"Fear is a funny thing, thinking back on it. Fear is always associated with something. It is an escape. It takes us back into the past and tries to drag all of that into the present."There is contrasting or incubating fear that does not fall into the stated category. This is the fear of the absolute unknown. This weekend I saw a good "Sixth Sense" type horror movie named The Eye. It was about a Mun, a young blind women who receives a cornea transplant. Her renewed sight includes visions of dead people, who then commence to communicating with her. As she adapts to her changed reality, the horror (fear) builds as one new experience after another occurs. As soon as Mun adapts to the new reality, another new layer is pulled off of the situation.
The opening credits of the movie forecasted the mood. The white background of the credits had hands rubbing behind, leaving only contour impressions of unknown people. This reminded me of the move The Frighteners in which the ghosts would "bend" the surface of walls, impressing their images on seemingly solid objects. Why was this scary? It's scary, causing fear, because it should not be. It is unknown. Fear can be a reaction to the recasting of reality.
Why should this cause fear? Consider if you came home and your mate was somebody you didn't recognize. What if you arrived at work and somebody else was in office/cubicle? In these situations it is not fearful that you have a mate or that you have an office. It is instead fearful that there is something not expected, something unknown, in their place.
When a person is chased in nightmares, the advice is given to turn and face the pursuer. Facing the fear can remove it from the "unknown" column, transforming the fear into the knowledge of a known entity. This kind of fear lessens, or may even vanish entirely, when the unknown becomes known. In the movie, Mun lost her fear of seeing dead people after it became an established part of her reality. Her fear only returned when a new "unknown" occurred. After finding a peace of sorts with random spirits, she received a new shock when she realized that she always saw the face of the cornea donor when she looked in the mirror. She came to terms with this, setting off to find out more about the donor.
My insightful friend is quite correct that the fear originating from the unknown, and then dealt with through knowingness, can be relived by remembering the first occasion of the fear. The challenge here is to resolve your fears, face your nightmares, and then move beyond them.