Despite the unending efforts of psychologists, mentors, and public speakers urging us to be fearless and always face our challenges, many still have phobias. From spiders to snakes and elevators, there is always something we are afraid of.

More often than not, we might have a phobia but have no problem tolerating it. However, some people have unique fears and will go to extreme levels to avoid or fight them. Here is a list of some of the most unusual phobias people actually have.

1. Ombrophobia

Rain is a blessing for many people, especially those from semi-arid regions. It turns out that this is not the case for everyone. In fact, constant showers can cause unexplained damage to people with ombrophobia (extreme fear of rain).

Psychological, societal, evolutionary, and environmental factors can cause this fear. Also known as Pluviophobia, ombrophobia originates from the Greek word, Ombros, which means rains. The phobia affects both kids and adults alike.

2. Numerophobia

Also known as arithmophobia, numerophobia is a fear of numbers. It’s normal for students to dislike math classes. However, there are people with a genuine fear of arithmetics. They experience anxiety anytime they see a number, even if it is not in a math class.

Since most life aspects depend on math and physics, typically numbers, individuals with this problem usually find it hard to complete their daily activities.

3. Phobophobia

You see the fear professionals advise us to face; it is so strong that it has its own fear. Yes, some people are afraid of fear, a condition known as phobophobia. In a study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, researchers describe this fear as a “free-floating anxiety.”

Individuals with this fear often suffer panic attacks, and the general feeling of fear causes shortness of breath and rapid heart palpitations.

4. Chiclephobia

Chiclephobia is the fear of chewing gum. People who experience this usually have anxiety whenever they chew gum or see someone doing it. Since this is unusual, its exact cause still remains unknown. However, experts suspect a previous negative experience can cause this.

5. Ephebiphobia

While it’s true that adolescents can be a handful at times, it usually bothers many people. It’s a stage of life that people go through, and that’s okay. However, some individuals genuinely can’t stand adolescents. It’s not discrimination or that they are bad people, they can’t help it.

To counter their phobia, people with ephebiphobia always avoid public places where adolescents are likely to flock. These include arcades, high schools, shopping malls, gaming cafes, and movie theaters.

6. Eleutherophobia

Humans have been fighting for their freedom since time immemorial and continue to do so. They stand against discrimination and anything that undermines freedom. Interestingly, some people want nothing to do with it. The thought of being free alone gives them anxiety and panic attacks.

Classified as Eleutherophobia, anyone with this phobia prefers taking orders, directions, and instructions from someone else. They do not see how they can survive without their teachers, mentors, or masters.

7. Gerascophobia

It’s common knowledge that, as time passes, we get older. However, did you know some people have a phobia of getting old? Yes, there are! Experts call the phobia Gerascophobia, and people who suffer from it can go to extremes to try and prevent it.

One such case involves a teenager who restricted his diet and avoided nutrients that facilitated growth. He assumed a hunched posture to disguise his height and softened his voice to sound younger. Any signs of aging gave him more anxiety.

8. Panphobia                 

A phobia is something that causes fear in a person. Most individuals with phobias always know what triggers them. However, some individuals fear everything, a condition classified as panphobia.

Unwanted news, past trauma, or adverse events are the most common causes of panphobia. They can’t trust anything to turn out well. Usually, they end up in the same category as people with phobophobia.

9. Euphobia

Imagine you are a surgeon and out to tell a family that their loved one made it safe and everyone is happy except for one. The individual doesn’t like the good news and sets out crying, leaving all of you flabbergasted.

As it turns out, there are people with a phobia for good news, a condition known as euphobia. They aren’t precisely jubilated whenever they receive what many people perceive as positive news.

10. Fear of Balloons

Balloons are colorful, easy on the eye. They can make a difference between a successful and a failed event if used correctly. Kids love to play with them because, apart from their loud bursts, they are generally harmless – at least most of us thought so.

However, as Oprah Winfrey reveals, she can’t stand balloons. She has a phobia known as globophobia. Many factors can cause this fear. For instance, for Oprah, she says balloons remind her of gunfire. The reason might vary for others.

11. Pentheraphobia

How well do you like your mother-in-law? There is a thin line between not enjoying and fearing. It’s not unusual to find a person who doesn’t have much love for their mother-in-law. However, some people outright fear their spouse’s mother.

They don’t hate them per se; they just fear them. Experts categorize this phobia as pentheraphobia. As with other fears, people with this condition suffer from anxiety and even panic attacks whenever they see or think of their mother-in-law. While at it, the fear of stepmothers is called Novercaphobia.

12. Taphophobia

Not many people would willingly welcome death. Though inevitable, we don’t always look forward to it. Unfortunately, some people think about passing away so much that they develop a phobia known as Taphophobia.

Taphophobia refers to the fear of the possibility of being buried alive. Individuals with this fear always feel a doctor can incorrectly pronounce them dead, leading to their burial. Imagine waking up underground with no help at all. Freaky, right?

By the way, isn’t there a chance that people have been buried alive only to wake up to no help? We might never know!

13. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Also known as sesquipedalophobia (as if it’s any shorter), hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words. Ironically, the name is equally as long, so whoever coined it had a good sense of humor.

People with this fear always worry about embarrassing themselves in front of others while trying to pronounce such overly long names.

14. Heliphobia

Heliphobia is the fear of sunlight. People with this phobia can’t withstand the sun and will always choose to stay indoors and only come out when the weather is cool. On a lighter note (pun not intended), anyone suffering from this might have watched too many Twilight Zone, the Midnight Sun episodes.

Other honorary mentions in this category include Nomophobia (fear of being without your mobile phone), aphenphosmphobia (fear of intimacy), and pteronophobia (fear of feathers).

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Last Update: July 30, 2023