(CNN) — Think you would never go so far as to become obsessed with your favorite celebrity?
Often, the image of a celebrity stalker is a mentally ill loner, someone whose sole purpose in life is devoted to the notables they follow like deities — or prey.
But some experts believe a celebrity stalker may be someone just like you.
Several years ago, author and fame psychology expert James Houran was part of a team that studied celebrity worship.
The belief at the outset, he said, was that stalkers were a group distinct from typical fans.
Instead, what the team found was that celebrity worship forms a continuum that “starts off with very benign forms, but then it gradually takes on more dysfunctional behaviors,” Houran said.
“That’s good news and bad news,” said Houran, whose research led to development of the “Celebrity Attitude Scale,” a metric for celebrity worship. “That means that stalkers probably don’t start off that way.”
“The bad news is that means there’s a stalker in all of us, and given the right set of circumstances, virtually anybody can be pushed to be a celebrity stalker, or at least someone that obsesses about celebrities to the point that it interferes with our daily life.”
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Clues That You are a Celebrity Stalker.
- You refuse to believe that the celebrity does not know you or has no interest in you.
- Your every waking thought centers on the celebrity.
- Your plans for the future involves the celebrity.
- You pursue the celebrity relentlessly through phone calls, voice-mails, emails, drive byes.
- You go through great lengths to obtain information about the celebrity such as computer hacking and tapping telephone lines.
- You applied for a jobs at the phone company, gas company, water company, or any other utility company so you would have access to celebrity information.
- You have traveled thousands of miles and spent thousands of dollars to gain information about the celebrity.
- You have a shrine composed of photos, videos and other paraphernalia dedicated to the celebrity.
- You lie and falsify stories about your relationship with the celebrity.
- You believe that because you are connected to the celebrity via a social network (ie. twitter, facebook) that you and the celebrity are friends.