Do You Sometimes Have Terrible Thoughts? Blame the 'Call of the Void'.

Do You Sometimes Have Terrible Thoughts? Blame the 'Call of the Void'.

I hate waiting.

Sometimes, when I’m waiting on trains, I imagine myself jumping onto the tracks, hitting the third rail, and frying to a crisp, just before the train arrives to crush my smoldering corpse.


When my car passes over a bridge and I feel the urge to jump in the river or even throw my phone over the bridge.

But that’s just me…


Or do you have those thoughts, too?

There have been many names for it throughout time.

Edgar Allen Poe called it, “The imp of the perverse.”

Freud called it, “The Death Drive.”

Others have referred to it as the “High Place Phenomenon.”

But it’s more commonly referred to as the “Call of the Void” – or “L’appel du vide,” if you want to sound awesome when you say it:

It’s possible that this is actually a miscommunication of our survival instinct – i.e., instead of taking these thoughts as a warning that we wish to harm ourselves, the “Call of the Void” may actually be affirming your own will to live.

I mean, I’ve thought through the train scenario I described above more than a thousand times (give or take). And I can’t tell you how many times that feeling has manifested when I’ve been near a cliff or on top of a skyscraper.

And I am definitely not alone.

And yet, if you’re reading this right now, it’s highly unlikely that you’ve ever followed through on any of those “calls.”

Neither have I.

Though sometimes I do get this rush of adrenaline right after.

Maybe that’s the reaffirmation of the will to live they speak of – or at least a manifestation of it…

There is a poem about it [L’Appel Du Vide (The Call of the Void) by Celia Donovan] (