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Topic: What do people fear
Message: Posted by: WR (Nov 5, 2003 10:51AM)
I am working on a show where we Explore peoples fears. So far I have bries alive, hanging, Ghost, Witches, Vampires, Egytian curses... What are som of the fears you would include?
WR :wow:

Here are some sites with my, and the help of others, effects;
Message: Posted by: rowdymagi5 (Nov 5, 2003 11:24AM)
Burned alive. Drowning.
Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Nov 5, 2003 11:43AM)
I know some people who are deathly afraid of CLOWNS!


Message: Posted by: rickmagic1 (Nov 5, 2003 11:51AM)
The number one fear that people in general have is the fear of being in front of an audience.

Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Nov 5, 2003 12:16PM)
Rick is spot on. There are also entire books about phobias and anxieties in the psychology section of your favorite bookstore.

Here's one that's not exactly in-depth, but indisputably fun:
Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Nov 5, 2003 01:22PM)

That's a great idea for a show!

I'm pathologically afraid of snakes. I braved the reptile house at my local zoo, recently, so my young sone could see inside, but I felt decidedly weird, and exhausted when I finally staggered outside.


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: WR (Nov 5, 2003 01:59PM)
Arachnophobia and Ophidiophobia are the winners.
I am thinking about an idea from KOTAH or Ronald J. Dayton as some may know him for Arachnophobia. And am thinking of an idea for Ophidiophobia (Snakes).(Think I will call it Caleb fear....:bg:
WR :wow:
Message: Posted by: mystic1 (Nov 5, 2003 02:13PM)
Card magicians !
Message: Posted by: WR (Nov 5, 2003 02:24PM)
On 2003-11-05 15:13, mystic1 wrote:
Card magicians !
[/quote] Too scary. Maybe I will do PHOBIA by ? and instead of the rattle snake egg I will use a spring snake in a box or something.
WR :wow:
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Nov 5, 2003 09:10PM)
At the risk of soundling like I'm having fun with this (and I'm not!) play into MODERN fears:

IRS audits,
being broke in old age,
death by fire, falling, strangulation
having to speak to a large group of people (according to the American Psychiatric Association, this is THE No, 1 fear today!),
being permamently injured and maimed

There's some really scary stuff on that list, especially the IRS and public speaking ones. People have been to go totally catatonic when faced with either of those - no joke.

Don't know if this helps, but...

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: Walon (Nov 5, 2003 11:26PM)
Having body parts cut off, none too cleanly.
Message: Posted by: ELS (Nov 5, 2003 11:33PM)
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown". H.P.Lovecraft

Ed :wavey:
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 5, 2003 11:42PM)
What people fear is what they choose not to face. Doubt, Denial, Bad decisions they know will haunt them... those are real fears.

The antique metaphors made visual by children's stories have nothing close to their original impact. Why parade childrens monsters for adults?

You want fear? Look at the driver ahead of you on the road... they might sneeze and lose control of their car. And the driver to your right who is passing in the slow lane is about to cut ahead of you.

More fears? Okay. The doctor giving you the flu shot might not have gotten out a clean syringe...and the patient before you looked very sickly. Maybe that needle is contaminated with AIDS?

Remember when your elderly relative got ill? Well their hospital bills have you as responsible party. And they just found you on their paper work and the bills are starting to come in. For hundreds of thousands of dollars.

More fears? Are you sure? Okay... Did you know that all your internet posts and email and news groups are monitored? And the program that sifts these things has bugs. Your internet id might get confused with someoen elses and the combined content could trip off the flags at our PATRIOT agencies. There might be someone waiting to talk to you at the door now. If you are lucky they will knock. And if you are real lucky they will only talk to you... otherwise you might dissapear.

More fears? Please, just getting started. Let's talk about the new form of herpes that...
Message: Posted by: sludge (Nov 6, 2003 05:38AM)
[quote]On 2003-11-05 12:43, Peter Loughran wrote:
I know some people who are deathly afraid of CLOWNS!


Peter you're evil ;) Specifically jesters with me, phew...
Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Nov 6, 2003 06:01AM)

I love your idea. I almost hate to mention it because I enjoy doing my own rendition of it, but check out Luke Jeremy's book, 7 Deceptions. There's a great effect in there concerning phobias you might like to think about for a closer to your show. It's just called the 7th Deception. It's a very cool "psychological ceremony" in which you remove someone's phobia. I've actually had one person tell me that it worked. Who says there's no real magic.

Message: Posted by: rowdymagi5 (Nov 6, 2003 07:42AM)
People fear their own mortality. So death is always a good topic when your talking about fear.
Message: Posted by: Dan LeFay (Nov 6, 2003 09:11AM)
I think fear for the unknown is an excellent startingpoint for a presentation. I use it a little more specifically in fear for darkness for one of my routines. And surprisingly (or not) my finishing lines are of the same content as Jontown's opening remarks...

I have a little book, probably no longer in print, that's called Real Magic by Philip Bonewitz. It adresses this item in a very intriguing way.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Nov 6, 2003 09:52AM)
One concern in doing a show based on fears would be audience distancing FROM the effects themselves.

When SciFi Channel debuted they show "Fear Factor" my first comment was, "somebody's going to get hurt by a victim taking this too seriously and responding with deadly force." My second comment was, "This show is a lawsuit just ITCHING to happen!"

The premise of the show is that a "friend" (and I use quotes because I don't think that how they scare these people is anything a real friend would do to someone!), nearly to death.

In one segment of the show, they had a guy take a supposedly deadly shot to the head while the target "friend" was doing the person's HAIR! His hands were washing the lady's head when the "killing" took place (IIRC).

Now if that isn't an "intentional infliction of emotional harm" suit that's a slam dunk waiting in the wings, I have NO idea of what is!

In another segment, they have some guy playing a crazed psycho chasing the "victim" through a building with a running chainsaw!

Let's see - torts assault, assault with a deadly weapon (the assault being predicated on the perception of a real attack in the mind of the victim in most jurisdictions), intentional infliction of emotional harm, attempted murder, and the list goes on.

If you are going to do a show based on fear, keep the audience out of it, IMPO.

Frankly, I'm waiting for Fear Factor to pull another psycho attack on someone and finding out that the victim is really a big time martial arts type who proceeds to kick the living daylights out of the "psycho" and then the director and Shannon Dougherty (the show's host).

Can you tell that I really HATE the concept of that show? ;) Someone is going to get seriously hurt or killed on that show. Trust me on this. Lawsuits to follow. Big time.

So, in doing your show, CYA - Cover Your Assets! ;)

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: Seance (Nov 6, 2003 11:02AM)

Just to clear up something: "Fear Factor" is the NBC show that has contestants doing something gross or in an extreme type of stunt (e.g. eating worms or driving a car and flipping it). The one on the Sci-Fi channel that you're describing is titled "Scare Tatics".

I agree with you on the liability issue and I'm sure "Scare Tatics" lawyers have signed wavers up the wazoo to insure against lawsuits of this kind.

It seems to me that the trend on TV is to embarrass or humiliate the people on the show as far as I can see:"Punked" on MTV, "Joe Schmo" on Spike, "Scare Tatics" on Sci-Fi, "Average Joe" on NBC. Hopefully, this trend will wither away and die quickly.

Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Nov 6, 2003 03:15PM)
Dave, you are absolutely correct! The name of the show IS Scare Tactics.

My apologies - too early a morning and too little coffee.

I just wonder how the Scare Tactics people can get waivers in advance of the "surprise" stunts they pull.

I know that if I were being chased by some nutjob with a chainsaw that my initial reaction would be to run for the nearest weapon (as I have 2 bad knees and can't run far) and to do as much hurt as possible to the attacker.

How do you protect the people doing the stunt against someone who won't "play the game" and who fights back?

Mark my words - someone is going to get hurt and the show WILL get sued - big time.

Unless the whole thing is staged, of course. At which point, their credibility goes in the dumper and the "Entertainment value" (questionable at best, IMHO), goes right down the toilet as well.

Any attorneys out there want to check in on how a show might protect itself against that kind of litigation?


Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: ptbeast (Nov 6, 2003 05:56PM)
This is an interesting area of discussion. I would like to comment on two points.

First, as an attorney, I have to agree with Lee. The type of stunts pulled on Scare Tactics are sure to scare defense lawyers and insurance companies. I really have no idea how they could adequately protect themselves against litigations. But if anyone knows any of the "stars" of that show, I would be willing to file suit and find out... (only half-way joking).

Secondly, I would like to comment on two points of view expressed so far in this thread. First, JonTown lists many things that people are afraid of that they face every day, from bad drivers to AIDS. He asks "Why parade children's monsters for adults?" On the other end of the spectrum is Lee, who suggests that we should not involve the audience in a fear based show.

I must disagree with both. People love to be scared. Thrill rides and horror movies alike draw huge crowds. I have long worked in haunted houses, and many of my bizarre routines are quite frightening.
And to be truly afraid, the audience must be involved. On the other hand, it is our purpose to entertain, not to intentionally inflict emotional distress. To sneak up on an unsuspecting victim and make them believe that they are going to die is an assault. To make them temporarily suspend their disbelief to the extent that they scream their heads off and maybe even wet themselves, that is entertainment! I think that we need to be very careful of what image we use to impart that fear. Things that are too "real-world" -- terrorists, car wrecks, and such must be used with great care to avoid crossing the line from entertainment to assault. That is why I love the classic monsters. People can be scared out of their wits, but at the end laugh it of as fiction.

I could go on, and perhaps will, but that is enough for now. I look forward to seeing what all of you think about this topic.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 6, 2003 06:18PM)
Dave et al,

I fully appreciate there are real things to fear, and do not condone frightening people. Where I have not found a formula of using these fears to entertain, I am aware of the possibilty and was offering some suggestions of modern fears to those who might find some application.

My issue with the 'classic' horror monsters concerns their effectiveness.

Once upon a time we lived in a verbal or textual society. Words were used to tell stories and paint pictures. These stories were sometimes historical and more often than not, metaphorical. The 'fairy tales' and 'monster stories' were intended to be encode moral and human truths.

Our current film based exposure to the stories leaves much of the metaphor out and replaces it with attemtps to defy disbelief with artful special effects. As the creatures in the stories are less to do with literal truths as human truths and the people in some extreme human conditions... the efforts are largely futile and result in more video games than moral education.

For instance... have you considered the plight of the guy who became the 'mummy'? Or perhaps the perspective of Frankenstein's monster?

I agree that our culture teaches us to want experience of exhileration and fear... in very minute and controlled dossage. Basicly wanting some modicum of the thrill of life with none of the risks normally associated.

I for one find great fear and thrill in airplane travel. And this is without the latest attractions of armed guards and the body/cavity search lottery where the winner gets an anal probe. Didn't you used to have to go out to the sticks and wait for a UFO for that to happen?

H. P. Lovecraft would love our modern world. He was really good at finding contemporary social issues and dressing them up to walk through the ill kept streets of our troubled cities... even if only imaginary cities.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Nov 6, 2003 06:30PM)
JonTown is right in saying: "Our current film based exposure to the stories leaves much of the metaphor out and replaces it with attemtps to defy disbelief with artful special effects."

Real terror doesn't happen in a dark and forbidding old castle. Rather, it happens in a brightly lit mall!
Message: Posted by: WR (Nov 7, 2003 11:49AM)
Thank you all for your wonderful ideas.
WR :wow:
Message: Posted by: Ellen Kotzin (Nov 7, 2003 07:08PM)
On 2003-11-05 14:22, Caleb Strange wrote:
I'm pathologically afraid of snakes. I braved the reptile house at my local zoo, recently, so my young sone could see inside, but I felt decidedly weird, and exhausted when I finally staggered outside.

You must have freaked if you saw the beginning part of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. (at the zoo) :eek:

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 7, 2003 09:59PM)
Ellen, how would you feel if one of your friends became a snake?
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Nov 8, 2003 05:17AM)
Is "triskaidekaphobia" the fear of crackers?
Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Nov 8, 2003 10:36AM)

Strangely enough, the idea of a talking snake is less scary to me than one of those brooding, still, and silent creatures. (Though, come to think of it...)

Fortunately, we only have one type of poisonous snake native to Britain (the 'adder' - a kind of amateur-night viper, about the size of a shoe-lace) and they're not VERY poisonous (though small dogs and babies beware).

JonTown wrote:

'Our current film based exposure to the stories leaves much of the metaphor out'

This raises the question: how do we recover the metaphor, whilst remaining entertaining enough to keep our audience? Bizarrists tell stories - we also, occasionally, make our metaphors concrete. (For instance, in Luke Jermay's 'A twisted palm reading' the lines-moving effect is not only unnerving, but it is also symbolic - that the lines of one's fate are not carved in stone, but, rather, one has the power to change them, or at least alter how one perceives them.)

But how else do/can we invest our magic with meaning?


Caleb Strange.

P.S. My young reptile-loving son has asked me to include the following 'smiley faces' in this post:
:dancing: :sun: :snowman: and last but not least :kermit: :kermit: :kermit:
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 8, 2003 10:45AM)
Caleb, et al

The open issue of how to make stories that carry meaning via metaphor is exactly my motivation for looking into hypnosis and NLP. Just what makes a story resonate for people as individuals, as members of a culture? as members of a small group at an occasion?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Message: Posted by: c_lamby2k (Nov 8, 2003 01:32PM)
On the sbject of someone fighting back (scare tactics)
I beieve that it has happened (not sure if it was on scare tactics....hey, I'll check)

Anyways, the guys was a janitor and was a real martial arts guy. The show had "zombies" appear and chase the guy, but instead of running the guy kicked some ass.

He started beating these "zombies" with a mop, really scared, but still kickin ass!
Message: Posted by: bobdomeros (Nov 17, 2003 01:52AM)
Listed in no particular order, these horror films regularly make most critics top 50 lists. At least one movie on this list is guaranteed to give you nightmares.

The Shining
Nightmare on Elm Street
The Omen
The Haunting
Night of the Living Dead
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Don't Look Now
Dead of Night
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Rosemary's Baby
Dawn of the Dead
Les Diaboliques (1955)
The Thing (1982)
The Evil Dead
The Exorcist
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Nov 17, 2003 10:25AM)
Dave, sorry if I mistyped on the audience involvement issue in a show about fear.

What I was trying to get across is that one should be very careful in HOW one involves them and to what extent.

As someone who has done bizarre magick for over 20 years, I am well acquainted with the idea of a good scare being a source for good entertainment - BUT only if it is framed and handled correctly.

An example: many people find bungee jumping to be a thrilling (and scary) thing to do. However, if you take someone, tie a rope to their leg and pitch them off a bridge without any set up, they will likely have a serious reaction to the experience - and it will NOT be positive.

So, what I was trying to say is that one needs to frame such a show carefully is all.

Sorry if I was unclear on my intent and thanks for pointing it out.

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: rickmagic1 (Nov 19, 2003 02:40PM)
An example: many people find bungee jumping to be a thrilling (and scary) thing to do. However, if you take someone, tie a rope to their leg and pitch them off a bridge without any set up, they will likely have a serious reaction to the experience - and it will NOT be positive.

Especially if you forgot and accidently tied it around their neck...

Message: Posted by: Peo Olsson (Nov 19, 2003 03:22PM)
Dentists :bg:
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Nov 19, 2003 03:47PM)
The biggie....Fear of the dark. It happens every day.


Being alone
In a strange place
Known/unknown creatures crawling on you
Injury causing pain/bites
Injury causing bleeding
Wild carniverous animals
Message: Posted by: DanielGreenWolf (Nov 19, 2003 09:52PM)
I think if you're looking for a genuine fear that is also a way of drawing them in... pain. People are afraid of seeing other people in pain (which is why some people are excited sexually by it) but they love to be there when it happens so that's always an idea.

-Daniel GreenWolf
Message: Posted by: jae (Nov 20, 2003 06:36PM)
On 2003-11-19 16:22, Peo Olsson wrote:
Dentists :bg:
[/quote] :wavey:
and here I thought we were not going to share secrets *G*
Message: Posted by: Erik Anderson (Nov 20, 2003 06:51PM)
But what truly terrifies magicians?

Three rows of seven cards.

I can feel your collective shudders from here.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Nov 28, 2003 12:27PM)
Disease. Look at the immediate fear inspired by such thinga as the anthrax problems not too long ago and movies like 28 Days Later, the Hot Zone and even The Stand.

It's one thing to be afraid of something that you can stand up to and punch in the face or shoot or blow up, but germs and viri are invisible and can kill someone without them even knowing that they are there.

I'm not quite sure how one would work that into a routine (disappearing buboes, manifestations of the bubonic plague) perhaps?

Scary stuff bioweapons. Even the EOD troopies are afraid of that stuff! (EOD - explosive ordinance disposal, the guys who defuse bombs, from pipe sized to nukes)

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 28, 2003 02:13PM)
In line with Lee's post above...

How about a small vial of white powder.

That when tasted offers a different taste each time for each person.

And when dumbed out to the floor or blown away seems to return to the bottle again.

Message: Posted by: Reg Rozee (Nov 29, 2003 01:58AM)
This topic came up in another forum recently, so there are a few more phobias that might help [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=48468&forum=32]here[/url].

-Reg {*}
Message: Posted by: cogliostro (Dec 2, 2003 09:50PM)
Two movies that always spooked me are [i]The Prince of Darkness[/i] and [i]In the Mouth of Madness[/i]. Let me re-state that. These are the only two movies that ever spooked me. All of the others seem to boil down to some villain who needs to be stopped: simply literary conflict of man versus monster, psychotic, demon, or ghost. These two movies work hard to convince you that the universe is an inherently hostile place and the most you can hope for is indifference; classic H.P. Lovecraft, as are the two movies.

In order into bring this into a bizarre routine your effect would have to lead your audience to question their fundamental beliefs about the nature of the universe, or convince them that a source of pure evil was trying to find its way into the world. Of course following this line of logic... well, just keep the religion of your target audience in mind before investing too much effort.

The first routines that comes to mind for me are Stephen Minch’s "Lovecraftian Ceremonies" and Doc Hilford’s "Mountain of Madness." Both outright Lovecraft routines. What can we come up with that would be original?

"I’m a sensible man and understand that HP Lovecraft is an author, nothing more. His ideas were compelling and disturbing, but still they are stories, just works of fiction. Some people have found them so compelling that they have decided to fabricate the books and artifacts of his stories."

"What’s that you say? You’re not familiar with this author? We’ll, let me introduce you to a little of this author. This is a seal. (Show small silver circle with an etched symbol.) According to the stories written by Lovecraft, at the beginning of time the universe was populated with an endless parade of enormous monsters; each one evil and hideous to look upon. But they were captures and their prisons locked with magical seals. This is one of those seals; what I mean is that it's obviously a reproduction by some fan. Since we both agree these are just stories. But it does look very genuine doesn’t it? Here, feel the weight. Very solid piece of metal, isn’t it? Clearly someone went to a lot of work to create it. Well, according to Lovecraft the only way for these monsters to escape back into our world was if the seals were broken." (At this point the seal start to visible bend, and fold in half. Both magician and audience look astonished. Magician drops it to the table, and a previously blank sheet of paper, now displays a magic circle and a bit of an unreadable language.) "Mayhem ensues, or perhaps just a trickle of evil escaped into the world."

Just my ramblings,
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 3, 2003 02:12PM)
Regarding our buddy H.P....and the things his words have brought into our world....

Alan Moore has recently published a few modern and post-modern takes on classic Lovecraft ideas. One story, "The Courtyard" takes the mythos into the same places as "Snow Crash" and "Into the Mouth of Madness" and the classic science fiction tale about contact with an alien being whose existance is ideological. The publisher for this material is Avatar Press and you can find the books online via BN or Amazon.

Or is that these ideas themselves want something from us?
Message: Posted by: Red_Wing_II (Dec 4, 2003 10:00AM)
Is "triskaidekaphobia" the fear of crackers?

Or just 13 crackers?
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Dec 4, 2003 10:06AM)
Lovecraft has had more of an impact on modern horror than anyone else, according to Stephen King and others (including Wes Craven).

Reading his stuff, as well as some of the other people who wrote in his universe, like August Dereleth, should be required reading for bizarrists who go the terrifying occultist route.

Truly scary stuff.

And a good proportion of the old series Night Gallery (which has shown up on Starz Mystery Channel lately) are either direct depictions of Lovecraft and Dereleth's stories, or good spins on them. Pickman's Model being a classic.

Also, believe it or not, Chaosium, the role playing game company, has published a role playing game titled The Call of Cthulu which has all sorts of useful information about the universe that he created, the critters in it and their abilities. Several supplements cover specifics, too. Good stuff from good people.

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 4, 2003 11:32AM)
Good to read that some here have read Lovecraft.

Here are a few of my favorite "other" stories

"Who Goes There?"
"All You Zombies"
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag"
"Beyond Lies the Wub"

Feel free to search them out using GOOGLE to find the plots.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Dec 4, 2003 12:17PM)
The movie buffs in this thread have all overlooked the scariest movie of all time:

The Texas Chainsaw Vasectomy!
Message: Posted by: Turk (Dec 5, 2003 01:54AM)
On 2003-11-06 19:30, Peter Marucci wrote:
JonTown is right in saying: "Our current film based exposure to the stories leaves much of the metaphor out and replaces it with attemtps to defy disbelief with artful special effects."

Real terror doesn't happen in a dark and forbidding old castle. Rather, it happens in a brightly lit mall!


Actually, IMHO, it happens in the dark recesses of the mind. The fear can be rational, irrational, logical, illogical, real, imagined, etc. But it all happens in the mind.

Some of the greatest fear inducing movies were the old Alfred Hitchcock movies. And, I seem to recall that there was an Alfred Hitchcock magazine series that had short suspenseful stories. (Might still be published.)

Between Hitchcock and The Twilight Zone...ahh! Thoses were the days!! Just imagine how many bizarre plots could be plagiarized from--oops! I mean learned from--by re-reading or re-viewing the same.


P.S. My # 1 fear? Being buried alive.
My # 2 fear? Existing in a catatonic state where I can see and hear all that goes on around me but I cannot respond, move, talk, etc. To be "alive" but totally helpless. The Christopher Reeves Syndrome taken to the Nth level.
My # 3 fear? Getting Alzheimer’s and losing my mind and all sense of reality.
My # 4 fear? Being eaten alive by a swarm or horde of insects or spiders.
My #5 fear? Being criticized by others on the Magic Café forums.

Just kidding about #5. Gotcha!!
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Dec 5, 2003 10:26AM)
Turk, I learned a long time ago not to tell anyone of my fears as they tend to get used against you at some time in the future. See The Witches of Eastwick for an excellent example of that! ;)

So now we have to figure out how to render you a zombie and bury you alive. Sounds like we'd have to send you to sit through 12 viewings of "Terror Train" and then lock you in the US Military Archives in St. Louis as a data retrieval specialist.

It amounts to the same thing. ;)

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: shrink (Dec 6, 2003 06:46AM)
There was a program on TV in the UK about an illness where the sufferers went into a coma-like state that resembled death. So much so that two of the people on the program had woken up finding themselves on slab in the mortuary next to other corpses. The horrific part was they had been conscious all the time and were aware of every word when the doctors pronounced them dead etc. They wanted to shout out but couldn't do anything. One of the people, a middle aged lady, had it happen to her three times! She lived in terror of being buried alive.

I've worked with a lot of phobias: walking over bridges, fear of children's dolls, flying, I've even had one person terrified of toilettes! She planned her whole day around which public toilettes she could and couldn't use. Couldn't travel abroad go to a dinner party or restaraunt because she was terrified of the possibility of having to go to the toilette!!! :bigsmile:
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 6, 2003 10:08AM)
A few more fears;

When people who walk and/or push shopping carts around on the LEFT (American here) side of the isle/street, or those who stop and browse just at the narrowest part of the isle or street...who drive cars.

When people act as if the basics of education were reading, writing and arithmetic instead of reading, reasoning and rhetoric.

Appeals to social icons when used as thinly veiled threats of force.

The idea of a struggle for a "new something" that involves destroying the "old something" where the struggle gets more and more difficult until there should be nothing left of the "old something" and then...(as if by magic) the resources will be (sufficient and replenishable?) reorganized into the "new something" that will be better. Someone, Marx, really proposed such a struggle. Sounds like a worse than Pyric victory.

The lack of understanding that "magic" is an internal experience. An internal reaction to beliefs and perceptions. Not so much an external stimulus.
Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Dec 6, 2003 10:41AM)
Shrink reminds me of an elderly lady I met once in a residential home. She was lost in an awful miasma of grief.

I was introducing myself (prior to performing a "straight" magic show) when this lady sought me out and explained that she had just that morning received a letter informing her of terrible family news. She was clearly in a state of shock, and completely devastated. I comforted her as best I could.

After the show, I expressed my concern for this lady to some of the staff. "Oh," they said, "you musn't take any notice. She's like that everyday. Everyday she thinks she's got a letter, but what she remembers happened FORTY years ago."
"That's awful," I said. "How long has she been like that?"
"Oh, she's been like that for as long as I've worked here. And I've been here now for six years...."

Imagine that: locked into replaying the very worst moment of your life everyday, year on year. That same dreadful scene seeming fresh and raw with each mocking dawn...

Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 6, 2003 11:15AM)
Groundhog day, Caleb?
Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Dec 6, 2003 11:41AM)
JonTown wrote:

"Groundhog day, Caleb?"

Kind of, I suppose. But in that movie, the Bill Murray character has/develops the wherewithal to find complexity and satisfaction within the repeating pattern.

It's always "I Got You Babe" on the radio, but at least Murray's character is aware of this--at least he knows that he's in some sort of weird loop.

This lady's repeated pain seemed fresh everyday.


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Dec 7, 2003 01:28PM)
On 2003-11-05 11:51, WR wrote:
I am working on a show where we Explore peoples fears. [/quote]

Believe it or not, Penn & Teller have already done something very similar to what you are considering to do. They did a show called "Penn & Teller's Phobophilia," in which they played around with several fears AND included audience members to participate. The special was made in 1995 and played on Comedy Central for a while. I'll post later if I find it for you.


I found it! You can order the special [url=http://www.magicweek.co.uk/magic_book_shop/magic_book_shop_uk.htm]here.[/url]
Message: Posted by: 7th_Son (Dec 8, 2003 04:17PM)
Children fear that their toy dolls will become alive and try to hurt them.

I think this fear never really leaves us, even as adults. It just become unconscious. Witness the popularity of the "Chuck" horror movies or the eternal fascination of the Golem/Frankenstein/Scarecrow myth.

Never show a young child any of the "Voodoo Doll" type of effects.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 10, 2003 02:14PM)
I found the creature in "Who Goes There?" quite frightening.
Message: Posted by: BradleyNott (Dec 10, 2003 09:21PM)
People fear death.

You can post all the elaborate answers you want...but it all boils down to death....

Most people crave financial security, posessions, exciting and sometimes fairytale-like love life, etc.

Everyone knows they will die. "Premature" death or in other words "death before your time" scares the tar out of most people.

But then again, if you don't really want to scare the audience, don't consider my ideas.

Message: Posted by: kilgourpower (Dec 11, 2003 09:35AM)
I fear snapping my loops, the monkey men and the witch from Wizard of Oz.
My mum can be quite scary sometimes too.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 11, 2003 09:38AM)
I beg to differ regarding the "death" fear.

Death is a part of life.

It's the dying that can get really unpleasant.

It's like people who say they fear heights. It's the fear of the consequences of falling they are reacting to.
Message: Posted by: ptbeast (Dec 11, 2003 11:43AM)
Regarding death as a fear, I think that death is a very real fear for most people, but it may not be their own death that they fear. The idea of losing a spouse or a child can be far more terrifying than facing one's own mortality. But this is an area that should be handled with utmost care, if not avoided all together. After all, we want to scare people, not scar them....

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 14, 2003 05:22PM)
On 2003-11-06 10:52, Lee Darrow wrote:

When SciFi Channel debuted they show "Fear Factor" my first comment was, "somebody's going to get hurt by a victim taking this too seriously and responding with deadly force." My second comment was, "This show is a lawsuit just ITCHING to happen!"

In one segment of the show, they had a guy take a supposedly deadly shot to the head while the target "friend" was doing the person's HAIR! His hands were washing the lady's head when the "killing" took place (IIRC).

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.

I'm not nuts about the show myself. One of the things that I noticed about the show is the number of actors who are victims. The fellow who was involved in the incident at the barber shop ended up in a commercial I saw a few weeks ago. HMMMM. Bye-bye credibility.

No wonder Shannen Doherty gets jobs emceeing Criss Angel instead of David Blaine.
Message: Posted by: artencased (Dec 22, 2003 12:20PM)
I have found by doing my show that many people fear tight small spaces. Being buried alive is still a real fear some people have. Yet, as we have performed such things, people are at the same time fascinated by it. There is a strange psychology that we seem to be drawn to our fears.

-Fred Escape :worry:
Message: Posted by: Midnight333 (Sep 21, 2004 03:09PM)
I am working on a show where we Explore peoples fears. So far I have bries alive..

Brie alive? For those of us who are lactose intolerant that would be scary..
Message: Posted by: pikacrd (Sep 21, 2004 03:35PM)
On 2003-11-06 00:33, ELS wrote:
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown". H.P.Lovecraft

Ed :wavey:

Actually I think that it is love.
Message: Posted by: Nyama Possessor (Oct 2, 2004 06:34PM)
How bout the fear of being wrongly accused of a crime you didn't commit, and sentenced to LIFE in prison.

- The fear of being raped / molested
- The fear of not being accepted (in a group etc.)
- The fear of being mugged or robbed
- The fear of someone breaking into your house
- The fear of going to hell
- The fear of God?
- The fear of a loved one dying before their time
(your mother or father, son or daughter)
- The fear of public speaking
- The fear of heights
- The fear of insects
- The fear of financial problems
- The fear of flying
- The fear of driving
- The fear of elevators
- The fear of deep water
- The fear of sharks or "Open Water"
- The fear of your spouse being unfaithful
- The fear of feeling afraid (fear itself)
- The fear of change
- The fear of your child getting kidnapped
- The fear of the unknown (or misunderstood)
- The fear of being different
- The fear of a nuclear holocaust
- The fear of being judged
- The fear of going to the doctor
- The fear of Aliens (UFO)
- The fear of not being believed
- The fear of mental illness
- The fear of rabies, West Nile virus or SARS disease
- The fear of getting cancer
- The fear of surgery
- The fear of underground parking garages
- The fear of walking to your car late at night
- The fear of the subway
- The fear of dangerous places (walking thru a bad neighborhood)
- Childrens fear of strangers
- The fear of gaining weight

-- Krossbearer

Most Common Human Fears:


Sars Disease:
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Oct 2, 2004 06:42PM)
Slightly off topic, but a number of years ago I got stabbed in the stomach and everytime I think of a routine involving smashing hands on spikes / knives or Banachek's version in the stomach it makes me go cold.

I have thought about putting a routine together involving the concept around the story to evoke the feeling of fear in other people as I dice with danger. It would involve genuine fear on my part, even if I was 100% certain, something that should come across to the audience without any need to act it out!

Who knows, if I can get over the feeling I get when I think about it maybe I will do it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 2, 2004 06:56PM)
Re: - The fear of not being exepted (in a group etc.)

is that telling? Axe me no questions and I'll tell you no lies to accept.

Or perhaps the fear of proofreading?

I usually prefer to be exempted ;)
Message: Posted by: Nyama Possessor (Oct 2, 2004 07:11PM)
Townsend, I'm confused?, but I meant, Ones fear of not being accepted into a group or social/political clique, basically the "fear of rejection"

-- Krossbearer

Salsa, I know how you feel, I have been there too my friend, not fun!

-- Krossbearer
Message: Posted by: ptbeast (Oct 3, 2004 09:40PM)

A friend of mine was performing a "Death Trap" type effect, when he made a mistake and sliced his hand open fairly badly.

He still does the effect and tells me that people often complement him on his acting when he is performing it. He tells me that he doesn't need
to act, he really is afraid of it.

Point is, seems like your instincts are correct on this one.

Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Oct 4, 2004 01:40AM)
Tiresome magicians?
Message: Posted by: WR (Oct 5, 2004 02:48PM)
On 2004-10-04 02:40, Dr_Zodiac wrote:
Tiresome magicians?
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Oct 6, 2004 10:31AM)
A few years ago Stephen King wrote a book titled "On Writing." It's intended for writer-types, but has a good section on how he picks up on fears, starting with his own. There's also good material on how to get the point across. Good book, and reads fast. As of this morning, it's available at amazon and probably lots of other places.
Message: Posted by: WR (Oct 6, 2004 10:42AM)
I like to take them into the mind of the person in the effect and then have them experince the Horror with them. Look here for an example of one of my most requested effects.

Message: Posted by: jwebyra (Oct 6, 2004 11:42AM)
This might be a little late but in resonse to Mr. Darrow about "Scare Tatics" they were sued by a victum of a prank. The prank never aired. I don't know the result of the case.

I fear death, I was brought up catholic so I believe in Heaven and Hell. I am scared that I'll end up in Hell.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 6, 2004 12:22PM)
How specifically do you expect to tell the difference between heaven and hell?
Message: Posted by: pikacrd (Oct 6, 2004 08:57PM)
On 2004-10-06 13:22, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
How specifically do you expect to tell the difference between heaven and hell?

I think you will know when you get there.
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (Oct 7, 2004 09:26AM)
Heaven is paradise, no want, no need, no hunger or pain.
Hell is just the opposite.
Message: Posted by: El_Lamo (Oct 9, 2004 01:02PM)
Getting back on track...


Cheers - El Lamo