Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Coulrophobia: The Hidden Plague

My level-headed Yorkshire correspondent, David (motto: There's nowt so queer as folk.), draws my attention to the "organiser of some fete or other had to cancel the appearance of the clowns due to deluge of emails from potential attendees who would not be due to fear of same". Fear of clowns not only has a name - coulrophobia - but also seems to be on the increase. David sends me this , a site which appears to offer some kind of hope - "just 24 hours of commitment by the phobic individual" - to any of you who might suffer from this unfortunate condition. David's Yorkshire cast of mind makes him sceptical of the reality of this affliction. I'm not so sure. I once suffered a minor seizure while on the M11 because I heard somebody on Radio 4's Today programme ask a studio guest: "What do you think, Charlie the Clown?" My first reaction was to think, 'That's no way to talk to the (then) leader of the Liberal Democrats.' But then I was afflicted by the nightmarish spectacle of Charlie in full clown rig eyeing up John Humphrys or, worse still, Charlotte Green. Also Krusty, the cynical, chain-smoking clown in The Simpsons, is an emblem of the kind of horrors that might lurk behind the red nose and above the enormous shoes. Clowns, when you think about it, are frightening. Very.


  1. Too right they are. I'd guess that being afraid of clowns is the norm, therefore this is no phobia but a normal state, and it is the unscared who shld be entered in the lexicon of morbid psychology. One sufferer appears to be Homer J. Simpson, who even goes so far as to find clowns funny - funny?! O well, he is Homer - others abide our question...
    A. Lienist

  2. Since writing this entry I have stumbled upon www.phobialist.com. This lists every phobia imaginable. I haven't got through the A's but have already diagnosed myself as allodoxaphobic - fearing opinions. Hours of hypochondriac fun to be had.

  3. More hot news on the phobic front: ITV are doing a show called Britain's Weirdest Phobias. This from the press release:

    Sue, 37, from Birmingham hasn?t touched her knees for 16 years and can?t bear to utter the word ?kneecap?. She tells David: ?I?d love to be cured, but I can?t ever imagine wanting to touch anyone?s knee, ever.?
    Earleen, 41, from Surrey has had a frenzied fear of frogs and toads for 30 years....?I start to hyperventilate, I feel physically sick and absolutely gripped by fear.?
    ....39 year-old Jacqui from Leeds who has been terrified by tall structures for years. ... she declares: ?They are just there looking over us all but we don?t realise they are evil and want to take us over.?
    Other phobics in the series include Andrew Wallace from London who declares: ?I would rather be punched in the face than have a banana thrown at me? and Kim Crosby whose fear of barns dominates her life. She admits: ?It?s very hampering in the summertime because I like to drive around with the roof off my car?but then there is nothing to protect me.?
    Suddenly I feel quite well.