It’s Halloween! What Scares the H*** Out Of You? [POLL]
Happy Halloween! The history of the holiday is a rich, and at times confusing one, but all that really matters is today on Halloween we celebrate all the stuff that scares the bleep out of us. But we want to know what really scares you. Makes your hair stand up. Makes you scream out loud. Maybe even makes you cry!
About 19.2 million American adults ages 18 and over, or some 8.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have some type of specific phobia, or extreme fear. Here are some of the worst.
Not many people jump for joy at the thought of an intense session of plaque removal. And between 9 percent and 20 percent of Americans say they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear, according to WebMD.
From tiny, purse-size pups to buff German shepherds, any flavor of man’s best friend can scare the pants off some who suffer from cynophobia, or extreme fear of dogs. Typically, people tend to develop fear of dogs as a result of being bitten themselves or seeing somebody get bitten.
There’s no such thing as “the friendly skies” for the 25 million or so people in the United States who suffer from some form of flying fear. Such fears range from just a bit of anxiety to an extreme flying phobia called aviophobia that can keep a person off airplanes at any cost.
Thunder and Lightning
The crackling of thunder and lightning can lead to a heart-pounding, sweaty-palm meltdown for individuals with severe weather phobia. In fact, some even pack up and move to regions known for calm weather.
For many kids, lights out can mean immediate distress that the boogey man, or some variation, will pop out from beneath the bed or behind a closet door. In fact, being afraid of the dark is one of kids’ most common fears.
If you get the heebie-jeebies when standing on a rooftop or looking up at a tall building, you’re not alone. Fear of heights is one of the most common phobias (followed by public speaking) with an estimated 3 percent to 5 percent of the population suffering so-called acrophobia.
Does the thought of speaking in front of an audience color your face a bright red, send sweat pouring from your pores and bring a sick feeling to your gut? Those are just a few of the signs of social phobia, which affects about 15 million American adults.
About 1.8 million American adults over 18 years of age suffer agoraphobia, which involves intense fear and anxiety of any place or situation where escape might be difficult.
While most would at least flinch at the sight of Aragog, the human-eating spider depicted in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” the everyday spider can cause the same fear in some people. And it turns out, women are four times more likely to fear such arachnids than men.
Considered one of the most common phobias, an extreme fear of snakes could be evolutionarily imprinted in people, studies suggest. Long ago, spotting a snake (or even a spider) would have been an advantage to a person’s survival, according to one study in which adults and children could pick out images of snakes among various non-threatening objects more quickly than they could pinpoint frogs and flowers.