Bizarre Phobias

Tom wrote to ask about the reality of a site called The Phobia Clinic. At first glance, the site definitely looks like it represents a real business that's selling a program to help people overcome their fears. The strangeness comes when you dig into some of the fears that they claim they can cure, and you have to wonder... do such fears or anxieties really exist? For example, they can cure you of Arachibutyrophobia (that's a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth), Ballistophobia (a fear of bullets... but why would anyone want to overcome their fear of bullets? Isn't that a good thing to be afraid of?), Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words... the name of the anxiety alone probably sends sufferers into convulsions), and the list goes on and on. Despite all the weird anxieties, I think that the Phobia Clinic is real enough, in the sense that they'll take your money and offer some kind of 'cure.' But I'm skeptical about whether their cure actually works.


Posted on Fri Nov 21, 2003


They have 'Harry Potter Movie Audition Fear' as well, and also 'Fear of Heaing (sic) a Certain Word'. You've probably already worked this out, but it appears that the pages are autogenerated, using a wordy template into which the name of the fear is dotted at certain points. I'm guessing that they only have one 'therapy' (the 'Home Study Kit' which they sell*), and that the vast number of phobias are there to net people coming from Google. And also to get some free publicity from sites such as your own 😉
* My thoughts on this are that (a) the box looks fake and (b) it's available via PayPal, a fine service but not one you'd associated with a major company and (c) SHIPPED FOR JUST $9.97 plus $97.77 after 30-day trial seems a bit disingenuous.
Posted by Anonymous  on  Fri Nov 21, 2003  at  02:47 AM
Those phobias do actually exist. I've heard of Arachibutyrophobia and Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia before. Although I've never known anyone who's actually suffred from these anxieties, I don't doubt that they exist. People suffer from some pretty strange phobias now days.
Posted by Cathy  on  Fri Nov 21, 2003  at  09:06 AM
On your inquiries when discussing the Phobia Clinic, those are, indeed, some real phobias that people have had. A complete index of phobias can be found a, including some of the stranger ones you're bound to find. "Aeronausiphobia" is the fear of getting sick in a plane. "Caligynephobia" is the fear of beautiful woman (and actually more common than you'd expect in both sexes). "Defecaloesiophobia" is the fear of painful bowel movements. And obviously the list goes on and on and on. People have some pretty strange fears. I just doubt the method on this site would work toward curing them.
Posted by A Girl Named Goo  on  Fri Nov 21, 2003  at  01:47 PM
The phobias listed on the Phobia Clinic site are real phobias. I have been interested in phobias for years, and why there are such phobias. Like the one about peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth - yes, strangely enough, there are people out there who have a real fear about this. And, my favorite is the fear of long words... and the phobia name is a long word. Yes, this is hilarious, but real. All the phobias I have looked at on that site are real phobias. As for the legitimacy of the site's promise to help these problems, I sincerely doubt it.
Posted by Matthew D. Ward  on  Sun Nov 23, 2003  at  04:20 AM
"Arachibutyrophobia" (which should be spelled "Arachnibutyrophobia") is, I believe, the fear of rubber (butyro) spiders (arachnids), and nothing to do with peanut butter (although I have seen that mistranslation on the web somewhere before). I think it was coined no later than 1972 as part of a humorous essay on phobias. I regard it as a legitimate word. On the other hand, the "hippo..." term used for "fear of long words" is hokey because it uses word particles thrown together with triple redundancy.
Posted by mark brown  on  Sun Nov 23, 2003  at  04:47 AM
Sounds like another Cult of Scientology front group attempt.
Posted by TampaUSA  on  Mon Feb 02, 2004  at  12:47 PM
Well I've been plagued by aibohphobia (fear of palindromes) for years. I didn't find a mention of it on their web site!
Posted by Russell  on  Wed Aug 04, 2004  at  06:14 AM
I have a huge fear of touching paper if ive got wet/damp hands, or touching damp/wet paper at all. It really makes me feel sick and weird.

Is there a name for this anywhere?
Posted by Angel  on  Tue Mar 01, 2005  at  07:56 AM
Anyone know what the name is for someone who is scared of midgets? or dwarves?

Posted by Bex  on  Thu May 05, 2005  at  08:20 AM
The nearest thing I could find appears to be made up for an RPG, Bex:
Khuzdophobia. Fear of dwarves.

A slightly more professional website said that there is no technical name, however.
Posted by Boo  on  Thu May 05, 2005  at  08:33 AM
reading these posts has been quite intersting... i acutally have a fear of midgets.. not sure how it happened..and find it intersting that others acutally do have this same fear. i was wondering if anyone who actually has this fear can tell me how it all started for them it would be great..
Posted by Lesley  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  05:42 PM
Arachniphobia here...
Posted by Mark-N-Isa  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  06:07 PM
I have an irrational fear of spatulas. I think my Mom may have had a waffle scare when I was in utero. Or in Delaware... yeah, Delaware. They have a lotta waffle accidents there, at least they did until Dupont invented Teflon, and your skin didn't stick to the waffle iron anymore, like it did back in the fifties. Go ahead- go up to any Baby Boomer and bark like a waffle. They'll stop, drop, and roll in a heartbeat. I had a neighbor who lived accross the street from me as a kid, who could not stand the sight of a pickle. He would go into an involuntary pucker that consumed his whole face. We would taunt him with our pickles, and he would run away screaming "GGNNNOOONNNGGH", in the stranglehold of a death-pucker. I miss those days, but I'm still scared of spatulas, teflon coated or not. brr
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  06:21 PM
Poor Hairy...
Posted by Smerk  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  06:45 PM
dude! i know what you mean for years i have had a completly irrational fear of wet paper, mostly things like klenex, toilet paper, straw wrappers ect. i thought i was the only one... weird....
Posted by gaby  on  Sat Jun 11, 2005  at  06:47 PM
NO!!! OMG!!! i seriously can't agree with the paper thing more. i've talked to so many people and they're all like, "what's wrong with you?" i seriously feel sick when i touch paper with wet or damp hands. it drives me crazy. or wood. i can walk on wood after i've gotten out of the shower. it's disgusting. i want to know the name.
Posted by janelle  on  Tue Jul 12, 2005  at  10:54 PM
I have a fear of touching sheets and other cloth, especially right after I've clipped my nails or taken a's kind of like when you hear someone scratch a chalk board (oddly enough, that doesn't bother me). Does anyone know what this might be called?
Posted by LeAnne  on  Wed Aug 24, 2005  at  09:15 PM
Fear of midgets- im petrified actually anyone know of the politically correct term for the fear of midgets! Even afrai to get a new job in case theres midgets working there! Very bad...........
Posted by J-9  on  Thu Sep 08, 2005  at  09:25 AM
I am defecaloesiophobic and agoraphobic
I must be special. or retarded
Posted by B  on  Fri Sep 09, 2005  at  11:31 AM
I have a problem with paper aswell, but any kind of paper. Plain sheets, cardboard, and now it's going to paper tissues aswell. I feel like someone is scratching their nails along a blackboard when i touch paper. Or even look at paper and think of having to touch it. I can't stand this much longer.
Posted by Kiki  on  Sat Sep 10, 2005  at  07:57 AM
i have a fear of midgets..i feel terrible about it. i got it when i was about 6 and flipping channels and i saw least im pretty sure thats when it started. everytime i see a..little scares me and i feel absolutely awful about but i cant help it.
Posted by jess  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  09:53 PM
wow jess, i totally agree with you! I developed a phobia of glue sticks and midgets. I feel really bad about the midgets but oompa loompas really scare me. The glue sticks is quite different, i have a phobia of getting stuck to a wall/pole/ etc. etc. is there a name for this?
Posted by Nath  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  10:14 PM
I have a problem touching paper when my hands are damp also. I've had this problem as long as I can remember. Wood, cardboard, anything like it, can bother me with even the very thought of touching it.
Posted by arp004  on  Sun Oct 09, 2005  at  07:41 PM
i have Arachniphobia :(

they freak me out.
just looking at one makes me feel
really anxcious.
i know that they cant really hurt me.
but damn they look scary.
Posted by james--  on  Thu Oct 13, 2005  at  01:52 AM
In reguards to the others with phobias to paper I as well have the same problem. The thought of paper, cardboard, styrofoam, erasers and many other things similar give me the same feeling as nails on a chalkboard and when I experience this I have the uncontrollable need to grind and rub my nails into something soft or usually like my pant covered legs along with grinding my teeth as well.
Also when this happens my muscles will tense up.
Posted by Michael Scheck  on  Thu Oct 13, 2005  at  03:16 PM
Papyrophobia- Fear of paper.
Posted by Michael Scheck  on  Thu Oct 13, 2005  at  03:27 PM
OMG I'm not crazy afterall. the touch or feel or even the sound of someone closing a cardboard boxes drives me nuts. I feel it in my teeth and fingertips. what is the name of this phobia? is there a cure...
Posted by Todd M  on  Fri Oct 14, 2005  at  12:23 PM
o.O I have that paper/cloth phobia. If I just get out of the shower, I have to dry my hands before picking up my clothes.
Posted by Eddeh  on  Fri Nov 04, 2005  at  03:26 PM
for as long as i can remember i've had a fear of Midgets or dwarfs. When i was little if i were to in a grocery store with my mother and see one i would just start crying. Now whenever i see one i have to leave immediately. Once i was going into a gas station to pay for gas and there was a midget working there she was standing on a chair and i didnt really get a good look at her, i just saw her out of the corner of my eye. when i finally realized she was a midget i dropped my money and ran. I kinda felt bad afterwords but theres really nothing i can do about it. They scare me. Luckily i had the exact change. :
Posted by BR  on  Sat Dec 10, 2005  at  08:41 AM
Help I am absolutely terrified of little people!! I have just met my girlfriends' Dad only to discover that he is under 5 foot, and i dont know the scientific size for a dwarf but this is enough for me. Panic attacks, cold sweats and an uncontrollable feeling of dread that xmas is coming.... and that means families together.... please help!!!
Posted by Kurt Wallace  on  Tue Dec 13, 2005  at  03:43 PM
I also have the fear of touching wet paper. Any kind of paper that is wet absolutely grosses me out and really disgusts me. I can though touch the paper if I have gloves on. My friends gave me the nickname hydopapryophobe for my fear because its the fear of water and paper combined.
Posted by Hydropapryophobe  on  Mon Jan 09, 2006  at  10:45 AM
I am terrified of spines! Everytime I think about it I get all tensed up and want to throw up. I don't know how it started, but just the sight of skinny people bending over and their spines showing through their skin gross me out. Just typing this is making me sick! Also, I don't like achilles tendons. The thought of them makes me sick and I always think they are going to snap and it makes me sick! Is this an awkward phobia, or do other people not like spines or achilles tendons either?
Posted by Dana Casbon  on  Tue Jan 17, 2006  at  05:34 PM
I have an odd fear of sheets. I cant bear the thought of them touching my skin or anything. Also I strongly dislike white pillowcases... anyone know the name of this?
Posted by Twinky  on  Mon Jan 23, 2006  at  04:40 PM
When I was a kid, I had a fear touching scratchy towels, and scratchy material, and also people chewing on fabric, like kids at school chewing on their sweater sleeves, :ahhh: it used to make me want to scream and pull my hair out. Does anyone have any idea what that would be called?
Posted by Kirsty  on  Fri Feb 17, 2006  at  02:35 AM
I saw a pickle-phobe on Maury, and an online article says she's a real Sioux Falls waitress - but c'mon, pickles? Besides, a crew member walked right past her with a huge tray of pickles right after she ran screaming from the stage, and she didn't even flinch.
My b.f. freaks out if he sees anyone touch a Kleenex with wet hands.
Posted by sme  on  Sat Feb 18, 2006  at  08:01 AM
does anybody know the name of a fear of foam or styrofoam?
Posted by cecile  on  Sat Feb 18, 2006  at  06:22 PM
I have a fear of midgets. I always dream that they are chasing me, in the hundreds. I think you could call the styrofoam fear "Styrophobia" or "Styrophomia", I don't know make something up.

I have a fear of computers too. Wait..ahhhhhhhhhh!

I know a person who had a fear of hair and shaves his head bald and well.... his whole body.
EVEN THE EYEBROWS. He looks really odd of course.
Posted by Carter S  on  Sun Feb 19, 2006  at  12:25 AM
I am deathly afraid of little people. I have panic attacks when i am near one, to the exstrem of hypovenalating and crying. I cant move i ant to run away but cant! I really feel bad about it but can't help it. When i see them i have dreams about them chasing me for the next few days. when i see them on t.v. i have to jsut walk away or stop looking because i will get creeped out. I know i am not the only one who has a fear of them but yet i cant find out any info on my "condition" or whatever you want to call it. If anyone knows the name of the condition or have any advice let me know please! thanks
Posted by Belinda Oertel  on  Mon Feb 20, 2006  at  01:01 AM
i seem to have a fear of scratching on a chalkboard. when ever i see one, my back shivers!
what should i do?
Posted by Caitlyn  on  Sat Mar 11, 2006  at  08:11 PM
i also have a fear of spiders!
they make me fear like i'm about to through-up!
anyone have any sugestions?
Posted by Caitlyn  on  Sat Mar 11, 2006  at  08:15 PM
im only fifteen,
but i have so many bizarre phobias.
first is styrofoam i cannot touch it.
its the grossest feeling, and makes a disgusting noise.
i also cant stand aluminum foil,
cotton balls, nail polish remover.
i cant stand when people look at my neck,
it makes me freak out, and yell.
and if they touch my knees, i cry.
because i think my kneecaps gonna shatter
into likea million pieces, or something
i cant stand when my hands are wet; and wrinkle up
and ever since i was real little. i would hold my hands in fists.
until they dried.
i dont like to touch paper, or yellow pencils.
its annoying, because everywhere i go,
im always asking for a different cup, or somehting.
my sister helps out.
she'll touch anything styrofoam for me.
and at restaurants she always takes my paper placemat away.
and the paper on straws and napkin holder-things.

eh; i cant stand that.
if anyone else shares these bizarre phobias, write back.
Posted by Abby  on  Sun Mar 12, 2006  at  12:32 AM
I can not STAND styrofoam....or cardboard...I can be around it, but at work they ask me to fold them up and carry the boxes and I just cant...

I also HATE the feeling of really anything on my feet except carpet and some fabrics. I cant stand felt on my feet, or hardwood floors or some other things, gives me chills....
Posted by Sydney  on  Mon Mar 27, 2006  at  10:01 PM
lollypopguildophobia is the fear of midgets. They may be small but i can spot one in a crowded market and cross the road or turn down side streets to avoid crossing the path and having them look at me.I am a grown man nearly 40 and they reduce me to a wreck
Posted by alan  on  Mon Apr 03, 2006  at  01:35 PM
Does anyone know what the name is for a fear of cardboard???
Posted by Heidi Veeder  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  05:30 PM
Here you go everyone:
Posted by Ian  on  Thu Apr 13, 2006  at  12:48 AM
ok well it's not really a fear of paper... it's a fear of paper scratching against itself, if that makes sense. whenever i hear the noise i can't stand it and i take the persons paper away. i get really anxious and really scared. if it goes on for too long i feel physically sick...

also, i can't stand someone ripping or rubbing something through styrofoam. or the squeakiness of it...

but the paper thing has been with me since i can remember...
Posted by jarrod  on  Tue Apr 25, 2006  at  10:11 PM
I HATE COASTERS!!!! YES YES YES FOR THE WET PAPER THING WOW I AM NOT ALONE!!! and isn't it so so so so awful when like a waitress gives you a cup and SETS IN ON YOUR NAPKIN! i just want to strangle her! but not really don't worry. WOW! :D but yes coasters and wet paper!!! oh and overly large things like um a penny the size of a pool
Posted by Joolie  on  Thu Apr 27, 2006  at  08:12 AM
i hate styrofoam more than anything in the world. If i see it my hands swear and i sometimes get anxiety attacks. It is everything about it.
Also if things are too soft or mooshy. i dont know. its wierd but i wasnt sure if anyone felt the same.
Posted by Ashaleigh  on  Thu Apr 27, 2006  at  06:29 PM
I have a great fear of dwarves. It started out as just a fear of Oompla-Loompas (Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory). My fear than grew to dwarves in general. I can't find any information on it, so I guess it's more rare and unusual than I previoulsy thought. If anyone can help me find information about my fear of dwarves, it would be much appreciated.
Posted by Rene'  on  Sun May 21, 2006  at  04:29 PM
I have a fear of touching wet hands and feet, I cannot go swimming as if anyone even brushed passed my hands or feet I would feel physically sick. I could not shake hands with someone who had just washed their hands, it's the sensation of wet wrinkled skin, if someone was to even talk about it I would get goose bumps and feel sick. I can touch wet skin if it is not hands or feet. I cannot even rub my own wet hands together or let my feet touch when they are wet. I know of one other person who suffers from this but do not know what it is called or how to get rid of this fear, does anyone know? it is something that has always affected my life.
Posted by shirley  on  Sun May 28, 2006  at  04:16 AM
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