No one studies fear quite like Margee Kerr. A sociologist who moonlights at one of America s scariest and most popular haunted houses, she has seen grown men laugh, cry, and push their loved ones aside as they run away in terror. Read more...
No one studies fear quite like Margee Kerr. A sociologist who moonlights at one of America s scariest and most popular haunted houses, she has seen grown men laugh, cry, and push their loved ones aside as they run away in terror. And she s kept careful notes on what triggers these responses and why.
Fear is a universal human experience, but do we really understand it? If we re so terrified of monsters and serial killers, why do we flock to the theaters to see them? Why do people avoid thinking about death, but jump out of planes and swim with sharks? For Kerr, there was only one way to find out.
In this eye-opening, adventurous book, she takes us on a tour of the world s scariest experiences: into an abandoned prison long after dark, hanging by a cord from the highest tower in the Western hemisphere, and deep into Japan s mysterious suicide forest. She even goes on a ghost hunt with a group of paranormal adventurers. Along the way, Kerr shows us the surprising science from the newest studies of fearwhat it means, how it works, and what it can do for us. Full of entertaining science and the thrills of a good ghost story, this book will make you think, laughand scream.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Kerr, a sociologist, investigates fear in this book, which blends memoir and scholarly study. She seeks out fresh sources of screams around the world: walking around the roof of a skyscraper, sitting in solitary confinement, riding a roller coaster, and visiting a haunted house. While describing her experiences, Karr insightfully reviews the physical effects of feeling fear, such as the release of hormones. The author begins and ends the book at ScareHouse in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she is invited to design a set of experiments testing her theory that three components turn the merely scary into the absolutely terrifying: narrative (a background story), interactivity (especially a physical interaction or sensation), and shared participation to intensify the emotions. For people who wonder why they like to be scared, these experiments offer some clues. For those afraid of being afraid, Kerr’s own enthusiasm gives them reasons to try it, since, as she writes, “there is so much power in recognizing that simple fact, that each day is our choice: Are you going to live or die?” Agent: Alia Habib, McCormick Literary. (Oct.)