Even if you consider yourself to be pretty tough, it’s likely there’s something out there with the ability to sends chills down your spine. As it turns out, there are strange phobias out there we had no idea existed— and we might even have them.


Almost everyone has a phobia of something— even celebrities. Despite Travis Scott’s obsession with them and even having a tattoo of one, Kylie Jenner has an intense fear of butterflies. While one of the most powerful women in the world, Oprah feels panicked by chewing gum. In an interview with Jamie Foxx, she admitted: “Even now I don’t allow gum in the building where I work.”

But before we go any further, there’s an important distinction to be made between a general fear of something and a full-blown phobia. You might have a fear of clowns but can grin and bear a performance by one at a children’s birthday party. Or you may dread flying on an airplane but have managed to travel across the world.

Harvard Health describes phobias as a “persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear of an object, person, animal, activity or situation.” It’s a little more intense than any run-of-the-mill worry because it’s a type of anxiety disorder and can trigger distress, panic, and extreme reactions. While some of these strange phobias might seem, well, strange, it is important to remember that they are very real to the people experiencing them.

After researching loads of strange phobias, we are convinced there is a phobia for practically everything.


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A fear that is certainly new, but very real.

During a 2010 study in the UK, the term “nomophobia” was coined to describe the fear of being without a cell phone. Whether it’s because of low battery, bad reception, or a lack of wifi, nomophobia this is something we can all, unfortunately, relate to. The word is an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia,” and if never letting my phone drop below 20% battery is a symptom, I might just have it.


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We think Kim Kardashian might have this anxiety.

Do you remember when Kim Kardashian was invited on stage by Prince and she refused to dance, so he kicked her off the stage? It’s probably not her proudest moment, but she’s admitted that she hates dancing. It’s even come between her and husband, Kanye West. “Like, it was our biggest fight that I don’t dance at Kanye’s concerts,” she told Khloe during an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Kim might have chorophobia, a fear of dancing that even a few cocktails can’t resolve.


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Some people find facial hair terrifying.

If Drake has proven anything, it’s that some men look incredible after growing a beard. But for some, the rapper’s look is one that will evoke horror. Pogonophobia refers to the fear of man’s favorite rugged facial hair and comes from the Latin word “pogon” meaning beard. This suspicion of beards can be caused by a traumatic experience with a bearded person or the fact that the hair covers the majority of a person’s face, but that changes from person to person.


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Does the thought of winter make you break out into a cold sweat?

Dreading cold can manifest in a phobia called cryophobia, which can be extremely complex. According to Very Well Mind, it can manifest in different ways; some might be afraid of winter weather, while others get chills touching cold objects. This is common in people who have experienced bouts of hypothermia, fallen through the ice, or been stuck in a snow storm. This is one of those strange phobias that totally makes sense, given more context.


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Black Friday is the most terrifying day of the year for people with this fear.

Turns out, women are more affected by a phobia of crowds, otherwise known as enochlophobia, than men. Feeling panicked by crowds can mean missing out on a hot sale, but it’s also quite challenging when you live in a busy city, need to catch public transport, or want to attend a concert. It’s often associated with the debilitating agoraphobia, a fear of being in situations where things can go wrong.


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Peanut butter is delicious, but things get scary when it gets stuck.

Being wary of food sounds like an arduous reality, but we really empathize with arachibutyrophobia, a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. People who have this phobia aren’t scared of the creamy and buttery jar of goodness itself, but fear this specific situation playing out. It’s associated with other neuroses related to choking and sticky textures.


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Dinner parties are stressful, but they can be terrifying to some.

Walking into a dinner party and knowing the night is going to be filled with small talk can be intimidating to most people, but for some it’s unfathomable. This phobia sees people loathing dinner conversations, carrying on a discussion while eating, and even dining with others. Sometimes this is caused by a perceived evaluation from others during dinner, or more specifically by traumatic events.


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Hot takes are not for you.

Allodoxaphobia is a fear of hearing other people’s opinions — which is not to be confused with doxaphobia, which is the fear of expressing opinions. This intense aversion to someone’s beliefs is rooted in a person’s own insecurities. Hearing others’ views may trigger a paranoia that the sentiments being expressed are in some ways about themselves— especially when those feelings are negative in nature. We can think of a few celebrities whose strange phobias probably include this one.


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This is one of the more common strange phobias.

Remember getting vaccinations at school and being filled with dread? Well for some, this fear follows them around. Belonephobia can result in patients at hospitals refusing pain relief following serious surgery, while others just pass out at the thought of injections. Sometimes this can transfer to being petrified of toothpicks, safety pins, sewing needles, and even sharp knives.


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Your own shadow might be your worst enemy.

Almost every horror film builds suspense with menacing shadows, so the root of this phobia is clear to us. Sciaphobia is the fear of shadows and reminds us of those times as a kid we were weirded out by our own jagged, long-limbed shadows. While shadows can’t hurt anyone, they can cause intense panic attacks and general anxiety.


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Must avoid carnivals.

You probably already knew about this phobia, but did you know it had a name? Coulrophobia is the vehement fear of clowns. Everything from their threatening grins, cracked ivory faces, giant feet, and ability to fit more clowns into their tiny cars is downright terrifying. And movies like Stephen King’s horror novel It play on this fear. Of all the strange phobias, this one seems to affect the most folks.


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There are levels to this demonic number.

If you feel trepidation at the number 13, that’s called triskaidekaphobia, but hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is the fear of 666. Rooted in religion and superstition, the number 666 appears in the Bible’s Book of Revelation, and it is stated as the “number of the beast,” a reference to the devil. But 666 also recurs in pop culture as a symbol of imminent danger in doomsday movies.


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Did trying to pronounce the last phobia freak you out?

Ironically, hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary, but it also happens to be the name for a fear of long words. Sesquipedalophobia is subsequently a shorter, more succinct moniker for the very wordy phobia. While the American Psychiatric Association doesn’t officially acknowledge this neurosis, these long words sure are making us dizzy.


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Some people have a sweet tooth out of necessity.

Watching babies, dogs, and cat lick lemons and limes on YouTube is a good way to pass the time, but have you ever wondered if those babies grow up to fear citrus… or even sour tastes? While acerophobia is extremely rare, it exhibits itself as fearing the mere thought of tasting sour foods, let alone the actual experience itself. Be nice to your babies.


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Do you need a night light to get to sleep?

Being afraid of the dark generally begins in childhood. While night lights are normal when you’re five, it’s not so socially acceptable 20 or 30 years later. This excruciating worry stems from being unable to decipher things in the dark, hearing strange sounds, and even sleeping alone, which can affect sleeping patterns and eventually leading to health problems.


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Do rhyming lines send shivers down your spine?

Some of these strange phobias are extremely uncommon, but according to Very Well Mind, having a phobia of poetry is more prevalent than you think. Turns out most people develop this fear in school when an overeager teacher encourages students to break down and decipher complex poetry, soliloquies, and rhymes.


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It’s supposed to be a scary time of year, after all.

While Halloween is generally a fun, campy, and whimsical time of year filled with candy and silly activities, for people with samhainophobia, it can be a nerve-wracking time. With everyone’s lawns, stores, and homes decked out in skeletons, blood, and undead zombies, there are few places left to find solace during this spooky time of year.


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For people with this phobia, beautiful women aren’t just intimidating.

Models, celebrities, and actresses are lauded for their good looks and charm, but have you ever seen a person take one look at Beyoncé and melt into a puddle of anxiety? Probably, but usually not for this reason. Poor self-image and self-esteem can be behind the cause of venustraphobia, the fear of beautiful women. For some who feel they are unattractive, the presence of gorgeous women can make them feel vulnerable, fearful, and even dizzy. Best to avoid Hollywood— and Queen Bey.


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Some people dread bad news, but have you ever worried about the good?

While most of us thrive with the announcement of positive news and fall apart with the delivery of the bad news, euphobes experience the opposite effect. The cause of this phobia is remarkably relatable, and come to think of it, a lot of us may have the beginning stages of euphobia. Have you ever thought you had good news only to find out you were wrong? Phobia Source uses one example of a woman winning the lottery, only to realize she had the wrong date but the right numbers. After this, bad news can seem comfortable, making triumphs all the more suspicious.

Do you relate to any of these strange phobias?

It seems that we might be exhibiting a few pesky symptoms and need to lay down and be grateful we don’t have a fear of the couch.


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