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When inhaled, the victim hallucinates their own worst fears becoming a reality. Though the length of the effects have been seen to vary, Batman has developed an antidote to neutralize the toxin almost instantly. Similarly, overcoming

Quote1 It's not the gas you should fear, Roman... my toxins will merely materialize the nightmares already in your-- Quote2

Through intense research in the science of fear, Jonathan Crane developed a powerful hallucinogenic drug he dubbed "fear toxin".


When inhaled, the victim hallucinates their own worst fears becoming a reality. Though the length of the effects have been seen to vary, Batman has developed an antidote to neutralize the toxin almost instantly.[citation needed] Similarly, overcoming the fear in question has also been shown to nullify the symptoms.[citation needed]


The first time that Scarecrow used his fear chemical, he used various methods of application such as spray and smoke.[1] Scarecrow then created unique pills that would give him the ability to project fear into the minds of his enemies. Unfortunately, these proved ineffective for a second use, as the effect turned against anyone who consumed the pills.[2]

Scarecrow later created a more potent version of the toxin, which forced the victim's brain to trigger the fear of their worst phobia. This new chemical was liquid and although, the fumes expelled from the toxin were also effective, the best way to dose a person was by direct contact. This is why Scarecrow used coated straws as a decoy to force his victims to touch the toxin. He also coated some of the chemical on his costume to infect Batman, once they came in conflict. His plan succeeded, but Batman's will was stronger than the toxin's effects, which were nullified.[3]

Using a previous idea, Scarecrow developed a fear pheromone, which once injected into the body, would cause every person nearby to fear that person infected. He also made it so that any infected person would turn insane after 6 days from the first injection. He used this new chemical on Batman, but the Dark Knight found Scarecrow's antidotes and reverted the process. On the other hand, Scarecrow was accidentally dosed with a stronger version of the fear pheromone and he was taken to Arkham Asylum as he was frightened of himself.[4]

Upon his recovery, Crane developed an improved device to induce and project fear. The new device was shaped in the form of a skull and it could fit in Scarecrow's hand. The device no longer relied on gas or any physical means to affect the victims, but it was rather a high frequency emmitter, which altered the nervous system, causing empathetic responses and creating crippling fear on his victims. Varying frequencies produced different results from subjective projection of fears to specific induced fears.[5](For more info see Capabilities)

Super Friends

 Main article: Super Friends (TV Series) Episode: The Fear

Scarecrow was armed with Fear Transmitters.

New Earth

Using fear gas as his main weapon, Scarecrow used the chemical to achieve his goals and commit crimes. He eventually developed a counter effect gas which made the victims fearless to the point they would risk their lives in reckless acts.[6] Scarecrow then used a variant of the same toxin which removed people's fear of consequences and turned them into murderous and dangerous criminals. He also developed other versions which caused the victims to experience any specific phobia as well as their most traumatic memory.[7]

Much later, Scarecrow developed a skull-shaped capsule in which he carried the toxin and easily deployed the drug against his victims. This became his trademark item for a long time.

After escaping from Arkham Asylum during the massive breakout orchestrated by Bane, Scarecrow used his fear gas to terrorize one of Joker's henchmen and later he used the gas to make Mayor Krol afraid like never before in order to make him obey his and Joker's commands.[8] When Batman tried to rescue Krol from the villains, Scarecrow used the fear gas on him, which triggered the memory of the death of Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker. Batman, instead of being afraid, became mad and started beating the villains wihtout mercy. Eventually, the effects of the gas wore off and Batman focused on rescuing the mayor, allowing the villains to escape.[9]

Later, Scarecrow used the fear gas on his plot to become the "God of Fear",[10] but he was eventually stopped by Jean-Paul Valley as the new Batman with Anarky's help. During the final battle, Scarecrow used his new weapon: Fear Toxin-coated thorns. At first very strong, the effect was seeminly not long-lasting as Jean-Paul overcame his fears thanks to The System, while Anarky recovered in time to save Scarecrow's victim.[11]

Some time later, the fear toxin was used by Two-Face against Nightwing. Two-Face coated some bullets with the toxin and shot them at Nightwing, causing him to have delusions during their confrontation. After this, Nightwing's immune system was reinforced against the fear toxin by Alfred.[12][13]

After Batman's death, Jason Todd stole a sample of the fear gas from the Batcave and later used it against Nightwing during their final confrontation for the mantle of the Bat. However, Nightwing was immune to the drug thanks to his previous encounter with Two-Face.[14]


  • Fear Toxin/Venom Combination: When Bane employed Scarecrow to combine his Fear Toxin with Bane's Venom, the infected person gained great strength and complete fearlessness.[15] The first versions of the formula has the side effect of the subject would bleed out his eyes and being in great pain after it wore off.[16] This was fixed after many tests on the inmates of Arkham Asylum and when Bane took the formula himself.[17]
  • Super Toxin 451-A is a specific version of the toxin produced by Scarecrow's father, utilizing the sweat of children under the effects of lesser fear toxin to make it more potent, enough that even Scarecrow himself does not have the antibodies.[18] This version of Fear Toxin can take months to overcome its symptoms, and is far harder to synthesize an antidote for.[19]
  • "Cassandra" Strain: A strain of the toxin used by Scarecrow following the rise and fall of the Crime Syndicate, first used during the end of Cluemaster's plot to destroy Gotham City.[20] The toxin has a correlation to the mechanism that causes people to wake up when they die in their dreams, and is supposed by Bruce Wayne to be based upon an inversion of that neurochemistry.[21] Even days after being exposed to the strain, he continued to have "daymares" of various death sequences involving various villains.[22]
  • Trauma Toxin: Used during Mother's assault on the Batfamily, this toxin scars the brain in a manner similar to the effects of a traumatic event, replicating the chemical reaction a body would have to something horrific enough to tear a mind apart, leaving the victim little but a husk of what they were, unable to feel anything but what a controller wanted them to feel. This strain is so powerful that even Scarecrow himself cannot stomach it, as rendering subjects so pliable would negate any effects he could have with his work on fear.[23]
  • Essence de Trauma: The original version of the Trauma Toxin. Scarecrow used it to cause his victims to recreate their most traumatic experience.[24]


  • Fear Projection: Causes all who are exposed to it to experience their greatest fears.
  • High-Frequency Emmitter Fear Device: The secondary device used by Scarecrow to induce fear, was more mechanical in nature as it attacked the preganglionic fiber synapses of the nervous system and caused the following reactions:
    • Sympathetic Responses: Pupil dilation; increased blood pressure, pulse rate and heart output; sweating and stimulating the arrectores pilorum; literally raising the hair.
    • Increased secretion by the pituitary gland of "adrenocorticotropic hormone", which acts on the cortex of adrenal glands, releasing adrenaline and inducing the "fight or flight" response.
    • Varying frequencies and intensity could cause a victim to be merely startled or crippled by unlimited fear.
  • Victim can start to see things they fear or do actions against their own will out of Fear.


  • The first fear inducing chemical ever created on the DC Universe, was the "Fear Dust", developed by mad scientist Hugo Strange. It appeared in Detective Comics #46.
  • Some individuals have been shown to have immunity to the fear toxin. Ironically, Crane is not always one of them.
  • Over the years, Crane has created gas based on specific fears, such as arachnophobia, taphophobia (the fear of being buried alive), the fear of being eaten by cockroaches, etc.[25]
  • The Earth-Two Scarecrow appeared only twice in the Golden Age, and in neither of them did he use any fear toxin. He did use a fear toxin in his final appearance, but as this was scripted in 1983, the writer may have been unaware that the Earth-Two Scarecrow had never used such a weapon before.

See Also

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