FEATURE — Halloween has arrived, and the season of spooks and scares comes with it. Yet, for many Americans, some fears linger year-round.
A recent study by Customer Service Number mapped out the most searched phobias in each state, offering a deep dive into the nation’s collective psyche.
While many are hunting for vintage Halloween decorations or brainstorming Halloween drawing ideas for that perfect October evening, others are confronting fears far more profound than any ghost or goblin.
The most persistent fear: Trypophobia
A surprising standout from the study is trypophobia, or the fear of holes. This fear clinched the top spot in 11 states, including Georgia and Virginia. This particular phobia can be triggered by anything from honeycombs to porous rocks — and even some patterns found on vintage Halloween decorations.
The prevalence of this fear suggests a deeply rooted evolutionary aversion, perhaps linked to hazardous organisms or patterns in nature. Jude, a health expert from Health Makes You, commented on the prevalence of trypophobia, noting, “The sensation it induces is both anxious and uncomfortable. It’s worth considering that some of these phobias can have genuine health implications.”
People from Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming joined Virginia and Georgia in fearing holes.
The shadows of competition: Atychiphobia
Atychiphobia, the fear of failure, holds sway over seven states, including Illinois and Massachusetts. This might hint at the immense pressures of modern life, where the race to succeed, whether professionally or socially, can be overwhelming.
While this phobia may not influence one’s Halloween decoration choices, it does affect the daily lives of many, revealing a society grappling with the weight of expectations. It hits hardest in Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin.
Acrophobia’s grip on the mountain states
Acrophobia, the fear of heights, dominates in states like Colorado, known for its majestic Rockies. Yet, one has to wonder: is it the towering peaks that instill this fear, or is it an ancient apprehension that such landscapes intensify?
Regardless, people in five states deal with this fear: Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Colorado.
Anthropophobia: A sign of the times?
Interestingly, four densely populated states, including California and New York, recorded anthropophobia, the fear of people, as their top phobia. In an age of connectivity and social media, does this indicate a growing desire for solitude or a response to overstimulation? This might be an area ripe for further sociological and psychological exploration.
New Jersey and North Dakota are similarly afflicted.
Analyzing the spectrum of fear
Other fears ranged from the relatable to the unusual. Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, ruled in Iowa, Missouri and Pennsylvania. Perhaps these regions, with their strong community ties, value eloquent communication. Trypanophobia, the fear of needles, spooks residents of Indiana, West Virginia and Texas, which may suggest deeper health-related anxieties or just discomfort with medical procedures.
In a similar vein, pun intended, is Hemophobia, or the fear of blood. It afflicts people in Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Tennessee, New Mexico and Washington state.
Autophobia, the fear of being alone, was most common in Maine and Nevada. With modern society becoming increasingly interconnected, this fear of solitude might reflect our dependence on social ties.
Claustrophobia, or fear of confined spaces hits Connecticut, Kansas and South Dakota.
One cannot ignore the whimsically named hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, a long word for the fear of — long words — dominant in Arkansas and Kentucky. The very name of this phobia is amusing, but its prevalence suggests a genuine linguistic unease.
Alaska and Michigan rank highest for Fear of the Dark or Nyctophobia. Arizona and South Carolina are plagued by Emetophobia – a fear of vomiting, but also of seeing others vomit or even feel nauseous.
The methodology behind these findings is also interesting. The research team scoured Google’s database, adding 41 different phobias to the Keywords Planner. Each phobia was explored through over 300 related keywords, comprehensively depicting the nation’s anxieties.
A fearful society
As Halloween approaches, this study serves as more than just a list of fears. It is a reflection of our societal pulse, our evolutionary past, and our individual anxieties. Every fear tells a story, and every state has its unique tale.
As Oct. 31 arrives, it’s worth considering: are we only haunted by the supernatural, or do our deepest fears mirror our societal and individual pressures? Only time will reveal if these fears remain or if new anxieties take their place in the ever-evolving tapestry of the American psyche.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
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