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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » What do people fear (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ptbeast
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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.

Dave
Jonathan Townsend
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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.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Peter Marucci
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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!
WR
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Thank you all for your wonderful ideas.
WR Smile
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
Ellen Kotzin
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Quote:
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) Smile

Ellen
Jonathan Townsend
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Ellen, how would you feel if one of your friends became a snake?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Peter Marucci
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Is "triskaidekaphobia" the fear of crackers?
Caleb Strange
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Ellen,

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?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.

P.S. My young reptile-loving son has asked me to include the following 'smiley faces' in this post:
:dancing: Smile Smile and last but not least Smile Smile Smile
-- QCiC --
Jonathan Townsend
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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.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
c_lamby2k
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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!
CRAIG(c_lamby2k)
bobdomeros
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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.

Frankenstein
The Shining
Nightmare on Elm Street
The Omen
The Haunting
Psycho
Night of the Living Dead
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Poltergeist
Don't Look Now
Phantasm
Dead of Night
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Rosemary's Baby
Dawn of the Dead
Les Diaboliques (1955)
The Thing (1982)
The Evil Dead
Jaws
The Exorcist
Lee Darrow
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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.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
rickmagic1
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Quote:
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...

Rick
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Peo Olsson
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Dentists Smile
Pictured to the left my hero and me during FISM 2006 in Stockholm.
KingStardog
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The biggie....Fear of the dark. It happens every day.

Modifiers:

Being alone
Noises
In a strange place
Known/unknown creatures crawling on you
Injury causing pain/bites
Injury causing bleeding
Wild carniverous animals
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
DanielGreenWolf
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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
-Much love,
Daniel GreenWolf
Celtic Magician

www.GreenWolfMagic.com
jae
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Quote:
On 2003-11-19 16:22, Peo Olsson wrote:
Dentists Smile
Smile
and here I thought we were not going to share secrets *G*
Life is short..Reach for tomorrow but live for today. And NEVER take yourself too seriously.
Erik Anderson
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But what truly terrifies magicians?

Three rows of seven cards.

I can feel your collective shudders from here.
Erik "Aces" Anderson

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." ~ Mark Twain

http://www.acesanderson.com
Lee Darrow
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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.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Jonathan Townsend
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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.

?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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