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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Some live for a good fright

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween is right around the corner. Ghosts and vampires and all nature of scary things are set to be unleashed for one night.

The Jaycees' Haunted House is doing brisk business, scaring the heck out of hordes of local residents.

"Paranormal Activity 2", the follow-up to the first "made-on-a-shoestring" frightfest, cleaned up at the box office this weekend, taking in over $41 million on a $1 million investment.

Breathtaking roller-coasters, bungee jumping, skydiving. Some folks just can't get enough of being scared.

I've never been one for the phenomenon. When a movie gets even a little tense, I'll be sitting with my hands over my eyes. Haunted house? No thanks. Skydiving? Not unless the plane is going down.

While there are plenty of 'fraidy cats like me, there's a large number of folks who just love to get the beejezus scared out of them.

According to Web MD, thrill seekers thrive on all things scary.

Frank Farley, PhD, psychologist at Temple University, has studied people who have what he calls "type T" (thrill-seeking) personalities. These men and women thrive on the uncertainty and the intensity associated with activities that most people consider to be hair-raising -- from riding roller-coasters to bungee jumping. "Sky divers will tell you it's the thrill, the rush, and a little element of fear that motivates them to push themselves to the extreme," he says.

According to Farley, some people enjoy the physical sensations that can accompany being scared -- from the adrenaline rush to the racing heart to the perspiring palms.

For children, an event like Halloween can provide an enjoyable and safe way to explore and experience fear, knowing that the goblins and witches stalking their neighborhood are only make-believe. Leon Rappoport, PhD, describes Halloween as something akin to an exorcism, allowing children to work through and release pent-up emotions and anxieties.

"They're being given the license to probe at least the superficial anxieties about magical transformations, which, in the imagination of a child, are not completely foreign," says Rappoport, professor of psychology at Kansas State University.

I'll skip the fear factor this Halloween, content to enjoy the other thing the holiday is known for - candy.

Paula Buenger
Publisher