The Museum of Hoaxes
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Jennifer Love Hewitt's Disappearing Breasts
Van Gogh's ear exhibited, 1935
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
Bizarre pictographs of Emmanuel Domenech, 1860
The boy with the golden tooth, 1593
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Mule elected G.O.P. committeeman, 1938
The Nobody For President Campaign, 1940 to Present
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)
I WAS LOOKING FOR THE WORD FOR 'A FEAR OF MIDGETS!' I have a friend who is terrified of them and I was trying to locate the word for it. Good to see there are others so it is a legitimate phobia that deserves a legitimate lexical context.
Posted by Jeff  in  San Francisco  on  Fri Sep 29, 2006  at  03:08 PM
I also have a phobia of fabric on teeth.

If i see anyone chewing on fabric, or tissue paper, I completely freak out, and it makes my teeth feel funny, and I salivate

it is happeing now just thinking about it!
Posted by Hilary  in  New Zealand  on  Wed Oct 04, 2006  at  04:04 PM
I have a fear of carpet and wet dirty materials like rags, towels, t-shirts, mesh,etc. I can't look at these things or even thouch them. When I go to the movie theater I have a differcult time trying to sit beacause I wont sit on the seats. Does anyone know what kind of phobia this is?
Posted by Melisa  in  New York  on  Fri Oct 13, 2006  at  10:35 AM
OH MY GOSH!! I am not the only one. As long as I can remember I can NOT touch paper with wet hands. I just can't. It grosses me out so bad I mean disgusts me. Any kid paper. I get the ebie jebies. My husband and friends this I am so strange. I am glad to know that others can relate. Is there a phobia name for it?
Posted by Angie  in  West Des Moines, IA  on  Fri Oct 13, 2006  at  11:03 AM
Well let's see ...
There's aibohphopia, the fear of palindromes. Then there's phobiaphobia, the fear of phobias; and what about phobiaphobiaphobiaphobia, which is the fear of unbounded recursion.
Posted by Russell  in  Melbourne, Australia  on  Sat Oct 14, 2006  at  06:07 AM
Ive got a fear of no I cant type it!The last one!!!!!
Posted by Haggii  in  the land of Boo  on  Fri Oct 20, 2006  at  03:18 AM
hello im 15 and i too have a fear of people touching my kneecaps too. My family and friends used to think it was weird or i was making it up or something , because i used to get really scared about it. Now that I know that Im not the only one with that phobia I thank you for i feel much beter about it now knowing Im not the only one who doesnt like there knees been touched.
Thank You XXX
Posted by ainslii  on  Sun Oct 22, 2006  at  10:53 AM
so im pretty much deathly afraid of midgets for no reason. i will not watch Charlie & The Cholocate Factory. and i will turn and go the other way when i see one. i really feel horrible for it too. i also cannot stand when the dentist puts cotton or anything like it in my mouth. that is the worst feeling ever. oh and i hate when people put anything that is fabric like in their mouths and when little kids chew on their jacket strings. i get chills and i almost throw up. i'm pretty sure there aren't names for these phobias which makes them even worse. anyone on the same page as me?
Posted by amanda  in  Cali  on  Thu Oct 26, 2006  at  09:45 PM
HElp i am so scared of spiders everything about them creeps me out everytime I see one i want to scream and run away as fast as i can and for the record i'm a guy but damn it they could be anywhere with their webs and stuff i mean crawlin all over the place not that one spider bite will kill me but they're just to creepy anyone got any ideas
Posted by Cory H. Hurst  on  Thu Nov 16, 2006  at  12:32 AM
i'm so scared of spiders it's not funny everytime i see one i want to run out of the room screaming and someone else to kill it scoop it up and put in a river that will carry it a million miles away and i'm a guy i mean come on why me anyone else have any suggestions
Posted by Cory  on  Thu Nov 16, 2006  at  12:39 AM
oh MAN!! i totally get what you're saying about the dentist putting cotton stuff in your mouth. gyahhhh.. SO gross. i'm also absolutely TERRIFIED of being injected with something by a needle, as in getting vaccinated. i can handle having my blood drawn a bit better (even though i'm still getting stuck with a needle.. ughh!), but just.. that feeling of the substance being injected into your body.. AAAAAAAAGH. that's gotta be my worst fear ever. i can't even watch someone get a shot. i border on psychotic behaviour if i ever have to get one. crying, screaming, everything. seriously. it's pretty sad. ><

needless to say, i'll never have to worry about developing a heroin addiction. =^)
Posted by Kitty  on  Sat Nov 18, 2006  at  01:31 AM
i'm 19, by the way. ><
Posted by Kitty  on  Sat Nov 18, 2006  at  01:33 AM
woah i defianlty thought i was just weird but i have a fear of any type of wet paper.. especially napkins.. it completly groses me out and makes me sick
Posted by Emily  in  the world  on  Sun Nov 19, 2006  at  10:51 PM
can anybody tell me if they too have a fear of the following and if possible whats the phobia name for it??? It would be a great help.

Wet paper, touching or even seeing it
licking paper/stamps or envelopes
wet wood (the thought of drying a wooden spoon makes me cringe!!)

Thanks
Posted by Si4martie  in  UK  on  Mon Dec 04, 2006  at  10:08 AM
To Sarah in Canada: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!! I was just telling someone about my insane fear of napkins and searched for it on the internet and found your post. I can't find anyone else with this fear and all of my friends and family think I am nuts! The sound of fingers rubbing on napkins makes my spine tingle and my skin crawl. Thank God there is ONE other person in the world that has the same phobia!
Posted by Madonna  in  Arkansas  on  Thu Dec 07, 2006  at  01:05 PM
im agoraphobic...and I have a fear of pickles...I dont know what thats called though.
Posted by Kodi  in  oregon  on  Tue Dec 19, 2006  at  05:28 PM
I HATE cardboard...the feel, the color, the sound it makes when you open a box (like scraping). I have no clue why, but I just can't stand it. Since I can be around it, I don't think it's a phobia (yet), but I try to avoid it when I can.

Yeah...random...
Posted by Bea  in  CA  on  Fri Dec 29, 2006  at  02:32 PM
I have a horrible fear of midgets! I can't help it, and I know it's horrible and I'm the nightmare of politically correct people. I have been searching for the correct term forever. I really just freak out, it's not my fault, though, if I could control it, then I would. =[
Also, whenever I touch rocks, or chalk, or rough things, my whole body tenses up. I wouldn't call it a fear, it's just...uncontrolled reflexes. =[
Posted by abby  in  florida  on  Fri Dec 29, 2006  at  11:34 PM
I am a 30 year old man and when I see a midget I am mortified. I grew up very religious and in the Old Testament of the bible there are 2 references to giants. The bible clearly explains that giants were the offspring of humans who procreated with fallen angels. There is no proof of this ofcourse only faith, but it lends the question; are midgets also the product of some type of other worldly breeding gone bad. My fear of dwarfs is driven by a fear that they are not "all" human. I feel threatened by them and I feel that they all grow up knowing their true origin and even worse - when they're around me they sense that I know what they know. I am wondering if other peoples phobia is rooted in the same type of thought as mine.
Posted by Chad Turner  in  Tennessee  on  Sun Dec 31, 2006  at  02:51 AM
What do you call the fear of paper rubbing together? I have it and it drives me crazy it's like my skin gets turned inside out!! HELP
Posted by Chris  in  oxford uk  on  Tue Jan 02, 2007  at  04:41 PM
My mother has a thing against ears. She always comments about people's ears, and asks frequently if her ears are showing. Is that wierd? She also will not admit it, but she is hydrophobic. She will take a bath or shower, but if we want to go to the ocean, lake or pool, she will comment about being careful about getting your head in the water, and how can anybody dive or swim because it's so "unnatural."

My mother had a friend who has a fear of tomatoes because "they are ugly." She wouldn't touch a tomato, or permit one to be in her sight. She would eat ketchup, but never ever want to look at any tomato, even canned or sun-dried. That's wierd.
Posted by Linda  in  Orange County, California  on  Fri Jan 05, 2007  at  05:19 PM
I am So glad to hear that I'm not alone. The sound of cardboard boxes scratching against eachother, even thinking about cardboard, sends chills down my spine, ooohhh... - sort of like nails against a chalkboard. Also styrofoam makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable. The worst is when I have to open boxes with styrofoam packing..OMG.
Posted by Kathy  in  new york city  on  Tue Jan 09, 2007  at  09:46 PM
I realized today that i have a fear of fingertips touching fabrics or any material. Before today I never understood what was going on, I always have had long nails since i can remember...and today i chewed them all completely off...And I lost my remote in the couch and i couldnt even bare to touch the cushion with my fingertips..I had to put a glove on just to pick it up...and before, Whenever people would scratch their leg through their pants or anything I would cringe, tense up and grit my teeth and I just want to SCREAM!

Now what the heck is that called??? How can i stop that..I cant stand not being able to touch fabric without a glove on, its getting OLD!

please help lol
Posted by Sara Ventimiglia  in  Pennsylvania  on  Fri Jan 12, 2007  at  03:58 AM
Dose anyone know what the fear of belly buttons is called?
I hate them, i cant stand seeing people put their fingers in them or touching my belly button. It freaks me out sooooo badly.
Posted by jo  in  England  on  Mon Jan 15, 2007  at  02:42 PM
My daughter has been told by psychiatrists that fear of touching paper is a real problem and it is out there. Hers is an obsessive compulsive disorder and also a sensory disorder as well. She cannot touch dry feeling paper. Only smooth feeling paper such as magazines. She must have lotion on her at all times to keep moisture in her hands. She only touches toilet tissue because she has to obviously. Just saying the word PAPER around her makes her cringe. Also being near people whistling is very difficult for her to be around. But I do not have an actual name for this either.
Posted by Sheila Pachesny  in  Michigan  on  Sat Jan 20, 2007  at  12:27 AM
Umm ok since a few years ago I relized that whenever I look at feet for more then two seconds I start to have a panic attack. I start to get really sick and uncomfotable...even with my own feet. I hate for people to touch my feet. I also refuse to touch other peoples feet as well. Do you know what that phobia is called?? I know what caused me to be scared of feet...But what I don't know is what it's called.

Cam
Posted by cammie  in  california  on  Wed Jan 24, 2007  at  08:13 PM
Does anyone know the name of the phobia for losing fingernails is? Ever since I was the unfortunate witness of an accident involving bicicle stokes, I have had this fear of losing my nails. I have looked all over for the name. I know there is a fear of losing teeth but Im not to sure about nails.
Posted by alyssa  in  san diego, CA  on  Sun Jan 28, 2007  at  03:10 PM
i am terrified of a boob. not both ..... just 1! i guess its just b/c the nipples look like eyes staring out at me!!! I mean its usually the left one, and when i see thAT LEFT PEAK, i have to cry &i run awway from it, & thats why i only have sex with a girl when her bra is on, or when her left boob is covered up by a napkin....its b/c of my old daycare teacher that had 3 boobs!!!yes 3. it was always just another lump there...scary!!!
Posted by nik  in  alaska  on  Mon Feb 12, 2007  at  05:45 PM
fear of porclin dolls
Posted by n/a  in  n/a  on  Tue Feb 13, 2007  at  04:47 PM
I have searched high and low for the name of the fear of styrofoam. The noise, the smell, the touch...I can't do it. I get severe panic attacks.
Posted by Sarah J  in  MA  on  Thu Feb 22, 2007  at  09:19 AM
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