Fear of People and Objects


Continuing our series of articles on phobias, which we have defined as a state of unjustified fear and panic caused by something or a situation, and experiencing a state of extreme panic and anxiety about being or imagining meeting face-to-face with the source of the phobia. A phobic person suffers from physical and psychological symptoms that naturally hamper him/her from practicing their daily activities. Most phobias are caused by a deep-rooted psychological mental response linked to painful events in the past.

When we hear the word phobia what comes to mind is that the imperative reasoning behind it is logical and a real cause of panic; yet, surprisingly, the most widespread phobias among adults are those that cannot be judged logically as terrifying, such as nyctophobia (fear of darkness), hemophobia (fear of blood), or even coulrophobia (fear of clowns).


Most people have fun spending time at festivals, carnivals, and similar festivities, enjoying the presence of acrobats, clowns, and other performers who bring joy to audiences, young and old. However, a coulrophobic avoids these occasions entirely in fear of encountering a clown with his/her multicolored face and clothes, which are capable of provoking panic and fear in the hearts of some. Psychologists ask: Has filmmaking, which always depicts the clown in the form of a horrific killer, helped consolidate and spread coulrophobia?

The answer to this question is a definite yes. Psychologists attribute coulrophobia to three main reasons: terrifying films that depict clowns as mighty criminals; bad memories related to old experiences, such as being trapped inside a garden or a house, unfortunately coinciding with the presence of a clown in the same place; or being affected by the experience of a relative or a friend who has suffered from an unfavorable situation involving a clown.


Hemophobia, which may include the fear of needles or what is called trypanophobia, are classified as specialized or specific phobias; it may be greatly related to and interfere with many other phobias. We find that a hypochondriac (someone who fears disease) will only panic when seeing his/her own blood, as it signifies he/she is ill; yet, he/she will not be affected when seeing someone else's blood. Germophobics, on the other hand, panic at the sight of the blood of others, because it is conceived as a source of infection and contracting diseases. Of course, the cause of the hemophobia may be related to an accident or a disease where the person lost a large amount of blood, causing him/her fear of death.


Nyctophobia is normal among young children, but it is an indication of illness among teenagers and adults; it may prevent them from some night activities in the absence of a light source. The cause of nyctophobia maybe because early humans suffered from predators that attacked them in the dark. It could also be attributed to being affected by horror movies that use darkness as a means to scare spectators, or to imagining darkness as a veil that conceals an unknown harboring something evil. Lack of self-confidence and insecurity allow the fear of the dark to dominate the individual, as evidenced by the disappearance of nyctophobia in the presence of companionship.

Overcoming phobias is easy and simple with the help of a doctor or a psychologist, who either chooses to prescribe a drug, behavioral therapy, or both to help a phobic person recover.






Cover image source.

About Us

SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
Continue reading

Contact Us

P.O. Box 138, Chatby 21526, Alexandria, EGYPT
Tel.: +(203) 4839999
Ext.: 1737–1781
Email: COPU.editors@bibalex.org

Become a member

© 2024 | Bibliotheca Alexandrina