Friday, September 21, 2012


This topic was brought to us this week by Ramana.  He chose it long ago and he doesn’t really seem like the type of guy prone to it.  But, we all experience it at some point in our lives.  It will be interesting the see what the other members of the Loose Blogger Consortium relate it to!  I’ll be checking them out and I encourage you to do the same.  Links are on the right side of this page.

Sometimes, the most interesting thing about a word is its etymology, its origin.  A little research led to some surprises for me:

The English word panic was derived from the French word panique; derived from the Greek word Panikos, lit. "pertaining to Pan;" in sense of "panic, fright" short for panikon deima, from neuter of Panikos "of Pan," the god of woods and fields, who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots.


It seems there was a Greek legend that Pan used to hide in the woods and rustle bushes as travelers walked by, sneaking ahead to the next dark spot and doing the same until, finally, the person was running headlong through the forest in a … panic!

I was wrong going into this.  I had been told years ago that it was a term related to pan as the indication of “everything” and that it was an existential response to the sudden realization of “everything.”  That was probably a definition that Pan spread to cover his tracks, for the sucker was notoriously unethical.

I’ve experience panic, of course, and in a similar situation to those with things being rustled in the woods.  Mine was in a lonely spot, too.  I thought it was bears – but now I know it was Pan.

Mine was on the return from the outhouse in the dark of night as a child.  Where there is a dark void, strange sounds fill it, many imagined dangers and outcomes emerge.  I set speed records getting back to the house!  Fortunately, I was at a point when I was at my lightest.


  1. You are spot on with your angle on the topic. I was far too busy hiding from noises off - in this case it was the pinging of other LBC members with post published and ready to be shared. I just about resisted the urge to read them before starting my own. I know it would lead to instant excommunication from the group!!

  2. I can imagine you panicking on your return trips from the outhouse TOF. I can still remember similar situations when we used to go to our village during holidays during the days when we did not have electricity and had to use hurricane lamps. Eerie sounds would make my imagination run riot and I would hasten to the comfort of the bed room where the others would be fast asleep. Ah, the sense of relief!

  3. I never had an issue with panic and outhouses. Their stench overroad any fear or panic the journey to and from the place could engender. My great fear though was werewolves. Abbot & Costello meet Frankenstein scared me and so I assumed any scratches were Lon Chaney Jr. coming after me. THose were the days of sitting at the Uptown Theater with legs tucked beneath my butt so the monster of the day couldn't get me from under my seat. Oh how I loved those Saturday fear fests with 3 or 4 horror movies. And 20 cent admission, 15 cent hot dogs and 5 cent giant pickles.

  4. Interesting about the dark scare. I stop - back against a tree - be small - and try to listen and look. Being still makes anything moving stand out.

  5. My panic was near the top of the mountain alone, on a ski tour. I misjudged the time & it was starting to get dark. Tom was out of town. My legs turned like cooked spaghetti. I survived to tell you the next panic attack.

    I was in France. Tom was giving his lecture so he couldn't look for me. (I wasn't at lunch!!!) I had hiked to the ocean & took the wrong path back. The French don't speak English--not then. I said J'ai perdu to anyone I met. It rained. I was 8 mi. from the conference place (I didn't have the name of that), when I came to a town & someone figured out my dilemma.

    In Sweden I was paddling a canoe by myself for miles down a long narrow lake. When I turned around the wind was so strong I made very little headway, coupled with going on the wrong side of an island. PANIC. Totally lost. A motor boat towed me.

    I had a couple panic attacks at home over nothing, on a bike ride with group & a hike with Tom. I had stopped to eat & he went ahead with a man. Makes you weak & can't stand. Heart speeds. Had a 3 minute stress test, & doc said my heart was strong. WHAT! 3 minutes!- I was doing 100 mi. bike race/tours for part of days. I've not had a Panic Attack since that test.

    On one 100 mi. thing, the racers were up front & when I got there they were piled up, some with broken bones. A big road sign was at the edge of the road which a bicycler hit. Blah, blah. I wonder if anyone got to the end of this.


  6. I know that feeling well. Mine wasn't at a panic level, but I remember when I was reading "Jurassic Park", and walked through the dark to get a drink of water. I could imagine velociraptors everywhere! I was an adult at the time, but I ran back to my room like a scared little baby. lol

  7. Oh, my dear consort, I have shared your panic. It was very real at the time, didn't feel the least bit imagined.

    When I was young we had a regular commode, only it was outside in the shed. This was the last place I went before going to bed. Except once…

    Blessings to you ~ Maxi

  8. @Grannymar

    I know. Some devices make it easier to delay the time of the posting and some places have a more convenient time than others.

  9. @Rummuser

    When you are a kid, the imagination goes crazy!

  10. @blackwatertown

    Yes. That is why people whistle in the dark, I think.

  11. @Anonymous

    bhb, I read all the way to the end! You have had so many adventures, a few are bound to have ended in panic!

  12. @Delirious

    Yes, stir the imagination with something like Jurassic Park and it enters the void with wings and projectors!

  13. @Maxi

    When you are young, the imagination does seem real. Intensely so!

  14. @shackman

    Our outhouse was surprisingly not stinky. At least, not the way a rural kid saw it. Maybe I was comparing stinky to the feed lots.


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