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Haunt Addicts: What Drives The Psychological Attraction To Fright?

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Just days out from Halloween, thrill seekers are in search of the spookiest, scariest haunts.

So what drives the psychological attraction to fright? CBS2 News This Morning's Suzanne Marques went looking for answers.

Sara Kinne and Ashley Di Buduo, who write the blog The Haunt List, cannot get enough of skeletons, monsters and demons of the night.

"I like anything that's spooky and scary and immersive," Di Buduo told CBSLA.

"I scream a lot," Kinne added.

Kinne and Di Buduo have been poring through their spreadsheet as they plan their final week of haunt hopping of the 2021 Halloween season. They estimate they've visited more than a hundred haunted attractions.

"Some people are more attracted to boo scares where something is jumping out," Di Budo said. "But the more conceptual scares that really kind of get into your layers and scare you a little bit deeper, are a lot more impressive and a lot more payoff."

The famous Knott's Scary Farm in Buena Park and the Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park are fairly tame compared to the most extreme haunts these two have braved.

"I've been in a room where I was actually crying because I was really scared, but I didn't want to use the safe word because I didn't want to miss anything," Kinne said.

"We like to be scared because of the catharsis," Sherman Oaks psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo said.

Palumbo explains that sometimes good things can happen for the body when seemingly bad things turn out to be fake.

"Our conscious mind knows these things aren't real, but the scare releases all sorts of biochemicals, and it's a big catharsis for us afterwards," Palumbo said. "Its similar in a way to people, when they see a very sad movie, you have what's called a good cry. And afterward, walking away, you're not sad. Even though the movie was very sad. It allowed you to express that affect."

Likewise, when we sign up to be scared it can have a similar result.

"It takes away all of our everyday worries puts them in a fantastical form," Palumbo said.

"Will I make it through?" Kinne asks. "And am I brave enough to go into the next room, or what's gonna happen around that corner."

"You're scared while you're in there, but the thrill that you feel afterwards is like a sensory overload, that's exciting in a good way," Di Buduo said.

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