94% of Valley Residents Agree - Thomas the Train 'Creepy AF'

Snoqualmie Valley residents may not agree on much these days, but results of our non-scientific survey have revealed a common repulsion.  The vast number of people in North Bend and Snoqualmie surveyed agree with the statement, “Thomas the Train is creepy AF.”

Many survey participants stated Thomas the Train, whose likeness apparently creates a deep unnerving feeling, leaves them feeling “unsettled” or “disturbed”.

We consulted human behaviorist, Gillian Willinghamshire to better understand this repulsion.  She stated that such a disgust is related to what some call the “uncanny valley”.  This term describes how a viewer's level of comfort drops as an observed figure that is meant to replicate human likeness, approaches, but does not achieve verisimilitude.  She explained, “characters in the 2004 animated film The Polar Express are other great examples demonstrating the uncanny valley – many found the movie’s computer animation eerie.  Or it could just be trains.”

July weekends are traditionally busy in historic downtown Snoqualmie, as the “Day Out with Thomas” comes to town.  While children live their dream of riding in a passenger car pulled via the dogged labor of a beloved television character, drivers and valley residents often become frustrated with the traffic and crowds involved.  There is a chance this common frustration impacted survey results. 

Cletus McMillan of McMillan Road Construction in Carnation was one of two survey participants that disagreed with common sentiment about Thomas, “he’s just a damn train and trains aren’t creepy - at all.  I take my grandchildren each year and we all love it.”  Six-year-old Jimmy McMillan, grandson of Cletus and the youngest survey participant simply cried when shown a picture of the train engine.

Thomas the Tank Engine is a fictional anthropomorphized train engine. He somehow became popular with children in the United States as a character from a television series, Thomas & Friends.  He will again arrive in Snoqualmie this July as part of the Day Out with Thomas at The Northwest Railway Museum.