Lazy Saturday Reads: The Psychology of Horror

Boris Karloff

Good Morning!!

This is the time of year when lots of people get the urge to watch old horror movies, and I’m one of them. Actually, I love horror movies any time of year, but October is when the TV programmers provide the most opportunities for horror fans to indulge their cravings.

I love to watch old Hitchcock movies like Psycho and The Birds. They never seem to get old. And then there are the cheesy slasher movies like Halloween and Friday the Thirteenth that are still kind of fun to sample this time of year.

I love George Romero’s classic zombie films like Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, and dystopian films from the 1950s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I’ve enjoyed more recent zombie classics too–28 Days Later comes to mind. Old creature features are fun too–have you ever seen Them? It’s a 1954 film about giant ants in the New Mexico desert created by radiation from atomic tests.

Of course there are plenty of new horror offerings these days too. Dakinikat recommended a couple of TV shows that I plan to try over this long weekend: American Horror Story on FX and Z Nation on the Syfy Channel. These days there is plenty of real-life horror going on, so I don’t know why so many people like to escape into horror films and TV shows, but it seems they do. There’s also The Walking Dead on AMC. I watched the first season, but kind of lost interest after that because I find the characters so unlikable.

It’s interesting that zombies and vampires have been very much in vogue in the 21st Century. Why is that? Do they somehow reflect our culture like the movies of the 1950s and ’60s seemed to comment on the cold war and fears of nuclear disaster?

Anyway, since it’s Saturday and long weekend (Monday is Columbus Day, a horror story in itself), I’m going to devote this post to the psychology of horror–why are some of us so drawn to it? Believe it or not, psychologists have systematically studied this. Here’s a survey article published in The Psychologist, a UK psychology magazine: The Lure of Horror (pdf). There’s an easier-to-read version here.

Fear coils in your stomach and clutches at your heart. It’s an unpleasant emotion we usually do our best to avoid. Yet across the world and through time people have been drawn irresistibly to stories designed to scare them. Writers like Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker continue to haunt the popular consciousness. Far longer ago, listeners sat mesmerised by violent, terrifying tales like Beowulf and Homer’s Odyssey.

‘If you go to your video store and rent a comedy from Korea, it’s not going to make any sense to you at all,’ says literature scholar Mathias Clasen based at Aarhus University, ‘whereas if you rent a local horror movie from Korea you’ll instantaneously know not just that it’s a horror movie, but you’ll have a physiological reaction to it, indicative of the genre.’

hitchcock-reads-book

So horror is a universal language recognized by our brains?

Clasen believes the timeless, cross-cultural appeal of horror fiction says something important about humans, and in turn, insights from evolutionary psychology can make sense of why horror takes the form it does. ‘You can use horror fiction and its lack of historical and cultural variance as an indication that there is such a thing as human nature,’ he says.

This nature of ours is one that has been shaped over millennia to be afraid, but not just of anything. Possibly our ancestors’ greatest fear was that they might become a feast for a carnivorous predator. As science writer David Quammen has put it, ‘among the earliest forms of human self-awareness was the awareness of being meat’. There’s certainly fossil evidence to back this up, suggesting that early hominids were preyed on by carnivores and that they scavenged from the kill sites of large felines, and vice versa. Modern-day hunter-gatherers, such as the Aché foragers in Paraguay, still suffer high mortality rates from snakes and feline attacks.

Such threats have left their marks on our cognitive development. Research by Nobuo Masataka and others shows that children as young as three are especially fast at spotting snakes, as opposed to flowers, on a computer screen, and all the more so when those snakes are poised to strike. Modern-day threats, such as cars and guns, do not grab the attention in this way. That we’re innately fearful of atavistic threats is known as ‘prepared learning’. Another study published just this year by Christof Koch and his team has shown how the right amygdala, a brain region involved in fear learning, responds more vigorously to the sight of animals than to other pictures such as of people, landmarks or objects.

Viewing the content of horror fiction through the prism of evolutionary evidence and theory, it’s no surprise that the overriding theme of many tales is that the characters are at risk of being eaten. ‘Do we have many snakes or snake-like creatures or giant serpents in horror fiction?’ Clasen asks. ‘Yes we do: look at Tremors – they were really just very big snakes with giant fangs’. In fact, many horror books and movie classics feature oversized carnivorous predators, including James Herbert’s The Rats, Shaun Hutson’s Slugs, Cat People, King Kong, and the Jaws franchise, to name but a few. Where the main threat is a humanoid predator, he or she will often be armed with over-sized claws (Freddie Krueger in Nightmare on Elm Street) or an insatiable taste for human flesh (e.g. Hannibal Lecter in the 1981 novel Red Dragon).

Vince Price reads

Still, horror is a minority taste. Why are some people–like me–so attracted to it, while others are simply grossed out?

Who are these people who pay out money to be scared? A meta-analysis of 35 relevant articles, by Cynthia Hoffner and Kenneth Levine published in 2005 in Media Psychology, highlights the principal relevant traits: affective response; empathy; sensation seeking; aggressiveness; gender; and age.

The more negative affect a person reports experiencing during horror, the more likely they are to say that they enjoy the genre. Media experts like Dolf Zillmann make sense of this apparent contradiction as a kind of conversion process, whereby the pleasure comes from the relief that follows once characters escape danger. This explanation struggles to account for the appeal of slasher films, in which most characters are killed. Part of the answer must lie with meta-emotion – the way we interpret the emotional feelings we’re experiencing, with some people finding pleasure in fright. Another possibility is that, for some, pleasure is derived from the sense that film victims are being punished for what the viewer considers to be their immoral behaviour. Consistent with this, a 1993 study by Mary Oliver found that male high school viewers who endorsed traditional views on female sexuality (e.g. ‘it’s okay for men to have sex before marriage, but not women’), were more likely to enjoy horror movie clips, especially if they involved a female victim portrayed with her lover.

Other findings: people with low self-reported levels of empathy and younger people tend to be more attracted to horror. Neither of those explains my interest–I score high on empathy, and I’m an old lady. So what’s my problem?! Maybe I just never really grew up?

Read much more at the link. Since it’s a scholarly article, there are references to research articles too.

Here’s another interesting article at Filmmaker IQ: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SCARY MOVIES.

There’s something about horror that speaks directly and instinctively to the human animal. Millions of years of evolutionary psychology have ingrained in our minds certain fear triggers – a survival instinct – Fear of the Dark where predatory animals might be laying in wait – Fear of animals with large sharp teeth who would make a quick meal of us. Fear of Poisonous Spiders who can kill with one bite. So ingrained into our developmental psychology that research done by Nobuo Masataka show that children as young as three have an easier time spotting snakes on a computer screen than they do spotting flowers. Research by Christof Koch show that the right amygydala, the portion of the brain associated with fear learning, responds more vigorously to images of animals than to images of people, landmarks or objects even though those are much more dangerous in our civilized world.

This may explain the shape of our movie monsters: creatures with sharp teeth or snake like appearance. The fear of being eaten alive also explains the cannabilistic traits of human monsters like Dracula and Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

But brain scan research in 2010 by Thomas Straube at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena show that scary movies don’t actually activate fear responses in the amygdala at all. Instead, it was other parts of the brain that were firing – the visual cortex – the part of the brain responsible for processing visual information, the insular cortex- self awareness, the thalamus -the relay switch between brain hemispheres, and the dorsal-medial prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain associated with planning, attention, and problem solving.

So we’re not really being scared at the movies – at least not necessarily in the brain chemistry way… what’s going on?

dracula reads

Three things, according to Dr. Glenn D. Walters.

The first is tension – created through mystery, suspense, gore, terror, or shock. This is pretty straight forward elements of horror, the craft and technique of filmmaking.

The second factor is relevance. In order for a horror film to be seen, it has to be relevant to potential viewers. This relevance can take the form of universal relevance – capturing the universal fear of things like death and the unknown, it can take on cultural relevance dealing with societal issues. Audiences can find subgroup relevance – groups like teenagers which many horror films are about. Lastly, there’s personal relevance – either in a way that identifies with the protagonist or in a way that condemns the antagonists or victims to their ultimate fate.

The last factor, which may be the most counter intuitive is unrealism. Despite the graphic nature of recent horror films, we all know at some level that what we are watching is not real. Haidt, McCauley and Rozin conducted research on disgust, showing students in 1994 a series of gruesome documentary videos… few could make it to the end – and yet these same students would pay to see even worse acts conducted on a movie screen. Why? Perhaps its because when we walk into a theater we know what we’re seeing on screen is fabricated reality. Movies are edited from multiple camera angles with soundtracks and sometimes horror is tempered and made palatable with black humor – a sly wink that what you’re seeing on screen isn’t real. This also explains why we all remember that scary movie we saw when we were way too young but looks hokey now. Children have a harder time separating reality and fiction especially when its on a movie screen.

There’s much more to the article, including a brief summary of “8 incomplete theories on our attraction to horror.”

One eminent psychologist, Joseph LeDoux, a professor at NYU, has a particular interest in emotion and the brain and more specifically fear and the amygdala. Here’s the intro to a brief interview with him at Cognitive Neuroscience:

With Halloween around the corner, fear may be on your mind. As a basic emotion, fear develops when we react to an immediate danger.

Understanding exactly how our brains detect and respond to such danger has been a goal of Joseph LeDoux of the Center for Neural Science at New York University for much of his career. His pioneering work on “fear conditioning,” which he now calls “threat conditioning,” revealed the neurological pathways through which we react to threats.

This Pavlovian-type conditioning uses a neutral stimulus like an auditory tone at the same time as a painful event, and over time, this tone becomes associated with the discomfort and can trigger a fear response in the brain, specifically the amygdala. The neural processing in the amygdala causes chemical processes in the brain cells that lead to our natural defenses in the face of a threat – whether a spider or a robber.

LeDoux’s work has not only contributed to our understanding of these processes but also to ways we can work to overcome pathological fears, including through work on memory and fear.

Read the interview at the link. And here is an audio interview with LeDoux at ConstructingHorror.com.

died laughing

LeDoux told the LA Times in October 2013 that intense emotions like fear stimulate the brain.

Arousing situations, “whether joyful or frightful, juice up the brain,” says Joseph LeDoux, a neuroscientist and director of New York University’s Emotional Brain Institute and author of “The Emotional Brain.”

Horror movies energize the system: Hearts pump faster, blood pressure rises and dopamine releases, as does norepinephrine (which readies the body for flight-or-fight response) and endorphins (which kill pain), Fanselow says.

But experts agree that children’s brains are too vulnerable for scary movies.

And some adults are vulnerable too. “There have been case reports of people having stress symptoms after watching ‘The Exorcist,’ ” says Richard J. McNally, a Harvard psychology professor. “But these folks already had histories of mental disorders and thus were vulnerable.”

And many people want nothing to do with Halloween frights. “Genetics, epigenetics, upbringing and all the other individual experiences they’ve had probably all contribute,” LeDoux says. “It’s a matter of degree.”

Read more about the effects of horror on the brain at the LA Times link.

A few more horror links:

The Atlantic, Horror-Movie Marathon: The Brilliant, Not-So-Scary Classics.

The Atlantic, How Clowns Became Terrifying.

People Magazine, From It to American Horror Story: 13 of the Creepiest Clowns in Pop Culture History.

What Culture, 10 Best Horror Movies Of 2014 Ranked.

Rolling Stone, Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Horror Movies of All Time.

The Washington Post, The sums of all fear: Horror makes a Hollywood comeback.

The Verge, Check out this gorgeous limited edition art for 13 classic horror movies.

So . . . are you a horror fan? If so, what are your favorite horror movies and books? Why do you think you enjoy them? If you’re not a fan, why do you think that is?

Of course you should feel free to post links to real-life horrors or even good news stories if you can find them!

 

 

 

 

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52 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: The Psychology of Horror”

  1. joanelle says:

    It is that time of year, isn’t it? My first date with the guy who is to this day, my hubby, was Psycho. Really weird huh? But here we are more than 50 yrs later still enjoying movies together. Today’s ‘horror’ movies are just strange, not really thought out and more violence than horror – do they even make ‘horror’ movies anymore?

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s amazing and wonderful. Horror is definitely a bonding experience. My brother and I are horror movie buddies, and we have successfully initiated my 11-year-old nephew into the club.

      I tend to favor horror with a sense of humor or supernatural stories to heavy duty blood and gore.

      They do still make great horror movies sometimes. Here’s a psychological horror film that game me nightmares: Session 9.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Some real-life horror:

    Counterpunch: Ebola, the African Union and Bioeconomic Warfare.

    Ebola patient Thomas Duncan was sent home from the Hospital with a 103 degree fever!

    New York Times: Ebola Patient Sent Home Despite Fever, Records Show.

    Dallas News: Tod Robberson: Thomas Duncan did not have to die

    • bostonboomer says:

      More real life horror from New England:

      Letter Threatens to Behead Elementary School Students in Rhode Island.

      To me, the ultimate horror is when children are hurt. I can’t stand it.

    • NW Luna says:

      My guess is the physicians just didn’t bother to look at the nurse’s notes. Hope they’ve learned.

      Thomas Eric Duncan’s temperature spiked to 103 degrees during the hours of his initial visit to an emergency room — a fever that was flagged with an exclamation point in the hospital’s record-keeping system, his medical records show…..

      The hospital has repeatedly changed its account of what the medical team knew when it released Duncan from the emergency room early on Sept. 26.

      A few days later, on Sept. 30, it initially said Duncan did not tell the staff he had been in Africa. On Oct. 1, it said Duncan’s nurse had been aware of the Africa connection but did not share that information with the rest of the medical team.

      The next day, the hospital blamed a flaw in its electronic health-records systems for not making Duncan’s travel history directly accessible to his doctor.

      A day later, on Oct. 3, the hospital issued a statement saying Duncan’s travel history had been available to all hospital workers, including doctors, who treated him during his initial visit.

      Duncan’s travel history was listed in a nursing notice but not in the physician’s note, Adalja said.

      The patient’s 103-degree fever might warrant “a little more investigation,” Adalja said. A chart showed Duncan did not arrive with a fever but left with one.

  3. Delphyne49 says:

    Great read, BB! I’m looking forward to delving into the links a bit later in the afternoon.

    Children have a harder time separating reality and fiction especially when its on a movie screen.

    I must still have a child’s mind because I still have a hard time separating what I see on the screen from reality – when the lights go on, I have no idea where I am or what just happened, so I’m very careful about what I watch. Same with television or even books. I remember being in my 20s when I read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” for the first time. My soon to be husband was vacuuming and I lost sense of everything around me, which is what happens when I’m engrossed in reading – he said he saw me widen my eyes, cringe, shriek and toss the book across the room. I had nightmares for days about fluorescent fangs coming after me!

    I have much respect for and little fear of animals, so they have never been scary to me in films or books or in real life; I actually laughed when Godzilla would go on a rampage. Maybe because I usually see them as underdogs to humans or justified in striking back at human ignorance, cruelty or hubris. It’s always been the human or human-like creatures that frightened me – Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, etc. I’ve never had a bad experience with an animal, but I have had them with humans. which is probably why I don’t enjoy movies like that.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Delphyne. Great comment! It sounds like you might have a tendency toward fantasy prone personality. I definitely do. People with with that trait tend to get very absorbed in books and movies to the point of losing awareness of themselves. It is also related to openness to new experiences, one of the Big Five traits.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_prone_personality

      Here’s a brief summary from Neurologica blog:

      In 1981 Wilson and Barber first identified what they called a fantasy-prone personality (FPP) type (this work actually extended from Josephine Hilgard’s observations of people who were very susceptible to hypnosis). These are people who not only lead a rich fantasy life but seem to blur the lines between fantasy and reality. They identify 14 characteristics of fantasy proneness: (1) being an excellent hypnotic subject, (2) having imaginary playmates as a child, (3) fantasizing frequently as a child, (4) adopting a fantasy identity, (5) experiencing imagined sensations as real, (6) having vivid sensory perceptions, (7) reliving past experiences, (8) claiming psychic powers, (9) having out-of-body or floating experiences, (10) receiving poems, messages, etc., from spirits, higher intelligences, and the like, (11) being involved in “healing,” (12) encountering apparitions, (13) experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations (waking dreams), and (14) seeing classical hypnagogic imagery (such as spirits or monsters from outer space).

      Of course, like any other psychological trait, fantasy-proneness is on a continuum within the population. Most people probably have some of these characteristics to some extent.

      • Delphyne49 says:

        Thanks for that, BB – I had never heard of FPP until now and am going to read up on it. I most definitely have what my mother used to call an overactive imagination which often lead to “not being able to tell the difference between what was *real* and what wasn’t,” although she said it as if it were a bad thing. 🙂

      • NW Luna says:

        Intriguing! I don’t enjoy horror films or fiction. I’ve learned to be careful what films I watch (or continue to watch till the end), like Delphyne, because the effects often stay with me for several days. I feel in some what that I’m still in that film’s environment, although I know I’m not. Same with books.

        Yet of the “fantasy proneness” characteristics, I can endorse only 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7. I’ve never been hypnotized and doubt I’d be a good subject as I get suspicious quickly of anybody trying to tell me what to do. Once, in a class, the instructor played something with subliminal messages in it (without our knowledge or permission), I quickly became uncomfortable and felt irritated and defiant. It was some sort of positivetthinking, human-development business crap that the organization’s bosses were big on). Maybe I would have felt differently if the voice had been female rather than male. After we were told about the audio clip, I was happy that I had a suspicious reaction!

        • ANonOMouse says:

          ” I’ve never been hypnotized and doubt I’d be a good subject as I get suspicious quickly of anybody trying to tell me what to do”

          I love that. 🙂

          • bostonboomer says:

            Actually being hypnotized isn’t about anyone telling you what to do. It’s a myth that anyone can be made to do something they don’t want to do or that goes against their values under hypnosis. Hypnosis is a natural state that we all enter many times a day–every 90 minutes in fact, people go into brief daydream states. It’s part of the normal body rhythms. There’s a saying, “all hypnosis is self-hypnosis,” because it’s true.

            Getting absorbed in a movie or book and having it affect you later shows an ability to dissociate. Those are normal hypnotic states that some people are better at than others.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            I didn’t know that BB. That explains why when I become engrossed in something 8 hours can seem like an hour.

          • NW Luna says:

            Ah, thanks for that explanation BB. In that case I’m frequently in normal hypnotic states!

        • Beata says:

          I am easy to hypnotize except when it comes to voting for right-wingers.

      • Beata says:

        Fascinating. I’ve never heard of FPP but I have those characteristics. All of them, in fact. It’s scary. LOL. I also score high on empathy.

        As far as horror films and fiction go, I enjoy supernatural stories. Films like “The Uninvited” ( starring Gail Russell ) and “The Innocents” ( starring Deborah Kerr ) are my favorites. I don’t like blood and gore horror or monster movies. As a child, I was terrified of vampires. I thought they were real. Sometimes I would sleep with a silver cross under my pillow. Never wore garlic around my neck though. Or is that to protect against werewolves? I can’t remember. They scared me, too. I’m not fond of clowns or puppets either or things that go bump in the night. I do like flowers and kittens and puppies.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          “As a child, I was terrified of vampires. I thought they were real. Sometimes I would sleep with a silver cross under my pillow. Never wore garlic around my neck though. Or is that to protect against werewolves?”

          LOL!!! I was afraid of Dracula too. I’m not sure about who the garlic protects you from, but I think it will protect you from most everyone if you wear it.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I tend to prefer supernatural movies too, as I said above. I’ve never really liked vampires either, but I like werewolf stories for some reason. I’m fascinated by zombies, but sometimes the gore in those movies is a little over the top for me.

          • NW Luna says:

            I also prefer werewolf stories over vampires. I was a big reader of fantasy and science fiction when younger. Still am, when I have the time.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    My all time “horror” movie that scared the bejeebus out of me was “The Haunting” starring Julie Harris.

    I remember walking all over the house turning all the lights on it because it frightened me so much. And I was a married woman not a teen at the time!

    The movie did not show the horror but was atmospheric and though I have seen it a few times since I still has almost the same reaction.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I love that movie. There was a remake, but it was nowhere near as good as the original.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      How about The Shining? That was a classic horror film.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I went to see The Shining when it first came out, and it scared me so much that I’ve never been able to sit through it again. I’ve tried, but I just can’t do it.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          My partner loves that movie. She got it on DVD and it’s still in the wrapper because I won’t watch it with her. Once was enough for me too.

    • Beata says:

      I can’t watch “The Haunting” or “The Shining”. Both are way too scary for me.

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    I’m not a huge fan of the gory horror movie monster classics, I hated Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. Even as a child I’d hide my head in the theatre as my friends enjoyed Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, Zombies, although I could watch all of those now with no problem. I prefer Science fiction that incorporates Time Travel, Space Travel, ET’s I loved the movie Contact, Inception, The Time Machine (every version that was ever made) and also what I call The End or the Close Call movies like, On the Beach (which was the very first end of times movie I ever saw), End of Days, Knowing, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, War of the Worlds, The 4th of July,Day after Tomorrow. I don’t know why I enjoy those kind of scary movie, but I do!!!

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    The guy in the red beanie and the black robe says something really scary:

    “Cardinal Raymond Burke Takes Break From Vatican Synod To Say Ugly Things About Gay Relationships”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/raymond-burke-gay-relationships_n_5967198.html

    • ANonOMouse says:

      In essence, this guy said “don’t let your children be around teh gay”.

      “If homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered, which indeed they are — reason teaches us that and also our faith — then, what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living in a disordered relationship with another person?”

      If Pope Francis is serious about his “who am I to judge” utterance, he better pull this guy off the stage, quickly.

      • NW Luna says:

        WTF? “Reason teaches us” that two people loving each other, living ordinary lives, no stash of weapons and ammo, and not out shooting people, are “intrinsically disordered”?

        • ANonOMouse says:

          “Reason” teaches me that “intrinsically disordered” describes much of the catholic church hierarchy. I’ve read too many stories about catholic schools dismissing the children of L/G couples, turning L/G couples away from the congregation and refusing communion to L/G.
          As a recovering catholic it seems to me that if the catholic church truly believes that L/G are disordered they would be attempting some sort of outreach, rather than an outright rejection as supported by Cardinal Burke. What the hell is he afraid of? Losing priests/brothers/monks and nuns/sisters to marriage equality, equality in the law and social acceptance? I believe that is exactly what the church fears the most. As L/G relationships have become more accepted, become more commonplace and respected by society, the number of “vocations” have declined, dramatically. Is that a coincidence? I think not!!!!!

          • bostonboomer says:

            You put your finger on it there. It’s probably all about fear. Burke should just STFU and go away.

    • Beata says:

      So do I! Lots of good stuff here!

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thank you both!

        • janicen says:

          It is really interesting to understand why some can watch horror movies and some can’t. I enjoy the good ones. Not the slasher movies but the really good ones like The Haunting but my husband and daughter cannot watch scary movies period. My husband won’t even read the scary Stephen King books. It’s always fascinated me that the two of them have such an aversion to scary movies.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Actually I really can’t stand Stephen King. Every book I’ve read by him has had a disappointing ending–and he’s too verbose.

        • janicen says:

          “It”by Stephen King is the only book I’ve ever read that gave me nightmares. I don’t think I could ever reread that book if I tried. lol

          • bostonboomer says:

            I never made it through that one. I read Pet Sematary, Christine, and Cujo–that one turned me off King for years. Then last year I read 11/22/63, which I also hated.

    • dakinikat says:

      Same with me! I’ve found myself really drawn to horror movies and to other survivor type movies since Katrina. I never really watched many of them before then but now I really even enjoy the Kitschy ones!! There must be something psychological about that!

  7. dakinikat says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/gary-webb-dark-alliance_n_5961748.html Sometimes the conspiracy theorists are right. This is on the Reagan administration’s black ops and drug deals in Latin America.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Gary Webb is famous for that story, but it destroyed his career. He ended up committing suicide.

      • dakinikat says:

        I’m glad to see it still has legs. We need to hear what Reagan and Bush1 were up to and why so many people in Latin America hate us. And, what we did to them.

        • Delphyne49 says:

          School of the Americas played a huge part in why the people in Latin America despise the American government and thus, the American people. I’m not sure it’s current incarnation, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, is any better.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It comes from court docs. The Daily News is a good paper, even tho it’s a tabloid. It’s a liberal paper too. You must be thinking of the NY Post.

      Thanks!

  8. NW Luna says:

    Bad news. One can only hope the preliminary test is a false positive.

    Texas Health Worker Tests Positive for Ebola

    A health care worker here who helped treat the Liberian man who died last week of the Ebola virus has tested positive for the disease in a preliminary test, state health officials said Sunday.

    “We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr. David Lakey, the Texas health commissioner. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”

    The worker, who was not identified, was an employee of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Thomas E. Duncan, died last week.

    The health care worker reported a low grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing. Officials interviewed the worker and were identifying “any contacts or potential exposures,” the statement read.

    The preliminary test was done at the state public-health lab in Austin and the positive result was received late Saturday, officials said. Other tests will be done by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.