Skip to content Skip to footer


Top 50 Strange or Weird Things People Are Afraid Of

Everyone is afraid of something, but some fears may have you wondering why? or how in the world? The truth is, even unusual fears can bring on major reactions in certain individuals such as shakes, panic attacks, and even catatonic states. Read on for a list of the top 50 of those fears.


  1. Optophobia: Fear of Opening One’s Eyes


This is a very real and unusual fear even though it is an action we take every morning when we first wake. Individuals with this phobia struggle with rousing and often stay in bed longer or only open their eyes briefly to ensure no danger lurks. Optophobia may have been brought on by seeing something scary on television or even witnessing the death of a loved one.


  1. Syngenesophobia: Fear of Relatives


Some of us may not like being around certain relatives, however some individuals that suffer with syngenesophobia feel extreme anxiety around one or several relatives. The fear of relatives may be linked to something from childhood, such as abuse.


  1. Ablutophobia: Fear of Bathing


Bathing seems like a natural thing to do, however, there are those that suffer anxiety or panic at the thought of even showering. The cause for this fear is not known, though it could have been from a traumatic childhood event or from a change in the way the brain functions.


  1. Xanthophobia: Fear of Yellow


The fear of the color yellow may make some individuals cringe at the sight of a banana. The cause of this phobia may have to do with some traumatic event involving yellow, such as seeing a wreck involving a yellow vehicle.


  1. Geniophobia: Fear of Chins


Geniophobia can be so extreme that those that suffer with it may begin to stay home or even in their rooms. They will do whatever is possible to steer clear of chins. The cause is not known, however, it may have something to do with irregular chins, such as the look of a double chin.


  1. Linonophobia: Fear of String


Linonophobia is not only the fear of strings or ropes, but it can also include such items as violins or guitars. As with all phobias, linonophobia causes an individual to panic when they see anything to do with strings. The cause is not known, however, it is believed that it links to childhood and could be due to being tied or pulled with a rope or string, which brought on fear.


  1. Chirophobia: Fear of Hands


Individuals with chirophobia often wear gloves and never shake hands. The fear can be so intense when they see a hand that their heart rate increases and they begin to shake. The cause of the fear of hands is unknown, but it is believed to have come from a traumatic incident involving hands, which occurred during childhood. Such incidences may include being pushed or seeing another person harmed by someone’s hands.


  1. Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of Your Mouth


Arachibutyrophobia is not only the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth, but also a fear of choking. Any substance that has the same texture can trigger the fear. This fear may have began when sometime in your past you were eating peanut butter and felt as if you were choking. Some individuals with arachibutyrophobia can eat other items with peanut butter, such as fudge.


  1. Genuphobia: Fear of Knees


Those with genuphobia will not wear shorts and will have a rule that no one in the family wear shorts. Shorts are forbidden because the individual feels anxiety or panic at the sight of knees, including their own. The cause of this rare phobia, like others, is unknown. It could be from a past injury or seeing someone else hurt that involved their knees.


  1. Caramelaphobia: Fear of Candy


Caramelaphobia is the fear of candy—usually hard candy. It is believed that there could be genetic reasons for the phobia, or having had parents who were afraid for their children to eat hard candy. It could also be the result of choking on a piece of candy, whether as a child or an adult.


  1. Cacophobia: Fear of Ugliness


Individuals with cacophobia have many different views and ideas, as not all believe the same thing is ugly. Those with cacophobia often believe they are ugly and are always trying to improve their looks. One sufferer might find a specific animal, such as an opossum, to be ugly, while another may not. The cause may be that ugliness is associated with evil or evil intentions.


  1. Cibophobia: Fear of Food


Cibophobia, unlike anorexia, is the fear of food itself. Individuals with this phobia fear specific foods, whereas with anorexia, individuals are afraid of what the food will do to their bodies. Some individuals may be afraid of perishable foods, foods close to the expiration date, undercooked foods, foods prepared by others, or leftovers. The cause may be from an experience with this type of food in the past, such as becoming ill after eating that particular food.


  1. Christougenniatikophobia: Fear of Christmas


Many of us love the holiday season and cannot wait until Christmas arrives, but there are individuals that actually fear even the thought of Christmas. Chirstougenniatikophobia is the fear of Christmas and the closer it gets to the season the more anxiety these individuals feel. The cause of this phobia could be due to a parent being afraid, genetics, or a past experience.


  1. Kyrofelonoshophobia: Fear of Cartoon Characters


Kyrofelonoshophobia may seem strange to most individuals, but for those that suffer from the fear of cartoon characters, it is very real. They feel anxiety when seeing cartoons on television or in comic books. These individuals feel that the characters may harm them in some way. This could be caused from a past childhood experience such as a sibling telling them that a particular cartoon character will “get them.”


  1. Clausophobia: Fear of Santa Claus


Some individuals are truly afraid of Santa Claus. Clausophobia has individuals not taking their children to visit Santa at the malls and may even become anxious when they see one on television. This phobia may occur even as adults but usually begins due to a scary incident in childhood involving Santa Claus.


  1. Logophobia: Fear of Words


You will not see a person with logophobia reading a book, magazine, or newspaper, as they have a fear of words. The phobia could be genetic or from a traumatic experience such as being humiliated in school by pronouncing a word incorrectly.


  1. Doronophobia: Fear of Opening Gifts


Yes, there are individuals who do not like receiving gifts. And not because they don’t like getting presents but because they fear opening gifts. Individuals with doronophobia are afraid to open a wrapped gift or box if they don’t know exactly what is inside. The fear of opening gifts could be from the toy “Jack in the box” or some other traumatic event that occurred in the past.


  1. Chionophobia: Fear of Snow


You might enjoy seeing a photo of a wintry scene, but those with chionophobia may close their eyes or look away. This phobia causes individuals to feel extreme anxiety at just the thought of winter because with winter comes snow. The fear of snow may be attributed to remembering a wreck due to slippery roads or being snowed in for a few days in the past, usually during childhood.


  1. Televisiophobia: Fear of Watching Television


Individuals with televisiophobia will not own a television. The fear of watching television may be due to parents not allowing them to watch television as a child, watching a scary show on television as a child, or may be linked to genetics.


  1. Nephophobia: Fear of Clouds


Nephophobia is the fear of clouds. It can cause a person to feel like running back indoors when they see clouds in the sky. Some individuals have such an extreme fear they cannot even see a photo of clouds without feeling anxiety. The cause may be due to being involved in a bad storm in the past, such as a tornado.


  1. Chromophobia: Fear of Colors


It is a colorful world, however, for individuals who suffer with chromophobia the world is a scary place. Those that have a fear of colors may be afraid of one color or all colors. In most cases, the fear is associated with one color or bright colors. The cause may be due to child abuse or another violent traumatic event such as an automobile accident with a vehicle of that color.


  1. Pteronophobia: Fear of Being Tickled by Feathers


A person with pteronophobia is not only afraid of being tickled by feathers but may also be scared of birds, hats with feathers, or down comforters. The cause often begins in childhood, possibly from a bird swooping down and pecking their hair to make a nest.


  1. Anatidaephobia: Fear of Being Watched by a Duck or Goose


Anatidaephobia This is what is known as a Jocular or sometimes called a fictional phobia. This particular false phobia started with Gary Larson and The Far Side cartoon.


  1. Panphobia: Fear of Everything


Panphobia may not be listed as a phobia by medical standards, however, for those that suffer with the fear of everything, it is real. Those that suffer with this phobia feel that evil is lurking around every corner. It is not known how this phobia began as it has not yet been studied, but these individuals live in constant fear.


  1. Megalophobia: Fear of Large Objects


Those suffering with megalophobia may not enjoy going to large malls or even want to get close to a Hummer. Large objects may bring on anxiety or feelings of panic. Like many phobias, the cause is generally unknown, but it is believed that a large object, such as a truck, may have been involved in a traumatic event during childhood.


  1. Batophobia: Fear of Tall Buildings


Individuals with batophobia do not like anything tall or even presumed tall by their definition. A two-story house could be enough to bring on a panic attack. The cause is unknown, however it could have derived from seeing a person fall from a roof of a house or even a television show they watched as a child that had someone harmed in a tall building.


  1. Casadastraphobia: Fear of Falling into the Sky


The fear of falling up into the sky seems very irrational, however, some individuals have this phobia. The phobia was only recognized in 2006 and is classified as a fantasy phobia. The cause may be from video games or movies that show people going into the sky.


  1. Automysophobia: Fear of Being Dirty


Automysophobia is a phobia that often keeps the person inside. The fear of being dirty will be so intense they often do not shake hands, hug, or go outside. The fear of being dirty can bring on panic attacks, so the person would rather stay indoors. The fear of being dirty will cause them to constantly wash their bodies, clothing, and other items they may touch. The cause is unknown, but may be rooted in worry over germs which can make someone ill.


  1. Sciophobia: Fear of Shadows


The fear of shadows is an uncommon phobia, but those that struggle with it often stay indoors during the daylight hours to avoid shadows. The fear can become intense when even thinking of a shadow. The cause is unknown but may come from not knowing what is in the shadow, similar to being afraid of the dark. This may stem from something they experienced in the past, such as a dark figure harming them as a child.


  1. Capillussetisohobia: Fear of Hairbrushes


Capillussetisophobia is an irrational phobia but is a real fear for those with the problem. The thought of having their hair brushed can make them shake with fear and even feel as though they cannot breathe. The cause may have come from being spanked with a hairbrush as a child or having had a painful experience with hair brushing.


  1. Cathisophobia: Fear of Sitting


The fear of sitting is often found in elderly patients who may experience pain when they sit for long periods of time. Cathisophobia can also be seen in children and teens if they sit for long hours in a classroom setting. The fear is not necessarily due to something in the past but the pain associated with sitting.


  1. Philophobia: Fear of Love


Philophobia is the fear of love, being loved, and falling in love. The fear is so strong that the individual does not have any real commitments to others. Many of us dream of finding a partner, however, those with philophobia do not grow close to others because of their fear. They may have no close friends and often live their lives in recluse. The phobia cause is unknown but could have started after a parents’ divorce or perhaps after a bad breakup in their teens.


  1. Kinemortophobia – Fear of Zombies


You may think being afraid of zombies is only for kids, but many adults also suffer from kinemortophobia. The fear of zombies is a real phobia. The scientific cause may not be known, but Haitian islanders believe certain practices may cause a person to fall under a spell and do as told by others. Others believe the cause is that as a child or teen, a person with kinemortophobia watched a zombie movie that ignited the fear.


  1. Chorophobia: Fear of Dancing


Dancing seems like an activity that everyone might enjoy, however, those with chorophobia, will choose to stay at home if dancing is part of the evening. The fear of dancing may have them frozen in place if asked to participate. The cause could be from the teen years when parties started and they became fearful of the way they looked while dancing.


  1. Xocolataphobia: Fear of Chocolates


Some of us cannot go a day without the yummy taste of chocolate, however, some individuals have a fear of chocolates. Xocolataphobia often begins during childhood, though the cause is unknown. It could be due to a parent not allowing them to eat chocolate or using chocolatey treats as a way to make a child do things.


  1. Chronomentrophobia: Fear of Clocks


The fear of clocks is more the fear of time passing. The sound of a clock ticking away the seconds reminds them that time is passing quickly. They may have the feeling that they must hurry if they wish to accomplish what they desire in life. Those with chronomentrophobia will check a room for clocks before entering and will not wear a watch. The cause is unknown, but the sound or sight of a timepiece brings on high anxiety.


  1. Agyrophobia: Fear of Crossing Streets

Agyrophobia is the fear of crossing streets with or without vehicles. Individuals that have agyrophobia may drive a vehicle, but you will not catch them crossing a street while walking. The fear is intense and may be due to seeing an accident or from a parent instilling the fear of crossing the street during childhood.


  1. Ithyphallophobia: Fear of an Erect Penis


Ithyphallophobia affects both males and females. Even seeing a photo of an erect penis or seeing an erection beneath clothing can bring on a panic attack. This phobia is rare but causes many issues for those who struggle with it. The cause could be from child sexual abuse or from being punished for having an erection as a child.


  1. Kakologophobia: Fear of Swear Words


Some people just hate using or hearing swear words, however, some are actually afraid of swear words. The thought of a swear word can cause a person suffering from kakologophobia to break out in cold sweats or begin shaking. The individual may hear someone using swear words and get a headache. The cause of kakologphobia is unknown, however, it could be linked to hearing family members using swear words during a heated argument that caused them to be afraid as a child.


  1. Geliophobia: Fear of Laughter


Geliophobia may not be listed as a phobia by mental health professionals, but some individuals suffer from this fear. Individuals that have the fear of laughter are not happy—and do not want to be—as they are scared that happiness will make them laugh. They cannot stand anyone laughing as it can bring on a panic attack. The cause is believed to be due to being humiliated or embarrassed in the past so much so that they are scared to laugh.


  1. Metrophobia: Fear of Poetry


Some of us love poetry whether reading or enjoying poetry recitations. However, those with metrophobia cannot even stand the thought of verse. They cannot read, think about poetry, or hear it read. They may feel scared and want to run or just feel sick to their stomach. The cause may be due to a school project in which they had to write a poem or had to explain a poem and were unable to do so.


  1. Zythophobia: Fear of Beer


Zythophobia is the fear of beer. An individual with this phobia is scared of going to bars or having parties as beer is often served. They will not drink beer, have it in their homes, or be around others that drink beer. The cause may be due to the alcohol in beer or the fact that it is made from yeast which they might believe would introduce parasites into their bodies.


  1. Omphalophobia: Fear of the Naval


Omphalophobia causes sufferers to stay away from swimming pools and other places where they may see a belly button. The fear of the naval is very real with around 12 percent of the population having the phobia. The thought of their own belly button can cause them to panic, have a dry mouth, or feel dizzy. The cause of this phobia is unknown, but it may be due to a traumatic experience as a child involving a deformed belly button or issues with their own naval.


  1. Ovaphobia: Fear of Eggs


Those with ovaphobia will never have eggs for breakfast and do not want them around. Even going to a restaurant that serves eggs can be traumatic. The thought of seeing an egg can cause a person to freeze in fear. The cause may be due to an event as a child involving eggs, such as someone throwing eggs, or the fear that a baby chick may come out of the egg.


  1. Phagophobia: Fear of Swallowing


The fear of swallowing is different than the fear of choking. The act of swallowing brings on fear. An individual with phagophobia will normally only eat soft foods or liquids that will pretty much slide down the throat. The cause is unknown but can lead to other phobias that deal with eating.


  1. Bibliophobia: Fear of Books


Those with bibliophobia cannot stand the thought of books. Children will avoid school and adults often do not want to go to work if there could be books at the workplace. The fear can be intense and can cause severe symptoms such as panic attacks. The cause is unknown but could be due to reading a scary book as a child or being scolded when they mispronounced words while reading in school or at home.


  1. Hypnophobia: Fear of Going to Sleep


We all know how important sleep is to our health, however, for those with hypnophobia or somniphobia, the thought of sleep is terrifying. When darkness falls and it is time to go to bed, the fear of going to sleep intensifies. They may begin to shake, have trouble breathing, and do whatever they can to stay awake. The cause is usually something that occurred during childhood, such as having nightmares or even the home catching on fire at night.


  1. Lingophobia: Fear of Being Licked


Lingophobia is an irrational fear of being licked. A person that has this phobia will steer clear of animals, especially dogs. The fear can bring on the feeling of being suffocated when they see an animal that might lick them. If a dog licks them, they will immediately run and clean the area with soap and water. The fear of bacteria from the licking is overwhelming. The cause is unknown, but it could be from being knocked down and licked by a dog as a child.


  1. Fructophobia: Fear of Fruits


Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, however, for those with fructophobia, fruits are scary. The thought of eating any type of fruit can bring on an anxiety attack. The cause could be from the thought of swallowing a seed and the fruit growing in their stomach. The phobia may have been triggered by a childhood memory of being forced to eat a fruit they did not like. The cause can be different for each person.


  1. Chrometophobia: Fear of Money


Some people love money and can’t seem to get enough. An individual with chrometophobia is at the other end of the spectrum. They actually fear money. The idea of making money, paying bills, or shopping can bring on shortness of breath and trembling. The cause is different for each person that has the fear of money. It may be from childhood and hearing parents fight over money or it could be from being poor and not having enough money to buy food.


Your Fear Goes Up and Down

Are you someone who would rather climb the stairs than take the elevator? You call it squeezing in a workout after being sedentary the whole morning. Or perhaps you claim it's a faster route. These are both typical, normal, and acceptable reasons. But what if you need to be in the conference room on the eleventh floor in five minutes, and you're wearing your business suit and wingtips? Would you still prefer to take the stairs? If your answer is yes, then maybe it's time to take a closer look at your reasons for avoiding elevators. Elevators stir all sorts of emotions in passengers. From the discomfort of closeness to strangers to the sensations in our gut, elevators can be a source of the heebie-jeebies for many, but for some, they can also be a source of terror. Let's dig a little deeper into the latter, and see what this terror is all about and what can be done to manage it. To begin with, does being inside an elevator give you chills or the sweats? Or does it trigger an unpleasant memory? Perhaps you remember movies you've watched where something terrible happens inside an elevator. From Silence of the Lambs, The Shining, Final Destination 2, or the king of all elevator horror films, 2010’s Devil, the elevator becomes witness to something sinister and horrible. And you want nothing to do with any of it. You know that you're not claustrophobic. You can deal with heights just fine, too. And you know that you're not going to be trapped inside. All of these contribute to a fear of elevators—but they don't apply to you. Yet being inside one does something to you. It's hard to explain.

What is the Fear of Elevators Called?

What you have is a fear of elevators, which is called elevatophobia. It is most commonly triggered by an experience of getting stuck inside either due to a power outage or technical maintenance. Hearing about other people's experiences or watching a movie about similar circumstances can prompt a fear of elevators getting stuck with you inside. Usually, claustrophobics and agoraphobics may also develop elevatophobia because the triggers and objects of these fears are related. Claustrophobia is the fear of closed and cramped spaces, while agoraphobia is the fear of being trapped without any means of escape. Put the two together, and the elevator becomes the perfect combination of both phobias. The space is limited and closed, with only one means of entry and exit. You can add another point of access if you consider climbing the cables like they do in the movies, but that certainly isn't ideal.

Symptoms of Elevatophobia

If for some reason an elevator stops due to an outage or some technical difficulty, passengers with elevatophobia may go into full panic mode. Even if the maintenance team advises that it will just be a matter of minutes, by then, the person's mind has become irrational with the fear of the elevator falling, being stuck for hours, or other unpleasant thoughts. You would expect a person to exhibit the following physical symptoms: Additionally, you would be filled with that overwhelming anxiety where you feel that you have zero control over the situation. You start fearing the unknown and are filled with negative thoughts about death and imminent doom. You become irrational and unresponsive.

Possible Complications of Elevatophobia

When the panic sets in, the possibility of emergencies related to pre-existing conditions may make themselves known. This might include serious health crises like heart attacks or asthma attacks. When this happens, fear becomes a medical emergency. Elevator rides do not last long; it's just a matter of minutes or even less. But the fact that a person can escalate from panic to a near fatal medical situation classifies the fear of elevators as a 'hard phobia.'

Trying Some Self-Help Methods

Your fear of elevators can likely interfere with your social and work life and relationships. Not everyone understands that elevatophobia, like most phobias, can be crippling. But don't be disheartened. Depending on the level of your fear and level of control, you can gradually face and manage your phobia. Here are some recommendations you can try:
  1. Make a List of Everything that Entails Riding in an Elevator This is a systematic approach to getting over your anxiety. By following a step-by-step process, you can identify where the fear kicks in at its strongest. You can write a list of steps like pressing the topmost button and waiting to arrive on that floor, watching as the door closes and opens, being alone inside the elevator, or having delays with the doors opening. Now try doing the opposite. For example, face away from the door or occupy yourself with your phone so that you are distracted.
  2. Create Your Fear Ladder Although the name says fear of elevators, it is not the whole process that scares you. There are just phases and parts of the elevator riding experience that cause you to panic. So go back to the list you initially created and label the fear level you feel. You can do it numerically, too, like ten being 'really scary,' six, 'manageable scary,' and one, 'not scary at all.' You can put the corresponding fear levels so you can focus more time and effort into activities that are more scary to you.
  3. Face Your Fear By now, you have identified what scares you the most. You can try repetitive action to minimize your fear and increase your sense of ‘normalcy’. Remember that the longer you expose yourself to your fear, the better you get at handling your emotions. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stop. Pushing yourself too fast and too soon can backfire. Modify your pace and go slower instead.
  4. Talk About Your Fear People by nature, unfortunately, are not quick to offer understanding and support. You need to tell them what's wrong before they can empathize. Talk to someone who you trust and ask for their support, especially in the initial phase of overcoming your fear. If you are too afraid to ride the elevator alone, you can ask them to go with you, and before you realize it, you are on your floor, and there was no indication of panic.
  5. Learn To Be Patient Be patient with yourself and your predicament. This is, after all, your fight against fear. It might take hundreds of elevator ride practices before the fear gets under control. Even then, there might be some hesitations and episodes of nervousness. These are acceptable and expected, so cut yourself some slack and congratulate yourself for every progress.

Seeking Professional Help

Along with self-help, you can always enlist a medical professional's aid to support you with your elevatophobia. Talking to someone who has experience with similar cases can be comforting, because you know that you are not alone, and this situation can get better. Talk to your doctor about the severity of your fears and the symptoms that you experience. Explain how you deal with it in an attempt to control it. An exam and a health history are made to ensure that there are no unrelated or underlying problems that your symptoms might mask. Usually, phobias like this are approached with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Your doctor will talk about these options with you, and it's entirely up to you, with your doctor's recommendation, what you want to pursue. For psychotherapy, the most common type is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to help you find different ways of behaving, thinking, and reacting when about to step inside an elevator or when already inside it. With medications, there are beta blockers and benzodiazepines, but note that these can have side effects. Whatever these side effects are, you should promptly share it with your doctor.

Simple Tips to Overcome Elevatophobia

Elevators are not perfect, but their likelihood to malfunction, fall, or get stuck is very low. If you are not fully confident with this information, you can help overcome your elevatophobia by learning common elevator safety tips and basic elevator operations. These should help curb your mild fear until you become more self-assured. In addition to that, here are some of the things that you can do to gradually overcome your fear of elevators—both in getting on and riding one.


Yes, elevatophobia can be a challenge in today's world, but don't allow the elevator to win. Don't let it stop you from taking a job on the top floor or attending a social gathering on the rooftop. Sure, you can take the stairs if you insist and arrive winded and sweaty, with the party about to wrap up. But is this the quality of life you seek? Elevators are designed to make life easier. There are guaranteed ways to help you overcome elevatophobia. Take the first step and seek help. Soon, you’ll see yourself breezing through the floors with those arduous stair climbs little more than a memory.
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now