Quick: Jot down your top two fears. Now compare them to the results of a recent poll (via The Vancouver Sun) intended to reveal what scares Canadians most.
What makes we hosers really shake in our mukluks?
Terrorists and snakes, or so says genealogy website Ancestry.ca, which conducted the survey as part of its pre-Halloween celebration. No word on what species of terrorist (Al-Qaeda? Animal rights extremists?) or snake (Black Mamba, Garter?) that gives people the most willies, but it’s clear the words themselves hold far-reaching power over the human imagination.
Before drawing any broader nation-wide conclusions, however, keep in mind the results were drawn from a relatively small sampling of the population—the site polled a little over 1,100 Canadians around the country.
But of the sampling, 16 percent polled identified terrorists as the scariest of beings, while 14 percent settled on the much-maligned snake as the creepiest crawly. Other fears that made the top five: public speaking, heights and spiders.
Ancestry.ca’s managing director Roger Dunbar feels the results challenge the commonly held belief that most people fear their mortality, confined spaces and paranormal entities such as ghosts above all.
Said Dunbar: “Despite the common myth that people are most fearful of death or closed spaces, the fact that Canadians are most scared of terrorists is telling in these times.”
Indicating that he doesn’t personally fear cringe-inducing rhetorical flourishes, Dunbar added: “With Halloween around the corner, we can perhaps expect that Canadians will no longer jump when ghosts go ‘Boo!’”
The poll also highlighted a few regional differences in the realm of irrational fears.
Ghost stories seem to captivate Quebecers most as that province showed the highest fear of ghosts and aliens in Canada. Maybe it’s because of all of those grain elevators in the prairies, but Saskatchewan residents mentioned rats and mice as a very strong fear. Blame the Calgary Stampede’s rodeo clowns for a thousand children’s nightmares, as Albertans cited clowns as downright creepy, while Newfoundlanders opted to single out dentists and the Conservative Party as genuine fear factors.
The Conservatives aren’t the only political party singled out for spooky status, however; both B.C. and Manitoba posited a fear of the Liberals. So if you’re looking to scare people get your Michael Ignatieff costumes ready now West Coast trick-or-treaters.
What’s your biggest fear? Please share them here.