Do Images with Repeated Holes Make You Uncomfortable? You Might Have Trypophobia

Humans are funny things, with many different fears and phobias. Are you one of the many people who has an irrational fear you just can’t explain? Does your fear happen to be of objects or images with repeated patterns of holes or clusters? If you feel like your body is covered in spiders when you see clusters and certain hole patterns you could possibly have trypophobia, or a fear of objects with irregular patterns of holes. While some people believe it’s only associated with holes, others will argue it’s the clusters or groupings that trigger the response.

Trypophobia is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but even so, thousands of people report experiencing discomfort and fear when viewing particular patterns. The reactions are truly visceral, almost gut wrenching, and they leave the person feeling personally violated by their physical response.

A lot of “funny” people on the internet Photoshop images in hopes of creating things that will trigger a trypophobia response. These images are generally lotus seed pods Photoshopped on some place on the body, usually the face, arm, or leg. Most of these images look really ridiculous, but they succeed at freaking people out, which is what they are created for. Because this phobia is still relatively new to scientists, not much has been discovered about it. Two British academics, Arnold Wilkins and Geoff Cole, have been the first to scientifically investigate the fear and have postulated the reaction might be based on cultural fears rather than complete revulsion — more or less a gut reaction to something that signifies “danger” in a primitive portion of the human brain.

While these doctored images create a response, what most people don’t realize is nature gives us a number of naturally occurring patterns that do an equally good job at triggering the skin crawling response trypophobia is known for. Check out some of these images to see if they trigger a trypophia response in you.

The Lotus Flower

One of the most popular images associated with trypophia, the lotus flower’s pods can invoke feelings of disgust and malaise if viewed by the trypophobic. The pods are also Photoshopped on to other things in hopes of invoking a fear response.

Tree Roots

When you look at the pattern of the roots, do you get the shivers, or do you just see cool tree roots?


These barnacles occur naturally and can be found throughout the ocean. Does the clustered pattern make you want to scratch your skin and search your back for spiders?

Trench Foot

A bacterial infection called Pitted Keratolysis, commonly found in athletes that have a lot of foot sweat (soccer players, etc.), this skin infection creates an almost bubble pattern on the infected areas and makes those with trypophia want to vomit.


Another cluster pattern found naturally in nature, honeycomb can really screw with those with trypophobia. When you look at the clusters above, do you want to run and hide under a blanket, hoping, and praying for the bad feelings to go away?

Lamprey Eel

Does the sucker mouth of the Lamprey Eel make you want to poke your eyes out in hopes you’ll never see another image like it again?


Have you ever heard of trypophobia? Do any of the images above trigger a response in you? If you have it, what images trigger your response?




Brittany Valli
Brittany Valli
Crafting stories from a young age, Brittany was destined to be a writer (well, she thinks so). When she's not working on various novels, short stories or screenplays, she can be found exploring Oregon's many landscapes with her husband, tasting some of the best wine, beer and food Oregon has to offer, relaxin' in a hammock, walking her dogs, or laughing at jokes only she thinks are funny. You can find more about Brittany here: (it's a work in progress)