ORIGINS OF SCARECROW
Jonathan Crane aka The Scarecrow first appeared in World’s Finest Comics #3 (1941).
A psychology teacher who was shunned by his peers, dressed poorly and became obsessed with fear. Scarecrows first story had no fear toxin or elaborate plots. He simply dressed up as a Scarecrow to scare people for money.
If his efforts to scare people for money failed, he resorted to violence and shot his victims with a gun. In later stories, the Scarecrow’s backstory was fleshed out giving him a tormented childhood, and later developing his Fear compounds through chemistry.
Drugs that whether in liquid,solid or vapor form would induce panic, fear and terror in his victims. His experiements on prison inmates lead him to further research and later experimentation upon the population of Gotham City.
THE TOXIN OF FEAR CHEMICALS
Jonathan Crane is a psychologist who uses fear as a weapon, making him a unique and intriguing character that offers insight into the nature of fear.
The Scarecrow’s greatest weapon is his mastery of the psychology of fear. He uses this knowledge to create fear-inducing chemicals and gadgets that he uses to manipulate and terrorize his victims.
The Scarecrow character highlights the power of fear and how it can be used as a tool for control and domination. It also demonstrates how fear can be used to manipulate people and exploit their weaknesses, even in seemingly rational and educated individuals.
Scarecrow specializes in creating personalized living nightmares. His drug of choice?
A fear toxin – that once consumed or inhaled induces an individual into a highly paranoid psychotic state where they experience their very worst fears and phobias as overwhelmingly powerful hallucinations more real than anything they could have ever imagined, true living nightmares… hell on earth.
The Scarecrows FEAR Toxin gives unholy life to mankinds worst imaginings, bringing forth deep dark mental contructs from the creaky crevices of ones mind, out into hallucinatory realer than real – seemingly three dimensional physical reality. Completely overwhelming all the bodies senses and natural biological processes.
The mind constructs or thought beings then are the result of the pysco-active properties of Scarecrows Fear Toxin at the physical level, bringing agonizing life to that which is purely of the mental abstract and deep unconcious realm of the sub-psyche, dreams, impressions and memories. Personal and Primal fears are dragged out of the dark dungeon in our mind, kicking and screaming into apparent reality.
Our bodies normal survival oriented fear response scales up or down in response to dangerous situations, physical threats and other fear triggers.
The scarecrows fear toxins however drive our bodies natural responses to fear at the biological level into overdrive allowing no cooling off period to return to homestasis.
THE BIOLOGY OF FEAR
Fear exists in human beings (and other animals that have a limbic system) as a survival oriented mechanism. If we were unable to experience fear, our chance of death from predators and dangerous situations increases, and we likely would be extinct as a species without the capacity for fear.
The Scarecrow also represents the dark side of fear. While fear can be a natural and necessary survival mechanism, it can also become a destructive force that consumes people and causes them to make irrational decisions. The Scarecrow embodies this aspect of fear, showing how it can be used to spread terror and cause harm.
How does fear work? Our body perceives stimulus in our environment through usually a combination of our senses such as sight, smell, touch etc.
For fear to activate the Amygdala part of our brain signals the Hypothalamus, which activates our pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is where our nervous system meets our endocrine or ‘hormone’ system.
Through these systems, our body is able to activate the fight or flight response. During a heightened fear response our blood pressure, breathing and heart rate increases, blood is driven to the limbs in order to take action by fighting or fleeing.
Adrenaline is dumped making us temporarily stronger and our senses are hyper aware to everything in our immediate environment, increasing arousal while narrowing our overall stimulus according to our biologies hierarchical systems.
THE MANY FACES OF FEAR
While fear toxins are the stuff of comic book fiction.. there are no shortage of real world toxins and altered states with truly horrifying effects. Take the infamous mysterious outbreak of mad bird behavior in 1961 that would go on to inspire a short story and was the likely inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s terror inducing film The Birds.
Domoic acid can cause confusion, disorientation, scratching, seizures and death in birds that eat the stuff, which gets concentrated as it moves up the food chain – Wynne Parry
A toxin(in this case an algae) got into the birds systems and drove them nuts with confusion and disorientation, which appears to humans at least, to be rabbid attack behavior. The Scarecrow uses his fear toxins to induce fantastical schizophrenic like responses and vivid hallucinations in his intended victims.
Whether they die of pure terror, attack their own loved ones or endure the episode is a gamble. The real world has no shortage of fear and hallucinatory induced confusion, slaughter and carnage. Let’s take a look at another example.
A Canadian man who was found not criminally responsible for beheading and cannibalising a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus has been granted freedom from all supervision – The Guardian (Australian Edition)
The man on the bus believed God was speaking to him directly, and was found (known) to be mentally ill. His personal reality and falsified perceptions caused him to act in an un-characteristic manner, decapitating and hacking away and trying to EAT a fellow passenger.
When later interviewed and on medication for his condition, the man who formerly thought God was talking to him came to know it was not true and that his mental illness brought on episodes of “…hearing voices or having delusions. You don’t know what is real”.
There are many different types of altered states human beings can experience. Some causes include sensory deprivation, extreme tiredness or hunger, synthetic drugs, mental illness and more.
Scarecrows fear toxins are designed to work on multiple levels, driving our bodies normal natural biological fear process into overload. Like red lining a car, extreme prolonged fear creates real physical damage in a human body, starting at the cellular and chemical level, as well as causing the victim to act in a paniced highly irrational state due to the false data fed to their own senses.
FEAR AND MADNESS
We play with the idea that maybe we know our own fears of have conquered our fears, yet true primal fear is not something you can play with or casually entertain. It is a deep instense physical and psychological reaction to what is in our genes, our very biology own and what is happening directly in our immediate environment.
Primal Fear unchecked can lead us from ordinary states of fear into becoming a gibbering mass of quivering hysterical pure terror.
The Scarecrow’s personal playground and narrow obsession is driving a person to that very place. To the truly hysterical panic inducing, pants wetting fear that may even kill someone from stress or a heart attack. It may cause that individual to attack their friends and family or just leave them as helpless as a newborn baby, gasping for oxygen and raving like a lunatic.
While there are many types of fear and fear states, the Scarecrow continues to evolve his chemical cocktails, finding new chemical strains, new ways to instill phobias, psychological delusions, existential angst and more in his efforts to terroize the populace of Gotham City.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
The Scarecrow is a complex character that offers a nuanced perspective on the nature of fear. Through his actions and motivations, he highlights the power of fear, both as a tool and as a source of terror. He also demonstrates how fear can be both empowering and debilitating, and how it can be used to control and manipulate people. In this way, the Scarecrow serves as a reminder of the need to understand and manage fear, both in oneself and in society as a whole.
Scarecrow God of Fear image by SmilexVillainco
The Birds movie still image and article quote from:
Guardian quote on mentally ill man on bus:
Hell on Earth image from Yannick Bouchard
Uma Oswald painting:
Out of the ashes: Self-portrait series depicts a young artist’s struggle with psychosis
Psychotic Waltz image from music video:
Gygaxian Mouther image:
Classic Gygaxian Gibbering Mouther (Pure breed from Tamoachan)
Arkham Knight Scarecrow by Kla-Jezebeth on Deviantart
Syringe Needle fingers Scarecrow by Hessianforhire on Deviantart
Scarecrow and birds in field by M-hugo on deviantart
Deranged scarecrow (bald) with single syringe by Austin Mengler
Austin Mengler deviant art
Human Nervous System Ref Image
Anatomy of the Brain ref image from “The Nervous System and How it Works” at The Apprentice Doctor website (full article link below)