Fairytales. Like kinky sex, sweet cocktails, and Jerry Lewis movies, they seem fun at first but can turn on you in an instant.

No one plumbed the dark depths of these happy tales better than Stephen Sondheim in his musical Into the Woods. Well, almost no one. Let’s not overlook Heinrich Hoffman who in 1845 gave us Struwwelpeter, known to English-speaking folk as Shockheaded Peter.

Let me briefly summarize these instructive tales for young German girls and boys: Ignore your parents’ advice and suffer a painful death.

In one tale, a fidgety boy refuses to sit still at the dinner table and eventually falls off his chair. Grasping the tablecloth for support, he pulls the cutlery down and dies as he is impaled by falling knives and forks. So much for Fidgety Phil.

Peter Rabbit is charming but hardly compares to the story of the cruel hunter who falls asleep in a field and is shot with his own gun by a bunny.

This brings me to Fairyland at Rock City. This extravaganza of black light and dayglow paint was built in the Forties to amuse visiting children. At the time, it was considered to be quite high-tech. Or would have been if the term had been invented.

Maybe it’s just me, but under the lights, many of the characters look a little sinister. The craftsmanship is first-rate. But I find myself wondering who is making dark plans and who is clutching a carving knife behind their back.

What are those three looking at? Little girl twins are creepy at the best of times. Have they locked that little boy in the attic?

Come on in, I’ve just made a brisket. We know how this turns out.

Tiny folk prepare to mug a demented old man.

Bad news for wolves and big folk. For a different perspective, get yourself a ticket to Into the Woods. “Helloooo, little girl!”

Small child runs in blind terror from a bear-monkey.

Overpopulation: it’s not just for old white women anymore.

Lord knows what these two are eating. I hope they haven’t seen Sweeney Todd.

The smartest pig put his money into low-cost Index funds…

…his lazy brother wanted to be an Influencer.

Ho ho ho. Let’s make a rhyme about drowning cats!

This is your brain on drugs.

Really, would you turn your back on these two?

Good old Peter. What a guy, always good for a laugh down the pub. What a card, keeps his wife locked in a cage at home.

Holy cow! It’s Bette Davis (in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) and Peter Lorre reincarnated as a doll and an egg.

Luckily, we all lived to tour another day.


  1. Stephen King could make a good story out of Fairyland. Add a creepy clown, and it could be “IT – The Second Coming.” How big were these figures?

    1. Good point, George. There’s no sense of scale in my photos. The figures ranged from about six inches to a foot tall. Which means their carving knives would have been pretty small.

  2. You guy’s always come up with some really interesting and what seems at times “off the beaten path” places! This one was pretty interesting and a little strange! Enjoy hearing about your travels! Take care.

    1. We have Susan and Dennis to thank for Rock City.

      Anyone interested in oddball attractions should get the Roadside America app. It will tell you about unusual sights near your current location.

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