The Dark Side of Nursery Rhymes, by Geoffrey Handley-taylor (1952)

In 1952, having analysed 200 traditional nursery rhymes, British writer Geoffrey Handley-Taylor concluded that 100 of those rhymes harboured "unsavoury elements," all of which he then listed.
  1. 8 allusions to murder (unclassified)
  2. 2 cases of choking to death
  3. 1 case of death by devouring
  4. 1 case of cutting a human being in half
  5. 1 case of decapitation
  6. 1 case of death by squeezing
  7. 1 case of death by shrivelling
  8. 1 case of death by starvation
  9. 1 case of boiling to death
  10. 1 case of death by hanging
  11. 3 cases of death by drowning
  12. 4 cases of killing domestic animals
  13. 1 case of body snatching
  14. 21 cases of death (unclassified)
  15. 7 cases relating to the severing of limbs
  16. 1 case of the desire to have a limb severed
  17. 4 cases relating to the breaking of limbs
  18. 1 allusion to a bleeding heart
  19. 1 case of devouring human flesh
  20. 9 threats of death
  21. 1 case of kidnapping
  22. 12 cases of torment and cruelty to human beings and animals
  23. 8 cases of whipping and lashing
  24. 3 allusions to blood
  25. 14 cases of stealing and general dishonesty
  26. 15 allusions to maimed human beings and animals
  27. 2 allusions to graves
  28. 23 cases of physical violence (unclassified)
  29. 1 case of lunacy
  30. 16 allusions to misery and sorrow
  31. 1 case of drunkenness
  32. 4 cases of cursing
  33. 1 allusion to marriage as a form of death
  34. 1 case of scorning the blind
  35. 1 case of scorning prayer
  36. 9 cases of children being lost or abandoned
  37. 2 cases of house burning
  38. 9 allusions to poverty and want
  39. 5 allusions to quarreling
  40. 2 cases of unlawful imprisonment
  41. 2 cases of racial discrimination