Most people seek to avoid fear. Or do they? Is fear always a bad thing or do people derive some sense of pleasure from it? Apparently, people do get something valuable out of the experience of fear because a variety of industries cater specifically to the emotion.
Think about it. Theme parks fill acres and acres of space with rides designed to put the fear of God in patrons, while simultaneously keeping them safe. Interest in the paranormal and ghost hunting is another industry that caters to the human need for feelings of fear. And haunted houses in the United States work hard to create situations that inspire terror in their patrons. But why?
In the United States, we live in a consumer-based culture. We live our lives disconnected from nature and other people, tuning in more readily to our iPhones or television sets rather than our friends or family. We buy things to make our lives as comfortable as possible and then, as soon as we settle into the perfection, we realize that we’re bored. Then a market springs up to meet the needs of bored people who wish to have emotions again.
Fear is one of the most exhilarating emotions that people feel. Fear brings people into the present tense. As consumers, we live much of our lives questing after future prospects; a better car, a bigger house, a promotion. In many societies, people don’t have better prospects. People in non-consumer-based societies think day-to-day or even hour-to-hour about food and survival. These people feel fear about the prospects of finding food and surviving. But take away that fear, the edginess of wondering what will happen next, and life can start to seem just plain dull.
Haunted attractions and roller coasters solve this problem by offering scary experiences within the context of relative safety. When a person lines up at a haunted house in Nebraska or Colorado or anywhere else in the United States, they don’t feel fearful about whether or not they’re going to survive. They feel anticipation about feeling fear. Generally speaking, this is a pleasurable, invigorating experience.
A lot of people would be surprised to know how many patrons spend the vast majority of their time inside the haunts laughing at themselves. Laughter almost always follows screams. This is true in many scary real-life situations too. If you’ve ever traveled overseas to a third world country where the culture is completely backward from what you’re used to, you’ll feel fear and trepidation regularly on the streets. And often, the fear will be followed by laughter at the craziness of what happens.
School District 13 is a haunted attraction that’s been designed to get patrons to reconnect with themselves, not only through fear, but through the experience of other emotions. Patrons come to Brule to experience a bit of small town life in a farming community as well Halloween in Nebraska.