The science behind the fear of ghosts

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What you do call people who have a fear of ghosts? Regarding this, I have received many different answers from the Internet. We have cowards; scaredy-cats; pussies; common sense; logic; “kiasee”; noobs; sissies etc. But as far as science is concerened, here is it: Phasmophobics. (Don’t worry, its not your fault that you are scared of ghosts)

This word actually stems from the word Phasmophobia, which means the fear of ghosts. The word originates from Greek word “phasmos” which means ‘supernatural being/phantom’ and “phobos” which means ‘deep dread or fear’, resulting in Phasmophobia. Another term for it could be Spectrophobia, which means fear of spectres.

Phasmophobia, believe it or not, is actually a medical condition. Everyone, whether they are young or old, fear ghosts, and this have been fuelled even further by ghost movies and shows. But most people are able to control this fear, and even enjoy it. But there are some people who find this fear overwhelming and seriously disrupting their lives. And thus these are the people with Phasmophobia.

Phasmophobia is believed to be caused by a combination of external events, internal or psychological predispositions. Such a phobia can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at an early age and coupled with internal factors such as genetics and psychological factors, such as ghost movies, folklore or reported sightings, it therefore leads to Phasmophobia.

In addition, in ghost movies, ghosts are portrayed as malevolent beings that harm and kill people, kidnap children and traumatise them. This portrayal of ghosts in such a light also increases the psychological fear in them about ghosts as they believe that all ghosts are malevolent and evil beings out to harm them, hence leading to higher chances of Phasmophobia.

People that have Phasmophobia will experience these symptoms; Heart palpitations, stress and anxiety or panic attacks. For children, they might start to scream, cry or wet their beds. In addition, sufferers show impaired performance at school or work and also appear needy and depressed. Furthermore, insomnia, dizziness, an increased urge to pee all the time, as well as a fear of dying and feeling of imminent disaster approaching can also be observed in sufferers.

Luckily, there is a cure of Phasmophobia but most of the cures are mainly psychological. For adults with Phasmophobia, they must try to understand and face their fears. The best way is to approach a psychologist and talk to them about it and get them to help. Fmaily and friends’ support are also very important. For kids with Phasmophobia, most of them will just grow out of it when they grow older but if not, likewise, be there for them and of course, seeking professional help.

People with Phasmophobia must understand one thing: the fear of ghosts is absolutely common but unreal at the same time. If they can understand it, then they can be relieved of it.


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