WTF Fun Fact 13194 – Goosebumps Muscle

Did you know you have a goosebumps muscle? We get goosebumps when tiny muscles in our skin’s hair follicles called arrector pili pull our hair upright. Goosebumps evolved when humans had enough body hair for this “hair-raising” action to keep them warm. We still get goosebumps, but they no longer serve a purpose in humans.

How do the goosebumps muscles work?

The arrector pili muscle is a small muscle located at the base of each hair follicle. When this muscle contracts, it causes the hair follicle to stand upright, resulting in the characteristic “goosebumps” or “gooseflesh” that many people experience in response to cold temperatures, emotional arousal, or certain stimuli.

The contraction of the arrector pili muscle can also cause the hair follicle to become more sensitive to the surrounding environment, which may help to protect the skin from cold temperatures or other environmental factors. This contraction is also mediated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is activated in response to certain stimuli such as cold, fear, anger, or pleasure.

Why do we get goosebumps?

Goosebumps occur as a response to a variety of stimuli. The most common trigger is a change in temperature, such as feeling cold. Goosebumps also occur in response to emotional stimuli such as fear, awe, or pleasure. This is because the contraction of the arrector pili muscle is mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. That is activated in response to these stimuli.

Another reason why we get goosebumps is an evolutionary one. When our ancestors had more hair on their bodies, the contraction of arrector pili muscles would make the hair stand up. This created a thicker layer of insulation to help them stay warm in cold temperatures. This response is still present in humans, even though most of us have less body hair.

Goosebumps can also occur when listening to music. This is because the emotional response to music can activate the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the contraction of the arrector pili muscle.

Overall, goosebumps are a physiological response to a variety of stimuli that can be triggered by both environmental and emotional factors.  WTF fun facts

Source: “What Goosebumps Are For” — National Institutes of Health

WTF Fun Fact 13126 – RL Stine and Bazooka Joe

You have to straddle two older generations to appreciate the fun fact (or be a keen observer of the 1990s) that there’s a connection between RL Stine and Bazooka Joe.

What’s the connection between RL Stine and Bazooka Joe?

For those who don’t know, Robert Lawerence (RL) Stine is often referred to as “the Stephen King of children’s literature.” He wrote the Goosebumps series of children’s scary novels (it seems a little weird to call it children’s horror, doesn’t it?). He also wrote the Fear Street series. In other words, his books have scared the bejeezus out of multiple generations of children. He says he was inspired by his own generation’s love of horror in the form of the Tales from the Crypt series.

Before he became a young adult author for the ages, Stine had many different jobs. He wrote joke books. He even made coloring books!

And he also wrote Bazooka Joe comics. You know the ones – they came inside packs of bubble gum.

Who knew that the guys responsible for so many Gen X and Millennial nightmares also write those silly comics that came inside gum wrappers?

From bubble gum to horror writer

Bazooka Joe was just one of RL Stine’s many odd jobs as a writer. He was quite prolific and worked on television shows as well (seriously, check out his Wikipedia entry!). He even holds the Guinness Book of World Records award for being the best-selling children’s book series author of all time. It turns out kids like to be scared.

According to Mental Floss (cited below), Stephen King once told Stine, “You’ve taken every single amusement park plot and haven’t left any for anyone else.”

Stine himself isn’t really scared by horror. He’s a fan of a few of King’s books (like Misery and Pet Sematary) but often finds himself laughing at horror films.  WTF fun facts

Source: “21 Bone-Chilling Secrets About R.L. Stine” — Mental Floss