Buy the Book



Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear

By Margee Kerr

Listed in Entertainment Weekly as a must read “riveting non-fiction.”

Publishers Weekly states:“While describing her experiences, Kerr insightfully reviews the physical effects of feeling fear. For people who wonder why they like to be scared, these experiments offer some clues. For those afraid of being afraid, Kerr’s own enthusiasm gives them reasons to try it.”

“Instead of sterile analyses, Scream is a science travelogue that gets up close personal with the facts of freaking out. Kerr’s journey through the world, and human body, to face down fear is exciting, informative, and scary good.”—Aaron Sagers, paranormal pop culture expert, journalist & Travel Channel host

“A fascinating account of how fear works in our bodies and societies, and a window into the surprising benefits of confronting our worst nightmares.”—Bess Lovejoy, author of
Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses

For as long as we’ve gathered by campfires to tell ghost stories, humans have always loved a good scare. From the splatter flicks of the 70s, to Japan’s obsession with drowned girls, to creepy modern experiences like the overnight ghost hunt at Eastern State Penitentiary the horror industry has thrived across time and cultures. Our obsession with getting scared is obvious to anyone who visits ScareHouse, a haunted house in Pittsburgh that is annually ranked among the scariest in the country, and has become a booming attraction with nearly 150 employees and lines wrapping around the block. It even has its own sociologist, who conducts surveys and observations to make its performances ever more terrifying. Her name is Margee Kerr.

In this surprising, scary, entertaining book, Kerr puts her expertise to the test. Not merely content to observe others’ fear, she confronts it in the form of things like skydiving, paranormal investigations, and a visit to Japan’s infamous “suicide forest.” In her willingness to explore the world’s scariest attractions, Kerr shows why we seek out terror even when there is plenty to fear in everyday life. Whether she’s dangling by a cable from a 116-story tower or walking the streets of Bogota, Colombia, Kerr parses the elements of fear with humor and the precision of an expert.

Along the way, she takes a personal journey that leads to valuable insights about what we fear–and what it says about who we are.

Hi, my name is Margee Kerr.

I am a sociologist who studies FEAR.

Ever wonder why we’re afraid of spiders and clowns? Zombies and ghosts? And why so many of us love the thrill of a roller-coaster or jump off a steep cliff? Well I have, and I’ve made it my goal to find the answers. Since earning my BA at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA and my PhD in Sociology from The University of Pittsburgh, I have been studying the science of fear, along with the creative ways we engage with thrilling and scary material. This has taken me on many adventures, with the biggest yet to come.

I’ve been working with ScareHouse since 2008 and am currently working on a book with PublicAffairs Books titled “SCREAM: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear.” You can follow my adventures as I travel to South America, Japan, Canada and all over the US in my search for the answer of why–and how we can enjoy thrilling experiences.

Follow My Adventures

View My Adventure Map