By Marcia Love
I tried to make myself do it, but I just couldn’t. The thought of it alone nearly petrified me, which is kind of embarrassing.
And so I ended up getting my landlord to go down into the basement of the house to get my water meter reading. All because of my lygophobia.
If you aren’t up on your phobias (which I wasn’t either, until I wondered if there was an actual name for the cause of my paranoia), it’s the fear of dark, gloomy places.
Yes, I am terrified of creepy, old basements.
But we all have them — those fears that we’re ashamed to admit to anyone, so we silently live with them, doing everything we can to keep from encountering them while maintaining our silent cover.
I’m not talking about your typical arachnophobia or claustrophobia or even coulrophobia (the fear of clowns, which I think some people simply claim they have just to fit in). I’m talking about the super weird, ultra-irrational fears out there.
I’m talking about those who secretly suffer from peladophobia (fear of bald people), deipnophobia (fear of dinner parties), ephebiphobia (fear of teenagers) or aulophobia (fear of flutes).
You may laugh, but do some research and I’m sure you’ll find a phobia geared specifically to you — and you will find one. I didn’t even know there was a name for my irrational fear of Bigfoot until I googled it. FYI, it’s called sosantoglitaphobia.
I also have an illogical fear of watching movies made prior to about 1998. (Something about the way people dressed in the ’80s creeps me out. And don’t even get me started on how eerie black-and-white films are . . .) However, I surprisingly couldn’t find a name for that.
Ridiculous as they are, fears like these are fairly common, even in Hollywood. Billy Bob Thornton is disturbed by antiques, so much so he can’t be in a room with furnishings dating before 1950. Even stranger than that is the fact there is no official name for that phobia either, yet the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth gets a name — arachibutyrophobia.
Christina Ricci has admitted she’s afraid of house plants, a form of botanophobia.
And all the Corner Gas fans out there likely remember the episode that introduced us to globophobia. No, oddly enough it’s not the fear of globes, but rather that of balloons, or more specifically the fear of them popping.
Unfortunately for me, my job has meant facing my lygophobia more often than I’d like. It’s taken me into the basements of several old buildings in town — one of which I entered by myself, and, when I couldn’t find the light switch, was forced to use my camera flash to light my way. Terrifying, I tell you.
Growing up in an old farmhouse, you wouldn’t think I’d have such a fear. But it’s quite likely due to the fact my brother would lock me in the cellar so often as a kid that I developed it.
It’s been said we need to face our fears to conquer them and grow. But so far, the closest I’ve come to facing my basement fear is laying on my stomach on the floor peering into its depths while shining a light into it before convincing myself I saw something move down there and slamming the trap door closed. Baby steps. But who knows? Maybe I’ll be brave enough to face my worst nightmare next September when the water meter needs reading again.