Recently I learned I have  phobia I didn’t know existed. It’s called trypophobia and is fairly specific. It’s the fear of small holes in asymmetrical clusters. Such as seen in tripe. This is why lotus seed pods give some of us the heebie-damn-jeebies.

If the above image makes “start to feel really uncomfortable” and gives you a “creepy, itchy feeling crawls over your body”, well, I’m afraid you suffer from Trypophobia.

I think this phobia exists in myself because I have a natural, healthy fear of having infected, rotting flesh. Or exposed viscera. Or having parasites burrow into my flesh. This article states that holes in flesh are a common trigger of the symptoms of this phobia:

Holes which occur in different types of tissues, human and animal, this is quite a big category. Human pores on their skin, if enlarged, blackheads, pockmarks left by acne or other skin disorders. Holes in skin caused by creatures that may have eaten through the skin creating a hole… There are lots of completely disgusting holes found in various types of offal… things like worms and maggots and stuff eating into things and creating holes in materials and foods…”

Well, no kidding, hey? No wonder lotus seed pod photo-manipulations give me such a bad feeling. If anything looks like larval parasites emerging from infected flesh, it’s those damn seed pods. Excuse me while I upchuck into the recycling basket.

Okay, I’m back. Don’t they just make you want to pick them all out and douse those wounds with antiseptic and then wrap that poor girl’s limbs tightly in clean bandages?

Then vomit for about three days?

Then wage war on whatever alien race sent their spores across the galaxy to infest us?

Regardless, the article also goes on to say “Holes created in ice and snow as it melts” which have never given me a bad feeling. That might be taking the phobia little too far.


Jakob is co-host of the Nerd Hurdles podcast and runs the Arachnidiscs music label.


33 Responses to Trypophobia

  1. Miranda says:

    These photos are beyond disturbing. Thanks for the creepy feeling I will have for the rest of the day!

  2. lolguy says:

    I just recently discovered that i have this. TODAY!!! I’ve heard the treatment is stuff like desensitization due to overexposure combined with thinking about other things and stuff. So far the darn itchy feeling wont stop no matter what.
    Best wishes on anyone elses recovery who has this.

    • ampersandpress says:

      While writing and researching this blog post, I definitely cured myself a little. Desensitization is definitely the key. Plus, it’s kind of fun to gross yourself out for hours. Kind of.

  3. Nemo says:

    Oh, barf. I can’t even look at actual lotus seedpods, nevermind those photomanips. My brain takes that and then imagines a sick, fetid sewer odor on top of it and a squishy wet noise and excuse me I need to go puke now.

    Actually though wouldn’t those make a really great horror movie monster? Like, I could see one of those in Pan’s Labyrinth or something. Euurhhgh.

  4. Rachel says:

    this is so crazy i’ve had this problem forever and had no idea it had a name. It’s just awful. Whenever I see anything in clusters i just imagine what it would feel like on my body and get so itchy. Clusters of mushrooms are the absolute worse along with seedpods.

  5. Novur says:

    I get this a little bit from the seedpods, a lot from the photomanips, and a fucktonne from after I wash my hands with hot water, and then the steam forms bubbles on my skin, and then they pop and leave little rings of water that makes it look like I have small craters on my skin.

    Honeycomb and wasp’s nests are cool, though.

  6. Rachel says:

    I have just come across this article, and realised that both myself and my sister suffer from this! As children we used to be both disgusted and fascinated by clusters of holes in things – and could never eat crumpets!

    • I love crumpets (well I did until you linked them to this!) I recall my first time as a child with this “phobia” being turned off from snow with holes in it from melting droplets of water- now much worse at 43 almost anything that fits the description gives me the heebie jeebies -hopefully I can remove this from crumpets~!

  7. […] my blog based on the search “lotus seed pod” but sent them to the homepage and not the Trypophobia post which actually has the lotus seed pod images. What they saw instead was the obligatory Wikipedia […]

  8. Mimi says:

    Omg! I didn’t know this was actually a phobia!!! I ABSOLUTELY have this. I saw these images yesterday and just got this overwhelming necessity of scratching something and then feeling very very uncomfortable! I even thought about it when I was in bed and had to scratch my arms! I showed my boyfriend these pictures and he said it was gross but it didn’t make him feel weird… For me it’s just terrible… I get so anxious and queezy!

  9. Kristen says:

    Immediately reminded me of this:
    (lamprey mouths)

  10. Vyvienne says:

    Oh my god, I’m so scared of holes and hole-y cheese…..that stuff really scares me….help

  11. […] Back before there was Facebook to tell everyone my opinions on unimportant stuff and about the weird thing I just saw. In 2011 I turned it into a series of zines. Anyway, I used to fill out these kinds of […]

  12. Carolina says:

    Some idiot on FB did this kind of lotus pod manipulation on a photo and call it some new type of breast cancer. I had nightmares for days. Didn’t knew it was a phobia. Thought I was going insane. Thanks!

    • Well, apparently, according to some reading I did, it’s not an officially recognized phobia but a term some blogger or journalist made up. But I’m not sure why since it’s clearly REAL and clearly a LOT of people suffer (to some degree) from it.

      Here’s one that ninja-attacked me on my Facebook feed yesterday.


    • Angela says:

      I came across this blog due to the latest resurfacing of that photo. It’s been bothering me for the last 2 or 3 days. I’m so disgusted but can’t get the picture of the boob with that photo manip out of my head. I feel sick!!! I don’t really normally care, but with these seed pod things, it triggered me, especially around the lady’s boob.

      I am so annoyed I even saw it. I’m ruined 😦

  13. Scared me to death.will let all my females know.

  14. amanda says:

    Oh, sweet baby Jesus, I thought I was going crazy. Because I have stupid Facebook friends who share every gross post they come across, I happened upon one of those lotus pod skin manipulations and promptly freaked the heck right out. I wasn’t able to stop thinking about it for days. Days!

  15. Mark says:

    I thought I was going crazy. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I have a hard time not thinking about it. It’s a weird, eerie feeling. Thanks everyone for sharing.

  16. mark says:

    is fake that not exist and no proof on the video what a prank from a NOOB|

  17. liz says:

    A knob that should be ashamed of themselves

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