A term in rock climbing, by which the leader falls, and a scream is involuntarily ripped from their lungs as they fall. This usually involves falling at least 5 and possibly as much as 50 feet (if not more), past which it can terminate in a Grounder.

All climbers should experience at least one (non fatal) screamer, in order to assure their long term survival via this rather brutal reality lesson.

The importance of screaming when falling from a climb can not be underestimated. If one is going to hit the ground
and one's lungs are filled with air broken ribs can
puncture the lung. Screaming empties the lung
and reduces the risk of punturing.

Screamer, in ornithology, a popular name for any individual of the South American family Palamediidæ. They are gentle and shy, and the crested screamer is said to be domesticated, and to defend the poultry of its master from birds of prey.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Screamer is a term in amusement parks used to describe a roller coaster train that does not stop in the station but rather continues on the roller coaster track again. This occurs when the station brakes remain open while the train's brake fin passes completely through all sets of brakes. The brake fin is a metal sheet connected to the bottom of each car in the train onto which the station brakes clasp to hold the train in place.

Screamers are most often seen on antiquated children roller coasters as the control system for these rides is often made for manual hand brake control rather than a simple push-the-button operation. The most common way to create a screamer on a hand brake system is to not close the brake while the train hits the first set of station brakes. On a control panel operation system generally built before mid 1980s, it is also possible to create a screamer by holding the station brake button until the train passes through. Modern control panel operation systems will automate the terminal part of the braking process as long as the button is pressed until the train completely stops. Screamers will not occur during a power outage because station brakes (unless operated by a hand brake which should not be affected immediately by a power outage) naturally rest in a closed position and require hydraulics to open.

Screamers may possibly be beneficial if:

  • the train is already past the normal boarding alignment and it is more dangerous for the riders to exit than to ride once more.
  • the roller coaster is a children's ride and the parents will yell at the operator to keep the ride going until they get back.
  • all the station brakes will not close tight enough for the train to stop, in which case the trim brakes (the ones before the station brakes to stop additional trains) should be used.
The Screamer is also a species of remarkably annoying creature in the 1980s role playing computer game from FTL, Dungeon Master.

It is shaped rather like a miniature tree, with a thick brown trunk terminating in a root system, with a bulbous green head, that from afar, looks very stereotypically tree-like.

Screamers move very slowly, and stupidly. Their method of attack, unsurprisingly, is to scream at the party. Their head expands, with small holes in the green expanse, revealing yellow underneath. This causes little damage, and is more of an annoyance, unless your party is close to death and trying to sleep.

Screamers do have their useful side. Encountered early in the game, they provide a useful source of that most necessary resource in the game - FOOD. When a Screamer is killed, you may find a number of Screamer Slices - really segments cut like orange segments out of the poor Screamer's head. Ironically, the centre of the segment seems to be white, not yellow.

These (not-so-)tasty snacks are a welcome relief from the challenges of trying to feed your party from an ever dwindling supply of food. Between the Screamer Slices, the Purple Worm Rounds and finally Dragon Steaks, a wily adventurer in the Dungeon Master world can survive for prolonged periods underground with a little prior planning!

A lone car slowly winds its way up a verdant country road somewhere in Europe. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the lush greenery projects nothing but an aura of peace and calm. The camera slowly pans back as it follows the car's progress around the twisting highway.

Thick foliage temporarily blocks your view of the car as it passes behind a tree, and the camera continues to follow its predicted path. A second later, the car fails to emerge from behind the tree as expected. Just as you're beginning to wonder what happened to the car...

... a putrid green zombie runs in front of the camera and screams!

Wow... that was certainly unexpected. This ad for a European energy drink is an example of a "screamer", a short video intended to focus your attention for the sole purpose of suddenly startling you.

Screamers are somewhat popular on the internet as a practical joke. They take several forms, all centered around the idea of getting you to focus your concentration and turn your speaker volume up for the unexpected startling image and scream at the end. Variations include:

  • A peaceful scene
  • A cute kitten
  • A game of skill requiring concentration
  • A "Where's Waldo?" style search
  • A "Spot the differences" comparison of two pictures
  • A dark, blurry photograph asking you to judge whether the item pictured is a "real" ghost, UFO, or other mysterious phenomenon.

In all cases, the viewer's attention is focused completely on the video, so that the screaming image has maximum startling impact. The "Where's Waldo?" game will not actually contain Waldo, and the "Spot the differences" images will actually be identical. After seeing a few of these, it becomes rather easy to recognize one long before the screaming image is actually revealed.

As for the energy drink ad, it's for a German product called K-Fee. K-Fee's web site has a number of similar ads available for download, all following the screamer theme as part of its marketing campaign. The screamers are supposed to give you a similar adrenaline rush to drinking their product. All the other versions of the video I have been able to find lately (e.g. on YouTube) have replaced the product shot at the end with the text "Now go change your shorts and get back to work!", confident in the idea that is has scared the proverbial crap out of you.

Scream"er (?), n. (Zoöl.)

Any one of three species of South American birds constituting the family Anhimidæ, and the suborder Palamedeæ. They have two spines on each wing, and the head is either crested or horned. They are easily tamed, and then serve as guardians for other poultry. The crested screamers, or chajas, belong to the genus Chauna. The horned screamer, or kamichi, is Palamedea cornuta.


© Webster 1913

Scream"er (?), n.


Something so remarkable as to provoke a scream, as of joy. [Slang]


An exclamation mark. [Printer's Slang]


© Webster 1913

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