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Why Are We Drawn To Tragic Events?

Updated on June 28, 2014

The Hindenburg tragedy

Can't Stop watching

Without hesitation when many people see an auto accident or some other tragic event they find themselves hypnotically drawn to it as though they were being commanded to look.

Even though they may be looking at a gruesome occurrence they become transfixed like they are in a trance unable to break away.

Travellers on the highway will slow down to gawk at an overturned semi or a crushed vehicle risking injury or mishap to themselves in order to try to get a glimpse of the hapless victims that may be injured or worse.

But why?

It was reported that people lined up outside of the makeshift morgue holding the bullet riddled bodies of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker just to get a look at the famous bank robbers.

What will drive some people to repeatedly watch video tape of John F. Kennedy literally getting his head blown off?

Most will say that it is because of simple curiosity. Just wanting to know what happened. Others will say that its just natural to want to look at an unusual occurrence but is that really the case?

Why would anyone be so interested in what is obviously a horrific event where someone is in a state of distress or possibly deceased?

Is it just curiosity or a more morbid and sinister reason?

Roman Coliseum

Trends Of Mankind

Almost since the beginning of man he seems to have had a fascination for pain, suffering and tragedy.

In ancient Rome and Greece coliseums were filled to capacity with spectators who gathered to witness what they knew would be the most horrifying and grotesque contests that anyone could ever witness. In fact they came in anticipation of bloody confrontations that would end in horrible injuries and death.

Citizens would look on in much the same way as we today watch a football or basketball game as gladiators fought ferociously until one was either too injured to continue or was dead.

In many instances they would shout insults and give a “thumbs down” if the contest was not gory enough.

Their thirst for blood was almost unsatisfiable and certainly most disturbing.

Their craving for blood and gore was maniacal and almost demonic in nature. The more blood the better. But why were they so bloodthirsty?

And why do we seem to be today.

Cage fight match

Blood Sport

Today the coliseum brand of blood sports seems to have transformed into cage fighting. MMA matches are some of the most watched sporting events among all sports.

Thousands of people spend millions of dollars to watch two men and now even women, bludgeon each other until one or the other is incapacitated or “taps out.”

Cage fighting is one of the most brutal sports on the planet but fans are drawn to the event like bees to honey with the fan base increasing every year.

There is something about blood, pain and suffering that intoxicates the human brain.


Princess Diana car crash

Multiple Personalities

It has been said for centuries that everyone has a dark side to their personality. A part of their being that is evil, sinister and even murderous if provoked enough.

Whether that is true or not there seems to be a part of the brain that is for lack of a better word, stimulated by seeing pain or suffering.

There are things that the human body craves like love, affection and relationship and there also seems to be a level of desire for pain, punishment or suffering.

Although we may not want to admit it humans have an innate craving, no matter how big or small, for suffering which may explain why some are drawn to the sadomasochistic world.

Whatever the case there is no doubt we will continue to watch car crashes, plane crashes, train wrecks and other horrific happenings until they stop happening.

And that I'm afraid will never happen.

Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Big Bopper plane crash with bodies of Holly and Valens still visible

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