Nightmare on Melbourne Avenue: Harrisite phobias

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Harrisites may seem fearless. After all, they do cope with traumatizing experiences such as the daunting staircases after gym, the collaterals, and the distribution of demerits. However, there are still some things that manage to scare them.

Does the word trypophobia ring a bell?  Well, it shouldn’t. Trypophobia is the fear of clusters of holes, especially in organic objects. We strictly advise you to NOT look it up. You may just lose your appetite. Think swiss cheese, lotus pods, beehives, corals or even thousands of tiny holes in parts of the human body. Wait, what’s so scary about swiss cheese, right? Well, people with trypophobia may subconsciously associate these holes with danger or anything that makes them uncomfortable— such as spots on a snake, or even skin disease.  Freshman Jaewoo Nam says, “ My fear originates from biology class last year.  We were discussing osteoporosis. I saw a diagram of it and I started feeling uncomfortable looking at those creepy holes.” Similarly, senior Ian Sun says that his fear- or rather, general discomfort, developed from a SciShow video explaining the phobia.

All this talk of holes might have made you uneasy, so let’s move on to something cuddly. Do you think ducks are cute? Well, to junior Joanne Zulinski, they are quite the contrary. “When I was about 3 or 4, I was in the park with my family and there was a pretty large group of ducks (at least for a little girl) and I got really close and they started quacking and I got so scared, I ran away, and to this day, I stay away from ducks.”

Toddlers might develop fears over real life experiences, especially since they are unfamiliar with most of the world around them. Some of these fears don’t fade away even into adulthood because they may still associate them with one particular unfortunate incident. Joanne admits that although she still thinks ducks are adorable, she would much rather appreciate their cuteness from a distance.

Junior Jaskirat Multani commented that his fear of spending money began after having been robbed in the seventh grade. “I usually have my friends buy me things.”

We’ve established that fears originate from real experiences, but they may also be aftereffects of scary movies. Perhaps it’s a fear of being alone in the house. Or of clowns, and people behind masks. Maybe mirrors suddenly become terrifying.

Perhaps it’s a fear of cooked onions. When first mentioning her fear, many people think she that she is only joking, but senior Yessica Escorza explains that her fear originated when she was younger and she watched a horror movie. She said, “they took out someone’s intestines and they looked like cooked onions.” When asked how she coped with this fear, she replied, “When my parents cook onions, I can’t be there.”

Cooked onions may not be one of the first things that one associates with fear, but the darkness certainly is. Imagine you’re lying in bed and it’s extremely dark and quiet. Does that give you the heebie jeebies?  Senior Momena Persaud states that sometimes, in a situation like this, she feels as if she is “trapped in a coffin underground.” Senior Gabriela Zygadlo explains that it is the sense that something is lurking in the closet that stirs fear in her, particularly the shadows. Sophomore Prity Sen says that her fear of shadows started during a class trip to a fair. Her fear developed when people in makeup started leaping towards her from the shadows.

Teachers also have some uncommon fears— English teacher Robert Babstock is afraid of the Race to the Top contest. This is a DOE created program that is meant to evoke reforms in K-12 education. He explains that “no one has tried to explain if it improves or hurts a traditionally humanities education,” as Townsend is one of many public schools that has accepted these goals. He adds that “when [he] started [teaching], [he] was overjoyed to work for the taxpayers…however, [he] is not sure that’s who [he works] for today.”

Music teacher Peter Lustig explains his fear of heights, which originated when he went skydiving in college. He says that it was something that didn’t bother him as a kid, but rather developed as he was sitting in a “little rickety plane” staring down and about to jump.

Principal Anthony Barbetta’s fear is that his children will not have the same opportunities that he did growing up, especially job opportunities. He says that “great jobs are not there like they used to be” and that he is constantly worried about this issue.

Although fear is complex, it is also a core emotion of human nature- one that keeps us alive.

The sound made from plastic toys. Moths. Clowns. Wet car doors.  Glass disappearing. Human silhouettes. Things that seem to last forever. We may be embarrassed to admit our fears and phobias, but