Phobias (experiencing irrational fears) aren’t as uncommon as one might think. Lots of people experience them, and some are stranger than others. So we did some digging and found what many consider the most unusual phobias ever.
You may be wondering if you or a person you love is experience one or more of them. So here, then, is the list along with some interesting facts about each phobia.
1. Fear of Paper (Papyrophobia)
This phobia affects people in different ways. Some are only afraid of blank paper, others of torn paper or wet paper. Actress Megan Fox has admitted to a fear of dry paper. This phobia can be especially difficult to deal with because paper is everywhere and unavoidable.
2. Fear of Bathing (Ablutophobia)
Ablutophobia is the overwhelming fear of bathing, cleaning, or washing. It’s an anxiety disorder that falls under the category of specific phobias. And yes, it affects humans, but the dog in the picture seems a bit anxiety-ridden by it, as well.
3. Fear of the Sun (Heliophobia)
If you have a medical reason for staying out of the sun, are concerned about skin cancer risks or have a normal aversion to getting sunburned, you may stay out of the sun as a precaution, — that’s NOT heliophobia. Heliophobia is an anxiety disorder. It comes from the word “Helios” (the Greek sun God) and is an intense, irrational fear of the sun. It can involve extreme anxiety of getting skin cancer, or an overwhelming fear of wrinkling and photoaging.
While a lot of those concerns don’t seem too strange, like with other phobias, the reaction here is way beyond normal.
4. Fear of Wet Wood (Oneirogmophobia)
You don’t have to be a vampire to hate this unusual phobia. (Though it does make for a more interesting image.) If the mere sight of wet wood causes you to feel nauseous or break out into a sweat, you probably have oneirogmophobia. Sufferers from this phobia can’t use toothpicks, enjoy a Popsicle, or lick cake batter from a wooden spoon.
5. Fear of Holes (Trypophobia)
Imagine clusters of small holes, bumps, or patterns on people or things. The sight of lotus roots or honeycombs can trigger it in people, and for a while the internet was loaded with hands that allegedly had a flesh-eating virus that created holes in the skin. That last one was fake, but it made trypophobia a more well-known phobia. Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro design even became a trigger for this phobia. The cluster-like placement of the lenses makes people with this phobia uncomfortable.
6. Fear of Chewing Cum (Chiclephobia)
Gross? For sure? But one of the most unusual phobias ever? Yes, indeed!
In fact, Oprah Winfrey allegedly suffers from chiclephobia. Word is she wouldn’t even allow chewing gum in her studio. Winfrey traces her disdain for the chewy goo back to her grandmother, who would save used pieces of chewed gum at the bottom of dinner plates or in kitchen cabinets.
7. Fear of Vegetables (Lachanophobia)
Lachanophobia is the fear of vegetables, so you probably won’t be going vegan or vegetarian anytime soon.
(But, if the VeggieTales characters freak you out, that is NOT one of the unusual phobias.)
8. Fear of Teenagers (Ephebiphobia)
What’s scarier than a collection of teenage mean girls? Absolutely nothing.
However, ephebiphobia is the fear and/or loathing of teenagers. It’s not necessarily as debilitating as other phobias, and many believe it to be created by the media. The concept is that youth are troublemakers who aren’t to be trusted, and when something major happens in society — like a school shooting — society perpetuates the fear. It’s often exploited by companies that want to sell “safety” products to parents who fear what kids may do in the future.
9. Fear of Being Touched (Haphephobia)
According to Medical News Today, haphephobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by a fear of being touched. While some people don’t appreciate other people touching them, or have suffered a trauma that makes them uncomfortable when touched by strangers or others, this is different.
In the case of haphephobia, fear results almost every time the person is touched. It can persistsfor over 6 months, and it impairs a person’s relationships or work life. It’s sometimes called chiraptophobia, aphenphosmphobia and thixophobia.