Why we love things that go bump in the night

You look around. The street is deserted. Fog rolls in as you head to your car. Are those footsteps behind you? You quicken your pace. The footsteps grow louder. You fumble for your keys only to find your pockets are empty.  Why didn’t you use the valet parking? The footsteps grow closer. Someone grabs you by the shoulder, the warmth of their breath on your neck. You scream and try to run away. It’s too late, you’re caught. You squeeze your eyes shut as someone grabs you from behind and spins you around. You slowly open your eyes.

“Excuse me miss,” a deep voice says as he hands you your keys.  “You dropped these on the floor.”  Your waiter smiles as he walks you to your car.


It’s that time of year again. The leaves are turning, the comforting smell of well-tended fires snake their way up chimneys, the days are growing shorter and we crave spooky movies and books like a kid craves Halloween candy.

Thanks to SyFy’s 31 Days of Halloween and Freeform’s 13 Nights of Halloween you can revel in a fright fest 24/7. It’s no coincidence that Halloween is our second favorite holiday, and it has nothing to do with candy (okay, well maybe a little to do with it). No, the simple truth is, we love having the crap scared out of us. Blame it on the old amygdala, that small almond-shaped portion of our primal brain responsible for activating the fight-or-flight response.  Seems that we’re wired for fright. Whether it’s riding a roller-coaster, parachuting out of a plane at 12,000 feet or sitting in a movie theatre pursued by a band of zombies, it all comes down to the same thing. Catharsis. We love the rush of fear and tension and relish the relief that follows when it’s over.

No longer a tribe of hunter-gatherers, we’ve traded in our bows and arrows for computers and keyboards. No longer faced with the fear of being chased down and attacked by predators, most of our modern lives revolve around the sameness and security we’ve come to expect as part of our daily routines. Today we can indulge our darkest fears in the comfort and safety of our living rooms. Nowadays we can enter a world of virtual threats and thrills at the click of a remote.

So, what are you waiting for?  Grab that bowl of popcorn and remote and have a scary good time. Your amygdala will thank you!