Skip to main content

Trypophobia, the Lotus Seed Pod Phobia and Other Weird Fears

Most people have a phobia, or an irrational or abnormal fear of certain things. It is estimated that approximately ten percent of adults have at least one phobia. The most common phobia, acrophobia, is a fear of heights and a lot of folks, namely children have achluophobia - they're afraid of the dark. Many people are afraid of flying (aviophobia or pteromerhanophobia), being in closed spaces (claustrophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), thunder and lightning (astraphobia, brontophobia, tonitrophobia, or ceraunophobia), and germs (mysophobia). One of the most talked about fears is homophobia, or the fear of homosexuals.

Some peoples' fears are so great that they have a nearly paralytic sense of panic when confronted by them. Some even have more than one of these fears, a condition called polyphobia. A few very unlucky folks are afraid of everything. They have panophobia.

Some specific phobias can be debilitating, such as agoraphobia, which is the fear of being in places with large crowds and disposophobia, which is the fear of throwing anything away - commonly referred to as hoarding. People with extreme cases of these and similar phobias often require large amounts of counselling to be able to lead normal lives.

Many confront their phobias to overcome them. For instance, a person who is afraid of heights might go to a very high place to confront their fear. There have been many television shows dedicated to helping people overcome their fears. Some scientists say that the relatively new medium of virtual reality may help cure some people of their phobias.

Some people have something called counterphobia, which is described as the seeking out of those things which people are afraid of. Some believe that thrill seekers and dare devils could fall into this category. Often people with the fear of death, necrophobia, will often have a morbid curiosity with it.

Most phobias can be explained, and usually stem from an incident in childhood. Others are completely without cause and are often nearly impossible to overcome. Others still can be attributed to inherited subconscious knowledge. A fear of falling may occur as an evolutionary adaptation because falling was, at one time, a potential source of serious injury in a world that did not have advanced medical care.

For some people, clusters of small holes are cause for distress.

For some people, clusters of small holes are cause for distress.

What is Trypophobia?

I have personal experience with phobias, though I do not have the gripping panic that some experience when confronted with them. I have an abnormal fear of spiders (arachnophobia), which is fairly common and a fear of clowns (coulrophobia), which is less common but still relatively well known. These phobias are both a result of childhood incidents. I have another phobia, though, which has no reasonable explanation, at least none that I can remember.

My grandmother had a silk flower arrangement that she often placed on her kitchen table. I remember it had pink and light blue flowers in it. It also contained something that caused me an extreme amount of discomfort. So much so that she eventually removed it from the arrangement. It was a dried lotus seed pod.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I did an internet search for 'fear of lotus seed pods' and came up with something called trypophobia, which is derived from the Greek word trypo, meaning having holes that are punched, drilled or bored. It's considered an intense, irrational and often overwhelming fear of clusters of holes. It is an unofficial phobia, meaning it is not recognized as a medical condition.

Other trypophobia sufferers have reported intense phobic symptoms with other things involving holes as well, including sponges, holes in wood or honeycombs. Some people's reactions to holes, including mine, intensify when the holes have something in them, such as a sunflower with its seeds. Researching for information on trypophobia returned some photos that officially gave me the heebie-jeebies, namely the photo of the Surinam toad, who incubates and hatches her eggs from holes on her back. There is a video that shows the tadpoles hatching, but I'm not posting it here simply because I might have to watch it to get the the link.

There are internet and social media websites and even whole communities and message boards dedicated to trypophobia, where users often give examples of the things that cause them the discomfort associated with the fear.

I have huge issues with sunflowers, but many people who suffer from trypophobia do not.

I have huge issues with sunflowers, but many people who suffer from trypophobia do not.

Other Unusual Phobias

Almost everybody has a fear of something. I'm listing here some of the more unusual phobias I've found. Though some of them may seem ridiculous, bear in mind that there are people out there who are deathly afraid of some of these things. It may seem funny to us to be afraid of having peanut butter stuck to the roofs of our mouths, but just imagine being paralyzed with fear at the very thought of it.

Some of these phobias are not medically recognized conditions.

  • Alektorophobia is the fear of chickens.
  • Anuptaphobia is the fear of staying single.
  • Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of having peanut butter stuck to the roof of the mouth.
  • Coprastasophobia is the fear of being constipated.
  • Cyprinophobia is the fear of prostitutes.
  • Oenophobia is the fear of wines.
  • Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th.
  • Pentheraphobia is the fear of a mother-in-law.
  • Porphyrophobia is the fear of the color purple.
  • Pteronophobia is the fear of being tickled by feathers.
  • Geniophobia is the fear of chins.
  • Helminthophobia is the fear of being infested with worms.
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words.
  • Ichthyophobia is the fear of fish.
  • Kathisophobia is the fear of sitting down.
  • Melophobia is the fear of music.
  • Automatonophobia is the fear of ventriloquist's dummies or anything that is designed to appear human-like.
Ichthyophobia: The stuff nightmares are made of?

Ichthyophobia: The stuff nightmares are made of?

© 2012 Georgie Lowery


carolg on July 24, 2016:

I had a negative effect of seeing that STUPID photo of the shampoo hoax. I asked my husband to pray for me. He prayed against a spirit of fear. I am no longer "haunted" or disturbed by that evil practical joke, which might have had some sort of curse cast over it. If you're not married, seek out a trusted friend, family or clergy.

Scroll to Continue

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 01, 2016:

Anything to do with dentists has created high anxiety for me as I age.

spiderpam from USA on April 19, 2015:

It's real, I am glad I finally know what it is. I've been dealing with this since I was a kid. I would usually see those queer patterns on knots on trees and cacti. Now with the slew of photoshop hoaxes it only makes it worse.

jmbla on August 09, 2014:

I'm so have trypophobia so bad that it upsets me for hours if not days when I see any images! I try so hard to face the fear so that I can get rid of it but nothing helps!

Disgusted on July 22, 2014:

I never use to be scared of clusters of holes and stuff but every since I seen the head and shoulders hoax with the lotus seed pod I am terrified of everything that has clusters ESPECIALLY THE SEED PODS!!!!! I get panicky and everything it disgusts me and find it revolting and I can't seem to keep my mind off it !! Help please

Sabine on July 11, 2014:

Totally agree, why scare the hell out of people, what's the purpose? I would really like to know! So if you are behind these kinds of photoshop jokes, speak up! Can't get the image out of my head, it freaks me out! Didn't have any problems with looking at lotus seed pods before, but now I do... :-(

Mrs.Akhter on July 04, 2014:

Really hate the person who photoshopped that head& shoulder hoax add using lotus pod....u have really disturbed so many minds...

Tina on July 03, 2014:

I am so freaked out with Lotus flower pods, well more so of the images of it photoshopped as a skin disorder. To the creators of those images what the hell were you thinking... I actually hate you for creating it!!!!

babblingbrook on April 09, 2014:

I thought I was alone also. my daughter is 20 years old; I happened to mention to her I couldn't look at a whole roasted garlic clove sliced, because of the "pods", adding the comment "I know, it's weird, your probably thinking your Mom is a nut job". Well, her eyes got big and she knew EXACTLY what I was talking about, she has the same "condition", perhaps it is hereditary. We don't' have any other phobias or any other odd ball mental things; just this! Ditto on that frog! My stomach hurt !

Rachel on September 22, 2013:

Omg there is an actual fear- I am not crazy! That frog thing is evil! I had an email sent to me with a warning re breast maggots which was on a parr with the frogs! Omg I thought I was alone!

Shannon on June 15, 2013:

when I was little I'd have dreams of brushing parts of my skin away and revealing gross hard holes. I can't.

ronda on April 21, 2013:

Every since I saw the lotus breast a month ago for the first time I've had a creepy feeling that wont go away of holes and circles I thought this can't be normal now I know I have trypophobia

Jmillis2006 from North Carolina on March 28, 2013:

I do not know if there is a name for it but I'm terrified of escalators , I can not even get near the edge of one with out becoming panicky , my palms start sweating and my chest starts to hurt its crazy. I never even new I had this until 3 years ago when I went to a large mall with my sister, we where going to get on the escalator but when I went to put my foot on it I just could not do it. On a recent trip o a local micheals that has an escalator it even upset me when my son got lose to it.

vibesites from United States on March 06, 2013:

Oh thanks! I fear and hate them, much much more if they're flying around.... it scares me! I had to call someone to kill them, I can't bring to do that myself. Thanks again. :)

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on March 05, 2013:


Fear of cockroaches is officially Katsaridaphobia according to I don't dig them either!

Thank you for your comment!

vibesites from United States on March 05, 2013:

Wow, that makes me really curious. I hope the sufferers of the trypophobia might speak up. This thing looks a bit fearsome indeed (they're like multiple eyes in one head).

I don't have "anuptaphobia". I really enjoy being single. :)

I indeed have arachnophobia, and a fear of cockroaches. Does that have a term though?

Voted up and interesting. :)

Hola on August 21, 2012:

I suffer from trypophobia and that picture sacres the hell out of me.

My fear is very serious and im just scared of holes.

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on May 11, 2012:

Thank you, duffsmom!

Trypophobia is odd, although a lot of people do have at least a little touch of it. That dang toad, though, if I ever came across one in real life, I'd either have a stroke or soil myself. Seriously.

Thank you for the comment!

P. Thorpe Christiansen from Pacific Northwest, USA on May 11, 2012:

So interesting! For a long time I have wondered why I get a funny feelings when seeing a picture like the lotus seed pod. It isn't a fear exactly just a very strange feeling. Also one of the strongest times I felt it was the exact toad you are talking about - saw it on a documentary on TV. I was almost drawn to it. Never even dreamed what was going on. Well done Georgie!

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on May 05, 2012:

Thank you Cathleena!

I don't mind snakes at all, but I have a huge problem with spiders. I don't know how I would have reacted in your copperhead situation, though. Those guys aren't nice at all!

Cathleena Beams from Tennessee on May 05, 2012:

Sure are a lot of things to be afraid of. I love gardening. Seed pods don't bother me, but spiders and snakes are another matter. I once came across a copperhead that was wrapped around a clump of daylilies that I was digging up. My heart nearly beat out of my chest when I lifted up the foliage and my hand was within an inch or two of him. I'm sure the neighbors probably heard me screaming. Very informative hub!

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on May 03, 2012:


Breast maggots? Seriously! No way, no how! And you should probably leave 'Lotus Girl' off of the list too!

I usually only have issues with holes if they have stuff in them, like the lotus pods, sunflowers and even bits of butter in the holes on my waffles.

Thank you for the comment!

ashjeanBaker from South Yorkshire on May 03, 2012:

Moss on outside walls is also a huge trigger for Trypophobia! The lotus seed pod is also what made me search online for my seemingly irrational feelings towards plant-life. Never under any circumstances type in "Breast maggots" to google. Just don't. Promise?

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on May 02, 2012:

LOL Khal! That's almost as funny as being afraid of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth!

Khal Blogo from A gas station on the yellow brick road on May 02, 2012:

You forgot to add Omphalophobia. It's fear of bellybuttons:)

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on April 29, 2012:


Imagine one staring you in the face when you're trying to eat!

Arbsy from Canada on April 29, 2012:

That lotus seed pod gives me the creeps, now I know why!

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on April 28, 2012:

I think fear of running out of wine is probably absenceofwinethirtyophobia.

Thank you for the comment. :)

Julie Fletcher on April 28, 2012:

Is there a name for the fear of running OUT of wine? My own fear is of tornadoes and very strong storms. It stems from when my great-grandmother would turn off all the lights and have us sit in the living room until a storm was over. No TV, no anything. Then, when I moved out on my own a tornado went over my house - it lifted up off the ground right before it hit our pond. Ever since I wander around my house doing 'safe checks' on everything.

Once I made my husband drive 100 miles out of our way to miss a storm. Another, I made him drive us to a stone built rest area to avoid a tornado coming towards our town, this was about 1 or 2 AM. Great hub!

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on April 27, 2012:

Hi justateacher!

Phonophobia- Fear of noises or voices or one's own voice; of telephones.

Telephonophobia- Fear of telephones.

Not very inventive, but that's what I came up with!

Thanks for the comment! :)

LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on April 27, 2012:

I have an unusual fear of using the there a name for this phobia?

Great info here!

Related Articles