Weird phobias: Don't worry, everybody's got one. We're all convinced that we have some irrational fear that must be unique to only us: antique furniture (furniturephobia), otters (lutraphobia), knees (genuphobia)... the list of phobias on and on and on. But while some fears are definitely specific to a few select people (we're looking at you, Billy Bob Thornton), there are many more that are shared by more people than you'd probably guess.
In fact, nearly 9 percent of all American adults suffer from a specific phobia in a given year, and nearly 22 percent of those cases are classified as severe, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
One of the most common phobias that you've probably already heard of is the fear of the number 13, aka triskaidekaphobia. While it may sound irrational to you — after all, a number can’t physically attack you like, say, a shark or a poisonous snake — the fear is all too real: Researchers estimate that at least 10 percent of Americans think the number 13 is scary.
This fear is apparent all around us: You may have noticed that many buildings, especially hotels, don’t have a 13th floor. Instead, there is often a noticeable gap between the 12 and 14 in the elevator buttons. This "mistake" is done completely on purpose to accommodate any people moving through that building that may have triskaidekaphobia. (Although let's get real for a minute — doesn't everyone realize that "14" is actually the 13th floor just with a less frightening name?)
It just goes to show how a seemingly silly fear can actually be a legitimate, life-altering issue. But it is comforting to know that if you or someone you love is suffering or has ever suffered from a fear of that nature, you are far from alone. Even better news? There are many therapy options available today that can help people face their fears and learn coping mechanisms to put their phobias to rest for good.
Keep scrolling to learn about additional phobias that are more common than you might think.
Trigger warning: Some of the images and descriptions below may upset people who are afraid of clustered holes (trypophobia), flying (aviophobia), or clowns (coulrophobia).