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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration


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What really scares people?

Scared little girl.
Photo Credit: Victor Bezrukov
Scared little girl.

With Halloween only days away, the tradition to frighten friends will be revived as always but the biggest issue is finding out what fears resonate with most people.

There are those that thrive off the feeling of getting a jump or scream out of someone when they scare them, and then there are those that wish to be capable of such things. Luckily, it’s common for people to share the same fear/fears which makes them easier to exploit.

According to ‘Psychcentral’ which received their information from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 4 to 5 percent of the US population has one or more clinically significant phobias in a given year.

It’s proven that these fears are often triggered by traumatic events which leads to their development. Interestingly enough, the NIMH also discovered that the development of such phobias by traumatic events is most common in women.

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Such discoveries can be proven with the statements taken by Colonia High School student, Matt Quille. When Quille was asked what his fear was he responded with something quite common in movies today, demons & ghosts. The fear of ghosts is called phasmophobia or spectrophobia.  But the real kicker was when asked a follow-up to this question he stated, “I got this fear when I was sneaking around in an abandoned, haunted hospital.”

The human brain contains a structure called the amygdala. It’s this amygdala that keeps track of experiences that trigger strong emotions and so once it’s recorded that experience it will trigger the fear people experience whenever that experience comes into contact or is thought. It’s also this amygdala that coincides with the brain and the nervous system to signal fear. Once people begin to feel fear, their body responds with a faster heartbeat, rapid breathing, and an increase in blood pressure which is exactly why it’s more than rude to frighten the elderly, it’s dangerous and could cause harm to them.

People are known to fear things or situations that make them feel unsafe or unsure. Having been rated so highly as one of the most common fears it was coincidental to find that Colonia High student Faiz Silat, also shared death as his worst fear. Silat stated that the main reason for his necrophobia was the fact that he didn’t know what would come after death and how he died whether it be a painful death or not.

According to, 6.3 million Americans have a diagnosed phobia. It’s quite interesting in fact that 60% of people fear things that will never take place, 30% fear something from the past, 90% fear things that are considered to be insignificant issues, and 88% fear things related to health that will not happen. Just like Silat, 68% of the US population fear death.

In Silat’s words,” I developed my fear of death after I realized what it was.” In order to be afraid of something, people usually need to understand what harm or dangerous situations it can put them in. For example, when acclaimed teen-horror movie ‘Scream’ released, teens developed a short term paranoia of answering their phones.

Similarly, both Quille and Silat developed their fears when they understood what exactly the thing they were afraid of was. For example not many children realize what a needle is at first, but once they experience the pinch it causes as it pierces their skin, their mortified and from then on cry their eyes out hoping it’ll ward off the scary doctor and his needle.

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About the Contributor
Andrew Pimentel
Andrew Pimentel, Fall Reporter
15 year old Andrew Pimentel is currently a student-athlete attending Colonia High School. He’s a member of both the football and wrestling teams. His goals in as a student are to continue to get good grades, as an athlete to be one of the most skilled players on the field or on the mat, and in the long term to finish high school, go to college, and receive his PhD so that he may become a doctor/specialist. He takes pride in what he does whether it be athletically or academically, but most of all he’s proud to be a Patriot!

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What really scares people?