“I didn’t see light for six days.”
Those were the words spoken by area rancher and former firefighter Jeff Tucker after taking on an extreme survival test in a new Discovery channel series, Darkness, that premieres Aug. 2.
Darkness puts individuals in a sensory deprivation situation inside a cave for six days.
“There are four components to the show. This is a life deprivation scenario, so how do you handle surviving without any light? We were blind, we physically couldn’t see,” Tucker said. “I didn’t see light for six days but I was curious to see how I would handle that. We all handled it differently.”
Tucker owns a ranch in May, about 50 miles southeast of Stephenville, and was a firefighter for 20 years in Fort Worth.
When asked why he decided to be part of the show, Tucker said he doesn’t have a simple answer.
“I was given a tip on Facebook about this and someone sent it to me as a challenge saying it was right up my alley, so I sent something to them but then I kind of forgot about it,” Tucker said. “I got an email from the casting company the very last day and they asked me why I didn’t fill out an application. I filled out the application and about five minutes later I got a call asking for an interview so I did that on Skype and the next day received a call from the producers of the show saying they wanted me.”
Darkness has three participants sent into a cave at different times from different entry points.
“Then there was the component of can we find each other in the cave? And then to try and find resources — food and water - that was challenging,” Tucker said. “Then we had to get out in the allotted six days you’re given. You can watch and see if I get out, but if you don’t get out in six days they pull you out.”
So why six days? And what are the effects of sensory deprivation?
An experiment conducted in the 1950s by psychology professor Donald Hebb showed the negative effects 48 hours of darkness can have on a person.
“Afterwards, Hebb reported that the ‘very identity’ of his subjects had begun to disintegrate within two days,” states an article on DailyMail.com. “This is why sensory deprivation is still used as a means of extracting information from prisoners, though human rights campaigners claim it is inhumane and an unreliable technique.”
However, short periods of sensory deprivation have become popular due to the relaxation effects. There are even sensory deprivation tanks where people can pay to lay in a salt water, soundproof, lightproof tank that can have beneficial health effects.
Tucker said as a firefighter he was challenged every day on the job, but never like this.
“It was different. Every encounter was different and I really enjoyed that and that’s the part of it that I really liked,” Tucker said. “There were some things I didn’t like. All of the things start to take a toll as you’re working through obstacles in the dark.”
Tucker will be on the premiere episode of Darkness airing at 9 p.m. central on the Discovery channel.
“I’ve never been in a scenario where I’ve been so unplugged from the outside world and in such a way,” Tucker said. “It really made me appreciate things in a very different light, so to speak, no pun intended.”
To learn more about the series and to watch trailers visit the DarknessTV Facebook page or www.discovery.com.
The E-T will connect with Tucker again for a follow-up story with more details on his experience after the show airs.