The Psychology of Black

This photo was taken of my friends fishing at night, though the photo looks mysterious ... it is just of a beach during a rainfall.

This photo was taken of my friends fishing at night, though the photo looks mysterious … it is just of a beach during a rainfall.

*Black is real sensation, even if it is produced by entire absence of light. The sensation of black is distinctly different from the lack of all sensation. -Hermann von Helmholz

You’re walking through a corridor; it’s moderately lit by the lights hanging in the ceiling. There are no doors on either end and now there’s a brick wall behind you so your only choice is to continue forward towards what appears to be an exit. As you are walking down this mysterious corridor with your exit in sight, the lights above suddenly go out and now you are in total darkness. When looking forward you see black. Backwards, the same, and either side, same. Though just a moment ago you could clearly see the end of this corridor you now cannot and so you are overtaken by fear. The absence of sight injects a heightened state of panic and you are probably blindly running towards that exit you could see just moments prior. What is it about the color black that convinces us of impending doom? In this case we could certainly agree the lack of sight was a contributing factor; but wait a minute, that can’t be the only reason why.

Many different sites on the internet which discuss the psychology of colors suggest that black is intimidating, unfriendly and approachable because of the power it exudes. You are writing on a white sheet of paper a while and suddenly you become displeased with what is staring back at you. You pick up a black permanent marker and scribble all over the work and rush the marker back and forth until it has consumed everything in sight. Perhaps that ability is power, or perhaps we understand that in this instance; black could overtake everything in its path and that sort of outcome is a power we apply to many things.

When the mind is left with filling in the blanks itself, it tends to reach deep into the emotions we are experiencing. The color black has this ability to cover something and it could also become a barrier. If we are experiencing emotions of fear we are going to assume that something is there that is negative.

In the instance of personal paranormal experiences; many who do claim to have seen a ghost were experiencing numerous emotions associated with their inability to understand what they had just seen. A great number of people fear what they don’t understand. The color black can collaborate this fear and when an individual experiences something this extraordinary—let us say the anomaly they spotted was shades of black—their first reaction is to assume they are in the presence of something evil. But why?

Black is commonly associated with death, evil and mystery as well as elegance, formality and even power. Black is also associated with a fear of the unknown. The black hole is an excellent example of something largely unknown that was given a name with the word ‘black’ in it. Black is also the commonly known color of death. I lost count on how many times I have seen an artist’s interpretation of the grim reaper wearing a black cloak. How many times have you watched a favorite film and the ‘bad guy’ conducting evil were clothed in black? How many comic books feature the evil doers in black? It’s easy to see why we begin to associate everything in a darker shade as evil. Shadow people in the paranormal world are considered evil. A shadow is something we can’t clearly see and therefore it now becomes an unknown. The dark unknown is indeed mysterious and while we are wandering blindly, our emotions take over and are left to assume that danger must be in the lurking shadows.
**(Zep 1:15 ) That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.
Even in the bible, the presence of black is associated with evil, and trouble. In Prov 20:20 we see this reference to cursing of thy father or thy mother which rendered you out in obscure darkness. Certainly we don’t want to live out our days without as much as a lamp to guide us in the dark night; otherwise we are accursed in depressive mourning. I myself have used the lamping of darkness as a pivotal point in a sonnet “When in the good night,” yelled an old friend, “a demon would come and tell me a story. I knew to scribe in this direction because the common belief and relation. If I could suspend my audience in this darkness, they would expect that a demon would show and what took place thereafter would entwine with what we believe psychologically with the color black and darkness. Many authors and poets like me have scribed in this same direction and of course, our Holy Bible using the references to lead us away from sin.

Black is also elegant, and not really evil. How many times have you gone to a dinner date in that sleek, well-fitting black dress? Black is that one color we can wear that kind of distracts perception a little. I don’t know how many times I have personally worn black to deceive the onlookers into thinking I may have lost about 5 pounds. Not only can it be elegant but it can also give out this look of one in power. It’s a rather intimidating color that indicates strength and even discipline. It can almost appear to conceal emotions that give the person adorned in it a step up in superiority.

Though we want to believe that good things are white and bad things are black, they are really just a color. They are extremes at either end of the spectrum and therefore come with extreme perceptions by any onlooker. We see white and we instantly think of the angels in heaven. We see black and think about the demons of hell. Perhaps we forget somewhere that if we saw without emotion, we could clearly see.

Again we’re in the corridor and those lights are out. We know that moments before we could see the end, but our sight has been taken away from us. We are in a state of panic and our minds are manifesting all kinds of evil and unclean thoughts. We reach out, and we feel the wall and we can either press on forward consciously knowing the exit was there, or we can stand still in that darkness and bide by our own fears. If we remain in idle then we will never make progress, but if we set our emotions aside and walk through that black corridor we will then reach the exit and open a door to understanding. The same can be said about our inability to see past our emotions associated with certain objects, colors, and so forth.

Do not let colors prison your thoughts and beliefs. Something black could be pure and something white could be the wolf in sheep’s clothing. We must adopt the acceptance of seeing something for what it really is beyond the confinements of temporary irrationality coupled with fear driven by emotion. I encourage you to spend a little time researching the psychology of colors. You will enjoy opening these doors of understanding how our mind associates what it does to specific colors. I will conclude with my poem (to keep with the theme of black entitled Despondency in Passing:

“When in the good night,” yelled an old friend,
“a demon would come and tell me a story.
Fables, perhaps!” O’er and down he’d scend
while rehearsing the day he wandered the corrie –
“its sickness!” he claimed as slowly he sunk
“the gibberish I sing that you long to hear
and the darkness within that lent you that tear.”
Then just in that moment raised a loud clunk.
The spirits had come to warn me of morrow –
The general moment which felt like implosions
when off of that couch I followed the motions,
but this is, now- the bereavement in convulsions,
the backlash lived through the years in commotions,
I’m mourning you now as large as the oceans.


Beginning quote cited from source:
*Cherry, K. (n.d.). Color Psychology – Black. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from
Bible quote cited from source:
**Color Black in Scripture Bible – Is black the color of sin? (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2015, from
[For further reading, I recommend some of these links below] –