Fear of holes.

(Greek, trypo- (boring holes)  + phobia,  (fear))

More specifically, the term, which was coined around 2005, applies to feelings of revulsion, disgust, and fear at the images of clusters of holes.

"I can’t really face small, irregularly or asymmetrically placed holes, they make me like, throw up in my mouth, cry a little bit, and shake all over, deeply."
--a respondent to a University of Essex study in 2012

The typical example cited is a lotus pod, but reports from those who claim this phobia cite images of clustered holes in cake or pancake batter, chocolate, honeycomb, skin*, meat, wood, plants, coral, and sponges as triggers.

Researchers at the Centre for Brain Science at the University of Essex analyzed images found on the Web of such clusters of holes, and found that they all possessed properties characteristic of images that most people find uncomfortable to view ("comparatively high contrast energy at midrange spatial frequencies.") They also found that the patterning on poisonous animals, such as the deathstalker scorpion, the king cobra, the poison dart frog, the pufferfish, and the blue-ringed octopus had this same characteristic. Thus, they suggest that coincidentally, those who are disturbed by images of clusters of holes are exhibiting a visual aversion that has survival value, from an evolutionary perspective.

* I don't think you have to suffer from this phobia to have an aversion to some of the weird photoshopped images out there: one, two, three.



Jennifer Abbasi, "Is Trypophobia a Real Phobia?" Popular Science. July 25, 2011. http://www.popsci.com/trypophobia (accessed September 11, 2013)
Julie Beck, "Who's Afraid of a Cluster of Holes? 16 Percent of People." The Atlantic. September 11, 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/09/who-s-afraid-of-a-cluster-of-holes-16-percent-of-people/279524/ (accessed September 11, 2013)
Geoff G. Cole and Arnold J. Wilkins, "Fear of Holes." Psychological Science 0956797613484937, first published on August 27, 2013 doi:10.1177/0956797613484937

we were phantom twins in death, powdered carrion
feeders digesting a mythology; finding
quiet boys to spoonfeed us our own guts

i set my jaws a long time ago

and here you are
still shrieking at the walls,
setting the curtains alight.

your indignities test their
teeth, snare memories in nets
and feed on the smoke curling
up between your burning thighs
the crisping and peel, but you
wear them as stockings.

skull bloomed to burgeoning
paper flaked white crackling
what howls will you loose then?

your mouth is packed with pulpits

your mind is a circle without end

i forgot my name a long time ago
and since, my body's become a

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