Fear is one of the most fascinating and influential parts of human nature- it is the most powerful internal motivator and an age-old force that we are constantly trying to come to terms with.
It comes in all sorts of different varieties and flavors, sometimes people develop very intense and irrational fears of specific situations called phobias, which is derived from the Greek word ‘Phobos’ which means fear. While some are more generic and common like claustrophobia (the fear of small enclosed spaces), others are a bit weirder. Almost all phobias are developed because of a traumatic event in the person’s life, commonly in childhood. These events are often repressed in their memory which makes their seemingly irrational fear that much harder to deal with.
Before we take a look at some of the strange phobias that people develop, let’s take a moment to dismiss a few common contenders that you may be familiar with. A lot of fake phobias have been invented just for the sake of amusement that aren’t actual diagnosable chronic fears. Here are a few fake phobias that don’t qualify:
Luposlipaphobia – The fear of being chased by wolves while wearing socks on a recently waxed floor.
Venustraphobia – The fear of beautiful women.
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – The fear of long words.
Now that those satirical phonies are out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the weirdest phobias around.
This is actually a pretty understandable phobia that most people can relate to in one way or another. Pediophobia is the fear of dolls or any false representation of a sentient being, like mannequins and robots with human features. Something about lifeless plastic mimicking the human form, specifically the facial features, is unnerving and in some cases downright eerie. It’s an example of the uncanny valley, a place where the realism of an artificial entity is just too close to the real thing.
It seems odd to be afraid of the force that holds the world together, but that same force can be catastrophic and deadly in the wrong circumstances. Someone who had a near death experience by falling or witnessed some sort of structural collapse might see gravity as an unexplainable and malevolent force with the power to tear the world apart if it shifts.
Verbal language is the basic building block of society and community, so an irrational fear of words is especially debilitating when the words in question are common. A person with verbophobia may have a fear of either spoken or written words, long and small and of any language. It depends on the individual case and the catalyst of the phobia- it could even be specific words or phrases.
he intense fear of mirrors and reflections is a fascinating and multifaceted one- sufferers have a wide range of different reasons for their phobia. Some people think of mirrors as portals to another dimension, sort of like in Through the Looking Glass but more sinister. Others have more complex and internal reasons for their fear of mirrors, perhaps because of problems with their self-image and their own bodies.
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