Every one of us has at least one thing that we are terrified of. Many of the fears that afflict us are totally normal, including spiders, heights and the dark. However, there are a few among us who, due to bad luck or some traumatic experience in their past, have fears that go beyond what most people would consider to be rational. Here, we look at 12 of the strangest phobias that people suffer from.
Mageirocophobia – Fear of Cooking
Mageirocophobia, which is a condition that makes someone terrified of cooking, comes from a Greek word that means someone who has great skill in cooking. Unfortunately for people who suffer from this debilitating disorder, it has the potential to ruin their health due to unhealthy eating if they do not have someone to prepare their meals for them.
Nomophobia – Fear of Losing Mobile Signal Coverage
The name of this unusual but strangely common phobia was coined by researchers in the United Kingdom in 2011 after it was discovered that almost half of the entire population of the nation suffered from it. Some of the things that set off this phobia include fear of one’s phone battery running out, losing a mobile phone signal or even being unable to locate the mobile phone.
Omphalophobia – Fear of the Bellybutton
The fear of navels is known as omphalophobia. People who suffer from this phobia are terrified of touching someone else’s belly button or have another person touch theirs. This phobia has been linked to the association that the bellybutton has to an umbilical cord or the mother’s womb. A person with this phobia finds that just thinking of a belly button is repulsive.
Agyrophobia – Fear of Crossing Streets
Agyrophobics not only fear crossing streets, highways or other roads, but may also be terrified of the thoroughfares themselves. Clearly, this type of fear makes it extremely challenging for a sufferer to live in any city that has any kind of heavy traffic. The origin of the name is from ‘gyrus,’ a Greek word that means whirling. This is because the phobic does everything they can to avoid being caught up in a whirl of traffic. What is even stranger is that this phobia may also be specific to only a particular type of road.
Ombrophobia- Fear of Rain
An abnormal fear of rain in ombrophobes can result in some extremely severe anxiety attacks. There are several factors that are blamed for the condition, with one of the most popular theories being that it is the result of the sufferer being told as a child that they will be ill if they go out in the rain. It is also believed that another factor is the association between rain and depression.
Trypophobia – Fear of Small Holes
Individuals who are afflicted by this phobia have an unusual fear of objects that have small holes in or on them. While many people still do not consider it an official phobia, there are many people who are reported to suffer from it. New research suggests that trypophobes associate the holes with danger. Some of the objects that could trigger this fear include sponges, plants with small holes in them or even honeycombs.
Coulrophobia – Fear of Clowns
This is a surprisingly common phobia and, although there are a significant number of adult sufferers, it is more prevalent in children. One of the reasons that so many people suffer from this phobia is because the ‘scary clown’ is a common theme in popular culture, with one of the most famous examples being the Joker character from the Batman comic books and film franchise.
Deipnophobia – Fear of Dinner Chat
While it is true that many dinner conversations can be incredibly awkward, some people find the thought of having to engage other people in conversation over a meal is so awkward that they completely avoid eating out. In the past, there were strict rules and a code of etiquette that everyone was familiar with to be followed in such situations but today’s less formal society means that many people feel uncomfortable in the formal atmosphere of a dinner party.
Pentheraphobia – Fear of One’s Mother-in-Law
This phobia is probably the most common of all on this list. Although this is a common feeling among a large number of married people, there are a few individuals for whom the discomfort of encountering their mothers-in-law or even the mere thought of seeing them results in severe panic attacks. In Western society, this fear is so pervasive that it has become a common theme in movies and TV shows.
Cathisophobia – Fear of Sitting
This unusual fear is the phobia of sitting down. There are many reasons why someone would be terrified of having a seat, with some common ones including memories of physical abuse, having sat on a painful or sharp object in the past or a bad case of hemorrhoids. Corporal punishment from school or being scared of sitting down in front of famous or influential people could also result in cathisophobia.
Eisoptrophobia – Fear of Mirrors
Eisoptrophobia could be a fear of mirrors in general, or could take on a more specific context of someone scared of connecting with the spirit world by looking in a mirror. Although sufferers understand that their fear is baseless, they still experience extreme anxiety when looking in a mirror, especially when they are on their own. Because superstition is the root of this fear, many people who suffer from it think that looking into a mirror would either bring them bad luck or cause them to view a scary, supernatural world.