Back when we used to receive appraisal requests over the fax machine, I received an order one day to appraise a property for the US Marshals who had seized property on the Haw River. After first seeing that they were the intended user of the appraisal report, I then reviewed the long list of instructions included in the appraisal request. As if doing an appraisal for the US Marshals was not eye-opening enough, some of the instructions were downright scary which caused me to stop and considered whether or not this was an assignment I wanted to accept.
Some of the instructions I recall vividly said that this was a drive-by assignment and not to get out of the car. If I saw any neighbors outside, I was to keep on driving. If I saw anyone outside the home or if it looked like anyone was at home, I was to drive away inconspicuously and not make eye contact. In short, you get the point, the instructions clearly indicated that this could be a dangerous appraisal assignment to accept.
After discussing it with my wife, Mary Staton Ward, I decided that I should be ok if I got close enough to take a picture of the house and drive off as quickly as possible.
Everything went just fine, but believe me, I was nervous about taking a picture of the home and was relieved when I got back to my office to type up the appraisal report. The power of the suggestion of implied danger, real or imagined, can no doubt be enough to stoke the emotion of fear in anyone.