corner reading The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten or something because it was the book I found.’

Desert Island Discs can be heard on BBC Sounds or BBC Radio 4 Sundays at 11am.