The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Crown Prince Regent of Thulia, 1954
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
Jean Gauntt, the Immortal Baby, 1939
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
Fake Fish Photos
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
The boy with the golden tooth, 1593
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
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.
Categories: Psychology
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 21, 2003
Comments (449)
There's a woman in my office that has a phobia of cardboard. Why is that and what is the proper term for that?
Posted by Jacqueline  in  SLC, UT  on  Tue Aug 28, 2007  at  11:39 AM
Oh dear... I knew googling my napkin phobia would turn up *something*. I've been terrified of wet/crumpled napkins for as long as I can remember. If you wet a napkin and put it near me, I WILL scream, even in a restaurant. I can't stand to see people crumple up their napkins and throw them in their empty food boxes/drink containers; it makes me physically ill. I also hate when people use wet toilet paper to clean stuff... Like cuts. When I was little the grown-ups always used to clean my cut knees with wet toilet paper and it used to stick in the cut!! Or leave rolled up specks of toilet paper all over me!!!
Posted by Meghan  in  Trinidad  on  Wed Aug 29, 2007  at  06:31 PM
I have a phobia i think thats what you would call it of my hands drying whehn i get out of the bath or shower or even when i have just washed them, i am unable to touch anything when i get out of the bath until i have plastered my hands in cream the thought of it makes me cringe!!! there is only one other person i know who has this and its my cousin! is this classed as a phobia?? Also we can not stand certain things on our hands susch as powder, chalk, dust dried clay or mud! HELP!!!!
Posted by Serena  in  Droitwich Spa Midlands  on  Thu Aug 30, 2007  at  07:39 AM
Wow, someone feels the same as me. I absolutely HATE napkins. Touching them makes me shiver. And when you rub a nakins against itself. (I literally just got the goosebumps).
Posted by Gil Semple  in  South Carolina  on  Thu Aug 30, 2007  at  06:19 PM
i have a fear of oompa loompas. now i dont have a fear of midgets or little people but even the song from the movie can put me on edge. i sweat when i hear about them or hear the song. what is this fear called?
Posted by mathias  in  omaha, NE  on  Sun Sep 02, 2007  at  08:42 PM
Hi i can not stand the touch of carpets jeans or wool clothing, i also can not stand touching most things after i have washed my hands, it actually puts me off washing them, i also can not bear to go to sleep with out vaseline on my feet or cream because of the feeling of the bed sheets on my feet, so dry it awfulalso walking on carpets especially cord carpets, urgggh helllp
Posted by leanne  in  manchester  on  Sun Sep 16, 2007  at  02:57 PM
i have the fear of something touching or peircing the middle of my hands. weird, right? i hate it. if someone even holds out their hand and pokes their own palm i freak out. it's really uncomfortable for me.
Posted by lily  in  usa  on  Fri Sep 28, 2007  at  01:04 AM
I have a fear of touching paper when my hands are wet oreven a little damp... does anyone know what this is called? I really wanna know. I've looked just about everywhere there is to look and found nothing.
Posted by Sano  in  AZ  on  Mon Oct 01, 2007  at  08:57 PM
So I've been searching for this phobia and I can't find it anywhere. I have this fear of losing my fingernails. Even as I'm typing this I keep pressing my fingertips together as if to keep them in place. Nails on a chalkboard, digging into something with my nails or watching someone do it, scary movies with threats and removal of nails...you name it. freaks.me.out!!! Anyone feel the same or know the name?
Posted by Jerrold  in  Los Angeles  on  Fri Oct 05, 2007  at  03:30 AM
MY name is Emily and my whole life I have had a fear of Fingernails and Toenails. Everytime something is wrong with nails I freak out and shivver up and go crazy. All my friends fell so bad for me cause almost everywhere i go somebody is biting their nails, or doing somehting abd to them.
I've looked the internet to see what the name is called but I can't find it.
I would really love it if you could help me.
I want to overcome this fear but I just can't. =[
Posted by Emily Smith  in  Arlington, Tx  on  Sun Oct 07, 2007  at  06:30 PM
i am afraid of things that are sticky. it is a recent development. i was always a little bothered by it, but i can remember a period of giving in to the fear. hearing about wet paper, styrofoam, dry skin...these things sound creepy too. i can empathize. here is what i think. i think that it is secretly and morbidly fun and fascinating to have these fears. i think that in my case, i gave in to mine. i could give into more as well. i want to understand if other people think the same way. i believe that there are probably some people who are truly helpless to their fears, but some of us....i think i am not the only one who can choose.
Posted by jim  in  detroit  on  Wed Oct 10, 2007  at  10:24 AM
I have the biggest fear of memory foam. Like tempurpedic matresses make me want to cry and throw up. It's something about the way they smell and how its the exact concept of quicksand. Does anyone else feel this way about the stuff?
Posted by Jenny  in  California  on  Thu Oct 11, 2007  at  08:44 PM
i get made fun of all the time becasue i have a big phobia of cotton balls people chase me around with them I HATE IT
Posted by kendra  in  fairmont minnesota  on  Fri Oct 12, 2007  at  01:55 PM
Thank you Emily! So I'm alone on this. I'm not as sensitive about the nailbiting, but it does make me nervous and cautious. I keep looking a definition and I've spoken with a therapist about our fear and she was unfamiliar with it too. She's going to look into it and hopefully we'll have a better understanding of it :/
Posted by Jerrold  in  Los Angeles  on  Sun Oct 14, 2007  at  04:38 AM
Wooden items, the feel of them is AWFUL, makes me cringe espically wood spoons and if they are wet, GROSS!!!! When a doctor tries to put that yukky wood tong in my mouth, watch out it's THROW UP time. I even passed this phobia down to my oldest son even!!!
Posted by Jill  in  Sacramento  on  Sat Oct 20, 2007  at  12:53 PM
Ok so i have ocd and theres many many things that i have to do and cant touch.
Styrofoam is one of them.I find it very discusting.
Getting my hands wet.
If i wash my hands or get them wet (both of them have to be)i cant touch anything else until i dry them.
If i do one thing to on of my hands i have to do the same with the other or the rest of my bodie.
Say i step on a rock with my left foot, i must do the same with my right.
I freak out when i step in water but mainly when im wearing sox.I immediately take them off my feet.
Most soft material bothers me.Like the roofing on the inside of a car bothers me just like the carpet.
Deep water and dark empty spaces freak me out.
i just cant be near it.
Im very scarred of hospitals,growing old and oddly twins.
Ive have to shower 2-4 times a day or i start scratching my skin because it feels dirty and diseased.
I must keep everything in my room or house in a perfect order and when i go out to the store or something im always fixing stuff and putting them in a straight line.
I cant stand paper and when it rubes up against another piece.
The last thing is open drawers or doors.
I find myself often closing them if i see them open.
Posted by Breanna  on  Sun Oct 21, 2007  at  07:40 PM
i totally have an irrational fear of chalk as well! i have NO idea how it started, but it is ridiculous! (it is possible that "nails on a chalkboard" had something to do with it...) in order to not embarrass myself in front of my whole class, i have to tell my teacher that i'm allergic to it, so i won't be stuck having a panic attack at the front of the class o_o i REALLY wish i knew what this type of phobia is called, however...SOMEONE enlighten me, please!
Posted by Melissa  on  Mon Oct 29, 2007  at  10:53 PM
I have a phobia of chalk too! The thought of it never getting off of me doesn't cross my mind or eating it like many others do but i am scared of the feel of it! The texture and the sound it makes on the chalk board is enough to get me cringing about it for the rest of the day. The worst part is i work with children so when ever they have chalks out i have to leave the room or look away and cover my ears!
Posted by Dawn  in  UK  on  Mon Nov 05, 2007  at  05:21 PM
I work in a restaurant, and a part of my job, is I have to roll silverware in napkins. I can't do it. I am absolutely repulsed when I touch napkins, chalk, cottonballs, or even if someone rubs a dry napkin on my skin. I get goosebumps!! Of course everyone makes fun of me, and chases me with said objects. But I think this "phobia" started with corduroy and velvet clothing when I was little. Is this called something? I know I'm not crazy...I've googled myself out, and this site was the best I could come up with.
Posted by Summer  in  Colorado  on  Wed Nov 07, 2007  at  03:02 PM
I too have a fear of chalkboards, i have for years. I'm not sure what caused it. Just recently my teacher (eeeekk) scratched one and i had nightmares for several weeks, even when i took naps. It's gotten to the point where if a professor takes notes on a blackboard i usually have to leave the room. just the thought them makes me cringe.. the smell, the texture, and all of the terrible things you can do to them. I experience similar reactions like digging my nails into something soft or grinding my teeth. to a lesser extent i'm bothered by scratching or rubbing cardboard/paper... and the metal tabs/spouts on the top of a morton salt shakers that made that terrible shreik when you open them.. crazy? maybe. Alone? not anymore... lol.. thanks for listening.
Posted by Lauren  in  Central Florida  on  Thu Nov 08, 2007  at  01:13 AM
OMG I thought I was the only one that was afraid of styrofoam. Cardboard boxes, dry paper like phone books or papertowels ughhhhhhh....they make my skin crawl. I get goose bumps and my muscles tense up. It is terrible. I thought I was crazy!
Posted by Lynne-Marie  in  Ocala  on  Wed Nov 14, 2007  at  05:27 PM
A colleague of mine has a phobia of those boxes that McDonalds use to hold the drinks, and old type egg boxes too. He also has a slightly less reaction to tinsle. But the moulded cardboard box phobia makes him quite violent. Any ideas??
Posted by Kevin  in  UK  on  Thu Nov 15, 2007  at  10:46 AM
I would like to admit, to the general public that I am extremly afraid of air. My life is just a struggle against life itself. I can't get to sleep as i realise i might breathe the air, im so scared, and im all alone..
please help me, can't breathe...
Posted by Fred  in  Mars  on  Tue Nov 20, 2007  at  07:11 AM
LOL is there a name for my phobia of people licking food off their fingers or of people eating fat off food? it makes me really nauseus and i wanted to know if other people have this problem too.
Posted by Nia Brown  in  Virginia  on  Thu Nov 29, 2007  at  06:02 PM
cannn someone please tell me what the fear of aluminum foil is?
Posted by April  in  shreveeeeport, LA  on  Mon Dec 10, 2007  at  08:05 PM
i have a very bad case of iophobia (fear of rust). I just cant stand the smell of it. this and brass. ugh.. it makes me vomit. i also cant stand that feeling you get when you bite metal and the taste of it. i have panic attacks often and my vison becomes distorted. Also... the way the rust peels off its just... disgusting....
Posted by Allen  in  London  on  Mon Dec 17, 2007  at  06:09 PM
I have a fear of my feet touching the floor. like its ok when i walk, but if im standing still or sitting down its terrible. i always get in trouble in school beacause my feet are up on the chair or my knees are against the desk. but i can stand it. i mean i dont have bad panic attacks just a compulsive urge to put my feet up. its almost unberable. especily beacause i play the saxophone.
Posted by Erin  in  U.S.A michigan  on  Tue Dec 25, 2007  at  06:53 PM
I AM TERRIFIED OF MIDGETS.

KHUZDOPHOBIA ITS CALLED?

I CRY AT THE SITE OF THEM...HAVE PANIC ATTACKS AND THEN USUALLY PASS OUT.

NO IDEA HOW THIS FEAR CAME TO BE BUT I WANT TO BE A NURSE SOMEDAY SO HOWS WILL I TREAT MIDGETS?
Posted by Marilise B  in  Victoria, BC, Canada  on  Wed Jan 02, 2008  at  10:41 PM
i have a phobia of abnormaly huge things and i was cursed with a 9 inch slong so now every time i pull down my pants i start freakin out wat do i do
Posted by alex ferguson  in  dallas texas  on  Mon Jan 07, 2008  at  02:26 PM
Hi there!

My mum's asked me to look on the net for the technical term for a fear of whistling. She has it really bad and thinks it brings bad luck.

Can anyone help because for the first time, Google can't!
Thanks

Amy :o)
Posted by Amy  on  Sat Jan 12, 2008  at  09:48 AM
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