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The Origins Of Your Worst Fears

Why are you afraid of heights? The most common fears and superstitions debunked, brought to you by Insidious: Chapter 2, in theatres Friday, September 13.

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2. Heights

Colm Britton / Via Flickr: colmjude

A pop theory is that a fear of heights is actually a fear of being unable to stop yourself from jumping. A more science-y suggestion is an abnormal reliance on visual cues.

Balance is dependent on three senses, one of which is visual clues. At higher altitudes, the normal response is a diminished reliance on sight, but in some acrophobic people, the reliance on sight remains unimpeded, resulting in worse balance and a--justified--fear of heights.


3. Clowns

Alan Levine / Via Flickr: cogdog

One theory is that clowns exhibit transgressive behavior, which strikes people as creepy. Another is that a proliferation of creepy clowns in horror movies has made this fear mainstream.

Either way, ewewewewew.


4. The Number 13

Emily Steele / Buzzfeed

This fear has many roots, including Christian, Norse, and Persian mythology, but the root of the modern fear probably stems from the unimaginable amount of sass that 13-year-olds throw.


5. Spilled Salt

Jiri Hera / Shutterstock

In DaVinci's "The Last Supper," Judas knocked over a salt shaker, a small detail which spawned a big superstition. The remedy to any earned bad luck is throwing a pinch of salt over your shoulder. Two wrongs don't make a right, but I guess two instances of wasted salt do?


6. Claustrophobia

Andrew Currie / Via Flickr: andrewcurrie

If you're claustrophobic, you may have:

-A traumatic experience with small spaces in your past.

-A smaller amygdala--the part of the brain that handles emotional reactions--than is average.

-Common sense. Always have a plan of escape.


7. Walking Under A Ladder

Gilles Douaire / Via Flickr: douaireg

The resemblance of a ladder to a hangman's gallows spawned the supposed bad luck associated with walking under ladders. The lack of coordination your handyman uncle displays as he's perched on the top rung continues the tradition.


8. Six Hundred And Sixty-Six

globochem3x1minus1 / Via Flickr: globochem

Fear of the number 666, or hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, is attributed to a passage in the New Testament that links the number to the devil. The fear may be misplaced, however, as early manuscripts translate the number as 616.

But maybe play it safe and throw in a pack of gum when your checkout total is $6.66.


9. Breaking Mirrors

essygie / Via Flickr: essygie

Belief that a mirror's reflection held the viewer's soul stems from several faiths and mythologies. Broken mirrors were said to have shattered the soul, leading to the modern superstition of seven years of bad luck. Realistically? It's more like seven days of bad hair.


Insidious: Chapter 2 hits theaters Friday, September 13!

View this video on YouTube