Do You Have Trypophobia? A Fear of Clusters of Bumps and Holes


Recently my friend told me about a colleague who was seriously freaked out by her Lifefactory water bottle. Apparently she has a fear of holes and it sounded totally bizarre.


But then I thought more about it and realized maybe it wasn’t so strange. I wasn’t afraid of the holes punched in silicone, but I have a serious fear of fern spores.

Yes, it’s a little known fact about me that the spores on ferns inexplicably traumatize me. I will not accept any bouquet with ferns in it and will remove fern centerpieces from dinner tables.

And I thought I was alone – until I realized these two fears are likely very much the same.

Trypophobia is not officially recognized by Webster’s dictionary, but it is loosely defined as a fear or revulsion of patterns containing clusters of holes or bumps. The fear has been written about by Popular Science and an article in The Atlantic said 16% of people actually have trypophobia. There is a Facebook group with almost 12,000 members.

People with this affliction vary in their triggers and responses. Like others I’ve read about, I’m not typically bothered by anything man-made. For instance, this tactile paving on the corner doesn’t bother me.


I’m not bothered by my shower head unless I stare at it for a really long time.


I’m also cool with Swiss Cheese. I remember an old episode of Maury Povich where a woman had a massive fear of pickles. I’m not afraid of pickles, but I’m wondering if it was the bumps that freaked her out – maybe she was just a fellow Trypophobe?

However, as the poster image for trypophobia, this picture of a Lotus Pod Seed haunts my dreams.

But nothing freaks me out more than this. The dreaded fern spore.

I also did an ill-advised Google Search and I am still reeling from images of Surinam Frogs. I am hoping this blog post will serve as some kind of exposure therapy, but it’s mostly been an exercise in self-torture.

Do these images bother you? Are you a closet Trypophobe?

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