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    4 Cartoon Fan Theories That Will Give You Nightmares

    Unless you were a really morbid child, in which case you probably already knew half of these.

    4. All The Rugrats Are Dead (Except Angelica)


    If you were born between 1985 and 1994, there's a 99% chance that you were a fan of Nickelodeon's Rugrats. For the uninitiated, here's the premise in a nutshell: Several irresponsible parents continually leave their mischievous and intelligent infants unsupervised; hijinks ensue. It's a cute show with colorful animation and some pretty lit one-liners, making it effortlessly popular with kids and kids at heart.

    Except there's this theory going around that all the babies are dead and the show is actually some kind of post-traumatic fever dream of Angelica's.

    Angelica, should you need reminding, is three and thus the oldest of the children (except, of course, Susie Carmichael). Some evil geniuses on CreepyPasta think that the adult characters in the show have bizarre personality quirks that can only be explained as follows:

    Tommy, Angelica's cousin and precocious leader of the babies, was actually stillborn. His father Stu spends his time making toys in the basement for the son he was meant to have.

    Chuckie, notorious 'fraidy cat and Tommy's best friend, died when his mother did, leaving his father Chaz a permanent nervous wreck.

    Phil and Lil DeVille, the fraternal twins, were supposed to be one baby, but their parents terminated the pregnancy. Angelica never knew the sex of the baby, so she created one of each.

    If that's not disturbing enough for you, the CreepyPasta article actually manages to extend this theory to the birth of Dil Pickles, Tommy's younger brother, all the way through the "All Growed Up" spin-off series. But for those of us who were raised on the original Nicktoon, this is plenty creepy.

    3. "Courage The Cowardly Dog" Seasons 2-4 are in Courage's Head


    Some of us may remember Courage the Cowardly Dog as the most unnecessarily disturbing children's show of all time, beating Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps by a mile. If you had the type of parents who didn't want you permanently traumatized by the show's content, Courage was essentially a show about a very jittery purple dog who lives in Nowhere (no, really, that was the name of the town) with a sweet old lady named Muriel and her abusive husband Eustace. Horrific monsters appear regularly at the house; hijinks ensue.

    The show was creepy, but it was also well-written, and it quickly became one of Cartoon Network's most popular offerings, even picking up a few awards throughout its four-season run. However, some people think that the Season 1 finale is chronologically the last episode, since Muriel and Eustace die in it.

    If you're scratching your head in confusion, allow me to refresh your memory. In the final episode of Season 1, "The Great Fusilli," a talking alligator with a traveling puppet show turns Muriel and Eustace into puppets themselves. At the end of the episode, Muriel and Eustace are not returned to their human forms. Instead, the episode closes with Courage controlling the puppets of his owners in an attempt to simulate their natural behavior.

    You can see where this is going.

    The fan theory suggests that because both Muriel and Eustace meet the same fate with no resolution returning them to their usual state, they were really turned into puppets and killed by the Great Fusilli. Seasons 2, 3, and 4 of the show are all in Courage's imagination, and the episodes become increasingly disturbing as the already nervous dog deteriorates without the care of his owners.

    Have fun sleeping.

    2. Spongebob and Friends Are Victims of Atomic Testing


    Unless you've been cryogenically frozen, there is literally no way to have made it to 2016 without being familiar with Spongebob Squarepants, so let's do this quickly: Spongebob is about a sentient sea sponge with entirely too much energy having bizarre interactions with his underwater friends; hijinks ensue.

    The cast of Spongebob resides in a decidedly human-looking subaqueous city called Bikini Bottom. They all talk, and for some reason there's a squirrel doing scientific research down there, but who cares? It's just a cartoon, right?

    Unless the creators of the show used it to make some serious commentary about nuclear testing.

    The Republic of the Marshall Islands, a country located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, hosts a ring of small landmasses known as Bikini Atoll. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, Bikini Atoll was used as a detonation site for 23 atomic bombs. If you were paying even a little attention during the WWII unit in history class, you know that atomic radiation causes, amongst other issues, birth defects and physical deformities. But are two similarly named locations really enough to make us believe that the residents of Bikini Bottom are victims of radiation poisoning?

    Stay with me.

    Atomic bombs create a pretty distinctive shape, colloquially known as "mushroom clouds." If you've ever watched Spongebob Squarepants, you might have seen this shape any time a character trips, breaks something, or, yes, blows something up.

    Still not convinced? The National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas includes this theory within its permanent exhibit.

    1. Arnold Isn't An Orphan


    Hey Arnold! was another favorite Nicktoon for 90s kids, despite the fact that it got pretty heavy at times. The nine year-old Arnold tragically lost his parents when he was still an infant, but moved in with his grandparents in a boarding house full of wacky characters. He and his friends kick it around New York City, living their lives like they're golden and learning some heartwarming lessons along the way. Hijinks ensue.

    But what if Arnold's parents aren't actually dead? What if his grandparents are his birth parents? And what if it gets worse from there?

    According to this truly upsetting fan theory, Arnold's grandparents are his biological parents, but have suffered from severe mental deterioration due largely to their age. Because of this, they found it easier to lie and tell Arnold he had younger parents who had already passed, rather than admit that they were not properly equipped to care for him. This theory also offers some reasoning behind their bizarre behavior, particularly that of Arnold's grandmother.

    Additionally, that distinctive football-shaped head of Arnold's? That's not creative license; that's hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain and causes the head to swell. Arnold's parents were so old when he was born that he was put at severe risk of birth defects, which manifested in the form of the cranial shape he was mocked mercilessly for throughout the series.

    The original author of this theory goes on to suggest that Hey Arnold! is actually a biographical series and that the head writer exploited a real boy with hydrocephalus in order to create it, but we'll leave it here for now.

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