It is common to mistake worry, fear, or concern for a true blue phobia. The reality is that a phobia is so much more than just a little anxiety. It is a debilitating and, more often than not, unfounded and baseless terror. Phobias can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. We’re all familiar with the common ones, such as arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), but there are some odd ones out there that you just won’t believe.
10. Agyrophobia – Fear of Crossing the Street
Like many phobias, people afflicted with agyrophobia are not terrified of just the act of crossing the street but of falling or being struck by passing motorists. It can also manifest itself as simply a fear of blind corners, or wide avenues or thoroughfares where the person suffering could potentially be injured. Of course, looking both ways before crossing, using common sense, and staying off your phone will mostly keep you safe but those suggestions fall on deaf ears for agyrophobics.
It is worth noting that this phobia is not the same as a fear of cars or the fear of riding in a car which is referred to as amaxophobia.
9. Mageirocophobia – Fear of Cooking
Some people on diets are afraid to eat, but the fear of cooking is a rare one. While it is not an eating disorder, it can lead to very unhealthy eating habits if not addressed. In addition to being physically afraid of the act of cooking, many sufferers of this phobia are also very intimidated by people who are skilled in food preparation; many experts believe that the associated feelings of inadequacy is the base of this odd phobia.
8. Pediophobia – Fear of Dolls
Not to be confused with the crime against children with a similar sounding name, pediophobia does have something of a rational base: some dolls are scary. Of course a sufferer of this phobia finds all dolls horrific, and these feelings of repulsion can extend to robots, mannequins, and dummies. Strictly speaking, the phobia isn’t so much a fear of dolls as it is a fear of the ‘false representation of sentient beings’, and it just so happens that dolls are very common. Who knows though, in 50 years this same phobia may be better described simply as a fear of robots due to their commonness.
7. Deipnophobia – Fear of Dinner Conversation
Everyone has been at a dinner party where they were scared to death of having hear another word, but that’s the product of the imagined fear of being bored to death. Those who suffer from deipnophobia have such a pronounced and baseless fear of conversation with another person over dinner that you will never see one of these people in a restaurant—even if they are eating alone.
6. Eisoptrophobia – Fear of Mirrors
While eisoptrophobia is generally referred to as a fear of mirrors it is actually more correctly described as a fear of interacting with the world of the supernatural through a mirror. It has long been the stuff of folklore and ghost stories that mirrors are windows or doorways into the realm of spirits. While many people who suffer from this phobia understand that their fear is based in superstition and quite irrational, this doesn’t stop them from feeling the way that they do.
5. Demonophobia – Fear of Demons
While it is pretty safe to say that if any of us came across a demon we would be scared, but demonophobia goes above and beyond. Not only do sufferers believe that demonic and malicious spirits exist and intend to do them harm, but they believe that they are in danger. In some cases these people understand that their fear is irrational, but that doesn’t stop them from staying indoors at night or avoiding areas that they may consider ‘high risk’ for demonic encounters.
4. Pentheraphobia – Fear of the Mother-in-Law
I would just call this one a common sense approach to mother-in-laws (or is it mothers-in-law), but maybe your family isn’t like mine.
Of course our relationships with people change over time and experience ups and downs, but what sets this apart is a perpetual and pervasive fear of your mother-in-law. Perhaps, like some other strange phobias, this is actually a manifestation of feelings of inadequacy or anxiety regarding rejection.
3. Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of your Mouth
Much like a mouthful of peanut butter, arachibutyrophobia is a mouthful of letters. While this phobia is considered extremely rare and considered illegitimate by many, there are people who adamantly swear that they are sufferers. Unlike some of the other phobias on this list however, it is fairly easy to avoid the conditions that trigger a response—stay away from peanut butter.
2. Cathisophobia – Fear of Sitting
Not the fear of babysitting or housesitting, but instead the actual irrational terror of sitting down. The triggers can vary wildly; some are afraid that they may sit on tacks or glass, others can link their phobia to sitting in front of authoritative or imposing people. In the latter example, the phobia can perhaps be linked to the same feelings of inadequacy that seems to be the root cause of many other phobias.
A note to those conducting their own cathisophobia research: this phobia can also be spelled with a ‘k’.
1. Automatonophobia – Fear of a Ventriloquist’s Dummy
This phobia seems to embody the same repulsions that those who are afraid of dolls face; the synthesis of life within an inanimate object. Part of what makes ventriloquism entertaining is also what serves to make it revolting. A talented ventriloquist can effectively bring a puppet to life and even those who don’t suffer from this phobia can be revolted by the prospect of watching an act.
Do you suffer from any of these phobias?