An alternate theory was posited in the 1960s, when scientists conducted experiments in a search for molecules responsible for memory. In one experiment, rats, normally nocturnal animals, were conditioned to fear the dark and a substance called "scotophobin" was supposedly extracted from the rats' brains; this substance was claimed to be responsible for remembering this fear. These findings were subsequently debunked.
Nyctophobia (or Noctophobia) is a phobia characterized by a severe fear of the night. It is triggered by the brain's disfigured perception of what would, or could, happen when in a night-time environment. It can also be temporarily triggered if the mind is unsteady or scared about recent events or ideas, or a partaking in content the brain considers a threat (examples could include indulging in horror content, witnessing vulgar actions, or having linked dark environments to prior events or ideas that disturb the mind). Normally, since humans are not nocturnal by nature, they are usually a bit more cautious or alert at night than in the day, since the dark is a vastly different environment. Nyctophobia produces symptoms beyond the normal instinctive parameters, such as breathlessness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly or sensation of detachment from reality and death. Nyctophobia can be severely detrimental physically and mentally if these symptoms are not resolved. There are many types of therapies to help manage Nyctophobia.
Nyctophobia may also be tied to nocturnal creatures, whether fictional or real. For instance someone who experiences Sanguivoriphobia, a fear of vampires, might also experience Nyctophobia due to an association with vampires. Or someone with Chiroptophobia, or fear of bats, might also likewise have Nyctophobia due to their association with the night or dark spaces.
Exposure therapy can be very effective when exposing the person to darkness. With this method a therapist can help with relaxation strategies such as meditation. Another form of therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapists can help guide patients with behavior routines that are performed daily and nightly to reduce the symptoms associated with Nyctophobia. In severe cases, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication drugs can be effective to those dealing with symptoms that may not be manageable if therapy could not reduce the symptoms of Nyctophobia.
Although not clinically recognised Scotophobia has gained traction in social circles, it is often described as a more vague version of Nyctophobia, being ascribed only to darkness or dark spaces. Those suffering from Scotophobia might fear dark basements, tunnels, forests, rooms or other spaces without light.
Both series of Are You Afraid of the Dark? revolved around a group of teenagers who referred to themselves as "The Midnight Society". Every episode, at a secret location in the woods at night, one member would tell a scary story to the group. The actual story, rather than the telling, was displayed to the television viewer. The story was shown between the group's arrival at the site and their departure.
Sometimes, the stories were inspired by a certain event in the life of the storyteller. In the episode "The Tale of the Crimson Clown," for instance, Tucker blackmailed his brother Gary with a poem he had found, which Gary had written for Samantha. Gary then told a story in which a naughty younger brother was punished cruelly for his evil deeds. At the end of the episode, Tucker gave the poem back to his brother. The majority of the horror stories on Are You Afraid of the Dark? had happy endings (or at least endings in which their characters were in decent places), but some of them (albeit a very small number of them) had either bad endings or twist endings like "The Tale of the Lonely Ghost," "The Tale of the Dark Music," "The Tale of the Chameleons," "The Tale of Vampire Town," and "The Tale of the Pinball Wizard."
At the end of most episodes, one character (usually Gary in the first run and Tucker in the second run of the show) would throw a red bucket of water onto the fire, stating, "I declare this meeting of The Midnight Society closed", and the group would leave the campsite, thus ending the storytelling. Sometimes, the story would be related to an event (e.g. in "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark," Kristen, who was afraid of clowns, ran off when Eric put on a clown mask. Then, everyone chased after her). This would cause either Gary or Tucker to hurriedly dump the water on the fire, and The Midnight Society would run off to wherever they go after meetings.
One of the more significant recurring characters was Sardo (Richard Dumont), owner of "Sardo's Magic Mansion" (a magic shop). He would often attempt to sell a character a "prized" item, succeeding almost every single time. He often had items in his shop that contained real properties of magic, yet did not know until it was revealed in the story. One of the most memorable recurring jokes in the series occurred when someone would address him as "Mr. Sardo." He would then get irritated and exclaim: "That's SarDO (Sardôh)! No mister; accent on the doh!"
But if it's not uncommon, when does a normal fear of the dark become a larger problem? Why are we afraid of the dark at all? Can you get over your fear of the dark? Here's everything you need to know.
Like many anxieties, if your fear starts to interfere with daily life, it should be examined more closely. According to CNET's sister site Healthline, nyctophobia is an extreme or irrational fear of the dark or night.
People with nyctophobia can be triggered by being in the dark or imagining being in the dark. These triggers can set off symptoms that manifest physically and emotionally. A person with nyctophobia may exhibit symptoms akin to panic attacks, like trouble breathing, chest tightness, shaking or trembling, as well as an intense need to escape the situation, detachment from self and feeling powerless over your fear.
A person with a normal fear of the dark may feel uneasy in dark space or feel a bit anxious at night. A person with nyctophobia may lose sleep or adjust their daily routine to avoid dark places (like forgoing a trip to the movie theater). According to the Cleveland Clinic, nyctophobia and insomnia are intertwined: People who have trouble sleeping can also subsequently develop nyctophobia. Those with nyctophobia may sleep with the lights on to abate their fears, but this can make sleep difficult.
A person can be afraid of the dark for many reasons. For me (and likely many others), I notice an increase in anxiety in dark places after consuming spooky media before bedtime. Over the years, researchers have proposed more scientific theories and potential explanations.
Being afraid of the dark may harken back to the earliest days of humankind, according to a CNN report. Our ancestors quickly adopted a big rule for survival: The dark provides cover for dangerous predators on the prowl, so it must be avoided.
"In the dark, our visual sense vanishes, and we are unable to detect who or what is around us. We rely on our visual system to help protect us from harm," Martin Antony, professor of psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, said in the report.
If your anxieties or negative feelings about being in darkness have been unmanageable for six months or more, you may want to look at treatment options. Cognitive therapy can help you understand the root of your anxieties and how they relate to your fear of the dark. Therapy can also help train your mind to seek more positive or logical solutions in times of panic, as well as help abate any shame you may feel about being afraid of the dark.
Children are most often afraid of the dark starting at around the age of about 2 through the preschool years, although it can appear in older children as well. A fear of the dark usually lasts for a few weeks to a few months.
Instead, let your child talk about her dread ("Tell me what's scaring you") without denying her feelings (don't say: "Big girls aren't afraid of the dark"). Be reassuring ("I'll be close by if you need me") without making too much of the fear or overdoing the attention.
When you heed your child's calls in the middle of the night, don't reach for the light or bring her to your bed. To help her learn to overcome her fears, have her stay in her own bed and comfort her in the dark.
Heads up: Teasing or employing logic ("See, your room looks the same with the lights turned on or off") can have the opposite effect. These tactics may make her more fearful because she'll think you don't understand the danger she believes is very real.
Being afraid of the dark is a very common complaint among young children and one worth addressing. Helping a child overcome this fear can give them confidence that they can face other fears in the future. Some children develop a fear of the dark without any specific reason. Others can point to a specific event, such as hearing a scary story, watching something scary on TV or living through a difficult experience, which started the problem. Regardless of how it starts, there are a few steps that parents can take to help their child in this area.
Last, but not least, praise your child for making an effort in any of these areas. Let him know you are proud of him for facing his fears. Also be sure to praise yourself for teaching your child not to feel bad when he is afraid of something, but to have the confidence and skill to learn more about it, challenge his own assumptions and come up with solutions to the problem. If you child can do that, he will be well equipped to handle many things in life! 2b1af7f3a8