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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 Alex on Fri Nov 21, 2003
Comments (449)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:
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 wink
* http://www.changethatsrightnow.com/fear_anxiety_program.asp 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  04:47 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  11:06 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 ahttp://www.phobialist.com, 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  03:47 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  06:20 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  06:47 AM
Sounds like another Cult of Scientology front group attempt.
Posted by TampaUSA  in  Tampa, FL, USA  on  Mon Feb 02, 2004  at  02:47 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  in  Australia  on  Wed Aug 04, 2004  at  08:14 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  in  Malvern, UK  on  Tue Mar 01, 2005  at  09:56 AM
Anyone know what the name is for someone who is scared of midgets? or dwarves?

Cheers
Posted by Bex  in  UK  on  Thu May 05, 2005  at  10:20 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  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Thu May 05, 2005  at  10:33 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  in  Cali  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  07:42 PM
Arachniphobia here...
Posted by Mark-N-Isa  in  Midwest USA  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  08:07 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  08:21 PM
Poor Hairy...
Posted by Smerk  in  to mischief  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  08:45 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  08:47 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  Wed Jul 13, 2005  at  12:54 AM
I have a fear of touching sheets and other cloth, especially right after I've clipped my nails or taken a shower...it'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  in  Washington  on  Wed Aug 24, 2005  at  11:15 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  in  London  on  Thu Sep 08, 2005  at  11:25 AM
I am defecaloesiophobic and agoraphobic
I must be special. or retarded
Posted by B  on  Fri Sep 09, 2005  at  01:31 PM
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  in  Belgium  on  Sat Sep 10, 2005  at  09:57 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 leprachaun..at least im pretty sure thats when it started. everytime i see a..little person..it scares me and i feel absolutely awful about but i cant help it.
Posted by jess  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  11:53 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  Sat Sep 17, 2005  at  12:14 AM
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  09:41 PM
i have Arachniphobia :(

SO SCARED OF SPIDERS DAMN IT.
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--  in  melbourne, australia  on  Thu Oct 13, 2005  at  03:52 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  in  Ct.  on  Thu Oct 13, 2005  at  05:16 PM
Papyrophobia- Fear of paper.
Posted by Michael Scheck  in  Ct.  on  Thu Oct 13, 2005  at  05:27 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  in  Memphis  on  Fri Oct 14, 2005  at  02:23 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  05:26 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  10:41 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  in  New Zealand  on  Tue Dec 13, 2005  at  05:43 PM
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