Monday, September 9, 2013


Are You Part of the 16% of People Who Can't Look at This Without Screaming?

Via Business Insider: "Up to 16% of people (18% of females and 11% of males) become viscerally upset after looking at images of clustered holes, according to the first ever study on the condition known as trypophobia."

There is an evolutionary explanation for this in the article, but I couldn't read the rest of the article, because I was too busy screaming. Still, it's nice to know that your struggles have a name. We are the 16%. Test yourself after the jump IF YOU DARE. 

106 Comments / Post A Comment


This is HORRIFYING. I can't click on the article because every hair on my body is now on end. Perhaps this explains why I used to cry as a child whenever it rained on the snow and I had to go outside?


@uemmak I have a very distinct memory of being on a ski lift with my mom and being repulsed by the spots where lumps of snow from people's skis/boots had splashed into the snow below, if that makes sense. Seeing your comment made me realize it's related to this holes thing.


absolutely fantastic@l




@Rock and Roll Ken Doll hahahaha i'm sorry i'm sorry i thought this entire post was a trigger warning but i will put it there explicitly


Well, I guess I meant the photo itself being above the jump!!

(I'm actually not that bothered, but am bothered enough to imagine how others might be crippled by cringing.)


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Srsly nightmare fuel right there. No avoiding the header image when seeing the article.

I would be interested in the science between why it freak me the hell out, but I'm not making it through that article either.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll it's exposure therapy????? ahhhhhhhh i figured if i just linked, people would end up seeing the pic anyway? I CAN REMOVE IT BUT MAYBE WE'LL ALL BE STRONGER THIS WAY


It's your blog...

(j/k it'll be fine)

apples and oranges

@Biketastrophy So you don't have to read/see more horrifying images: They think that it's because some poisonous animals have similar spot/circle patterns. But the photos they put up of the animals were not NEARLY as awful as the lotus pod.


@j-i-a Non-consensual exposure therapy is not super fun. I second the suggestion of moving the photo to below a jump.

Angry Panda

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Aaaaah! I had to click and scroll through very quickly to get to the comments section to beg Jia to remove that picture. I'm not sure I'll be able to visit this site till enough articles are posted so it's gone from the main page. :-(


@kangerine omg i found them so much scarier for some reason


@Angry Panda i changed it to care bears for you!!!

Fear Biter

@j-i-a JIA!!! Auuugh!!!!!!
I have to commend you on the tags tho. I started grinding my teeth in *anticipation* of the picture. Why? WHY??? (related: why did I click through to the rest of the post???)

When my sister and I were very little my g'parents took us to Rome on vacation, and we were so paralyzed all the time because everything is made of marble - even the paving stones - and all that marble is full of HOLES. We still talk about it and both of us are over 30

the upstairs girl who frowns at the piano

If you had simply told me that a fear of clustered holes was an actual thing, I'm not sure I would have believed you. But holy shit, that photo. DDD:

ETA: It's only the photo of the lotus pod that gets me; none of the images in the article creeped me out at all, but that closeup of the lotus makes my skin absolutely crawl. Huh.


@the upstairs girl who frowns at the piano It's gross but it's also fascinating, like I wanna stab it with a scalpel while cringing.


@the upstairs girl who frowns at the piano Me too! I think it's the seeds inside that really get me. I don't mind fried lotus root, and I thought I didn't mind honeycombs or whatever, but now I'm all itchy. :(


@Mira I agree: the lotus pod is the only one that freaks me out. I think it might be because I imagine the seeds as horrible, disparate things that are not a part of the flower, and they're poking out through it? And also I think of them poking out through my skin and then I want to vomit forever.


@Mira I would be interested in the science between why it freak me the hell out, but I'm not making it through that article either. Mekong delta tours from ho chi minh




@JessicaLovejoy the boob photoshop! I think about it once in a while and DIE!


@JessicaLovejoy PRETTY SURE that photoshop is the reason I have this clustered hole phobia to begin with. It's been prooobably 10 years, and... *shudder*. Thanks a lot, internet.



@JessicaLovejoy ohgodohgodohgodohgod I googled the lotus boob and remembered, I remembered, it all came back to me oh god I am on all the edges. I will never think of the lotus and not cower.


@JessicaLovejoy -SERIOUSLY that photo is the sole reason I have a problem with this picture. Without that frame of reference, this would not be horrifying. Perhaps 16% of people they studied saw that photo.

social theory

@JessicaLovejoy without putting it too heavily (or too lightly) that boob lotus urban legend traumatized me in a real way. horrifying.


UGH that shit is so gross.


Do not google Surinam toad. Do not google Surinam toad. Do not google Surinam toad.


@laurel ... I googled it.


@[sic] It's fun to be a little horrified.




@laurel WTF Evolution has things to say about the Suriname Toad.


@laurel CRIPES I FORGOT ABOUT IT. Don't google image trypophobia. I got fooled into it once.

Briony Fields



@SarahDances WTF Evolution is correct in this, as in all things. WTF, evolution?

Tammy Pajamas

@SarahDances NOTHING in Jia's post was even the slightest bit upsetting to me, but I didn't even make it two seconds into that Suriname toad video. WTF. Basically toads coming out of skin pores?!?!?!?!?!?!?! The stuff of nightmares. <>


@Tammy Pajamas Yes I felt nothing over all the photos, but that toad - an immediate feeling like I could vomit or my my body was about to turn itself inside out.


<--- my reaction to the Surinam toad, the lotus pod, and all related grosseries.


@laurel noooo you said not to but I did


@plumb-bob Heh, that's the WTF Evolution avatar too!


@laurel Appropriate! And yes, also 'appropriated' ;-)


@laurel I saw a documentary as a kid about that toad and its freaked me out ever since.


Should I not wear this bracelet that I'm wearing that is a big shiny cuff with lots of tiny holes in it? Am I inadvertently terrifying 16% of the people I run across? I have never met anyone who discussed this fear, not never been even a bit unsettled by clusters of holes. But is it possible it's because they are terrified of my accessories and just stay away?


@lemonadefish Holey inanimate objects don't bother me. (If they did, I'd vom into my colander, and it would go everywhere, because colander.) It's the living stuff that is repulsive and needs to be cleansed with all the fire.

the upstairs girl who frowns at the piano

@lemonadefish I'm trying to figure out why I had an extremely visceral, skin-crawly reaction to the pod photo, but not to any of the other photos in the linked article. I think it's because they are either living things with markings that are obviously spots, not holes, or a non-living thing (honeycomb) covered in holes. My squick definitely seems to be linked to a living thing covered in actual, deep, wide open holes. And for me it's not so much fear/phobia as just a really grossed out/creeped out feeling (that I kind of like experiencing because I'm weird like that).



Angry Panda

@j-i-a Thank you! I'd like to know why I find these images so creepy, but I can't even read about them without being creeped out.


@j-i-a also changing the main page photo so no one is triggered I CARE ABOUT YOUR BRAINS GUYS I SWEAR


you guys, isn't this fascinating though? i am repelled by NOTHING as strongly as i am repelled by this - we are all exhibiting this totally intact animal instinct


@j-i-a There's a she-wolf in your closet/open up and WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT

Heat Signature

@j-i-a Only if you find continuously wanting to vomit fascinating. I kid, I kid, but seriously, just READING the description gave me the shivers.


I have had nightmares about my skin looking like that picture. Does that count?


@Amphora Oh god ME TOO. Horrifying nightmare.


Nooo, JIAAAAA :(((( I can't unsee this! I found out there is a name for my fobia because my sister's idea of fun is sending me images via Twitter. Last month I had to change the settings on my Tweetdeck because the pictures kept opening. Please, not The Hairpin too!


So basically those 18% of females all visit this website apparently?

This picture, as well as lotusboob, never bothered me. :/


@Jen@twitter Yeah this isn't a thing that bothers me? I find lotus pods unattractive and creepy, and that Surinam Toad business is all sorts of wrong, but it's not like a thing.

Quinn A@twitter

@stonefruit I am generally unfazed by this stuff (I didn't even cringe at the boob photoshop), but the bleeding tooth fungus triggers my gag reflex.


@Jen@twitter "So basically those 18% of females all visit this website apparently?"

ha, right? Like is everyone seriously this horrified?


@fabel yes :( like I said upthread, my sister sends me hole-y pics for fun and I think that, like you, she doesn't understand how horrible they are to me.


@Mariajoseh aw :(


@stonefruit I can't see it as scary! It just looks pretty and kinda artistic! I feel strangely sad, but not sad enough to Google this toad coming out of pores thing, as that sounds major league


@fabel I don't have this but I would love to talk about misophonia if anyone's interested!


I am so unmoved by these pictures, that I sat here reading all your comments trying to figure out if everyone was being sarcastic. It was only after a confirmation freak out by my friend that I knew you weren't. Does. not. compute.

apples and oranges

@Lizzy@twitter Brains are weird!


@Lizzy@twitter I don't get it either. It's just a plant thing? IDK.

Anne Wachtel@twitter

@Lizzy@twitter Agreed. We must be highly evolved, or alternatively, we would have died out astonishingly quickly as our ancient ancestor-species, since apparently it's an evolutionary response to poisonous things. I also quite enjoy most things that people dislike (bugs, mostly). So I'm going with the latter for myself.


@Lizzy@twitter This is so fascinating. It's not a thing for me either.

Tammy Pajamas

@Lizzy@twitter Can you make it through the WTF Evolution Suriname Toad video linked above? I feel like that's the true test.


@Tammy Pajamas I find the emergence of the baby frogs to be oddly satisfying. Am I weird? I'm weird, aren't I? Sorry, guys. I swear I'm really not trying to play the specialest snowflake here, because those people are the worst.


@Lizzy@twitter The baby toads are cute.


IDEA: A t-shirt with this picture that you can wear on the street, just to see how real this is.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll All I need is one person on that jury with tinyholephobia, and I am walking out of that courtroom free and clear.


I'm not repulsed by it, as much as I want to run my fingers along all those little ridges and valleys. Like...it would feel soooooo good.

Freakish? Maybe, judging these comments.


@large__marge I told my friend that who proceeded to internet scream at the notion of it. I want to touchy touchy.....


@large__marge I feel like a combination of wanting to touch and shivery repulsion. It's like the gross-out version of the vertigo I feel at heights (Ahhh I'm going to fall/wait I kind of want to jump maybe?/AHHHHH). Am I a pervert?


I think part of my disgust comes from the little seeds(?) peeking out of the pods - they remind me of, like, maggots. A lotus pod without the seeds present isn't nearly as horrifying to me. None of the other pictures in the article bothered me either.

and lotusboob. always lotusboob. :(


@rangiferina I am with you. I wonder if the researchers missed the mark, and we're responding to visual cues of, like, rotting things.

does it need saying

@TheLetterL Yes! That is what bothers me about the picture. The holey objects or the animals that have dark spots didn't bother me, nor would the lotus without the seeds? (That puffer fish with the pokey things though.) However take the lotus pattern and shop it onto skin and it looks all rotten. Concur!


The seed pod itself doesn't bother me even a little bit, but the image of the seeds photoshopped into someone's skin bothers me so much that my stomach gets all twisted up and I start feeling really physically uncomfortable. I don't have tiny hole phobia, I have things-that-shouldn't-be-in-a-body-but-are-phobia.

Briony Fields

@Scandyhoovian This is my feeling, too! The animals in the article don't bother me at all, but lotusboob and related horrors make me think of festering infections or spiders laying eggs in your flesh. And we should ALL be disturbed by that.


@Scandyhoovian Things-that-should-be-in-a-body-but-are are indeed very upsetting.

(except things like piercings are fine, even really big ones, and i don't mind those weird horn implants or whatever. just things that could be parasites or creepy injuries. I don't like to leave a splinter in even if it doesn't hurt.)


@lemonadefish @Briony Fields it also makes me think of that 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' picture of the girl with the spiders coming out of her face, which I would google and link for you if I didn't think googling it would make me throw up.


I have this SO STRONGLY I got freaked out even THINKING about what was under the jump (i clicked straight through the comments). It was such a relief to meet people who shared this, my mother and childhood friends did not understand at all. Lotusboob, as others have said, was probably where it all started, when I saw it way too young.


Huh. I sort of love it, actually. It's weird, but I think it's a cool weird. The lotus flower on the link creeps me out a little, but that's because it looks like a lot of eyes, and a few of the animals do, but that's because I am freaked out by fish and sea animals. But the flowers and honeycomb and that thing up top? I totally want to touch them and feel all the bumps and caves.

....I am so evolutionarily screwed, apparently.


I can't believe this has a name, I definitely fall into this category. I'm just now realizing that it's why I can't buy pomegranates and cut them up but I can eat the seeds themselves without a problem.


I don't get it? Am I broken?


Hmm, I don't have this but I would love to talk about misophonia if anyone's interested!


@sheistolerable Talk to me! My reaction isn't consistent, but when it's "on" the sounds of other people chewing, lip smacking, or sniffling makes me angry. So angry.

Angry Panda

@sheistolerable I had to look that up. Like TheLetterL, I experience it sometimes, mostly with people whispering. I also get that irrational rage on being touched. Didn't know this was actually a thing, I thought it was just me being a terrible person. At least this discovery isn't as traumatic as the time I discovered trypophobia was an actual thing and looked it up on google.


@Angry Panda I have the same thing with being touched, I can't stand light touches in just one place. The worst thing is the feeling of someone fixing a tag - it's the most horrible combination of being scratchy, light pressure and in only one spot. Deep or forceful pressure is fine, or being touched firmly in multiple places. I also don't mind being lightly stroked like by my boyfriend or whatever, but the one-time touch makes my all of my hair stand on end and that horrible cringe reaction.

Angry Panda

@Ellie Yes, light touches are the worst! I have to then rub the same spot to get rid of the icky feeling. I was mostly fine with my boyfriend touching me too. Should stop commenting now, I sound like a total weirdo.


@Angry Panda I actually now feel like you and I talked about this before, in the thread about ASMR (which, speaking of him, my boyfriend has and I'm really jealous of). Maybe that wasn't you though.

Angry Panda

@Ellie We did! I don't get email notifications about comments anymore, weird.


@sheistolerable I don't know if I have misophonia or if I'm just a grumpy person.


I feel like the hole-averse should definitely avoid looking at Patricia Piccinini's art, especially the Stem Cell and Lump series.


I loooove things like this, haha. The lotusboob picture freaked me out because I don't like imagining things happening to my body, but a staggering percentage of the things I made while completing my art degree feature these kinds of clustered holes, bumps, blobs, etc. Me + bleeding tooth fungus = tru luv


Has anyone here been to/seen a Yayoi Kusama show?


reading the phrase "clustered holes" grossed me out more than the picture.


DUDE, YES. I discovered this when I got my period way too young (elementary school) and had to ride out bad cramps in terror, alone and waiting for them to pass in the bathrooms at school hoping my insides weren't falling out.

Pads? Full of teeny holes. Blechchchch. One more thing to make the experience miserable - bored and looking at those teeny holes for too long.

fondue with cheddar

Related: I am afraid of reaching into holes. Every time I see someone in a movie find a loose brick in the wall, pull it out, and reach their hand inside? tiny screams


I can't really tell if this is real or not. The picture is pretty small, but I don't see why it would be particularly bothersome. 16% is a pretty large portion of the population.


The animal pictures didn't bother me, but the lotus one sure does, and so does the honeycomb. Lotus roots are the worst, I'll freak out if I see one at the market. And I also hate when a cucumber or melon has a hole all the way down the middle. Sucks because I'm a cook, and it's hard for me to bring myself to serve a cucumber with a triangular hole all down the middle. :\


Hmm, I don't have this but I would love to talk about misophonia if anyone's interested! dich vu cham soc sau khi sinh


Do not google Surinam toad. Do not google Surinam toad. Do not google Surinam toadc.


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