Some people hate to be scared. They are the types to avoid the movie theatres like the plague, stray from the campfire after a certain hour, and avoid the section of the library that has a row full f novels with “King” down the side of it. This type of person knows what they like and don’t like, and the rush of fear isn’t something they want anything to do with.
And that’s fine.
However, for every one of those folks, there is a person, like myself, who lives to be scared. There are people who would enjoy nothing more than not being able to sleep at night because they read something that has them wondering if there was going to be a woman with black hair and her mouth sewn shut coming out of the closet as soon as you shut your eyes (oh yes, everybody – that was a solid two nights of restlessness for this writer!) But what makes us think in such a way? Why do we love to be utterly frightened to our wits end?
One answer is…science! Our body releases hormones when we are scared. Our adrenaline pumps, our hearts race, and some of us even feel more powerful because of this. Your body is prepping itself for the worst like a bunker-owner with his own water-filtration unit in the Appalachian wilderness. But in fiction, nothing is actually going to harm you. There is a very scarce chance that the boy under the bed is real or that there is a pale grey man who stands over you while you sleep. They just don’t happen…normally. We love to feel that physical rush with the safety of knowing, deep down that it most likely isn’t going to hurt us.
Another answer is psychology! We all want to, deep down, understand the bizarre and the unexplored. We all want to know what is going in the places we can see and to find answers to the questions we haven’t asked. Horror allows us to do that. It allows us to ask “what if?” and actually know the answers to that question if things went terribly wrong without being in danger of having the actual experience. There is also a wondrous sense of relief for many people when the movie/book/story/etc is over and we can come back to earth, realizing that none of it actually happened.
There truly is a beauty to being scared and, for the bravest of folks, it can be a real treat! So grab your favorite novel, turn on your favorite flick, read your favorite creepypasta, and know that it can be fun (which is normal)!
Except sleep paralysis. There’s nothing fun about that stuff.