The granddaughter I mentioned in a recent post is bright, physically tough, assertive, highly personable, and has a happy, open disposition. In short, she’s a delight to be around. But she has a chink in her armour: She’s highly nervous of the dark and what might lurk within it.
I was the same at her age. I was at just about the same age when I forced myself to start turning the light off when I went to bed. The reason I did so was because I was ashamed, and the reason I was ashamed was because I thought I was the only person in the whole damn world who slept with the light on. For some reason, nobody told me I wasn’t.
So why are some people highly nervous of the dark while others are quite unaffected? I’m not entirely happy with the assertion that it’s a genetic hangover from a more primitive past when the night held real terrors, because I had no sense that I might be attacked by a wild beast or rampaging enemy. The fear was of something other-worldly. So is it just a human frailty to harbour an irrational fear of the unknown, in which case why? Why are some people apparently programmed to fear the unknowable even before they’re old enough to be told scary stories? That doesn’t seem logical.
So could it be, perhaps, that some people really are aware of entities existing just the other side of an invisible veil, and which might creep out from under the bed or open the wardrobe door from the inside? I’m glad I never went deeply into rationalising this question when I was a kid. I just left the light on and slept soundly.