Issue No. 16 | Fear Itself

The Horror Show

The feeling in the pit of your stomach. That chill on your neck. A sudden sound, a strange movement. Your heart practically beating out of your chest. Our October issue explores anxiety, fear, and dread—the dominant feelings, perhaps, of 2018. First, there’s our provocative new documentary series, A Cure for Fear, for which filmmaker Lana Wilson was given unprecedented access to document the groundbreaking work of a researcher able to cure debilitating phobias and PTSD with the help of a common pill. Also in the issue: an interview with The Walking Dead’s scaremaster, Greg Nicotero; a visit to a classroom full of adults terrified of flying; a collection of haunted items from eBay; and much more.


Greg Nicotero: In Search of a Scream

The special-effects expert and Walking Dead producer on his love of horror and his own near-afterlife experience.

The Wings Won’t Fall Off

To overcome her fear of flying, a writer spent weeks going to a class inside an airport. But could she ever get on a plane?

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Something Wraithlike This Way Comes

All over the world, a certain kind of ghost story gets told—one in which a woman comes back from the dead to haunt men.

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For Sale: Haunted Shoes. Very Cursed.

Haunted teddy bears, eyeglasses, dolls, and teacups are big business on eBay. So we bought some.

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On the Other Side of Fear

Is it possible to take a pill and unlearn a phobia?

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My Bodyguard, My Self

These days, it seems like everyone has a security detail. We spent a day with three men in suits to find out how it feels to be safe.

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Fear Itself Mixtape

Four short films to make you break out in a cold sweat, with nary a drop of blood in sight. (Well, maybe a little blood.)

Phobias for the 21st Century

What does it say about us that the most modern fears are about our phones?

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The Magic Bullet

How a drug called Miltown ushered in an age of pill-popping for anxious Americans.

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The Elevator-Phobes of a Vertical City

The elevator-phobic and the city.

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Room on Fire

A woman is beset by heart-pounding, stomach-churning panic attacks. But then an unlikely spirit animal helps her regain control.

A Cure for Fear

A doctor has come up with a way to knock out phobias and trauma overnight. But what if being afraid is a fundamental part of who we are?

I Looked into the Void, and the Void Looked Back

Everyday messages of existential dread. Please take one.

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Off Topic

Meet the Female Nightcrawlers of Manila

Racing between murder scenes with the journalists covering Duterte’s bloody drug war.

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Off Topic

Mold Eats World

Toxic mold seems to be everywhere, as unavoidable as air. But is a fungal explosion really something to be afraid of?

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Museum of Human History

Museum of Human History: Witch Hunts

Fun with witchcraft! Starring Jim Rash.

About the Cover: Fear Itself

The artist behind Topic’s October 2018 cover art on how she remixed the trope of the female horror victim.

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