Help me find the source of my Lepidopterophobia
August 26, 2015 1:35 AM   Subscribe

I am terrified of butterflies and moths, and have been since I've been a little kid. I do, interestingly, have a vague memory a traumatizing scene I witnessed on TV from when I was between the ages of 3 and 5, which I've attributed my phobia to. I've never been able to figure out the title of the work, so I'm hoping that MeFi might help.

I'm not sure whether it was a movie or a television show. At that age it would have been the mid-1980's. I'm fairly certain it was in color, so probably nothing too old. I remember a man sitting at a bar or pub, having a conversation maybe, and then some butterfly or moth-like creatures fly into the bar and swarm him, covering him from head to toe. At this point I may have yelped and hid behind the sofa for a bit, or covered my eyes but still peeked at the scene. I vaguely remember that there was some struggling and screaming on the man's part, and I think he ends up dying from suffocation or poisoning.

Does anybody know what this scene is from? I've never been able to figure it out. In hindsight I realize that it might not have been butterflies or moths, but another bug with similar wings?
posted by the_wintry_mizzenmast to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it possible the insects were cockroaches? There's a 80s film called The Nest about killer cockroaches, and I have a vague memory of them flying...
posted by frumiousb at 1:59 AM on August 26, 2015

I recall seeing a TV show in that sort of timeframe where there was a nefarious plot that involved white powder that, when applied to something, would make butterflies (or locusts? or something?) ravenously attack that object (or person). The only scene I can recall was out in a field, not in a bar, but it seems familiar. Possibly the purpose was to spread the powder on crops so the insects would devour them, but at some point some people got covered in it and eaten too.
I feel like it was a TV show along the lines of The Avengers (the 1960s UK TV show, not Marvel) or The Man From UNCLE, the sort of thing where a team of crime-fighters would be battling to stop some world-domination plot.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:57 AM on August 26, 2015

A scene much like you described happened in an episode of Fringe that aired in 2008: The Dreamscape S01E09

Here is a youtube video of the scene. I know that there's no way that it's the one that you saw as a child, but maybe if you're trying some kind of aversion therapy thing this scene is freaky enough to get you close? (it is a legit scary scene)
posted by sparklemotion at 8:06 AM on August 26, 2015

frumiousb: I don't think it's the Nest, because I don't think my dad or sister would have been watching a horror flick at the time. It came out in 1988, which is a little late in my timeline for it too.

EndsofInvention: I think you're onto something! If I had to guess what type of scene it was, I would have said, "Like something out of a cheesy Bond flick," so The Avengers and Man from UNCLE might be about right. I'll take a look through the episode synopses, and see if it's any of those or similar.

Sparklemotion: Thanks for the youtube clip! I'll keep that in mind if I ever want to brave the horrors to decondition myself.
posted by the_wintry_mizzenmast at 1:23 AM on August 27, 2015

I had a look through TMFU episode summaries on Wikipedia - didn't find anything but they are very brief (just like "THRUSH plot to do X"). Couldn't find any Avengers plot summaries - unsurprisingly, searching for "avengers" isn't hugely helpful.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:58 AM on August 27, 2015

And just as I said that, I found an Avengers episode guide. A cursory search doesn't reveal anything though.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:00 AM on August 27, 2015

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