Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Still from Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, dir. FW Murnau, 1922

Thank you to everyone who took part in my questionnaire – your help has been invaluable. But all good things must come to an end, and the below opportunity is now closed.

Are you afraid of the dark? And if so, what made you afraid? Did you get the fear from stories and folklore you heard from others, or maybe from the tales you told yourself? Did you have a monster that skulked under your bed ready to snatch at your ankles? Or did the fear stem from something unexplained? Or is the reason simply either brain chemistry, evolution, or exposure to certain stimuli growing up? Or is a dark space is nothing more than a space without light, no fear attached?

The Ear of Dionysius, Syracuse, Sicily

I need your help. I’m writing a dissertation for my Masters in Folklore Studies on how folklore impacts our relationship to dark spaces and I’ve created a questionnaire to help research this. The questionnaire is open to anyone 18 years or over, anonymous, and you can withdraw at any time. You can even take a break half way through and come back and finish it later.

While not a necessary requirement for completing the questionnaire, I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who either work(ed) or conduct(ed) hobbies predominantly in dark spaces e.g. theatres, mines, sewers, tunnels, caves, underwater wrecks etc. So if you know of anyone who this might apply to, please pass on the questionnaire. In fact, please pass on this questionnaire to everyone you know regardless!

There is also a voluntary section where you can upload a photo of any tokens, objects or talismans you might use to help mitigate your fear of the dark. This process is also anonymous. 

The questionnaire takes about 15 minutes to complete, so grab yourself a cup of tea (or something stronger) and tell me about your thoughts of crevices and corners; caves, forests and tunnels; shadows and the underneath. And what, if anything, is lurking underneath the bed…

If you have any questions, or would like to see a full copy of the University of Hertfordshire ethics approval for this study, please contact me at

Thank you! 
Ps – Don’t forget to share!

Header: Still from Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, directed by FW Murnau, 1922

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

6 comments on “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”

  1. percymoo says:

    Thanks. I’m not going to sleep tonight.

  2. percymoo says:

    Now you’ve made me invoke it, are you going to pay for the prosthetic fingers when the big toofy crocodile bites them off?

    1. No, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

  3. Olwen Oates says:

    When i was 5 i remember being frightened of the Lions and Tigers under the bed.

    I think it must have been related to my first visit to a zoo, a year or so before.

    This was 1967.

    1. That’s both cute and terrifying!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.