Top Twenty Bizarre Phobias
August 25, 2012
By: Philippa Slaney
“They’re more scared of you than you are of them!”
Yeah thanks for trying mum, but I’m pretty sure they’re not, no matter how many times you say it. I’m terrified of spiders.
Yesterday evening I was happily reading in bed when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a shadow moving across the wall. When I looked around, this innocent shadow turned out to be a massive hairy spider not thirty centimetres from my head, scuttling over my wall and swiftly disappearing under my bed. Far too aware that the eight-legged beast was now lurking somewhere underneath me and frankly wanting to cry a little bit, I sprang out from under the covers and, after an intense self-pep-talk, with my spider-hunting-cup at the ready, dragged the bed away from the wall.
I caught the spider on the second try (they’re always faster than you expect- no wonder though, I would be too if I had eight incredibly creepy legs…) and, after forcing myself to check that it was a lone perpetrator and not just visiting family or friends under my bed, got rid of it. Yet the whole night I kept thinking it was on me and I felt uncomfortable and entirely on edge. Even though I know it’s a completely irrational fear, I’m not alone: 32% of British women and 18% of men feel anxious or frightened when they see a spider. I’m in good company though – apparently Justin Timberlake and Kirsten Dunst are in the same boat, as is Ron Weasley (I know he’s fictional but yes, they even scare wizards).
A phobia is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”, and arachnophobia is just one of the more mainstream ones. Thinking about it, it occurs to me that there are dozens more irrational, very strange fears held either by me or people I’m close to. I admit that I hate the texture and sound of touching polystyrene so much that I often ask other people to open packages for me whilst I go out the room. A family member is scared of opening the freezer because he hates the noise of the ice scraping so much. One friend could never stand seeing obvious veins, another avoids lolly sticks.
Even if some people won’t openly admit it, I firmly believe that everyone has at least one slightly irrational fear, whether it be widely accepted ones like mice or hearing nails scraping on a chalkboard, or something slightly more unusual like one from this list of my favourite twenty bizarre (yet very real and medically recognised) phobias:
1) Being tickled by feathers (pteronophobia)
2) Symmetry (symmetrophobia)
3) Hearing good news (euphobia)
4) Beards (pogonophobia)
5) The colour purple (porphyrophobia)
6) Virgins or young girls (parthenophobia)
7) Snow (chionophobia)
8) Peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth (arachibutyrophobia)
9) Kissing (philemaphobia)
10) Teenagers (ephebiphobia)
11) Stars (siderophobia)
12) Crossing bridges (gephydrophobia)
13) String (linonophobia)
14) The number 13 (triskaidekaphobia)
15) Flutes (aulophobia)
16) Beautiful women (caligynephobia)
17) Hearing a certain word or name (onomatophobia)
18) Being stared at (scopophobia)
19) Foreign languages (xenoglossophobia)
20) Puppets (pupaphobia)
Photographs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Adult_Female_Black_Widow.jpg , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Expanded_polystyrene_foam_dunnage.jpg , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BWfeather.jpg , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hepburn-Perkins-1959.JPG , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Knightni.jpg , http://registrarism.wordpress.com/tag/puppets/