16 Stories

Your Fear May Make This Spider Look Huge

Arachnophobia may boost people's size estimates

(Newser) - When Noga Cohen, a grad student at Israel's Ben-Gurion University, spotted a spider one day, arachnophobe and fellow student Tali Leibovich freaked out about its size. Cohen thought that odd, because the eight-legged arachnid looked tiny to her, reports Live Science . And so a study was born. They set... More »

Woman Gets First Transplant Necessitated by Needle Phobia

Diabetic patient couldn't handle her daily insulin shots

(Newser) - It's not too strange to hear about a diabetic undergoing a pancreas transplant. What's unusual here is that the transplant was necessitated by the UK patient's extreme fear of needles—the first time that's happened anywhere in the world, the BBC reports. Sue York, 55, has... More »

13 Celebs With Bizarre Phobias

Including porcelain dolls, indoor houseplants, and seagulls

(Newser) - Halloween has passed, but the 32 celebrities rounded up by Ranker still have to deal with some very strange phobias. A sampling of their fears:
  1. Channing Tatum: pediophobia, fear of porcelain dolls
  2. Jennifer Love Hewitt: selachophobia, fear of sharks; she also has a fear of elevators
  3. Matthew McConaughey: cleithrophobia, fear
... More »

Boy's Very Rare Condition: Fear of Aging

Report: When he was 11, the boy ate less to stop growing, and lost 26 pounds

(Newser) - A 14-year-old boy in Mexico is possibly the first reported child in the world to have been diagnosed with gerascophobia, or an extreme fear of aging. His condition, described in Case Reports in Psychiatry in December and spotted by LiveScience , began two and a half years ago. It involves such... More »

Seizure Surgery Removes Man's Arachnophobia

Operation has a quite unintended consequence

(Newser) - A man's surgery for seizures had an unexpected result: When he woke up, he was no longer scared of spiders. The 44-year-old used to kill spiders with hair spray and a vacuum; now, he's fine with letting them crawl all over him, Medical Daily reports. The reasons aren'... More »

25 Strange Phobias of the Stars

House plants and butterflies and mirrors, oh my!

(Newser) - Everyone understands arachnophobia. But what about swinophobia—the fear of pigs? It's just one of the 25 strange celebrity fears rounded up by the Huffington Post :
  • Katie Holmes: Scared of raccoons.
  • Tyra Banks: Afraid of dolphins.
  • Orlando Bloom: Yep, he's the swinophobe.
  • Woody Allen: One of his many
... More »

Frog-Phobic Man Wins $1.6M Lawsuit

Developer turned his land into frog paradise

(Newser) - An upstate New York man terrified of frogs has won a seven-year legal battle with a developer who flooded his 40-acre property, attracting vast numbers of the amphibians. Paul Marinaccio—who says his fear of frogs began when he was a child in Italy and he was chased by a... More »

10 Weird Celebrity Phobias

Dolphins and horses and butterflies, oh my!

(Newser) - Aretha Franklin wants to be an American Idol judge, but there could be a slight problem getting her to audition sites across the country: She's afraid of flying. Celebuzz lists nine other celebrity phobias, from the everyday to the downright bizarre:
  • Kristen Stewart: She's been scared of horses
... More »

Fear of Having No Cell Phone On the Rise

Nomophobia: Symptoms include trembling, sweating, and nausea

(Newser) - You cell phone is ... where again? If that question fills you with panic, you may be a nomophobe—someone who fears being without a cell phone, the Los Angeles Times reports. Odd as it may seem, two thirds of 1,000 people polled in a British survey say they feared... More »

11 Animals Celebs Fear

Apparently, MJ loved giraffes...but hated dogs

(Newser) - Sam Greenspan wants you to know that celebrities are, indeed, just like you. “But only if you have peculiarly irrational fears of flightless birds or farm animals,” he writes on , where he offers up 11 strange celebrity animal phobias:
  • Adolf Hitler, et al: He is joined
... More »

Scientists Think Injection Could 'Cure' Fear

Maybe some lidocaine in the cerebellum can erase phobias

(Newser) - A team of Japanese researchers say they’ve found evidence that a simple injection could turn off the brain’s ability to become afraid, or even reprogram it to eliminate certain phobias. The scientists say that since fear is a learned reaction, they should be able to find the part... More »

The Most Common Phobias

Don't like spiders and snakes? Join the club!

(Newser) - In honor of Halloween, LiveScience reveals the most common phobias. If you still need a costume, you'll scare the most people by playing on their evolutionarily sensible fear of creatures with venomous fangs. The top terrors:
  1. Snakes
  2. Spiders and other "creepy crawlies"
  3. Places that are difficult to escape, such
... More »

Girl's Death Hastened by Fear of Dentists

(Newser) - A British girl who died in 2005 from dehydration and starvation suffered from a severe fear of dentists that kept her from eating, the BBC reports. Sophie Waller was in and out of the hospital after she refused to eat when teeth came lose, but medical professionals mislaid her case.... More »

It's Friday the 13th: What Do Celebs Fear?

Some fears normal; others just weird

(Newser) - Friday the 13th is a good time to delve into the scary world of celebrity fears—and they run the gamut from the average (Johnny Depp is afraid of clowns) to the bizarre (Roseanne fears letting anyone touch her toes). More from the list, compiled by New York Post columnist... More »

Tiny Shocks Win by a Nose

Sense of smell shows electric response; technique could help PTSD patients

(Newser) - Electric shocks can sharpen the sense of smell, a finding that suggests new ways of altering sensory perception, the Chicago Tribune reports. MRIs showed subjects’ brains actually changing after researchers administered tiny shocks, which improved their ability to distinguish between similar smells. Because many psychological conditions relate to the senses,... More »

Humans Wired to Fear Snakes

Scientists find innate ability to discern slithering critters in the wild

(Newser) - Evolution seems to have given humans a hard-wired ability to recognize snakes and spiders, LiveScience reports. Intrigued by the widespread fear of serpents despite the fact that most humans rarely interact with them, researchers showed groups of adults and 3-year-olds natural scenes containing various hidden animals. Both groups were consistently... More »

16 Stories