VERTIGO ROAD TRIP (9pm BBC1) MORE than 3.5 million adults in the UK suffer from acrophobia, an extreme fear of heights, which means a large proportion of viewers will sympathise with this one-off documentary featuring five acrophobics
attempting to conquer their phobia.
Not a philosopher, Verne still found his way to a few profound ontological insights that he was able to express in fictional action, or in his characters' thoughts, such as the resonant existential message that Professor Otto Lindenbrock gave to his acrophobic
nephew, Axel, as they prepared for their explorations in Journey to the Center of the Earth: "Look down carefully!
For Michael Kobold, an American watcher maker based in Pennsylvania and by his own admission an 'armchair explorer' and an acrophobic
, the summit was a challenge that changed his life.
Even for an acrophobic
, those trees' rowed, fragrant heights, entered by tall, three-legged ladders, were a paradise: an intoxicating opening between worlds for someone who had grown up on East 20th Street in New York.
The first evaluated the treatment response in 22 acrophobic
participants that were randomly assigned to a high presence virtual environment (CAVE) or a low presence virtual environment (HMD).
Despite Wilkowski's many backstage tales of the political and diplomatic events of her career (she unwittingly sends an acrophobic
Henry Kissinger out on a "very narrow two-foot plank" over the roaring Zambezi River at Victoria Falls, reinforcing his view of her as his African nemesis), her memoirs stand principally as the story of a Foreign Service woman, not in the musty decades of yesteryear just after high-button shoes and gas lamps, but during well-remembered times right on the cusp of today.
Based on the results of these preclinical studies, a clinical trial was initiated by the Emory University School of Medicine in which acrophobic
patients were given a low dose of D-cycloserine or placebo, administered in conjunction with psychotherapy.
Instead, the higher one climbs, the more chaotic are one's thoughts, as he succumbs to an acrophobic
vertigo that sucks him into the unfathomable abyss of space.
It's like crossing between the tops of two 10-story buildings that stand a block apart, a trial for the acrophobic
These studies recorded a range of fearful reactions and physiological responses in both acrophobic
and normal, healthy participants.
The wish to "get loose / from the earth" thus contrasts with "Dropping South: Brazil" with its fear of losing one's "foothold on the map," its "falling," and the idea, from "Flying from Bangor to Rio, 1957," of being "lashed by [...] memory to the globe." It is as if Lowell, through Nerval, were exploring an alternative reaction to mobility, one less acrophobic
and more daring.