Weirdest phobias

Weirdest phobias and fears, some of them suffered by celebrities and other famous people.

Bad luck: Fear of Friday the 13

In Europe or Latin America, the fear of Tuesday the 13th is more common (that’s why we hear phrases such as [literal translation, in Spanish it’s a rhyme] “On Tuesday, do not get married or embark”) but in the United States, they have paraskevidekatriaphobia: fear of Friday the 13th. The word arises from the scientific term for the fear of number 13 alone (triskaidekaphobia).

The origin of this superstition may have been born in the Middle Ages and could be related to the biblical story of the Last Supper, where there were 13 people present and a famous traitor. The publication in 1907 of the popular novel Friday, The Thirteenth by Thomas W. Lawson may have contributed to this, as well as -many decades later- the saga of horror films starring the infamous serial killer Jason.


Stephen King has it: Number 13 phobia

Is it possible to be the “Master of Horror” and have fear? Yes, and Stephen King is the living proof.

The writer suffers from triskaidekaphobia, that is, fear of the number 13. An example of his strange relationship with the number: When I’m writing, I’ll never stop work if the page number is 13 or a multiple of 13; I’ll just keep on typing till I get to a safe number.

Same thing happens to him when he’s reading: he won’t stop on pages such as 94, 193, or 382 because -you guessed it- the sums of these numbers add up to 13!


Button phobia: Steve Jobs suffered it

The fear of buttons is called koumpounophobia and is suffered by approximately one in every 75,000 people today.

One of them was Apple’s CEO; this could explain his love for turtleneck sweaters.


Poor kittens: Cat phobia

Historical figures as famous as Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon were afraid of cats.

This phobia may indicate that the sufferer feels fear or disgust for them so we can’t be sure what each of them felt when seeing a kitten.


That word is too long

It sounds like a bad joke but the term for the phobia of long words is actually very long: hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia comes from “monster” and “hippopotamus” although it also contains part of the Latin term sesquipedalian (literally “a foot and a half long”).

Sesquipedalophobia is usually accepted in formal texts although, in general, people refer to this phobia simply as “fear of long words”.



There are many phobias related to language and words; this is one of them.

“Onomatomania” used to mean an irrational fear of a particular word, according to Oxford Dictionaries. Today, it is used to describe a very common situation: the frustration of not being able to find the right word for something, although others use it for quite the opposite, the extreme love for or obsession with words.


Public speaking? Worse than Death

Polls show that Americans are more afraid of speaking in public than of their own death.

Every year, Chapman University studies the greatest fears of American citizens (they call it America’s Top Fears). According to them, they fear public speaking “very much” (28.4% feel afraid or very afraid).

This phobia outweighs the fear of being robbed (21.6%) or dying (21.9%). Other funny but increasingly common are the fear of clowns (6.8%), zombies (8.5%) and robots (23.9%!) because people are afraid of being replaced and losing their jobs.


Fearing Halloween

Can you be afraid of the most terrifying night of the year? Of course. The fear of Halloween exists and is called samhainophobia, a word that comes from the Celtic term Samhuin, All Saints’ Eve for Christians.

The causes of this phobia may be related to religious beliefs, although we can also blame the habit of watching horror movies that night, including the famous film “Halloween”.

It is also common for some children to have nightmares and refuse to go out trick-or-treating.

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