Columbians share their fears

Friday, November 2, 2007 | 3:00 p.m. CDT; updated 8:10 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Do you always check behind the closet door at night?

Afraid that a letter mailed anywhere but the post office won’t get sent?

Sharing fears some may consider irrational can be embarrassing, but it turns out you are not alone.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 19.2 million Americans have a specific phobia or a persistent fear of some object or situation.

Almost every fear has a name: Pogonophobia, for example, is the fear of beards.

Here are three anxieties shared by Columbians:

“If my kids are sick, I think I’m going to get sick. It usually turns out that I don’t get sick, I think because I take care of them.”

— Aric Bremer, 26

“The thing under the bed. I take a little leap over the gap to get into bed so it doesn’t reach out and grab me.”

— Michele Cordray, 41

“Every time I’m in a plane, I think it’s going to crash because I’m not behind the wheel.”

— Sydney Lynch, 55


Agoraphobia — fear of open spaces

Claustrophobia — fear of confined spaces

Acrophobia — fear of heights

Mysophobia — fear of germs or dirt

Xenophobia — fear of strangers or the unknown



Anuptaphobia — fear of staying single

Geniophobia — fear of chins

Lachanophobia — fear of vegetables

Phagophobia — fear of being eaten

Paraskavedekatriaphobia — fear of Friday the 13th

Pentheraphobia — fear of a mother-in-law


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