Phobias – the bizarre, and the terrifying – Part 1

Chatting with some of my fellow Boo! authors about fear and phobias I remembered the great, and fascinating book I had a while back


As some of you know – I’m frightened of clowns  (Coulrophobia), puppets (Pupaphobia  and enclosed spaces (Claustrophobia). I’m not good with crowds or noisy places either, and dolls make my skin crawl.  Perhaps I can incorporate some into my characters….


Anyway that got me thinking about what phobias mean and which ones are out there:

The English suffixes -phobia-phobic-phobe (from Greek φόβος phobos, “fear”) occur in technical usage in psychiatry to construct words that describe irrational, abnormal, unwarranted, persistent, or disabling fear as a mental disorder (e.g. agoraphobia), in chemistry to describe chemical aversions (e.g. hydrophobic), in biology to describe organisms that dislike certain conditions (e.g. acidophobia), and in medicine to describe hypersensitivity to a stimulus, usually sensory (e.g. photophobia). In common usage, they also form words that describe dislike or hatred of a particular thing or subject. The suffix is antonymic to -phil-.

Ablutophobia – a fear of washing or bathing

Ablutophobia is an extreme and irrational fear of bathing, washing or cleaning. A fear of bathing can be observed in many children, but if this fear carries over into adolescence and adulthood, it often becomes ablutophobia. If left untreated, ablutophobia not only worsens in the physical affect, but also on the social life of the person suffering from the condition. People with ablutophobia will continue to avoid bathing and as a result may have to deal with the alienation and health issues that come with having poor hygiene.

Symptoms of Ablutophobia

Identifying ablutophobia should be quite easy. If the victim of the fear is an adolescent or adult and he or she fits the criteria below, the fear is very likely a genuine disorder. Some common symptoms of ablutophobia include:

  • Feelings of dread or panic when the prospect of bathing or washing comes up
  • Automatic or uncontrollable reactions in response to the fear
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling
  • Extreme avoidance


I can see how this could lead to problems.


Phonophobia, also called ligyrophobia or sonophobia, is a fear of or aversion to loud sounds—a type of specific phobia. It can also mean a fear of voices, or a fear of one’s own voice.[1] It is a very rare phobia which is often the symptom of hyperacusis. Sonophobia can refer to the hypersensitivity of a patient to sound and can be part of the diagnosis of a migraine. Occasionally it is called acousticophobia.[2]

The term phonophobia comes from Greek φωνή – phōnē, “sound”[3] and φόβος – phobos, “fear”.[4]

This one is based on religious beliefs – 666 being the Number of the Beast from the biblical Revelations. Although interestingly in some ancient Christian Theologists used this to numerically refer to the Emperor Nero, and arguably Domitian. Neither of which have an unblemished track record in dealing with either Christians or other such groups during their reign.

Preterist theologians typically support the numerical interpretation that 666 is the equivalent of the name and title, Nero Caesar (Roman Emperorfrom 54-68).[20][21][22][23][24][25] (whose name, written in Aramaic, can be valued at 666, using the Hebrew numerology of gematria), a manner of speaking against the emperor without the Roman authorities knowing. Also “Nero Caesar” in the Hebrew alphabet is נרון קסר NRON QSR, which when used as numbers represent 50 200 6 50 100 60 200, which add to 666.

The Greek term χάραγμα (charagma, “mark” in Revelation 13:16) was most commonly used for imprints on documents or coins. Charagma is well attested to have been an imperial seal of the Roman Empire used on official documents during the 1st and 2nd centuries.[26] In the reign of Emperor Decius (249–251 AD), those who did not possess the certificate of sacrifice (libellus) to Caesar could not pursue trades, a prohibition that conceivably goes back to Nero, reminding one of Revelation 13:17.[27]

Of course the jury is out on who or what the Beast is, was or will be….

The Regans changed their house number from 666 ST Cloud Rd, Bel Air to 668, a runner from a county high school in Kentucky refused to run under 666, forfeiting the chance at qualifying for the state championships, in 2015 US Representative Joe Barton changed the numbers of some bills he was introducing from 666 to 702 due to the ‘negative connotations’.

More phobias to follow in later posts.