Thursday, 4 April 2013

D is for Darkness

Hands up who is afraid of the dark?

I am. There's something very unnerving about not being able to see a foot in front of you, and yes, I do believe in ghosts ;).

That said, there are many types of darkness. I've been in the middle of the countryside, away from street lights and without the glow of a city on the horizon with only the stars for company and that kind of night can be very black. However, there is something about the life in the countryside when I'm standing out in it that settles me and stops me from being as afraid as when I'm in an enclosed situation (I will make the point here that I live in the UK, so we don't have to worry about anything trying to eat us, the most we'll get is a curious bullock or a screaming fox).

I find myself much more scared in enclosed situations.

Once in my life, I went caving (as opposed to pot holing), and one of the challenges was for everyone to turn their lights off and use touch only, with each other, and the walls, to make it down a hole, along a stream bed and out the other end. I have to say, in that kind of total blackness, I have rarely been so on edge and I was more than a little desperate to keep hold of the belt of the person in front of me. It was an otherwordly experience, I could almost feel the walls around me, holding me in, and without the sensible knowledge of my eyes to help give me perspective, I had only my hearing and the feel of a live body ahead and behind me to keep me on an even keel. Funnily enough, we all talked rather a lot after we made it through what was called 'trust passage', and, boy did we have to trust each other!

Caving is not an everyday occurrence, though, and a much more normal one is walking into a dark house/building, or getting stuck in one during a power cut. I mentioned earlier, I believe in ghosts, and I also believe places themselves have a feel to them. The ol' haunted house is a literary and film favourite and a good, spooky ghost story is one of my favourite things to watch and read. However, I have a good imagination, which is useful when I'm writing, but if I'm alone in a house, or building it can mean I get spooked.

Have any of you ever worked in offices with eco-friendly lighting, where the lighting closes down except in the places where someone is moving? I have and, bloody hell was it spooky when I was working late, alone in a big, open-plan office and all the lights have turned off apart from the one over my desk. It's not completely dark, there are shadows everywhere thanks to the one light that's on and light coming in from the windows, but it's black enough in places that those shadows sometimes seem like they're moving. At times like those, I wished I wasn't so much of a ghost story buff, because some of the most famous ghosts/poltergeists in the world have been in offices (the clip below wasn't what I was looking for, but it illustrates my point, even if it is rather too good to be true ;P).

The dark takes us, at least is does me, out of settled reality. I lose perspective and my imagination can run riot. Only the rising of the sun can really get rid of that eerie feeling, not even artificial light really does, it's something primal in me. I've shared my house with a ghost, I've imagined even more and I will always, always have a very healthy respect for the dark.

How about you?

P.S. Check out other folk doing the A to Z April Challenge.
And if you want to see my other posts:


  1. I don't know--I've never really been bothered by the dark. I think it's more like the unknown things the dark might contain. Especially in strange basements!

    1. I've not been down into many cellars, but there is definitely something very, very spooky about going down into darkness :)

  2. I dislike the darkness for another reason -- vertigo. In the dark, a vertigo sufferer can easily lose his or her balance, and I find that a little unnerving. Good post!

    Sherrey at Healing by Writing

    1. I have a not dissimilar problem, so I sympathise. When I was younger I had an ear infection which destroyed the balance in one of my ears, so in the dark I tend to veer to the right.

  3. Yes, being alone in an empty office like that would creep me out too! And secondly, there are ghosts everywhere, spirits. Your lucky you can sense them! I do too!


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