Last night I gardened by the light of the waxing gibbous and thought about Neptune. It was the planet’s birthday yesterday, after all. So while I planted herbs by moonlight and Bubo soared and swooped through the dark sky, I realized that so many people don’t enjoy the dark night like I do.

These folks suffer from nyctophobia. Are you one of them?

Nyctophobia (pronounced nik-tuh-FOH-bee-uh) is a noun meaning an irrational fear of the night or darkness. It stems from the Greek nycto (night) + phobia (fear).

Nyctophobia is rather common in children, and most folks grow out of it. Some postulate that a subtle fear of the dark could be evolutionary in nature, since many predators hunt in the night. Those folks who find the dark so frightening that they avoid leaving their homes at night suffer from severe nyctophobia.

Interesting note: a related word in English is the medical term nyctalopia – a condition characterized by an inability to see when it is night or dark. I had a great uncle who suffered from nyctalopia. I often wondered if it’s because he spent an awful lot of time around Tesla and his coils. Always wear protective eye-wear, my pets. Safety first.

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