As suggested previously, I've decided to do something that I have relatively little experience in. In a way this might be a more direct way of accomplishing what I had intended for this site; cataloguing niche thoughts which wouldn't otherwise be recorded.
It may have been a result of the environment, and valleys in particular, but the city felt like the end of the world back in the day. It still does to an extent, albeit with less of the usual childhood numinosity. Part of this was of course due to routine. As a child, it truly does appear like the world does cater to you on some level. Less in the cerebral sense of understanding the general social attitude towards children, and more how the world is typically understood by the child only as it approaches their life. A visit from family turns into an opportunity for learning, a trip to the doctor's teaches one about the body, Halloween brings up thoughts of ghosts, etc. The newness of things and the lack of sophistication in understanding also gives one a sense of ownership over things, to an extent. The child teaching others tends to be confident. Even a trip out of the city doesn't quite break this spell. There is obviously a world out there, of course, but it doesn't just feel the same or real. In some ways, the irreality of the road trip exposes the same webwork weaknesses of the home world. You get toys and news and read books about things that happened in other places, but its hard to cognize them as something separate.
An obvious part of the whole childhood thing is the unseemliness of it. This can be both intellectually recognized and felt, even by those who would otherwise be sympathetic to it. Being young necessarily implies being underdeveloped; the whole biological grist of growing up can frankly be disturbing. The child, by necessity, has to be treated differently than a typical person, and that adds its own strangeness. I've read a few AR stories from the nineties and 2000s, and its easy to pick up this disturbing undertone, one that I would argue is not just a product of the author's own strange predilections. I was personally weaned on different fare, and I generally notice that modern authors avoid the strange, 'creaturely' themes of earlier works. The reasons for this are obvious. Theoretically, this sort of regression horror, can blend into other areas. A child that is easy to manipulate into disturbing religious ideologies, a lack of discipline that are obstacles to spiritual progress or magical practice, a straight up lack of comprehension on nuances and the increased difficulty of holding onto a coherent self and associated ideals. I would not call myself a fan of this sort of horror, transcendentalist as I am, but I have to admit that it could be a thing. There are other, sort of generally unsavory aspects too, though they are harder to define, and mostly fall into the general purgatory of the fanfic and the online world in general. The generic teen babyfur worldswap thing is a good example of this. The old style of calling children "it", too. As has been made obvious, one could really do a deep dive into this, whether not it would be profitable.
One interesting aspect of childhood is religion. Specifically, its relationship to the ABDL/AR world. Now, the initial cringe is quite understandable and actually rather nuanced. Part of the problem is of course the automatic reaction to protect the sacred. I would make the arguable guess that most who are into this no longer associate with the religion of their birth, regardless of their own theological musings, practices, and whether or not they would be sympathetic to it. Nonetheless, people tend to instinctively find this very disturbing in a classic 'attack on the holy' sort of way. This is only exacerbated if the person actually maintained their 'starting' religion to a decent degree. Another aspect of this problem relates back to something that was previously presented, the malleability of children. If one had serious problems with the ideas behind a religion, the idea of one's youthful dedication can be amusing, though also tinged with fear at how one was susceptible. One might also feel guilt, particularly if they are reminded of their 'impiety' while involved in predilections that might be charitably described as 'earthly'. It can be argued that the general cringe felt also relates to a more attenuated form seen in the normal relationship of kids and religion. There's a certain weirdness, earthliness, to the mundanity of raising children in a faith and essentially let base animal nature presumably determine the immortal salvation of souls. It is an uneasy reminder of the biological. As an example, think of Mormonism or Catholicism. With the latter there are even schools especially dedicated towards the child's education, and the priest might be close on the premises. The matter is rather bizarre.
Of course, the whole matter is not entirely negative. The preconceptions that twist people into webs of guilt, shame, desire, and fear, take a while to grow with maturity, and one is also left wondering how many of these are legitimate and to what degree they are just the ramblings of mortal minds. As a kid, religion can be fun. Firstly, religion is one of the first, 'institutionalized' modes in which the child first views the supernatural, and thus can have a pretty significant effect. Even though personal experiences tend to vary significantly from the established creed, this in itself can provide a game in interpretation, and is frankly not a bad thing. Even once the child starts to learn about other cultures, history, and visits the paranormal section in their local library, this information can be filtered through the lenses that are previously acquired. Rituals have an allure; the eager altar boy and the kid who makes a totem in their backyard aren't so different.
The paranormal subculture has infinite, inane, and rather ridiculous depth, and yet it is not surprising to see how often it is parasitized in media. It really is unsavory, and this is why media that deals with the general paranormal almost always avoids the real-world culture. A setting will often establish how things 'actually' work, and create worlds that are as contrived as the models of those whom they mock. As an aside, I will note that I am specifically speaking of the paranormal culture, and not the science of parapsychology, though that too is often ignored. I am interested in this primarily from a social or anthropological perspective, and do not have a pet flying saucer theory to sell you.
Mothman art is a good example of this. People will draw them as a character, scary or cute, and scarcely know of a thing beyond that. In a way, it is almost akin to the Nazi gear fandom, though that lot appears to have more knowledge of history. There is mothman porn and even cryptid diaper art out there, and yet oftentimes the artist knows little of the events at Point Pleasant, and of course they would not know the name of John Keel or the bizarre theories that were concocted regarding the alleged creature. The presentation is sanitized, and it is difficult to explain the depth of culture that they are avoiding, at risk of looking like a believer.
Frankly, I knew little of psi as a child, but having been involved in the academic life since, I cannot help but find it resonate strangely with the world of youth, and I cannot quite explain way. The element of paranormal naturalism may be a factor, and of course personal taste is involved. I have seen a slight, general trend of people relating their scientific interests to ABDL material in the past, and more prominently in the furry community, so this is not entirely a unique thing. Nevertheless, I do think there is a certain something there.
This post didn't really end up going in the way I expected it to. Thoughts as it turns out are difficult to relate. Until we get reliable telepathy, I'll probably attempt something like this again in the future. I hope this was entertaining, and thank you.