Fun Facts: Unusual Phobias

We all have something we’re scared of. To have an irrational fear of something is called a phobia.

You may have heard of some of the more famous phobias: arachnophobia is a fear of spiders, and claustrophobia is the fear of being trapped in small spaces.

Sometimes these fears can be traced back to important events in our life (usually in our childhood) or to our genetics and DNA. Sometimes, however, they are more difficult to explain.

We’ve been discovering some of the more unusual phobias that affect people around the world. Don’t worry if you have trouble pronouncing some of these words – even the native English speakers among us will struggle!

  • Hylophobia is the fear of trees. The cause of this phobia is often linked to films and fairy tales that involve scary woods, such as Little Red Riding Hood. The condition can cause extreme anxiety if the sufferer takes a walk in a wooded area, or even just thinks about a forest.

Chicken Phobias
Fowl play: does the sight of this chicken make you nervous? If it does, you might have Alektorophobia.

  • Alektorophobia is the fear of chickens. To an alektorophobe, it doesn’t matter whether the chicken or the egg came first: they can both cause panic attacks and overwhelming fear.
  • Turophobia is the fear of cheese.  Sufferers don’t have to be allergic to dairy, but they often associate cheese with a traumatic memory. It can vary from person to person: some people are afraid of all cheeses, whereas some fear specific types.
  • Chorophobia is the fear of dancing. Not all of us were born to be great dancers, but we’ll usually give it a go anyway. For sufferers of chorophobia, this isn’t possible. Any situation that involves dancing will result in panic attacks and severe anxiety, so don’t be offended if they don’t ask you to the dance!
  • Sophophobia is a fear of learning. If you are thinking of studying with Kaplan, you hopefully don’t suffer from sophophobia! This fear of knowledge and learning is very rare, although there are probably some students who have tried to use it as an excuse to skip class…

Peanut Butter Closeup Phobias
Peanut butter doesn't look scary, but it is to some.

  • Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. Many of us enjoy a tasty peanut butter sandwich for lunch, but for some people it is the stuff of nightmares! This very specific (and very hard to pronounce) phobia causes a raised heart rate, shortness of breath, and feelings of terror.
  • Barophobia is the fear of gravity. People suffering from barophobia fear that gravity will either crush them or disappear entirely, leaving them to just float away. One thing is certain: there will be a few more barophobes after the recent film, Gravity.
  • Phobophobia is – you guessed it – the excessive fear of developing a phobia. If you’ve made it to the end of this blog post then you probably don’t have phobophobia. If you do, we’ve just given you a lot more to worry about!

Do you have any unusual phobias or know any friends or family who do? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Images are courtesy of wikimedia commons.

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