Science, Fear, and Film: A Month of Adventures
Color Nice text

Science, Fear, and Film: A Month of Adventures

1 year ago 0

When I finished my book I made a promise never to stop exploring this incredible world. I learned so much about myself, culture, and other people by choosing to “opt in”, to say “yes” even when it’s scary or the outcome is unknown, by choosing not to fear change. April has really put my new commitments to the test, and repeatedly reminded me how easy it is to say these things without actually living them. Because, when you do, it’s messy, hard, and not everything always works out the way you think it will. For example, sometimes you have to take a beat to have two of your cervical vertebra fused together. I didn’t have an accident or anything, I apparently have really crappy bones (cue “Facts of Life” theme song).  But then, some things work out way better than you ever imagined (and you end up with one of the coolest photos of

Read more

Ted Ed

Ted Ed: Why we love to scream!

1 year ago 0

I’m so excited to share this great video I worked on for Ted Ed. If you have never checked out their videos you’re in for a treat, they cover SO MANY interesting topics in fun four minute videos. I’m really honored I got to work on this one with animation from Neta. I just love how she brought my words to life with these crazy characters! Check it out below and view the entire lesson here:

manresa-castle-1a

North West Adventuring!

1 year ago 0

No I’m not babysitting Kim and Kanye’s kid North West, I’m doing something far more exciting and interesting. Today I’m heading off to Port Townsend, Washington to join Amy Bruni, Adam Berry, Chip Coffey, Aiden Sinclair, and John Tenney at the Manresa Castle for a weekend of spooky fun and a little science! I’ll be speaking on “The Science of Sensed Presence” or what we know about how, and why, we might feel we are not alone (my op-ed for The New York Times will give you a hint of what I’ll be covering, or you could buy my book!). I’m very exited to add another destination to my list of haunted properties, especially one with such a fascinating history. Built in 1892 as private home (I know right) for the first mayor of Port Townsend, it has 12 inch thick walls (what didn’t he want people hearing?) and 30

Read more

H.H. Holmes

Why do we love Serial Killers?

1 year ago 0

In other words: “Is something wrong with me?” This Saturday ScareHouse is opening the Basement for a special Valentine’s Day production based on the notorious H.H. Holmes, otherwise known as America’s first serial killer (well the first celebrity serial killer, if you will). I finished reading Devil in the White City last fall and, like many Americans (including Leonardo DiCaprio who bought the book rights and is turning the story into a film), I became fascinated with this real life story of murder and mayhem. The mysterious and downright terrifying characters, a time of radical change (science and electricity were finally becoming mainstream! Women were moving to cities to live and work alone!),  a world’s fair?! PEOPLE KILLED IN A BASEMENT?! It was all just to perfect for a special Basement production, and as Amy Hollaman had pointed out after we watched the documentary on Netflix, Dr. Holmes did sort of have the first haunted house.

Read more

Scream

Two years later…

1 year ago 0

I can’t believe it’s almost here–next week my book SCREAM: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear will officially be released for purchase “everywhere books are bought.” Two years ago I was just starting my adventures, and scared as hell.  I remember wishing I could travel to the future to see how it all turned out–good or bad I wanted to know (uncertainty being a key ingredient in fear). And now here I am, stronger, more resilient, and with more self confidence than ever. Throughout these experiences I pushed myself in ways I never have before, and not always in the ways you might expect- it was much harder for me to sit alone in the woods than jump out of a plane, and it paid off. I am not the same person I was two years ago. I speak up more often and with more confidence, I act with more determination, and

Read more

ptcover

It’s been a surreal few weeks!

1 year ago 0

This has been a pretty surreal few weeks! Finding out my book (go pre-order now!) was mentioned as a riveting must read for the fall in Entertainment Weekly made me scream with delight. Reading the review in Publishers Weekly which stated: “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” also left me sort of dumbfounded and reeling. But today when I picked up Psychology Today and saw this, well folks I actually did cry (which confused the cashier at Rite Aid until I showed her and she said, wait that’s YOU!)   Psychology Today was the very first magazine I bought a subscription too when I was just 14. I had discovered it in my doctor’s office and

Read more

amy bruni2

The joy of the hunt

1 year ago 0

This past weekend ScareHouse was lucky to have a visit from Amy Bruni. Amy is known for her work on the show Ghost Hunters but  she is also a multi-skilled and talented entrepreneur. Amy founded Strange Escapes, a company built to bring guests with a shared interest in all things paranormal, or just out of the ordinary, together for unforgettable experiences. It’s pretty awesome. It was one such Strange Escape that brought a whole group of folks to ScareHouse for an evening of history and paranormal investigation. Of course I took this opportunity to sit down with Amy and ask her what she is afraid of–in an unusual and somewhat disturbing way– as I like to do. Her answers were….fitting for someone who spends a lot of time in dark creepy places ScareHouse will post the video of it soon I’m sure. After an evening of hanging out with hunters (which

Read more

Scream

“SCREAM” It’s real!

2 years ago 0

Last week I had one of the most surreal moments of my life: I held my book for the first time. I was at the Book Expo America, the biggest book expo in North America, signing advanced copies of my book (not the final thing, but you can pre-order here!), and it was the strangest thing I’ve experienced. I went on an emotional roller coaster as I walked up to my publisher, PublicAffairs— part of the Perseus Book Group–and saw my book sitting on the table. I couldn’t believe it was real. I picked it up and flipped through the pages, catching a word here and there that triggered memories of the moments I had written them.  The word “Leviathan” jumped off the page and I instantly recalled sitting in the converted church retreat last summer in the Poconos, writing with my friend Bessie (who by the way just successfully defended her dissertation,

Read more

Masquarade  - Poster

“Sewn Into You” Adventures at the Masquerade

2 years ago 0

Last week I had the pleasure of being part of one of the most entertaining parties on the east coast—The Masquerade presented by Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in Philadelphia. The first time I attended the Masquerade was in 2013—you can get an inside look and listen to that on the ScareHouse Podcast, watch the video below from 2014, and for a full gallery of photos from this years event check out TBTW’s Facebook Album.   Amy, the Creative Director for TBTW and so much more, puts together the Masquerade every year. Working with the talented crew and characters at ESP they create an evening filled with intrigue, food, drink, dancing and lots of mystery. Throughout the night the party moves around the massive prison; cell blocks are opened and closed, performance artists (like ArcheDream for HUMANKIND) appear out of no where and play out beautiful and mesmerizing scenes, and if

Read more

Photo Credit: Monica Barback 
Inside ScareHouse vortex

Brains in the Spinning Vortex–Trippy

2 years ago 0

The first time I went through a spinning vortex light tunnel I literally fell to my knees, hung on to the side railing and squeezed my eyes shut. I was 22 years old but feeling like I had just jumped off the “Spin Thing” at the playground as a child, collapsing into the grass to watch the clouds spin overhead. It was wonderful.   Spinning tunnels mess with our proprioception, or our sense of our body in space. Inside the vortex our brain gets confused trying to synch up contradicting input. Our eyes say we should be spinning, our body says we’re still vertical. Add a few creepy characters and some 3D effects and your brain is basically saying “wtf, seriously what are you doing, this is not normal” which can trigger an arousal (threat) response. This makes sense,  I mean where in history would we ever naturally encounter such

Read more