Why do people like getting scared?

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KILLEN, Ala. (WAAY) - Clowns, spiders and monsters are perfect ingredients for a haunted house. And yet many people are scared of them and pay to go in.

We went to a haunted house to found out why people like being scared by their biggest fears. Laughter and screaming are part of the answer.

Newly wed couple, Darrin and Emily Stanley are each on opposite ends when it comes to things that go bump in the night. Emily is terrified of haunted houses but says she's willing to walk through one with her husband. Darrin considers himself an adrenaline junkie and loves the rush he gets from being scared. 

"There is one thing I am scared of. That's snakes," said Darrin.

So why do people pay money to be scared?

"People like the feeling of excitement. And the big rush of adrenaline and the big rush of all kinds of other chemicals that we get when we're scared. It's like a quick little high," said Psychologist Dr. Quirk.

Dr. Quirk says haunted attractions do more for our bodies than we think.

"Screaming on a scary ride or in a spook show is a wonderful sense of release. That's why you hear giggling and screaming. They're forms of release," says Dr. Quirk.

Financial issues, stress and personal problems are just a few things Dr. Quirk says we tend to hold in and release in the form of laughter or a scream. 

The key is understanding the difference between real danger and pretend danger, according to Dr. Quirk. He says it's a matter of tricking our bodies through our intellect.