Call them zombies or even living ghosts, but the fear of those who have died is known as Necrophobia. This fear has resulted in numerous book and movie plots and provides a fright for those who dwell on a person who has died. Necrophobia can even extend to items associated with a dead person such as a funeral home, coffin or tomb.
The human mind has an incredible gift of imagination. Unless you are an undertaker you do not encounter dead people on a regular basis, but it is not especially uncommon for those who participate in a public viewing of the deceased to imagine the individual coming back to life, opening their eyes or moving a hand. This line of thinking may be perpetuated by Hollywood movies, but the image is still present in the minds of many at such times.
What Causes Necrophobia?
Some people have a romantic idea that having someone you love die in your arms is a fitting way to end life, but for many that moment when life is extinguished can cause them lifelong struggles with dreams in which that loved one comes back to life to exact revenge. They dream of holding the individual knowing they are dead only to find them lumbering back to life in an altered and unfriendly state is intensely frightening to many individuals.
This notion goes back to zombie/slasher movies in which disturbed spirits house a dead body and bring that individual among the living to harm those who caused their demise.
Yes, it sounds preposterous, yet this image becomes so ingrained in the minds of some that a fear is developed so profound these individuals have difficulty visiting someone in the hospital if they feel it is possible that person will die. Going to a funeral is also a virtual impossibility for those who fear dead people.
Symptoms of Necrophobia
Like most phobias there is a common two-word question that always seems to pop up that incites fear and sometimes even hysteria. That two word question is, “What if?” What if they aren’t really dead? What if they want to hurt me? What if?
This line of thinking among someone who has necrophobia can bring about multiple symptoms that may include…
- A profound sense of dread
- A sense of being trapped against your will
- Acute panic
- Air hunger
- Irregular or elevated heartbeat
- The desire to escape and the fear of escaping
The symptoms of this phobia may be long term and often require help to conquer.
How to Overcome Necrophobia
If you visit with a psychologist or therapist to gain independence from your fear it will be highly likely they will want to help you discover the things that bring on the fear and then deal with the initial seed of fear. By getting at the root cause they can help you come to learn why the response you have adopted was the result of false assumptions, information or stimuli.
This is one of those fears that doesn’t seem to respond well to simple logic. Professional help may be necessary to conquer the phobic response.