Friday the 13th. The scariest day of all the days. While some of us normal people avoid scary things, some weirdos love to indulge in all things scary. From thrill rides that are known for spine loss to scary movies that keep you up at night, some strange people enjoy, nay, seek out these experiences. What do bumps in the night, an exquisite melody, or going out in the cold all have in common? Chillz.
No not that.
That. The shivery, goosebumpily sensation where you triumphantly show your arms and say, “Look!” What is that? Why the heck does it even happen?
Back in the day when we had regular predators, danger would trigger our fight or flight mechanisms. Adrenaline, created when we feel threatened, emotional, or when we are cold, makes tiny muscles attached to hair molecules contract and move away from the surface of your skin. It’s depression makes the surrounding skin and your hair follicles protrude. In turn, way back when, we would look a lot bigger with hair standing on end and had more insulation when we were cold. Now, not so much.
What about when Mariah (circa 1994) hits one of those notes that just gets you and you get the chills? One theory about frisson, the technical term for this phenomenon, can happen when there is a sudden change in volume or an unexpected sound that triggers a fear response. And fear isn’t all bad. It keeps us alive, most importantly. Moreover, when we are afraid, we can mirror the emotions of those around us. Further, when people conquer their fear together, it gives them a sense of camaraderie.
Those random chills though that come from no where? Science can’t explain it. It’s definitely a ghost passing through you.