Do you ever wonder why it is that along with the fun of trick or treating with your kiddos, makings “finger” foods (no pun intended), finding your way out of a corn maze and carving pumpkins, there’s one central theme to this season that attracts people of all ages. Fear.
Why is it people choose to be scared? And furthermore, why do they pay for this excitement? Fear in a sense gives us a rush, a sort of fight or flight response. According to Feltman and Kaplan, another reason people love to be scared is due to the rush of hormones that make people feel overall stronger. Fear has driven civilization to what it is today. Without fear our ancestors would have perished in dangerous situations due to the lack of a flight or fight response.
When approached by something scary or put in a scary situation our bodies and instinct for survival takes over. Our hearts speed up, we breathe quicker, and more oxygen finds its way to our muscles, which is needed in either the fight or flight response. When adrenaline is released we almost turn into super humans, doing thins we never really thought our bodies were capable of. All of these emotions can makes us shake, simply because our bodies are working in overtime, as explained by Feltman and Kaplan.
Some don’t handle fear well, being left vulnerable and sick, but some feel overpowered when the endorphins kick in. For those who thrive on fear, it is because it induces a high arousal response, which like many other high arousal responses, feels pretty amazing.
One reason haunted houses are so fun is because we can feel that fear with our bodies, but according to Margee Kerr a Sociologist specializing in fear, it takes les than a second for us to remember were in a safe place and then we switch over to extreme joy.
Kerr also believes that we use fear as a distraction, using those endorphins helps to dull our conscious thinking and gives us a break from everyday realities. Then there’s the components of social bonding and sense of achievement many feel after having fear instilled in them.
Overall, not everyone can handle intense fear, so be mindful of you’re mindset and personal limitations before venturing into a haunted adventure. Fear makes some of us feel good in a controlled setting, that we often pay for. Visiting a haunted house, if your both mentally and physically up to it, can make you feel overjoyed and like a superhuman. So come visit the NSHM Haunted Mansion, pay us to scare you and leave with a boost of self-esteem, we’re always glad to help. J
Feltman, Rachel, and Sarah. “Dear Science: Why Do People like Scary Movies and Haunted Houses?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 Oct. 2016, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/10/31/dear-science-why-do-people-like-scary-movies-and-haunted-houses/?noredirect=on.