What is it about the unknown that ropes us in as an audience? As a kid I was so into the Twilight Zone. And I can recall a particular episode that drew me in. There were two kids that were part of a well to do family. The parents fought and were the worst. The kids escaped to a Mark Twain esque island by going through the bottom of the pool. The message was the anti material message. Finding joy in simplistic baked home made pies with the likes of a grandmother in a quant town with bare minimum essentials. Even in a happy family environment, I found myself diving into the deepest end of my pool in hopes that I would come up the other side, for a grandmother waiting for me with pies and love.
And who can forget Poltergeist.. clowns are forever ruined for me now. And I had often turned to static to see if anyone would have a conversation between the flickering tv lights and snow.
The Magic of The Mysterious
When the unknown both frightens and exhilarates us, it is a reminder that we do not have all the answers. And that we are still learning. That our world is exactly that. Just one of potentially many. Time, is just a man made idea. The mysterious and the unknown excites us because it sparks the childlike and curious part of our minds.
A Fearful Mystery
Not all mysteries instill fear. But when a mystery perpetuates a fear, it challenges our belief system. What we think we know about who we are and what our world is like becomes challenged in a way that creates a primal insecurity.
So how are we able to sleep at night knowing that we don’t really know what is real and what is not?
Mysteries Challenge Our Brains
The imagination centers of the brain, the neocortex and the thalamus are set off when trying to solve puzzles, figure out clues and piece together scenarios. Which is why most movies are described as “thrillers”. The imagination center of the brain when activated is considered to give off a “brain boost”. This allows the brain an opportunity to look at a problem, scenario differently. This exercise of the brain is not only entertaining, it actually helps the brain learn to memorize more quickly and effectively.
Think about how you process a movie that is full of mystery and clues. You start figuring out scenarios, possibilities, deducing what may be and making omissions. In the movie Seven, we are horrified and deeply engaged once we spot the pattern. That that killer John Doe played by Kevin Spacey is killing according to the Seven Deadly Sins.
Mysteries And The Moral Dilemma
Sometimes mysteries draw us in through the morality of the characters and we find the subject matter relatable due to its moral storyline. Usually, there is a character we empathize with and that creates that familiar arc. Take The Sinner Season 1, for example. Every bit of my being kept thinking about the movie Carrie and the toxic mother. But the reality of The Sinner was that it was a classic not who had done it, by WHY had they done it?? The root of the issue for the central character played by Jessica Biel was nature versus nurture. No different than Sharp Objects. played by Amy Adams.
Mysteries Spark Creativity
Einstein said “Imagination Is More Important That Knowledge” For Knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Unlocking the mysterious gives our Thalamus the exercise it needs to be creative, and imaginative. By learning to think outside the box to uncover the unknown we increase our awareness and our ability to recognize patterns and improve our ability to memorize.
So give yourself a thalamus brain boost. You can pick up a good mystery novel, maybe a controversial classic, like a Dashiell Hammett detective book, or binge some Servant on Apple TV and we can freak the F out together. Maybe I’ll watch with the lights on…
About The Author
Kia Stora is the Editor In Chief At Puckermob.com
A lover of the natural and supernatural, she is a Lagree teacher, a pilates and yoga instructor, and has over three hundred hours of Katonah Yoga teacher training and anatomy.