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What Weird Things Are You Scared Of?

What Are You Afraid Of?

This morning, just like every morning, I took a shower. And just like every other morning, I made sure to keep my eyes open THE ENTIRE TIME…

Sometimes, I’ll see a commercial for shampoo or body wash, where the person is luxuriating in the shower spray, enjoying the scent of Herbal Essences with their eyes closed. And I’ll think to myself, “But how will they see the monster?!”

I suspect it began with that blobby bathtub slime thing that frightens Sigourney Weaver in the original Ghostbusters, and only grew from there.

As a kid, I was afraid of all kinds of things. I saw wolves in the shadows (thank you, children’s books, for always casting a wolf as the villain) and alligators in the drains. I lived in perpetual fear that clowns would pop out of the closets. Why? Who knows. Most of these fears have fallen away, but others remain.

In all moments right up until this one, I am low key terrified of other people’s spit. I never want to share a drink, and if some unknowing person takes a sip of mine, I will very quietly put it down and never pick it up again. I picture the saliva swimming around in there, multiplying. I just… can’t.

But if anyone asks, “Can I try that?” in reference to my beverage, I never say no. I good-naturedly offer it over with a smile that I hope won’t give away the panic rapidly unfurling in my heart.

(“How do you kiss people?!” says everyone. My boyfriend is the only person who is exempt from this rule, which means I must like him.)

For similar reasons, I am afraid of Kombucha. There are organisms doing laps in there! I’m also freaked out by aerial trams (they dangle on cables!); every knife anywhere, other than butter knives; and lighting a match. And back when I had a bed frame that left ample space under the bed, I was known to leap into bed from a few feet away. Because of the ankle-grabbing monsters, obviously.

Anyway! I always think it’s interesting to hear about the random things people find terrifying, so…

Do you have any irrational fears? No judgment — the more ridiculous, the better.

P.S. A trick for whenever you’re freaking out and a comic about irrational fears.

(Photo from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.)

  1. ashley says...

    As a child, I was always extremely afraid of automatic car washes. It always got so loud and dark, and I imagined that the giant blue cleaning brushes were monsters.

  2. Rachel says...

    Sharks and ghosts. Both terrify me. I’m a doctor but I still believe in ghosts.

  3. Dianna says...

    I have been fascinated by these comments – I too detest honeycombs, barnacles, blackheads…didnt know it was called trypophobia🤣. But the thing I absolutely cannot tolerate – and I dont think anyone has mentioed it – is the TLC show Dr Pimple Popper…you would have to shoot me before I could watch an episode…🥴

    • LINZ says...

      MEEE TOO! Cantaloupe seeds throw me into a full blown panic attack

  4. Natalie says...

    I have two great fears in life:
    1) Gators and Crocs. And even though I live I Utah, and million miles away from them, I still worry about them all the time.
    2) Nazis. I watched the pianist when it came out and then had to hide under my covers when I went to bed. I had adult nightmares for a week.

    • Meghan Edwards says...

      If you’re referring to Crocs as in the rubbery shoes, then yes, me too.

    • KatieSue says...

      I live in Utah too and I’m scared of crocodiles and alligators too. I’ve met a few others with the same fear and everyone that I’ve met here suspects it stems from the same source. A certain video called Spiritual Crocodiles. I’m curious if your fear has a similar starting point. I can’t even look at them in the zoo or in pictures anymore!

  5. Heather says...

    I’m terrified of elevators. As soon as the doors close, I figure I’ll be trapped for good. If the doors take too long to open, I’ll be sweating and my heart will be racing, and I’ll be wondering why I made the choice to take an elevator in the first place. I’ve been stuck in one once and I definitely thought I was going to die. It’s just not worth it. I’d rather take the stairs, no matter how many flights…way less stress and added health benefits!

    • Kate says...

      Me too! I was also stuck in an elevator (as a child) and now I am so scared to ride in them. I will always take the stairs if it’s an option — no matter how many flights it is!

  6. margaret says...

    I’m terrified of hills. Driving on them especially, or being in the car when someone else is driving, but if I’m walking and my footing isn’t 100% solid, I’m in trouble. My palms will get sweaty and my heart will race and I may actually have trouble breathing. I’ve literally thought about abandoning my car and calling for help, the misery is so real. This is an issue people because I live in the SF bay area.

  7. Rebecca McCormick says...

    I am pretty sure sharks live in dark areas and drains of swimming pools.

  8. Karina says...

    I am TERRIFIED of squirrels. But honestly, I don’t know why the rest of you aren’t. They stare at you with those beady eyes and you just know they’re up to no good. I always have visions of being attacked by them – just jumping on my head and biting my face.

  9. As a child I was terrified of Combos — as in Combos Stuffed Snacks. All my cousins knew so they’d chase me around with a bag of it each time they had it stocked in their kitchen. To make matters worse, one of them had a giant pillow replica of a bag of Combos. I would cry and cry until they’d put it away. Anyway, so glad I’m over that irrational fear. Now it’s one of my all-time favorite snacks!

  10. Heather says...

    My fear is driving at an altitude where’s there’s a significant drop off/cliff on the side of the road. I don’t have a fear of heights. If I’m on foot I’m fine. I just get panicky. Once in Tahoe, there’s a spot where it drops off on both sides and I had to get out and let a friend drive. I held my breath the whole way. I think it’s related to a drive near Big Sur with my dad when we were kids and he was swerving the car and joking we were going to fall off. I also get irrationally angry/upset when dirty water touches me.

  11. Lindsay says...

    I have an irrational fear of sharks in all forms of deep water. I am talking swimming pools, rivers, lakes! It goes back to my aunt telling me to watch out for Jaws in a lake as a kid!

  12. Kera says...

    I have a fear of spiders and scorpions hiding in shoes, but mostly scorpions. I remember when I was a kid hearing stories of people pulling on their boots only to be stung by a scorpion. We would often find scorpions in our home growing up and it stuck in the back of my mind. Even when we moved away from Texas to Maryland as an adult I still continued to check my shoes. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing something strange until a friend asked me why I always shook my shoes upside-down before putting them on. Now that we’re back in Texas and I hear these stories come up every summer, along with the warnings to remember that scorpions travel in pairs, I’m terrified that my toddler will find one (or two) in his room or something.

    • Vanessa says...

      I live in Brooklyn and I check my shoes for (biting!) house centipedes – which look like evil murderous prehistoric monsters – after having one literally crawl out onto my finger from a pair of Vans. You are NOT ALONE.

  13. When my family went to the Grand Canyon, the other tourists were ENTIRELY too relaxed about getting close to the edge. Toddlers were playing mere feet from certain death! People were taking selfies with their feet dangling over the edge! I am not a panicky person, but I had to walk away.

    • rachel says...

      oh no, i cant even read that without getting dizzy and sick

  14. Abby says...

    I am so scared of getting in lakes with nothing on my feet, I can’t help but picture a fish biting off one of my toes. Insane, I know.

  15. Solveig says...

    I am madly terrified of jellyfish. I can even deal with the small ones that I KNOW are harmless. I keep my head down and use my hands like blinders in the jelly section of aquariums and don’t even get me started on the jellyfish scene in Finding Nemo! It’s a funny fear because my favourite animal is the octopus. Honestly, I think the qualities that terrify me in jellyfish are also the ones that excite me in octopi – it’s a fine line between fear and exhilaration.

  16. Amy says...

    This post is making me feel a whole lot less weird. I have three phobias – irrational- and I’ve learned to never tell people who are in my vicinity because it delights them into springing into action and forcing me to experience:
    1. yellow foam. I cannot explain why, but the stuff inside couches and mattresses- a dry kitchen sponge. It causes me to lose my breath even just to think about it. I’m typing this with itchy palms and a disgusted scowl.
    2. Praying mantises. They are UP TO SOMETHING and it’s definitely got something to do with your demise.
    3. Patrick Swayze (RIP) – I dunno. Also Ray Leota.

    • Leigh says...

      Good luck with everything. Keep on fighting because you are worth it and you will figure it out.

    • Sara says...

      I have the yellow foam phobia too! Something about how dry it is. *shudder*

  17. Kimberly says...

    It seems that true fears/phobias are being mixed with quirks…I could name plenty of things that scared me at roundabout ages but as an adult (and I am shocked others have not said this) I am truly terrified of dying. When? How? Why? What happens after? It is so final, you do it alone and the unknown is scary, maybe that is why people agree on such things as space and deep water. What is out/down there!? Also, things out of our control…earthquakes! And bats…I really do hate those things.

    • Sarah says...

      Pangolins. The first time I ever saw a photo of one I had a physical, visceral reaction. I got all sweaty and short of breath, even a little dizzy! Nothing else bothers me, so I was really taken aback by my irrational reaction to an ANIMAL that I will probably never come across!

  18. Asia says...

    Reading the comment on Jo’s post today made me remember what weird thing I am scared of: putting my fingers in bowling ball holes. Just, ew.

    • Mary says...

      I never thought of this……Now that you mentioned it…..I don’t think I can ever bowl again…..ewww

  19. Carmen Tomas says...

    my partner is on a canoe trip and i could not get to bed last night because i was TOO SCARED! i saw the trailer for “US” over a month ago and am still terrified to see my “tethered” self. whyyyyyyyy? so tried today. :-(

  20. Emily says...

    Moths. I hate them. I can deal with every other bug, even spiders but I have this irrational fear they they will fly into my ears while I sleep (I know… that’s earwigs!). and I have an actual phobia of caves. I had to go into one on a work trip and actually cried. I can’t even look at them in video games or anything. No idea where these fears came from hahaha.

    • Cora says...

      I am also petrified of moths. I have trained myself to not get panicky around butterflies, but moths, not so much. I hate that they fly all over the place, you never know when they’re coming toward you. Ridiculous, but isn’t that how fears go?

  21. Nathalie says...

    I’m terrified of clusters of holes, it’s called trypophobia, they truly make me cringe.

    • Natasha says...

      Ugh yes, so gross

  22. Eileen says...

    Driving behind pickup trucks with stacks of poles or ladders sticking outside the bed. Because of the book Time Traveler’s Wife, I get huge anxiety that somehow the truck will stop abruptly and the poles will come flying out of the truck, through my window, and impale me.

    Also of any home invasion with just me and the kids at home and my husband out off town. We have an alarm and a dog, but I still keep wasp spray by my bed as you can spray a person/ hurt his eyes from like 25ft away.

    • Clara says...

      same! I think of that book so often when I am driving. Poor little imaginary kid, losing his mum like that <3

  23. Andria says...

    The vacuum catching fire when it runs over the shreds from an eraser! My teacher used to tell me that would happen🙄She also said we’d get lead poisoning and then lock jaw if we chewed on our pencils too much! Why do adults insist on scaring children to death when they don’t like their behavior!?

    • Kate says...

      I went to a catholic school and in second grade the nun told us that if we sniffed our noses the snot would go to our brain and we would die.

  24. Amanda says...

    For some bizarre reason, whenever I go into an empty bathroom I’m terrified that I’ll discover a dead body or a severed head or something. I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THIS FEAR CAME FROM.

    • KRez says...

      Same!!

      I fear finding a dead body in a bathroom.

      No idea where this came from. Glad I’m not the only one.

      #murderino

    • Amy says...

      bathrooms with the lights off. won’t do it.

    • Lenae C says...

      Omg yes – the thought finding a dead body in a public bathroom stall is something I always think about. Even at work, in my nice, very secure building. Because not only would it be so scary and shocking, it also would then be my responsibility to address the situation. Check for a pulse. Do CPR? Call out for help, call 911. All the things. It’s a lot to think about every time you need to pee.

  25. Rachel says...

    The comments are too scary! I, too, do the bed leap if alone in the house, and can’t allow any body parts to dangle over the edges for the same reasons.

    • Sarah says...

      Lakes. And the ocean anywhere not close to shore. I think I’ve read too much about bodies being dumped in lakes (and some of them being created by flooding an old town.) Basically, any water that’s not clear worries me. And the vastness of the depths of the ocean gives me chills. I don’t understand how anyone wants to go down to see the Titanic wreckage. Nope.

  26. Carrie says...

    A semi throwing a rock which will fly into the window of my vehicle, pierce my brain and I will die. Thanks Final Destination. (also works with loose wheel caps)

    • Mona says...

      My greatest fear is being touched in the armpit, specially the bone one feels in ones armpit, with something sharp.

      As a child I read that according to cannibals the tastiest meat is the armpit of a woman and I just can’t..!

  27. Bianca says...

    Someone hiding in the back seat of the car. I have to check every time I get in, just in case there’s someone creepy back there.

    • rach says...

      oh em geeee, me too!!! and i work nights, so when i go home at 0330 its dark!

  28. Anna says...

    I grew up in a very old house that made a lot of scary noises at night. I couldn’t go to sleep without closing the closet door because the big dark open space across from my bed scared me to death! There was also a huge HVAC intake grate in the hallway that I had to run past because it was so huge and scary haha. Flash forward 20 years and I’m staying in a creepy bunkhouse on a business trip and my room features a huge deep closet with no door AND a huge intake vent on the wall! Also creepy artwork, haha!

  29. Kate says...

    Curtains. But only when I’m awake in the middle of the night. They’re fine in the daytime.

    And getting OFF of escalators. ::shudder::

    • Kelly says...

      My boyfriend and I were at Newark airport and we were on the escalators on our way to baggage claim, with one step in between us, which is odd bc we had no bags so why would we not stand next to each other?

      We were almost to the top and the whole thing jerked and the stair in between us SPLIT IN HALF!! I was on the lower stair and the sudden stop of movement threw us forward and I had to jump over the metal shards sticking up from the split stair!! People rushed over to see if we were ok (we were not hurt).

      I think of this every time I have to ride an escalator. If I must ride one, I must be in a “readied position”, ready to jump from possible exploding escalator stairs!

  30. M says...

    Taxidermy. All kinds. I can’t go in bars or restaurants with any in there–sends me into a full panic. BECAUSE WHAT IF THEY ALL OF THE SUDDEN COME ALIVE AND RUN STRAIGHT FOR ME?

  31. Emily says...

    Not locking my front and back door at night. I double, triple check before getting into bed and sometimes still have to check, just one more time.

    • Katrin says...

      Yup. This! I‘d always been afraid of burglars, and then, when I was 11, we actually had a burglary in our house. All fears confirmed, they skyrocketed – of course. Now it‘s calmed down, of course, but I still have to check almost every night again if I REALLY locked the door and all of the windows.

  32. Elle says...

    OK, I am just going to say it…

    I have this very bizarre fear of any celebrity who is no longer living. Yes, you read that right–I am scared of dead celebrities. I wish I had an explanation for this, but for some reason ever since I was little, I remember being TERRIFIED.

    The weirdest part of this whole thing is that I am enthralled with all things pop-culture and love hearing anything that is celebrity related.
    I may as well have a job at E! news with all the random facts I know about Hollywood’s elite.

    When Heath Ledger died when I was in middle school, I remember being so freaked out that I couldn’t go to school the next day. I could not & still cannot watch 10 Things I Hate About You without getting full blown shivers.

    The list goes on….Brittany Murphy, Bobbi Christina, Luke Perry, MICHAEL JACKSON. I cant look at pictures of them in magazines or watch something on TV when I am alone in my apartment without having to sprint into my bed and pull the covers over my eyes.

    My family and friends all make fun of me and I realize as I type this that I sound crazy!!

    • Shan says...

      You’re not alone! My husband hates it when I play songs by deceased singers. He gets massive goosebumps.

  33. PB says...

    Fire escape stairs in the city falling down when I walk past.

  34. Erin says...

    My list of silly fears is:
    -Mirrors at night (because you never know when some spirit or Bloody Mary will decide to use it as their portal and show up in your mirror).
    -Space. It’s so huge and unending and that terrifies me!
    -Tripping and knocking out my front teeth. I hadn’t thought about that until I saw others mention it and was like “Yup!” But is that really a silly fear? It could happen.
    -Fiberglass insulation. I’m low-key nervous about it and I know it’s because my dad told me when I was little that it was made of tiny shards of glass.
    –Having my closet door ajar at night. Again, portals. Not gonna tempt the monsters!

    This is an odd one, but ever since I discovered that there is a creature like Bigfoot called a Dogman (a huge wolf-like creature that walks on two legs) that a surprising amount of people have claimed to have seen, I’m much more nervous about the woods. It’s infamous in my home state and I’m glad I didn’t know about it while growing up in the woods!

    • Chelsey says...

      Ditto on OUTER SPACE. It’s weird…actual space, planets, stars, etc. don’t bother me at all. I have a real fear of being sent into space, having to ride a spaceship, living in space, etc.! Like if our planet wasn’t viable and we all had to evacuate to space/another planet, I’d just be like…nah I’ll stay here. It’s my main motivator for taking care of our planet :) :) REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE OR SPACEEEEE

  35. Shannon Thompson says...

    Sharks. In the deep end of the pool.

    • Liz says...

      LOL LOL LOL I have this same fear! Also swimming in a pool at night for the same reason.

    • Joanna says...

      Me too! My sister and I only progressed to a certain point in swim lessons – the level that would have required us to swim full laps in the deep end. Nope, not doing it.

    • Charlotte Longenecker says...

      Same here! I thought I was the only one.

  36. Anonymous says...

    Ok, this might be a rather controversial comment seeing as I know some of y’all here are his fans, but here goes: I have a horror of watching Jamie Oliver cook!

    I once watched this video of him making Chilled Cheesecake (which is the dumbest thing ever because it is NOT cheesecake in any sense of the word — true cheesecake is either baked or set with gelatin in the fridge, not the freezer as per his recipe — his variation was basically cheesecake flavored ice cream which had only 2 textures: frozen rock solid or melted!!! Ok end ranty tangent) and half way through to separate the SIX eggs required for the recipe he STUCK HIS BARE HAND INTO THE BOWL OF RAW EGGS AND GRABBED THE YOLKS TO PUT INTO ANOTHER BOWL!!!!

    Y’all, I felt physically ill. 🤢🤢🤢🤮🤮🤮 I’m sure that move required Masterchef level skills but salmonella!!!!!!

    And then he proceeded to wipe his hands everywhere BUT on industrial-strength antibacterial wipe, touching all the other raw ingredients with his bare hands AND dirtied an entire kitchen’s worth of dishes. Y’all. I can accept using more than one bowl if the occasion/recipe really calls for it — as not all of us have an army of assistants to clean up after us — but not the cavalier way he does it. Also that chilled cheesecake is a criminal waste of perfectly good cream cheese.

  37. lh says...

    these are so funny. a similar thread of pet peeves would be entertaining too

  38. Brynn Louise says...

    I sleep with earplugs every night and periodically I can’t immediately get one out, just for a moment I struggle to pinch it out. It instantly fills me with this TERRIFYING primal fear of having them permanently stuck in my ears–of having to go to the ER to have it removed by a doctor.

    • Chelsey says...

      I also have this but with my Diva Cup. If it takes more than a second to remove I panic that its stuck forever

  39. Katie LeFave says...

    Orbs, especially when they are grouped together. Like a bowl of peas or those bath oil ball things. They make me cringe and feel really uncomfortable.

    • Tara says...

      thats called trypophobia and I have it too!! Like, break out into sweat and chills.

    • Me too!! I literally can’t even.

  40. ANN FOLEY says...

    Sunflowers. Big scary reach out and eat you sunflowers. Flowers are not supposed to be that big.

  41. Megan says...

    Flushing toilets in airplane bathrooms. WHAT IF I GET SUCKED OUT?!

    Live fish out of water. NOPE.

    • Annnie says...

      Live fish out of water x 2. I feel physically ill.

  42. Jasna says...

    Glitter!! When I see those particles flying I cringe, I feel as though I am going to inhale it and die :-)

    Also, the saliva thing! If someone asks to try something mine, I cannot finish it after. My friends know and never ask to share drinks. Sharing is reserved only for my kids and partner and I don’t have problem with it at all.

    I also don’t share lipsticks, ever. When I hired a professional MUA to do my make-up for an occasion, I used my own lipstick and I have put it myself. I could never be a model lol :-)

  43. Margot says...

    A past coworker of mine said her greatest fear is wrongful imprisonment. I’d never really thought about it before she mentioned it, but now I’m like, um yeah! Being locked up for something you didn’t do. Omg.

  44. 1. Something lurking under the bed. I remember being kid and my mum watching a crime procedural show, and a hand sheathed in a black leather glove poked out and grabbed a woman’s ankle as she got out of bed in the morning. I’ve never been able to get rid of that visual.
    2. Sleeping without a sheet or blanket on top of me. Must have a barrier between me and whatever is lurking in the dark, which is especially laughable because isn’t a sheet the flimsiest barrier ever? For this reason, tents confuse me – how is that canvas and zipper meant to protect you from anything except rain?!
    3. Frogs in toilet bowls. This is a genuine fear as I grew up in rural Australia and one year we went camping, and my aunt went to the bathroom only to have a frog jump out of the toilet bowl while she was going about her business. I just can’t.

    • Pip says...

      Haha – completely get no 3. I once found a huntsman spider in my toilet bowl and I was living in inner Sydney! I definitely always check now ;)

    • Alexandra says...

      I’ve had the frog thing happen to me! I was traveling in Africa, went to use the toilet and suddenly something frantically jumped against me. It was a poor little frog. Such a horrifying experience.

    • Yulia says...

      Listen to this. Once I was about to sit down on the toilet and for some reason just absently happened to look down as I did it. There I saw a small soft squishy tree frog peacably sitting on the rim. It hadn’t been there a moment ago. If I hadn’t looked down again all those years ago, I would have killed an innocent creature with my butt. Imagine this happening to you. The unexpected squish. The puzzled discovery. The horrific shock. THE CLEANUP. :(

  45. Ashley G. says...

    Does my work email count? For some reason, once I leave the office, I’m too afraid to open my work email on my phone. It’s not about just not wanting to do any work after hours. It’s truly being afraid of what kind of emails I’ll receive. And there’s never been an email that’s been so bad to warrant this fear. I can’t explain it.

    Also, balloons. HELL. NO.

    • Yes! I have the email thing as well, and I think it’s because I know I’ll stew on whatever I find in there and ruin my time away from the office.

    • rachel says...

      i also LOATHE balloons!!!

  46. Amy says...

    Sharks (I live in Michigan—what?!). Decapitation (highly unlikely). Loose teeth (on anyone, even age appropriate kids). Weird bumps on leaves (which I now know are due to parasites which cause the tree to form galls on the leaves, still ew). Clusters of small eggs (as in frog, spider, etc.).

    • Jessica says...

      I once found this cluster of tiny white eggs, all attached to very fine tendrils of what looked like hair, attached to my car’s side view mirror! It was awful, I couldn’t drive without seeing them every time I looked in the driver’s side mirror and I did NOT want to think about those minuscule eggs potentially detaching and flying everywhere once the car picked up speed!! Something about them gave me the *creeps*.

    • Sarah M. says...

      I can not handle missing teeth. Whenever a friend posts a FB picture of their kid holding up the tooth they just lost, I have to block the picture with my hand while I navigate to the menu feature that “hides the post permanently.”

  47. Leah says...

    A snake or a rat coming up through the toilet or tub drain. It happens. My plumber said it happened to him when his dog went nuts one night and he heard splashing around in his toilet. Lifted the lid – rat. Aghhhhhhhhh! My across the street neighbor had a snake come up through his tub drain. Seriously. No. No. No.

    • Diana says...

      My grandma told me a rat came up in her toilet in her house in Florida and every time I use the bathroom there (to this day… and I’m 37) I shut the lid and RUN when I flush! Only in Florida though!

    • Sue says...

      Ugh, yes. I worry about this too. An old X-Files episode had rats swarming out of a toilet, and later some weird monster/human creature also came out of the toilet. So scary.

    • Mia says...

      Yep. I found a live rat in my toilet 2 years ago when I lifted the toilet lid to do my business. I thank my lucky stars I saw it before I say down! I definitely screamed and was frozen in shock and fear.

  48. stephanie says...

    TICKS. disgusting little (real) monsters

  49. Sarah says...

    33 years old, and I still have to try and calm myself every time I swim over a drain/vent in a swimming pool. My heart starts to beat faster, I miraculously pick up speed, and find myself arcing to the opposite side as the vent. I am positive this harks back to watching James Bond movies as a kid (specifically the one where sharks are released into the swimming pool).

  50. Addy Emery says...

    When I was in elementary school, I played recreational soccer, and every time we had a game – without fail – the soccer ball would find a way to hit me square in the face and give me a bloody nose. Now, anytime a ball or something is thrown near me, I flinch and close my eyes in anticipation.

  51. Michaela says...

    I must check the closet, behind window curtains, and under the bed when checking into a hotel room. I am totally afraid that someone is hiding in the closet waiting to attack me or has hidden a camera. The window curtains are the most irrational part, but I have to check.

  52. Casie says...

    I am terrified of anything ever happening to my dog, including but not limited to…
    -dog running out of the house
    -dog eating something poisonous
    -dog getting attacked at dog park
    -dog passing away someday

    I can’t handle it!! Halppp

  53. Maria says...

    Getting hit by a car while I’m on a bike. I really want to figure out how other people do it.

  54. Emily says...

    terrified of developing a shellfish allergy. i would be devastated.
    and, of course, escalators.

    • Hillary says...

      I developed a shellfish allergy in my 30s. You learn to live with it. Yeah, I used to really love to eat shrimp. But you know what I love more? Not having my hands and face swell up like beach balls. Not getting hives the size of pancakes. Luckily, shellfish is a lot easier to avoid than other things. Can you imagine a soy or wheat allergy? Or milk or eggs? That stuff is in like, everything.

  55. oooh wow your spit comment is making me never want to share drinks again! i used to be afraid of the dark (and chupacabras). now i relish dark forests but sometimes still freak myself out (aliens hiding maybe? coyotes, anything could be out there!). i wrote a bit about my actual fears now, less easy to pinpoint but way worse: https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2019/02/0028-i-am.html

  56. Sarah says...

    Glacier calving, any pictures of icebergs anywhere, big ships in water (cruise ships, aircraft carriers). Clearly I watched Titanic when I was too young, but the mass and unseen depth under the water just get me. I watched the new Netflix series “our planet” on Sunday, and it showed glacier calving for what felt like 10 minutes so in addition to crying about polar bears and global warming (because wtf is happening, seriously), but I got the anxiety sweats through that scene, even with my hand clamped over my eyes.

  57. Margot says...

    Milk in a open jug, even a little creamer, grosses me right out and I don’t even use it. It’s my fear of “public milk”. I am afraid that the milk is going bad by the second, and that somehow I will be forced to drink it.

  58. Sara says...

    Sneezing while driving.

    • Miriam says...

      This terrifies me too !!!

    • Yes!

  59. Mara says...

    Sharks… in the shower. If the water turns cold I will literally jump out. I am 43 years old.

  60. Andrea says...

    I have a horrific fear of fire. Growing up my mom was notorious for leaving burners and the iron on (this was before irons shut off on their own). I just knew as a kid the house would burn down and from a very young age always checking the stove and iron. I carry that habit to this day in my fifties. And for some reason I cannot go to sleep unless the shower curtain is pulled all the way closed. I don’t have to look behind the curtain, just have to have it closed.

  61. Amelia says...

    When I was a child someone told me that if you didn’t have a chimney, Santa would come into your house through the bathtub drain. Even though we had a chimney, it TERRIFIED me and I was wary of the tub drain for years after that.

    • Sarag says...

      I’m sorry but this made me laugh so hard…how horrifying and simultaneously hilarious would it be for Santa to come through your tub drain?!?

  62. Nicola says...

    Waking up at 3:00am. When I was younger, I told my grandma that I frequently wake up at that time, and she said, “Oh, be careful! That’s the hit of demonic possession!”

    I still often wake up at 3am on the dot, or worse, 3:33. I always get a chill and then can’t fall back asleep until the hour passes.

    Thanks, Granny.

    • Nicola says...

      The “hour” not the “hit”.

  63. Mac says...

    Swimming in dark and/or deep water. 😬😬😬

    And, I don’t think anyone would love this, but I lose it when I’m spit up on by someone else’s baby. ESPECIALLY if they’re breastfed. I have 3 kids! I should be immune to anything gross kids do! But the thought of curdled, regurgitated body fluid on me, I just can’t. Last time it happened I handed the baby off the my husband and had to wash my arm with soap and water immediately.

    • Agreed!

  64. I’m afraid of the monster in the shower too, if I have to close my eyes because shampoo is falling down my forehead I can feel my heart rate rising.

    The weirdest BIG fear I have is mice. In college I just had a mattress on the floor in a mouse infested house ( how did I live in that apartment???). The landlord sprayed some pesticide that he said “would make the mice go a little crazy before they die”. So I woke up from a nap one day to find a crazy fearless mouse staring me down less than a foot from my face! I screamed and shooed it away, but it’s haunted me since. Now I shudder a little when someone mentions a mouse.

    • Karie Jane Von Allmen says...

      oh my gosh me too. mice. i am covered in tattoos, tough as nails, rock climber, distance runner, sleep outside with the bears kind of girl, but i am terrified of mice. like pass out from fear terrified. i even named my giant tabby cat mouse. it didn’t help.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I am too VERY TERRIFIED of mice. I attribute it to my cousins waking me up one morning by holding a mouse over MY FACE. I can’t even watch tv or movies with mice scurrying about. All rodents give me the heebie jeebies but mice are the worst.

  65. Joanne Corvino says...

    I am terrified of chunky peanut butter. I, for whatever reason, am convinced that the person stirring the peanut butter at the factory teeth fell out and that is why it is chunky.

    • Isabella says...

      *Dying laughing*

    • Caitlin says...

      Omg 😮

    • Laurie says...

      I am DYING at this comment!!! Hahaha, I had to read it to my husband. It’s such a wonderfully crazy thing to think. I have wonderfully crazy thoughts as well, so no judgment, but I will be telling so many people about this and wanted you to know it made me smile :).

    • Jilleun says...

      Ok I used to be terrified of peanut butter as well… but I thought it was going to spread over my esophagus and suffocate me?! It doesn’t make any sense but for years I didn’t eat it!

  66. Jessica says...

    I’m irrationally afraid of slipping while walking downstairs and then breaking something or, worse, dying. While it’s a vaguely rational fear, because I have actually slipped a couple of times, the sheer act of *worrying* about it is the real problem!

    While descending, I start thinking about the possibility of falling, then those thoughts distract me momentarily from the task at hand (walking down them correctly), and then I have a split second of panic because sometimes I actually mess up my walking rhythm due to the distraction and almost slip!

    It’s honestly absurd and drives me nuts… sigh.

    • Ashley says...

      I have this exact thing!

    • Christina says...

      I have asked so many people if they panic and forget how to walk down stairs while walking down stairs and have yet to find a kindred spirit who suffers from this!! I am so relieved to read this.

    • MM says...

      ME TOO.

    • Jackie says...

      I say to myself at the top of the stairs (re:slipping/falling) ” maybe someday, but not today.” It helps.

  67. Kat says...

    Eels.

    • SarahE says...

      Enough said.

      P.S. Not irrational at all.

    • Caraline says...

      Lol totally had this too as a kid and it immediately made me think of The Princess Bride, “Those are the Shrieking Eels — if you don’t believe me, just wait. They always grow louder when they’re about to feed on human flesh.”

  68. Lindsay says...

    I’m afraid to light a gas burner/stove/grill with a torch or match. I’m afraid the gas will be on too high and a giant woosh of fire will burn off all my eyebrows. If the click button battery goes out on the grill I’m basically useless and unable to cook dinner.

  69. Diana says...

    I live in San Francisco, bought a house, and we didn’t get earthquake insurance (it’s EXPENSIVE and we can barely afford this place as is). Not something I feel great about at all but it’s a reality for a lot of people here. I hope we can get insurance someday. So basically every time a bus goes by I’m convinced my house is going to fall down and my family will be ruined financially.

  70. Caitlin says...

    #4….haha YES!

  71. Clare Glynis says...

    Escalators.

  72. Caitlin says...

    Burglars and getting robbed at night. Huge irrational fear that I need to conquer because my husband travels a lot.
    Also, June bugs.

    • Lindsay says...

      My sister was having a bonfire in her back yard and a june bug flew in her ear. She said it was the most terrifying and painful thing ever, until it died and stopped moving. Had to go to the ER and have it pulled out in pieces with tweezers…

      Anyway, I share your fears and think they are sort of rational :)

    • CW says...

      JUNE BUGS! The crunchiness (and juiciness) of them is too much for me to handle. Even my six year old knows they are the only bug that freaks me out. Give me a spider any day. However, when I see june bugs laying upside down on my porch with their little legs moving, I have to flip them over… I feel too guilty to let them suffer and die like that. I shudder from head to toe every time, but at least I have a clear conscience- ha!

  73. Kim says...

    Grease. I am afraid of grease. Guests cannot eat greasy finger foods when they’re at my house because I don’t want their greasy fingers touching any of my things. My husband and daughter cannot touch me after they’ve eaten anything greasy; I will recoil and freak out. Hands must be washed with soap and water; wiping with a napkin is not good enough. I don’t touch chairs or door handles at restaurants because someone’s greasy hands might have touched it. When I cook, I clean grease splatters as they happen, one splatter at at time. But really, I try not to cook anything at all that has the potential of grease splattering. I watch in horror when other people eat pizza, hamburgers, fries etc. and proceed to go about their business without so much as wiping their fingers. Yikes!

    • Hanna says...

      Birds. Since I can remember I am afraid of pigeons, crows and likely any animal with feathers that is able to fly. I hope that I dont pass this fear to my two little boys. Speaking of them, I also panic about them falling out of our 3rd floor windows. I mean its a somewhat rational fear, but really, I run and scream their names when I dont see or hear them for a few minutes. It seems so real.

  74. Emily says...

    1. Frogs and amphibians/reptiles. Knowing that they could be on me and I wouldn’t know it because they are tiny. Terrifying. Also, that scene in the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap where the mean stepmom has the lizard crawl in her mouth?! OMG!

    2. Alan Alda. He was creepy in And The Band Played On.

    3. Apple peels. It’s a texture thing.

    4. Going upstairs without a light on because someone will jump out and kill you, and also taking the garbage outside to the side of the house. Even at 33 I sprint back inside so no one can kill me.

  75. Noël says...

    Oooooh you should check out the podcast “10 Things that Scare Me.” Great short episodes where an interviewee goes through 10 fears. They range from silly to relatable to heartbreaking.
    And I have an irrational fear of my zipper being down in public. In first grade, a fire drill happened while I was in the bathroom. I took fire drills very importantly then, and ran out to leave the classroom as quickly as possible, which meant my zipper was still undone. Some classmate laughed at me, and now, at 41 years old, I am still constantly checking my zipper.

  76. Hayley says...

    Yes! Climate Change scares me the most too. There’s a great book out, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution, which would be perfect for Cup of Jo readers to know about.

  77. Jill says...

    That moment when you’re washing your face and you bend down, close your eyes and rinse the soap off… every time as I come up I fully expect to see someone in the mirror.

    Oh, and Bloody Mary!

    • Erin says...

      OMG, mirrors at night, for real! I just know someday I’m going to look in one and I won’t be the only one in the mirror! Thanks, Bloody Mary folklore!

      I’m also terrified of space. I never realized I was until I started thinking about how endless it is and nearly gave myself a panic attack.

    • Liz says...

      Yes! I’m the same way! When I am up with my baby in the middle of the night I am very very careful NOT to look into the glass mirror over his dresser, just in case I see someone else! Totally irrational but I never peep.

  78. I am an educated, rational 40-something woman and I will not close my eyes under water because I’m afraid of sharks. Pool sharks. Not like billiards schemers, like legit sharks in a swimming pool.

    Also, lotus pods. I cannot. All those little holes. Just, no.

    • Nicole says...

      I have also had a fear of sharks in the deep end of the pool since I was a little kid!

    • Susannah says...

      Yes!! Lotus pods make my skin crawl. Ugh holes

    • Kari T. says...

      Trypophobia! Fear of holes!

  79. Susan says...

    I am afraid of shopping carts. It is fine if I am the pilot of one, but I keep a close eye on other people around me and avoid them. And forget about seeing abandoned carts in the parking lot. They are out to get me.

    Also, clowns, mimes, masks and anything to do with New Orleans.

    I am afraid of bleach, poisons, bug sprays and spray paint. Food remnants left in the sink drain make me ill.

    • Vanessa says...

      New Orleans is my happy place but I cringe at the purple/green/gold color theme. Food remnants, and HAIR, in the sink or bathtub drain make me ILL. I think I just realized my irrational fear. Also cockroaches. Ogoddd

  80. Klara says...

    As a kid, I was terrified of butterflies after one landed on my hand while I was riding my bike. It’s only passed since a few years (I’m 35….) Moths, not so much. Also, the bed-leaping thing for months in a row after I saw The Sixth Sence when I was 18.

  81. Agnes says...

    This is of course a super charming and VERY well written article (thanks Caroline!!). However, I have noticed over the past 10 or so years, probably longer – since 9/11 for sure – but definitely since the Kardashians, that anxiety or phobias have come to be seen as ‘cute little quirks’ but are in fact very dangerous. We complain about poor mental health but then find it so cute when people are afraid of things? When WE are? I remember the Kardashians in years past always saying, ‘I have anxiety!!!’ in a whiny voice about any number of things, and really, it seems to have become trendy somehow to be afraid. Seriously? Fear is not cute or funny. Dealing with it before it gets bigger is imperative. I would say I have claustrophobia, and before long, the more I dwelt on it, I was avoiding elevators and scared on planes. F*&^ that!! No more! And before anyone says I have no sympathy, I am a therapist who deals with people with anxiety every day. This stuff is NOT CUTE. I wish a peaceful mind for everyone.. an anxiety-free life is worth fighting for, no matter how you get there!

    • Vanessa says...

      Thank you Agnes! There are levels and they can get out of hand very quickly, altering your life. Unraveling them takes much longer – but it is totally worth the fight <3

    • Anon says...

      Thanks for this comment. I love COJ, but I admit that I was a bit taken aback by these comments. True phobias are not fun or cute, and it is a gift to live without them.

    • Caitlin says...

      I’m also a therapist and had a similar thought, but I’m ok with the playful tone of these weird fears as most don’t sound like they interfere with day to day functioning. I do hope people who find their fears go beyond quirky and start to keep them from living their lives or consume them excessively know there is help out there. Therapy is the best!

    • Yes and no. Phobias used to rule my life and it helped me to realize everyone has them to some degree (and I had them to the level of OCD). And, frankly, life is a matter of degrees in all things. It’s all fine. Caroline worries about being jumped in the shower. I worry about the band aid at the beach. Someone else worries about not getting earthquake insurance. All equally legit.

    • Nadege says...

      I’ve been scanning the comments waiting for someone to voice that little fears can present as little quirks, but some of these sound like pretty serious phobias. When major life events happen these issues often flare up and become quite debilitating. Sounds like it already is for many here… My sisters anxiety destroyed her marriage and left a major imprint on her kiddo. She found help and it’s made a HUGE difference, but I just want to echo that y’all are worthy of peace of mind and a lives not inhibited by phobias.

    • Eva says...

      None of these seem like debilitating phobias. Nobody that I saw described a phobia that was preventing them from enjoying life. Find one person who isn’t afraid of sharks, cockroaches, spiders, or the dark. This is just human nature – it’s healthy and fine to bond over.

  82. Teo says...

    OMG – I’m still terrified of closing my eyes in the shower too. As a kid I was always convinced that Chucky doll from Child’s Play would materialize. I can’t count how many times I’ve stung my eyes washing my face because of this, haha.

  83. Sarah says...

    The idea of seeing J. Lo out in the wild. A few years ago I randomly read that she’s my height, 5’5″, and this very specific chill ran at my spine. I’m not a superfan but I respect her hustle, and the fact that she’s my size and we’d be eye level (even in all of her power!) totally pales me for some loopy reason.

    • Marissa says...

      If it helps, she’s way shorter than that in real life. She’s impossibly tiny. And also: I live in Miami and have never randomly run into her here (I’ve only worked with her when it was expected), so it’s unlikely you would find yourself face-to-face. (But I’m sure none of that helps :))

  84. Meghan says...

    Jellyfish. They are the most terrifying things on the planet: they can see, but they have no eyes or brains. That is not natural. When I was little, and we were on vacation in Portugal, my dad made the mistake of telling me about Portuguese man o’wars (the jellyfish with the longest tentacles). For the rest of the trip, whenever we were in the ocean I would make sure I stood behind someone else. I figured that the jelly would get them first, and then I could run away. The ironic thing is that I was stung by a man o’war years later – on Christmas Day, in Hawaii (I’ve always felt there was some karma in that).

  85. Jess says...

    Definitely afraid there is someone under my bed. I always have been and my sister exacerbated this fear by hiding under my bed one night when I was a kid and grabbing my ankles. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed so loudly in my life.

  86. ZOË says...

    I don’t have many fears that I can think of off the top of my head, but my husband is a different story. We had been married a few months when I was lying in bed and he, getting ready for bed, checked behind the shower curtain. I laughed and asked, “did you just check behind the shower curtain?” His response: “you ALWAYS check behind the shower curtain.” I don’t know how it took me so long to notice, but we’ve been married 3+ years now and he not only has a list of a dozen or so places he checks each night before bed (washer, dryer, dishwasher, closets, etc.) but recruits me to do checks too. Right now, it’s my job to do under the bathroom sink, under our bed, and in our closet. He calls it our “head to toe” check. At one point, we had a cloth shoe rack hanging over our door, and I KID YOU NOT he lifted it up to check behind it. We made eye contact afterwards, and I was trying SO hard not to laugh. Him: “just…don’t ask”

    • Angela says...

      hahahaha thank you, this made me LOL!!!

  87. Maggie S. says...

    My mother is scared of…bobby pins. I kid you not.
    She has a visceral reaction when she encounters them in person — like she’s seeing a deadly snake. And forget watching the Olympics, she can’t stand gymnastics or figure skating because of the hairstyles!
    I’ve asked her why and she has absolutely no good reason. Never had a weird, eye-poking incident as a child, just can’t stand the things.

  88. MissEm says...

    Haha, I love these so much. I’m horrified by public pool change room floors. Double that when I have to take my kids to the pool. It makes me cry inside. All the wet random hair and who knows what else 😭. Am also afraid of ghosts, a murderer standing behind the shower curtain, airplane turbulence (hello sweaty palms), “going out dancing” (horror), and fast bikes around my kids (my toddler was almost run into by a guy who didn’t slow down when he saw that we were separated by his trajectory and then when my daughter started running toward me across his path he swerved and hit the stroller that had my baby in it – thankfully a tank of a stroller. Still makes me shudder and she’s 8 now).

    • rachel says...

      god yes. anything public water/ water park/ pool related.

  89. Michelle says...

    I have an irrational fear of my baby popping out of my arms and falling down the stairs/off a balcony/etc. I always clutch him extra close when I get close to a railing, and actually banned family from taking him out on a 10th floor balcony during a recent vacation because it gave me some peace of mind (though I guess that’s a relative term) . . .

    • Jennifer says...

      Yes, I am 100% with you! It makes my knees weak just thinking about it.

  90. Lana says...

    terrified of earthworms. Thanks to Dune.
    I know they are good guys, I even try to save them during rainy days when they end up on a concrete. But it’s super stressful for me!

    My friend has a fear of banging her head on the bathroom counter when putting on a towel after the shower. She is joking I’ll never have this problem because I’m much taller.

    I was also terrified of eagles when my babies were little- I’ve watched one of them pick up a chubby bunny straight from the field and ever since I was always watching for eagles when I was running around with a stroller (and yes, I live in a city).

    Our minds are something, aren’t they?

    • Dana says...

      I have actually banged my head on the bathroom counter while putting on a towel…and I got a concussion. Haha. It’s a legitimate fear.

    • Caitlin says...

      hahaha I have also hit my head on a bathroom counter and got a mild concussion….. as well as hitting the side of a wall in a classroom when I was seated near the wall and turned sideways to read something written sideways on the board?…

      AND an old coworker was on a run once and a HAWK swooped down and grabbed her ponytail while she was running!!! Must have thought it was a squirrel or something.

      So on the whole, I’d say these are valid haha.

  91. Sonia King says...

    Natural disasters. I live in constant fear that nature will have its revenge. When im in the beach I worry about tsunamis, in volcanic islands of vulcanos, i fear that the mountains/ elevations will collapse and sinking holes. If it starts raining I cannot but inspect my house drains in fear of a flood and im terribly scared when it gets windy and fear tornados. i wake up in the night at the minimum noise and fear earthquakes.

  92. Whitney says...

    FISH! I don’t know how or when this started but I remember from a really young age being freaked out by the thought of one brushing past my leg in a murky lake. It took me until my late teens to be able to eat fish, and I still have minor (okay, major) panic attacks seeing the scales. There’s also something horrifying and morbid about how markets leave them whole on ice, what’s up with that?! I like to think this fear is because they are faster than me underwater, but dead ones also scare me because they can’t get away!

  93. Fiona says...

    I have two big irrational fears – one is swimming particularly in very deep water) without my back touching the surface – as though if i dont have that sort of anchor, I will PLUMMET to the bottom. My second is ants – I have no issue with them in theory, but whenver you’re gazing at nature and it feels so calm, then suddenly you see an ant, and then you see 400 you never noticed before and suddenly the whole place is crawling in creatures and they were there the WHOLE TIME AND YOU DIDNT EVEN NOTICE! Creeps me out so bad.

  94. Elise says...

    People wearing camouflage in urban environments.

  95. Laura says...

    As a kid, I was totally afraid of basements. Growing up we lived in this old house in the Midwest that had a creepy basement and I hated going down there, especially at night. As an adult, I’m still creeped out by basements especially the unfurnished kind. Luckily, I live in the south now near the ocean and the houses where we live don’t have basements so I don’t have to worry about it but my family and I were recently out of town and stayed at a house through airbnb and it had an old basement…creepy.

  96. Faith says...

    Butterflies. They’re just extra-large bugs. Shuddering now.

    And seeing other people brush their teeth. I can barely stand it. It’s one of the worst things about parenting small kids.

    • Sarah says...

      OMG. The teeth brushing. I cannot stand it. Like at all. My son is four months old and I dread that we’ll have to brush his teeth. I shudder at the thought. I can’t even watch it on TV!

    • Kate says...

      My first boyfriend couldn’t stand to see someone brush their teeth. I grew up in a house with one bathroom so someone was always brushing their teeth with you! On the other hand, I was so grossed out by his feet. He has a couple of webbed toes on each foot and it absolutely freaked me out. Now I give my husband foot rubs and we brush our teeth at the same time almost every night, so I guess those were early signs that that guy and I weren’t meant for each other!

    • Deb says...

      The guy at the desk next to me at work brushes his teeth AT HIS DESK every afternoon. It’s so weird. I asked other people in my office about it when he was out one day and everyone just shrugged. I mean, teeth cleaning is a private activity or at least, not an “at your desk” activity. People can be so odd…

  97. Karin says...

    I have no irrational fears–only a completely rational fear of spiders! But the poster who revealed her childhood fear of OJ Simpson behind the shower curtain has given me endless joy. My husband keeps asking why I’m laughing…thank you!!!

  98. Emilyl says...

    I am terrified of re-enactors–anyone play acting any kind of war or historic period that involved guns. And I live in Boston so these people are all around here. They make me feel so uncomfortable.

    • Katia says...

      Me too! And Plymouth Plantation is terrifying to me as well.

  99. Ooh I love this question. Mine is: Sneezing in the middle of the night while home alone and hearing someone say “bless you.” Eek! My friends all know this, and the other day my best friend texted me that she’d spent the night holding in her sneezes because her husband was out of town so she was alone in bed.

    Oh, and other people’s bandaids!

    • Audrey says...

      Bandaids!! Somehow they always remind me of seeing old, soggy bandaids on the floor tile by the swimming pool when I was a kid. So gross!

    • rachel says...

      LOL!!! who sneezes in the middle of the night?!

  100. Erin says...

    1. Sitting directly on a public toilet seat. Just forget it if there is any trace of poo in the toilet. HARD NO.
    1a. Conversely, being far away from a bathroom (this is a direct result of having to poop in the woods not once, but twice in my life…and I am not the outdoorsy type.)
    2. Blobs of mayo squirting out of my sandwich. Love the taste of a little mayo, absolutely hate looking at it in large quantities.
    3. Visible greasy fingerprints on anything
    4. Anticipation of puking. Will do anything to avoid.
    5. Dirty fingernails
    6. All insects everywhere, except for ladybugs. They alright.
    6a. Going to sleep at night knowing their is a mosquito or spider in the room.
    7. At night, when I can’t see outside but people can see inside.
    8. Cottage cheese. Shudder.
    9. When you watch someone directly cook or handle your food, then wipe their face (and omg if they are SWEATING) or touch money. I’m out.
    10. Making work calls.

    • Christi says...

      Ha! “…except for ladybugs. They alright,” CRACKED ME UP and 100% yes on work calls! Honestly, my heart starts racing!

    • M says...

      Oh god—someone sweating while preparing food is the stuff of nightmares. So gross.

    • KW says...

      Completely on board with all of these. I particularly love that you included a “6a.”

    • Me too. Love the 6a.

  101. Rosie says...

    Walking too close to the edge of the subway platform – all I can imagine is someone pushing me over, or worse, someone accidentally bumping into me and I fall over over the edge. If the platform is crowded and I absolutely need to get by, I have to talk myself into shuffling pass as quickly as possible!

  102. Diane says...

    one word……ticks. I love to hike…and now that spring is here…ticks. They FREAK ME OUT.

    • Erica says...

      Yes!!! That, and poison ivy. Despite knowing how to identify various plants I’ve still managed to convince myself that everything green with three leaves is poison ivy.

  103. Climate change scares me. It would be amazing if Cup of Jo could cover climate change. From women not having children because of climate change, to actions that people can do, to plastic-free beauty products, it would be wonderful if Cup of Jo could talk to its readers about this kind of stuff, and there’s a wealth of content to cover!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!! thank you so much for your email. we’re working on two pieces right now. please stay tuned! xoxo

    • Hayley says...

      Yes! Climate Change scares me the most too. There’s a great book out, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution, which would be perfect for Cup of Jo readers to know about.

    • Charlie says...

      Thanks wendy. I totally agree! We are nowhere near the adjustments required in our personal lives or broader economy to save off catastrophic climate change. Science has told us what we need to do and we’ve refused to adapt. This will leave to natural disasters, crop failures, mass migration, water shortage etc… in our lifetime. It already is in some of the most vulnerable places.

    • Caraline says...

      Agreed!

  104. Katie says...

    Moving water, like rivers. Am I a lifeguard? Yes. Have I been on a swim team for five plus years? Yes. Still terrified of getting swept away from the current. I went with a friend to a state park with a waterfall and it took a while to convince me to cross the river. Not a fan

    • Nadege says...

      Your being a lifeguard might actually a form of counterphobia, where instead of fleeing the source of fear in the manner of a phobia, you actually actively seek it out, in the hope of overcoming the original anxiousness…

  105. AW says...

    My far of falling is so strong that I fear metal grate stairs, I always panic and think I’m going to fall through. I also hate open riser stair cases and any stairway with open air railings/winding stairways that you can see multiple stories down.

  106. Kait Kwan says...

    1.Strangers on a plane that don’t smile enough or say hello/chat. I get convinced they’re gonna blow up. I almost got a flight landed when I was 6 months pregnant having a panic attack on a plan because I thought the guy next to me for sure had a bomb surgically put into his stomach because he didn’t smile at me when he boarded. My husband had to take me to the bathroom and laugh at me saying that guy was just German (therefore not speaking much to a mostly English speaking flight) and wearing lululemon pants which no one would buy just to blow up. It made me laugh, despite my argument that perhaps those are exactly the kind of pants someone WOULD wear to blow up because they’re not concerned with ever paying their credit card bill.
    2. Birds…I shuffle run away from them anytime one is flying above. They are definitely gonna beak me to death or flap me with their gross avian flu wings.
    3. Reflections in windows at night..there’s definitely a serial killer on the outside that I can’t see because I have the lights on in the house and I CANNOT look as to not make direct eye contact with the killer.
    4. I hop into bed because of the Mischa Barton scene in 6th sense. I also had a hard time making night time bottles for my baby going into the kitchen at night because of that dang movie.

    • SarahE says...

      Love the bit about the Lululemon pants in the argument…!! lol :-p

    • Natasha says...

      I’m sorry to make such a serious comment on such a fun topic. As someone whose family and husband’s family are often racially profiled when we travel, it really worries me that something as simple as not smiling could get us arrested, detained, or removed from a flight. I worry every time I travel, every time I speak a different language that people are questioning me. I’ve been pulled aside and had my luggage ransacked simply because of my last name. It’s a really scary way to travel, and I really truly hope that others are mindful of this. Such a simple reaction as that can potentially ruin somebody’s travel experience or worse.

  107. Sara says...

    Revolving doors. How easy to get stuck! Or get a limb stuck! You don’t move of your own volition or pace, someone else is pushing!! GAH.

    • Kayla says...

      Yes!! Same. I’m terrified of them unless I know I’ll be the only one inside.

    • Tara says...

      I once got stuck in a revolving door! I was a little kid and I’d never been in one before. I think it was at FAO Schwartz in Manhattan! LOL

  108. Faye says...

    Elevators and escalators are not a comfortable experience for me. Also I’m scared of the monsters under my bed. I will sleep with my comforter over my feet in the dead heat of summer because you can not convince me that there are no monsters under my bed.

  109. S says...

    I live in a creaky old farmhouse and when sometimes when I am home alone at night I feel like the windows are giant eyes. I’ll also often go outside at night to look at the moon and one time there was a big cracking movement noise in the meadow and I FROZE… it was a few deer moseying around but I definitely thought it was a MAN or MEN (who are the most terrifying in any situation honestly because WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF). Now that I have a small daughter I have a recurring fear of her dropping into dark water and sinking like a stone. Other than that, I’m cool.

  110. Nicole says...

    Staring down a long, dark hallway, especially at night. It makes me think of pretty much every terrifying visual I’ve ever seen in any scary movie ever. Whatever is swimming beneath me in a lake, river, or ocean. Popping a balloon, opening a champagne bottle, and opening a canister of Pillsbury biscuits. I’m a pansy apparently!

  111. Lauren says...

    Trypophobia…… oh god.

    Also, anything large and manmade under water that isnt supposed to be there… ESPECIALLY plane crashes in water. I can’t even look at photos/talk about it without getting freaked out.

    • Barbara says...

      I am right there with you. Trypophobia the worst. And people think you’re making it up!!! Like… what? A fear of holes? Also spores and mold like things… I take comfort in knowing it must be some evolutionary protective thing at play!

    • Brenna says...

      THIS. Large, manmade, underwater. I have regular nightmares about this. Dams are horrific, because of the thought of the towns they had to cover. Oil rigs. Undersea cables. Sunken ships, especially those huge freighters. [shudder]

  112. Kerri says...

    I’m scared of getting ranch dressing on my fingers. And if someone I know gets ranch dressing on their fingers in my presence and just licks it off instead of washing their hands then I can no longer trust their life choices and they are dead to me.

  113. Nancy says...

    I LOVE champagne, but will never be the one to pop the cork. I am deathly afraid that cork will fly straight to my eye.

  114. Hillary says...

    Baby corn. It looks like witch fingers and seem so unnatural to me. As a child I would scream when I saw them and it’s taken me years as an adult to not tear up, gag, and even tremble a little when I saw them. I have to consciously breath deeply when I see them and force my body to relax.

    • CC says...

      I thought I was the only one!!

  115. Stephanie says...

    I do not look in the mirror at night for fear I’ll see a ghost behind me. I stare straight down while I wash my hands as I repeat to myself “don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up.” Honestly tho I figured everyone did this?

  116. Karen Fleischman says...

    I am a avid outdoorsy person who loves hiking and camping but I have a fear of outhouses. What if a creature was lurking below getting ready to sink their teeth into my butt?The worst scenario would be if it some how tipped over with me trapped inside.I just can’t and much rather squat behind a tree

    • Sadie says...

      Me too :) Ever since I was a little girl, I’d rather squat than suffer the potential peril of an outhouse swamp monster.

  117. Y’all need to follow Toby’s advice and do some yoga and get some fresh air! HAHAHA!

    • Beth says...

      Wow! These comments are hilarious and disturbing at the same time. I’m hoping that as rational human beings we can seriously evaluate whether these fears we have are just fleeting silly thoughts or seriously life altering phobias. I would certainly echo several other comments that if your fears and phobias are interfering with your ability to lead a productive and happy life that you seek professional help, sooner rather than later.

  118. Sarah says...

    Car washes are terrifying! There’s so much coming at you and so much that could go wrong. Plus I am afraid I will not know when to drive out of it and will either get stuck there forever or end up breaking my car or the machine.

    • Jessica says...

      Yes! It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one! My friends and family look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I’m terrified of taking my car through the car wash.

    • KW says...

      YES! I find it especially stressful how there is a teeny tiny narrow little space that you’re supposed to fit your front tire into… while not being able to see your tires. What?!

    • Emily says...

      I recently went to a new car wash place and you drive onto this thing that literally moves you through the wash. It was terrifying!

  119. Sara B says...

    Balloons! The popping, the squeaky sound when kids run their hands over them… we were at my in laws’ and my kids were playing with a mylar balloon near a ceiling fan. I was seriously panicking.

    Also, when I get up to make a bottle for my baby in the middle of the night and one slat of our blinds isn’t totally closed, I always think someone will be staring at me.

    • dash says...

      BALLOONS ARE MY ULTIMATE FEAR. I have always felt this way. They give me such anxiety I can’t even deal. My kids are never allowed to have them for all of the above reasons.

    • rachel says...

      yes yes yes yes! death to balloons!

  120. Chrissie says...

    These comments are so comforting. I love being a part of a big pack of weirdos :)

    I have lots of fears but a big one over the past year has been tunnels. I can’t drive in them and I can’t go on the subway without having a panic attack. (And there’s no avoid tunnels options on google maps or Waze! Someone needs to get on that!)

    I was prescribed Xanax for my panic disorder which has not been helpful due to my other fear- I’m afraid of taking medication. Anything besides ibuprofen or Lexapro. So I have medication to help my panic attacks but I’m too paranoid to take the medication that’s sole purpose is to stop panic attacks! I know it makes no sense but I just feel scared. Once it’s inside me there’s no turning back!!

  121. Sue Harris says...

    1. Wet hair in the drain. Eww. Eww. Eww.
    2. Squirrels. Creepy squirrels. I once had one jump on my leg, then to my shoulder and then jumped off behind me. Freaked me out.
    3. Finding a dead body in a public space, like the Metropark bathroom.
    4. if I am feeling major stress, I have night terrors of a clearly evil presence watching me while I sleep and even though I am awake in the dream I can’t move. Those nightmares scare me a lot.
    5. Since reading “I’ll be gone in the dark.” by Michelle McNamara I’ve developed a fear of someone breaking into a sliding glass door.
    6. Someone under the bed, I know it’s not a rational fear, but still.

    • Lauren says...

      It sounds like you might have sleep paralysis! I’ve had this my whole adult life and stress exacerbates it.

    • Sue says...

      Yes, I think it probably is sleep paralysis–I looked it up. Absolutely terrifying, I wake up literally screaming.

  122. Lainie says...

    FLYING COCKROACHES!!!!!! Why is it that they always dive bomb your face?? I’m always terrified they’ll fly straight into my open mouth while I’m screaming and yet it’s impossible NOT to scream out of pure unadulterated terror!

    Did I mention I’m scared to death of roaches? No?

    Once while in college a HUMONGOUS specimen was flying around my dorm room while I was alone, terrorizing me half to death while I was dodging it and shrieking in abject fear. Finally it stopped to cling on to my poor roommate’s white T-shirt hanging on the closet door. No lie, I muttered a quick apology to my poor unknowing roommate under my breath and SQUISHED it with a magazine, getting disgusting ooze and roach guts spattered all over her tee. I cleaned it up as best I could but it was a bad job from the start. When she got back I fessed up straightaway. Luckily she wasn’t mad but she did end up having to throw away the T-shirt!! 🤭

    • Sara B says...

      I used to live in China and there were roaches and it was horrifying! I got pretty good at killing them and finally sprayed the crap out of my apartment but they are so gross!

    • Eiana says...

      I have the same fear! When I was a child my home had the big flying ones and one night I was in my bed and felt something by my leg. I had been coloring in bed earlier in the day so I thought it was a crayon. I reached down to grab it and it moved!!! I screamed, jumped out of bed and turned on the lights. It was flying all around my room and going for my face. Terrified ever since! I cannot take walks at night since they are always crawling around.

    • GUYS STAHP I AM CRYING RIGHT NOW

    • Lainie says...

      Omg Sara B, same!! Never been to China but I had to get really good at killing roaches too out of sheer necessity because my hubby is equally as afraid of them! His tactic is to spray them to death too but then guess who has to get rid of the cockroach corpses??? 🤦🏻‍♀️ I’ve even encountered roaches that played dead — they turned turtle with all their revolting legs up in the air as if they were well and truly dead but when i went to get rid of them they suddenly righted themselves and scrambled straight towards me!!!!! Nearly gave me a heart attack!!

      Eiana, I feel you, girl. I was washing dishes in the sink once when I felt something tickling my leg, looked down and it was a giant cockroach crawling up my right leg!!! 🤢🤢🤮🤮 I screamed bloody murder while swatting the damned thing OFF. Afterwards I scrubbed my leg almost raw trying to get rid of the gross contaminated feeling, like I’d never be clean again. Ugh it made my skin crawl!!! Now every time I’m washing dishes I invariably feel like a phantom tickle and immediately get jumpy, obsessively checking my legs imagining it’s another blasted cockroach!!!!

    • Leah says...

      Omg I am absolutely terrified of cockroaches. Flying or non flying varieties, doesn’t matter. They are the most disgusting creatures on the planet and send me into full panic mode when I see them. Luckily I live in Denver where there aren’t tons of them (I’ve only seen one on a sidewalk at night). It was a pretty big accomplishment for me to not panic every time I saw one during my study abroad homestays and apartment in South Africa. On the last night of my stay, one crawled out of my sleeping bag and I straight up refused to sleep in it for the final night. When I lived in Saint Louis, there were tons of them in the elevator shaft and the basement of my apartment complex. I stopped using the basement gym because they would lurk down there and definitely had a meltdown when one crawled into the elevator on the ride up from the lobby to my 12th floor apartment.

    • KONSTANTINA HRYSANTH says...

      Ah, yes, I was looking for this post. I am DEATHLY afraid of those buggers. I keep a very clean house but we have a huge garden around it and one year, there was a roach here and there in our house during the summer. I nearly had a mental break down – I recall spraying one with elnett hairspray and screaming at it to “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!” whilst the tears streamed down my face. Exterminators came, they said I will never see one again. It’s been nearly 20 years and I only ever saw one again in all that time. My husband knew I had a fear, but had never witnessed me seeing one in person. He was FLOORED when he saw how I responded. I was positively convulsing. Have 2,3 more roachy anecdotes but the memories are freaking me out right now, so I’ll have to stop here!

    • Kera says...

      Yes!! My first apartment in college was INFESTED with them. I found out my second day living there when I grabbed the small trash can I kept under the kitchen sink (it was a tiny apartment and it was the only place to put it) and a giant one CRAWLED UP MY ARM and then took off flying toward my face while I’d was screaming. I hated coming home from school or work at night bc I would turn on the light and see them all scatter. I had them spray my apartment about 15 times over the course of 3 months before I finally gave up and moved out. Oh but I had to get rid of my computer and monitor (the old big kind) bc they were living inside.

  123. Laura Greenwood says...

    I have a debilitating fear of throwing up. It’s called “emetophobia” and I used to do projects on it in grade school, as per my child psychologist’s request. (it did nothing to help!). I am 28 and have not thrown up since I was 5 and have an other-worldly capacity of stopping it from happening to my body, and I always said it was the only time I became religious was when I was about to throw up, ha ha! I even used to Google movies before I saw them for any awful vomit scenes (hello Riding in Cars with Boys, The Sandlot, White Squall, etc.), and even used to include it on my resume. As I edge closer to eventual childbirth, I can feel my evolutionary guardian angel kicking in and making me less and less scared every day. Have mercy if I ever get food poisoning… though I fear it may be the only thing to cure me!

    • Amy says...

      Me too! When I was a kid I was terrified of one day becoming a mother because kids puke all the time. My mom said “it’s different when it’s your own kid’s throwup. I don’t know how or why, but it just is” and as I get closer to thinking about actually trying to get pregnant, I am partly comforted by her words, and partly terrified that she’s wrong!

    • Megan says...

      I have the same fear! I have 2 small kids now and one of them is a barfer (when he spiked a fever, his stomach is totally empty and then tries to drink something, coughs too hard, etc). I think he’s been gifted to me to help me with my barfing fear.
      I go through phases where it is slightly better and then times when I feel like I can hardly function

    • M says...

      Hi Laura,
      So sorry you have dealt with that so long! I dont think I had a clinical fear but I didn’t throw up by myself until late late high school…always had to have my mom with me & I’d panic each time. I don’t want to scare you but childbirth might cure you before food poisoning does…no one told me I’d throw up during labor but I did! And then after I mentioned it, a lot of people i know were like oh yeah that happens! Wish I knew ahead of time but I promise it will be the last thing on your mind during labor. Good luck!!

    • Mary says...

      Laura, I am so with you!
      I delayed having children because of it—scared of morning sickness, afraid I would vomit during childbirth. And now having a child—I am def desensitized to “spit up” because I know I can’t “catch it” but I am constantly paranoid about her getting norovirus or some other stomach virus because I know I’ll get it too. A Facebook post about a stomach bug in another state would turn me into a paranoid, anxious mess.
      Anyway, long story short, I finally went to therapy for this and I’ve had great success with EMDR. I avoided seeing someone for so long because I was afraid of exposure therapy which doesn’t help with this phobia—every “exposure” compounds on the previous making it a total monster. I remember vomiting when I was seven years old and telling myself “you’re doing it! This is your biggest fear and you’re doing it! You’re fearless now!” What seven year old does that?! And also, it didn’t last. Whatever fearless feelings I felt went away and they were replaced with paralyzing fear and dread and anxiety about it ever happening again.
      Anyway, EMDR has helped me but I have been dealing with this phobia for as long as I can remember and it’s a doozy. Nothing worse than being terrified of something natural, common and unavoidable. Ugh.

    • Jen says...

      Yup, me too. It’s an often crippling phobia for me (it was the first and only thing I thought of with this post). Everyone told me ‘it will be different when it’s your child’… for me it’s not unfortunately (spitting up wasn’t a problem, though, luckily!) I still live in fear she’ll get sick, but my family knows and my husband has been quick to jump in when needed. I look forward to her being old enough to at least warn me… I feel like I can deal with that (as long as I don’t get it… eep.) I’m nervous just typing about it… @Mary, thanks for the EMDR suggestion I’ll be checking that out. I’ve wanted to go into therapy since having a child. I feel like it’s limiting to feel this way.

    • Mary says...

      @Jen, it is SO limiting—I felt the same way! I was tired of being scared all the time, I’m tired of worrying that my anxiety about this will rub off on my daughter—or worse—make her feel bad or ashamed when she’s sick. I also don’t want her to miss out on fun things because I’m worried she’ll be exposed to a sick kid. Ugh.
      So sorry you’re afflicted with this as well and I wish you luck and healing!
      This phobia takes up waaayyyy too much space.

    • Laura Greenwood says...

      I read these amazing responses with my partner and he said: “is it making you anxious reading about it?” to which I replied: “yes, but it’s so nice to know there’s a community!!!”
      WOW! Thank you for weighing in. @Mary, reading about your seven year old self made me weepy, as I too remember trying to laugh while I was throwing up to make it seem like I was ‘fine’ or–even stranger– having a ‘good time’ (at age 5). And thank you so much for recommending EMDR… Will try ASAP.
      XOXOXO Sending warm wishes to you all!

    • Malorie says...

      Omg, to Mary’s comment: I was looking for this portion of the thread because y’all are my people. Reading about gastrointestinal illness in someone I don’t even know will give me anxiety for the rest of the day! I’m a mother now and definitely have intrusive thoughts about what will happen when my kid gets sick and I don’t want to give him a complex at all 😢 I’ve definitely thought about therapy for it.

  124. Bethany says...

    Sleeping with my mouth open — ever since my stepdad told me the average person eats 8 spiders in their lifetime unbeknownst to them while they sleep. I’m pretty sure this is a tall tale, but I haven’t been able to shake it since.

    Leaving my garage door open for too long after I pull in at night — I’m always terrified someone is waiting to sneak in real fast under the door as it’s closing and attack me. I live in a nice neighborhood. This makes no sense. But alas.

    • Bethany Bump says...

      One more to add: Spiders or creatures crawling out of the toilet while I’m peeing and attacking my private parts. Totally rational right? :)

  125. Hilary says...

    Germs. Soooo germophobic. I’m a teacher, so it comes with the territory since kids are so germy. Now that I have a baby, it’s magnified 10000% because sick babies are so sad and it breaks my heart. So much sanitizing and cloroxing, while trying not to be ridiculous about it since I know kids need germs. The struggle!

  126. Deana says...

    The shower thing – yes, getting stabbed in there like the movie Psycho! So I’ve always had a clear shower curtain and leave the bathroom door open.

  127. Denise says...

    I have a fear of drowning in the ocean, even though I’m a great swimmer and love the water. I’m looking at you The Poseidon Adventure.

    And even though I’m 54, I will not EVER sleep with my hand dangling down from the mattress. Now that I’m alone again, the monsters know . . .

  128. Christy says...

    Whenever I get into my car when it’s dark outside I’m terrified to look in my rearview mirror. I’m convinced someone will be sitting in my backseat, ready to murder me the same way Joe Pesci died in Goodfellas.

    I’m also absolutely terrified of raccoons. I think it’s their little hands.

    • Cynthia says...

      Raccoons can carry rabies.

    • MissEm says...

      I’m suddenly freaked out that someday I’ll look in the mirror and see a raccoon in the backseat 😂

    • Yes, raccoons. It is the mask. They are crafty. Not to be trusted.

    • Emily says...

      I saw a raccoon sitting in my driveway the other night! Eek!! It was surprisingly scary.

    • rach says...

      @missem i am LOL’ing!!!!

  129. Cynthia says...

    LOOSE HAIR. I want to carry a lint roller in my purse b/c if I am eating lunch with a friend and she has a hair on her clothes that I can see, the meal is ruined. Don’t even get me started on seeing a hair in the sink or tub. My husband sports a shaved head and my hair is naturally platinum and bob length so they kind of disappear. To have a dark-haired houseguest with long hair is challenging on the daily. I literally have to suppress my hyperactive gag reflex. Ladies, clean up after yourselves!

    • Christine says...

      Hair in food! Even my own hair!

  130. Billie says...

    Okay- the wolf thing? Thank you! I think it was Pinocchio that did it for me, I can’t remember if they were wolves or foxes, but I remember there being some sort of kidnapping of children to an amusement park of terror and it scarred me forever. Have been terrified of them since, even though they’re so beautiful! Haha

    • Catherine says...

      I’m the same with wolves. When I was little, I had a wind-up music box that played “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf” and I think that’s what did it for me, along with the fairy tales.

    • Tami says...

      Im soo scared of Pinocchio, movie, musics, the figure, everything !! I had recurrent nightmares of him when I was little… that WAS NOT an animated movie it was TERRORIFIC!

  131. Alison says...

    I don’t like seeing the time 9:11 because I feel like it’s a message sent from the universe that I’m gunna need that number very soon.

  132. Serena says...

    1) Any kind of cling/saran wrap (it will definitely cling to my face, and suffocate me).

    2) Squirrels! I cover my neck anytime I walk past one of those bloodthirsty suckers.

    3) Knives. Even if one is sitting peacefully on the counter, I’ll imagine it accidentally stabbing me in 1,000 ways.

    4) Running out of oxygen via being stuck in an elevator, being in a room with all doors and windows closed, or being in a crowded room/restaurant/park

    5) Anything that I think about too hard for too long… The world is scary.

  133. TJ says...

    I am completely freaked out by hole clusters. Even typing this gives me goosebumps. It’s apparently a thing: trypophobia (don’t look it up unless you are distinctly NOT afraid of such things).

    • Anne says...

      I looked it up and OMG YES. Why are they so gross???!? I’m not a phobic person in general but omg I find these things disgusting. It makes no sense at all but now I want to vomit

    • Kait says...

      God, “hole clusters” is even such a disgusting combination of words!

    • MW says...

      YES!!! My best friend and I have the same fear and our friends think we are ridiculous when it comes up because we both get goosebumps just discussing it! There was an American Horror Story season whose ads triggered a LOT of people with trypophobia, myself included.

    • Barbara says...

      YEP YEP YEP. Get away from me, damned holes!

      Still think polka dots are cute (not too close together, though!!!)

  134. Madeline Coppede says...

    Mine may be the strangest fear EVER…I am scared of almost all mammals/animals (except for dogs)! Sheep, llama, horses, elephants, giraffes they all TERRIFY me but i love snakes and lizards! Please tell me i’m not the only one.

  135. Me says...

    1. Cats. This is my #1 fear
    2. Food other people touched or made in their own homes that I couldn’t see them cook. So basically a buffet at a grocery store and potlucks are terrifying.
    3. Waking up in the middle of the night because.. ghosts. Duh.

    • Christy says...

      AGREED about the cats fear! I used to ask people when they first got a new cat if they were worried their cat was going to attack them because it’s honestly all I think about when I see a cat. None of my friends who have cats have found this to be a “normal” question…

    • Lindsay says...

      I also hate cats. I recently realized I hate them because I’m afraid of them. So damn sneaky. Always jumping up and startling me out of no where. Also, the food thing. I won’t even eat sliced fruit by someone else. Like did they wash that avocado or watermelon before slicing it even?

  136. Rachel says...

    Dolls. I hate the kind with the realistic eyes that open/shut. Can’t sleep in a room with them.

  137. holly says...

    Afraid of breathing in crowds – the thought of sharing air with all those strangers is just }}}::yuck::{{{….shivers. I can not do hot yoga (which I love) in a crowded studio for the same reason.

  138. Julie says...

    Walking on grates in the sidewalk. I work in Philadelphia and I will never ever step on those things because if I do they will buckle and I will fall to my death, of this I am certain. I also have an irrational fear of going to jail, which is interesting because I don’t PLAN on committing a serious crime, but you never know!

    • Karen says...

      OMG the jail fear!! I thought I was crazy for having such a bizarre fear. I have ZERO intention of committing a crime, so my fear is mostly the thought of SOMEONE ELSE wanting to throw me in the cage. It feels good to know I am not alone.

    • Paula says...

      Same same! BEING in jail. I think it has to do with the permanency of it all; the lack of freedom. For the same reason I could not watch the show Orange is the New Black because I just had anxiety about all these women locked up.

    • Cynthia says...

      I have had the fear of walking over grates since I was a child. I, too, was afraid the grate would give way and I would disappear.

    • Summer says...

      I have always been afraid of falling through grates on the sidewalk. After a particularly tough few months after moving to Denver, I stepped thigh deep through one filled with mud and rainwater. Took one moment to take it all in, and then laughed harder than I had in years! Somehow it broke my despondency and not my leg. Somewhat grateful for that grate. :)

    • Anna says...

      SAME on the grate thing! My husband even has a picture of me walking over one in Las Vegas as an attempt to conquer my fear, haha. I’m just so sure I’ll be the person to break it and fall through.

  139. Jen says...

    1. Being trapped with a lot of people. I used to work on the 33rd floor in downtown LA and hated it, people thought it was a fear of heights… but it was really the idea of having to evacuate down 33 floors of stairs with hundreds (thousands?) of people (1994 Northridge earthquake survivor here).
    2. Someone breaking into my apartment… yet we continue to watch shows like Criminal Minds. If I’m home alone I can’t sleep well because I keep picturing a figure walking up my hallway stairs. It even took years for my husband to talk me into leaving our bedroom window open at night (it’s on the side of a 3 story building with zero way to get to it unless you had an LAFD grade extension ladder).
    3. Washing my face and looking up to have someone / something stand behind me in the mirror.
    4. The garbage disposal… if a spoon goes down there, that’s where it’s staying until someone else will get it.
    5. Tripping and knocking out my teeth.

    That’s enough… there’s def more, but you get the idea.

    • Kelly says...

      ha i have a tripping and knocking out my teeth phobia too – esp on marble stairs it comes on!

    • Heather says...

      I also have a fear of knocking my teeth out. Whenever I bend down near a counter or table I repeat “slowly, slowly” until I have safely straightened upright gain.

    • Nina says...

      I have a variant of 5… Tripping on a treadmill and getting my hair pulled to the scalp by the machine !

    • KK says...

      2 and 3 are both terrifying. I LOVED Criminal Minds until one day I just had to stop watching. My dreams have thanked me ever since.

  140. JM says...

    falling sleeping in a robe. my grandma read in the national enquirer that a kid fell asleep in her robe and was choked to death by the belt. i love robes, but even to this day refuse to get too comfortable in one.

    drowning in a pile of gravel/corn/sand/salt. yep, same grandma instilled in me never to play in a pile of pretty much anything.

    ceiling fans. will they fall down on me while i sleep? what if my robe belt somehow gets caught in it somehow?

    • Gemma says...

      lol!

    • Karen says...

      The robe fear is real. I fell asleep with it on and woke up with the belt loosely wrapped around my neck. Told my mother and she warned me to never do it again (so cozy thought!).
      Also, yes to ceiling fans.

    • MissEm says...

      Ceiling fans! Yes! So terrifying.

  141. Meredith says...

    Ferrets! They’re so quick and furry and low to the ground. They’re like snakes wearing fur coats. No thank you.

    • Grace says...

      Snakes wearing fur coats – hilarious

  142. Louise says...

    Chewing gum. Artificially minty things in general. Mint chocolate. And toothpaste

  143. LB says...

    I have an irrational fear of getting locked (stuck) in a bathroom. Be it a stall at a bar, or the bathroom in someone’s house. I’ve had close calls where the janky old knob or crappy rusted latch get momentarily stuck, or you try to unlock it only to not know which way ‘unlock’ is – it seems both ways are just lock. I panic, imagining crawling under the stall door or worse, banging for help.

    • Kelly says...

      i actually got locked in a bathroom in the Waldorf Astoria in NY while at an important business meeting with approx 10 men (I was the only female attending, and one of the youngest people there) that was taking place in the attached room. I was also crushingly hungover and it was approximately 1 million degrees in the bathroom…the embarrassment was worse than the panic but omg it was THE WORST. I had to call through the bathroom door to my colleague and he had to call security. Mortifying.

  144. I have an irrational fear of the garbage disposal. After I had my wisdom teeth removed, the pain meds triggered my anxiety and I had trouble going near the kitchen for a few weeks. I finally had to admit my fear to my husband once he caught on.

    We compost so we rarely use the garbage disposal. I would prefer not to have one in our house when we buy. Am I crazy? Anyone else out there ?

  145. shelby says...

    I have very irrational fears related to:
    1. Foam (the padding kind) – hate the way it looks and feels, makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it
    2. Stranger Food – a casserole, dessert, banana bread, or other baked good that was made by someone I don’t know; a buffet of stranger food is a nightmare to me
    3. Germs – my mother always told us not to drink out of public water fountains because we would get strep throat, which extended to a full on avoidance of germs; airports freak me out the most
    4. Getting trapped in an elevator – no explanation needed, haha

    • Cynthia says...

      Oh my god, stranger food. Just walking by the open containers of food in the supermarket with people scanning and dipping in is enough to make me gag. I worked as a therapist and at the holidays, my clients would invariably bring me homemade “treats”. A tin of cookies or fudge I could simply leave out for other clients to enjoy. One person gifted me a package of homemade SAUSAGE and I almost died on the spot. I could not even LOOK at that lumpy package without silently screaming.

    • peg says...

      Stranger Food!!! hahaha. I am so happy to now have a name for it…man, stranger casserole has to be one of the most terrifying events ever!

  146. Lee says...

    Spider crickets (also known as camel crickets)!!! I am terrified of those things. I grew up in the country and am not afraid of bugs at all, except these things. They are a cross between a spider and cricket and they have a crazy unpredictable jumping pattern so it is hard to know what direction they are going to go. A few years ago when I lived in North Carolina, we had a problem with these things in our house. It freaked me out all the time! I’d have to go in another room until my husband killed it.

    • Mia says...

      Oh my God, yes! I grew up in rural NJ and we had ‘spickets’ lurking in our garage. My fiance doesn’t really understand my overarching fear of spiders but I know it all goes back to spider crickets…ugh.

    • Molly says...

      Camel crickets are THE WORST! They jump AT YOU, not away from you like most normal bugs.

  147. Eliza says...

    Open closets that will suck me in! I have great parents, but they somehow thought it would be a good idea to take me to the movies to see Poltergeist when I was 6 (bad, bad judgment call). To this day, I CANNOT sleep with any doors open in my room. It’s amazing how long-lasting these early experiences can be. Oy.

  148. Amy says...

    I cannot sleep with any doors open in the room. The doors to the bathroom, closet, and hallway are always closed or left open a crack. My theory is that if someone wants to get into my room to murder me or hide until I’m asleep before murdering me, I will hear the door open (I’m a light sleeper) and wake up to defend myself. However, now that I have a toddler with a second kid on the way, I am finding the bravery to sleep with the door to the hallway open in order to hear an intruder enter HER room.

    I also do not like when people touch my neck. Any neck touching immediately makes me start gagging. I can’t handle it.

    • janee says...

      Doors ajar a crack ARE what freak me out – someone could be secretly watching! They must be completely shut for me to relax. Also, as young teen my bedroom window looked out onto a small woods so I never had drapes because, the view but one summer after sunset, I was in my room doing homework and against the pitch black of the night I saw a hand – true story – reaching up to lift off my window screen, and ran shrieking through the house. We called the police of course and they found BAREFOOT prints outside in the flower beds under the window. PROTECT your teen girls people! And make sure windows are locked and use window shades at night.

    • tina c says...

      When my husband isn’t home, I cannot sleep unless my bedroom door is shut and locked- I figure if the murderer will try to unlock my door I will have enough time to prepare (scream bloody murder) and call 911. However, having a 2 year old now, I can’t lock my door. So, seeing she always wakes at about 2-3 am to climb into bed and sleep with us, I don’t sleep soundly until that time. After that, I can tuck her in with me and finally lock that door. Then I crash!

  149. Reenie says...

    My most irrational fear to date developed when I was very young, staying up past my bedtime, watching tv at the top of the steps, unbeknownst to my parents. One night, a movie with a vampire was on the tv and the vampire snuck into a woman’s window while she was sleeping and bit her neck. From that moment until an age I am not sure I should admit…I would have to sleep with my pajama shirt covering my neck for fear of a middle-of-the-night vampire visit.