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The cyst-popping video I stumbled on one night turns out to have more than 22 million views. Why are we so drawn to these disgusting things?

My daughter and I frequently enjoy watching programs such as Embarrassing Bodies, 24 Hours in A&E, and Monsters Inside Me together — so when "Operation Kill George" popped up (pun fully intended) on my YouTube suggestions, it wasn't all that weird that I clicked on it. Operation Kill George isn't an old assassin movie, but a video in which something that was dubbed the "biggest cyst on the planet" was slowly removed. Though the video lasts almost a full 10 minutes, every time the yellow goo ceased to come out a while, I was convinced the cyst was now empty, only to be surprised by more

The first time I watched "Kill George", I was quite certain that we had stumbled upon an obscure video based solely on our search and watching history. Fascinated by the fact that the cyst was given a name and that it was seemingly never ending, I watched that video twice more, once out of sheer curiosity and once when I was stressed and unable to go to sleep. I discovered that I found the music from Apocalypse Now combined with the squeezing motion strangely soothing. 

Am I crazy? Maybe so, but I have since discovered that that particular video was viewed more than 22 million times, as well as that there are cyst-popping videos that are even more popular.

Not only that, there's a subreddit solely devoted to cyst-popping videos, as well as entire YouTube channels. (The uploader of "Kill George", ProjectKillGeorge, meanwhile, only ever offered that one video.) It's not just me, then. Watching cyst-popping is rather a popular past-time. Why, though? I wasn't certain why Kill George was quite that compelling to me when I first watched it, and definitely didn't understand why it has that much of a following: in the cyst-popping world, it has even been dubbed a "classic". Watching cyst-popping is a strange phenomenon. It may not even be the best way to remove a cyst — while removing a cyst sack and all may eliminate it forever, just popping one is quite likely to result in recurrence. More than that though, watching cyst popping in action is really nothing short of what's best called "gross". 

Why, then, do we watch it in such overwhelming numbers?

Gotta Love A Good 'Accident'

Even those who would think me and countless others weirdos for watching such videos as Kill George have, most likely, watched their fair share of medical dramas, medical reality TV, and televised surgery. When we've seen car crash sites and other accidents up close, we have also, probably, stopped to watch — even when there was nothing we could do to help. Why? Humans are, it seems, drawn to doom on the most primordial of levels. 

The answer has got to lie somewhere between simple voyeurism, a subconscious instinct to learn from the mistakes of others, and the simple fact that we humans are primarily social animals. 
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