After Bunty confessed to her devious means of protecting herself from shark attacks, Isla in Aberdeenshire was emboldened to share her own irrational fear:

I have a very bad phobia of balloons. I cannot go near them, I cannot touch them, if I know they are in the same room as I am I have to place myself as far away from them as I physically can. I really hate my phobia as people forget how genuinely terrified I am of them and still insist on having them at parties. Helen and Olly, answer me this, what is the phobia of balloons and is there any way I can get over this?

Apparently, Isla, you are far from alone in this: it’s called globophobia, and lots of people suffer from it. Indeed, I was once conversing with a man who was afraid of all inflatable objects, which was particularly unfortunate as he was in the Navy.

As for getting over it: some people on the internet suggest going into a room filled with balloons until you’re no longer sick with fear; but as a room full of balloons would surely freak out even the average non-globophobe, we reckon you should try a couple of sessions of hypnosis instead. But even when you’re cured, you should not watch The Prisoner – it’s one of the few dramas in which the villain is actually a balloon!

Now, readers, help make Isla feel better by sharing your own daft phobias in the comments.

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40 Responses to “Yikes!”

  1. Emma Says:

    Buttons. As in the ones on clothes. Even worse if they’ve fallen off the garment, and are loose with a bit of thread poking out. Yuk.

  2. Christine from San Diego Says:

    I have ornithophobia which means birds scare the shit out of me. Their beady little eyes, mechanical neck movements, and those claws! I have a recurring dream of a 6ft headless chicken coming after me with razorsharp claws and it terrifies me! I can’t stand the outdoors at times because of pigeons and swallows. The scene in Home Alone 2 with the bird lady makes my skin crawl…

  3. doug Says:

    Dolls, especially those ones with porcelain heads and eyes that open and close. AAAaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!

  4. Alice Says:

    Mosquitoes! I’ve now got to the stage where the noise of one flying in the night can wake me from the deepest sleep faster than any alarm clock, and being as I now live in Egypt I am not only missing the glorious British weather but I also have to face my phobia on a nightly basis. I have, on numerous occasions, risked my marriage by waking my husband at 2, 3 and 4 in the morning to help me hunt down the little fucker flying around my head. By extension I am also terrified of vampires even though I know they don’t exist, and cannot understand why people find them sexy. If a mosquito were 6 feet tall and indestructible no amount of looking like Robert Pattinson would improve matters.

  5. Mhairi Says:

    I am terrified of kites. Always get the feeling that it might lift me up! I can’t watch end bit of Mary Poppins!

    Oh, and the freaky rollerskating Evian babies!

  6. Andy Darvill Says:

    Anatidaephobia – fear of being watched by a duck – definitely my favourite 🙂 However I fear it was made up for a Far Side cartoon, at least I suspect so. Shame! The world was a more interesting place for a few minutes. I’ll have to make do with scopophobia – fear of being stared at.

  7. Sarah from Philadelphia Says:

    I always need to check my shoes before I put them on, especially with tall boots that I haven’t worn in a while. Something could be in there! I *do* store my boots in a pit of scorpions, maybe I should stop doing that.

  8. Becca Says:

    I’m quite scared of peas popping in my mouth. I can’t chew them in case they pop so I just swallow them whole.
    If they pop it makes me feel sick.
    I’m ok with sweetcorn though, so i’m not sure what the problem with peas are.

  9. ReeRee Says:

    I have to share my sisters weird phobia with you – she is properly terrified of wind turbines! No idea how she developed this fear, but she can’t stand even looking at a picture of one. If she sees them, she starts shaking and sweating, and one time she had to get out of the car to be sick after seeing some when we were out driving! I used to tease her by sending her pictures of them, but after the vomiting incident, I warn her to close her eyes if I spot one. Whats the name of this phobia I wonder, I bet there isn’t one! What a freakazoid.

  10. Craig McGill Says:

    I can undersatnd you feeling sick at the sight of an”outie” but the “innies” are okay.

  11. Vordus Says:

    I’m afraid of cows. They’re horrible things with mad red eyes and far too much muscle on them for something that just stands around in a field eating all day.

  12. Jessie Says:

    I have emetophobia – I cannot stand vomiting, so will only eat certain “safe” foods and hate germs, feeling sick, have to wash my hands constantly etc.
    Maybe try CBT Isla? It’s really helping me so far!
    I know how you feel about people not taking it seriously, my parents didn’t until I couldn’t go to school anymore (!)

    Jess 🙂

  13. Medisin Says:

    I used to know a man who was properly terrified of tissues, ketchup and wooden spoons. Nothing irrational about that is there?


    anything with a face, that shouldn’t have a face
    mugs, pens, fruit ect

  15. Adam Roche Says:

    For some reason I fear a giant water spider climbing up onto my arse whilst I sit on the toilet. For this reason, I have perfected the “hover-shit” technique

    • Katherine H Says:

      I am afraid of this too, even if I check the toilet there is still the chance the spider is hiding round the u bend! Also if I ever leave the door open to my house when I go outside I have to check all the rooms when I get back to make sure no murderers have snuck in.

      • Adam Roche Says:

        I think people seriously underestimate the number of spiders living within domestic plumbing. I heard someone say once that it’s “fucking inherent, probably”

      • Craig McGill Says:

        As far of I am aware spiders cannot breath underwater. And Katherine do you live in the murder capital of Britain? Which is “Midsomer” where the tv series Midsomer Murders is set. I am surprised there are still people living there with the amount of murders in the area.

        • Katherine H Says:

          I live in Australia so we have a wide variety of spiders, and I haven’t done the research myself to find out if any of them can breath underwater because I really don’t want to know. Luckily I don’t live in Midsomer though Craig or I don’t think I’d ever be able to leave the house.

        • Adam Roche Says:

          The spiders we KNOW about can’t breathe underwater, but the spiders I imagine can eat through walls, and can follow you to the ends of the earth to exact revenge. They can smell your scent, and have access to all the latest surveillance technology employed by CCTV Britain and the FBI

  16. Jack from Banbury Says:

    I’m unfortunately quite scared of small revolving doors, I’m quite a broad guy and I don’t like the idea of getting stuck in one.

  17. Michael Bush Says:

    a Coronation Street exhibition where they had a Kevin and Sally waxwork thing – now I have a fear that I’ll never see this, and my life will be woefully incomplete.

  18. James Says:

    Personally my fear of being late for something seems a little mundane; but it does mean I always end up at least half an hour early for everything and I find myself rather travelling to an airport the day before I have a flight and staying at a hotel nearby than run the risk of not being able to make the 2 hour check-in in advance period. I’m terrible! Friends get annoyed knowing I’ll be waiting for them well in advance of our agreed meeting time, imagining I’m getting annoyed with them for being “late” for being on time. I don’t, though, I suffer in silence.

    The best phobia was coined by Gary Larson, of the Far Side cartoons fame: luposlippophobia – the fear of being chased around the kitchen table by a pack of wolves on a slippery floor while wearing socks.

  19. Just Jo Says:

    I have a fear of authors dying part way through a series, so I don’t start reading a series of books until I have the whole set.

    • Adam Roche Says:

      How odd. I have a fear of Dan Brown not dying before he writes another Robert Langdon “novel”

      • Craig McGill Says:

        Yeah, I agree with Adam. Jo I think you should read some of Dan Browns books, it will get you over your phobia cause you will want him to that go to that great big bookshop in the sky before he writes another shitty book.

  20. Scarlett Says:

    my sister just popped up on facebook to say she knew it was me posting my bizarre phobia and was surprised i hadn’t mentioned my massive aversions to baked beans (the smell is sickening, the texture is worse) and ketchup (which seems to be more common that i thought?!) and the idea of getting paper cuts. she has succeeded in making me realise i am a massive freak.

  21. Ciara Says:

    Two irrational fears – waxworks and wet paper.

    The waxwork fear stems from having a very understanding and loving father who once pronounced at a castle we were at “Look Ciara, see that statue over there? LOOK, HIS EYES ARE MOVING. HE IS COMING TO GET YOU.” The waxwork was holding a gun and I was 6 at the time. I once had a panic attack in a Coronation Street exhibition where they had a Kevin and Sally waxwork thing.

    Wet paper makes me want to vomit. I hated doing papier mache in school.

  22. Paul Says:

    I can’t eat unless the knife and fork match.
    A colleague at work practically vomits if she sees a button hanging off an item of clothing from loose threads.

  23. BBB Says:

    Fear of other people folding the tops of their ears over.
    Fear of my kneecaps touching a flat surface (eg wall or floor)

  24. Kate Says:

    My brother Joe has a fear of polystyrene. He can’t drink tea or coffee from polystyrene cups, or to his great upset eat pie,chips and peas when watching the football. Kebabs are out, though he has been known to eat them out of pizza boxes.

    I used to mock this until I realised the full level of his phobia when I filled his bed with the contents of a beanbag. The screams of horror, terror and the look on his sweating pale face rather ruined the fun!

  25. Scarlett Says:

    i am TERRIFIED of milk. i can’t stand the idea of the smell or taste or texture of it and i can’t bear creamy sauces because of it. i’m a student living in a shared house and if someone puts the milk next to some of my food i have to rearrange the fridge and put the offending bottle as far away from all of my stuff as possible. bleeeuuuurrgghhhh.

  26. Luke Fellows Says:

    I shouldn’t be reading this, I have Phobophobia.

  27. MsMagic Says:

    I am just scared of the usual, spiders… clowns (they make me paranoid) etc. but my best friend Steph is afraid of the red stuff!

    Thats right.

    Ketchup! She can’t stand it, wont eat with other people using it, cant look at it, smell it, barely even hear the word.

    Even while in the bottle or sachet she just wont go near it.

    This obviously causes a lot of fun for her friends like myself who torment her.

    We have filled up her hood with sachets in a pub, posted her an envelope full to her door and wrapped her up a bottle for Xmas.

    Bless her.

    • Kelly Says:

      I have a friend who’s afraid of ketchup too! It sounds like exactly the same thing. If we’re eating out somewhere and there’s a bottle of ketchup on the table, she gets extremely agitated and kind of moans and begs for me to get it away. As soon as it’s out of sight she calms down.

      I’m absolutely terrified of doctors and policemen. I perceive doctors as just lying in wait to pronounce a death sentence at any moment. Policemen (in my mind) will arrest you as soon as look at you, for no reason at all.
      Although I know these are inaccurate, irrational perceptions – really docs and police are there to help people, protect and serve, etc. – (sorry to any doctors and policemen reading this, no offense!!), I cannot seem to shake them.

  28. Spencer Says:

    I’m scared of people taller than me! I’m 6’5″ and will sometimes cross the road if I see a 6’6″-er coming towards me.

  29. David James Says:

    Childhood foodstuff anathemae — (a) tomato ketchup, and (b) salt and vinegar crisps. Unfortunately, the latter got out (unavoidable at a crowded primary school lunch table). The kids in my class would unpick the seam of an empty crisp packet, thereby making an unpleasant, plastic, greasy S&V ‘wipe’, before pinning me down and rubbing it all over my face. The little fuckers.

  30. Ben Says:

    I suffer from anatidaephobia.

  31. Kerry Says:

    Belly buttons, cant stand them, make me feel sick and run away. Yuck!

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