The Momentum Blog

9 Special Ops Secrets for Seeing in the Dark – part II

Posted May 3, 2012 by Nathan M Farrugia

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For part I of this post, see here.

6. Does eating sugar cubes improve your night vision?

In Soviet Russia, bath takes you

The myth goes that Soviet soldiers would eat sugar cubes, claiming that sugar feeds the optic nerves, and then expose themselves to red light for ten minutes. Um, yeah. Red light is a means to minimize loss of night vision, but it certainly won’t improve it.

Vitamin B1 is actually a nutrition source of the optic nerves. If you eat a bowl of candy, the body uses up Vitamin B1 and voila – Vitamin B1 deficiency. This gives you eye fatigue and messes with the function of your optic nerves. Which could explain why 60% of Americans wear prescription glasses

7. Check yourself before you wreck yourself

I just wanted a cool way to say “check if you’re being followed”. That’s the best I could think of

Photo by Dylan Kitchener

  • Can you see the shadow of the person behind you? Under streetlights a person’s shadow can run ten meters long.
  • Know a house with a dog that barks at passers by? Good, walk past it. Then listen out to see if it barks again.
  • Walk out of step on purpose. If someone is trained to follow you they’ll synchronize their footsteps with you.
  • If you look at your suspected tracker/stalker/ex-boyfriend and they immediately stop walking or change direction, they are a) following you and b) also an idiot.
  • Use distance to protect yourself. This is pretty obvious. As soon as you’re out of sight, get some distance between you and your tracker.
  • Look for shine on their skin, this is an excellent way to identify someone in darkness.
  • Is your suspected tracker walking at the same pace as you? This is usually a key giveaway.
  • When trying to identify someone in the dark who may or may not be there, your brain will try to recognize a face first, then it will attempt to recognize a human-shaped body. If it fails at this, it can often make shit up.
  • If you can’t see the tracker following you and you don’t want to arouse suspicion, purposely drop something and almost walk past it. This gives you an excuse to turn around and crouch to pick it up. While crouched, your tracker can be more easily identified if they are backlit by a street light or the moon. Remember, your night vision works on shapes and outlines, not color or detail.

8. Survive an attack at night

  • If you’re walking on a footpath and someone ahead of you is standing near the curb to force you in towards the shop fronts, don’t. Cross the street or walk around them on the curb. You do not want to be boxed in and set up for an ambush.
  • A valuable tool to carry with you is a torch. You can use it to shine in your attacker’s face and blind them. It will take your attacker at least ten seconds to gain enough vision back in order to chase you, let alone see you. Use those ten seconds wisely. Either escape or disable them.
  • Don’t run if you can’t see in the darkness. The last thing you need is to run head-first into a brick wall and knock yourself unconscious. You’ve just made a mugger’s job somewhat easier.

9. How to Walk While Blind (Not the Drunk Kind)

  • Hold one palm out at waist height and keep it there.
  • Wave your other hand up and down in front of you, brushing from head to waist height. It might look like a slightly deformed swan dance, but it works.
  • Take short, slow strides. This is the only time you should be walking with the heel (as most people do anyway). Test each step with the heel before committing. Keep your weight on your back foot. This is handy if you encounter a flight of stairs and don’t want to break your neck.


Okay now you’ve absorbed all that, get on over here and learn some more survival skills. Just in case you ever find yourself in the situation where you wake up and discover you’re a deniable operative.


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