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by Rob Friesel

A friend1 remarked:

does anyone else find it strange (or even cares for that matter) that there is no bonafide phobia name for an irrational fear of zombies. there is one for vampires, werewolves, and i think even mummies. but no zombies?! i demand action!

So I proposed: ambulothanatophobia

The irrational fear of the walking dead.

A “zombie phobia” word at long last? I guess the only issue that I take with this is that the “ambulo” part is Latin while “thanato” and “phobia” are both Greek parts. Of course, the litany of phobias is mostly a patois anyway. So ambulothanatophobia could work just fine.

So, gentle readers: what say you?

  1. No link for him, I’m afraid. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

93 Responses to ambulothanatophobia

BEX says:

I cant belive there are others out there that have this irrational fear of zombies,although i dont obsess over my fear i often wonder what i would do if my zombie nightmares came true. il be thinking ‘i wonder if my roller shutters would stop zombies from getting in’ [retarded i know].Most of my fear comes from what i refer to as ‘rational zombies’ basically large numbers of humans that can stil function on basic intelligence levels but are hunting killing machines.Well ta for some relife and a lable for my crazy irrational fear.

Tarebear431 says:

I would just like to say how happy I am that it’s not just me who has this kind of fear. Mine isn’t so much dead rising from the grave (although that terrifies me as well) but more of a 28 Days Later zombie where some sort of disease infects people and all they want to do is attack other people. I can’t tell you how many nights I have kept myself awake trying to come up with escape plans. I have watched every movie I can get my hands on just so I can analyze what people in them are doing wrong and I have read World War Z as well as The Zombie Survival Guide. Most of my friends think I am insane but I believe that it’s better to be a paranoid about something like this than to be completely unprepared. If there is some kind of website (like a support group or something) I would really like to know what it is. You guys are not alone. 🙂

Sam says:

well for this name to be accurate, zombies need to be classified as ‘dead’. sure the a cliched name for them is ‘the undead’ but in the zombie survival guide it says that zombies are actually caused by a virus known as solanum. id much prefer to believe his deffinition because that means that i have a MUCH better chance of living through the innevitable zombie appocalypse. personally i think this name needs to be revised, well depending on your deffinition of zombie i suppose you would have a different phobia. eh, just a thought X|

Jen says:

Holy shit.
I thought I was alone, and I was the only one who seriously, honestly feared a zombie attack. Whenever I get in my car, I check the entire thing for a zombie. If my car breaks down, like a few days ago, I freak out, and my first thought is ‘Zombies’. All my nightmares center around zombies, or decay. My friends laugh at me and say its irratonal, but is it really? Is it reall so irration to fear something that is basically a disease? Or so i would view it. I think if zombies truly did exist it would be do to a bioterrorist disease that sped up the decaying process in humans, and make them irrationally angry and aggressive. I’m not sure. But I find myself constantly thinking up a survival plan, stocking up on food, and making sure I have weapons near me all the time. Its awful. My nightmares wake me up constantly and leave me in fear for days. Its awful.

GeanyC says:

i feel the same to ! omg my friends think im the craziest about zombies . i freak out when something bad happens , like if our car breaks down i look around and see if its the end of the world . i fear that its gona happen soon later in life . i even read books how to survive zombie invasions , i noe wierd . buh they freak me out ! many of my friends think ima freak that believe in zombies and is scared of them , buh im ready . ima be smashin’ lol . i usually dont always dream buh i always dream about zombies attacking and scares the shit out of me and makes me sweaty , hot and terrified . thats not a good thing . – GC

Reubs says:

Its good to see a community helping one another deal with these problems. I myself feel the same and am glad people are trying to get a name recognised for the phobia.

I will say my fear is definatley not as bad as some people on here but yes I too have thought out elaborate plans to get myself and family to safety in the case of zombie outbreak.

Luckily my nightmares on this topic is sparse as i generally dont dream but they are still unsettling.

Remember keep fit, keep a gun, and canned food.

Garii says:

Two alternatives to this:-

If you want a full greek version, Kinethanatophobia works.

For a full Latin version, ambulomortophobia works.

alternatively, for another mix Kinemortophobia can be used. Just pick your favourite.

Monica says:

OMG im so freakin scared of zombies it aint even funny, i dream about them and like the next few days im terrified. everyone thinks im crazy, but i know that crap could happen one day! like with all the genetics n stuff.

ichigo says:

omg! im terrifyied of zombies! terrifyied i cant leave my house when it starts getting dark. everywhere i look i see a possible zombie break out. i am terrifyed! i have a hard time watching even chezzy zombie movies! and yes i have a plan and blades dont need reloading but yes i want a gun. everyone thinks im nuts.this one kid dressed up as a zombie in my class for halloween and i couldny even stay in the same room!!! im glad to see im not the only one…

Shae says:

Wow…I hate to sound like a total freak for saying this..but calling it ‘irrational’ bothers me. I’m freaked out by zombies as well, but I rationalize my fear. Not to cause anyone else to be even more freaked if they actually believe me, haven’t found anyone yet who doesn’t laugh it off. But I think what started my fears of it was that I realized I have NO clue what is really going on in the world, I mean with all the wars and the medical research going on how do we know that zombies couldn’t happen? With biochemical weaponry and medical studies on trying to cure disease and things like that, maybe its possible that someone could accidentally or maybe even intentionally cause something like that to happen…or maybe I’ve seen to many movies..I dunno..but I too get this uneasy feeling whenever I open a door, its mostly at night but its developing into the daytime. Maybe that’s my own fault, trying to rationalize it and all. When it really started is when I was in the hospital in New Mexico for a month, it’s not the state I live in so I was unfamiliar with everything around me and it makes sense that if that were to happen at all, it would most likely be brought into a hospital at the beginning. I would lay awake at night and every noise I heard made my heart race. The window being opened and the wind making the blinds move. People walking past my room. It was completely terrifying.Not to mention knowing that if it did happen I had tubes stuck in me that I couldn’t get away from, so basically I was trapped. I never told anyone, because I knew it would sound crazy. I’m relieved and unsettled that I’m not the only one though.

Tatsume says:

I’m glad I’m not alone.

I’ve always had an uneasiness about zombies but for some reason with the release of 28 Days Later it’s gotten worse. I still like watching zombie movies/shows but after wards I’m skittish and always thinking of an escape route.

And I just had this crazy dream involving zombies from the new series The Walking Dead. Based on what was occurring, one part was waring for they do exist while the other for the do not exist.

Got another irrational fear to boot, fear of sharks in swimming pools. I saw Deep Blue Sea and now I have a hard time tolerating being in a pool.

If there’s a support group for zombie phobia, please let me know.

Martha says:

Euch. I have this compulsion where I cannot say the word ‘zombie’ at night-time in case they’re around. They’re my most recurring nightmare monsters and when I wake up I feel like if I turn away from the wall I’ll see one. If the curtains are open and I’m looking into the darkness my heart starts racing in case one of their faces appears. I didn’t even like the zombies on Being Human and they could talk humanely! My friends don’t really understand, they kinda make fun of me then get annoyed at me for going on about it just because they have fears on actually existing things. I watch zombie movies, but only because i’ve heard desensitisation is the best way to rid yourself of a phobia like this one. Then my friends and family think I’ve made the whole thing up just because I bring myself to watch it. The best thing you can do with this kind of fear is live with it, unfortunately. I feel like a lot of fears have stemmed from this one, but what can I do? I’m scared of balloons, explosions and gas-fires as well. I have odd fears, which is probably why my friends think I’m making it up. I just wish I’d never watched my dad on that scary game when I was a child…either that or I wish I was scared of something normal and avoidable in this modern western world where horror culture just can’t get by without mentioning zombies. I wish I was scared of the leaves of a particular jungle tree that you don’t get in england. Then I’d be happier, and my friends wouldn’t laugh at me as much.

max says:

IT FEELS so good to know i am not the only one scared of zombies i only dream about invasions the last one i had i was in my apartment and they came crawling clawing the door and moaning i saw some blood come from under the door i this is bad because i take what i see in my dreams to what happens in life.

kai says:

wow..yea i have a Hard Time sleeping at night cuz of zombie crap.. i hope theres someone outhere to put me at ease.idk…i do get freakdout a littlle when i hear shit at night..

Casey says:

in truth the fear of zombies is no longer irrational. the movie 28 days later it based on an almost happening event. i was told by my science teacher that there is a diesease known as the rage virus. it is a virus that can be carried from a money to human. a man was bitten by a monkey in his lab somewhere in london and this monkey had the rage virus within a matter of seconds he had bit 5 of his co-workers. the co-workers had enough time to put the lab on lock down until police arrived, since they didn’t want the virus to spread they shot anyone that was bitten except for the last co-worker. they took him to the hospital thinking they could save them but by the time they got them their he had bit a nurse that they had to kill and they tryed to bit an officer but he had on protective equipment so they weren’t infected. the rage virus is like an acute form of rabies but instead of day for it to cause serious damage th rage virus takes seconds. a total of seven people and one monkey was killed because of the rage virus. also just recently the united states government has created a zombie swat team. so the fear of zombies is no longer irrational if you ask me. i just love telling people about my zombie fear. 🙂

Ed says:

While I know Zombies creep people out (hence the popularity of movies) I generally thought I was one of only a few who would classify my fear as a “phobia” so I’m glad there are others – I glance out the window as I lock the doors at the end of the night just to make sure they aren’t shambling up the road, because for whatever reason I half expect to see them – People think I’m either joking about it or crazy, but my machete isn’t to far from being accessable and I’ve revised the family “Zombie Evacuation Plan” weekly (to the point of preparing myself to lose at least one family member as an inevitability and weighing the pro’s & cons of each one… How’s THAT for an irrational fear?!

Connie says:

I really thought i was the only one with this fear. It makes me happy that I’m not alone. I’ve been having zombie nightmares since i was about 5 and I’m 20 now. I have this constant fear to always check my surroundings for anything that can be used as a weapon. The worst part is that i can’t sleep with any windows open because up my block is a huge cemetry that stays open all night. When I’m closing my windows or blinds for the night, i always half expect to see them walking in the middle of the road. My phobia has gotten to the point where everytime I step onto an elevator and push the close door button and it doesnt go fast enough I began to panic. Im glad to see that this phobia has been addressed. And others shouldn’t doubt that they don’t know.

Christina says:

It’s funny, i knew other people had a zombie phobia but i’m glad other people have “zombie evacuation plans” too. I didn’t know if people took it as seriously as i do.

Ariel says:

Dude! I’ve been having nightmares of zombies, all kinds, running, talking, stupid, ninja (I know it’s unrealisstic but who knows!! Xo), even ones that dont look dead, for weeks on end. Now I constantly search for weapons or blunt objects, houses or buildings that would have sufficient food and or weapons, and the least amount of windows. I’m also going to start working on my fitness specifically for the purpose of being fit enough to out run zombies, or at least slower people. I’ve had a plan for getting to my boyfriends house for months, and he’s agreed to help me with my plans! we’re both firm beleivers in this being a possible 2012 and with a recently discovered brain infecting amoeba, I dont think its a distant or irrational fear. especially with a *government related zombie squad, it’s almost like the government knows something we don’t…and are preparing for the worst…

kait says:

i would watch zombie movies with my brother when i was around 2 and up and he would put on his freddie cruger mask and chase me around the house until i cried and screamed i just remembered this now it was in the back of my mind and now i have ambulothanatophobia i had to look up the fear to see if it was a phobia and it is at least im not alone in this fear

Courtney Laytham says:

i have this phobia ever since i was 6 and i’m 19 now. And i still have nightmares of different zombie scenerios. like i did just last night. it had mystery inc. in it (which is weird) but i was velma but at the same time i was me. i usually have dreams like that, it’s cause of my creative mind. but in my dream last night, i was looking for these v-chips and i guess they would shock and kill the virus from inside the body, making the hosts (zombies) become normal again. it was a weird but scary dream.

Jayson says:

wow thats an amazing word for it. me and my sister were looking for big phobia words to put on t shirts and looky here perfect. i dont feer zombies i look forward to killing them all. and if any of u have this fear when and if they actualy do come just find and follow me i got your back.

RachelC says:

Honestly I do not care if the phobia has a name, but I really appreciate whoever thought to put this article thing out because I have this, but did not know other people suffered from it. Constant bad dreams, surveying new rooms for possible exits, counting people in said room, and always having to carry some type of protection (I have a small bat that stays with me wherever I go). I know a lot of my friends and even my boyfriend dont take this seriously, but they just dont know how much this interferes in everyday life. I am considering finding a therapist to help me get a little bit better or at least to a point where I can sleep without the nightmares.

Memorie Leigh says:

There is a name for it, I did a little research since I suffer from it, Kinemortophobia… Look it up, feel the relief=) its nice to know I’m not the only one with this fear, truly, lol

found_drama says:

Hi there Memorie–

Kinemortophobia is another name for it. I see it in Urban Dictionary, but when I wrote this back in 2006, there was no such term to be found! I just hope that having any name for it helps some people to deal with this terrible fear.

Alexis says:

I cant actually believe that there are other people who share this same phobia. I dont care much for the name but at least I now know it. For years I thought I was going crazy and when I tell people how terrified I am of them they look at me like Im nuts.

As I type this my Fiancee is playing Call of Duty Z’s and Im trying my hardest not to panic!

To be honest I tried to read the comments left by other people and could only get through the first few lines. Is being scared of something that doesnt exist seem a little ‘special’? Is there a way to get rid of it cos to be honest its taking over my life I cant even get into bed without the light on my phone and certainly do not like to be in the house on my own.

I really dont want to sound crazy or paranoid (which I probably do lol) Im just slightly relieved to see that I truly am not alone with this!

victor says:

i have this same phobia too if it really happens i plan of trying to get to a hospital and taking the pills that kill you painlessly i have nightmares about them every month it started like 6 moths ago after watching some zombie related material it’s getting slightly better but the nightmares slow it down i always think of places that a zombie can’t get into or something like another suicide plan because i don’t want to live with the stress of this i have a small knife with me at all times except for the airport and im buying canned food for when it happens and i have something to eat before i can commence my plan no one i know personally besides one of my friends who also has the fear knows.

ZombieShot says:

Dude in my parents house before i moved out I yelled at my parents that I wanted the room with the least windows and the most space so I got it after nights of sitting awake with a Blade under my pillow and during the day I drew escape plans and how i could make my basement a bunker and I hunt so i am prepared with and Ak in my closet and a glock in my dresser. im just glad people feel the same as me.

Jason says:

Well, it makes enough sense, because it literally means fear of walking death. in reality, its a possibility, thats why my friends and i have a plan that will probably never be used. but we will remember it.

Marisol says:

I am so glad i found this website makes me feel a little bit better like i am not a crazy person for being scared of zombies and hopefully with this website we can connect and find a good way to either survive a zombie attack there has to be a way or tell me who is your therapiest?

deli says:

Glad I found this and I not the only one my fear of zombies has got worse since iv been pregnant I wake up all the time its getting beond silly now. My partner believes I’m scared of them but says its silly and irational then goes and plays a zombie game I’m even scared of the scooby do zombie. Is there any support groups or anything like that cuz iv had enough of being scared to go out from sunset till sunrise

Nannerz103 says:

I’m so relieved that I am not alone. I am an ex-felon and having seen and done things that would probably scare the shit out of any average Joe. But, none of it has ever put the fear in my heart as the thought of zombies on earth has brought to me. And as irrational and as silly as it may possibly sound to an educated and rational mind, to me, I find it very possible. I have a son. I will do wherever it takes to make sure that my son will survive no matter what! If that makes me crazy then so be it.

Kent says:

I’ve had 2 girlfriends with ambulothanatophobia

Not to any crippling degree, the first didn’t like to see zombiefilms, but saw them to confront her fear. But still she had frequent nightmares, about zombies or some other catastrophe.

My current girlfriend also have the fear, but to a bit worse. If she sees a zombiefilm or similar, then she won’t sleep well for days.

jade says:

So this is its official name? What a mouthful! I developed this at like the age of 6 and I still remember everything I saw and over time it has steadily increased to paranoia walking through the street in broad daylight. It used to only be night time but then they made dawn of the dead, and my friend thought making me watch it would cure me but just made it a lot worse lol

violet says:

i’ve always been afraid of them, im 29 now and its only the slow ones, not the fast running ones. what ive found that really helps is looking up how they make the movies, how the makeup and effects are done, so you know its only actors. once you understand a thing it has less power over you. still not totally cured though- i cant bear anyone looking at me through a window or knocking on it, and cant be out of sight of people in libraries etc- but i can watch the walking dead on my own, with the remote ready to switch to a comedy if a really scary bit comes up!! remember that its only possible to be brave if you’ve first been afraid, and how brave you all are because of your fear.

Courtney says:

My dad made me watch dawn of the dead when I was five and now I gets the nightmares about zombies all the time and I think its getting bad cuz I even have a fool proof plan on how to kill myself if the zombie apocalypse were to happen

mike a says:

i would have panic attacks when i was six but i tried to face my fear byy watching movies and playing games about them and im 17 now i still lock up at the thought of it but the fear can be broken

Jayne says:

Omg sooo glad to find these posts. I’ve had this dreaded fear of zombies for years and thought I was crazy! I’m definitely thinking of seeing someone about it. I can’t watch any films/games/sill pics of zombies. Even reading these posts is making my heart race. I feel that my fear is turning into a paranoia as time goes on. It’s always on the back of my mind. Infact I was talking with hubby last night and admitted to him that if anyone even played a joke on my like pretending to be a zombie, I honestly believe I would die if a heart attack. That’s how irrational crazy my fear of an imaginary being is. Sounds crazy I know lol! No idea where this fear stems from but I think I need some answers..

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