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Mid America Science Museum
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The science of scary

The finest in fright

Boo! Mid-America Science Museum takes pride in offering a truly spooky haunted house experience. Even if you’ve been through our ghoulish precincts before, you know you will be terrified anew, because there’s always some unpleasant surprise around the next corner.


This year's Haunted House will be waiting to scare the daylights out of you from 7 - 10pm on October 29 and 30. Only $5 per head and all proceeds benefit the Museum.

What is fear?

The dictionary defines fear as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined. Stressful stimuli trigger an almost entirely autonomic chain of events: adrenaline floods our system, causing a racing heart, quickened breathing, and tense or trembling muscles. This is the fight-or-flight response, which helps us confront real danger.

What creeps us out? And why?

Most fears are learned, but fear of loud noises, pain, and injury appear to be universal. A fear of snakes is common to most primates.


Some of the most common fears:

Bugs, Mice, Snakes, and Bats. They’re unpredictable, creepy-crawly, and possibly poisonous. But irrational fears may lead us to harm beneficial animals. Spiders are the most common phobia.

Heights. We’re afraid because we can’t fly and we could fall. A reasonable reason for being anxious at the top of cliffs!

Water. Fear of deep water can be innate or learned due to a near-drowning experience.

Crowds/Public Transportation. We feel more vulnerable in public crowded places because we have less control over other people or situations. Fleeing is much more difficult, making crowded places a source of anxiety.

Storms. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and even thunderstorms can cause irrational anxiety – because we know the damage they can cause.

Closed Spaces. Feeling trapped (imagine being in a coffin!) feels horrible. Our need to be free makes this a common phobia.

Speaking in Public. We feel like we’ll be judged; we worry what we look and sound like. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves, especially in front of peers.

Why would we want to be scared?

Several explanations have been advanced for why we seek out experiences that will frighten us. Probably there are different reasons for different people. Some want to feel they are overcoming fear, others savor the thrill. Learn more in the links below.


And whatever your reason is, we’ll see you at the Haunted House on October 29 and 30.

More scary stuff

The physiology and psychology of fear

A nifty book preview.


How the brain responds.


Why we're afraid.


Another idea.

Miscellaneous scary stuff

Scary places


A movie trick.


A list of phobias.


Halloween wouldn’t be complete without some scary stories

Scary folktales.


Classics of horror and suspense in on-line editions


Stephen King on why we like horror movies.


A cool interactive

The Fear Exhibit.

Calendar of events

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