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This Is Why Images Of Holes Genuinely Freak Some People Out

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This Is Why Images Of Holes Genuinely Freak Some People Out

WARNING: CONTAINS IMAGES SOME MAY FIND DISTURBING

When it comes to phobias, most people think of heights, spiders or flying. However, a slightly less common fear you may not have heard of is trypophobia.

The condition, which is said to affect around 15 percent of us, is defined by an irrational aversion to the sight of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps - think barnacles, sponges, strawberries, pomegranates etc.

People who have trypophobia feel queasy when looking at surfaces that have small holes gathered close together. Reactions vary from just feeling a bit 'off' to causing a full-on panic attack or even throwing up.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

For the most fearful trypophobics, the skin crawling holes appear everywhere, from nature to your own bathroom. Needless to say if you can get through this story without wanting to scream, then you're trypophobia free.

Even though you might be immune to the phobia, it all begins to make a lot more sense when you see photos of human flesh ravaged by holes.

Just get a load of this make-up artist's very realistic depiction of a trypophobic's worst nightmare.

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Disclaimer: This will make your skin crawl and we doubt you'll be able to get the image out of your head for days.

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We did warn you.

Let it be known the wounds are definitely not real, but nonetheless Bridgette Trevino's video of a hand covered in what appeared to be small but deep circular holes dripping blood left people feeling very queasy.

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Despite very real accounts of those who experience it, the scientific understanding of trypophobia is limited and isn't officially recognised as a phobia by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

However, from the limited research that's been carried out, some experts have theorised as to why someone might get the heebie jeebies over certain triggering images and it's actually pretty sensible.

According to a study by psychologists Arnold Wilkins and Geoff Cole of the University of Essex, many of the world's most deadly and poisonous animals such as the blue-ringed octopus have clusters of holes and bumps on their skin.

A highly venomous blue-ringed octopus. Credit: PA
A highly venomous blue-ringed octopus. Credit: PA
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Another hypothesis was offered up by University of Kent postgraduate researcher Tom Kupfer, who told CNN: "Those images look to me like they would be perceived as cues to infectious disease or parasites.

"I wouldn't be surprised if this is actually a disorder based on disgust and disease avoidance."

The researcher went on to point out that infectious diseases such as smallpox and measles show up in clusters on the skin.

He added: "Smallpox alone killed millions of millions of people, so if a human ancestor was predisposed to attend to those bumps, to dislike them and stay away from them, that could provide a survival advantage."

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Credit: Flickr/leonard_ripper
Credit: Flickr/leonard_ripper

Since the term was coined back in 2005 by an online forum, trypophobia has become a popular topic on social media as users are divided over whether the 'triggering' images are gross or not.

However, not everyone is convinced that a 'dislike' to clusters of holes is even a phobia.

Speaking to NPR, psychiatrist Carol Mathews said: "There might really be people out there with phobias to holes, because people can really have a phobia to anything.

"But just reading what's on the internet, that doesn't seem to be what people actually have."

She went on to explain that most people don't have 'genuine fear' of these images, they just find them a bit gross.

For it to be classed as official phobia by the American Psychiatric Association it would need to interfere 'significantly with the person's normal routine'.

Try telling that to the people who vomit down the kitchen sink every time they encounter a particularly worn out sponge.

Or, in the case of Gordon Ramsey, a seemingly innocent picture of a beef wellington. The celebrity chef posted the image of his creation on social media, only to receive dozens of comments from people who found the dish more frightening than appetising.

Gordon Ramsay's Wellington picture has been giving some people the creeps. Credit: Instagram/Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay's Wellington picture has been giving some people the creeps. Credit: Instagram/Gordon Ramsay

In particular, it was the accompaniment of some garlic bulbs that had been chopped to reveal the holey interior that triggered peoples' fears.

One person pointed out the garlic bulbs, writing: "The last pic has some trypophobia worthy food over there..."

From there, people with the phobia flocked to confide in each other, with another person writing: "Made my skin crawl. I'd freak if that turned up on a plate in front of me."

Another added: "I came to the comment section looking for this reply. Felt better to know it's not just me."

Again, these comments could be just another sign that this fear isn't a genuine phobia, but more just a dislike or a disgust for such imagery.

Nonetheless, there are some people whose fear of clustered holes causes them to feel sweaty, shaky and anxious and in this case they should probably seek some hypnosis or aversion therapy to ease the symptoms.

Words: Daisy Phillipson

Featured Image Credit: Wiki Commons/Lukasz Nowak

Topics: Community, Weird

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