How Scared Do You Really Want To Be?


We have all heard of Type A Personalities.  You know the type – those who are a headstrong and driven, and at times overbearing.  But what about Type T Personalities?  According to the American Psychological Association, psychologists have studied certain individuals called “Type T” or “thrill-seeking” personalities.  This got me to thinking…

I’m guilty of loving scary movies and horror novels.  In fact, I go as far as turning off every light in my house (and outdoors as well), turn up the volume, and then watch a scary movie.  It adds to the scare drama.  The feeling of prickly chills and increased heart rate definitely enhances the film experience.   For the most part, I like to keep my life on an even level of thrills.

Ratcheting up the thrills

Wanting that rush of a sudden fright or pushing the envelope of “thrill seeking” seems to be imbedded into certain personality types.  Some people gravitate toward chills and thrills, while others avoid it at all cost.

Is it a type of addiction?  Or, is it a way of coping with something that’s missing in our lives?

  • Scary Movies/Books
  • Skydiving
  • Fast cars, motorcycles, etc.
  • Locations with potential paranormal activity
  • Rollercoasters and amusement park attractions

When we want to crank up the thrills of the scare factor our bodies step up to the challenge too.  An experience of sudden fright triggers that fight-or-flight response.  It is our body’s way of preparing for imminent danger to defend itself by fighting or escaping the situation.  Some people experience the uncomfortable feeling if they suffer from anxiety or panic disorders, while others crave the adrenaline rush.

The brain’s hypothalamus initiates the body’s fight-or-flight response by activating the nervous system (triggers nerves) and adrenal-cortical system (dumps hormones into bloodstream).   With approximately 30 different hormones released into the body, many physical reactions occur.

Here are a few of those symptoms:

  • Increase in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Goose bumps
  • Tensing of muscles
  • Dilated pupils
  • Constricting of veins, which causes the chilly sensation on skin
  • Increased blood glucose

Generally, most people who enjoy a scary movie or are startled suddenly experience faster breathing, pounding heart, slight perspiration, and often butterflies in the stomach.  These feelings usually go away quickly – until the next thrill.

The Ultimate Fear Experience – Paying for Your Own Kidnapping?

I set aside time to research for articles and novels.  It could be something minor to corroborate information that I already have or on a subject that I need to educate myself on to be able to incorporate into a story.  You could imagine my surprise when I found websites that offer clients the extreme thrill adventure.  I’m not talking about a rock climbing or a bungee jumping excursion, but high-action thrill packages that include kidnapping or manhunt experiences.  All of course, which depend upon the package you choose and budget (cost $1,000 – $4,000+).

As you can imagine, this information sidetracked me from the research I was conducting at the time because I wanted to know if these sites were legit and what kind of people would participate.  There were several articles published within the last few years from known news sites.  I found two companies that offered this service: Ultime Realite (French company), here’s the English translation and Enrights (New York company).

These sites are brief and want the client to contact them directly for a preliminary interview.   Some examples of these thrill packages are kidnappings in broad daylight, some abduction packages could send you bound and gagged in a cellar, aboard a ship in the cargo area, or on a slab in the morgue.  Other scenarios are spending the night in a morgue, or attending your own funeral.

I have to say that this information left me scratching my head on so many levels.  Why do some individuals have the need to seek the thrills of a violent situation?  Kidnapping someone in broad daylight at a public location seems to have a whole host of potential problems with eyewitnesses and law enforcement.

Do extreme thrill seekers parallel those individuals who commit crimes? 

I’m not talking about people who commit murders or serial killers, but those who commit robberies, burglaries, and theft.  Are they of the thrill seeking Personality T Types?  Is there a common thread in this particular psychological profile type and motivation to crime?

After discovering this information, I found that I have more questions than answers.  Maybe it’s better to just incorporate into a fictional novel?

So the big question still remains…

How scared do you really want to be?

* * *

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About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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8 Responses to How Scared Do You Really Want To Be?

  1. donnagalanti says:

    Fascinating! To pay for your own thrill seeking kidnapping. As an author, that would be great experience to use in writing. As for being scared, when I was younger I craved that adrenaline from scary movies and haunted hayrides. Now as a mom I see it all from different eyes and dont want that fear – maybe because having a child is cause for real anxiety over the danger in the world to my child and that is fear enough!


  2. Jane Risdon says:

    Not that scared! Thanks but no thanks. I would always be in fear of something going wrong and those involved being killed, disappearing or some such and no one ever finding me. I’ll stick to writing about it and let the braver folk indulge in the thrills. I agree, having kids makes a huge difference as well. Such a fab article though, thanks Jennifer, once again, a wonderful thought provoking piece.


    • That thought occurred to me too! What if something went wrong — geesh. Thank you Jane for the kind words and I appreciate you stopping by 🙂


      • Jane Risdon says:

        My pleasure….glad I am not the only worrier about these things. I was on the set of a magic show once, during rehearsals, and in an earthquake area. I worried the whole time about ‘what if there was an earthquake….?’ The magician had trussed up his assistant like a turkey for Xmas dinner and then she was locked in a box….I couldn’t concentrate for worrying. Of course, nothing happened, but even so….


  3. Caleb Pirtle says:

    I once wrote a magazine piece on thrill rides at theme parks. A noted psychologist said thrill rides were popular because they was as close as people could come to dying and know they wouldn’t die.


    • Good point Caleb. I think most people have a fear of death and a curiosity as well. Thrill seekers make good characters in our stories — they are more complex than at first glance. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂


  4. Ryan Hunter says:

    Paying for your own kidnapping? Seriously, this is a bit too far for me, although I’ve imagined all kinds of things like it … because I’m a writer … because I always have crazy thoughts in my head. But actually paying someone for that experience? I had a gun pointed in my face without any money leaving my pocket and that was enough of an adrenaline dump … I don’t see why I’d pay for something like that. I’d rather use the money for a nice beach getaway where I can bask in the sun and imagine instead.


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