Scary Roller Coaster Facts That Will Make Your Heart Skip a Beat

Wikimedia Commons // RanjithSiji // CC BY 3.0

Roller coasters are synonymous with thrills, adrenaline, and, sometimes, fear. While many of us line up for the exhilarating rush these rides promise, some aspects of roller coasters can be downright terrifying. Here are three of the most chilling facts about roller coasters that might make you think twice before hopping on.

Fabio’s Goose Incident

In 1999, an incident involving the famous Italian-American actor and model Fabio Lanzoni demonstrated the unexpected dangers roller coasters can pose. While debuting the Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Fabio was struck in the face by a goose.

This bizarre collision resulted in a bloody nose and a stark reminder of the unpredictability of roller coaster rides. The incident became infamous, not just for the absurdity of a bird hitting a human at high speed, but for highlighting the potential hazards riders might face from flying debris or wildlife while on a high-speed coaster.

The Kidney Stone Cure

It sounds like a plot twist in a medical drama, but research has shown that riding particular roller coasters can help dislodge kidney stones. A 2016 study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that a ride on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad could aid in passing kidney stones.

Researchers, using a 3D-printed kidney model, discovered that the stone passed in about two-thirds of the time, especially when seated at the back of the coaster. While this might seem like a silver lining for some, the thought of a kidney stone dislodging mid-ride adds a new level of discomfort and fear to the experience.

Extreme Heights and Speeds

Standing at a staggering 465 feet tall, Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, is the tallest roller coaster in the world. This colossal ride propels passengers from 0 to 128 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds, launching them up a vertical track at a 90-degree angle.

Pexels // Angie

The combination of extreme speed and height can be nerve-wracking for many, offering a thrill that borders on sheer terror. The ascent feels like rocketing into the sky, and the subsequent plummet back to earth is a heart-stopping drop that tests the bravery of even the most seasoned thrill-seekers.

Roller Coaster Thrills

Roller coasters are designed to push the boundaries of fear and excitement, but these facts reveal that the bar between thrill and terror can sometimes be borderline.

Whether it’s the unexpected hazards from nature, the bizarre yet effective medical benefits, or the overwhelming physical challenges, roller coasters continue to be a source of both joy and dread for millions of riders worldwide.