Still, some fears are so ridiculous that it’s hard to take them seriously and many are even hard to believe. The most absurd phobias affect only a few hundred people in the world, but make no mistake – they are very much real. Usually, people who have common phobias tend to be the ones to develop other, marginal ones. For instance, over 45% of everyone who has an irrational fear develops phobophobia – the fear of showing their fears to others.
How strange can these phobias be? Well, the fear of ducks didn’t make our list by a long shot, so we’d say they’re pretty strange. Each one is more bizarre than the next and selecting the top three was a huge challenge.
Unless you have triskaidekaphobia – the fear of lists – click “Next Page” and find out what the 20 most ridiculously unreasonable fears are!
Each year a number of people are diagnosed with albutophobia, the fear of bathing, showering and washing. The condition tends to have symptoms with a quick on-set and extreme intensity. Those who have this phobia may experience panic attacks just from hearing someone talk about taking a shower. Unlike most rare irrational fears, this one doesn’t respond well to cognitive therapy. In extreme cases, a therapist needs to be present while their patient is bathing 5-10 times before the phobia becomes manageable.
Xanthophobes fear anything yellow. Some have panic attacks just from hearing about the color. Severe xanthophobia is rare but difficult to manage because the variety of anxiety triggers can prevent sufferers from ever getting to their therapist’s office. They are afraid of the sun, autumn leaves and even their own urine.
An irrational fear of sleeping, refereed to as somniphobia, is usually caused by excessive nightmares or a related traumatic event. It starts as a mild anxiety but can quickly translate into an uncontrollable fear, especially since nightmares occur when you experience fear while falling asleep. Most somniphobes work at night because they have an easier time sleeping during daytime hours.
Strangely enough, the fear of clowns (coulrophobia) isn’t any more uncommon than claustrophobia. It usually begins at an early age and, due to a lack of treatment, becomes a source of anxiety for adults. So, if a child is afraid of clowns, it shouldn’t be dismissed so quickly. Johnny Depp has once admitted to being coulrophobic in an interview. He explained that “the painted-on smile doesn’t reveal whether the clown wants to hug you or bite your face off.” Depp is probably not much of a Batman vs Joker fan.
The fear of trees and large plants is called hylophobia. It’s known to be caused by hearing excessively scary fairy tales involving a forest during childhood. Many kids have nightmares of Little Red Riding Hood, who’s grandmother was eaten alive, not to mention witnessing an animal chopped to pieces by lumberjacks. And it was all because she left the trail to pick flowers by a tree.
The psychological origins of turophobia – the fear of all cheese products – are anyone’s guess. Sufferers are often only afraid one type of cheese. For example, while they experience shortness of breath and anxiety when seeing a slice of Swiss cheese, some turophobes still enjoy a slice of pizza with extra mozzarella.
Though it was only recently confirmed as a legitimate psychological disorder, trypophobia is theorized to be very widespread in the U.S., particularly among inner city residents. The fear of small holes or openings is likely a product of modern horror films combined with a lack of nature in big cities. Unlike most phobias, nausea is its most common symptom.Severe trypophobes can’t stand the sight of honeycombs or tough a dish-washing sponge without freaking out.
The worst triggers are clusters of small holes, especially those that occur in nature. Many people find they are disgusted by such patters but only some feel anxiety and nausea. If the below image is unsettling, you should see a specialist and, more importantly, refrain from Googling “trypophobia”. We mean it.
If you’re reading this, we have good news – you don’t have triskaidekaphobia. The unreasonable fear of the number “13” would force sufferers to scroll away in panic, if not leave the page altogether. Excluding a few rare instances, the phobia stems from superstition and is associated with Friday the 13th.
The fear of rain and rainwater is called ombrophobia. The condition causes one to experience anxiety, sweating and hot/cold flashes whenever they are caught in the rain. In severe cases, even seeing rain fall outside their window causes sufferers to experience panic attacks. Experts relate the condition to subconscious fears of pollutants in the water (acid rain).
The only fear triggered by a single person is papphobia, the fear of the pope. A lot can be said about the image of the catholic church’s leader but nothing suggests him to be scary. The fear stems from early childhood and is usually brought on by strict religious parenting. It often transforms into hate, though all the symptoms of a phobia persist either way.
Like papaphobia, the fear of afterlife and the sky effects people who have had a troubled upbringing in a catholic family. The subconscious is trained to fear christian paradigms, so anything associated with heaven or hell triggers acute anxiety.
The unreasonable fear of beards (pogonophobia) has only ever been observed in the United States. American parents tell their children not to trust a bearded man (of course, excluding Santa). Every political figure, movie star and TV show host in the country has a clean shave. So, when a traumatic event is psychologically linked to a bearded figure, a person develops an uncontrolled hatred and fear of beards.
Pogonophobia is more prevalent now than ever before. As a result of widespread fear of Islamic nationals, who tend to have long facial hair, its symptoms have changed from discomfort and frustration to panic and anxiety.
In 2010, a comprehensive UK survey confirmed the existence of severe nomophobia (fear of having no mobile phone/connection). Believe it or not, some people have stayed connected for so long that losing mobile service causes them to experience full fledged panic attacks. There are countless sufferers, though very few people have reached the severe stage.
Almost 75% of U.S. residents are smartphone users. What used to be a joke about being “addicted” to our phones has become the painful reality. It would only make sense if, within a few years, most of the population would become nomophobic. The only way to avoid this would be cutting down on the addiction but that may be harder than it seems.
Omphalophobia, the fear of bellybuttons, is one of the only phobias that effect adults more often than children. People affected by the condition experience extreme anxiety from the very thought of a bellybutton. Their worst fear is someone touching their navel, which would likely send them into an intense, long-lasting panic attack.
Origins of the fear have to do with poor understanding of birth and the umbilical cord. Though they know it isn’t possible, sufferers instinctively fear undoing the knot and exposing their internal organs.
Spectrophobes are people who are afraid of their reflection and mirrors in general. Some even feel anxious when they see a reflection in a puddle or in their silverware. The superstition that served as basis for this unreasonable fear is so old, it is almost forgotten. In ancient times, many thought mirrors can contain spirits/demons that can posses a person who looks at them long enough. Of course, those who have it, know that there are no demons – the fear is completely uncontrolled.
All the horror films that feature villains who use mirrors are definitely making things worse for spectrophobes. It’s must have been hard to avoid posters and commercials of the hit thriller “mirrors”, where reflections killed people who looked in the mirror.
Scriptophobia, the fear of writing in public, mainly concerns writing by hand. With the popularization of the Internet, the issue has become less detrimental to people effected by it. Meanwhile, A few decades ago, they would need to face intense stress and trembling whenever they would sign a check, receipt or post card.
The fear isn’t associated with any single psychological trauma but it can be the result of prolonged, repetitive instances of mental abuse. Sufferers tend to have other phobias as well as a tendency to fall into depression. About half of all reported cases of scriptophobia were severe and anti-depressants only helped about a third of them.
As you can probably guess, decidophobia is the fear of making decisions. Being indecisive is often cited as a character flaw, yet it is most often a psychological disorder. The phobia isn’t so much about deciding as taking responsibility for decisions. It may sound like an excuse but to people who have decidophobia, it is anything but convenient.
Even when a decidophob has already made a decision and knows that it’s correct, acknowledging that it is his idea involves some very intense anxiety. The condition stems from serious trauma where the sufferer’s choices were to blame.
Oikophobia is the rarest recorded unreasonable fear. That makes sense because not so many people are scared of small kitchen appliances. That’s right – pots, pans, toasters, coffeemakers and the like all make some people go into a state of panic. In a few cases, patients were specifically terrified of teapots or toasters. Those who couldn’t stand to see a toaster had fears of being electrocuted, while the teapot-intolerant folks were often burn victims.
These people must be eating a lot of takeout food. Some said they have cookware custom-made for them. Oddly shaped pots and round toasters were manageable to some, although others gave up cooking for good after a few unsuccessful attempts.
There’s no consensus as to what can cause a person to tremble when they see bubbles but the existence of ebulliophobia is thoroughly confirmed. Symptoms can include freezing up, running away uncontrollably, excessive sweating and irregular heartbeat. Some sufferers can’t even wash their hands without feeling anxious.
In extreme cases, patients reported fearing that their insides would explode after hearing bubbles in their stomach.
The most ridiculous unreasonable fear is definitely autocombustphobia – the fear of spontaneous combustion. There is no proof of the phenomenon and, while hundreds of cases have been reported, 99% of them were thoroughly debunked. People with autocombustphobia never drink alcohol because they think it may ignite at any moment.
The most absurd part of it all is that there are no actual triggers – there’s nothing that can remind someone of spontaneous human combustion (or anything else that doesn’t exist). Panic attacks catch those suffering from this disorder by surprise. Ironically enough, the only thing that’s spontaneous about the subject is the way some people rush to a body of water or to a cold environment during an anxiety episode.