In many ways, Friday the 13th serves as a global holiday commemorating the fears we humans have. April 2018 was the first of two times in 2018 (the other is in July) where we can celebrate — if that is the right word — our shared fears and phobias.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 19 million adults are affected by phobias, which is about 8.7% of the U.S. population.
Some phobias may seem silly, like rhytiphobia (fear of getting wrinkles), kathisophobia (fear of sitting down), phobophobia (fear of phobias) or, the timely, paraskavedekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th). We could only find one phobia that downright implausible: samhainophobia (the fear of Halloween). Who would possibly have that?!
Many other phobias seem more reasonable — after all, they identify things that probably should be feared. Like nyctohylophobia (fear of forests at night), ballistophobia (fear of missiles or bullets), or thanatophobia (fear of death). Heck, doesn't everybody, at some level, suffer from defecaloesiophobia (fear of painful bowel movements)?
We came across a great list of collected phobia names> that, according to the author, was started on the Web back in 1995. (What's the name for “fear of really old websites”?) It’s a fun list to scroll through – unless, of course, you suffer from sesquipedalophobia (fear of long words).
All this said, for those who do suffer from of a phobia, it really is nothing to make fun of — the impact can be disruptive to a person, even devastating. According to the ADAA, although people with phobias often realize that their fear is irrational, even thinking about it can cause extreme anxiety.
We came across a recent article in National Geographic< about researchers in Europe who are trying to determine if phobias are something we learn or something we are born with.
They are using two of the world's most common phobias in their research: ophidiophobia and arachnophobia (fear of snakes and spiders, respectively). By measuring the pupil dilation in babies when they were shown images of spiders and snakes (along with more benign images like flowers), the researchers were lead to believe the fear of snakes and spiders is likely innate.
This makes intuitive sense. Humans (and our ancestors) have mostly likely been sharing shelter with snakes and spiders for millions of years. In the modern age, we can take solace in knowing that only 200 of the approximately 3,000 species of snakes are venomous, and of the 40,000 species of spiders, only a handful are potentially toxic to humans. But, tell that to our ancestors!
Another incredibly common phobia, musophobia (fear of mice) may have the same origins. Mice and rats have been blamed for carrying disease throughout history and, at some point, our ancestors probably started associating the furry little critters to the decay and death they saw around them.
Whatever the reason for the prevalence of phobias, we are ready to embrace our fears by selling our spider, snake, and rat laden digital decoration, Creepy Crawlies 2, at 20% off. Also this Friday the 13th, we’re getting ready for our Walking Dead finale viewing parties by also putting Zombie Invasion! on sale for 20% off. Hopefully, nobody is afraid of savings!
Happy Friday the 13th! Finally, one thing not to be terrified of!
Sale runs for limited times Friday, April 13th to Monday, April 16th. See the website during the sale for additional details.