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Rout

At Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, you will find horror, and horror will find you too. In the Nightmares Fear Factory, the halls are dark, narrow, and long. The walls shift. The eyes watch. Hands reach. Things scream.

At Nightmares Fear Factory, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, you will find out how brave you are.

You’re in the Nightmares Fear Factory.

Something happens. It is sudden. Violent. Noise pierces your mind as though it had not bothered to use your ears first to get there. Your reaction is as sudden, and as violent. Your spine stiffens, your hairs stand up, you jump like you’ve been electrocuted and your mind screams, “Run!”

You turn to do that, and you see the eyes of your closest friend, there in the dark, not inches away. They dilate, widen, and bam!

They’re suddenly turning to run, too.

No matter how many people you bring, or what it is exactly that sparked your fears, the rout is on. You’re done. You’re chickening out and there is no controlling it.

It’s an odd thing about humans that terror should be so social, but when you think about it, it’s not that weird. Drop a rock into a pond near a school of fish and watch them scatter. Eyeball a movie, or a documentary, or go there and do it yourself where a gunshot, or a loud noise, or a sudden light shocks a herd of gazelles.

They all scatter at once, and the ones that don’t immediately move—well you can almost tell that they’re running because their friends are running. They turned their heads, saw the panic, and dipped like the world was about to end.

So, it was just Remembrance Day everywhere in the Commonwealth, and one of the things you have to celebrate to the utmost when you remember veterans is that they did not do this. The whole idea of turning and running away because other people are running away because something potentially dangerous happened is the result of an extensive and arduous amount of training, conditioning, discipline, and inspiration typically from local commanders—but most of all, it’s a function of choice.

The choice to stand between the people at home, the people next to them, and some of the scariest stuff to ever exist.

See, fear is social because there are parts of the mind (mostly the amygdala) which scan for threats and distress and signal the body to respond, and then a host of chemical and hormonal reactions that spur the reflex to turn and run.

It can often get these signals from other like beings nearby. In order to transmit these signals, though…

It’s a well-known fact that armies throughout history have geared to be a) huge and physically intimidating like ancient Germans, b) intimidating by reputation like Mongols or Huns or Assyrians, or c) look undefeatable like Spartans or Romans just to have a slight edge in the other army’s mental space. Just to provoke a slightly faster activation of the amygdala in a single man on the other team.

Because a lot of the time, all it took was one man turning to run. Then, all the guys around him. Then, all the guys around them. And then suddenly, it’s a rout, and a rout is a win.

The Nightmares Fear Factory salutes our veterans, all, each, and every single one of them.

At Nightmares Fear Factory, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, you will find out how brave you are.