26

TUESDAY

Nyctophobia is an acute, irrational fear of the night—and what it holds, unseen, in the shadows in the lonely hours before sunrise. As crippling and terrible as nyctophobia can be, it is—nowadays—easily conquerable, with the flick of a switch. But there was a time before the electric light when we had only candles and the stars to keep the dark and its terrors at bay. Historian and author Roger Ekirch journeys back to this age when nightfall signaled something far worse than anything we can imagine now, in his lecture “Be Afraid of the Dark.” With material culled from diaries, paintings, novels, and even medical reports and court transcripts, Ekirch describes a terror-filled nightscape of night spooks, showcasing how much our attitudes toward the dark and its denizens have changed. He speaks at 7:30 p.m. at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW. Free. (202) 331-7282. (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)