Fear and Groaning

Losing your composure is generally regarded as a weakness, a failure of mental fortitude. But it shouldn’t necessarily be that way, because essentially, it’s just a by-product of being human. It’s a condition of your mammalian license… it’s instinct.

Embarrassing as it is, there are moments in life where the animalistic autopilot takes over and we are utterly helpless. When something so ridiculously hilarious presents itself (ie people falling over when dancing, or a well-timed fart in public), you wheeze, snort and flail about in hysteria as the frontal lobe of your brain buzzes on a glut of endorphins. You cannot help it – and the more you wish you could, the more control slips from your grasp. You’ll have surely experienced a time when you missed a step or slipped up on a slick surface, and snapped into instinct mode – no matter how laid back or lax your stroll was up until that point. You’ll gasp, groan, shriek and stutter until equilibrium is restored – all within milliseconds.

And then, of course, there’s fear.  Nothing strips the composure from you as fast as a piercing jolt of the heebie-jeebies. Thanks to the hostile world our cave-dwelling ancestors inhabited, we’ve evolved to become equipped with a number of survival mechanisms – once used to avoid becoming a sabre-toothed tiger’s dinner, and now used for amusement on Japanese television. The well-known ‘fight-or-flight‘ reaction is unpredictable and like it or not, it will get you – and will get you bad. All you can hope is that no-one around has a camera.

Enter Nightmares Fear Factory in Canada, the “longest running and scariest haunted house in North America, possibly the world. ” By scaring the living daylights out of patrons then posting their photos on their awesome Flickr stream, Nightmares Fear Factory have both allowed human behavioural scientists to spot reactionary patterns in the gallery of frightened little subjects; while the rest of us get a good old, uncontrollable fit of laughter at the sight of all those contorted, distressed little faces.

Here’s just a taste, enjoy:

Subjects try to block out distressing image or repel with equally distressing facial expressions.

In panic, subjects grasp for eachothers hands... or bags.

Male subjects bravely utilise females as human shields.

Subjects scramble for safety, and display displeasure at presence of danger with 'horns-down' symbol.

Jumping and urinating on sight of danger also displayed by hatted subjects.

Subjects reach to support traumatised victim suffering acute wardrobe malfunctions.

Subjects revert to 'conga-line' pack-survival technique and react similarly as to their first viewing of birthing video in sex-ed.

Male subject's attempt to leg-it thwarted by superhuman strength of stressed girlfriend.

What did they see? This… probably.

All pics copyright, Nightmare Fear Factory – from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nightmaresfearfactory/


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