We’re all scared of something or other — but while most of us are able to deal with it, people with serious phobias are totally unable to come to terms with their fears.
And while lots of people are scared of things like failure or spiders, some phobias are much more bizarre. Here we look at ten of the weirdest phobias of all.
10 Pogonophobia (beards)
The thought of bits of leftover food nestled in a man’s whiskers is enough to make most people’s stomachs churn.
However, beards are an even bigger turn off for pogonophobics, who get the terrors at the sight of any sort of face rug — even if it’s well-trimmed and shampooed.
This is obviously not a good phobia to have if you’re walking along any modern-day high street, as beards are today the height of fashion among the world’s hipster community.
But being a sufferer would undoubtedly have been far worse in the 19th century when face furniture was pretty much de rigeur.
9 Keraunothnetophobia (fall of man-made satellites)
A terrible affliction because: a) constantly worrying that a satellite is going to drop out of the sky and land on your head is a real pain when you’re trying to go about your daily business, and b) keraunothnetophobia is remarkably difficult to spell.
That’s not to mention all the Chicken Licken jokes you obviously have to endure as a sufferer (“the sky is falling down!”).
8 Merinthophobia (being tied up)
Not at all good for S&M fans or people named Houdini. Or for anyone planning on going on a sailing holiday where there’s a multitude of ropes — who knows what your fellow crew members might do.
7 Opthalmophobia (being stared at)
Never a good phobia to have if you have a baby, or are in an area frequented by owls.
Staring at strangers is without doubt a social faux pas, and there are whole forums on the internet devoted to how much people hate being stared at.
But the obvious option is to just stare back until the other person feels more awkward than you do.
6 Pteronophobia (tickling with feathers)
Luckily getting your feet tickled with feathers is not an everyday occurrence for most people (or unluckily, depending how you look at it). So even if you are a sufferer, it’s not likely to be of any great concern on a day-to-day basis.
Unless your friends know about it, in which case it’s likely they will take any opportunity to chase you around with a feather duster just to watch you squeal.
5 Philematophobia (kissing)
The phobia that you don’t want if you live in France — where public shows of affection are the order of the day. Also not good if you are looking for a partner — as being unable to kiss is never useful when trying to show affection.
All of us have had that fear of the sloppy kiss from our grandmothers in the past, but we usually get over it in later life when kissing takes on a whole new role. However, for some people the sight of puckered lips can make them run a mile.
Philematophobia comes in various forms — with some people scared that kissing will give them germs while others are petrified they’ll get their tongue bitten off (seriously).
4 Barophobia (gravity)
A hard one to deal with, for obvious reasons — unless you happen to live in outer space.
3 Ranidaphobia (frogs)
This one is quite easy to get around as a sufferer — just STAY. AWAY. FROM. PONDS. Frogs are not that commonplace in most other situations in life, although watching The Muppets is obviously another big no-no for ranidaphobics.
But in any normal day the number of times you will encounter a frog is pretty low, so this is probably one of the least worrisome phobias on this list.
2 Rhytidophobia (getting wrinkles)
Sadly, this phobia is extremely common — hence why the skincare and plastic surgery industries are worth billions of dollars.
People have this in varying degrees, and it can be extreme in some cases.
Unfortunately it is a universal truth that as people get older they get wrinkles, and unless you live in a cave it’s likely you’re going to come across wrinkles on a daily basis — even if they’re not your own. So best to get used to them sometime soon.
1 Aerophobia (breezes)
Another one you don’t want to suffer from if you’re a sailor. Or, for that matter, if you ever go outside.
For most of us the gentle rustling of leaves in a breeze is a calming influence on our lives — but for aerophobics it’s a horrific experience and life really isn’t a breeze for sufferers.
Aerophobia is also a name given to the fear of flying (also known as aviophobia). Time to count your blessings…