15 People Reveal Their Most Irrational Fears


Why are people nervous about being attacked by a shark (odds of that happening: 1 in 3,748,067), but completely comfortable driving their car (odds of getting into a car accident: 1 in 84)? Below, fifteen people confess their most irrational fears—the bizarre sources of paranoia that keep them on their toes, even though the odds of these things happening are slim to zero.

1. “I’ve never had sex before, but I’m terrified of immaculate conception. It happened that one time to the mother of God but it might happen again—and I am so not ready for a kid.”

— Melinda, 20

2. “Mayonnaise. As a prank, my brother once cleared out an empty mayonnaise jar and filled it with vanilla yogurt and completely fooled me into thinking he was just eating spoonfuls of mayonnaise out of the jar. I still have nightmares.”

— Caroline, 21

3. “Especially while living in California, I am automatically overcome with anxiety and stress when I’m driving over a bridge (don’t even get me started on being stuck in traffic on a bridge). I’m just so worried that an unprecedented, obscenely devastating earthquake will hit at the exact moment I’m stuck on the bridge. I had to watch this video for my physics class in high school that I think inspired the fear.”

— Mallory, 19

4. “I never touch the protective glass shielding food in bakeries or groceries stores because I’m so worried that if someone robs the place, the police will find my fingerprints and then list me as a suspect.”

— Kathy, 20

5. “I am terrified that while I’m walking or driving outdoors, a low-flying plane will crash on me. My mom instilled this fear in me; she tries to out-drive low-flying planes on the freeway.”

— Ciera, 20

6. “I hate fabrics in general, and I’m particularly petrified of velvet. I shudder just thinking about it.”

— Natalie, 20

7. “If I’m aware that one of my limbs is above the covers when I’m trying to fall asleep at night, I’m convinced I’m going to be murdered so I have to pull everything back under the covers.”

— Maddie, 22

8. “I can’t go to bed without underwear on because I’m so afraid that a spider will crawl up and die…in there. Yeah, I realize it’s probably never happened. But still.”

— Ray, 21

9. “Without fail, anytime I am alone in an elevator—no matter how nice or big it is—I will hold my breath until I get to my floor because I can’t stop thinking about how awful it would be for me to be stuck alone in there. Or for the cable to snap. Has that ever even happened in real life?”

— Olivia, 22

10. “Going through metal detectors always makes me feel scared for some reason. I never have anything to worry about, but I’m always panicked I’m going to set it off for some reason and then have to be called into some ‘back room’ to be searched.”

— Billy, 21

11. “Old people hands…Just something about their saggy, veiny skin makes me feel physically ill.”

— Adrienne, 21

12. “Stepping onto an escalator that’s going down reeeeally freaks me out. I have no idea where it comes from, but I can’t even keep a conversation going when I’m getting on a downwards escalator because I’m convinced I need to give the task my undivided attention. I don’t know, maybe I’ll fall or get trapped or something? I know, it’s weird.”

— Chris, 21

13. “If I’m awake past midnight and alone in my apartment, you can bet I am hiding in bed in absolute terror, convinced that someone has secretly been living in my place for days and is ready to come out and murder me.”

— Nick, 21

14. “I hate bunk beds. If I’m on the top bunk, I’m convinced I’m going to roll over in my sleep and tumble to my death. And if I’m on the bottom bunk, well it’s just inevitable the top bunk is going to collapse on me. They’re death traps I tell you.”

— Blake, 22

15. “I have no backstory to why this is a thing, but in the back on my mind while I’m driving on a highway or freeway, I always think about what would happen if my door just flew open and got ripped off as I’m driving. I compulsively and repeatedly have to lock my doors.”

— Charlie, 21