acrophobia & blindness

This topic came to mind as I was plummeting toward earth on the Magnum roller coaster at Cedar Point with my eyes closed:

Is it possible for a blind person to have a fear of heights? Not knowing what it looks like from 205 feet above ground, is a sightless person able to grasp the immediate (perceived) danger of falling from the edge of a cliff or, g*d forbid, the summit of the Magnum roller coaster?

Sly, you’re from MI - I knew I liked you for some reason. Cedar Point rocks!
RE: your question. My guess would be no, they couldn’t have a fear of heights based on the fact that a seeing person’s fear is mostly stimulated by the fact that he sees how high up he is and the implication of falling from that great height causes the fear.

And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss
of one weak creature makes a void in any heart, so
wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth
of vast eternity can fill it up!
-Charles Dickens “Dombey and Son”

But I bet they could experience vertigo (sensation of falling) as I understand it, that’s caused by the inner ear.

Give me the Raptor any day! I loooove Cedar Point.

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I’m not so sure BunnyGirl, the fear of heights is at least partly-based on the fear of falling, and you don’t have to be able to see to be afraid of that; if somebody blindfolded you and walked you to the edge of a cliff you’d still be frightened, even if you couldn’t see the drop nor even had a real fear of heights. Saying that a blind person can’t be afraid of heights because he can’t see them is a bit like saying that a deaf person isn’t afraid of gunfire be he can’t hear the shots, no?

Moonshine, good point. I was going mostly by the general seeing-persons reaction of “Oh, I’m in a high place and when I look down, I am afraid.” Most people who have a fear of heights would probably be fine in a tall building if they could stay away from the windows that let them see how far up they are.

And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss
of one weak creature makes a void in any heart, so
wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth
of vast eternity can fill it up!
-Charles Dickens “Dombey and Son”

Two thoughts on this

  1. Fear of falling is instictual, left over from our tree days, babies won’t crawl over glass that’s off the ground, and if you drop one, their hands will reach out as if trying to grad any branch that might be there.
  2. I think most people would know, even blindfolded that they were on, say, the edge of a cliff by changes in breeze and sound, I think truly blind people would find it even easier.

and if y’all want the ultimate Eticket ride, try a skydive, it’ll really light you up,

Ivick, I agree that fear of heights/ falling is normal, I was refering to acraphobics who have an irrational fear of heights which can be triggered by standing on a ladder or even on a chair where there is no reasonable expectation of danger. Being that the danger is imagined, surely the situation can be imagined too, and if it can be imagined then it is not neccessary to be able to see it? I wonder what this means for people who have been blind from birth though?

That’s what I wanted to get to, Moonshine. If a person is not born blind, can’t they remember what it’s like to be off the ground, or even remember the fear it instilled? But, the question is more puzzling if the person is born blind, so, sorry I said anything.

Whoa! Cedar point? I want to take my boy there. I’ve been told they have 12 or so major coasters… this “magnum,” how tall is it? Is this place worth the drive from Chicago? (I’m betting/hoping it is).

We went to Six Flags Great America here and rode the new Raging Bull - 208 foot vertical drop, 73 MPH on the first hill, unbelievable - seven times in the front car.

Cedar P. got anything that measures up?


The Magnum is about the same: 200 ft., 75 mph. Raptor (open bottom), Mantis (stand-up), Mean Streak (wooden), Gemini (wooden, duel trains) and Corkscrew are the “major” coasters, though there are a few more.

Wanna’ real thrill? Try the Power Tower. Four 240 ft. towers. Two blast up, two blast down. Oh, and, bring a change of underwear. You may need 'em.

Has anyone checked out the sort of things that go on in lvick’s lab? And what did you find in the case where you dropped two, lvick? No, if you haven’t tried that yet, I’ll pass on the answer.

Ray (How high do bouncin’ baby boys bounce anyhow – on rubber baby buggy bumpers, that is?)

Perhaps I should clarify: I meant people who have never experienced sight.

While a fear of heights may be instictual, wouldn’t it preclude sightless people since they wouldn’t have a grasp of the visual experience?


Cedar Point is sooo great.

Some of the great coasters:
Magnum (already mentioned big mama coaster)
Raptor (7 complete flips at 70 mph) huge lines but it’s worth it.
Corkscrew (only 3 flips but was a pioneer in it’s day)
Mean Streak - largest all-wood roller coaster (ouch, makes my back hurt)
Blue Streak - another smaller coaster but actually delivers some fun negative g’s.
also: Gemini, Mantis, Iron Dragon
plus: Wildcat and other carnival-type rides, water rides…

waahhh…I wanna go!

Nickrz, Yes! Cedar Pointe is well worth the drive from Chicago! It will blow away any other amusement park you’ve been to. If you want something pretty cool, stay at the hotel or campground right on site: it’s on Lake Erie so you’ve got the beach right there. I’ve been to Disneyland/World/6 Flags-Magic Mountain and Cedar Pointe beats them all!
The only ride I won’t ride there anymore is Demon Drop. 100(?) feet straight up in this open little elevator like thing and then they drop you. First time I couldn’t breathe I was so scared. Went on it at another visit and I’ve decided there’s no reason to torture myself like that.

And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss
of one weak creature makes a void in any heart, so
wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth
of vast eternity can fill it up!
-Charles Dickens “Dombey and Son”

Cedar Point is “operated” (whatever that means) by a company called Cedar Fair L.P. They own/manage several other parks besides Cedar Point: Knott’s Berry Farm, Dorney Park, Valleyfair, and Worlds of Fun.

Their current scheme seems to be: find something cool at one park; build a clone of it at all the others.

Their website has entries for all the parks they operate. Compare the stats for the Magnum, Steel Force, Wild Thing and Mamba to see what I mean. They’re not quite identical, but they’re certainly close (and three of the four were designed by the same company).