10 Best, Strangest, & Real Phobias

Published: September 17, 2014

This list has been compiled because I suffer from one of these phobias, and know others with each of these phobias. They are ranked by how invasive they would be in the sufferer's life. Every phobia in this list are fairly rare compared to more prevelant phobias such as the fear of hights, or spiders. All of the phobias are real and have a significant number of sufferers, no matter how odd they seam. All phobias are irrational and are a product of mental instability, which means most are treatable with medication and/or therapy. If you know anyone with a phobia, and it interupts their daily lives, please help them get help. Nobody should have to live in fear.

  1. Chronophobia- Fear of time passing

    From the Greek chronos, meaning time, chronophobes are afraid of something they cannot escape from, time. This disorder is most commonly found in the elderly, as they perceive that every second going by is their life slipping away. This disorder is also commonly found in prison inmates who have been sentenced to a long incarceration period. To them, time in jail seams never ending, and looking into the future when they are let out into the free world as an elderly member of society doesn’t help their anxiety. Medications can calm the nerves of these sufferers, as well as various types of therapies common to treat specific phobias. Meditation has also been a successful form of treatment that can be very helpful to relieve anxiety and pressures of the phobia.

  2. Barophobia- Fear of gravity

    For most people, gravity is a fairly comfortable reality, but some people see it a bit differently. From the Greek Baros, meaning weight, Barophobes have a fear of gravity. Most barophobes fall into one or more of these three categories, fear of being crushed by the forces of gravity, fear of falling (different from fear of heights), or the fear that gravity might stop working and everything would float away. There really isn't any way to get away from this phobia, as gravity is a part of our lives on earth. A good therapist may be able to comfort the sufferer enough to help control the fear.

  3. Hypnophobia- Fear of falling asleep

    From the Latin Hypnos meaning to sleep, Hypnophobics fear falling asleep. Sufferers are either afraid of slipping out of control, afraid of consistent nightmares, or simply stressed out about having less time to be productive or to spend leisure time. Some have experienced a traumatic event upon waking, such as falling asleep while smoking and waking up to being on fire, or waking up to a child missing. The treatment of choice is cognitive therapy to expose the irrationality and to reduce anxiety.
  4. Ablutophobia- Fear of bathing

    This is the irrational, unwarranted fear of bathing, showering, or cleaning oneself. From the Latin ablutere 'to wash off’. Ablutophobics tend to be women and children more than men. The fear is described to be caused by being completely covered by water and being stripped of the skins natural oils. In order to keep clean, sufferers use alcohol or disinfecting wipes that contain no soap in order to wash their bodies. Sufferers say they have no issues with going to the beach or swimming in pools.

  5. Haphephobia- Fear of touching or being touched

    This is simply an extremely exaggerated fear of one’s natural desire for personal space. Haphephobics express their condition as a fear of contamination by touch or invasion of personal space. Some sufferers are born with it and some develop the fear over long exposure to sexual or physical abuse. One sufferer describes the feeling of being touched as “burning like fire” causing him to freeze up, or lash out in defense.

  6. Mageirocophobia- fear of cooking

    The fear of cooking is called mageirocophobia which comes from the Greek word mageirokos which means a person skilled in cooking. This disorder is a bad situation for someone living alone or caring for children. Sufferers of mageirocophobia can have fear rooted in many different aspects of cooking, such as fear of cooking processes including cuts, burns, or fires, or fear of cooking something that doesn’t taste good, or fear of cooking food that cause illness. Some mageirocophobes avoid their fears by going out to eat for every meal, which can make this disorder extremely expensive.

  7. Agyrophobia- Fear of crossing the street

    Agyrophobics have a fear of crossing streets, and highways. They feel as though crossing the street will result in bodily harm, even if there are no cars in sight. They will still be fine with driving a car on or across streets, but as soon as they have to walk, the terror sets in. This phobia is considered independent from the fear of cars. Needless to say, you won’t find an agrophobic anywhere near the city, where walking across a street is pretty much mandatory. 

  8. Omphalophobia- Fear of belly buttons

    From the Greek Omphalos meaning “Navel” Omphalophobes are terrified of belly buttons. Most sufferers express that they fear seeing the actual action of touching a belly button, especially their own. Experts say that the root of this fear stems from knowing the belly button was the opening of the umbilical cord during pregnancy and therefor is an open connection to their inner organs. Several celebrities such as singer Jenny Frost and television personality Khloe Kardashian have admitted to becoming physically ill if someone touches their belly button. Extensive therapy and medication can help those suffering from this disorder.

  9. Gephyrophobia- Fear of bridges

    Gephyrophobes may not be as scared of walking as much as actually driving over a bridge. This fear can be so intense that people will drive hours out of their way just to get around a bridge, or they will organize their life on one side of a bridge. Some states, such as Michigan, that require a bridge to quickly join the Upper Peninsula to the mainland provide a service to gephyrophobes thousands of times a year where a member of the bridge authority will drive the sufferer’s car across the bridge for them.

  10. Hylophobia- Fear of trees or wood

    From Greek hylo meaning wood or trees, hylophobes fear the forests and worry over wood. Most cases of hylophobia are caused by a traumatic experience in a forest, such as being attacked or getting lost. People who were also injured by wood, such as a fallen tree or beaten with a stick may also suffer from this disorder. This disorder may haunt an adult’s life, even if they have completely forgotten the incident that has caused it as a child. Viewing the incident as an adult is one of the main forms of treatment for this disorder.

There you have it, the top ten best weirdest phobias that I personally know of. What are you afraid of?