Spectrophobia: Pathological Fear Of Ghosts

Extreme terror of spirits, such as a phobia, can damage people’s quality of life.

In most cases, our fears and fears are normal and common elements that are present in the mental life of any healthy person. However, in some cases certain phobias may appear , which are pathological and totally irrational fears that damage our quality of life.

Sometimes these phobias are based on objective and easily recognized elements: for example, in the case of dog phobia, the source of terror and stress is almost always easy to identify in what surrounds us. But … what happens when what produces extreme terror is something that doesn’t even exist? This is the case with spectrophobia, or extreme fear of ghosts.

What is spectrophobia?

Spectrophobia is defined as a mental disorder that appears when someone experiences extreme and persistent terror of ghosts and ghosts in general … or, rather, what they interpret as a manifestation of a ghostly entity.

Normally, the fear of ghosts is so extreme that the focus of attention of people with spectrophobia easily shifts to any stimulus in the environment that can be interpreted as a revelation that ghosts are nearby.

This presence of delusions works as a fear feedback system: anxiety and tension leads to a state of alertness in which one is very sensitive to everything that happens nearby, and the possibility of coming into contact with spirits results so terrifying that all psychological processes are geared towards avoiding these kinds of situations.

What are people with spectrophobia like?

People with spectrophobia are kept in a constant state of tension when they are in a space that they believe is frequented by supernatural entities such as ghosts. That means they avoid being alone in dark places, closed or that have been associated with the supernatural through urban legends.

The proximity of one of these places, coinciding with a context in which there are few or no companions, causes spectrophobics to enter a state of extreme anxiety that in some cases leads to panic attacks or mental blocks.

Of course, a certain fear of ghosts is still relatively common even in many adults who do not believe in supernatural entities in principle, but in the case of spectrophobia this terror is powerful enough to damage the quality of life of the person.

In addition, this fear will not appear only when seeing, listening or hearing, for example, immersive works of fiction that work with the idea of ​​spirits and ghosts; It will extend to all areas of life and its symptoms may appear at any time, without the person being able to control this.

The latter is relative, since people with spectrophobia tend to want to learn about topics related to parapsychology and the supernatural, and somehow they learn to read their own life as if it were the script of a horror movie to be as prepared as possible. possible before the possible arrival of ghosts.

The contagion of fear of spirits

As with most phobias, in addition, suggestion plays a very important role, and both what others say and what others do can make this extreme fear intensify.

This is relatively common, since many times the fear of the person with spectrophobia is transmitted to others (although to a lesser extent), and this in turn reinforces the delusional idea that there are ghosts nearby. In addition, while the fear experienced by people who see how the person with spectrophobia reacts is fleeting and only appears in those kinds of specific situations, the terror of the latter is persistent and does not depend on the presence of others to reveal their symptoms .

  • Related article: “ Folie à Deux (shared madness): the strangest cases ”

The symptoms

The symptoms of spectrophobia are physiological, cognitive and behavioral.

Physiological symptoms

The entry into the state of alert that this phobia produces is triggered by the mediation between the limbic system of the brain and the glands of hormones that are distributed throughout the body. In a matter of seconds, the person with spectrophobia notices how their pulse and the rate of their breathing suddenly accelerate and sweating begins.

In addition, in this phase the sympathetic nervous system causes the thinner and superficial blood vessels to narrow to prevent possible blood loss, which causes the skin to take on a pale tone. The muscles tense to be able to act quickly in case it is necessary to escape. In general, all the signs of anxiety appear.

Cognitive symptoms

In the cognitive facet, the spectrophobic crises are characterized by inducing a state in which mental wandering stops and the attention is totally fixed on external elements, constantly moving. The person enters a state of maximum alertness to try to figure out where the danger could come from.

Behavioral symptoms

The most obvious behavioral symptom of people with spectrophobia is the constant avoidance of places considered dangerous due to the risk associated with being a place where ghosts appear. If you are in one of these sites, you will do everything possible to get out of there, even if this has a high cost for your public image or for your personal or professional projects in the medium and long term.


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