From the March edition of Harper’s, an interesting bit about a woman who, like all of us, feels a morbidly interesting compulsion towards those things which most terrify her. A telling chunk:

“For many years, SM has repeatedly told us that she ‘hates’ snakes and spiders and ‘tries to avoid them.’ To test her real-life behavior, we took her to an exotic pet store. Upon entering the store, SM was spontaneously drawn to the snake terrariums. A store employee asked SM whether she would like to hold a snake, and she agreed. She rubbed its leathery scales, touched its flicking tongue, and watched it slither through her hands. SM displayed a compulsive desire to ‘touch’ and ‘poke’ the store’s more dangerous snakes, even though the store employee repeatedly told her that those snakes were not safe and could bite. She also attempted to touch a tarantula and had to be stopped because of the high risk of being bitten. When asked why she would want to touch something she knew was dangerous, SM replied that she was overcome with ‘curiousity’.”